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THE STORY OF 

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 



BY 

E. BELFORT BAX 



AUTHOR OF "THE RELIGION OF SOCIALISM," "THE ETHICS OF SOCIALISM," 
"JEAN PAUL MARAT," ETC. 



SECOND EDITION. 





LONDON 
SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO. 

PATERNOSTER SQUARE 
1892 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



THE acceptance by the Public of the First Edition of 
this Book seems to show that the anticipated want for a 
condensed sketch of the history of the French Revolu- 
tion more especially from a point of view from which 
it has not hitherto been treated, except, perhaps, in 
isolated monographs was a real one. With a view of 
making this Second Edition still more worthy, it has 
been revised throughout ; certain portions having been 
completely recast, and a few slight errors, which had 
crept into the book, corrected. 

E. B. B. 



PREFACE. 



THE following sketch of the course of the French Revolution 
was originally published during 1889 in serial form in "Jus- 
tice," the weekly organ of the Social Democratic Federation. 
It has been revised, corrected, and, in some parts, added to, 
for the present re-issue. It need scarcely be said that it in no 
way pretends to be a complete history of the great political, 
social, and intellectual movement it describes. The present 
volume is designed primarily as a guide to those who, not hav- 
ing the time to study larger works on the subject, yet wish 
during these centennial years to have in a small compass a con- 
nected description of the main events of the French Revolution, 
more especially from the point of view of modern Socialism. 
It is undeniable that there are many Englishmen who would 
indignantly repudiate any aspersions on their education for 
whom the French Revolution means little more than the de- 
struction of one institution called the Bastille, the erection of 
another institution called the Guillotine, and the establishment 
of the Napoleonic Empire on the ruins of both. They have no 
idea of the complex forces, economical, speculative, and political, 
which manifested themselves in the succession of crises (scarcely, 
indeed, of the existence of the crises themselves) which took 
place between the assembling of the States-General in 1789, 
and the suppression of the Baboeuf conspiracy in 1796. 

For such as these, and for many others to whom the above 
remarks will not altogether apply, a condensed statement of 
the facts of the French Revolution cannot but be desirable, 



PREFACE. 



and although there exist summaries galore, the writer ventures 
to think that the present little work differs from them in two 
respects : firstly, in the point of view from which the Revolution 
is viewed, and secondly, in the endeavour to throw the principal 
events into as strong relief as possible by the omission of all 
detail which is unessential to the understanding of them. 
Brevity has also been a distinct aim, and for this, as for the 
former reason, much that is in itself interesting has been left 
out. The foregoing especially applies to biographical details 
respecting the chief actors. These have been uniformly omitted 
throughout, as tending to expand the sketch indefinitely, and 
to draw off attention from its main purpose. The circumstances 
of the time and the events made the personalities what they 
were, and there is not one of them who, in so far as public 
life is concerned, can be regarded otherwise than as the em- 
bodiment of some more or less wide-spread contemporary 
tendency. The actors, therefore, merely cross the stage in 
connection with the principal events in which they played a 
rdle. Yet, though they may have suddenly become especially 
prominent, it must be understood that, in almost all cases, 
they were already familiar to the population of Paris, and, in 
many cases, of the whole of France, as club-orators, parlia- 
mentary politicians, or as journalists. It is not too much to 
say that in the French Revolution journalism first became a 
power in the world's history. 

Those who seek further details both of the Revolution itself 
and of the life of its leading figures may be referred to the 
larger histories. The admirable history of Mr. Morse Stephen 
now in progress represents by far the best work that has as yet 
been done in English (both as regards exhaustiveness and im- 
partiality) in connection with the subject. Mr. Stephen's 
excellent articles in the ninth edition of the "Encyclopedia 
Britaunica" may also be consulted with profit. The French 



PREFACE. 



literature of the subject would, of course, fill libraries. Works 
such as Bougeart's "Marat," Avenel's " Anacharsis Clootz," are 
monuments of industry in research. In spite of the efforts of 
French scholars, however, there is much room left for original 
investigation. The British Museum alone contains, I believe, 
upwards of 100,000 newspapers, pamphlets, manifestoes, and 
other documents, many of them as yet unarranged and un- 
catalogued. The amount of material in Paris, and in France 
generally, which has not yet been worked is probably incalcul- 
able. 

Offence has been given in some quarters at the view taken 
of Robespierre in the following pages. The writer can only 
say that he cannot regard the mere negative qualification that 
Robespierre has been in general attacked by the Reaction in 
conjunction with other leaders as of itself entitling him to the 
esteem of modern Democrats or Socialists in the teeth of the 
undeniable facts of the case. The treacherous surrender of the 
Dantonists, the judicial murder of the Hebertists, the law of 
Prairial, are these things not written in history ^ The fact is, 
Robespierre was a petit bourgeois, a Philistine to the backbone, 
who desired a Republic of petit bourgeois virtues, with himself 
at the head, and was prepared to wade through a sea of blood 
for the accomplishment of his end. Napoleon had a truer sense 
of the case than other Reactionists, when, as is reported, he 
was inclined to hail Robespierre as an unsuccessful predecessor 
in the work of "restoring order" and "saving society" in 
the interest, of course, of the middle-classes. With these few 
words of preface the volume is left to the consideration of the 
reader, in the hope that it may afford him at least some light 
on the general bearings of the history of the French Revolu- 
tion. 



CONTENTS. 



I. THE LITERARY PROLOGUE 

II. THE ECONOMIC PRELUDE IN THE PROVINCES - 

III. THE OPENING IN PARIS 

IV. THE BASTILLE 

V. THE CONSTITUTION MONGERS 

VI. THE NEW CONSTITUTION 

VII. A " CONSTITUTION " ON ITS BEAM ENDS 
VIII. THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY - 

IX. THE TENTH OF AUGUST 

X. THE FIRST PARIS COMMUNE AND THE SEPTEMBER 

MASSACRES 

XI. THE NATIONAL CONVENTION 
XII. THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE KING 
XIII. THE DEATH STRUGGLE BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND 

GIRONDE 

XIV. CONCERNING MATTERS ECONOMIC - 
XV. THE FALL OF THE GIRONDE - - 

XVI. THE SANSCULOTTE IN POWER 

XVII. THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE COMMUNE 

XVIII. THE TERROR 

XIX. THE FALL OF THE HEBERTISTS 

XX. THE RULE OF ROBESPIERRE 

XXI. THERMIDOR 

XXIL THE REACTION BEGINS 

XXIII. THE REACTION PROGRESSES 

XXIV. THE BABCEUF CONSPIRACY AND THE END UF THE 

FRENCH REVOLUTION - 
XXV. THE NATIONAL PROPERTY 
XXVI. CONCLUSION 



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80, 
84* 
88 

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98 

103 
109 
114 



THE STORY OF THE FRENCH 
REVOLUTION. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE LITERARY PROLOGUE. 

THE cardinal idea of the French Revolution was the 
political emancipation of the middle-class. The feudal 
hierarchy of the Middle Ages consisted in France, as in 
other countries, of three main social divisions, or estates, 
as they were termed, (1) The superior territorial clergy, 
(2) the nobles, and (3) the smaller landholders, the free 
tenants, and the citizens of the independent townships. 
The mere serf or villein (holding by servile tenure), or 
common labourer, was like the slave of antiquity, un- 
classified. The possession or (non-servile) tenure of land 
was the condition of freedom. This third estate was the 
germ of our middle-class. The great problem of the 
French Revolution, then, was to obtain the independence , 
and domination of the third estate. It is expressed in 
the words of its representative, the Abba Sieyes : " What 
are we of the third estate ? Nothing. What w T ould we 
be ? Everything." But, although the political suprem- 
acy of the middle-class was the central idea, and the one 
which it realised (thereby effectually refuting a certain 
order of politicians that declares violent revolutions to be 
necessarily abortive), there were issues raised and not 
merely raised, but carried for the time being which 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



went far beyond this. But the flood-tide of the Revolu- 
tion did not represent the permanent gain of progress. 
The waters receded from the ground touched at the 
height of the crisis, leaving the enfranchisement of the 
bourgeoisie as the one achievement permanently effected. 

Foremost among the precursors of this mighty change 
was the Genevese thinker, Jean Jacques Rousseau 
(1712 1778). This remarkable personality may be 
termed the Messiah of the Revolutionary Crisis. His 
writings were quoted and read as a new gospel by well- 
nigh all the prominent leaders of the time. Rousseau's 
doctrines were contained in an early essay on civilisation, 
in his " Emile, a Treatise on Education," and in the " Con- 
trat Social;' his chief work. 

In his first essay, Rousseau maintained the superiority 
of the savage over the civilised state, and the whole of 
his subsequent teaching centred in deprecation of the 
hollowness and artificiality of society, and in an inculca- 
tion of the imperative need of a return, as far as might 
be, to a state of nature in all our relations. This he 
especially applies to education in his " Emile," in which 
he sketches the training of a hypothetical child. 

The " Social Contract," his greatest work, contains a 
discussion of the first principles of social and political 
order. It is to this work the magic formulas which 
served as watchwords during the Revolution, formulas 
such as " Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," " Divine 
Right of Insurrection," the term " Citizen," employed as 
a style of address, and many other things are traceable. 
The title of the work was suggested by Locke's (or rather 
Hobbes') supposition of a primitive contract having been 
entered into between governor and governed, which was 
set up in opposition to that of the " divine right " of 
kings. This idea Rousseau accepts in basis, but denies 
the unconditional nature of the contract affirmed by the 
originators of the theory. No original distinction existed 
between rulers and ruled. Any contract of the kind 



THE LITERARY PROLOGUE. 



that obtained was merely a political convenience strictly 
subject to conditions. Governors were merely the dele- 
gates or mandatories of the people. The form of gov- 
ernment was to Rousseau more or less a minor matter. 
Although a democracy had the most advantages, yet it 
was quite possible for the mandates of the people to be 
adequately carried out by a special body of men (an 
aristocracy), or even by one man (a king). But every 
form of government was bound to recognise the will of 
the people as sovereign in all things. 

The classicism of the French Revolution is also largely 
represented in Rousseau. The Roman constitution is 
invariably the source of his illustrations and the model 
to be copied or amended. As regards toleration, Rousseau 
would allow the civil power the right of suppressing 
views which were deemed contrary to good citizenship. 
Like the Romans, he would tolerate all religions equally 
that did not menace the State. There is probably no 
single book that has produced such stupendous results 
within a few years, if at all, as Rousseau's " Social Con- 
tract." It is the text-book of the French Revolution. 
Every ordinance, every law, every draft of constitution 
bears the mark of its influence. Although more logical 
in the working-out of the theory than its founders, it is 
needless to say that Rousseau's own views are singularly 
barren and unhistorical, as every theory must be that 
deals only with the political side of things. One may 
admire his loathing at the artificiality of the world 
around him, at the " organised hypocrisy " called religion 
and morality ; but in his clay it was impossible to uncover 
its historical roots, and hence, to modern ears, his dia- 
tribes lose much of their effect. 

The influence of the second of the important precursors 
of the French Revolution, Francois-Marie Arouet de Vol- 
taire (1694-1778), was much more indirect than that of 
Rousseau. Voltaire's influence was almost purely nega- 
tive. By his wit he scorched up all the reverence 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



remaining in the minds of men for the forms of the old, 
outworn Feudal-Catholic organisation. Though there 
was a great amount of adroit self-seeking in Voltaire's 
character, it is as impossible to deny that there was also 
much that was genuine and truly noble in his indigna- 
tion at cruelty and his detestation of Christian hypocrisy, 
as that it produced a far-reaching effect on the events 
that followed. Voltaire, although personally a French- 
man of Frenchmen, breathes the spirit of a conscious 
cosmopolitanism and contempt for nationality in his 
writings, which for the first time in history became a 
popular creed during the Revolution, and was expressed 
in the famous appeal of 1793. 

But in this, as in other respects, Voltaire was not 
alone. He partly created and partly reflected the pre- 
valent tone of the French salon culture of the eighteenth 
century. This, if we cared to do so, we might trace 
back in its main features to the revival of learning to 
the courts of the Medicis. And here it may be well to 
remind our readers, in passing, of the truth that indi- 
vidual genius merely means the special faculty of ex- 
pressing that so-called " spirit of the age " to which that 
of preceding ages has led up ; and that Voltaire and Rous- 
seau merely achieved the results they did by reason of 
their capacity for reproducing in words the shapeless 
thoughts of millions. To this, in the case of Voltaire, must 
be added a special width of intellectual sympathy which 
took in an unusually large mimb'jr of different subjects. 

Besides Rousseau and Voltaire, we must not omit to 
mention the brilliant group of contemporary workers 
and thinkers, headed by Diderot and D'Alembert, who 
built up that monument of laborious industry, the great 
French Encyclopaedia. Immense difficulties attended 
the publication of this important work, notwithstanding 
that care was taken to exclude any expressions of overt 
contempt or hostility towards current prejudices. Again, 
we must not forget the Materialist-Atheists, central 



THE LITERARY PROLOGUE. 



among whom was Baron d'Holbach, the anonymous 
author of the celebrated " System of Nature," a book 
which, though crude according to modern notions, did 
good work in its day work which a treatise of more 
intrinsic philosophical value probably would not have 
achieved. It is noteworthy that most of the other pro- 
minent names among the pre-revolutionary writers, 
including Rousseau and Voltaire, are those of ardent 
deists. The name of Montesquieu (1689-1755), whose 
" Esprit des Lois " was a text-book of juridical philosophy 
for the Revolution, must also not be omitted from the list 
of its literary precursors. 

All these men contributed their share in preparing 
mental foundation for the great upheaval which followed. 
It is strange, however, that not one of them lived to see 
the practical issue of his labours. Rousseau, the most'C 
directly powerful of them, died eleven years before the 
taking of the Bastille, and Voltaire the same year. 
Diderot lived till 1784 ; D'Alembert died the previous 
year ; Mirabeau, alone of all who had prepared the great 
crisis, lived to see its beginning. But even he succumbed 
in 1791, a year and a half before the actual fall of the 
monarchy. Few of these men saw more than a free- 
thinking aristocracy and literary class. Of the move- 
ment below they recked little, scarcely perhaps that there 
was such a movement. For although from the beginning 
of the century, notably throughout the reign of Louis 
XV., there was ever and anon the consciousness of a^~ 
change as imminent, and although twice, in 1734 and in 
1771, the old system seemed on the point of breaking 
down in revolution, yet still it survived, and for aught 
men could tell, was destined to continue to survive many 
more such shocks. The throne, therefore, doubtless to 
many, seemed as secure, religion as popular, as ever, the 
same throne and the same religion which in a few years 
were destined to be involved in so mighty an overthrow. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE ECONOMIC PRELUDE IN THE PROVINCES. 

years of bad harvests, aggravated by an effete 
industrial, fiscal, and poetical system, culminated with 
the summer of 1788. A great drought was succeeded by 
a violent hailstorm, which dealt destruction all round. 
The harvest was worse than ever before. All kinds of 
agricultural crops failed miserably all over France, not 
alone wheat and grain generally, but vines, chestnuts, 
olives, in short, all the natural products of consumption 
and exportation. Even what was gathered in was so 
spoiled as to be almost unfit for use. From every pro- 
- ^vince of France came the monotonous tale of ruin, 
famine, starvation. Even the comparatively well-to-do 
peasant farmer could obtain nothing but barley bread of 
a bad quality, and water, while the less well-off had to 
put up with bread made from dried hay or moistened 
chaff, which we are told " caused the death of many 
children." The Englishman, Arthur Young, who was 
travelling through France this year, wherever he went 
heard nothing but the story of the distress of the people 
and the dearness of bread. " Such bread as is to be 
obtained tastes of mould, and often produces dysentery 
and other diseases. The larger towns present the same 
condition, as though they had undergone the extremities 
of a long siege. In some places the whole store of corn 
and barley has the stench of putrefaction, and is full of 
maggots." To add to the horrors of the situation, upon 
the hot and dry summer followed a winter of unparalled 
severity. The new year of 1789 opened with the Seine 



THE ECONOMIC PRELUDE IN THE PROVINCES. 7 

frozen over from Paris to Havre. No such weather had 
been experienced since 1709. As the spring advanced 
the misery increased. The industrial crisis became 
acute in the towns, thousands of workmen were thrown - 
out of employment owing to the introduction of recently 
invented machinery from England, which was beginning 
to supersede hand-labour in some trades. The riots and 
local disturbances which had for many years past been ^ 
taking place sporadically in various districts, now became 
daily more frequent, so much so that from March on- 
wards the whole peasantry of France may be said to have 
been in a state of open insurrection, three hundred 
separate risings in the provinces being counted for the 
four months preceding the taking of the Bastille. 

In 1787, the Minister Lomenie de Brienne had created 
nineteen new provincial assemblies. Below the arron- 
dissement, or district assembly, which had been instituted 
some years before, now came the assembly of the parish. 
In each of these primary assemblies of the parish, the 
arrondisement, and even of the province, the "people, 
farmers, &c., sat side by side with the local dignitaries," 
a fact which, as may be imagined, considerably tended to 
' obliterate the ancient feudal awe. In November, 1787, 
the King announced his intention of convoking the States- 
General. On the 5th of July, 1788, the various local 
bodies were called upon to draw up cahiers, or state- Jr- 
ments of their grievances, for presentment before the 
King and States-General, in which a double representa- 
tion of the " third estate " was conceded. These cahiers 
form a mass of the most interesting material illustrative -' 
of the condition of France just before the Revolution, and 
have not even yet been fully investigated. " The King," 
said the proclamation, " desires that from the extremities 
of his kingdom, and the least known of its habitations, 
each may feel assurance in bringing before him his views 
and grievances," and this and other similar expressions 
were interpreted by the peasantry in the natural sense 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



that the King was really desirous of rescuing them from 
starvation. It accordingly emboldened them to take the 
matter into their own hands. In January the cahiers 

7 were drawn up, which meant that the people had now 
for the first time formulated their ills. Discussion in the 
assemblies had excited them. The States-General was 
- 'going to look to their wrongs, it was true, but the States- 
General did not meet till May, and meanwhile they were 
starving. One thing was clear, they must have bread. 

_ Accordingly, in defiance of local authorities and guardians 
of the peace, bands ranging up to three or four hundred 
and more formed themselves all over France, seized and 
plundered granaries, religious houses, stores of all kinds, 
entered public buildings in the name of the people, de- 
troying all legal documents (justly regarded as the instru- 
ments of their servitude) which they could lay their 
hands on, proclaimed the local dues and taxes abolished, 
summarily put to death all those who interfered with 
them in the name of law and order, and, emboldened by 
success, finally took to the burning of the chateaux and 
the indiscriminate destruction and appropriation of the 
houses and property of the wealthy. That the numbers 
of these bands were augmented not only by the work- 
men out of employment in Paris, Rouen. &c., but also 
by professional thieves, was only to be exp acted. The 
local authorities were hopelessly inadequate to cope with 
the insurgents, the central authority in Paris seemed 
paralysed. 

Ordinary readers of the history of the Revolution are 
apt to forget, in following the course of events in the 
metropolis, that they were only an enlarged picture of 
what was going on in hundreds of towns and villages 
throughout the provinces. Both before and after the 
famous 14th of July, in most of the provinces of France 
all constituted authority was at an end. No one durst 
disobey the mandates of the popular insurgents. It 
would be impossible, and tedious if it were possible, to 



THE ECONOMIC PRELUD^ 



enumerate all the circumstances ol ^ . ^ 
revolts. The manner was pretty much the ^ame in an, 
and the following account of an insurrection at JStras- 
burg may serve to illustrate it. Five or six hundred 
peasants, artisans, unemployed, tramps, and others, seize 
the occasion of a public holiday to attack the Hotel de 
Ville, the assembled magistrates escaping precipitately 
by back doors. The windows disappear under a volley 
of stones, the doors are broken in with crowbars, and the 
crowd enters like a torrent. " Immediately," the account \ 
states, "there was a rain of shutters, window-sashes, 
chairs, tables, sofas, books, papers, &c." The public 
archives are thrown to the winds, the neighbouring 
streets being covered with them. Deeds, charters, &c., 
perish in the flames. In the cellars, tuns containing : 
valuable wines are forced, the marauders, after drinking j 
their fill, allowing them to run until there is a pond / 
formed five feet deep, in which several people are ! 
drowned. Others, loaded with booty, run off with it 
under the eyes of the soldiers, who rather encourage the 
proceedings than otherwise. For three whole days the\\ 
city is given over to the mob. All the houses belonging 1 , 
to persons of local distinction are sacked from cellar to 
attic. The revolt spreads instantly throughout the 
neighbouring country. (Taine, " Origines," torn i. pp. 
81-82.) 

A few weeks before the opening of the States- 
General a great riot occurred in Paris, in the Faubourg 
St. Antoine, the workmen's quarter, attended by much 
bloodshed and loss of life. Paris, we are told, had for 
months past begun to fill with desperate, hungry, and 
ragged strangers drawn thither by poverty from the 
uttermost ends of France. 

In some districts the leaders pretend to be acting 
under the orders of the King. The result is everywhere 
at least one thing, the enforcement of a maximum 
in the price of bread, and the abolition of taxes. Atroci- 



THE FRENCH ^VOLUTION. 



-^ that the King w r " uere and there - A lawyer is half- 
__^ sfcr ,^ouea to DS^ke him surrender a charter supposed to be 
in his possession ; a lord is tortured to death ; an ecclesi- 
astic torn in pieces. Thus have threatened ruin and 
starvation, to which the financial extravagances of the'; 
^ Court have been the occasion of giving articulate ex-| 
pression, and the remedy for which is offered, to those"~" x \ 
who can read, in the " Social Contract " of Rousseau, 
become the immediate cause of the French Revolution.// 
The same imminent bankruptcy of the kingdom occa- 
_^sioned by the extravagance of the Court which led to 
the convocation of the States-General, led also indirectly 
to the founding of that main-spring of the Revolution, 
the Jacobins' Club. The dispute between the Court and ^ 
the local legal Councils, called "Parliaments," led to the 
crippling of their powers by the King, and this again, to 
remonstrant deputations from the aggrieved provincial 
towns. One set of these remonstrants, hailing from 
Rennes, in Brittany, formed themselves into a club called 
the Breton Club, for the ventilation of their grievances, 
using the old Convent of St. Jacques in the Rue St. 
Honore for their meetings. The original scope of the 
society soon became enlarged, and the name changed from 
that of Breton Club to Jacobins' Club, after their meeting- 
place. Such was the origin of the vast club-organisation, 
which exercised such a stupendous influence not only in 
Paris, but in all France, during the following years. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE OPENING IN PARIS. 

ON the 5th of May,' 1789, the royal town of Versailles 
was gay gay with decorations, with music, vocal and 
instrumental, with epaulettes, " etiquettes," fair women, 
and fair costumes. It was the opening of the States- 
General, called together for the first time since 1614, 
a last resource to rescue the realm from dissolution and 
impending bankruptcy and also the definitive opening 
of the French Revolution. 

At midday might have been seen the feudal procession 
entering the Church of St. Louis. After the King and 
Royal Family, the clergy occupied the first place, "the 
superior clergy," attired in purple robe and lawn sleeves ; 
the less " superior," in cassock, cloak, and square bonnet. 
Next came the nobles, habited in black, with silver-faced 
vest, lace cravat, and plumed hat ; while bringing up the 
rear followed the humble tiers-Mat the representatives 
of the middle-class, the merchants, the farmers, and the 
small landowners dressed also in black, but adorned 
with merely a short cloak and plain hat. With this 
memorable procession, the constitution of the Middle 
Ages, moribund for over two centuries, spasmodically 
gasped its last breath. 

The business of the States-General did not pass off* as 
gaily as the opening ceremony. Conflict between the 
orders followed immediately, on points of procedure, with/ 
the result that the third estate constituted itself the 
National Assembly of France, refusing to admit the 
other orders to its deliberations except on a basis of 



12 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

-^equality. The King manifested his displeasure by closing 
the door of the hall of the States against them. The As- 
sembly answered by the celebrated oath it took outside 
in the Tennis Cmirtj2fjjfe rsfl -^ ft s. ffith June, bv which it 
pledged itself not to separate until it had given France a 
Constitution. The Assembly triumphed over the Court 

^ two days after its oath, inasmuch as it regained posses- 
sion of its hall, openly defied the King in person, abolished 
the independence of the clergy and noblesse, formally 
confirmed its decrees of the previous day which the King 
had quashed, and proceeded with its deliberations. Thus 
the curtain rose on the first act of the revolutionary 
drama. 

Meanwhile the new popular ferment occasioned by the 
events at Versailles had taken complete possession of 
the capital, and was rapidly spreading into the provinces. 
Some weeks later, early in July, Necker, the Minister of 

Finance, beloved by the middle-class, was dismissed from 
office. Necker, it should be observed, was one of the less 
- bad of the scoundrels, called finance ministers, who have 
been malversating the national funds in succession for 
years past. By comparison he appeared almost virtuous, 
-^ and the populace, whose charity and admiration are 
always boundless toward official personages, when not 
quite so bad as one would expect, had converted him into 
an object of adoration. A procession for the purpose of 

.protesting against the minister's dismissal was dispersed 
by force of arms and two persons killed. The city was 
soon in uproar. The Palais-Royal, the great place of 
public assembly and political discussion, was packed with 
over ten thousand persons. On the table, which served 
for a tribune, stood a young man, of fine features and 
gentle mien, who was haranguing the crowd. It was 
Camille Desmoulins, the popular journalist. " Citizens," 
said he, " there is not a moment to lose ! The removal of 
Necker is the tocsin for a St. Bartholomew of patriots ! 
This evening, all the Swiss and German battalions are 



THE OPENING OF PARIS. 13 

coming from the Champ de Mars to slaughter us ! There 
remains but one resource ; let us rush to arms ! " So say- 
ing, he placed in his hat a sprig of a tree green being the 
emblem of hope. The example was followed till the 
chestnut trees of Paris were denuded. At the same time 
the tricolour flag was first adopted as the banner of the 
popular party. 

