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nations, who had been horrified by the | ensigns of sovereignty. But they had awful catastrophes of the Reign of Ter- thegood sense to perceive that the people ror, had seen with undisguised satisfac- were not yet prepared for this change, tion the execution of Danton and his and that the sight of guards or a throne party, who had commenced the Revolu- might shake a power against which two tion, and brought the King to the scaf- hundred thousand captives in chains fold; and of Hébert and the Anarchists, could not arouse resistance. “The memwho had carried its atrocities and im- bers of the Committee,” said Couthon, piety to their most dreadful length. “have no desire to be assimilated to desWhen, therefore, they beheld the go- pots; they have no need of guards for vernment which had effected their de- their defence; their own virtue, the love struction expressing such humane sen- of the people, Providence, watch over timents in such beautiful language, the their days; they have no occasion for any hope became general that a reaction had other protection. When necessary, they at length set in—that Robespierre had will know how to die at their post in deacquired the mastery of the Revolution, fence of freedom.” Even as it was, the and that out of the excess of anarchy jealousy of the people was aroused by had arisen the power which could coerce the undisguised supremacy assigned to it. Foreign powers, accordingly, began to Robespierre at the ceremony; whispers entertain sanguine hopes that the Revo- were heard, that “he would be a god.” lution had reached its limit, and that a “He is only teaching the Republic to government had at last arisen with which adore another, that its members mayone it might be practicable to negotiate, and day adore himself,” said one.
“ He has possibly conclude a durable peace.
invented God, because he is the supreme 30. The effect of these steps was not tyrant,” said another; "he would be his less remarkable in France itself. At high-priest." the fête of the Supreme Being, on 7th 31. But the retreat from crime is not June, the power of Robespierre appeared to nations, any more than individuals, to have reached such a point, that, far on a path strewed with flowers; and beyond that of any king, it more nearly many and woeful were the calamities resembled that of a god upon earth. through which France had to pass, be“Never," says an eyewitness, “had the fore it regained the peace and security sun shone with a brighter radiance: of a settled government.
This was never was a more joyous and enthusi- speedily demonstrated. The bloody inastic concourse of spectators assembled. tentions announced by Robespierre Robespierre himself was astonished at were too effectually carried into exethe immense crowd of people who filled cution on the third day following the the gardens of the Tuileries. Hope and fête of the Supreme Being, by the degaiety beamed from every countenance; cree of the 22d Prairial, for increasing the smiling looks and elegant costume the powers of the Revolutionary Triof the women diffused a universal en- bunal, passed on the motion of Couthon. chantment. As he marched along, over- By this sanguinary law, every form, shadowed by his plumes, adorned with privilege, or usage, calculated to protect his tricolor scarf, the air resounded with the accused, were swept away. "Every cries of Vive Robespierre !' and his postponement of justice,” said Couthon, countenance was radiant with joyful." is a crime; every formality indulgent ness. Alexander, when declared the son to the accused is a crime: the delay in of Jupiter by the oracle of Ammon, was punishing the enemies of the country not more proud. «See how they applaud should not be greater than the time him !' said his colleagues. “He would requisite for identifying them.” The become a god! he is no longer the high
*“I have the following energetic denunpriest of the Supreme Being.' The ciation from one who heard it uttered at the Committee of Public Salvation being Tuileries on the day of the fête by a veritable now avowedly in possession of supreme Sans-culotte-- Look at that —! not conpower, their adulators in the Conven- tent with being master, he must be a god
too.'"-VILLATE, Mystères de la Mère de Dieu tion and Jacobin Club offered them the Dévoilées, 32.
right of prosecution was extended to liberty; the other is the cowardly and the Convention, the Committee of Pub- criminal opinion of the aristocracy, who lic Salvation, the Committee of General have never ceased since the commenceSafety, the commissioners of the Con- ment of the Revolution to demand, vention, and the public accuser; no directly or indirectly, an amnesty for distinction was to be made between the conspirators and enemies of the members of the Convention and ordi- country. For two months the Connary individuals. The right of insisting vention has sat under the sword of for an individual investigation, and assassins;
and the very moment when being defended by counsel, had been liberty appears to have gained its greatwithdrawn by a previous decree on the est triumph, is precisely the one when 20 June. In addition to those struck the conspirators against the country act at by former laws, there were included with most audacity. Citizens, be asin this new decree, "all those who have sured the conspirators wish to divideseconded the projects of the enemies of they wish to intimidate us !
