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was indulged in without control, with on the altar of Reason. On the 11th hardly any veil from the public gaze. November the popular society of the To such a length was this carried, that Musée entered the hall of the municiRobespierre afterwards declared that pality, exclaiming, “ Vive la Raison !" Chaumette deserved death for the abo- and carrying on the top of a poll the minations he had permitted on that oc- half-burnt remains of several books, casion. Thenceforward that ancient edi- among others the breviaries, and the fice was called the Temple of Reason.* Old and New Testament, " which have The same scene soon afterwards took expiated in a great fire,” said their preplace in the Church of St Sulpice, where sident, "all the fooleries which they the part of the goddess of Reason was have made the human race commit." performed by Madame Momoro, wife Taking advantage of the enthusiasm of the printer, and the intimate friend which this announcement excited, Héof Hébert. She appeared to the crowd bert proposed and carried a resolution of worshippers in the attire in which for the demolition of the whole of the Venus displayed herself to Paris ; but steeples of Paris, on the ground that to her credit it must be added, her they were “ repugnant to the principles shame was such that she fainted on of equality.” On the same day, a dethe altar.
cree was passed for the destruction of 47. The municipality, elated by the all the sculpture on Notre Dame, exsuccess of their efforts to overturn the cepting that on the two lateral portals, Christian religion, and the countenance which were to be saved, Chaumette they had received in their designs from said, “because Dupiers had there traced the National Convention, lost no time his planetary system.”. Finally, on the in adopting the most decisive measures 23 November, atheism in France for its entire extirpation. All the relics reached its extreme point, by a decree preserved in the churches of Paris were of the municipality ordering the imme. ordered to be deposited in the com- diate closing of all the churches, and mune, and the loudest applause shook placing the whole priests under surveilthe hall when the section of Quinze lance. At the same period they gave Vingts brought the shirt of Saint Louis, decisive proof of the bloody use they long the object of esteem, to be burned were to make of their power, by order.
* It is a most curious circumstance that ing lists of all the persons who were exactly the same thing had been done at suspected, and all who had at any time Constantinople, six hundred years before, signed anti-revolutionary petitions, to by the French Crusaders, who stormed the be sent to the forty-eight sections of Byzantine capital. "In the Cathedral of St Paris; and in some sections they refused Sophia,” says Gibbon, “the ample veil of the sanctuary was rent asunder, for the sake passports to them, when desirous of of the golden fringe ; and the altar, a monu- leaving the city. ment of art and riches, was broken in pieces, 48. The services of religion were now and shared among the captors. A prostitute was seated on the throne of the Patriarch, universally abandoned.
The pulpits and that daughter of Belial, as she is styled, were deserted throughout all the revosang and danced in the church, to ridicule lutionised districts ; baptism ceased ; the hymns and processions of the Orientals. the burial service was no longer heard ; After stripping the gems and pearls, they converted the chalices into drinking-cups, the sick received no communion; the and they trampled under foot the most ven- dying no consolation. A heavier anaerable objects of the Christian worship. Nor thema than that of papal power pressed were the repositories of the royal dead secure from violation. In the Church of the Apostles, upon the peopled realm of France-the the tombs of the Emperors were rifled; and anathema of Heaven, inflicted by the it is said that, after six centuries, the corpse madness of her own inhabitants. The of Justinian was found without any signs of village bells were silent; Sunday was Is this the History of 1201 or 1793—of the obliterated. Infancy entered the world sack of Constantinople, or the orgies of without a blessing; age left it without the Revolution ? National character seems indelible by any length of time. Colum. church, the licentious fêtes of the new
In lieu of the services of the
a hope. non animum, mutant, qni trans mare cur
system were performed by the most