The crowd proceeded through the streets, bearing in 
triumph the busts of Necker and Philippe Egalite, the 
King's cousin but not his friend, its numerical strength 
increasing with every yard traversed, till its course was 
arrested on the Pont-Royal by a detachment of the Royal 
German Cavalry. The latter were driven back by 
showers of stones, and the concourse swept onwards as 
far as the Place Louis XV. Here a formidable street 
tight took place, the people being opposed by a squadron 
of dragoons. The regulars of the King, after encounter- 
ing a vigorous resistance, at Jejagth routed the insurgent 
Parisians, but the victory was more^fatal to the cause 
they represented than any defeat could have been. The 
dispersed multitude carried the indignant cry, " To arms!" 
from end to end of Paris. The regiment of French 
Guards quartered in Paris mutinied, and put to flight the 
mercenary foreign troops intended to overawe them. 

The whole night long the tocsin rang out from the 
Hotel de Ville, where a committeeTof prominent citizens < 
was sitting to organise a search for arms. The morning 
of the 12th July saw Paris in full revolt; the tocsins of "* 
all the churches were pealing ; drums were beating along 
all the main streets ; excited crowds collecting in every 
opening space ; an influx of the " disinherited " class 
trooped in at all the gates of Paris; gunsmiths' shops were ' 
ransacked ; on all sides a mad search for weapons was 
the order of the day. The Committee at the Hotel de 
Ville, in response to the importunate demands for arms, 
could only reply that they had none. The civic authori- 
ties, next appealed to, temporised and evasively promised 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



assistance. Houses were sacked ; carriages seized. In 
the confusion there were naturally not wanting ruffians 
who sought to make use of the state of things prevailing 
for purposes of mere plunder. Such excesses were per- 
emptorily put down with the cry, " Death to the 
thieves." The equipages and other property of the 
" aristocrats " when seized by the people were always 
either destroyed or carried to a central station at 
the Place de Greve. In the afternoon " the provost 
of the merchants " (a dignitary of the effete medi- 
aeval hierarchy corresponding to the modern maire) 
announced the speedy arrival of the muskets and am- 
munition so eagerly clamoured for on all sides. A citizen 
militia was formed under the name of the Parisian Guard, 
numbering 48,000 men ; cockades of red, blue, and green 
were everywhere distributed ; but the hours passed on 
and no muskets arrived. A panic seized the city that 
the mercenary troops were about to march on Paris 
during the ensuing night. At last chests purporting to 
contain ammunition did appear, were eagerly torn open, 
and found to contain old linen and broken pieces of 
wood ! 

The Committee men and the " provost of the 
merchants " alike narrowly escaped with their lives. 
But the provost, pleading that he had been himself de- 
ceived, tried to divert the attention of the people by 
sending them on a futile expedition to Chartreux. The 
Committee finally hit upon the device of arming the 
citizens with pikes, in default of firearms, and accordingly 
ordered 50,000 to be forged. As a measure of protection 
against thieves and plunderers, the city was illuminated 
throughout the night. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE BASTILLE. 

NEXT morning (the 14th) early, the word was passed 
among the populace, " To the Invalides ! " the military 
hospital. There at least arms must be forthcoming. 
And sure enough the people were rewarded for their 
courage in braving the troops assembled in the Champ 
de Mars, and forcing their way into the great military 
depot. 

Twenty-eight thousand muskets, besides cannon, sabres, 
and spears were carried off in triumph. Meanwhile the 
alarm had been given that the royal regiments, posted 
at St. Denis, were on the way to the capital, and, above 
all, that the cannon of the Bastille itself was pointed 
toward the boulevard St. Antoine. 

The attention of Paris was at once directed to the 
former point, which really commanded the most populous 
districts of the city. The whole morning there was but 
one cry, " To the Bastille ! " The Bastille was the great ^ 
emblem of the King's authority. In the middle ages it 
had been the Royal stronghold against the turbulent 
feudal barons. But though the French nobility had long 
ceased to be " turbulent barons " and had become ob- 
sequious courtiers, the Bastille remained, nevertheless, ^ 
the great visible embodiment of the, at present, long cen- 
tralised authority of the King of France. The capture 
of the Bastille would therefore be the greatest blow & 
the King's prestige could possibly suffer. Add to 
this, that although no longer employed for its origi- 
nal purpose, the Bastille had become specially ob- 
noxious, owing to its use as a place for arbitrary 
imprisonment under the infamous lettres de cachets. ' 
Armed crowds assembled then at this place from 
all quarters, till the great fortress seemed confronted 



1 6 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



by the whole city in arms. Negotiations took place with 
the governor, Delaunay, but the people persistently 
shouted, " We want the Bastille ! '' The die was cast by 
the destruction of the great bridge, which was battered 
down by blows from hatchets, it is said, by two men 
only. The concourse poured in ; the second drawbridge 
was attacked and vigorously defended by the small 
garrison. 

Numbers of the assailants fell, killed and wounded. 
..-"/The siege continued over four hours, when the French 
Guard, who, as we have seen, had already sided with the 
Revolution, arrived with cannon. The garrison, seeing 
the case hopeless, themselves urged the go\ *nor to 
surrender. But old Delaunay preferred blowing tue place 
up and burying himself amidst the ruins. His com- 
panions alone prevented him from carrying out this design. 
The soldiers thereupon surrendered on condition that 
their lives should be spared. The leaders of the people 
who were in the forefront, and had given their word to 
this effect, did their utmost to protect the garrison from 
the indignation of the crowd. But among the thousands 
that thronged in there were probably few who knew 
anything of what had taken place. As a consequence, 
Delaunay and some of the Swiss garrison fell victims to 
the popular fury. 

Meanwhile the Hotel de Ville was in trepidation. 
Above all, the " provost of the merchants," Flesselles, 
trembled lest he should be made to suffer for his treachery. 
These fears were not allayed when shouts of "Victory !" 
" Liberty ! " issuing from thousands of throats, assailed the 
ears of the inmates, and grew louder minute by minute. 
It was the conquerors of the Bastille carrying their heroes 
in triumph to the municipal head-quarters. 

Presently there entered the great hall, an enthusiastic, 
but disorderly, ragged, and bloodstained crowd, pro- 
miscuously armed with pikes, muskets, hatchets, and 
well-nigh every other conceivable weapon. Above the 



THE BASTILLE. 17 



heads of the crowd one held the keys of the Bastille, 
another the " regulations " of the prison, a third the 
collar of the governor. 

A general amnesty for all the defenders captured was 
agreed to after much opposition. But the " provost of 
the merchants " did not get off so easily. On the corpse 
of Delaunay a letter had been found, in which Flesselles 
had stated that he was amusing the Parisians with 
cockades and promises, and that if the fortress could 
only hold out till nightfall relief should come. A Court 
was to have been improvised in the Palais Royal to judge 
him, but on the way thither he was laid dead by a pistol- 
shot from one of the crowd. 

The excitement of the day's action over, precautions 
to avert designs against the capital on the part of the 
Court were redoubled. Everywhere barricades were 
raised, paving stones torn up, pikes forged. The whole 
population was all night long at work in the streets. 
How well-grounded were the fears of the Parisians would 
have been evident to anyone behind the scenes at Ver- 
sailles, where Breteuil, the prime minister, had just 
promised the King to restore the royal authority in three 
days, this very night having been fixed for the expedition, 
and wine and presents distributed among the royal troops 
in anticipation. 

The Assembly, which was sitting en permanence, was 
about to send one more deputation to the King (it had 
already sent two) when he appeared in person in its 
midst. On being informed during the -night of the events 
that had taken place, by the " Grand Master of the 
Wardrobe," he exclaimed " It is a revolt." " No, sire," 
replied the Grand Master, " It is a revolution." On the 
King's subsequent protestations of affection for his 
subjects, and his statement that he had just given orders 
foi the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Paris and 
Versailles, that he confided his person to the representa- 
tives of the nation alone, &c., the Assembly gave way to 

B 



1 8 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

transports of joy, rose en masse, and escorted him to the 
palace. 

The news spread rapidly. A revulsion of feeling took 
place all round, from terror to elation, from hatred to 
gratitude. The general jubilation was increased by the 
restoration of Necker, the entry of Louis XVI. into Paris, 
and his acceptance of the tricolour cockade. Thus ended 
the preparatory period of the Revolution. It is needless 
>to say the moral effect of the popular victory throughout 
France was immense, every town becoming henceforth a 
revolutionary centre in the sense of possessing a definite 
revolutionary organisation. 

There are one or two useful hints to be learned from 
this old and oft-repeated story of the fall of the Bastille. 
The first is of the eminent utility of popular " force " 
if only applied at the right moment. Beforehand, it 
would have seemed preposterous that " an undisciplined 
mob " could take a fortress and paralyse the efforts of a 
reaction possessed of a trained army. Yet so it was. 

Another point to note is the untrustworthiness of men 
who belong to the class which makes the revolution, and 
who even profess to represent it, when their personal 
interest and position are bound up with the maintenance 
of the existing order. Flesselles, a man of the third estate, 
N its leading dignitary in the city of Paris, was yet the man 
who was the least anxious to see the feudal hierarchy over- 
thrown. And why? Because he played a part in it. The 
" third estate " had been incorporated into the mediaeval 
system. He was its representative as one of the feudal 
orders. Its position was subordinate indeed, but, now 
.that it was growing in importance, its leading men had 
much more to gain by clinging to the skirts of the noblesse, 
and aiding them in frustrating that complete revolution 
which the rank and file of the class were seeking, than 
in assisting the accomplishment of this revolution, which 
could only mean the effacement of their own personal 
position. History repeats itself. Trade 3 unions have 



THE BASTILLE. 19 



won for themselves recognition and patronage in the 
middle-class world to-day. Their leaders, in a similar 
way, do not exhibit any special desire for a change which, 
though it would mean the liberation and triumph of the 
class they represent, would, at the same time, render 
trades unions a thing of the past, no less than the lord 
mayors and cabinet ministers who stroke the backs of the 
parliamentary elect of trades unions. No, verily, this is 
not a nice prospect for the trades union leaders ! 



CHAPTER V. 

THE CONSTITUTION MONGERS. 

THE Constitution was now in full train. The Revolution 
up to the latter point was officially recognised. 

There was no harking back for any one. Fouloii and 
Berthier, two " administrators of the first rank," under the 
old regime, had been publicly hanged, a la lanterne, and 
quartered by the people. The first stratum of revolu- 
tionists was to the fore. Mirabeau, Lafayette, and Bailly 
are the central figures of the Constituent ,Assembly. 
Duport, Barnave, and Lameth its extreme men. The 
- Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), one of the pre- 
revolutionary writers, was the leader of the Moderate 
party in the Assembly. His stupendous powers of 
oratory made him a useful ally and a dangerous foe. 
This the Court was not slow in discovering, and accord- 
ingly Mirabeau was soon won over by bribes to do his 
best to frustrate every popular measure in the Assembly, 
while all the time professing devotion to the cause of 
liberty and the people. When this failed, the popular (?) 
orator did not disdain to resort to actual plotting. 

The Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), of American 
Independence notoriety, another member of the noblesse, 
who had adopted previously to the Revolution the quasi- 
advanced views then fashionable with his class, was the 
military representative of the Moderate party in his 
capacity of commandant of the National Guard, besides i 
^the henchman of Mirabeau in the Assembly. Bailly ' 
(1736-1793), who was elected Mayor of Paris the day after 
the taking of the Bastille, also coadjutated in the worky 



THE CONSTITUTION-MONGERS. 2i 

of moderating the Revolution alike in his official capacity 
and in the Assembly. As to the extreme men, they 
really represented but the most moderate form of 
constitutional monarchy. The situation of parties may 
be estimated by the fact that Barnave advocated a 
suspensory veto on the part of the King, while Mirabeau 
strenuously supported the absolute veto. And be it 
remembered at such a time, the right of vetoing obnoxious 
measures would have been no mere matter of form. It 
appears, then, that even the most advanced Parliament- 
arians of the day were not prepared to go beyond the 
present Prussian Constitution. Nevertheless, circum- 
stances early forced upon this timid and comparatively re- 
actionary Assembly some drastic political measures, first 
and foremost on the memorable night of the 4th of 
August, the abolition of all seignorial rights and privi- 
leges. At a later stage after the assembly had removed 
to Paris, a little judicious coercion from the tribunes, or 
people's galleries, which were tenanted by advanced 
revolutionists, there is no doubt exercised a salutary 
influence on several occasions. The members knew well 
enough that their lives were in the hands of the Paris 
populace, and those of their wives and children, besides 
their property, at the mercy of the populace of the rural 
districts. 

The Assembly's first important performance after the 
fall of the Bastille was the declaration of the Rights of 
Man, in imitation of the Americans after the successful 
termination of the War of Independence. The declara- 
tion of the Rights of Man contains a series of articles, 
laying down the principles of political equality. Most 
of them are unexceptionable and even trite, but it is 
significant that number 17 affirms, categorically,, the 
absolute sacredness of private property. The question 
which arose immediately subsequent to this, on the 
constitution of the Chamber and its relations to the 
King, need not detain us. It is sufficient to state that 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



while the Assembly was amusing itself discussing 
" suspensory veto," or " absolute veto," the Court, viz., 
Queen and Company at Versailles, were meditating the 
transference of the King to Metz, where the mercenary 
German troops were stationed, and whence communi- 
cation with the French noblesse who had emigrated, 
and the reactionary foreign powers, was easy, the idea 
being to declare Paris and the Assembly rebels, and 
inarch upon the city with the view of restoring the 
absolute monarchy. These machinations at Versailles ^ 
are interesting as having given the direction to the first 
great demonstration of the proletariat of Paris during 
the Revolution. I say the direction, as the proximate 
cause was the advice, the now rising popular journalist, 
Marat, had given some days before in his Ami du Peuple, 
when discussing the scarcity of bread. 

The revolt broke out in this way. A woman beating 
a drum patrolled the streets, crying, " Bread ! bread ! " 
She was soon surrounded by large numbers of women, 
who repaired to the Hotel de Ville demanding bread and 
arms, at the same time raising the cry, " To Versailles ! " 
which was taken up by the populace generally, with the 
suddenness characteristic of Parisian outbreaks. The 
National Guard and the French Guard eventually joined 
in, with such persistence and unanimity, that Lafayette, 
after some hours of expostulation, was compelled to 
place himself at their head, the troops having begun to 
march without him. 

The unexpected appaarance of a concourse headed by 
women and backed by a large armed force, naturally 
threw the Queen and Court into a state of " amazement 
and admiration" (in the Shaksperean sense). The 
household troops at once surrounded the palace. The 
women, however, expressed peaceable intentions, and 
through their spokeswoman laid their grievances before 
the King and the Assembly, describing the direness of 
the famine prevailing. Meanwhile, in the courtyard of 



THE CONSTITUTION-MONGERS. 23 

the palace, which was filled with a motley crowd, a quarrel 
arose, an officer of the King's troops having struck a Na- 
tional Guard. This was the signal for an immediate con- 
flict between the two armed bodies. The people and the 
Nationals were furious, and the collision must have re- 
sulted in more bloodshed than it did, had it not been for 
the darkness of the night, and the prudent order given 
the Royal soldiers to cease from firing and to retreat. 

The disturbance was eventually quelled, the crowds 
melting away gradually as the night advanced. The 
royal family retired to rest at two o'clock ; Lafayette, 
who had remained up all night, in vain endeavoured to 
snatch repose for an hour at five a.m. Before six, some 
members of the previous evening's crowd who had 
remained at Versailles, insulted one of the body-guard, 
who drew upon them, wounding one of their number. 
The sleepless " hero of two worlds " (so-called from his 
American adventures) was soon upon the scene ; he found 
considerable remnants of yesterday's gathering furiously 
forcing their way into the palace. The assailants were 
temporarily dispersed, but soon reassembled clamouring 
for the King. The King eventually appeared upon the 
balcony, promising, in reply to the popular demands, 
that he would go to Paris with his family. 

The Queen, the head and front of all the recent 
offending, next stepped on the balcony in the company 
of the arch-courtier Lafayette, who with a profound 
obeisance kissed the hand of the woman who had been 
plotting the massacre of that very people for whom this 
,/hypocritical charlatan had been all along professing zeal 
and devotion. But the humiliation of the Parisians was 
not yet ended. Lafayette retiring, re-appeared with one 
of the obnoxious body-guard, and placing the tricolour 
cockade upon his breast embraced him. At each of these 
points the assembled crowd duly cheered. The royal 
family then set out for Paris, and the Tuileries became 
henceforth their permanent residence. 




CHAPTER VI. 

THE NEW CONSTITUTION. 

AFTER the events we have just described, which 
occurred on the 5th and 6th of October, 1789, the 
course of the Revolution was, for some considerable time, 
peaceful and parliamentary. The Assembly, till then at 
Versailles, soon followed the Court to Paris. Its migra- 
tion seemed the signal for a vigorous application of the 
vpickaxe to the old feudal system by this hitherto 
" moderate " body. The chief bulwark attacked was 
the property and independent organisation of the Church. 
Prior to this, however, the Assembly had reconstituted 
the Map of France, by abolishing the old division into 
provinces, substituting for it the present one into depart- 
ments. The provinces had in the middle ages formed 
de facto independent states. The division into de- 
partments placed the whole realm under one central 
administration, and included the entire reorganisation of 
the judicial system. There were eighty-three depart- 
ments formed, which were divided into districts, and 
these into cantons. The department had its administra- 
tive council and executive directory, as had also the 
district ; the canton was merely an electoral sub-division 
The commune, or township, w r as confided to a general 
council and a municipality, which were subordinated to 
the departmental council. All elections were indirect, 
and the whole scheme in this respect seemed carefully 
arranged to exclude, as far as possible, the working classes 
and peasantry from any effective voice in legislation. 
The nationalisation of the Church lands and property 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION. 25 



generally was precipitated by the old trouble, the 
exhausted state of the treasury. Necker had devised 
every conceivable plan for_raising the wind and failed, 
when the last-named project was suggested as a means 
of at least temporarily satisfying the exigencies of the 
situation. It would be tiresome, in a sketch like the 
present, to describe in detail the stages by which the 
Assembly arrived at the final result. The issue of its 
deliberations, to wit, the decree expropriating the Church, 
was carried on the 2nd of December, and thenceforth^ 
the churchmen as a body became the determined enemies 
of the new regime. At first the clergy seemed more 
inclined than the noblesse to compromise matters, in the^ 
hope of retaining their wealth, but now that the die was 
^ cast they were implacable. The difficulties attending 
the sale of the ecclesiastical property, however, were 
too great to admit of its realisation in time for the 
pressing needs of the exchequer, hence the issue of 
assiynats, or notes having a forced currency, based on 
the value of the expropriated lands. This, which meant 
the adoption of a system of paper money on a vast scale, 
staved off the imminent financial ruin. 

All these measures were very interesting, and showed 
a laudable activity on the part of the body politic ; but 
they did not affect the crowds to be seen daily at the 
bakers' shops, ever and anon breaking out into tumult. 
JThe working-classes of Paris had gone to Versailles de- - 
/manding simply bread, and Lafayette had given them 
* the royal family ! Any further grumbling was obviously^" 
to be suppressed with drastic measures. Accordingly 
martial law was proclaimed, and the municipality em-/^ 
powered to forcibly disperse any assembly of people hav- 
ing once summoned them to retire. Lafayette was there 
to put this regulation into effect at the first opportunity. 
But it did not come yet. 

The clubs were now beginning to play a leading part in 
influencing public opinion. The principal were those of 



26 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



the Jacobins and the Cordeliers. A third club was insti- 
tuted subsequently by Lafayette, called the Feuillants, and 
representing " constitutional " principles. The Jacobins' 
club, destined hereafter to become the great unofficial 
expression of the Revolution, counted but few prominent 
adherents in the Assembly, though Barnave and the 
Lameths were among its members, and it was occasionally 
patronised by several of the Constitution-makers, in- 
cluding Mirabeau himself. One cadaverous figure, also 
a deputy, was always at the Jacobins', his dress and 
speeches alike carefully prepared by name Maximilian 
Robespierre, by profession advocate, a native of Arras. 

The club of the Cordeliers was composed of an 
advanced section of the Jacobins, Among its constant 
attendants might have been seen the stalwart yeoman 
Danton, and the short, thick-set, sharp-featured journalist 
Marat. But neither the clubs nor their rising orators at 
this time exercised more than an indirect influence on 
the course of events, though they energetically debated 
every question as it arose. 

Meanwhile, in spite of occasional disturbances, and 
panics as to the King plotting his flight, affairs moved 
along with comparative smoothness towards the com- 
pletion of the constitution, the consummation of the 
middle-class political order. 

Preparations for celebrating the anniversary of the fall 
of the Bastille with due solemnity went on apace. A 
national confederation was to be held in the Champ de 
Mars on this occasion in honour of the constitution. The 
" advanced " members of the noblesse, not to be behind in 
" patriotism," proposed in view of the national fete the 
abolition of titles, armorial bearings, and the feudal 
insignia generally. The proposition was enthusiastically 
carried by the Assembly. Its result was naturally to 
rouse the keenest indignation among the nobles outside 
and to give further edge to the organised movement of 
aristocratic emigration. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION. 



On the 14th of July, 1790, the population of 
Paris, notwithstanding bad weather, were to be seen 
streaming from all sides in holiday attire, amide a blaze 
of tricolour banners, hangings, cockades to the Champ 
de Mars, where a gigantic altar had been erected in the 
centre of a vast artificial amphitheatre. The Royal 
Family, the Assembly and the municipality were grouped 
around this altar, before which the then popular Eishop 
of Autun, Talleyrand (subsequently the famous diploma- 
tist and wit) performed mass in high pontifical robes, 
assisted by four hundred clergy in white surplices. 
Lafayette first ascended the altar and in the name of the 
National Guards of the whole realm took the civic oath 
of fidelity to " the nation, the law, and the King." This ^ 
was followed by salvos of artillery and prolonged shouts L 
of "Vive la nation ! " " Vive le roi ! " The president of 
the Assembly, . and all the deputies, the department 
councils, &c., next took the same oath. But the grand 
item of the day's programme was reached when 
Louis XVI himself rose to swear, as King of France, to 
maintain the constitution decreed by the Assembly. This 
part of the performance terminated, as usual on great 
occasions, with the appearance of the Queen holding the 
.Dauphin up aloft to the homage and admiration of the 
assembled multitude, who responded in one long and 
continuous acclamation. Chants of thanksgiving and 
exultant jubilation generally closed the day's pro- 
ceedings. 

Such was the inauguration of the first French Con-< : 
stitution ! But despite the new and glorious liberty- 
crowds of hungry Parisians continued to be daily turned 
away from the bakers' shops. 



CHAPTER VII. 

A "CONSTITUTION" ox ITS BEAM ENDS. 

ALL state functionaries, military, civil and ecclesiastical, 
were now compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the 
new order of things. This led to a revolt on the part of 
the majority of the nobles and ecclesiastics, whose indig- 
nation was already roused to boiling point by the loss 
respectively of their privileges and revenues. Numbers 
of aristocratic officers left the army and the country to 
join their brethren across the frontier. Others, such as 
Bouille, gave in with the view of gaining over the army 
for the counter-Revolution. The regular army at this 
time was almost entirely officered by aristocrats, a fact 
which gave rise to numerous revolts. A mutiny of 
three regiments, at Nancy, was only quelled after much 
bloodshed by Bouille. 

Most of the clergy refused either to take the oath of 
allegiance or to leave their benefices except by force, 
being backed up in this by the enormous majority of 
the bishops with the Pope at their head. The new con- 
stitution, in subordinating the ecclesiastical to the civil 
power, was declared to involve an encroachment on 
ecclesiastical privilege, the Pope refusing to consecrate 
bishops in place of those deposed for non-compliance, 
and proclaiming the creation of all ecclesiastics nonri- 



proclaiming 
;d according i 



nated according to civil forms to be null and void. The 
ejection of non-conforming priests continued, notwith- 
standing, their successors being instituted by the bishops 
of Autun and Lida, who had unreservedly accepted the 
constitution. The opposite party retaliated by excom- 
municating all who acknowledged the " intruders," as 
they termed them. Thus began civil war between the 
Revolution and the Church. The clergy themselves pre- 
pared the soil of the popular mind for the reception and 



A " CONSTITUTION" ON ITS BEAM ENDS. 29 

germination of the teachings of the pre-revolutionary 
writers, which, until now, had been chiefly confined to 
the leisured and cultivated classes, by forcing it to the 
logical dilemma of friendship with the "Revolution" and 
enmity with Christianity, or friendship with Christianity 
and enmity with the " Revolution." 

As regards the " emigrant " aristocrats, their object 
was to foment the hatred of the foreign Powers against 
the Revolution and to cement a coalition to effect its 
forcible overthrow by the invasion of the country. For 
well-nigh three years these intrigues with the " foreign- 
er " were going on with the connivance of the Court, 
until the fall of the monarchy precipitated " war to the 
knife " with the powers in the shape of the campaign 
known as the " Revolutionary War." To understand the 
position of affairs it is necessary to remember that since 
the collapse of feudalism as a living political order, with 
its quarrels between the titular King and his more or 
less nominally vassal barons, power had been concen- 
trated more and more in royal hands, while nationalities 
had become definitely fixed. The result was that the 
mainly internal politics of the feudal period had from 
the sixteenth century onwards been giving place to 
external politics, in which the sovereigns of Europe, 
having ceased to fear the rivalry of nobles within their 
jurisdiction, discovered causes of quarrel with their 
brother sovereigns without usually in the hope of gain- 
ig territory. The French Revolution marks the open- 
ing, for the Continent, at least, of the modern period of 
jhe struggle of sovereigns, not with their nobles or with 
iach other, but with peoples, that is, with the middle- 
/class backed by the proletariat. This struggle began in 
England more than a hundred years earlier than on the 
Continent, but practically subsided again with the 
Revolution of 1689. 

The three principal European Powers were at this 
time England, France, and Austria. Prussia was a still 



30 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



rising monarchy, and the great Muscovite empire loomed 
in the background. The petty German princelets might 
be reckoned upon to side with one or other of the greater 
powers according to circumstances. 