Have we France, either by favouring the retreat not defended a part of the Assembly of, or shielding from punishment, the against the poniards which wickedness aristocracy or conspirators; or by per- and a false zeal would have drawn secuting and calumniating the patriots; against them? We expose ourselves to or by corrupting the mandatories of the individual assassins to destroy those people; or by abusing the principles of who would ruin the Republic. We the Revolution, of the laws, or of the know how to die, provided the Convengovernment, by false or perfidious ap- tion and the country are saved. I deplications; or by deceiving the repre- mand that the project be discussed, sentatives of the people; or by spread article by article, and, without an ading discouragement or false intelligence; journment. I have observed that for or by misleading the public by false long the Convention has discussed and instructions or depraved example.” The decreed at once, because a great majoproof requisite to convict of these mul- rity were really intent on the public tifarious offences was declared to be good. I demand that, instead of pausing “Every piece of evidence, material, on the proposal for adjournment, we moral, verbal, or written, which is suf- sit till eight at night, if necessary, to ficient to convince a reasonable under discuss the project of the law which standing.” The Revolutionary Tribunal has now been submitted to it.” The was divided into four separate courts, Convention knew their master, and in each possessing the same powers as the thirty minutes the law was passed. original, a public accuser, and a suffi 33. On the following day some memcient number of judges and jurymen bers, chiefly adherents of the old party awarded to each, to enable them to of Danton, endeavoured to overthrow proceed with rapidity in the work of this sanguinary decree of the Assembly. extermination.
Bourdon de l'Oise proposed that the 32. Accustomed as the Convention safety of the members of the Convenwas to blind obedience, they were tion should be provided for by a special startled by this project. “I demand enactment, to the effect that they should an adjournment. If this law passes, not be indicted but in pursuance of a nothing remains,” said Ruamps, “but decree of that body. He was ably supto blow out our brains.” Alarmed at ported by Merlin; and the legislature the agitation which prevailed, Robes- seemed inclined to adopt the proposal. pierre mounted the Tribune. “For Couthon attacked the Mountain, from long,” said he, the Assembly has which the opposition seemed chiefly to argued and decided on the same day, emanate. Bourdon replied—“Let the because for long it has been liberated members of the Committee know,” said from the empire of faction. Two opin- he, “that if they are patriots, so are we. ions, strongly pronounced, divide the Republic. The one is to punish severe
* The seventy-three arrested Girondists, ly and inexorably all attempts against the October preceding.
who had not been tried with their leaders in
I esteem Couthon, I esteem the Com-stration, civil and military. Universal mittee; but, more than all, I esteem suffrage and self-government, instead of the unconquerable Mountain, which has having produced a better set of public saved the public freedom.”—“The Con- functionaries than those who had owed vention, the Committee, the Mountain," their appointment to the nobility, had said Robespierre, " are the same thing. brought up one so infinitely worse that' Every representative who loves liberty, Robespierre, the incarnation of the deevery representative who is resolved to mocratic principle, felt that the first die for his country, is part of the Moun- step in social regeneration must be to tain. Woe to those who would assas- destroy them all. He was overwhelmed sinate the people, by permitting some with horror at the situation of the commiserable intriguers to divide the pa- monwealth, and the total failure of the triots, in order to elevate themselves vast streams of blood he had caused to on the public ruin !” The imperious flow to produce any, even the slightest, tone of Robespierre, the menaces of his practical amelioration in the adminiscolleagues, again overawed the Assem- tration of affairs. He constantly said, bly, and the law passed without the “ All is lost; we have no longer any protecting clause proposed by Bourdon. resource : I see no one to save the Every individual in the Convention was country.”+ He often said, “Woe to now at the mercy of the Dictators; and those who deem the country centred in the daily spectacle of fifty persons exe- themselves, and who make use of liberty cuted, was enough to subdue more undaunted spirits.
+ “His mind was much distracted: al. 34. It is not surprising that the Con- Chaumette, a crowd of men well worthy of
though, in the trial of Hebert, Danton, and vention, in this manner, made an un the scaffold had been justly stricken, he dewonted effort to avert the passing of plored nevertheless that base passions, hatred, this terrible law; for the consciences of tice, had selected the heads that were to fall. many told them, what is now known to
He saw that the executions had in no degree have been the case, that its almost un diminished the dangers. Around him, in the limited powers were mainly directed principal offices of the Republic, he beheld against themselves. From the invalu- for the most part with infamous crimes, but able papers found in Robespierre's pos- protected by a popularity which rendered it session after his death, by Courtois, impossible to touch them. He beheld groupand first published in 1828,* it is now
ed around these, other men who had never known that the secret views of Robes- means, and who employed, to defend them
aided the good cause unless by disgraceful pierre, in proposing this sanguinary selves, every art of intrigue, lying, and calaw, were to destroy a large portion of lumny, with the ability acquired by six years the Convention.