abandoned females ; it appeared as if months of 1793, were 562, while the the Christian worship had been suc marriages were only 1785-a proporceeded by the orgies of the Babylonian tion probably unexampled among manpriests, or the grossness of the Hindoo kind. The consequences soon became theocracy. On every tenth day a revo- apparent. Before the era of the Conlutionary leader ascended the pulpit, sulate, one-half of the whole births in and preached atheism to the bewildered Paris were illegitimate ; and at this audience; Marat was universally dei- day, notwithstanding the apparent refied; and even the instrument of death formation of manners which has taken was sanctified by the name of the “Holy place since the Restoration, every third Guillotine.” It might well be called child to be seen in the streets of Paris 80 : how many martyrs did it bring to is a bastard. light ! On all the public cemeteries the 50. A decree of the Convention soon inscription was placed, “ Death is an after suppressed all the public schools Eternal Sleep.” The comedian Monvel, and colleges, even those of medicine in the church of St Roch, carried im- and surgery. Their whole revenues piety to its utmost length. “God ! if were confiscated. Even the academies, you exist," said he," avenge your in- which had become so celebrated in Eujured name. I bid you defiance. You ropean history, by the illustrious men remain silent; you dare not launch by whom they had been graced, were your thunders; who, after this, will involved in the general proscription. believe in your existence?" It is by The exquisite tapestry of the Gobelins slower means, and the operation of un- was publicly burned, because the mark failing laws, that the decrees of Provi. of the crown and arms of France was dence are accomplished. A more con- on it. All the sculpture and statuary vincing proof of divine government than which could be found on tombs, in the destruction of the blasphemer was churches, palaces, or chateaus, was deabout to be afforded ; the annihilation stroyed, because it savoured of royalty of the guilty by their own hands, and as and aristocracy. New schools, on a plan the consequence of the passions which originally traced out by Condorcet, were they themselves had unchained. “Deus directed to be formed, but no efficient patiens," says St Augustin, “quia æter- steps were taken to insure their estab
lishment; and education, for a number 49. The most sacred relations of life of years, almost entirely ceased through were at the same period placed a all France.* One establishment only, new footing, suited to the extravagant the Polytechnic School, dates from this ideas of the times. Marriage was de- melancholy epoch. During this fearful clared a civil contract, binding only night, the whole force of the human during the pleasure of the contracting mind was bent upon the mathematical parties. Divorce immediately became sciences, which flourished from the congeneral : the corruption of manners centration of its powers, and were soon reached a pitch unknown during the illuminated by the most splendid light. worst days of the monarchy; the vices In thegeneral havoc, even the establishof the marquises and countesses of the ments of charity were not spared. The time of Louis XV. descended to the revenues of the hospitals and humane shopkeepers and artisans of Paris. So institutions throughout the country indiscriminate did concubinage become, were confiscated by the despots whom that, by a decree of the Convention, the people had seated on the throne ; bastards were declared entitled to an their domains sold as part of the naequal share of the succession with le- tional property. Soon the terrible efgitimate children. Mademoiselle Ar- fects of the suppression of all permanent nould, a celebrated comedian, expressed sources of relief to the destitute became the public feeling when she called * “Under the Reign of Terror, the col“Marriage the Sacrament of Adultery.” leges and schools were entirely deserted; The divorces in Paris, in the first three parents were unable to think of anything apparent. Mendicity advanced with memory of Marat, who, beyond either frightful steps; and soon the condi- Voltaire or Rousseau, became the obtion of the poor throughout France be-ject of general adoration. Then was came such as to call forth the loudest seen how much the generous but mislamentations from the few enlightened taken devotion of Charlotte Corday had philanthropists who still followed the in reality strengthened the power of the car of the Revolution.
but the immediate necessity of preserving * "God is patient because eternal.' life."-- Deux Amis, xii. 2.