The death of Mirabeau, in April, 1791, having removed 
all hope of making a successful stroke on behalf of 
Royal ism in the Assembly, the Court turned its attention 
to military plotting with increased energy. On the 
-"other hand, the King felt some misgivings at being re- 
established exclusively by the aid of foreign bayonets, 
more especially as his cousin, the Comte d'Artois, was 
the leader in the movement, and if it were successful 
might possibly obtain more than his due share of in- 
s fluence in the resuscitated realm. These considerations 
r-^ led the Court to turn a favourable ear to General Bouille, 
whose plan was to conquer the Revolution by means of 
the troops already at hand in the service of the King. 
The army was to be moved to the frontier, the royal 
^ family were then to escape into its midst, after which 
war was to be declared against the Assembly, and the 
troops to march on the capital. This arrangement was 
effected up to the point of the King's flight on the 21st 
of June, 1791, almost without a hitch. Bouille, with his 
army, was ready and waiting for the royal party, when 
^ poor Louis was accidentally recognised at Varennes, and 
brought back a prisoner to Paris. The indignation of 
the populace knew no bounds. The royal cortege re- 
entered Paris in the midst of sullen and angry crowds. 
For the first time serious talk of a Republic was heard. 
Barnave and the Lameths became the leaders of the Con- 
stitutional party in the Assembly, now that Mirabeau 
was dead. But it was with difficulty that the Constitu- 
tionalists could reinstate the King after his voluntary and 
treacherous abdication. They were only successful in their 
efforts after having thrown as a sop to Cerberus the condi- 
tion that if he retracted his oath to the Constitution, if he 
should place himself at the head of an army, or permit 



A " CONSTITUTION" ON ITS BEAM ENDS. 



33 



others to do so, he should lose his inviolability and be 
considered and treated as an ordinary citizen. 

But opinion outside of the Assembly was far from 
satisfied. The leaders of the Jacobin Club (which was 
now the centre of a federation of similar clubs through- 
out the country), among whom were confounded in 
cause, Brissot, Pe'tion, Robespierre, Danton, Marat, &c., 
men of the advanced middle- class and men of the people, 
combined to rouse the nation against this decree, insist- 
ing on the abdication of Louis, and denying the compet- 
ency of the Assembly. They drew up a petition in which ^ 
they appealed from the Assembly to the sovereignty of 
the people. This petition was taken to the Champ de ^tr 
Mars and laid upon the " altar of the country." Thou- 
sands came to sign it ; the assemblage being dispersed 
by Lafayette, returned subsequently in greater numbers 
than before. Next time the commandant of the National <-_: -.- 
Guard came accompanied by Bailly the mayor. The 
red flag, the then symbol of martial law, was unfurl ed,* 
the summons to disperse proclaimed, after which 
Lafayette gave the order to fire. A murderous charge :-"""" 
followed, in which hundreds were killed and wounded. 
But notwithstanding that the Republicans were cowed 
,for the time being, the Court sycophant, and his accom- 
plices in the work of the Constitution, were well-nigh 
played out, though the old farce had first to be gone 
through. The King once more accepted the Constitution, 
and the terms of his re-instatement in possession of his 
functions in addition, made a touching and heart-stirring 
speech to the Assembly, was received with effusive 
demonstrations of affection, &c. The Constituent As- 
sembly, which had been made up of the abortive States- 
General, then formally proclaimed itself dissolved, its 
members magnanimously renouncing the right of re- 
election. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. 

> THE new Legislative Assembly, as it was called, to dis- 
tinguish it from the first or Constituent Assembly, 
commenced its sittings on the 1st of October, 1791. With- 
out, the coalition of Europe against the Revolution was 
complete. England was united with Prussia and Aus- 
tria, while the petty German States eagerly joined in 
this conspiracy to suppress the French nation. The 
i'amous treaty of Pilnitz was the expression of the de- 
termination and temper of the powers great and small. 

Within, the fabric of the constitutional monarchy was 
standing, indeed ; but, as Carlyle expresses it, like an in- 
serted pyramid, which may topple over any moment. 
Friction began at once between the King and Assembly 
on questions of reciprocal etiquette, but the speech from 
the throne was well received. 

The dominant party in this Assembly was that of the 
irondists, or party of compromise, of which more anon, 
the buffer, so to speak, between the Constitutionalists 
proper, now in the minority, and the popular and 
avowedly Republican party, whose leaders in the clubs, 
Robespierre, Danton, Marat, &c., were gaining in influ- 
ence every day. 

Almost the first act of the New Assembly was the 
issue of a decree ordering the emigrants to return on 
penalty of death and confiscation of goods. This order 
the King peremptorily vetoed. The same fate befell 
another order of the Assembly, by which refractory 
priests should lose their pay and be placed under 
surveillance. His action in these matters, in view of the 



THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. 33 

imminent invasion of the foreign powers and the peasant 
revolt in the Vendee in favour of Royalism (which was 
led by the clergy), were fatal to him, and to the Consti- 
tutionalists who supported him. 

The Constitutional Ministry fell, and a Girondin 
Ministry was appointed in its place, with Roland, one of 
the principal Girondin leaders and the husband of the 
celebrated Madame Roland, as Minister of the Interior, 
and Dumouriez as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

The first act of the new Ministry was to take the bull 
by the horns, and to declare war with Austria, a measure 
popular on various sides, for different reasons, and ap- 
proved of by the Court in the hope of the defeat of the 
French forces and the invasion of the country. This 
declaration of war was made on the 20th of April, 1792.^ 
Three columns proceeded to the frontier, but the pro- 
jected action on the offensive was a fiasco a panic 
seizing the troops on the approach of the enemy. 

Thenceforward, the French assumed the defensive. 
Such was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The 
news of the disaster led to bitter recriminations, on the 
part of the popular party, against the Girondins. The 
Girondins in their turn threw the blame on the Consti- 
tutionalists, and their commanders, Lafayette, Dillon, &c., 
while the generals themselves threw it on Dumouriez. The 
Jacobins openly accused the Moderate parties of treachery 
and connivance with the Government. Suspicion ands/ 
distrust were universal. It was now that~Marat issued 
his memorable placards calling for the heads of traitors.^- 
Meanwhile, to appease the people, the Ministry instituted 
a permanent camp of 20,000 men in the neighbourhood 
of Paris, in spite of the vehement opposition of the Con- 
stitutionalists, and agreed to the introduction into the 
new National Guard of promiscuously selected com- 
panies armed with pikes the weapons which had played 
such a prominent part at an earlier stage of the Revolu- 
tion. The Assembly, which declared itself sitting in 



34 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

permanence, added to these resolutions one ordering the 
abolition of the King's bodyguard. This last decree 
Louis at once refused to ratify, and on being remonstrated 
with by Roland, dismissed all the Girondin ministers, 
and appointed obscure members of the Constitutionalist 
party in their stead. At the same time he sent a secret 
messenger to negotiate with the foreign coalition for 
his " deliverance." 

-^> The Girondins finding themselves thus left out in the 
v cold, joined the Jacobins, who were now the advanced 
guard of the Revolution, and whose organisation was 
rapidly becoming a rival to the Assembly, and by this 
means were able to pose as martyrs in the cause of 
liberty. The only hope of the party actually in power, 
i.e., the now discredited Constitutionalists lay in Lafa- 
yette's army. Lafayette, seeing the situation, played out 
his last card, and published a manifesto openly defying 
and threatening the Jacobins. The Jacobins' reply to this 
^was the insurrection of the 20th June, 1792, when a con- 
course numbering some 8,000 people left the Faubourg St. 
Antoine for the hall of the Assembly. The orator who 
represented the crowd spoke in menacing terms, saying 
that the people were ready to employ all their powers in 
resistance to oppression. He proceeded to state that grave 
complaint was found with the conduct of the war, into 
which the people demanded an immediate investigation, 
but the heaviest grievance of all was the dismissal of the 
patriot Ministers. The Assembly replied that the 
memorial of the people should be taken into considera- 
tion, and meanwhile, as usual in such cases, exhorted 
them to "respect the law." By this time the multitude 
numbered some 30,000 men, women, and children, in- 
cluding many National Guards, with a liberal sprinkling 
of pikes, flags, and revolutionary emblems among them. 
This motley concourse poured into the sacred precincts 
of the Assembly, singing u ^a Ira," and shouting, " Long 
live the people ! " " Long live the sansculottes ! " On 



THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. 35 

leaving the Assembly the cry was, "To the Palace of the 
Tuiieries," where the crowd swept through the open 
gates into the apartments and corridors, and were pro- 
ce/ding to demolish the doors with blows when Louis 
himself appeared, accompanied by only a few attendants. 
The multitude still pressing in, he took his station in the 
recess of a window. There he remained seated on a 
chair, placed on a table, and protected from the pressure 
^ of the crowd by a cordon of National Guards. To the 
cries of the people for his sanction to the decrees, he re- 
plied as the Royalist historians assure us with intense 
dignity "This is neither the manner for it to be 
demanded of me, nor the moment to obtain it." The 
result of his refusal might have been awkward for him 
had he not had the presence of mind to take advantage 
of an incident which occurred just at the moment. 
A red Phrygian cap, the symbol of the People and of 
Libert3 r , was presented by one of the crowd on the point 
of a pike. This he took and placed on his head, after 
which he drank off a tankard of wine also offered to him, 
an act which was greeted with tumultuous applause. At 
last Petion, the mayor, arrived with several prominent 
Girondist deputies, and quietly dispersed the gathering. 

Thus the silly Parisian populace were once again ^-> 
icajoled out of their demands by a senseless piece of 
\[buffoonery. But it was the last time. The Constitu- 
tionalists were enraged at the outrage offered to the per- 
son of the King and to the Law. Lafayette left the 
army, and suddenly appeared at the bar of the Assembly 
demanding the impeachment of the instigators of the 
movement of the 20th July, and the suppression of the 
popular clubs. But the Jacobins had by this time got 
the upper hand, and could defy the champion of middle- 
class law-and -order. Lafayette narrowly escaped arrest for^-- 
deserting his arm}^, and had ignominiously to slink back. ^ 
The whole force of the populace was with the Girondins 
and the Jacobins. Things were fast hurrying to a crisis. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE TENTH OF AUGUST. 

SHORTLY after the event last described the Assembly felt 
itself compelled, in face of the open connivance of the 
Court with the enemy, to solemnly declare the country 
in danger. All citizens capable of bearing arms were 
called upon to enroll themselves in the National Guard, 
which was placed on a footing of active service. 

On the 14th of July, the Bastille anniversary, the 
Mayor Pe'tion was the hero of the day "Pe'tion or 
death ! " being the popular watchword. All battalions of 
^2., the National Guard showing signs of attachment to Con- 
stitutionalism instantly became objects of popular resent- 
ment. The hatred of the Constitutionalists was daily 
growing. At length the popular party obtained the 
disbandment of the companies of Grenadiers and 
Chasseurs, the main support of the official middle-class 
in the National Guard, together with the closing of the 
Feuillants' Club, the rendezvous of the Constitutionalist 
party. 

Events further helped on the popular cause. On the 
25th of July, the Duke of Brunswick published his 
manifesto in the name of the Emperor and the King of 
Prussia, in which he declared that the allied sovereigns 
had taken up arms to put an end to anarchy in France ; 
threatening all the towns which dared to resist with 
total destruction, the members of the Assembly itself 
with the rigours of martial law, &c. The active coalition 
which was at this time confined to Prussia, Austria, the 
German princedoms, and the principality of Turin, had 



THE TENTH OF AUGUST. 37 

formed the plan of marching concentrically upon Paris 
from three different points, the Moselle, the Rhine and 
the Netherlands. 

It was on the day of the movement of the Rhenish 
division from Coblentz, under the command of the Duke 
of Brunswick, that this famous manifesto was issued. 
The following day, July 26th, a contingent of six hun- 
dred Marseillais, sent for by the Girondist Barbaroux, 
who was a native of Marseilles, entered Paris ostensibly on 
their way to the camp at Soissons, a contingent rendered 
immortal by the hymn they sang as they marched along; 
the well-known strains : 

' ' Aliens, enfants de la Patrie, 
Le jour de gloire est 



having been heard for the first time in the streets of 
Paris on that occasion. The advent of the Marseillais, 
though it did not, as was anticipated, result in an 
immediate outbreak, did, nevertheless, stir Paris to its 
foundations. The sections, or wards, into which the city 
was divided, became daily more importunate in demand- 
ing the dethronement of the King. A petition to this 
effect was drawn up by the municipality and the sections 
and presented to the Assembly by Petion on the 3rd of 
August. The impeachment of Lafayette was next de- 
manded on the 8th, but after a warm discussion was 
rejected by a considerable majority. This acquittal of ^ 
Lafayette, now regarded by the people as the personifica- 
tion of treachery and reaction, destroyed the last vestige 
of popular confidence in the Assembly. The following 
day one of the sections sent to notify to the legislature 
that if the decree of dethronement were not voted before 
nightfall the tocsin (or alarm bell) should be sounded, the 
generate (or rallying drum) beaten, and open insurrection 
proclaimed, a determination which was transmitted to 
the forty-eight sections of the city, and approved with 



38 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

only one dissentient. It was not voted, and the same even- 
ing the Jacobins proceeded in a body to the Faubourg St. 
. Antoine, and there organised the attack on the Tuileries 
which it was decided should take place the next day. 

Measures pregnant with import for the future course of 
tihe Revolution were determined at this meeting; among 
others the dismissal of the Girondist mayor, Petion, who 
nad already begun to inspire deep distrust, the annulment 
/of the Departmental Assemblies, and replacement of the 
Void municipal council by a Revolutionary Commune. 

At midnight the tocsin pealed, the generale beat, the 
sections assembled, and the newty-nominated Commune 
took possession of the Hotel de Ville. On the other side 
the " loyal " battalions of the National Guard were 
marched to the palace, which was now filled with hired 
Swiss Guards and Chevaliers de GOUT, and the Assembly 
hastily called together. On hearing that Petion was 
detained at the Tuileries the moribund legislature at once 
ordered his release and restored him to his functions. 
But he no sooner entered the Hotel de Ville than he was 
placed under a guard of three hundred men by order of 
the new Commune. Poor Petion ! between two fires ! 
The Commune then sent for the commander of the 
National Guard, Mandat, who was at the Tuileries with 
the royal battalions aforesaid. Mandat, not knowing of 
the creation of the new Commune, incautiously obeyed 
the summons, but turned pale on discovering new faces 
where he had expected to find the old municipal coun- 
cillors. He was accused of having authorised the troops 
to defend the palace against the sovereign people, was 
ordered to the prison of the Abbaye, but was assassinated 
on the steps of the Hotel de Ville as he was being con- 
veyed thither. Santerre was then nominated commander- 
in-chief in his stead. 

Meanwhile not a few " Nationals " at the palace, in 
spite of their loyalty to the " Constitution," winced at 
finding themselves in the same galley with aristocrat 



THE TENTH OF AUGUST. 39 

adventurers avowed enemies of the Revolution in any 
form or shape and with mercenary foreign soldiers. 
Their leader gone, a division broke out, as Louis found 
when he came to review them, for while the cry, " Vive 
le roi ! " was responded to by some, " Vive la nation ! " 
was reponded to by more. But what was most ominous 
was the arrival of two fresh battalions armed with pikes 
as well as guns, who after jeeringly greeting the king 
with shouts of " Vive la nation ! " " Down with the 
veto ! " " Down with the traitor ! " took up a position at 
the Pont Royal and pointed their cannon straight at the 
palace. It was evident the loyalty of these battalions was 
more than a doubtful quantity. It was now early morn- 
ing, and the insurgents were advancing in columns of 
various strength from different points. The Procurator- 
Syndic, Roederer, met them as they were converging upon 
the palace, and suggested their sending a deputation to the 
king. This was peremptorily refused. He then addressed 
himself to the National Guard, reading out the articles 
which enjoined them to suppress revolt. But the response 
was so feeble that the procurator fled in all haste back to 
the Tuileries to urge the royal family to leave its quarters 
and place itself in the midst of the Assembly out of harm's 
reach. Marie Antoinette rejected the advice in right melo- 
dramatic style, talked very " tali " about being " nailed 
to the walls of the palace," and presented a pistol to 
Louis with the words, " Now, sire, is the moment to show 
y our courage." The procurator evidently thought mock 
xyheroics ill-timed, and sternly remonstrated. Louis him- 
self seemed to share this opinion, or at least was not pre- 
pared to " show " his " courage " just then, and moved to 
go to the Assembly. Marie Antoinette followed with the 
royal youth, and thus what bid fair to be a dramatic 
" situation " came to an ignominious ending. 

Meanwhile the insurgents surrounded the palace, the^f 
defence of which was Jeft to the Swiss Guard, who, 
though they fought with a valour worthy of a better 



4 C THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

ciuse, were ultimately overwhelmed by numbers and 
exterminated. The palace taken, shouts of victory 
resounded from far and near. The Assembly trembled, 
expecting every minute the hall to be forced. In vain 
it issued a proclamation conjuring the people to re- 
spect magistrates, law and justice. At length the new 
Commune presented itself, claiming the recognition of 
its powers, the dethronement of the king, and the con- 
vocation of a National Convention by universal suffrage. 
Deputation after deputation followed with the same 
prayer, or rather with the same peremptory order. The 
Assembly, overawed, on the motion of the Girondist 
Vergniaud, passed a resolution in pursuance of the de- 
mands, that is, suspending the King, dismissing the 
Constitutionalist Ministers, and ordering the convocation 
^f a National Convention. 
- The person of Louis, after remaining three days in 
charge of the Assembly, was handed over to the Com- 
mune, by whose order he was conveyed as a State prisoner 
to the Temple. Thus ended the 10th of August, 1792. 
Jhe critical struggle is henceforth not, as heretofore, 
Between the middle-class and the nobles or the King, but 
between the middle-class and the proletariat. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE FIRST PARIS COMMUNE AND THE SEPTEMBER 
MASSACRES. 

WITH the 10th of August and the overthrow of the 
Monarchy, the first part of the French Revolution may 
be considered as complete. The middle-class insurrection 
proper had done its work. The importance of that work 
from certain points of view can hardly be over-rated. 
In a word, it had abolished, not, indeed, feudalism 
in its true sense for that had long since ceased to 
exist but the corrupt remains of feudalism and the 
monarchical despotism it left behind it. The beginning 
of '89 found France cut up into provinces, each in 
many respects an independent State, possessing separate 
customs, separate laws, and in some cases a separate 
jurisdiction. The end of '89 even, and still more '92, 
found it, for good or evil, a united nationality. The 
power of the clergy and noblesse was completely broken, d 
Judicial torture and breaking on the wheel were ab- r 
solutely done away with. Madame Roland has described 
the dying cries of the victims of "justice," who, after /- 
having been mangled by the latter hideous engine, were 
left exposed on the market-place, " so long as it shall 
please God to prolong their lives." All this, then, was 
abolished, and in addition the " goods " of the clergy and - 
of the " emigrant " nobility were declared confiscated. 
The interesting point as yet unsolved was, who should get 
this precious heritage, the " nationalised " lands, houses, 
and moveable possessions of the recalcitrant first and second 
estates ? To avoid interrupting the narrative we shall 



42 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

devote a chapter to the elucidation of this point later 
on. 

We come now to what we may term the great tidal 
wave of the Revolution. For the time being it swept all 
before it, but it receded as quickly as it came. The 
period of the ascendancy of the proletariat lasted from 

~Hhe 10th of August, 1792, to the 27th of July, 1794, thus 
in all nearly two years. The political revolution 
suddenly became transformed into a revolution one of 
whose objects at least was greater social and economical, 
-as distinguished from political, equality, and as suddenly 
ceased to be so. The course of the progress and retro- 
gression of this movement we shall trace in the follow- 
ing chapters. 

^The new revolutionary municipality, or Commune of 
Paris, was now for the time being the most powerful 
executive body in all France. It dictated the action 
even of the Assembly. The establishment of an extra- 
ordinary tribunal had been proposed. The Assembly 
hesitated to agree to it, whereupon it received a 
message from the Commune that if such a tribunal were 
not forthwith constituted, an insurrection should be 
organised the following night which should overwhelm 
the elect of France. The Assembly yielded under the 

x pressure, and a Court was formed which condemned 
a few persons, but was soon after abolished by the 
Commune as inadequate. At the head of the latter 
body were Marat, Panis, Collot-d'Herbois, Billaud- 
Varennes, Tallien, &c., but the most prominent man of all 
was for the moment Dan ton, who was untiring in 
organising the " sections " (as the different wards of the 
city were called), and who, from having been the chief 
agent in the events of the 10th, had acquired almost the 
position of dictator. 

Meanwhile the invading army of the Prussians had 

^crossed the frontier, while the French frontier troops at 
Sedan, deserted by Lafayette, were disorganised, and 



THE FIRS1 COMMUNE. 43 



without a commander. On the 24th of August, the*r- 
citadel of Longwy capitulated, and by the 30th the 
enemy were bombarding the town of Verdun. In a few^r-- 
days the road to Paris would lie open before them. 
Consternation prevailed in the capital at the news. In a 
conference between the Ministry and the recently 
formed Committee of General Defence, Danton boldly 
urged, as against a policy of waiting or of open attack, 
that one of terrorism should be adopted, to first intimidate 
the reactionary population of the city, and through 
them that of the whole country. " The 10th of August/', 
said he, " has divided France into two parties. The 
latter, which it is useless to dissemble constitutes the 
minority in the State, is the only one on which you can 
depend when it comes to the combat." The timid and 
irresolute Ministry hesitated ; Danton betook himself 
to the Commune. His project was accepted. The 
minority had indeed to fight the majority. Domiciliary , 
visits were made during the night, and so large a number^ 
of suspected persons arrested, that the prisons were 
filled to overflowing. A vast number of citizens were en- 
rolled on the Champ de Mars, and dispatched to the 
frontier on the 1st of September. About two o'clock the * 
next day, Sunday, the great bell or tocsin was sounded, 
the call-drum or generate was beaten along the thorough- 
fares, the famous September massacres were at hand/ 
Danton, in presenting himself before the Assembly to 
detail the measures that had been taken (without its 
consent) for the safety of the country, gave utterance to 
his celebrated mot : "Hfawt de Vaudace, de I'audace, et 
toujours de I'audace " (we must have boldness, boldness, 
and always boldness). 

The previous night all the gates of the city had , 
been closed by order of the municipality, so that none * 
could leave or enter; to the clanging of the tocsin and 
the roll of the generate, was now added the firing 
of alarm cannon. Herewith began the summary 



44 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, 



executions, as they would have been called had they 
been done in the interests of "established order" by 
men in uniform, or massacres, as they have been termed 
since they were effected in the interests of revolution by 
men in bonnet rouge and Carmagnole costume. The 

--> matter originated with the destruction of thirty priests 

who were being conducted to the Abbaye. The prisons, 

about seven in number, were then visited in succession 

^ by a band of some three hundred men. Entrance was 

demanded by an improvised court, which, once inside, 

with the prison-registers open before them, began to adju- 

- dicate. The prisoners were severally called by name, 

their cases decided in a few minutes, after which they 

were successively removed nominally to another prison, 

_ -or to be released. No sooner, however, had they reached 
trie outer gate than they were met by a forest of pikes 
and sabres. Those that were deemed innocent of 
treasonable practices, and were " enlarged " with the cry 
of " Vive la nation!" (Long live the nation!), were re- 
ceived with embracings and acclamation, but woe betide 
those who were conducted to the entrance in silence, 
them the pikes and sabres at once fell, in some 
cases veritably hewing them in pieces. The Princesse 
de Lamballe, the friend and maid-of-honour to Marie 
Antoinette, had just gone to bed when the crowd arrived 
at the Abbaye where she was imprisoned. On being 
informed she was about to be removed, she wanted to 
arrange her dress, she said ; at which the bystanders 
hinted that from the distance she would have to go, it 
was scarcely worth while to waste much time on the 
toilette. Arrived at the gate, her head was struck off, 
and her body stripped and disembowelled. A Sansculotte 
subsequently boasted of having cooked and eaten one of 
the breasts of the princess. Carlyle goes into an ecstatic 
frenzy over Mdlle. de Lamballe. " She was beautiful, she 
was good," he exclaims (vol. iii., chap. 4), in a style sugges- 
tive of an Irish wake. " Oh ! worthy of worship, thou ~ 



THE FIRST COMMUNE. 45 



descended, god-descended," &c. He pathetically talks 
about her " fair hind-head," meaning to imply, I suppose, 
that she had a long, thin neck. But inasmuch as there 
is no physiological reason for supposing that a long, thin 
neck involves greater suffering to the possessor in the 
process of decapitation than a short, thick one, the point 
of the remark is not obvious. Be this as it may, the . 
princess's head, with others, was paraded on a pike x~ 
through the streets and under the windows of the 
" Temple," where the queen was confined. These summary 
executions or massacres (according as we choose to call 
them) outside the prisons, continued at intervals from 
the Sunday afternoon to the Thursday evening. Prob- 
ably about 1,200 persons in all perished. All con- 
temporary writers agree in depicting the graphic horror 
of the scene as the blood-stained crowd swept along the 
streets from prison to prison. 

There is no doubt that the principal actors in 
events were either under the orders, or were at least in 
communication with the Commune, but the precise nature 
of the connection has not been, and possibly now never 
will be, known. That those concerned were no mere 
wanton or mercenary ruffians, but fanatics, possessed by 
a frenzy of despair, is amply proved by several incidents 
which are admitted even by Royalist writers. Their 
enthusiasm at the discovery of a " patriot " in one whom 
they believed to have been a " plotter," as in the case of 
M. de Sombreuil, and their refusal of money from such, 
their evident desire to avoid by any accident the death 
of an innocent person, show the executioners to have 
been, at least, genuinely disinterested. There has never 
in all history been more excuse for the shedding of 
blood than there was in Paris, at the beginning of 
Se0ftmhftrJL!792. Foreign troops were marching on the 
capital to destroy the Revolution, and all favourable to 
\/ it. The city itself was honeycombed with Royalist 
plotters, who almost openly expressed their joy at the 



46 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

prospect of an approaching restoration, and the exter- 
mination of the popular leaders. The so-called massacres 
were strictly a measure of self-defence, and as such were 
justified by the result, which was, in a word, to strike 
terror into the reaction, and to stimulate the Revolution 
throughout France ; and yet there are bourgeois who 
pretend to view this strictly defensive act of a populace 
driven to desperation, with shuddering horror, while 
regarding as " necessary," or at most midly disapproving 
the wanton and cold-blooded massacres of the Versailles 
soldiers after the Commune of 1871. Such, verily, is 
class blindness ! As in all great crisis in history, so in 
the French Revolution, an active minority had to fight 
and terrorise the stolid mass of reaction and indifference 
which, alas ! is always in the majority. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. 