practice. Thus he was a prey to disgust and He had great con- despair. What availed it that our arms were fidence in himself and the influence of successful against foreigners? In the very his eloquence with the people; and he heart of its power, the nation was in the still clung with fanatical obstinacy to hands of miscreants. Was it not clear that
anarchy, counter-revolution, and the restorathe belief in their virtue. But he had tion of the ancient régime, must be the result seen enough to distrust the integrity of of such a state of things? During the last nearly all who had risen to power, or days that he visited the committees, Robeswere intrusted with office.
pierre exclaimed habitually, ‘All is lost:
The idol | there is no help for it: I no longer see a man of public opinion, he desired to rule by who can save the country. He proposed the it alone, and had no doubt of his abi- law of the 22d Prairial with the sole purpose lity to do so. He was in despair at the intended to make use at the right time for
of creating a controlling power, of which he universal profligacy, selfishness, and purifying the Convention. St Just was abcorruption with which he was sur sent; he communicated his plan to Couthon rounded in all the branches of admini- alone, and he took charge of drawing up the
Billaud, Collot, Barère, and Va**Papiers inédite trouvés chez Robespierre, dier, only obtained their knowledge of it St Just, Payan, &c. Paris, 1828.
through Couthon's report, and they flung They had been in great part, in the first in- back the bill upon the committee with more stance, suppressed by Courtois; and a com decided energy than the Assembly had shown plete set was first published by the French in discussing it." -- Histoire Parlementaire, government on his death, in 1828.
xxxiii. 182, 183.
as of their own property. Their country infamous set of scoundrels, whom unidies with them; and the revolutions versal suffrage had brought up to the which they have appropriated are but head of affairs, that they could see no a change of servitude. No Cromwell chance for the Republic but in extendfor France—not even myself.” But ing extermination to nearly the whole meanwhile a very formidable opposition persons in authority in the state." was secretly organising itself in the 35. Armed by this accession of power, Convention. The project of this law, the proscriptions proceeded during the as it struck at nearly all the members next six weeks with redoubled violence. both of the government and the Con- The power of the Committee of Public vention, was accordingly warmly com- Salvation was prodigious, and wielded bated in both the Committees and the with an energy to which there is nolatter. It was brought forward in the thing comparable in the history of molatter with the knowledge only of Cou- dern Europe. The ruling principle of thon, and, as soon as the discussion was that extraordinary government was to over, it was vehemently assailed in the destroy the whole aristocracy both of Committee of Public Salvation.* The rank and talent. Power of intellect, truth was, that Robespierre, St Just, independence of thought, was in an and Couthon, now stood nearly alone especial manner the object of the Dicthere : they beheld the legislature and tator's jealousy; he regarded it with whole offices of government, from the moreaversion than the aristocracy either highest to the lowest, filled by such an of birth or wealth. It was on this foundation that his authority rested; mained to contest his authority, but the mass of the people ardently sup- the remnants of the Constitutional and ported a government which was rapidly Girondist parties, who still lingered in destroying everything which was above the Convention. them in station, or superior in ability. 36. In pursuance of these principles, Every man felt his own consequence the government of Robespierre, amidst increased, and his own prospects im- all its severity to those who were either proved, by the destruction of his more elevated by birth, possessed of fortune, able or more fortunate rivals. Inex- distinguished by talent, or allied by orable towards individuals or leaders, habit or inclination to any of these Robespierre was careful of protecting higher classes, had made several steps the masses of the community; and the towards the establishment of institulower orders, who always have a secret tions designed for the elevation and repleasure in the depression of their su- lief of the labouring poor, and which, periors, beheld with satisfaction the if combined with a just and rational gothunder which rolled innocuous over vernment in other respects, might have their heads, striking every one who been attended with the most salutary could by possibility stand in their way. effects. “Education,” said Barère, in the The whole physical strength of the Re- name of the Committee of Public Salvapublic, which must always be drawn tion, “is the greatest blessing which man from the labouring classes, was thus de- can receive: it is the only one which voted to his will. The armed force of the vicissitudes of time cannot take Paris, under the orders of Henriot, and away. The incalculable advantage of formed of the lowest of the rabble, was revolutions is, that merit obtains the at his disposal ; the Club of the Jaco- rank which is due to it, and that each bins, purified and composed according citizen fills the situation for which he to his orders, was ready to support all is qualified by the species of talent his projects; the Revolutionary Tribu- which he possesses. The republican, nal blindly obeyed his commands; the therefore, should be instructed in such new municipality, with Henriot at its a manner as to be prepared for every head, was devoted to his will. By the situation either of peace or of war. activity of the Jacobin clubs, and the In pursuance of these principles, it was universal maintenance of the same in- decreed that six young men should be terests, a similar state of things pre- sen to Paris from every district in the vailed in every department of France. Republic, to be educated at the public Universally the lowest class considered expense in the Ecole de Mars, and Robespierre as identified with the Re- placed under the immediate direction volution, and as centring in his person of the Committee of Public Salvation, all the projects of aggrandisement which to be instructed in the art of war and were afloat in their