tyrants. The fruit of crime is never 51. In the midst of the general de salutary; for it shocks the feelings, on sertion of the Christian faith by the which alone real amendment can be constitutional clergy, it is consolatory founded. Marat's bust was placed in to have, for the honour of human na- the Convention, and on an altar in the ture, one instance of an opposite cha- Louvre, with the inscription —“Unracter to recount. Gregory, Bishop of able to corrupt, they have assassinated Blois, arrived in the Convention; he him.” He became, literally speaking, was pressed to imitate the example of an object of worship; great numbers Gobel. He ascended the tribune; and, of victims were sacrificed to his mewhile the Assembly expected to hear mory; and the monster who had inceshim abjure like the rest, he said : “My santly urged the cutting off of two hunattachment to the cause of liberty is well dred and eighty thousand heads, was known; I have given multiplied proofs assimilated to the Saviour of the world. of it. If the present question relates A couplet was composed by a member to the revenues of my bishopric, I re- of the Revolutionary Committee of the sign them without regret. If it is a section Marat, the burden of which was question of religion, that is a matter “O sacred heart of Jesus! O sacred beyond your jurisdiction, and you have heart of Marat !” On the 21st Sepno right to enter upon it. I hear much tember, his apotheosis took place with of fanaticism and superstition. Reflect great pomp. His bust was soon to be on what the words mean, and you will seen in every village of France; and, see that it is something diametrically on the 14th November, a decree of the opposite to religion. As for myself
, Convention, proceeding on a report of Catholic by conviction and sentiment, the younger Chénier, was passed, dipriest by choice, I have been named recting his ashes to be transferred to by the people to be a bishop; but it is the Pantheon, where they were accordneither from them nor you that I hold ingly deposited with great pomp not my mission. I consented to bear the long afterwards, in the room of the remitre at a time when it was a crown mains of Mirabeau, which were thrown of thorns : they tormented me to ac-out. Many months had not elapsed becept it: they torment me now to extort fore Chénier's brother, the celebrated an abdication, which they shall not tear poet, became the victim of Marat's from me. Acting on sacred principles principles. which are dear to me, and which I defy 53. But amidst this extraordinary you to ravish from me, I have endeav- mixture of republican transports and oured to do good in my diocese : I will individual baseness, the great measures remain a bishop to do so, and I invoke of the Revolution were steadily advanfor my shield the liberty of worship.” cing, and producing effects of incalcuThis courageous speech produced great lable moment and lasting effect on the astonishment in the Convention, and fortunes of France. Three of parahe was denounced at the Jacobins for mount importance took place during having wished to“christianise” the Re- the course of the year 1793, and provolution; but Robespierre, who was in duced consequences which will be felt secret averse to these scandalous scenes by the latest generation in that counas likely to discredit it, did not support try. These were the immense levies, the clamour, and he escaped being sent first of three hundred thousand, then to the guillotine.
of twelve hundred thousand men, which 52. Meanwhile the Jacobins were be- took place in the course of that year; stowing everyimaginable honour on the the confiscation of two-thirds of the landed property in the kingdom, which of these individualsreceived three francs arose from the decrees of the Conven- a-day as his wages for seeking out tion against the emigrants, clergy, and victims for arrest and the scaffold ; persons convicted at the Revolutionary and the annual charge for them was Tribunals; and the unbounded issue 591,000,000 fr., or nearly £24,000,000 of assignats on the security of the na- sterling. Between the military defendtional domains. These great measures, ers and the civil servants of the governwhich no government could have at- ment, almost all the active and resotempted except during the fervour of lute men in France, and the whole of a revolution, mutually, though for a the depraved and abandoned ones, were brief period, upheld each other, and in the pay of the dictators, and the perpetuated the revolutionary system whole starving energy of the country by the important interests which were fed on the spoils of its defenceless opumade to depend on its continuance. lence: a terrible system, drawing after The immense levy of soldiers drew off it the total dissolution of society; caalmost all the ardent and energetic pable of being executed only by the spirits, and not only furnished bread most audacious wickedness, but never to the multitudes whom the closing of likely, when it is attempted, of failing, all pacific employments had deprived for a time at least, of success. This of subsistence, but let off in immense system produced astonishing effects for channels the inflamed and diseased a limited period, just as an individual blood of the nation; the confiscation of who, in a few years, squanders a great the land placed funds worth above fortune, outshines all those who live £700,000,000 sterling at the disposal wholly on the fruits of their industry. of the government, which they were But the inevitable period of weakness enabled to squander with boundless soon arrives ; the maniac who exerts profusion in the maintenance of the his demoniac strength cannot in the revolutionary regime at home, and the end withstand the steady efforts of incontest with its enemies abroad; the telligence. The career of extravagance extraordinary issue of paper, to the is in general short; bankruptcy arrests amount ultimately of £350,000,000, alike the waste of improvidence and always enabled the treasury to liqui- the fleeting splendour which attends it. date the demands upon it, and inte- 55. Cambon, the minister of finance, rested every holder of property in the in August 1793, made an important kingdom in the support of the national and astonishing revelation of the length domains, the only security on which it to which the issue of assignats had rested. During the unparalleled and been carried under the Reign of Teralmost demoniac energy produced by ror.