WHILE these events were going on in Paris, Dumouriez, 
the successor of Lafayette as commander-in-chief of the 
French army, was in the east organising the resistance 
to the invasion. Verdun was taken by the Prussians 
almost without resistance. But the new commander, 
who, whatever else he may have been, was a man of 
military genius, saw at a glance the strategical situation, 
anjl, in opposition to the council of war, decided to lose 
no time in occupying the passes of the mountainous 
district of the Argonne. He circumvented the enemy by 
forced marches, and they soon found the road to Paris 
barred by precipitous rocks and well-guarded passes. 
The Prussians, notwithstanding, forced one of the more 
feebly defended of the positions, and were on the point 
of surrounding the French army when Dumouriez, by a 
dexterous retreat, succeeded in evading them, till the 
arrival of his reinforcements. Meanwhile, the weather 
helped the defenders. Heavy rains converted the bad roads 
into rivers of mud knee deep, and it was not until the 
20th of the month that the main body of the invaders 
reached the heights of Yalmy, where General Kellerman 
was in command, and which they attempted to storm. 
The result decided the fate of the invasion. The 
Prussians and Austrians were completely defeated to the 
cry of " Vive la nation ! " and retired in disorder. Up to 
this time the fortunes of war had been unremittingly 
adverse to the French. But the turning point had come. 
Henceforward the revolutionary army, which from this 
moment assumed the offensive, went forth for some 



48 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

time conquering and to conquer. The present sketch 
not being a history of the revolutionary war, but of the 
Revolution itself, I shall in future only allude to the 
military situation in so far as it affects the course of 
internal affairs. 

The moribund Legislative Assembly lingered on during 
the election of the Convention the first political body 
chosen by direct, universal and equal suffrage which did 
not open its deliberations till the 21st of the month. After 
the usual preliminaries it formally abolished Royalty, and 
proclaimed the Republic. Its next measure was to declare 
the new era to date from the current year as the, first 
year of the French Republic. These measures .were 
carried by acclamation. But the Convention almost 
immediately became the prey of internal dissention. 
This most remarkable of legislative bodies embraced 
every shade of opinion and almost all the men of &ny 
prominence in public life. Robespierre, Danton, Marat, 
Desmoulins, David, Roland, Barbaroux, Sieyes, Barre're, 
&c., were all now to the fore, with many others, such as 
Tallien, Collot d'Herbois, Billaud Varennes, Barras, 
&c., hitherto less known to fame, but shortly to coml 
into unmistakable prominence. One feature of the 
Convention is especially remarkable. It embodied the 
first conscious recognition of the principle of Inter- 
nationalism. The German atheist, internationalist and 
humanitarian, Anacharsis Clootz, and the English free- 
thinker and republican Thomas Paine, were among its 
members. Priestly, of Birmingham, the great chemist, 
had also been elected, but declined to sit. In order at 
once to accentuate the international conception of the 
Revolution and to create a diversion in the rear of the 
invading armies, the Convention issued a manifesto on 
Nov. 19 inviting all peoples to rise against their 
oppressors and assuring them of the sympathy and, when 
possible, of the active support of the French Republic. 

The two great parties in the Convention were the 



THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. 49 

Girdondists and the Mountainists. The Girondists were 
the party of orderly progress, sweetness, and light, the 
men who dreaded all violent, i.e., energetic measures. 
Such men, however well-intentioned they may be, and 
even apart from their ultimate objects, must always in 
the long run become the tools of reaction from their 
timidity and hesitancy. The Girondists desired a 
doctrinaire Republic, led by the professional middle- 
classes, the lawyers and litterateurs. Their main strength 
lay in the provinces, the name being derived from the 
department of the Gironde, whence some of their chief 
men came. Among the leaders of the Girondist party 
may be mentioned Condorcet, Roland, Louvet, Rebecqe, 
Petion, Barbaroux, Vergniaud, and Brissot. Some of 
them had been, in spite of their generally mild attitude, 
active in preparing the 10th of August. It was, as we 
have seen, Barbaroux who sent to his native town for 
the Marseillais, and directed this remarkable body of men 
on the day of the insurrection. 

The other leading party in the Convention were the 
Mountainists, as they were termed, because they sat 
the benches at the top of the left, comprising the leaders 
of Paris and largely identical in policy with the 
Commune, many of whose members sat in both the 
municipal and the legislative bodies. Robespierre, 
Danton, Marat, all the Parisian members, that is, ther"" 
most advanced revolutionary leaders, belonged to the 
" Mountain," which had its strength in the 48 " sections," 
and in the faubourgs, or outlying suburbs,- in which the 
populace of Paris found voice. The Mountainists advoca- - 
ted uncompromising revolutionary principles (besides 
aiming to some extent at economic equality), a vigorous 
policy and a strong centralisation in opposition to the 
Girondists, who favoured strictly middle-class Republican- 
ism, a timid and vacillating policy, and federalisation, or 
local autonomy. The struggle between the Mountain and 
Gironde was in part a struggle for supremacy between 



50 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

Paris and the departments. Besides the Mountainists 
and Girondists proper i.e., those who represented any 
definite principles at all, who both together constituted a 
minority in the Convention, notwithstanding that they 
dictated its character and policy there was the actual 
majority which was called the Plain, its members being 
sometimes designated, in ridicule, " frogs of the marsh." 
Like most majorities, the Plain was an inchoate mass of 
Boating indifferentism and muddle-headedness, with more 
or less reactionary instincts, which naturally inclined it 
to the side of the Girondists as the " moderate " party, 
but whose first concern being self-preservation, was open 
to outside pressure from the armed " sections " of Paris 
and the faubourgs, as we shall presently see. These 
" men of the plain," or " frogs of the marsh," included 
many persons of ability, who subsequently came to the 
front under the Directorate, after all danger of popular 
insurrection was at an end. 

War was declared within the Convention, before many 
days were over, by the Gironde, on the ostensible pretext 
of the September massacres, which they accused the 
partisans of the Mountain of having instigated. The 
individuals attacked were Robespierre and Marat. It 
was the turn of Robespierre first. He was accused of 
aspiring to the dictatorship, and the whole force of 
Girondist eloquence was brought to bear upon the lean 
and cadaverous ex-advocate of Arras, though without 
result. No definite charges could be formulated against 
him. It is significant, nevertheless, that before Robes- 
pierre had attained any supreme prominence he should 
have excited feelings of such keen personal animosity. 
As a matter of fact, Danton had had far more directly to 
do with the so-called massacres than Robespierre. It 
was Marat's turn next. Marat, whose single-mindedness 
and absolute self-sacrifice are almost unique in history, 
had the misfortune to be physically an unattractive 
personality. He suffered from an unpleasant skin 



THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. 51 

malady, which, as it happens, was not syphillis, as many 
writers have hinted, but seems to have been of the nature 
of the sheep-disease known as the scabies. It was very 
possibly contracted, and without doubt considerably aggra- 
vated, through semi-starvation and the cellar-life he was 
compelled to lead during the early part of the Revolu- 
tion. Marat, then, was denounced in the Convention by 
the Girondins, and when he arose to defend himself 
he was for a moment basely deserted even by his col- 
leagues of the Mountain. " I have a great many enemies 
in this Assembly," he said, as he rose to reply to his 
accusers. " All ! All ! " shouted the Convention as one 
man. However, Marat proceeded amidst uproar and 
howls to exculpate himself, till in the end the simple 
earnestness of his eloquence prevailed, and he sat down 
amid a storm of applause. But the Girondists, though 
discomfited for the time, did not lose sight of their 
design to destroy Marat. In the midst of these 
recriminations and internal squabbles, the Mountain 
succeeded in getting the unity of the Republic decreed, a 
heavy blow to the Federalist Girondins. 




CHAPTER XII 

THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE KING. 

A TRUCE to personal squabbles having been for a moment 
agreed upon, the Convention was proceeding to discuss 
the new Constitution when, on the motion of the Mountain, 
the question of the disposal of the King was declared 
urgent. The popular resentment against the dethroned 
monarch had been growing for some time past. Con- 
tinual addresses from the departments, as well as from 
the Paris sections, were being received praying for his 
condemnation. The usual legal questions being raised 
as to the power of any tribunal to try the sovereign, it 
was agreed by the Committee appointed to consider the 
matter, that though Louis had been inviolable as King of 
France, he was no longer so as the private individual 
Louis Capet. The Mountain vehemently attacked this 
view. St. Just, Robespierre, and others declared that 
these legal quibbles were an insult to the people's 
sovereignty, that the King had already been judged by 
virtue of the insurrection, and that nothing remained but 
his condemnation and execution. Just at this time an 
iron chest was found behind a panel of the Tuileries, 
containing damning proofs of Court intrigues with Mira- 
beau, and with the " emigrant " aristocrats, also indicating 
that the war with Austria had been urged on with a 
view to betraying the country and the Revolution. This 
naturally gave force to the demand for the immediate 
condemnation of Louis as a " traitor to the French and 
guilty towards humanity." The agitation was vigorously 
sustained in the Jacobins' club and in the sections, and 



TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE KING. 53 

the " moderate" party in the Assembly found itself com- 
pelled to give heed to the popular outcry, at least up to 
a certain point. The Convention by a considerable 
majority decided against the extreme right, who urged 
the inviolability of the King, and also against those 
Mountainists who pressed for a condemnation without 
trial. It was determined to bring the ex-King to the 
bar of the Convention. The Act declaratory of the 
Royal crimes was then prepared. 

Meanwhile Louis was being strictly guarded in the 
"Temple," where he had now been confined nearly four 
months. He had recently been separated from his family, 
the Commune fearing the concerting of plots of escape. 
Only one servant was allotted to the whole family. 
Louis amused himself at this time with reading Hume's 
History of England, especially the parts relating to 
Charles I. On the vote of the Convention being declared, 
Santerre, the commandant of the National Guard, was 
commissioned to conduct Louis to the bar of the National 
Assembly. This took place on the llth of December. 
The coach passed through drizzling rain, scowling crowds, 
and through streets filled with troops. Arrived at the 
hall of the Convention, the Mayor of Paris, Chabot, and 
the Procureur, Chaumette, who had sat with the King 
in the vehicle, delivered him over to Santerre, who had 
been in attendance outside. The latter, laying hold of 
Louis by the arm, led him to the bar of the Convention. 
Barrere, the President, after a moment's delay, greeted 
him with the words, " Louis, the French nation accuses 
you ; you are now about to hear the act of accusation. 
Louis, you may sit down." There were fifty-seven counts 
of the indictment relating to acts of despotism, con- 
spiracies, secret intrigues, the flight to Varennes, and 
what not. On the conclusion of the speech for the pro- 
secution, which lasted three hours, Louis was removed 
back to his prison. He had demanded legal counsel, 
so the Convention decided after some discussion to 



54 THE FRENCH RE VOLUTION. 

allow his old friend Malesherbes, with two others, 
Tronchet and Desdze, to undertake the office. It was the 
latter who delivered the speech on the day of the defence, 
/which consisted partly in the old arguments anent royal 
inviolability and partly in a statement of Louis's services 
to the people. " The people," said De'se'ze, " desired that 
a disastrous impost should be abolished, and Louis 
abolished it ; the people asked for the abolition of servi- 
tudes, and Louis abolished them : they demanded reforms, 
and he consented to them," &c. &c. The speech con- 
cluded with an eloquent peroration calling upon history 
to judge the decision of the Convention. The cowardly 
Girondins, although it was well-known they had 
previously been in favour of the King's life, did not have 
the courage at this moment to make a definite stand one 
way or the other. They contented themselves with pro- 
posing to declare Louis guilty, but to leave the question 
of punishment to the primary assemblies of the people. 
This proposition, which would probably have meant civil 
war, was vehemently opposed by the Mountain and re- 
jected, and the Convention, after having unanimously 
voted Louis guilty, resolved on considering the question 
of punishment. The popular ferment outside the Con- 
vention was immense, and sentence of death was loudly 
demanded. After forty hours, the final vote was taken, 
and Louis condemned to "death without respite," i.e. 
within twenty-four hours, by a majority of 26 in an 
assembly of 721. In vain did the defenders urge the 
smallness of the majority ; the Mountain, which now for 
the first time dominated the Convention, showed itself 
inexorable. 

On Monday, the 21st of January, 1793, the execution 
took place. Louis, who had taken leave of his family 
the previous day, was awakened at five o'clock. Shortly 
after, Santerre arrived to announce that it was the hour 
to depart. At the same time the murmur of crowds and 
the rumbling of cannon were heard outside. The carriage 



TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE KING. 55 

took upwards of an hour to pass through the streets, 
which were lined with military. At length the Place de 
la Revolution was reached, and Louis ascended the 
scaffold. He was beginning to protest his innocence, 
when on the signal of Santerre his voice was drowned by 
the beating of drums, the executioner seized him, and 
in a moment all was over. 

The death of Louis was probably necessary for the 
safety of the Republic at the time, but one cannot help 
having some pity for one whose worst offences wero 
a certain feebleness and good nature which made him 
the ready tool of a cruel, unscrupulous, and designing 
woman. It should be noted, as regards the decree in the 
Convention, that, unlike the Girondins, plucky Tom 
Paine, up to the last, manfully voted in the sense in 
which he had always spoken, viz., for the life of the 
King, and this at the imminent risk of his own. Not- 
withstanding this act, a grateful Respectability (which 
afterwards tried to exalt the feeble Louis into a hero 
and a martyr) has ever since heaped every vile calumny 
on poor Paine's memory. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE DEATH STRUGGLE BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND GIRONDE. 

ON the evening of the final vote in the Convention on 
the matter of the King, Lepelletier de St. Fargeaux, a 
deputy and ex-noble, who had voted with the majority, 
was assassinated by an ex-royal guard in a cafe. On 
the Thursday following he received a public funeral, his 
remains being interred in the Pantheon of great men. 
The Convention, Municipality, and all the revolutionary 
societies followed in a body. This was the last united 
action of the various parties. 

The feud between Mountain and Gironde broke out 
with renewed fury after the temporary cessation. The 
quarrel was intensified out of doors by the old but ever- 
increasing lack of the necessaries of life, especially of 
bread. The queues at the bakers' shops assumed more 
formidable dimensions, developing into mobs and devas- 
tating provision shops. Marat had suggested in his 
journal that a few of the forestallers who were helping 
to keep up the price of bread should be hanged at the 
doors of bakers' shops. The crowds, dressed in car- 
magnole, or merely ragged, maddened by hunger, 
danced the more wildly to the well-known strains, 
"Vive le son du canon." Day and night groups of these 
revolutionary revellers might be met along the thorough- 
fares. 

Meanwhile " the sound of the cannon " was going on 
with vigour and to the honour and glory of France. 
Dumouriez had invaded and conquered the Netherlands, 
and the Jacobins and other revolutionary bodies had 



MOUNTAIN AND GIRONDE. 57 

sent missionaries to the newly-annexed provinces. But 
the powers, great and small, finding themselves and the 
aristocratic-monarchic order they represented being 
beaten all along the line, drew closer together and made 
new levies. England, Spain, Italy, Austria, Prussia, 
the small German States, hurled new and gigantic 
armaments into the breach. The Convention answered 
in its turn by a fresh levy of 300,000 men. But Danton 
and the Mountain demanded at the same moment that 
while external enemies were being fought internal 
enemies should not be neglected. They proposed that a 
tribunal composed of nine members should judge without 
jury and without appeal. The tribunal was instituted 
but the jury added. Dumouriez now sustained some re- 
verses in his invasion of Holland. He was ordered back 
into Belgium, but this did not satisfy the Mountain and 
the Jacobins, who had for long looked askance at 
Dumouriez as a Girondist partisan, and became now 
more convinced than ever that he was working in the 
interest of the faction, and that the defeat was due to 
treachery. The Girondin ministers and generals were 
the objects of the bitterest resentment. So high did the 
feeling run that a conspiracy was set on foot to assassi- 
nate the leading men of the party in the Convention on 
the night of the 10th of March. The conspirators, it is 
alleged, actually set out, but the plan miscarried, owing 
to its betrayal beforehand to the persons threatened. 
Vergniaud, the great Girondin orator, denounced the 
plot next day in the Assembly, and the advanced parties 
were for a moment checked. But the news of the spread 
of the aristocratic revolt in the district of the Loire 
known as La Vendee, quickly enabled them to regain 
their ascendancy. 

The Vendee was a district in which there were 
no large towns, and consequently hardly any middle- 
class or proletariat. It was a district inhabited 
almost exclusively by peasants, priests, and nobles, and 



58 THE FRENCH RE VOL 7770. V. 

consequently altogether out of touch with the objects of 
the Revolution. The peasantry still venerated their old 
masters, and hated the new middle-class. The immediate 
cause of the fresh outbreak, however, was the new levy. 
In Paris the feeling against " Moderates " and half-hearted 
friends of the Republic waxed greater than ever. The 
new Revolutionary Tribunal redoubled its activity. 
Following upon the bad news from the Vende'e came 
that of further and still more serious reverses in Belgium 
on the part of Dumouriez, and, what was worse, indis- 
putable evidence of intrigues with the Austrians to re- 
establish the monarchy in the person of the Due de 
Chartres, the young son of Phillipe d'Orleans Egalite' (the 
King's cousin and a member of the Mountain party). 
This Due de Chartres, at that time a lieutenant of 
Dumouriez, became subsequently " Louis Philippe, King 
of the French." Dumouriez almost immediately after 
openly proclaimed his intention of marching upon Paris 
to subdue the Revolution. But he did not succeed any 
better than Lafayette, his predecessor in the same course. 
His troops, although attached to him personally, hesi- 
tated at treachery to the Republic. The same with the 
officers. The Convention was energetic ; it sent four 
commissioners, among them the Minister of War, to 
summon the traitor-general to the bar of the Convention. 
He not only refused to come, but handed over the com- 
missioners as hostages to the Austrians. After a further 
fruitless attempt to seduce the army he sought refuge 
with the Due de Chartres and a few other officers in the 
Austrian camp, and from this time history knows him no 
more. Dumouriez's defection drove the last nail into the 
^/coffin of the Girondist power. There is a well-known 
proverb that those whom the gods would destroy they 
first make mad. This was certainly exemplified in the 
present case. For the Girondins had already, before 
their General Dumouriez's escape had become known, 
alienated the leading Moimtainist who had been in 



MOUNTAIN AND GIRONDE. 59 

favour of reconciliation between the parties Danton, to 
wit by unsubstantiated insinuations. And now, when 
Dumouriez's desertion had been for days past a topic of 
discussion and declamation amongst the Paris sections, 
they succeeded amid scenes of violent disorder in the 
Convention in getting a decree of indictment launched 
against Marat on the ground of the paragraph about 
the forestallers. The People's Friend was accordingly 
brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal, the Giron- 
dists vainly attempting to pack the jury. After a trial 
lasting two days, he was acquitted amid the acclamations 
of the audience, and carried in triumph by the populace 
into the hall of the Convention. Girondism was hence- 
forth plainly a lost cause so far as peaceful and legal 
action was concerned. Its only hope lay in an insurrec- 
tion of the departments. This also, as we shall see, was 
destined to failure. Meanwhile Custine, Dampiere, and 
other generals were sent to reorganise the armies of 
Dumouriez, but for the next few weeks the main atten- 
tion of all patriots was directed to one object the 
destruction of the Girondist faction. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

CONCERNING MATTERS ECONOMIC. 

AMID all this contention the Mountain, aided by econo- 
mic pressure, succeeded in forcing through some important 
administrative, and two great economic measures. In 
addition to the " Revolutionary Tribunal," two powerful 
Committees were established which, in the end, practically 
assumed all the executive functions of a dictatorial 
ministr}^ These were the "Committee of General Se- 
curity," consisting of twenty-one members, and the 
" Committee of Public Safety," consisting of nine mem- 
bers, the ministers themselves being subject to these Com- 
mittees. The economic measures referred to were, first, the 
Law of maximum, by means of which, at a stroke, the 
st irvation and misery previously existing were allayed. 
The law of maximum enacted a fixed price for bread- 
stuffs, above which it was penal to sell them. To avert 
the possibility of the dealers refusing to sell at all, it was 
made compulsory upon them to do so. They were, more- 
over, obliged to furnish accurate accounts of their stock, 
which could, if desirable, be peremptorily " checked " by 
the authorities. The law was subsequently extended to 
all the necessaries of life. The other economic measure 
forced through the Convention by the Jacobins and the 
Mountain was a progressive income-tax on an ascending 
scale. In addition to these there was a forced loan of a 
milliard for war purposes levied on the wealthy classes. 
The Girondists and the Plain, of course, shrieked and 
kicked at these glaring infringements of the " laws " of 
political economy and the rights of property : but the 



CONCERNING MATTERS ECONOMIC. 61 

middle-class factions, though nominally dominant, were 
not really so, and were hence unable to resist the force of 
the popular demand for decisive steps in the direction of 
greater economic equality. 

The law of maximum and the progressive income-tax 
are the only two measures of a directly Socialistic tend- 
ency which have ever been practically applied, and they 
were applied with complete success. And yet it is strange 
that at least the first of these measures, when proposed 
now-a-days, is viewed by many Socialists with indiffer- 
ence, not to say suspicion. It only shows how, in econo- 
mics, as in other things, the rags of old superstitions un- 
consciously survive in us. Those who have triumphed 
over the old-fashioned bourgeois fallacies of the wicked- 
ness and inutility of interfering with the sacred laws of 
political economy by direct legislative interference with 
the freedom of production, still wince at the notion of 
direct legislative interference with freedom (so-called) of 
exchange. An eight-hour law is an excellent thing, but 
a maximum, by which the eight-hour workman is pro- 
tected from the extortions of monopoly and the power of 
industrial and commercial capital to raise prices, guard- 
ing itself against the effects of competition by " rings " 
and "corners" this is a very doubtful thing indeed! 
In the present day, of course, a law of maximum would 
be of very little use unless supplemented by a law of 
minimum i.e., a law fixing a minimum wage and, we 
may add, parenthetically, the eight hours working day 
would, in all probability, also prove itself a questionable 
boon if unaccompanied by both these provisos. But in 
France at the end of the last century it was not so. The 
petite Industrie prevailed everywhere except in the large 
towns, where the workshop system had obtained a foot- 
ing, though even there without having by any means 
entirely supplanted the smaller production. The law of 
maximum alone was therefore sufficient to meet all 
requirements. Scarcity and want there was still, but it 



62 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

was a scarcity and want due, for the most part, to other 
than remediable social conditions. Bad harvests, the de- 
vastations of foreign invasion and civil war, had reduced 
France to the lowest ebb. The law of maximum saved 
it. With the two francs a day which was voted at a 
subsequent period as the allowance of every attendant 
at the primary assemblies of the sections or wardships, 
of which there were 44,000 in all France, the problem of 
the unemployed was solved for the nonce. The number 
of the unemployed in all trades ministering to the lux- 
uries of the rich may be imagined, and a measure of this 
kind was absolutely essential. 

The net result of the interference by the Convention 
with the " Laws of Political Economy " is well expressed 
by Carlyle, where he declares that " there is no 
period to be met with in which the general 25,000,000 of 
France suffered less than in this period, which they name 
reign of terror." Time was as yet not ripe for the great 
constructive movement of modern Socialism, and hence 
the merely remedial treatment here explained was all 
that could even be attempted. The great fact to be 
noted is that, for the first time in history, the cry for 
material and social equality as opposed to mere political 
and legal equality, became definitely articulate. That 
cry has often enough since been smothered, but has al- 
ways made itself heard again at short intervals. The 
party of the Mountain and the Jacobins, the Baboeuf 
conspiracy, the Chartist movement, the days of June, 
1848, the Commune of 1871, are all so many stages in 
the awakening of the Proletariat to the full consciousness 
of itself which it attains in modern Socialism. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE FALL OF THE GIUONDE. 

APART from the laws referred to in the last chapter, 
which were with difficulty forced through the Legislature 
by the Mountain, the six weeks which elapsed between 
the acquittal of Marat and the 2nd of June, the day of 
the extinction of the Girondist power, were fruitful in 
^/nothing but a progressive mutual exacerbation of the 
two parties. Petitions and deputations began to pour in 
praying for the expulsion and even condemnation of 
some twenty-two of the leading Girondists. On the 
10th of May the Convention shifted its quarters from the 
old Riding School to the Tuileries. The avenues to the 
new Convention hall were continually blocked by sans- 
culottes (the breech less), the name given to the party of 
the people since the emeute of the 21st of June, 1792, 
when among other emblems a pair of black breeches had 
been paraded in token of the want of these commodities 
by the working-classes of France. At last the Girondins 
made up their minds for a dashing stroke. Guadet 
suddenly moved the immediate suppression of the 
Commune, its place to be filled ad interim by the 
presidents of the sections, the transference of the 
legislation to Bourges with the smallest possible delay, and 
the despatch of the decree into the provinces by ^expresses. 
The Mountain was taken unawares, and it is .possible, if 
the Girondists had had the courage to proceed to action 
immediately, they might have been successful. But this 
they did not dare do in face of the urgency of the 



64 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

situation on the frontier, well knowing that civil war 
would be the outcome. Indeed, it is doubtful whether 
they could have in any case obtained a majority in the 
Assembly under the circumstances. Barre're proposed, 
as a compromise, the establishment of a commission of 
twelve members to enquire into the conduct of the 
municipality, to search out the plots of the Jacobins, 
and to arrest suspected persons. The proposition was 
accepted, and the commission established. Under the 
pretence of having discovered a new conspiracy it 
immediately proceeded to imprison several prominent 
persons, among them being the secretary of the Com- 
mune, Hubert, editor of the Pere Duchesne newspaper. 
This at once excited immense popular indignation. 
Deputation followed deputation demanding Hebert's 
release. The Commune, the Mountainist mayor, Pache, 
at its head, placed itself in permanent connection with 
the committees of the sections, which, together with the 
clubs of the Jacobins and Cordeliers, declared themselves 
in permanent session. 