*“The day following the 22d Prairial, Bil- his silence since the fall of Danton, and his laud Varennes loudly accused Robespierre own expulsion from the Jacobins, is in strikthe moment he entered the Committee, and ing contrast with his eternal talk before that upbraided him and Couthon with having time. He confines himself to silent intrigues brought before the Convention the abomin- and agitation among
the Mountain, when the able decree which filled all true patriots with Committee of Public Safety proposes any meahorror. When a member of the Committee,' sure fatal to the factions. Bourdon de l'Oise added Billaud, 'presumes on his own sole has covered himself with crime in La Vendée, responsibility to introduce a decree to the where he delighted, in his orgies with the Convention, liberty is sacrificed to the will of traitor Tunk, to slay the volunteers with his an individual.' 'I see perfectly,' said Robes- own hand. He unites treachery with savage pierre, ‘that I am alone, and that no one sup- fury. He has been the most violent defender ports me;'and forthwith declaimed furiously. of atheism. He has never ceased striving to His tones were so loud that many citizens make the decree proclaiming the existence of assembled in the terrace of the Tuileries. the Supreme Being a means of raising up eneThey closed the windows, and the discussion mies to the government among the Mountain went on with the same fervour. I know, --and he has succeeded. The day of the fête, said Robespierre, that there is a faction in in presence of the people, he permitted himthe Convention who wish to destroy me, and self to indulge in the grossest and most indeyou are here defending Ruamps.' 'It must cent sarcasms on this subject. Léonard Bourbe said,' replied Billaud, “after your decree, don-a despicable intriguer at all times—was that you wish to guillotine the Convention.' one of the principal accomplices and the inRobespierre replied excitedly, “You are all separable friend of Clootz; he was a party to witnesses that I do not say that I wish to the conspiracy planned at Gobel’s. Nothing guillotine the National Convention. I know can equal the baseness of the intrigues he sets thee now,' he added, turning to Billaud. on foot to swell the number of his stipen"And I also know thee for an anti-revolution- diaries. At the Jacobins he was the orator ist,' replied the latter. Robespierre became most indefatigable in propagating the docmuch agitated, walking up and down the trines of Hébert."-Notes écrites de la main de committee; he even carried his hypocrisy Robespierre ; Papiers inedits de Robespierre, the length of shedding tears.”—LECOINTRE ii. 37, iii. 111; and Hist. Parl. xxxiii. 168, de Versailles, Réponse des deux Membres des 172. Comités, Nov. 8; Hist. Parl. xxxiii. 184, 185. 1 “What is our object? The carrying out
+ Among the very interesting papers found of the constitution in favour of the people.in Robespierre's house after his death, was Who are our enemies? The wicked and the the following note in his own handwriting, rich.— The people must be enlightened: but as to the character of some of the leading what are the obstacles to the enlightenment inembers of the Convention, whose coalition of the people ? Mercenary writers, who desoon after produced his overthrow: “ All ceive them by impudent daily impostures.the chiefs of the Revolution are scoundrels, What are we to conclude from this? That already stained by infamy and crime. Thuriot literary men must be proscribed as the most danwas never more than a partisan of Orleans : gerous enemies of the country. How is the civil in the interior. Yet it is an evil dis
minds. His speeches fortification. This was immediately and measures breathed that ardent wish carried into effect, and became the for the amelioration of the working foundation of the far-famed Polytechnic classes, by the division of property and School, which furnished such an inexextirpation of capital, which afterwards, haustible supply of skilled officers for under the name of socialism and com- the armies of the empire. munism, and guided by the genius of 37. The frightful misery in the inLamartine and Louis Blanc, so strongly terior of the empire, the natural result agitated France and Europe. None re- of the Revolution, at the same time
attracted the attention of government, war to be terminated ? 1. By the proscription and they prepared to meet it in a noble of traitorous and counter-revolutionary writers; and by the dissemination of good writings.
spirit. “While the cannon,” said Car2. By the punishment of traitors and con not, in the name of the Committee of spirators. 3. By the nomination of generous Public Salvation, “ thunders on the patriots, and the rejection of all others. 4. frontier, mendicity, that scourge of mopar la main de Robespierre. Papiers inédits parchies, has made frightful progress trouvés chez Robespierre, ii. 13.