The national expenses had exthe sudden operation of these powerful ceeded 300,000,000 of francs, or above causes, France was unconquerable; and £12,000,000 a-month; the receipts of it was their combined operation which the treasury, during the disorder which brought it triumphant through that vio- prevailed, never reached a fourth part lent and unprecedented crisis.
of that sum ; and there was no mode of 54. Europe has had too much reason supplying the deficiency but by an into become acquainted with the military cessant issue of paper money,
The power developed by France during this quantity in circulation on the 15th eventful period; but the civil force August 1793 amounted to 3,775,846,033 exerted by the dictators within their livres, or £151,000,000; the quantity own dominions, though less generally issued since the commencement of the known, was perhaps still more remark- Revolution had been no less than able. Forty-eight thousand revolution 5,100,000,000 francs, or £204,000,000 ary committees were soon established sterling. This system continued during in the Republic, being one in each the whole Reign of Terror, and procommune, and embracing above 500,000 duced a total confusion of property of members, all the most resolute and de- every sort. All the persons employed termined of the Jacobin party. Each | by government, both in the civil and
military departments, were paid in the paid in paper, than if paid in the prepaper currency at par; but as it rapidly cious metals. It is needless to say that fell, from the enormous quantity in cir- this forced attempt to sustain the value culation, to a tenth part, and soon a of the assignats proved totally nugatwentieth of its value, the pay received tory; and the consequences soon bewas merely nominal, and those in the came fatal to many classes of persons. receipt of the largest apparent incomes Debtors of every description hastened were in want of the common necessa- to discharge their obligations; and the ries of life. Pichegru, at the head of creditors, compelled to accept paper at the army of the north, with a nominal par, which was not worth a fifth or pay of four thousand francs a-month, tenth, at last not a hundredth, of its nowas in the actual receipt on the Rhine, minal value, were defrauded of nearly in 1795, of only two hundred francs, or the whole of their property. But their £8 sterling in gold or silver--a smaller outcries were speedily drowned in the sum than the pay of an English lieu- shout of the far more numerous body tenant; and Hoche, the commander of a of debtors liberated from their dehundred thousand men, the army of La mands. These transports, however, Vendée, besought the government to were of short duration, and the laboursend him a horse, as he was unable to pur- ing classes from the very first were chase one, and the military requisitions ruined beyond redemption. Theirwages, had exhausted all those in the country in consequence of the total destruction where he commanded. If such was the of credit, general decline of consumpcondition of the superior, it may be tion, and universal stagnation of indusimagined what was the situation of the try, had by no means risen in proporinferior officers and private soldiers. tion to this fall in the value of the While in their own country, and de- assignats, and they found themselves prived of the resource of foreign plun- miserably off for the necessaries of life; der, they were literally starving; and while the farmers, raising the price of the necessity of conquest was felt as their provisions in proportion to the strongly, to enable them to live on the fall in the value of paper, soon elevated spoils of their enemies, as to avert the them beyond the reach of the laboursword of desolation from the frontiers ing poor. This state of things, so opof France.
posite to what they had been led to 56. This constant and increasing de-expect as the result of a revolution, preciation of the assignats produced its excited the most vehement discontent natural and unavoidable effect in an among the working classes; they asunprecedented enhancementofthe price cribed it all, as is always the case in of provisions and all the articles of hu- similar circumstances, to the efforts of man consumption. The assignats were aristocrats and forestallers, and demandnot absorbed in the purchase of the na- ed with loud cries that they should be tional domains, because the holders led out to the guillotine. were distrustful of the security of the 57. It became then absolutely necesrevolutionary title, which they could sary to have recourse to a maximum : alone receive ; and as their issue con- powerful as the Committee of Public tinued at the rate of £10,000,000 ster- Salvation was, a longer continuance of ling a-month, of course the market be the public discontents would have en. came gorged, and the value of these dangered its existence. Corn, indeed, securities rapidly declined. Though was not wanting ; but the farmers, this depreciation was unavoidable, the dreading the tumult and violence of the Convention endeavoured to arrest it, markets, and unwilling to part with and enacted the punishment of six their produce at the nominal value of years in irons against any who should the assignats, refused to bring it to the exchange any quantity of silver or gold towns. To such a pitch did this evil for a greater nominal value of assignats ; arise in the beginning of May 1793, or should ask a larger price for any that the Convention was forced to issue articles of merchandise, if the price was a decree, compelling the farmers and