On the 27th of May, the rising of Paris against the 
Convention began. The Commune presented itself before 
the Convention in a body, demanding the release of Hebert, 
its chief secretary, and the suppression of the Girondist 
Commission. Deputies from the sections followed, all 
calling for its suppression, and some for the arrest of^ts 
members. The Girondist president, Isnard, met these 
demands with the threat that the departments should be 
raised and Paris annihilated, so that " the wayfarer would 
have to enquire on which side of the Seine Paris had 
stood," a reply which became the signal for a general 
revolt of the Mountain. 

The hall was now the scene of violent confusion, in 
which swords and pistols were drawn, and during which 
the crowd poured in, the upshot being that Isnard was 
compelled to leave the chair and make way for the 
Mountainist and friend of Danton, Herault de Sechelles. 



THE FALL OF THE GIRONDE. 65 

Herault at once replied, conceding the demands of the 
petitioners. 

The Mountain had won the day ; Hebert's arrest was 
annulled, and the commission suppressed amid the 
acclamation of the populace. The next day the Girondists, 
with suicidal folly, succeeded by a scratch majority in 
re-establishing the Commission on the ground that the 
proceedings of the previous day had been irregular. A 
veritable yell of indignation from clubs, sections, and 
municipality greeted this resolution. Kobespierre, 
Dan ton, Marat, Chaumette, and Pache constituted them- 
selves into an informal committee to organise anew the 
movement. On the 30th, the clubs and sections publicly 
declared themselves in a state of insurrection, their 
delegates, to the number of ninty-six, entering the Hotel 
de Ville, and as a matter of form annulling the muni- 
cipality (as a legally constituted body), but immediately 
reinstating its members in their functions under in- 
surrectionary auspices. Mayor Pache was sent to report 
the matter to the Convention, while Henriot, the new 
commandant of the National Guard, called upon the 
sections to be ready for action at any moment, the 
sansculottes to be allowed two francs a-day so long as 
they remained under orders. Early the following morn- 
ing, the 31st, the tocsin was rung and the generate beat, 
and the armed sections were assembled and marched 
upon the Tuileries. 

The signal for the insurrection was an alarm cannon 
which was fired just as Mayor Pache was making his 
report, and, it must be admitted, trying to hoodwink the 
legislature with the pretence that he was not privy to 
the proceedings. The consternation in the assembly at 
the ominous sound was general. Danton rushed to the 
tribune to demand anew the suppression of the Com- 
mission. All the leading Mountainists did the same. 
The majority still hesitated. Deputations now began to 
arrive thick and fast, till all the gangways were blocked 



66 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

up by excited crowds. The suppression of the Com- 
mission and the arrest of its members, and of the other 
leading Girondists, was loudly demanded on all sides. 
Various propositions were being discussed when the 
report spread that the Tuileries was surrounded by 
armed forces and the Convention no longer free. Even 
some members of the Mountain winced at this " outrage " 
on the " national sovereignty." At length it was decided 
that the Assembly should march out in a body and con- 
front the insurgents. This was done, Herault de 
Se'chelles leading the way. They were met by Henriot 
on horseback at the head of the armed bands, brandishing 
a sabre. " The people want not phrases," he said, " but 
the arrest of twenty-two traitors." 

Two cannons were immediately pointed straight at the 
Convention, which prudently retired. All the other exits 
from the Tuileries Gardens were found to bristle equally 
with pikes and sabres, so there was nothing for it but to 
go back again into the hall. The popular demands were 
no longer opposed. Marat, who had been the life and 
soul of the whole movement throughout, now dictated 
the names of the proscribed and the form of the resolu- 
tion, from the tribune. All the leading Girondins, 
including the twelve forming the Commission, were 
placed under arrest. Upon the result being known out- 
side, the insurgents quickly dispersed. Thus perished 
Girondism. Ever since the 10th of August, the nominal 
power in the State had been in the hands of the Girondist 
party; although, as we have seen, the real power was very 
far from being so. Henceforth they were a proscribed 
faction, whose members at last thought themselves lucky 
if they could find a corner of France in which to conceal 
themselves. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE SANSCULOTTE IN POWER. 

THE Girondists, driven successively from the Munici- 
pality, the Jacobins' Club, the Ministry, and finally from 
the Convention, now played out their last card, the 
attempt to raise the Provinces, which were largely with 
them. Never was the position of France more desperate 
than at this moment. " La Vendee " in open and hither- 
to successful insurrection on one side, the coalition of 
Europe again pouring in its levies on three sides, and a 
Girondist insurrection brewing at several points in the 
interior. The Girondists, after their defeat in Paris, 
tried to rally at Caen, in Normandy, which town became 
the head-quarters of the conspiracy as long as it lasted. 
Negotiations were entered into with General Wimpfen 
and a Royalist, one Comte Puisaye. Somehow, in spite 
of the sympathy of the departments, especially the large 
middle-class towns, the project failed completely as a 
general movement, partly owing to mismanagement, 
want of concert and Royalist intrigues, which alienated 
many otherwise sympathetic, partly to the presence of 
the foreign invader, and partly to the vigorous action 
of the leaders of the Revolution in Paris. The provinces 
hesitated, the insurgents dispersed, a few towns in the 
south only remaining to the Girondins. * The insurrection 
did not miscarry for want of tall talk, it is certain, for 
the Girondins as usual were eloquent in threats couched 
in well-rounded periods. 

While this was going on a young woman of " good " 



68 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 



family in Caen, who had been largely in the society of 
Girondins, and had heard much talk of Marat as the 
leader of the recent movement, without stating her in- 
tention to anybody, travelled up to Paris by diligence, 
and obtaining an interview with the popular leader 
under the pretext of furnishing information of the con- 
spiracy at Caen, murdered him. Poor Marat, who was 
almost dying at the time, was in a bath, his helpless 
condition rendering him an easy prey to the knife of 
his dastardly assassin. A few sous only were found in 
his possession. 

Thus perished the first great vindicator of the rights 
of the modern Proletariat, a truly single-minded champion 
of the oppressed. Of average intellect merely, it is 
Marat's unique and titanic force of character which must 
make him immortal in history. 

Charlotte Corday was tried and condemned before the 
revolutionary tribunal, maintaining a theatrical demean- 
our to the last. She was guillotined on the 17th of July, 
three days after the assassination. A poor fool, a 
native of Mainz, Adam Lutz by name, went crazy over 
her. 

The death of the " people's friend " caused a veritable 
panic in the ranks of the revolutionary party. No 
" patriot " was without some token of him. He was 
invoked in every revolutionary function, and his bust 
was crowned in all public assemblies. The Convention 
unanimously granted him the honours of the Pantheon. 
The fugitive Girondins now found their position harder 
than ever. They had to fly from Caen before the 
emissaries of the Mountain. Jacobin commissioners 
were scouring the country up and down, the revolu- 
tionary power in Paris having developed an almost 
superhuman activity. The only places where the insur- 
rection still flickered on was in Lyons, Marseilles, and 
Bordeaux, cities which had compromised themselves too 
far, to hope for forgiveness from the Convention, and 



THE SANSCULOTTE IN POWER. 69 

which (notably Lyons) were destined before long to feel 
the heavy hand of Sansculottic vengeance. 

Yet notwithstanding the virtual collapse of the Giron- 
dist rebellion the state of affairs had hardly improved. 
The armies, now again everywhere on the defensive, were 
disorganised and dispirited. Things still seemed utterly 
hopeless. If France was to be saved it could only be by 
a dead lift. The revolutionary power in Paris now con- 
sisted of the Convention (or rather the Mountain, which 
dominated the whole assembly), the two committees (of 
General Security and of Public Safety), the Commune, 
or Municipality, and, lastly, the clubs of the Jacobins 
and Cordeliers, especially the former, whose deliberations 
were hardly second in importance to those of the Con- 
vention. The primary assemblies of the forty-eight 
sections, in which every citizen was free to express his 
opinion, but which were almost entirely appropriated by 
the Sansculottes, together with the " revolutionary com- 
mittees " attached to them, were also a considerable 
factor in public affairs. 

This agglomeration of popular forces constituted the 
power which had to raise France and the Revolution out 
of the abyss into which they had sunk. The consolida- 
tion of the new government was the first thing to be 
attempted. The long-talked-oE Constitution was next 
put in hand, B^muJJLde__Secheiles being entrusted with 
the task of drawing it up! This celebrated Constitution 
of '93, for long regarded as the sheet-anchor of Sans- 
culottism, is probably the most thoroughgoing scheme 
of pure democracy ever devised. It not only formally 
recognised the people as the sole primary source of power, 
but it delegated the exercise of that power directly to 
them. Every measure was to be submitted to the 
primary assemblies of the " sections," of which there 
were forty-four thousand in'all France. The magistrates 
were to be re-elected at the shortest possible intervals by 
simple majority. The central legislature was to be re- 
newed annually, consisting of delegates from the primary 



70 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

assemblies, who were to be furnished with imperative 
mandates. 

This Constitution passed the Convention, and was 
accepted by a large majority of the " sections " through- 
out France. The representatives of the said forty-four 
thousand wardships, when they came to the Convention, 
demanded, in face of the existing emergency, " the arrest 
of all suspected persons and a general rising of the 
people." Danton, in a vigorous speech, moved that the 
commissioners of the primary assemblies should be in- 
structed to report the state of arms, provisions, and 
ammunition, and to raise a levy of four hundred thousand 
men, and that the Convention should take the oath of 
death or victory. This was carried unanimously. A 
few days after, Barrere, in the name of the Committees, 
proposed still more decisive measures. All the male 
population, from eighteen to forty, were placed under 
arms, and new requisitions were made. Soon there were 
forty armies, comprising in all 1,200,000 men. The 
Committee of Public Safety, with Carnot (grandfather 
of the present President of the French Republic) as chief 
of the War Department, were untiring in their energies 
in organising the defence. Forty sous a day was enacted 
as the allowance of every Sectionist. The famous Law 
of Suspects was passed, and wholesale arrests were made 
of persons thought to be of Girondist or Royalist sym- 
pathies. The middle-classes fared now as badly as the 
aristocracy had previously. The reign of terror had 
begun, necessitated by the same exigencies as the Sep- 
tember massacres imminent foreign invasion combined 
with domestic treachery. As before, the moment decisive 
action was taken, matters began to mend on all sides, 
for though Toulon was in the hand? of the English, Mar- 
seilles and Bordeaux were taken from the Girondin 
insurgents^ and Lyons beseiged. The Constitution, 
although carried, was suspended in face of the emergency, 
and, as a matter of fact, was never put into force. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE DICTATOKSHIP OF THE COMMUNE. 

THE Revolutionary power in Paris, as we have said, was 
nominally divided between the Commune, at the head of 
which were Hubert and Chaumette, the two committees, 
which included Robespierre, Danton, Carnot, &c., the 
Convention, and the popular clubs, whose influence, 
though unofficial and indirect, was in no respect less 
than that of the representative assembly itself. During 
the period from August 10th, 1792, to the opening of the 
Convention (21st Sept.), the chief centre of power lay 
with the Commune led by Danton; from the 21st of 
September to the 2nd of June, the Convention, as a body, 
was more or less dominant ; in the period from the 2nd 
of June, 1793, to the end of the year, power resided 
mainly in the Commune, led by the Hebertists ; thence- 
forward to the 27th of July, 1794 (the fall of Robe- 
spierre), it was the committees, especially the Committee 
of Public Safety, which practically dictated to France. 
The Jacobins' Club meanwhile reflected for the most 
part the attitude of the dominant Parisian opinion, and 
of the governing body. It underwent several epurations, 
or purifications, in the course of the revolutionary period, 
on which occasions a batch of members, whose views 
were out of accord with the prevalent feeling of the 
hour, would be expelled. 

Almost simultaneously with the collapse of the Giron- 
dist rising and the entry of the Convention troops into 
the cities of the south, the tide began to turn in La 
Vendee ; the attempt of the insurgents to take Nantes 
failed, and though the insurrection lingered on for some 
time longer it never again became formidable. The 
revolutionary armies, indeed, were nearly everywhere 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 



victorious under the new generals, Moreau, Hoche, 
Pichegru, Jourdan, Kellerrnann, &c. The Prussians and 
Austrians, under the command of the Prince of Coburg, 
were dislodged from their vantage-ground in the east ; 
the Spaniards driven back in the south, and the English 
and Hanoverians defeated in the north. Thus a second 
time was France, by a stupendous dead-lift effort, saved 
from imminent ruin by the raw levies of the Revolution. 

The victories of Dumouriez in '92 were repeated on a 
grander scale in the great campaign, which the genius of 
Carnot " organised" in '93 and '94. The Revolution now 
was answering the coalition in the spirit of Danton's 
defiant menace "the combined kings threatens us, we 
hurl at their feet as guage of battle the head of a king." 
France was converted into one vast camp. But for 
many months yet the French were not destined to feel 
themselves "out of the wood." The dread of possible 
reverses followed by invasion and political extinction 
was ever before their eyes. And hence it was not till 
the end of July, '94, that the reaction against the 
" Terror " had gathered strength enough to overthrow 
the system itself. So long as danger threatened from 
without, public opinion tolerated the guillotine, and at the 
period at which we have arrived, the great activity of 
that famous instrument began. The " law of the suspect," 
which enabled the committes of the sections to arrest 
all suspected persons and incarcerate them prior to their 
being brought before the revolutionary tribunal, speedily 
filled the prisons to overflowing. After conviction and 
death the property of the executed was confiscated to 
the State. 

The Commune was the virtual head of the re- 
volutionary committees of the sections in the pro- 
vinces as well as in Paris. It had a special force 
of 7,000 men, commanded by Ronsin, the dramatist, 
and called the " Revolutionary Army," under its 
orders, besides flying columns in its pay scouring 



THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE COMMUNE. 73 

different parts of the country. The Commune may be 
taken as the representative in the Revolution of the pro- 
letarian interest, pure and simple. Though the circum- 
stances of the time caused it to be, unhappily, an instrument 
of the Terror,its activity was by no means confined to this. 
The Commune made it pretty soon evident than in its 
eyes the existence of a commercial middle-class was 
quite as incompatible with the welfare of the people as 
that of an aristocracy. 

Economical equality was the avowed end of the 
Revolution for the Commune. Hebert and Chaumette, 
nevertheless, busied themselves with various projects of 
a palliative character, such as hospital and prison reform. 
They attempted to introduce primary and secular educa- 
tion into every village in France. The law of maximum 
(and compulsory sale) was at their suggestion enlarged 
in scope, being applied to almost all articles of common 
consumption. Forestalling was forbidden under the 
heaviest penalties. A maximum was even applied to 
wages at this time, a proceeding calculated in a society 
not yet out of the small production to make considerable 
havoc with what some people call the " rent of ability," 
though it was enacted solely with a view to government 
employment for the national defence. The Bourse was 
closed. Financial and commercial syndicates were dis- 
solved. The paper money, or assignats, were made 
compulsory tender at their nominal value. 

On the oth of October the new Republican calendar, 
the joint work of the astronomer Romme, who furnished 
the calculations, and the clever feuilletonist, Fabre d'Eg- 
lantine, who supplied the poetical nomenclature, came 
into operation. The new era was to date from the 
declaration of the Republic, the 21st of September, 1792, 
so that the months do not coincide with those of the 
ordinary calendar. The three autumn months were 
Vencle'miaire, or the vintage month, Bruwwdre, or the 
foggy month, and Frimaire, or the frosty month ; the 



74 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

three winter months, Nivose, or the snowy month, 
Pluviose, or the rainy month, and Ventose, or the windy 
month ; the three spring months, Germinal, or the 
budding month, Forkal, or the flowery month, and Prai- 
rial, or the meadowy month ; and the three summer 
months, Messidor, or the reaping month, Thermidor, or 
the heating month, and Fructidor, or the fruiting month. 
The week of seven days was abolished and decades or 
periods of ten days instituted instead. 

But the work for which the Commune is most famous 
is the establishment of the new Cultus the Worship of 
Reason. The Hebertists, as the party of the Commune 
were now called, and among whom was Anacharsis Clootz, 
were firmly convinced that deliverance from the dogmas of 
supernatural religion was the necessary complement of 
deliverance from the thraldom of privilege and wealth. 
In accordance with 18th century habits of thought, 
especially in France with its classicism, the idea naturally 
suggested itself of initiating a worship of Reason as 
personified, on the ruins of God, Christ, and the Virgin. 
For some time past, stimulated by the missionaries of 
the Commune, numbers of priests had been sending in their 
demissions, declaring they would no longer preach a lie, 
and that Liberty and the public welfare were their only 
gods. The church plate in every part of France was melted 
down for patriotic uses, vestments, bibles, and brevia- 
ries made bonfires, to the accompaniment of the " Car- 
magnole." Early in November Gobel, the Archbishop of 
Paris, together with his chapter, entered the Convention 
hall to publicly renounce the Christian faith. Christian 
rites and worship were now proscribed, and a Festival 
of Reason was decreed by the Commune at the instance 
of Chaumette. A few days later, and a procession of 
citizens and citizenesses, in priestly vestments, and other 
fantastic costumes, followed by mules and barrows laden 
with church furniture, defiled into the Convention, and 
after chanting strophes to Reason, proceeded to dance 



THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE COMMUNE. 75 

the " Carmagnole," many of the legislators taking part. 
Later on the same day, Procureur Chaumette, at the 
head of the Commune and the presidents of sections, 
<s arrived bearing in their midst, on a palaquin, Mdlle. 
Candeille, the danseuse, in bonnet rouge and blue mantle, 
garlanded with oak as the Goddess of Reason. The 
bulk of the Convention then rose, and after giving the 
goddess the formal kiss, proceeded in a body to Notre 
Dame, where the new worship was inaugurated amid 
music, tricolour, and virgins dressed in white. A similar 
ceremony with other goddesses took place at St. Eustache, 
and other of the principal churches of Paris. Commis- 
sioners soon established the new worship throughout the 
length and breadth of French territory, from Antwerp 
, in the north to Marseilles in the south. In place of the 
Mass the old cathedrals re-echoed to strophes in honour 
of Reason and in praise of " Liberty, Equality, and Fra- 
ternity." Over the churchyards appeared the device, 
" Death is an eternal sleep." Old things hai rassed 
away, and all things had become new. It should be 
said that the " Goddess of Reason " was never intended to 
be more than a symbol, and not as has been sometimes 
represented, herself an object of worship. Viewed in its 
true light, the idea, if somewhat pedantic was not 
unpleasing. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE TERROR. 

BY means of its courageous contempt for the so-called 
laws of political economy, its wholesale requisitions and 
the compulsion exercised on all traders and farmers, with 
the aid of its " revolutionary army," to sell at the maxi- 
mum price, the fearful misery occasioned by the circum- 
stances of the time was kept under to a considerable 
extent by the Commune. The revolutionary committees 
established in every section of France, the ambulatory 
deputies who watched the provinces and were present 
with the military forces, and last, but not least, the army 
of the Commune under General Ronsin, nevertheless had 
hard work to prevent the law of maximum from being 
violated. The Commune now granted a free allowance 
of bread for each family. Arrests in Paris and the pro- 
vinces went on apace. By the end of October 3,000 

persons were in the prisons of Paris alone, the revolu- 
tionary committees formed in every section having, as 
already stated, power to arrest all persons suspected of 
reactionary tendencies. 

"*!S On the 14th of October the queen, Marie Antoinette, 
was brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal and con- 
victed, after two days' hearing, on overwhelming evidence, 
of the basest treachery towards France, and of the most 
sanguinary intentions with regard to Paris. It was, in- 
deed, high time that this atrocious woman met her de- 
serts. When the country was at the lowest depths of 

^ misery some years before the outbreak of the Revolution, 
all this abandoned wretch could think of was squandering 



THE TERROR. 77 



fabulous sums of the nation's wealth, in conjunction with 
her friend, the Court head prostitute and procuress, the 
Princess de Lamballe (killed in the September massacres), 
on jewels, balls, and sinecures for her paramours. If 
anyone ventured to call attention to some flagrant abuse 
in her presence, he was invariably silenced with the 
reply, " Yes, but we must amuse ourselves " ( " Oui, mais 

/ il taut s'amuser)." It was only after her amusements had 
been curtailed by the utter collapse of the finances, a 
consummation to which she had contributed so largely by 
her criminal extravagances, that she began to interest 
herself in public affairs. Her aim was then to get back 
the means for her debaucheries, and when the Revolution 
broke out and affairs looked less and less productive of 
diamond necklaces, &c., her hatred against the new 
regime which had deprived her of those things naturally 
knew no bounds, and henceforth her one hope was a 
foreign invasion, which would quench the Revolution in 
the blood of France, and place the French people once 
more in her power. As for poor, feeble, foolish Louis, 
he was completely in the toils of this noxious reptile. 1 
Many who looked on at the tumbril conveying her to 
execution must have been inclined to think that the 
guillotine was too good for the foul Autrichienne. 

She was not without a certain histrionic ability, and 
when before the tribunal played out her " queenly figure " 
in a manner which showed that she might have gained 

/ an honest living in transpontine melodrama. Much in- 
dignation has been expended on the charge of misconduct 
towards her son, the little dauphin, which Hebert brought 
against her. It is sufficient here to state that there are 
extant documents which show that the charge was not 

1 The real character of Maria Antoinette, apart from the lies of 
Royalist historians, may be seen from her correspondence with 
Maria-Theresa, and of the latter with the Comte Mercy D'Argenteau. 
A good digest of it is given in M. Georges Avenel's essay, "La 
Vrai Marie Antoinette." 



78 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

made without very good grounds, although in the nature 
of things it could not be certainly proved. The fact is, 
it is a mistake to apply the ordinary canons of maternity 
to a creature like Marie Antoinette. She was altogether 

y an obscene abortion of the corrupt court-life of the 18th 
century, the like of which, let us hope, may never be seen 
again. 

Apropos of the dauphin, it is necessary to caution our 
readers against the lies of the reaction anent his treat- 
ment, and especially the foul calumnies against the 
young shoemaker, Simon, in whose care he was placed. 
All the contemporary evidence goes to show that the 
poor child received every consideration and kindness, but 
that having inherited a scrofulous or syphillitic con- 
stitution from both parents, which was further weakened 
in ways unnecessary to go into, it was impossible to rear 
him, that in spite of every care he died in the Temple 

^ the following year. 

rthi the 24th of October the 22 Girondists were brought 
to trial. They were convicted after five days' proceed- 
ings, and guillotined on the sixth. Valaze, one of 
their number, stabbed himself to death with a dagger on 
hearing the sentence, but his body was nevertheless sent 
to be guillotined with the rest. They embraced each other 
on arriving at the "Place de la Revolution," and died 
singing the " Marseillaise." Proofs of their complicity in 
the insurrection of the departments were complete. 

v They had played for high stakes and lost. Seventy- 

^"three other Girondist deputies had been for some time 
under lock and key, having been compromised in some 
papers found at the house of a deputy whom Charlotte 
Corday had visited on her first arrival in Paris. With 

~~~the execution of the twenty-two, however, Girondism, as 
a distinct party, finally disappears from history. The 
Girondins, it may here be mentioned, were largely under 
the influence of Voltaire, just as the Mountain as a party 
was chiefly under the influence of Rousseau. 



THE TERROR. 79 



Meanwhile Lyons, the last stronghold of Royalism and 
Girondism, had fallen, and Toulon had been recovered 
from the English, to whom it had been surrendered. 
Both towns were visited with a fearful vengeance. 
Collot d'Herbois, who was a member both of the Com- 
mune and of the Committee of Public Safety, acting in 
conjunction with Couthon, the disciple of Robespierre, 
ordered wholesale massacres of the inhabitants of 
the former city in his capacity of Commissioner. 
Billaud-Varennes, a colleague of Collot's, was also a lead- 
ing agent of the terror. Lebon worked the guillotine at ^ 
Arras. Freron the Dantonist made his holocausts at x 
Marseilles and Toulouse, and Tallien at Bordeaux. 
At Nantes, Carrier, another Commissioner, inaugurated ^ 
his horrible Noyades, or drownings, in which those v - 
suspected of Royalism or Moderatism were placed in 
boats with false bottoms and drowned in the Loire. In 
some of these cases a man and woman were tied together' 1 "" 
naked. This was called "Republican marriage." The 
Revolutionary Commissioners or Pro-Consuls in some 
cases travelled from town to town carrying a guillotine 
with them. All these things were very infamous, it will 
be said, and so they were. But they were not any 
worse, if so bad, as the acts of more than one i espectable 
government in '48, of the Czar in Poland in 'C3, or of / 
the Versaillists in Paris in 71, events which the middle- " 
classes have complacently swallowed without indigna- 
tion ! 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE FALL OF THE H^BERTISTS. 

AFTER the 10th of August and the events that arose out 
of it of which he was the heart and soul, Danton had 
proved something of a failure. His peace negociations 
with England had led to nothing, his attempts at recon- 
ciliation between Mountain and Gironde had likewise 
proved abortive ; he had played no important part since 
the 2nd of June in the Convention itself, and finally 
retired with his young wife for some weeks in disgust 
to his native town of Arcis sur Aube, whence he returned 
some time after to join his friend Camille Desmoulins in 
attacking the system of the terror. It should be explained 
that the Cordeliers' Club, of which Danton had formerly 
been the head, had been reconstituted some time since, and 
was now entirely composed of Hdbertists. Camille, at the 
beginning of December, started a new journal called "The 
Old Cordelier," which attacked the Terrorists, and 
especially the Commune, with bitter sarcasm. At first 
Robespierre approved of the sentiments there expressed, 
and even looked over and corrected the proofs of the 
first numbers. It pleased him that the Hebertists were 
sharply attacked. For the pedantic Rousseauite prig ,/ 
Robespierre was mortally offended with the atheism of 
the party of the Commune, and had recently been de- 
livering violent harangues against the worship of Reason, 
at the Jacobins' Club. Robespierre, who was ambitious 
being the Washington of France, and had set his mind 
upon getting himself recognised by the powers, wished 
to pose before them as the moderate man opposed to 
excesses of every description, and thereby to win them 
over. There was also an old -standing jealousy on 
the part of the Committee of Public Safety with 
the Commune on account of the influence the latter 
wielded with the aid of its "revolutionary army." 



THE PALL OF THE HEBERT1STS. 81 

Nevertheless, Robespierre's two colleagues on the com- 
mittee, Billaud Varennes and Collot D'Herbois, were 
enraged at the idea of even mitigating the " Terror," and 
the notion found but little support generally. Robe- 
spierre, whose influence was now immense, became sud- 
denly alarmed lest he should be tarred with moderation, 
and hence a coolness sprang up between him and his 
friend Camille arid the other Dantonists. 

Meanwhile the guillotine was working steadily every 
day, and some noteworthy heads were falling or had lately 
fallen. Among them we may notice Philippe D'Orleans 
Egalite, the ex-member of the Mountain and the king's 
cousin, arrested at the time Dumouriez's intrigues with 
his son became known, and decreed accused along with 
the Girondins, but not convicted till later. In November, 
Madame Koland was also put on her trial. She was 
condemned, and went to the Place de'la Revolution by 
the side of a poor printer, whom she endeavoured to 
console. Arrived there, she asked for paper and ink to 
write down "the strange thoughts that were arising 
within her." Madame Roland was a remarkable woman, 
but even apart from her politics, one is repelled by her 
perpetual pedantry and posing, and still more by her 
,/ venomous hatred and malignant calumnies against her 
opponents. She was an intrigueuse of the first rank, 
and practically led the tactics of the Girondist party. 

Bailly, the first mayor of Paris under the new regime, 
him of the red flag of the Champ de Mars, in July, 1791, 
was one of the executed. Barnard, the Constitutionalist 
leader in the Constituent Assembly, also suffered. The 
corpse of the Girondist, Pe'tion, who succeeded Bailly in 
the mayoralty of Paris, was found about this time in a 
wood near St. Emilion, partly devoured by wolves. The 
heads of ex-ministers and generals were falling by the score. 

But to return to the contest of parties in the govern- 
ment. Put in a few words, the matter stood as follows : 
on one side were the Hebertists, representing the Com- 
mune and the Terror; on the opposite were the Dan- 



82 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 



tonists, representing to a large extent the Convention 
party, and hostile now to both the Commune and the 
Terror, wishing to see the Constitution established and 
the Convention all powerful. Between the two were 
the committees, that of " public safety " being the domi- 
nant one. The committee-men were mostly hostile to the 
power of the Commune, which stood in their way, but 
were determined to maintain the system of the Terror, 
and not to let the Convention override their authority. 

Robespierre, after some hesitation, ranged himself on 
the side of his committee alike against the Dantonists, 
with whom he had, up till now, been friendly, and the 
Hebertists, to whom he had been always more or less 
hostile. The struggle lasted between three and four 
months, and many were the stormy meetings of Jacobins, 
Cordeliers, and "sections," anent this death-drama between 
the Sansculottes, the Dantonists, and the committee-men.y 
Since the reconstitution of the Committee of Public 
Safety in July, when Billaud and Collot came into 
it, the Dantonists had had no influence on either of the 
committees. The attack on the Hebertists was begun 
by the suppression of the revolutionary armies in the 
provinces, and a decree forbidding the sending of agents 
into the provinces by the Commune, and this was followed 
up inside and outside the Convention by concerted attacks 
on every action of the Commune from the Dantonists, the 
Mountain, and from the Committees. The Jacobins' 
Club continued to be the battle-ground between Robe- 
spierre and the Hebertists. There Robespierre thundered 
nightly against atheistic intolerance, said that Atheism 
was aristocratic, on the ground that certain aristocrats 
had been Atheists, omitting to recognise the fact that 
they wished to retain Atheism and Freethought as an 
exclusive privilege of their class. He maundered about ^ 
the necessity of a Supreme Being as the avenger of in- 
jured innocence, and much more of a similar kind. 

At last the compact between Robespierre and his fellow- 
committee-men, Billaud and Collot, was struck. They were 



THE FALL OF THE HEBERTISTS. 83 

to surrender their old friends the Hebertists, while he was 
to surrender the Dantonists. A projected insurrection 
inaugurated by the " section " called " Marat," in favour 
of the Hebertists, miscarried, owing to the failure to 
take action at the right moment. Accordingly Hebert, 
Ronsin, Vincent, Clootz, Momoro, and others, already 
expelled from the Jacobins' Club, were arrested, and after 
a mock trial, in which they were accused of taking 
money from the English Government to discredit the 
Republic by their excesses, were, on 24th March, 1794, 
sent to the guillotine. Poor Chaumette's turn came a 
few days later. 

A week afterwards Danton, who had come back to 
Paris at the earnest solicitation of his friends, and had 
sought ineffectually to compromise matters with Robe- 
spierre, was sent before the revolutionary tribunal. This 
was Robespierre's great coup. Danton's personality, com- 
bined with his oratory, was nearly securing his acquittal, 
when Robespierre got a special law hurried through the 
Convention, which closed his mouth, and he, too, went 
his way in company with his friends Camille Desmoulins, 
Phillipeaux, Herault, De Sechelles, and others, to the 
Place de la Revolution. Thus was the Revolution, indeed, 
.like Saturn, devouring its own children. 

When we first came across Robespierre, he was, although 
a prig, and a repulsive prig at that, apparently actuated 
by as much honesty of purpose as any other leader. His 
services to the Revolution at all the great crises were 
real. But the germ of ambition and personal self-seeking, 
which was always observable, grew with the progress of 
events, until, at the period we have now reached, he had 
developed into a monster, actuated by one aim to be- 
come dictator, and prepared to make any sacrifice what- 
ever for the accomplishment of that aim. The murder 
of friends like Danton and Desmoulins, with whom he 
had lived and worked on terms of close intimacy since 
the beginning of the Revolution, yields to nothing in 
history for its treachery and infamy. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE RULE OF ROBESPIERRE. 

THE old Commune was now overthrown, and all inde- 
pendence stifled in the Convention. No initiative 
remained but that of the Committee of Public Safety, 
and in the Committee itself little, at least in internal 
affairs, but that of Maximilian Robespierre and his 
partisans. The chief among the latter were Couthon 
and Lebas in Paris, and St. Just and Lebon as Commis- 
sioners in the provinces. The municipality, now that 
most of the old members were guillotined or expelled, 
was filled up with subordinate creatures of Robespierre. 
A Belgian architect, named Fleuriot-Lescot, replaced the 
devoted and noble-minded Pauhe as mayor of Paris. The 
same thing went on all round. The Cordelier's Club was 
suppressed. Robespierre had succeeded in reducing the 
Jacobins' Club to a mere claque of his own. The 
Convention was not much better. A look from the 
"Incorruptible" (as Robespierre was called) sufficed to 
frown down all opposition. 

The increase of the Terror now became frightful all 
over France, but especially in Paris. Robespierre himself 
directed the police department. On the 22nd of Prairial 
(the 10th of June), an atrocious law was passed at the 
instigation of the dictator, whereby persons sent before 
the revolutionary tribunal, now divided into four 
sections, were refused the right of defence. This meant, 
of course, that whereas before about a third of those 
accused were acquitted, henceforth all prisoners were 
condemned, when nothing else could be alleged against 
them, on the general and vague charge of " conspiracies 



THE RULE OF ROBESPIERRE. 85 

in the prisons." Men and women were now tried by the 
public prosecutor, Fouquier Tinville, and the judges of the 
Tribunal, in batches of tifty or sixty at once. It would be a 
mistake to suppose that it was chiefly the well-to-do that 
suffered. On the contrary, out of 2,750 victims of 
Robespierre's, only C50 belonged to the upper or middle- 
classes. The tumbrils that wended their way daily to 
the Place de la Revolution and afterwards to the 
Faubourg St. Antoine, were largely filled with working- 
men. During the last three weeks of the tyrant's 
rule, 1,125 persons were executed in Paris alone. 
Thus did this criminal monster drown the Revolution 
itself in the blood of his victims. Marat had already 
foreseen the results of Robespierre's self-idolatry, when 
during a speech of the latter in the Convention, he 
whispered to his neighbour, Dubois-Crance, " With such 
doctrines as that, he will do more harm than all the tyrants 
put together." 

The notion of becoming the high-priest of a new 
religion had been working in Robespierre's mind ever 
since the fall of the Hebertists. After many speeches in 
the Jacobins' Club, on the 18th of May, Maximilian at 
last mounted the Convention tribune to demand that it 
be decreed that " the French people recognises the exist- 
ence of a Supreme Being and the immortality of the 
soul/' and that a festival should be held in honour of the 
said Being. In his speech he dwelt on the distinction 
between a pure Deism and the superstitious cults of 
priests, said that it mattered not whether the existence 
of God were demonstrable or even probable, that " in the 
eyes of the legislator all is truth which is useful in the 
world and in practice," that a god was an indispensable 
article of state- furniture, and much more to the same 
effect. Deputations from the new Robespierrised Com- 
mune, from the Jacobins, and from the sections next filed 
in with the petition that the Convention should vouchsafe 
to grant them a God and Immortality. The resolution 



86 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 



was carried amid thunders of applause in the same Con- 
vention which six months previously had applauded the 
atheistic worship of Reason. 

A few days afterwards, one undoubted, and another 
more questionable, attempt at assassination was made. 
The first on Collot D'Herbois, on the steps of his house ; 
and the second on Robespierre himself by a young woman 
named Ce'cilie Renault. Robespierre was out when she 
called, but she was arrested, and knives were found in her 
possession. She was guillotined, together with all her 
iamily. Fifty-four persons, dressed in red smocks, were 
involved in this execution, which took place in the 
Faubourg St. Antoine, the great workmen's quarter. 

At last the eventful day, the 20th of Prairial (8th of 
June), fixed for the glorification of the Supreme Being, 
arrived. The Convention, the Jacobins, and Sections in 
gala attire, might have been seen wending their way, in 
splendid summer weather, through the Tuileries' Gardens, 
the procession headed by Robespierre, radiant in sky- 
blue coat and black breeches, bearing in his hand an 
enormous bunch of corn, fruits, and flowers, a classical 
touch suggested by the pagan functions of antiquity. 
Arrived at an improvised altar, on the top of which were 
allegorical figures intended to represent Atheism, Anarchy, 
&c., Robespierre proceeded to set fire to the latter with a 
torch. They blazed away, and presently by a triumph 
of mechanical art the Supreme Being himself emerged 
from their ashes, rather the worse for smoke, it is said. 
The "Incorruptible" made three harangues, but the 
hopes of those who expected an announcement of a 
cessation of the Terror were damped when he proclaimed : 
" To-day let us enjoy ourselves, to-morrow begin afresh 
to fight the enemies of the Revolution." All knew what 
this meant, and two days later the monstrous law before 
spoken of was passed, and the Terror entered upon its 
last and acutest stage. 

This disappointment of the public hopes was the be- 



THE RULE OF ROBESPIERRE. 87 

ginning of the fall of Robespierre's popularity outside the 
governing bodies. Suppressed hatred and jealousy of 
him had long been the growing feeling in the Convention, 
while on the Committee of Public Safety he had become 

v at loggerheads with all except his own henchmen. The 
law of Prairial was the last occasion that the Committee 
appeared united before the Convention. Fouquier Tinville, 
the public prosecutor, went to the Committee himself to 
complain of the new law as being the reductio ad 
absurdum of the Terror, and was told that it had been 
yielded under protest to Robespierre's importunity. So 
strained were the relations, that Robespierre henceforth 
rarely attended the sittings of the Committee, and ap- 
peared comparatively seldom in the Convention itself, 
leaving everything to Couthon, St. Jjoat, and Lebas. On 
the other hand, he was assiduous in his attendance at the 
Jacobins'. He never went out of doors, indeed, now, with- 
out an escort of Jacobins armed with bludgeons. An in- 
cident occurred about this time which was dexterously used 
by his enemies to throw ridicule upon the high -priest and 
would-be dictator. A crazy woman named Catherine 
The'ot, calling herself the Mother of God, proclaimed the 
advent of a Messiah, and in conjunction with an ex-priest 
set up a kind of free-masonic society. BarreVe, the 
dexterous trimmer, drew up a clever report on the sub- 
ject, in which he hinted at Robespierre's desiring to profit 
by the proceedings of the fanatics without naming him. 
Billaud, Collot, and the members o the "Committee of 
General Safety," who had been attached to the old Com- 
mune, and were partisans of the Worship of Reason, had 
taken offence at the cultus of the Supreme Being. " You 
and your Supreme Being," Billaud was heard to say in a 
stage-aside on the occasion, " are beginning to bore me." 

/It was now, therefore, a case of "aut Caesar aut nullus," 
with Robespierre, 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THERMIDOR. 

IT had become a matter of life and death to Robespierre 
to overthrow the hostile members of the committees and 
get himself recognised as dictator. St. Just tried it on 
on behalf of his friend several times with the " Public 
Safety," but without effect. St. Just, by the way, was 

Erobably the most sincere and enthusiastic of all the 
blowers of Robespierre. Not yet twenty-five years of 
age, he had made a great mark on the Revolution. His 
large, poetic eyes, his tall and dignified figure, his long 
dark hair, had obtained for him the nickname of the 
" apocalyptic." It was necessary to take action without 
delay. The whole of the Committee of General Security 
and the majority of the Committee of Public Safety were 
against Robespierre. The Convention therefore had to 
be tried, and failing the Convention an insurrection pro- 
claimed, headed by the Jacobins and the Commune. The 
latter bodies were prepared some time beforehand to resort 
to force if necessary to the ends of their champion, and a 
conspiracy was actually formed, the leaders of which were 
St. Just, Couthon, who, together with Robespierre, consti- 
tuted the so-called triumvirate, the Mayor Fleuriot, the 
"national agent" Payan, Durnas, the president, and 
Coffinhal, the vice-president of the Revolutionary Tri- 
bunal. _St^ Just had been recalled in great haste by 
Robespierre from his mission with the army of the North, 
and when apprised of the state of affairs he advised an 
immediate coup d'etat. This, however, was impracticable. 
The Convention had to be sounded first, otherwise the 



THERMIDOR. 89 



pretext for rising was wanting. Accordingly, early on 
the 26th of July (8th of Thermidor) Robespierre repaired 
to the Assembly and opened the sitting with a long and 
dexterous speech, denouncing the Committees and de- 
fending himself in the name of the national sovereignty. 
He wound up by recommending a general " purification " 
all round of the Committees and of the Convention. 

Robespierre sat down amid absolute silence. Not a 
sound or word of applause greeted his challenge. Pre- 
sently, a member, Lecointre, rose and moved the printing 
and circulation of the harangue. This was at once 
vigorously resisted, but was eventually carried. 

The members of the two Committees, hitherto silent, 
now took up the challenge. They attacked Robespierre 
in turn. The upshot was that the decree for the print- 
ing and circulation of the discourse was virtually re- 
scinded, being referred to the Committees for examina- 
tion. Robespierre, surprised at the unwonted resistance, 
left the sitting discouraged, but without despairing of the 
situation. 

In the evening he repaired to the Jacobins', when he 
re-read the discourse of the morning, and here it was, 
of course, greeted with tumultous applause. The Com- 
mittees, on their side, kept together all night. Nothing 
was omitted during these momentous hours by either 
party to ensure victory on the morrow. The Committees 
and the Mountain negociated successfully with the Plain 
to bring about common action in the Assembly. Before 
noon the following clay, July 27th (9th Thermidor), 
members were to be seen encouraging each other in the 
corridors. The sitting was opened by St. Just. He had 
scarcely begun his speech, attacking the Committees, 
when he was interrupted and denounced by the ex- 
commissioner Tallien, who demanded that " the veil should 
be withdrawn from the conspiracy." Tallien was sup- 
ported on all sides. Billaud Varennes then spoke of 
" packed " meetings of Jacobins, of threats against the 






90 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

representatives, &c. At this point of Billaud's speech the 
whole Convention rose and swore to defend the national 
sovereignty amid the applause of the public in the gal- 
leries. All eyes were now turned towards Robespierre, 
who finally made a dash at the tribune. Before he could 
speak, however, the cry of " Down with the tyrant ! " 
resounded throughout the hall. 

Tallien, in an uncompromising speech, then demanded 
the arrest of Henriot, the commander of the reconstituted 
armed force of Paris, Billaud, the arrest of other par- 
tisans of Robespierre, measures which were at once 
acceded to. 

Robespierre repeatedly attempted to defend himself, 
but his voice was always drowned with shouts of " Down 
with the tyrant ! " and by the ringing of the President's 
bell. He turned to the " Plain," he turned to the public 
in the galleries, there was no response from either. Finally 
he sank down on a seat, exhausted, and foaming at the 
mouth. 

" The blood of Danton chokes the wretch," cried a 
member of the Mountain. 

Robespierre's arrest was demanded on all sides. His 
brother, Augustin Robespierre, Couthon, Lebas, and L 
Just* all claimed to_share__his_fate, and were finally all 
given into the hands of the gendarmerie. The moment 
this became known at the Hotel de Ville, where the 
Mayor, Payan, and Henriot were assembled with 
the Commune, orders were given for the barriers to be 
closed, the sections assembled, the tocsin sounded, the 
generate beaten, and the insurrection proclaimed. The 
ca noneers were ordered to repair to the Place de Greve 
by the Hotel de Ville, and the Revolutionary Committees 
were sent for to take the oath of insurrection. The 
arrested deputies had meanwhile been released by their 
partisans, on their way to the prisons, and brought in 
triumph to the Hotel de Ville. 

The Jacobins, who declared themselves in permanent 



THERMIDOR. 91 



session, formed a subordinate centre of insurrection. 
Henriot, who then rushed through the streets, pistol in 
hand, calling on the people to rise, was seized by two 
deputies, and was being brought to the Committees, when 
he was liberated by Coffinhal, at the head of two hundred 
cannoneers, of which Henriot himself at once took the 
command, placing them in position round the Convention. 
The Assembly, which had adjourned for a couple of 
hours, had now reassembled. It was seven o'clock. 
" Citizens/' said the President, " now is the time for us 
to die at our post." Affairs did certainly look hopeless for 
the Convention. Orders were almost immediately given 
by Henriot to fire, when, strange to say, the cannoneers, 
iwho, up to this time, had been with the insurgents, 
/hesitated, wavered, and finally refused to comply. In 
the hands of those two hundred cannoneers lay the fate 
of France. Henriot hurried off to the Hotel de Ville. It 
was now the turn of the Convention to take the aggres- 
sive. The response of the sections to the call of the Com- 
mune was not altogether satisfactory. The fact is, the 
movement of the last two days had been sudden even for 
Paris, and had developed out of a quarrel inside the 
government, with which the general public were im- 
perfectly acquainted. Besides this, Robespierre's unpopu- 
larity had now become general. Though the sections 
assembled at nine o'clock, they confined themselves to 
sending messages to the Commune, asking for further 
information. 

While the assembled sections were discussing the 
matter in the various wards of the city, delegates from 
the Convention arrived apprising them of the real posi- 
tion of affairs. They now no longer hesitated, but arm- 
ing themselves, immediately proceeded, not to the Place 
de Greve, but to the Tuileries, where they were naturally 
received with great enthusiasm. A small body, with a 
few pieces of artillery, having been left as a guard to the 
Convention, the remainder then marched off to attack the 



92 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

head centre of the insurrection the Hotel do Ville. The 
crowds which had assembled outside at the sound of the 
tocsin had gradually dispersed, finding the sections did 
not arrive, and the space was now much thinned. 
Emissaries from the Convention proclaimed the outlawry 
of the insurgents, upon which all that remained went 
home. 

The armed sections now arrived from the Tuileries, 
occupied all the outlets, and set up a prolonged shout of 
" Long live the Convention ! " The insurgents saw at 
once that all was lost. Robespierre shot himself, but 
only succeeded in breaking his jaw. His brother threw 
himself from the third story. Lebas killed himself with a 
pistol. Couthon mangled himself with a knife. Coffin- 
hal pitched Henriot from the window into the common 
sewer and managed to escape. St. Just alone awaited his 
fate with dignity and calmness. 

It was now about one o'clock in the morning. The 
conspirators were conducted first to the Committee of 
General Security. Robespierre lay on a litter suffering 
horribly, exposed to the jeers and taunts of the by- 
standers, who upbraided him with all his crimes. They 
were afterwards taken to the prison of the Conciergerie, 
and brought up thence the next day before the Revolu- 
tionary Tribunal, with others of their associates. They 
were, of course, condemned, and were executed the same 
evening at six o'clock. Immense crowds, hooting and 
jeering, thronged the streets to see the tumbrils as they 
passed. Uncomplimentary references to the Supreme 
Being and to the prospective immortality of Robespierre's 
soul were not wanting. A halt was made before the house 
where Robespierre had lodged. All eyes were turned on 
him in his " Supreme Being" blue coat, and the jeers and 
invectives grew louder. The sullen hatred which had been 
growing for weeks past suddenly found vent. At the 
time of his fall he probably had scarcely two or three 
hundred real followers in all Paris. 

Instead of mitigating or abolishing the Terror at the 
moment, when, the danger of invasion being past, it had 



THERMIDOR. 93 



Instead of mitigating or abolishing the Terror at the 
moment, when, the danger of invasion being past, it had 
no longer any solid backing in public opinion, he had 
^/chosen to exascerbate it, only too obviously for his own 
ambitious purposes. Thus he speedily degenerated from 
the most popular to the most hated man in all France. 
The battle of Fleurus on the 26th of June had secured 
for France the re-conquest of Belgium, and destroyed the 
last remaining chance of foreign invasion ; and hence, all 
but the blind followers of the system were determined to 
be rid of the Terror, the national extremity which gave 
rise to it having passed away. 

Robespierre was the last to ascend the scaffold. As 
Samson the executioner wrenched off the bloody linen 
which bound up his jaw, a horrible yell escaped him. This 
was the only sign of life since his arrest. The moment 
his head fell, a roar of applause, which lasted some min- 
utes, resounded far and wide on the evening air. Such 
was the celebrated Revolution of " Thermidor." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE REACTION BEGINS. 

IT is plain to us now that the fall of Robespierre meant 
the end of the Terror, although the partisans of the 
system on the Committees could not see it. The Billaud 
Varennes, Collot D'Herbois, arid Ban-eYes thought still to 
carry on the proscriptions with the other methods of 
revolutionary government. They lost influence every 
day. The Terror was at once abolished, except for the 
" tail " of Robespierre, the members of the Commune, 
some of the leading Robespierrists, Jacobins, &c., who 
were guillotined to the number of some hundred and 
fifty in a few days. In the relief which " Sansculottes " 
like the rest felt at being rid of the perpetual Damocles' 
sword of Tinville, and of the endless rant about " virtue," 
"austerity," "incorruptibility," with which Robespierre 
and his crew had sickened everyone, they little thought 
that the end of the Revolution itself, in so far as it 
interested the working classes of France, was at hand. 
In truth, the reaction had begun four months before, 
with the destruction of the party of the old Commune 
the Hebertists. When a Revolution proceeds to extermin- 
ate its most enthusiastic adherents its fate is obviously 
sealed. Robespierre had denounced the Hebertists as 
Atheists and Communists. To the inventor of the "Supre- 
me Being " and the " Declaration of Rights," which was 
foisted upon the Jacobins in opposition to Chaumette 
and Hebert, and according to which " the right of pro- 
perty is the right of every citizen to enjoy and dispose 



THE REACTION BEGINS. 95 

as he pleases of his goods," which provided also that "no 
commerce should be prohibited/' and no property ever 
confiscated even for public purposes "without indemnity" 
to such a one the Hdbertists were offensive without 
doubt. 

What Robespierre desired was, in short, a Republic of 
starched, middle-class prigs, of which he himself was 
to be the type. The Hebertists, especially men like 
Chaumette and Anacharsis Clootz, whatever their faults 
may have been, at least desired a change better worth 
fighting for than this. Their instincts were Socialistic 
though their ideas may have been vague, as they could 
scarcely fail to have been a century ago, when the 
" great industry " had hardly begun. As to the Terror, 
Robespierre substituted for the irregular methods of the 
Commune a systematic plan of butchery, which enabled 
him to rid himself conveniently of personal enemies. 
Still, even Robespierre, in spite of their contradicting the 
free trade principles he had laid down, did not dare to 
suggest abolishing the maximum and. other measures 
passed under the influence of the Commune for ensuring 
a possible livelihood to the working classes. This it was 
reserved for the Thermidorians to do. 

The Committee-men had accepted the aid of the Con- 
vention in overthrowing Robespierre and his party. 
They soon found that the Convention was as determined 
to rid itself of the dictatorship of the Committees as the 
Committees themselves had been that of Robespierre. 
The very next day the Committees began to be attacked. 
The abolition of the Revolutionary Tribunal was pro- 
posed. Barrere, who spoke in its support, was taunted 
with having been a Constitutional Royalist before the 
10th of August. The Convention, nevertheless, confined 
itself this time to issuing a decree of accusation against 
Fonquier Tinville and abolishing the law of Prairial. 

The Committees themselves were next reorganised and 
their power curtailed. The Paris Commune never again 



96 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

rose after its second defeat under Robespierre. The old 
suspects were gradually released from prison. But the 
reaction did not stop at abolishing the Terror. It began 
at once undoing all the " Sansculottic " work of the 
Revolution. First, the daily meetings of the sections 
were reduced to one in ten days. Next, the allowance of 
twenty sous a day for indigent members was done away 
with. Next, the maximum was abolished. The com- 
missioners Lebon and Carrier (the author of the noyades 
at Nantes) were now tried. Most of the old members of 
the Committees shortly after this either resigned or were 
ousted, and their places were filled with Thermidorians. 

Freron, the ex-Mountainist and now Reactionist, started 
a paper in which he proposed that the youth of the upper 
and middle classes should arm themselves with loaded 
sticks to resist the Sansculottes. The suggestion was 
eagerly adopted, and a new and fantastic dress was 
assumed as a counterblast to the Carmagnole costume of 
the popular party. An open-breasted front, long hair, 
done up behind in tresses, called cadenettes, and low 
shoes, formed the costume a la victime of the Jeunesse 
dore'e (gilded youth), as they were called. Every day 
street fights took place between them and the Jacobins. 
The latter, though they had undergone one of their 
customary purifications after the fall of Robespierre, and 
had duly sent a deputation congratulating the Convention 
on the death of " the tyrant," found themselves daily 
getting into worse odour with the dominant party. 

The Convention before long broke up the vast federa- 
tion of clubs of which the Paris Jacobins was the head 
by arbitrarily forbidding any further correspondence 
between the centre and the provincial branches. The 
Assembly, at the same time, declined to receive any 
further deputations. Nevertheless the club was still the 
rallying point of every revolutionary influence in Paris. 
An attempt was made to liberate Carrier, which, although 
unsuccessful, gave rise to a formidable disturbance, and 



THE RE A C TION BE GINS. 97 

led to the suspension of the Jacobin sittings by the Con- 
vention. The members assembled the next day notwith- 
standing, in defiance of the decree, but the meeting-place 
was attacked by the " gilded youth," and the Jacobins 
driven out. The Convention thereupon suppressed the 
club altogether (November 12). 

The Thermidorian party at first wanted a revolutionary 
reputation to counterbalance that of Robespierre, and 
chose Marat, who, owing to the jealousy of the former, 
had not as yet received the honours of the Pantheon, 
which the Convention had granted after his death. But 
it was not long before the reputation of Marat, like 
everything else belonging to the Proletarian side of the 
Revolution, fell under the ban of the reactionary party, 
his busts were everywhere destroyed, and his name be- 
came the bye word it has been ever since, or at least until 
quite recently. 

The decree of expulsion against the nobles and priests 
was now rescinded. The seventy-three members who 
had protested against the expulsion of the Girondins 
were released from prison and reinstated in their places 
in the Convention. The monument in front of the 
" Invalides," celebrating the victory of the Mountain over 
the Gironde, was destroyed. Soon after this the few 
remaining Girondist leaders who had come out of hiding 
were received back into the Convention, thus further 
strengthening the great " moderate party " which had 
formed out of the wreckage of various parties. In 
January, 1795, the churches were again opened for 
Christian worship, though here some caution was 
observed, a good many restrictions on religious propa- 
gandism being still maintained. The armies were now 
supplied solely by contract and not partially by requisi- 
tions on private property as heretofore. The confis- 
cated goods of suspects and of those executed during the 
Terror were restored in the first instance to themselves, 
in the second to their nearest relations. 

o 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE REACTION PROGRESSES. 

THE reaction was daily growing in intensity. The fury 
of the new " White Terror" in Paris had reached other 
leaders than Carrier and Lebon, both of whom had been 
guillotined. These other leaders were our old friends 
Billaud Varennes, Collot D'Herbois and Barrere, together 
with another committee-man, Vaclier. A demonstration 
in their favour, organised by the workmen's faubourgs of 
St. Antoine and St. Marceau, availed nothing. On 21st 
March (1st Germinal) they were brought before the 
Convention, and the proceedings lasted nine days. 

Though gallantly defended by the wreck of the 
"Mountain, they were like to be condemned, when once 
more the loyal workmen's quarters made an attempt to 
rescue them, and stormed the Convention to the cry of 
" Bread, the Constitution of '93, and the Liberty of the 
Patriots ! " This, too, proved abortive. Yet possibly fear 
of popular resentment prevented the Convention from 
passing a capital sentence this time. It confined itself to 
condemning the accused to transportation to Cayenne, 
where Collot took the yellow fever, drank off a whole 
bottle of brandy, and died ; and Billaud amused himself 
with breeding negroes and tame parrots. 

The turn of Fouquier Tinville and the jurymen of the 
Revolutionary Tribunal came next. They were con- 
demned and executed early in May. " Where are now 
thy batches ? " mockingly exclaimed some of the crowd, 
us Fouquier mounted the scaffold. " Wretched canaille,' 1 
Jeplied he, " is your bread any the cheaper for not having 



THE REACTION PROGRESSES. 99 

them ? " In truth, the economic situation was fearful. 
The abolition of the maximum and the forced currency 
produced a terrific crisis. The value of 5,000 francs in 
paper (assignats) sank to 20 francs in silver or gold. Fore- 
stalling, swindling, and extortion of every kind had a 
high time of it. Never before had starvation claimed so 
many victims as now. Death by the guillotine was suc- 
ceeded by death from hunger. The crowds at the bakers' 
doors were worse than even before the Revolution. 
Bitterly did St. Antoine and St. Marceau look back on 
the time when, under the Commune and the Committees, 
they had a sufficiency and power. 

The last of the popular insurrections (unless we in- 
clude the abortive Baboeuf conspiracy as one) took place 
on the 20th May (1st Prairial) of this year, 1795 (111), 
and was a well-organised and determined movement, but 
lacked leaders and staying power, and consequently fell 
through. The chief demands were still " Bread, the 
Constitution of '93, the release of all imprisoned patriots!" 
The faubourgs this time marched fully armed upon 
the Convention, which was taken by surprise, the daily 
recurring disturbances having hidden from it the fact 
that an organised insurrection was brewing. The doors 
were forced, and the sansculottes rushed in. At first re- 
pulsed, they returned in greater numbers. They fired at 
the president, Boissy D'Anglas. A deputy, Feraud, who 
rushed forward to protect him, was cut down by sabres, 
and his head fixed on a pike. All the deputies now fled, 
except those forming the rump of the old Mountain, to 
the number of about sixty. Romme (him of the calen- 
dar) now took the chair, and all the demands of the in- 
surgents were put and carried in rapid succession. 

But the wealthy " sections" had been apprised of what 
had happened and had meantime quietly surrounded the 
Tuileries. Finally, a drilled body of Jeunesse Dor e 
suddenly burst in, and drove out the insurgents in con- 
fusion at the point of the bayonet. The deputies re- 



ioo THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

entered. All the decrees just passed were annulled. The 
members of the " Mountain" were arrested as accomplices 
of the insurgents, and secretly conveyed away from Paris. 
But the sansculottes did not consider themselves beaten. 
Next day they again assembled in the outer faubourgs 
and proceeded to march on the Convention, this time 
taking their cannon with them. The inner or wealthy 
middle-class sections were also drawn up in arms on the 
Place du Carrousel in defence of the Assembly. The 
cannon of the faubourgs was already pointed on the 
Tuileries when the Convention sent commissioners to 
treat with the insurgents. Their demands were pretended 
to be favourably received, ' but nothing was definitely 
promised. This sufficed, however, to put the sanscul- 
ottes off their guard. Not having an energetic Commune 
and a determined commander at their back, as on the 31st 
of May, 1793, they retired satisfied with some vague con- 
ciliatory phrases, a course proving fatal to the insurrec- 
tion which, at the opening of the day, had stood a fair 
chance of success, and fatal also, as the event showed, to 
the cause of the democracy. 

. A few days later the assassin of Feraud, who had been 
tried and condemned to death, was on his way to execu- 
tion when the populace delivered him and carried him 
in triumph into the faubourgs. The Convention then 
ordered the latter to be disarmed. The interior sections 
surrounded the working-class quarters the next day for 
the purpose of carrying out this decree. After some 
resistance it was effected. The faubourgs surrendered 
unconditionally with their arms and cannon. 

The Paris working classes were now reduced, there- 
fore, to the condition of an unarmed mob, and for them 
organised insurrection was a thing of the past. Royalism 
became again fashionable. It was openly advocated in 
newspapers and in public assemblies, and even inside the 
Convention itself, though here it remained in a minority. 
Meanwhile, the " White Terror " was raging in the pro- 



THE RE A CTION PRO CRESSES. 101 

vinces far worse than in Paris. The South, especially, 
became the scene of wholesale massacres of all supposed 
to be friendly to revolutionary principles. Bands of 
returned " emigrants " and wealthy young men, called 
" Companies of Jesus >; and " Companies of the Sun," 
went about killing every Revolutionist, or suspected 
Revolutionist, they could find. The Jacobins had been 
arrested wholesale during the last few weeks. The 
prisons were broken into, and every " sansculotte " 
massacred. At Lyons 300 Jacobins were enclosed in a 
shed, which was then set fire to, a cordon being formed 
round it till they were consumed to a man. At Tarascon 
hundreds of victims were hurled from the top of a rock 
into the Rhone. This sort of thing went on for weeks 
without any attempt to stop it on the part of the 
authorities. The canting middle-class humbugs who 
have dilated on the " horrors of the French Revolution " 
and of the " mob " with so much unction, have prudently 
passed over the still worse horrors of the Reaction and 
the " respectable classes." It is noteworthy that many 
of the most ardent of the Thermidorian reactionaries 
were precisely men who, a few months previously, had 
been the most ardent revolutionists, and, in many cases, 
like Freron, Fouche, and Tallien, the most truculent 
agents of the " Terror." 

In Paris, encouraged by impunity, the Royalists at last 
attempted an insurrection against the Convention, finding 
that they were not likely to obtain a majority in that 
body. The immediate occasion of it was the conditions 
under which the Assembly was to be dissolved. The 
new Constitution which had been voted was very much 
on the model of that of 1791. A property qualification 
and indirect voting were, of course, re-introduced, with two 
Chambers, a Council of 500, and a Senate of 250 mem- 
bers, capped by an Executive Committee or Directory of 
five, having power to appoint six Ministers. The electoral 
divisions of France were re-organised in an anti-demo- 



102 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

eratic sense. Now, with this constitution, the Royalists 
hoped to have obtained a majority in the next Parlia- 
ment, and were grievously disappointed when the Con- 
vention enacted that two-thirds of the new body should 
be chosen from its own members. Hence the tears of 
the Royalists, and hence the insurrection of the wealthy 
and well-armed Royalist section against the Convention 
on the oth October, 1795 (13th of Vendemiaire, III.), the 
task of quelling which was entrusted by Barras, the 
generalissimo of the Convention, to a young artillery 
officer, Napoleon Bonaparte by name, a task the said 
young artillery officer duly accomplished by the aid of 
well-planted cannon on the evening of the same day. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE BABCEUF CONSPIRACY AND END OF THE FRENCH 
REVOLUTION. 

THE insurrection of Vendemiaire gave a slight check to 
the reaction which had, up to this time, gone on unim- 
peded. The majority of the Convention, much as they 
dreaded a return of real revolutionary government, were 
too much involved politically and economically in the 
Revolution to be able to tolerate a complete relapse to 
the old regime. What they desired was a plutocratic 
Republic, in which money should take the place of privi- 
lege, and a wealthy middle-class succeed to the power of 
the old noblesse and the crown. And the new Constitu- 
tion, with its " council of five hundred," its " senate of 
ancients," its " directorate," its property qualification, and 
its indirect suffrage, seemed admirably calculated to 
ensure this end. On the 26th of October the National 
Convention proclaimed itself dissolved, after an existence 
of three years and a month, and the elections were held, 
and the Directory established shortly after. 

One result of the events of the 5th October (13th 
Vendemiaire) was not unnaturally a greater toleration of 
the popular party, many of whom had taken up arms on 
the last-mentioned date against the common enemy, the 
Royalists. The democrats established a club for pur- 
poses of political discussion at the Pantheon, which was, 
for some time, unmolested by the new Government, viz., 
the Directory. The leader of the club was Gracchus 
Baboeuf, who obtained the title of " Tribune of the 
People." He had occupied an obscure Government post 
during the Terror, but had not hitherto played any im- 
portant part in the Revolution. 



I0 4 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

The society at the Pantheon grew daily in numbers, 
and with it grew the influence of Baboeuf . The members 
at length ventured to repair to their meeting-place in 
arms, and whispers of a projected insurrection soon made 
themselves heard. The Directory thereupon became 
alarmed, and on the 26th of February, 1796 (8th Ventose, 
IV.), peremptorily closed the Pantheon and forbade any 
further meetings of the club. The followers of Baboeuf, 
among whom were the remnant of the old Commune and 
Committees, and of course all the old Jacobins, then re- 
sorted to direct conspiracy and managed to win over the 
" legion of police," but here again they were outwitted 
by the Directory, which immediately disarmed and dis- 
banded this body. The Baboeuvists (as they were called) 
now assembled secretly in a place they named the 
"Temple of Reason," and concerted measures for an 
organised insurrection and attack on the governing 
bodies. They succeeded in rallying in a short time most 
of the revolutionary elements of France. 

It was agreed to form a new Convention, of which the 
nucleus was to be such remnant of the old Mountain as 
death, proscription, and desertion had left. Armed bands 
were suddenly to march from several points concentrically 
upon the Directory and councils. The Baboeuvists 
believed themselves sure of the military stationed at the 
Camp of Grenelle, and an officer named Grisel was in 
their confidence. Everything was arranged up to the 
night of the projected movement. Two placards were 
about to be posted up, one bearing the words, " Con- 
stitution of 1793, Liberty, Equality, and general happi- 
ness/' the other the motto, " Those who usurp supreme 
power ought to be put to death by freemen," and the 
signal was agreed upon for action, when the chiefs were 
suddenly surprised and arrested in their council chamber 
(May 10th). They had been betrayed by Grisel. 
Baboeuf, while in prison, wrote to the directors sug- 
gesting a compromise. He was, nevertheless, with 



THE BABCEUF CONSPIRACY. 105 

the other leaders sent before the new high court of 
Vendome. 

On the 7th of September following, while they were 
still awaiting their trial, their followers, to the number 
of some hundreds, made an armed attack on the Luxem- 
bourg, the palace of the directors, but were repulsed by 
the guards placed there for its defence. They then pro- 
ceeded to the camp of Crenelle, in the hope of raising 
the military, in which they were again unsuccessful, 
being met by a determined resistance. A sharp skirmish 
followed, ending in the complete rout of the insurgents, 
who left a large number of dead on the field. This was 
the last attempt of the democracy to recover its posi- 
tion. 

Almost all the leaders and organisers of the Babceuf 
movement were executed by the sentence of military 
commissions, and numbers of other persons were im- 
prisoned and exiled. : Babceuf himself, and Darthe', the 
late secretary of Lebon, after acquitting themselves 
during their trial in a manly manner, fully avowing their 
principles, stabbed themselves to death with daggers on 
hearing their sentence. The objects of Babceuf and his 
followers were definitely and frankly communistic, 
which cannot be said of any other of the revolutionary 
parties. Babceuf himself (who, by the side of Marat, 
Chaumette, Clootz and Pache, may be regarded as one of 
the noblest and most disinterested of all the leaders of 
the time) if, in his theoretical scheme, he was the first of 
the utopian Socialists, also forestalled in his notion of 
the necessity of taking possession of the political power, 
one of the foremost principles of the modern Socialist 
movement. 

With the final extinction of the party of Babceuf in 
September, 1796, after which the French democracy 
never again rallied, the French Revolution, as a distinct 
event in history, may be considered to come to an end. 
From the meeting of the States-General in May, 1789, to 



106 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

the date just mentioned, was only a little more than seven 
years, but what an experience France and Europe had 
passed through. Since Camille Desmoulins delivered his 
famous harangue in the Palais Royal Gardens on that 
July day in '89, when revolutionary ardour seemed so 
single in its purpose how many parties had been con- 
sumed, how'many enthusiasms had been burnt out ! 

With the forlorn attempt of the Baboeuvists on 
Grenelle, revolutionary fervour gasped its last breath. 
The Bourgeois had conquered ; the day of the Proletarian 
was not } 7 et, in spite of his temporary accession to power 
during the great revolutionary years. 

The events succeeding the collapse of the Babceuf 
movement may be signalised in a few sentences. The 
populace of Paris and the other large cities gradually 
settled down into a private life of toil and hardship, and 
an indifference to public affairs. The wealthy classes 
plunged into every form of speculation and extravagance. 
The new middle-class Republic became apparently every 
day more consolidated. It nourished at home under the 
director Barras and his colleagues, of whom Carnot was 
one, and abroad under its new general, Bonaparte. 
Conquest again followed conquest. New republics, on 
the model of the French, sprung up like mushrooms in 
Holland, Liguria, Lombardy, Sardinia, Switzerland, &c. 
The fresh elections in May, 1797, nevertheless yielded a 
royalist majority in the Councils, the upshot of which 
was that Barras and the majority of the directors by the 
following September, when things had come to a crisis, had 
to call in the aid of the army under General Augereau to 
overawe the legislature. This succeeded, and a large 
number of members, including some " rats " of the old 
Dantonist party, were exiled on the ground of Royalist 
intrigues to overthrow the Republic. Carnot and 
Barthelemy were driven from the Directory. The latter 
now became practically a dictatorship, with Barras as 
head dictator. 



THE BABCEUF CONSPIRACY. 107 



Most of the powers, tired of prosecuting an adverse 
war, were glad to make terms of peace. England was 
soon the only belligerent remaining. But the Directory, 
without money, and having only the armies to fall back 
upon, could not afford to bring about a complete cessation 
of hostilities. Bonaparte, after having subdued the 
Continent, about this time returned to Paris, the most 
popular man in France. Barras, feeling his presence 
dangerous at home, invited him at once to undertake the 
task of subduing the British power. He readily acceded, 
and the brilliant Egyptian campaign entered upon with 
a view to India, was the result. The elections of 17 ( J8, 
which were, unlike those of the previous year, too 
radical to please the Director} 7 , were annulled, but those 
of the following year, 1799, yielded the same result. 

Meanwhile a new coalition had been formed, one of 
the principal factors of which was Russia. The un- 
popular Directory could no longer hold out against public 
opinion. Negotiations between the various parties were 
entered into without issue, and the government at home 
was in great confusion when Bonaparte suddenly ap- 
peared on the scene, having left his Oriental army in the 
hands of General Kleber. A conspiracy was at once 
formed, led by the old Constitutionalist, Sieyes, to place 
dictatorial authority in the hands of the successful 
general. The Senate, seduced by the report of a pretended 
Jacobin insurrection in the departments, which was to 
shortly reach Paris, consented to decree the removal 
of both houses of legislature to the palace of St. Cloud, 
near Paris, and to placing Bonaparte at the head of the 
military forces of the capital. 

This was on the 9th November, 1799 (18th Brumaire, 
VII.). The following day the legislature removed to St. 
Cloud. The " Council of Ancients " met in the " Gallery 
of Mars," one of the apartments of the Palace, and 
the council of five hundred in the " Orangery." The 
" Council of Five Hundred " unanimously swore to the 



io8 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

existing Constitution, refusing to ratify the powers given 
by the other body. Bonaparte was driven away with 
cries of " Down with the tyrant ! " &c. His brother, Lucien 
Bonaparte, who was president, finding nothing was to be 
done, came out and harangued the troops, stating that 
the Assembly was being intimidated by a minority of the 
members with drawn daggers. Bonaparte, thus fortified, 
then gave orders for the " Orangery " to be cleared by the 
military, which was immediately effected. Thus was the 
Consulate founded. From this to the consecration as 
Kmperor in 1804 was but a step. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE NATIONAL PROPERTY. 

THE course of the Revolution cannot be properly esti- 
mated without taking into consideration the results of 
the confiscation of the property of the nobility and 
clergy. In the Directoral Constitution of 1795 (III.) we 
read, Article 374 : " The French nation proclaims, as 
guarantee of public faith, that after an adjudication 
legally consummated, of the national goods, whatever 
may be its origin, the legitimate acquirer thereof cannot 
be dispossessed." The same clause, but slightly modified, 
is introduced into the Consular Constitution of 1800 
(VIII.), and the Imperial Constitution of 1804 (XII.). 
There is more than meets the eye in these articles. 
They are the issue and sanction of a series of transactions 
which established a wealthy plutocracy on the ruins of 
the old feudal aristocracy of France. 

The first property to be sold was that of the Church. 
This, which in a sense may be considered as having been 
held in trust for the poor, was primarily disposed of, not 
to benefit them, but to reduce the public debt and pre- 
serve the State from financial ruin. The sales began in 
1789, and the period of greatest activity was from 
August, 1790, to January, 1791. French companies, 
English companies, Dutch companies, disputed for the 
spoil, only a comparatively few lots falling to the share 
of the peasantry, since no restriction was laid on the 
amount sold to any one purchaser. The sales were the 
more easily effected, inasmuch as only a small percentage 
of the purchase-money had to be paid down. When the 
time came for the second instalment, the money for 



1 10 THE FRENCH RE VOL UT10N. 



payment was, naturally, considering the vast extent of 
the purchases, in most cases not available. This led 
many of the speculators to favour the Revolution, and all 
of them to urge on the foreign war, both of which would 
serve as an excuse for postponement. War was accord- 
ingly proclaimed in April, 1792, and the following 
August the throne was overturned. After the latter 
event it was decided that the lands and property of the 
emigrant aristocrats which now came into the market 
should not be sold hap-hazard and en masse like the 
ecclesiastical property, but should be duly apportioned 
into small lots, which the small cultivator might hire or 
purchase on easy terms. 

This concession on the part of the middle classes was, 
however, simply the result of fear of imminent foreign 
invasion. No sooner had the armies of Dumouriez 
driven the enemy back than the new Assembly, the 
Convention, announced that the partition of the public 
lands must be indefinitely postponed on account of the 
difficulty of the operation. During the winter '92-3 
the moveable effects of the " emigrants " came into the 
possession of speculators and jobbers by means of sham 
sales. So flagrant was the abuse, that the Convention 
had to step in, but without much effect. After the fall 
of the Girondists the partition of the lands among the 
peasantry was again definitely ordered. The second 
grand campaign now intervened, and France was for* the, 
moment converted into one vast camp. Exceptional 
measures were the order of things all round, and com- 
paratively few small transfers were effected. This did 
not prevent the confiscation both of the lands and 
moveables of the nobles and suspects going on at a 
greater pace than ever. But it was various agents of the 
Government in the departments who made vast fortunes 
out of them by their clever manoeuvring. Two-thirds of 
the houses in Paris were now "national property." The 
Convention decreed that " goods " to the value of one 



THE NA TIONAL PR OPER TY. in 

milliard should be reserved for the citizen soldiers 
returned from the wars. This milliard, we need scarcely 
say, remained a promise to the end of the chapter. 

The Committee of Public Safety, early in '94, ordered 
the sale of the confiscated lands to be proceeded with, 
but while recommending that the principle of partition 
should be adopted, did not insist upon it, the net result 
of the new sales being that large tracts of public land 
were sold in the lump as before, but this time they 
went into the possession of a new class of thieves ; to 
wit, the victuallers of the armies, who had already made 
large fortunes out of their contracts. After Thermidor, 
this, of course, went forward on a larger scale than ever. 

Robespierre, through his agent, St. Just, now got a 
decree passed that indigent patriots should be indemni- 
fied out of the goods of the " enemies of the Revolution," 
but this decree was merely procured to maintain his 
popularity with the people, as was proved by the fact that 
he never so much as attempted to put it into execution. 

The 9th of Thermidor arrived without the working- 
classes of the towns having touched any of the " goods " 
of the emigrants, the clergy, or the suspects, while the 
peasantry had to be satisfied with here and there a few 
crumbs in the shape of the partition of communal lands. 
Barrere had said that they had coined money on the 
Place de la Revolution, but the working-classes can cer- 
tainly not be accused of having shared in this ill-gotten 
gain. Thus, even while the masses were nominally in 
power, the middle-classes succeeded in " nobling " the 
Revolution. 

After the insurrection of Thermidor, the traffic in the 
" national property " proceeded more unblushingly than 
ever. As soon as the maximum was abolished, however, 
the plutocracy found even it more to their interest for 
the moment to hocus the currency than to purchase land, 
at however reduced a money value. By procuring a 
practically unlimited issue of paper they succeeded in 



1 1 2 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

reducing the value of the assignats to next to nothing. 
The forestalling of the necessaries of life, especially grain, 
which was the immediate cause of the various insurrec- 
tions after Thermidor up to that of Baboeuf, was also a 
stupendous source of profit. The re-opening of the 
Bourse, the repudiation of the hypothec of the assignats 
on the confiscated lands, the latter a piece of thieving of 
the most impudent character, followed in the natural 
course of things. Lotteries were instituted, the prizes of 
which were the " national property." One deputy even 
had the impudence to propose to take back the lands 
already distributed amongst the peasantry. But this 
was thought to be too risky. Meanwhile, the victories 
of the armies under Bonaparte opened fresh fields and 
pastures new for every form of swindling by means of 
provisioning " contracts." A cessation of the war would, 
indeed, have been a grievous thing for the rising pluto- 
cracy of France. Under the Directory the exploiters 
flung themselves anew upon the as yet undisturbed 
territories. Everything was now in their own hands. 
No stone was left unturned to diminish for the nonce the 
market value of this property. The price which was 
paid in depreciated -paper taken at the nominal value 
was in most cases simply farcical. 

But all means of robbery were not yet exhausted. 
The army contractors refused to be paid any longer in 
assignats, but insisted on large sums being placed to 
their credit in the books of the national debt, thus saddling 
themselves in perpetuity on the French people. Deputies, 
Government-agents, generals, contractors, engaged in a 
mad scramble which could make the most out of the 
situation. The masses of France had but two purposes 
in their eyes to labour at home at starvation wages, in- 
sufficient to support life for any but the strongest, and 
to serve as food for powder abroad. The vast territorial 
estates of the feudal aristocracy, and the house property 
of the towns, thus passed into the hands of another and 



THE NATIONAL PROPERTY. 113 

a meaner set of lords, The new middle-class of France 
was consolidated economically and politically. Verily 
the French Revolution was a ruccess for them ! And 
now having reached the summit of their ambition, it 
only remained to kick over the ladder which had helped 
them up. The hearth, the throne, and the altar must be 
re-established on a new basis ; we must have done with 
revolution and all its wicked ways ! said they. Revolution 
must be henceforth a thing accursed! But a Republic, no 
matter how safeguarded against intrusion of the " common 
people," seemed to many an insufficient guarantee under 
the existing circumstances for the newly created " order." 
A military dictator, who knew how to smother insurrec- 
tions in the birth, he was the man for the situation, and 
his name was Napoleon Bonaparte. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

CONCLUSION. 

THE French Revolution closes in a final and definite 
manner an epoch in the world's history. The middle 
ages, proper, it is true, came to an end with the 16th 
century. But they left a kind of afterglow behind them 
in the shape of the centralised and quasi- absolute prince- 
doms and monarchies which prevailed during the 17th 
and 18th centuries; in the continuance in rural districts 
and the smaller towns of the old methods of industry 
but slightly, if at all, modified ; in the perpetuation un- 
abated, for over a century at least, of mediaeval and 
renaissance superstitions and habits of thought ; in short, 
in the survival of most of the external forms of the old- 
world civilisation, decayed like the foliage of a St, Martin's 
summer. The conversion of the feudal hierarchies into 
centralised monarchies but imperfectly freed the middle 
classes ; the combined or workshop system of production 
had not in any marked or violent manner revolutionised 
industry ; the learning of the renaissance had, to a large 
extent, merely given a quasi-scientific and systematic 
shape to old habits of thought. 

The political, moral and social changes leading up to 
modern times were of course going on all the while, and 
were observable to the truly observant, but were not at 
that time of a " run and read " character. 

The French Revolution definitely closes this epoch. 
It does even more. It constitutes the dividing line be- 
tween the world of to-day and all past ages whatever. 
The Revolution was scarcely over when the electric 



CONCLUSION. 



telegraph appeared on the scene. At the same time the 
idea of the steam engine was working in the heads of 
the ingenious, and the closing years of the century saw 
the first of the new industrial machines established in 
the factories of the North of England. New stage-coach 
roads, canals, and other " improvements " sprang up in 
all directions. A couple of decades or so more and the 
great industry was to start the metamorphosis of human 
production and distribution ; yet another, and the rail- 
way was to begin the transformation of the face of 
nature and the externals of human life in other directions. 
In short, from the French Revolution we advance 
straight by leaps and bounds to the modern world. 

The city of Paris well typifies the progress. One 
hundred years ago, in 1789, it was (unlike London, which 
in its mediaeval form was destroyed by the fire of 1666), 
to all intents and purposes a mediaeval city, substantially 
the Paris of Victor Hugo's "Notre Dame," a city of 
feudal fortresses, high-walled enclosures, crooked, narrow, 
unpaved streets. The Committee of Public Safety in 1793 
began alterations, partly with a view of giving employ- 
ment to distressed workmen. The changes went on gradu- 
ally, till, in 1S59, Haussmann, under Napoleon III., totally 
destroyed what remained of old Paris, and laid out the 
city in the form we see it to-day a city which would be 
as foreign to Danton, Robespierre, or Marat as San 
Francisco itself. The Paris of centuries perished in little 
more than fifty years. What is true of Paris is true of 
Europe of the whole of existing civilisation. The 
Europe of 1789 was in the main the Europe of the later 
middle ages of the renaissance but in the last stage 
of decay. It had been practically dead for over two 
centuries, and like Edgar Poe's hypnotised dead man, it 
fell to pieces with a sudden convulsive awaking after pro- 
claiming itself dead. No " restoration " could really bring 
it together again. The new world of our time had, mean- 
while, grown up, with its science, its inventions, its 



1 1 6 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTION. 

intense self-consciousness, and placed insurmountable 
barriers between us and our naive and simple-minded 
ancestors. The old Merry England, for example, the Eng- 
land of the fairy ring and the Maypole, had passed away 
for ever. In politics the reign of the bourgeoisie with 
its oppression resting on cunning and hypocrisy had 
shut out the possibility of an enduring reaction to the 
coarser and more direct methods of feudal domination. 

There are several minor points worthy of notice afforded 
by the course of the French Kevolution. One feature of 
the period, already alluded to, its perpetual reference to 
classical models, and its somewhat mechanical attempt to 
make history repeat itself to reproduce the Republics of 
ancient Greece and Rome in eighteenth-century France 
can never be left out of sight. Every man's head was 
full of "Plutarch's Lives." All men, however little else they 
knew, seem to have had at least a superficial schoolboy 
smattering of Roman history. Almost every speech and 
every newspaper article of the time bristles with refer- 
ences to Coriolanus, Cato, Cicero, Brutus, or Caesar. In 
fact, Roman history was to the French Revolution very 
much what the Jewish annals, contained in the Bible, 
were to the English rebellion under Charles I. "We," or 
rather modern science and historical criticism, "have 
changed all that." We no longer look to the past as a 
model for the society of the present or the future. The 
doctrine of evolution has taught us that human society, 
like everything else, is a growth, and that though corre- 
sponding and analogous phases certainly do recur in 
history, we can yet never argue back from one period to 
another, as though there had been no intervening devel- 
opment, or as though the economical, intellectual, and 
political conditions were substantially the same, or might 
be made the same. 

Another point the Revolution teaches us is the effec- 
tive power of minorities. The Terror itself (whatever 
view we may take as to its justifiability), it cannot be 



CONCLUSION. 117 



denied, was kept up for nearly two years by a compara- 
tively small but energetic minority in all the towns of 
France. Outside this minority (the Jacobins) there was 
a floating mass of inert sympathy with the objects of 
Sansculottism, and a belief in the necessity of .drastic 
measures in view of the situation. Beyond this, again, 
was the vast mass of inert stupidity and indifference 
which was effectually cowed. The active enemies of the 
Revolution were, of course, reduced to silence. 

It is significant, again, to notice that most of the great 
crises were connected with affairs on the frontiers. The 
10th of August and the September massacres were the re- 
sponse to Brunswick's manifesto, and the march of the 
enemy on the capital respectively. The 31st of May was 
directly brought about by the invasion of the new coali- 
tion and the disorganisation of Dumouriez's armies, con- 
sequent on his defection. Finally, the 9th of Thermidor, 
and the abolition of the " Terror," followed on the disap- 
pearance of the last trace of danger from the foreigner 
consequent on the battle of Fleurus. 

The extraordinary enthusiasm which we find, the reck- 
less readiness of all alike to inflict and to suffer death, 
might lead us to suppose the men of the time to have been 
a race of born heroes, or monsters, or both. The average 
of them were neither the one nor the other. They were 
the products of social forces beyond their control. The 
feeling of the all-importance of the public interest carried 
all before it. Prior to the Revolution, they were 
probably neither more courageous nor more trucu- 
lent than ourselves. The same courage and the 
same truculency might manifest itself in any man 
of character under like circumstances. Even Robespierre 
was, as Carlyle suggests, probably neither better nor 
worse than other attorneys to start with. But in his 
case ambition ultimately assumed the mastery over his 
whole personality. This was partly owing to the fact 
that he was undeniably a man without a vice (in the 



1 1 8 THE FRENCH RE VOL UTJOJV. 

ordinary sense of the word). Now only very exceptional 
men can afford to be without the ordinary vices of man- 
kind, and Robespierre was certainly not one of these 
men. With his ascetic Kousseauite notions of republican 
austerity, he had suppressed his natural appetites, the 
consequence being that all the morbid elements in his 
character, having no other outlet, ran into the channel of 
self-idolatry and morbid ambition. The first condition 
of a well-regulated man is to know how to properly 
distribute the quantum of vice with which a bountiful 
nature has endowed him. A false morality teaches him 
to suppress it. But this he can seldom do, and if he 
succeeds, it is at the expense of all or much that is dis- 
tinctive in his character. In tearing off the coating of 
vice, he tears off his skin with it. The usual case, how- 
ever, is that the vice is not got rid of at all, but only 
forced into some out-of-the-way channel. And whenever 
vice is concentrated, it is bad. When all the vice of a 
character is focussed on any single one of the natural 
appetites, a man becames a sot, a satyr, a glutton, a 
confirmed gambler, &c. Now Robespierre sat upon all 
the usual valves. He and his ascetic band poured scorn 
on the Hebertists and the Dantonists alike for the " loose- 
ness " of their lives. But having closed up all the 
ordinary exits, his vice came out none the less, but con- 
centrated in the form of a truculent, remorseless ambition, 
unparalleled in history. 

The rank and file of the actors in the Revolution it is 
difficult, for the reasons before stated, to characterise by. 
any of the ordinary ethical standards. The best of them 
did things we cannot always approve while sitting com- 
fortably in our chairs, the worst of them showed much 
genuine and disinterested devotion to the cause of the 
people. Were we called upon to name the five men 
whose aims were probably the purest, we would mention 
Marat, Chaumette, Clootz, Pache and Baboeuf. Danton, 
apart from the disputed question of his bribery, was a 



CONCLUSION. 119 



mere politician, who only interested himself in social 
questions, when at all, in so far as they immediately 
affected the political situation. 

The issue of the French Revolution was, as we have 
seen, the modern world of great capital and free trade, 
as opposed to the old world of land and privilege and all 
that that change implies. In the storm and stress of out- 
ward events, we are apt to forget the work done during 
the Terror era by the committees of the Convention 
administrative, educational, and legal work, which helped 
to build up the modern governmental system. The 
" Code Napoleon " itself was based on the labour of 
Merlin de Douai and his committee. In France, the 
political and juridical side of the great change was most 
prominent ; in Germany, the philosophical and literary ; 
in England, the industrial and commercial. While 
French politicians were engaged in establishing the 
Republic, German thinkers were engaged in founding 
19th century thought, and English inventors in establish- 
ing the new modes of production and locomotion. But 
while the mediaeval organisation of society held together 
for centuries, the modern is already showing signs of 
approaching disintegration. Why is this ? We answer, 
because the latter contained, from the first, in its very 
nature, the seeds of dissolution. The capitalistic system 
of necessity feeds upon itself. Competition, which is the 
breath of its life, necessarily also destroys that life. It 
may be that the " opening up " of Africa, and other as 
yet unexploited territories, will give the system a 
further lease of existence, lasting some decades, but the 
end cannot in any case be a long by-and-by. 



THE END. 



Printed ly Cowan & Co., Limited, Perth. 



INDEX. 



d'Alembert, 

Ami du Peuple . 
d'Anglas, Boissy, . 
Aristocrats, Emigrant, 



Confiscation of goods 



Page 
4,5 



26, 28, 29, 52 



41 

72 
82 
72 

7 
30 

7 

91 
31 
36 
32 
32, 48 

5:0 



Army, Revolutionary, 
,, Suppression of, . 

,, Victories of,. 
Arrondisements, The, . 

d'Artois, Comte, 
Assemblies, Provincial, 
Assembly, The, 

Constituent, Dissolved, 
Declares Country in Danger 
Friction between, andKing, 
Legislative, 
Moderate Party in, 
Moves to Paris, . . 24 

National, . . 40 

Assignats (paper money), 25, 73, 99, 111, 112 
August 10th, . . . 36 40 

Austria, Prussia, and Turin, Coalition, 36-37 
Austdans and Prussians, Defeat of, . 47 
Austria, War Declared with, . 33 

Authority, Paralysis of, . . 8-9 

Autun, Bishop of, . . . 27, 28 

Buboeuf, Gracchus, . 103, 104, 118 

Conspiracy of, 62, 103, 108 
,, Suicide of, . 105 

Baboeuvists, The, Arrest of, . 104 

,, Execution of, . . 105 

Bailly, Mayor, . . 20-21, 31 

,, Guillotined, . . 81 

Barbaroux, . . 37, 48, 49 

Barnard Guillotined, . . 81 

Barnave, . . .20, 21, 26 

,, Leader of Constitutional Party, 30 
Barras, . . .48, 102, 106 

Barrere, . . . .48,87 

Trial and Transportation of, . 98 
Barriere, . . .63 

Bastille, The, . . . 15-19 

Anniversary of Fall of, . 26-27 
Berthier, Hanging of, . . 20 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, . 102, 106, 107, 113 

Proclaimed Consul, . 108 

Bouille, General, . , . 28,30 

Breteuil, . . . .17 

Brienne, de, Lomerie, . . 7 

Brissot, . . . .31,49 

Brunswick, Duke of, Manifesto of, . 36, 37 
Cachets, Lettres de, . . . 15 

Cahiers. The, . . .7-8 

Calendar, The New, . . 73-74 

Carmagnole, The, . . .75 

Carnot, . . .70, 72. 106 

Carrier, Trial of, . . . 96-97 

Chabot, Mayor, . . .63 

Chartres, Due de, Plot to Establish, . 58 
Chasseurs, Disbanding of, . . 36 

Chaumette, . . 53, 65, 118 

Guillotined, . . 83 

Church, Expropriation of, . . 25 

,, and Revolution, War between, 28-29 
Churches, Reooened for Worshio. . 97 



Page 

Citizens, Enrolment of, . . 43 

Clergy, Opposition of, . . 25 

,, Confiscation of Goods, . 41 

Clootz, Anarchis, . . 48, 74, 95, 118 

Clubs, The, . . .69 

,, Breaking up of, 

Influence of, . . 25 

,, Insurrection of, . . 65 

Commission, The, Arrest of, . 66 

Suppression of, . 65-66 

"Committee of General Security," . 60,69 
Public Safety, 60, 69, 84 

,, and Commune, Jealousy, 80 

Committees, Reorganisation of, . 95 
Commune, The, . - .38, 69 

Dictatorship of, . . 71-75 

First Paris, . . 41-46 

,, Overthrow of, . . 84 

"Companies of Jesus," . . 101 

" the Sun," . . 101 

Cultus, The New, . . . 74-75 

Custine, General, . . .69 

Crops, Failure of, . . . 6, 99 

Couthon, . . .87, 88, 90, 92 

Corday, Charlotte, . . .68 

Cordeliers, The, . . 25, 26, 64, 80 

The Old, . . 80 

Condorcet, . . .49 

Confiscation of Goods of Clergy, . 41 
Emigrant Nobility, . 41 
Constituent Assembly Dissolved, . 31 
Constitution, The New, 24-27, (W-70, 101, 103 
Mongers, The . . 20-23 

Constitutional Ministry, Fall of, . 33 
Constitutionalists, Hatred of, . 36 

Consul, Bonaparte, Napoleon, pro- 
claimed, . . .108 
Contract Social by Rousseau, . 2, 3, 10 
Convention, the, Attack upon, . 99 
,, Attempt Against, by Roy- 
alists, . 101-102 
Election of, . . 48 
Insurrection Against, . 91-92 
,, Internal Dissentions in, . 48 
National, . . 47 
Convocation of, 40 
Rising Against, . . 64 
Victory of, . . 92 
Dampriere, General, . . 59 
Danton, 26, 31-32, 42-43, 48-49, 65, 118-119 
Attacks System of Terror, . 80 
Guillotined,. . . 83 
,, Menace of , . . . 72 
Dauphin, The, . . .78 
Delaunay, . . . 16-17 
Deseze Defence of Louis XVI. by, . 54 
Desmoulins, 12, 48, 80 ; Guillotined, . 83 
Dethronement of Louis XVI. de- 
manded, . . .37, 39 
Diderot, . . . .4-5 
Directory, The, . . 101-108, 112 
Dumouriez, . . . 33,47 
,, Conquest of Netherlands, 56 
Reverses in Holland, . 57-58 
Treachery of. . . 58 



INDEX. 



121 



Duport, . . . 

Education, Attempt to Introduce, 
Egalite, Philippe d'Orleans, 
Egyptian Campaign, 
ri 



Emigrants, Aristocratic, Policy of, 

Emigration of Aristocrats, . 

Emile, by Rousseau, . 

Encyclopaedia, French, . 

Famine, . . . 

Faubourgs, The Disarming of, 

Feuillants, The, . . 

Flesselles, . . 

Fleuriot-Lescot, Mayor, . 

Foulon, Hanging of, . 

French Encydnpnedia, . 

Guard, . . 

Revolution, Central Idea of, 
Classification of, 

End of, 
Issue of, . 
Opening of, 
Tidal Wave of, 



.20 
. 73 
. 13, 81 
. 107 
. 29 
. 26, 28 
. 2 

. 4 

. 6, 99 
. 100 
25-26, 36 
16, 17, 18 
. 84, 88 
. 20 



Girbnde, The 



Fall of, 



4 
22 

10 
3 

105 

119 

11 

42 

63-C6 



The, and Mountain, 4950,56-59 

Girondists, The, . . '61, 49, 60 

,, and Jacobins, Coalition of, 34 

,, Cowardice of, . . 54 

,, Destruction of, . . 69 

Distrust of, . . 33 

Guillotining of, . . 78 

in Provinces, . . 67-68 

Ministers Dismissed by 

King, . . 34 

,, Ministry, Appointment of, 33 

Plot Against, . . 57 

Prisoners, Release of, . 97 

,, Proscribed in Paris, . 66 
Go')el, Archbishop, Renounces Chris- 

tian Faith, . . .74 

Goods of Clergy Confiscated, . 41 

Nobility ,, .41 

Grenadiers Disbanded, . . 36 

Guard, French, . . .22 

National, . . 22, 36, 38 

,, Parisian, . . .14 

Guillotine, Reign of the, . . 72 

Hubert, Imprisonment of, . .64 

Liberation of, . . 65 

Hebertists, Fall of the, . . 80-83 

Henriot, . 

,, Arrest of, 
d'Herbois Collot, 



II 1! * 

d' Hoi bach, Baron, . 
Hospital and Prison Reform, 
Income-Tax, 
Incorruptible, The, 



90, 91, 92 
. 42, 48 

Attempt to Assassinate, 86 
Trial and Transportation, 98 
4 
73 

. 60-61 
. 84, 86 



Insurrection, Failure of, . . 100 

Last Popular, . . 99 

Internationalism, Principle of, first, 

Recognised, . . .48 

Isnard, . . . .64 

Jacobins, The, . . 25-26, 31, 52, 64 

and Girondists, Coalition of, 34 
Decline in Popularity of, . 96 
Insurrection of, . . 34 

Robespierre at, . . 82 

Search for Plots of, . 64 

Sittings, Suspension of, . 97 



Kelh 



erman, General, 



King and Assembly, Friction between, 32 
,, Reinstatement of, 

,, Suspension of, . . 40 

,, Trial and Execution of, . 52-55 

Lafayette, . 20, 23, 27, 31, 34 

Acquittal of, . . 37 

Defiance of, 

,, Impeachment of, Demanded 37 

Lamballe, de, Princesse, . . 44-45 

Lameth, . . . . 20, 26 

,, Leader of Constitutional Party, 30 

Law, Martial, Proclamation of, . 25 

,, of Maximum, . . 60-61 

,, Abolished, . 96,99 

Law of the Suspect, The, . . 72 

Lecointre, . . 89 

Lebas, . . 87,90,92 

Lebon, Trial of, 

Lepelletier, de, St. Fargeaur, assassina- 
tion of, 

Lettres de Cachets, 
Lida, Bishop of, 
Longroy, Capitulation of, 
Lotteries, .... 
Louis XVI., Accusation of, . 

Condemnation of, 
Confinement of, 
Demand for Abdication, 
Dethronement of, 
Entry into Paris of, 
Execution of, . 
Flight of, 
Taken Prisoner, 
Luxembourg, Attack on the, 
Lyons, I ast Stronghold of Royalism, . 
,, Massacres in, 
,, Outrages at, . 
Malesherbes, 

Man, Rights of, Declaration of, 
Mandat, Assassination of, 



Marat, 



56 
15 

28 
43 

112 
53 

54 
53 
31 

37, 39 
18 
54 
30 
40 

105 
79 
79 

101 
54 
21 
38 
22, 26, 31-32, 42, 48, 65, 97, 118 



Assassination of, 
Attack upon, 



upoi 

Calls for Hea'ds of Traitors, . 
Incites to Hanging, . 
Indictment and Acquittal of, . 
Marie Antoinette, . 
Marseillais, Entry of, into Paris, 
Martial Law, Proclamation of, 
Massacres, September, 
Materialist- Atheists, 
Maximum, Law of, 60-61 ; Abolished, 
,, ,, Enlarged, 

Ministry, Constitutional, Fall of, 
Minorities, Power of, 
Mirabeau, . 5, 20-21, 26, 30, 52 

Money, Paper, or Assignats, 25, 73, 99, 111-112 
Mountainists, The, . . 49 

Mountain, The, and Gironde, 49-50, 56-59 
Arrest of Remains of, . 100 
,, Inexorable, . . 54> 

Nantes, Noyades at, . . 79 

National Assembly, 12, 17-18, 21, 31-32, 40 
Constitution of, . 11 



68 

50-f.l 
33 
56 
59 

76-78 
37 
35 

41-46 
4 

96,99 
73 
33 
116 



,, Convention, 
Guard, . 
Nationality, Contempt for, . 
" Nature, System of," 
Necker, . 

,, Dismissal of, . 

Restoration of, 



47 
22, 3J 
4 

4-5 
25 
12 
18 



t22 



INDEX. 



Nobles, Decree of Expulsion Rescinded 97 > Roederer, . . . .39 


,, Goods Confiscated, . .41 Roland, David, . . 33, 48 49 


Noyades at Nantes, . . 79 Madame, Guillotined, . 81 


Oaths, Taking of, . . . 28 ' Rousseau, Jean J., . . . 2, 4, 5 


" Old Cordeliers," The, . 80 Influence with Mountainists, 78 


d'Orleans, Philippe Egalite, . 13, 81 Safety, Public, Committee of, . 60, 69 


Pache, Mayor, . 64-65, 67, 118 j St. Fargeaur, Lepelletier de, assassination 56 


Paine, Thomas, . . 48, 55 


St. Just, . . 52, 8L SSiJsOjJKl* -92- 


Palais-Royal, The, . . 12 


Sansculottes, The, *-; . 31. 03 


Panif, . 42 


,, Massacre of, . . 101 


Pantheon, the, Debating Society at, . 103-104 


Santerre, ... 38, 53-54 


Paper Money, or Assignats, 25, 73, 99, 111-112 


Sechelles, de, Herault, . 64, 65, 67 


Paris, Changes in, . . . 115 
Division of Power in, . , 71 


,, New Constitution Drawn up, 69 
Security, Committee of General, . 60, 69 


Girondists Proscribed in, . 66 
Louis XVI., Entrance of, into, . 18 


September Massacres, . . 41-4o 
Sieges, AbW, . . .1,48 


Marseillais, Entrance of, into, . 37 


Social Divisions, Main, . . 1 


Revolt in, . . 14 
Parisian Guard, The, . . 14 


Socialist, First Utopian, . . 105 
Sombreuil, M. de, . . . 45 


Party Divisions, . . 82 


States-General, The, , . 7, 8, fl 


Pe'tion, Mayor, 31, 35, 36, 38, 49 


,, Opening of, . . 11 


Death of, . . 81 


Strasbourg, Insurrection at, . 9 


Pilnitz, Treaty of, . . 32 


Supreme Being, Existence of, Public 


Plain, The, . . 50,60 


Recognition of, . . 85, 86 


Pope, Interference of, . . 28 


" Suspect, Law of the," . . 72 


Priests, Decree of Expulsion Rescinded 97 


" System of Nature," . . 4-5 


,, Demissions of, . . 74 


Talleyrand, . . . 27,25 


,, Execution of, . . 44 


Tallien, .... 42, 48 


Prison and Hospital Reform, . 73 


Tarascon, Outrages at, . . mi 


Proletariat, Ascendancy of, . . 42 


" Terror, The," . . . 76-TA 


Awakening of, . . 62 


Abolished, . . 94 


Property, Destruction of, .8 


Increase of, . .81 


National,. . .109-113 
Restoration of, . . 97 


Reaction Against, . . 72 
Reign of, Beginning of, . 70 


Prussia, Austria, and Turin, Coalition, 36-37 


White, The, . 98, 100-101 


Prussians and Austrians, Defeat of, . 47 


Thermidor, . . . 88-93 


Public Safety. Committee of, . 60, 69 


Third Estate, The (tiers Mat), 1, 11. 18 


Reason, Worship of, . . 74 


,, Independence of, . 1 


Renault, Ce'cilie, . . .86 


Tiers Mat, . . 1, 11, 18 


Republic Proclaimed, . . 48 
,, Unity of, Decreed, . 61 


,, Independence of, . . 1 
Tinville, Fouquier, . 85, 87, 95 


Talk of, . . .30 


Execution cf, . . 98 


Revolution, French, Cause of, . 10 


Toleration, Religious, . . 3 


,, ,, and Church, War 


Torture, Abolition of. . . 41 


between, . 28-29 


Traitors, Marat calls for Heads of, . 33 


, Central Idea of. . 10 


Tribunal, Extraordinary, Established, 42 


Classification of, 3 


Revolutionary, Instituted, . 57 


End of, . 105 


Trouchet, . . . .54 


, Issue of, . 119 


Tuileries, the, Attack on, organised, 38, 39, 40 


Opening of, . 11 


,, Crowds Surround, . 34-35 


Tidal Wave of, . 42 


Departure of King to, . 23 


" Revolutionary Army," . . 72 


Turin, Austria and Prussia, Coalition, 36-37 


,, Suppression of , 82 


Vadier, Trial and Transportation of, 98 


War, . . 33,48 


Varennes, Billaud, . . 42, 48, 39-90 


Rights of Man, Declaration of, . 21 


,, Trial and Transportation of. 93 


Riots, . . . .7,9,13. 


Vendee, La, Rising in, . 57, 67, 71 


Robespierre, Augustin, . . 90 
Death of, . 92 


Vendome, New High Court of, . 105 
Verdun, Bombardment of, . . 43 


Maximilian, 26, 31, 48, 52, 65, 82, 


Fall of, . . .47 


117-118 


Vergniaud, . . . 40,49 


Attack upon, . 50,88-90 


Versailles, Disturbance at, . . 22-23 


Attempted Assassination, 86 


Machinations at, . 21-22 


Death of, . 93 


Victories of Army, . . .72 


Decline of Popularity of 87 


Voltaire, de, F. M. A., . . 3, 4, 5 


Infamy of, . 83 


,, Influence with Girondists, . 78 


Influence of, . 84 


Wa between Revolution and Church, 28-29 


Opposed to Worship of 


,, 1 eclared with Austria, . . 33 


Keason, , 80 


Revolutlonarv, . . 33, 48 


Rule of, . 84-87 


" White Terror," The, . 98,100-101 


Shoots himself, 92 


" Worship of Reason," The, . 74 


Wishes to be Dictator, 88 











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