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The French Revolution, Volume 3 The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 by Hippolyte A. Taine

Part 10 out of 12

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the representative on missions,[56] "food is wanting absolutely. Even
in some of the communes, many of the inhabitants are reduced to a
frightful state of want, feeding on acorns, bran and other unhealthy
food. . . . The districts of Châtre and Argenton, especially, will
be reduced to starvation unless they are promptly relieved. . . .
The cultivation of the ground is abandoned; most of the persons in the
jurisdiction wander about the neighboring departments in search of
food." - And it is doubtful whether they find it. In the department
of Cher, "the butchers can no longer slaughter; the dealers' stores
are all empty." In Allier, "the slaughterhouses and markets are
deserted, every species of vegetable and aliment having disappeared;
the inns are closed." In one of the Lozère districts, composed of five
cantons, of which one produces an extra quantity of rye, the people
live on requisitions imposed on Gard and the Upper Loire; the
extortions of the representatives in these two departments "were
distributed among the municipalities, and by these to the most
indigent: many entire families, many of the poor and even of the rich,
suffered for want of bread during six or eight days, and this
frequently."[57] Nevertheless they do not riot; they merely supplicate
and stretch forth their hands "with tears in their eyes. " - Such is
the diet and submission of the stomach in the provinces. Paris is
less patient. For this reason, all the rest is sacrificed to it,[58]
not merely the public funds, the Treasury from which it gets one or
two millions per week,[59] but whole districts are starved for its
benefit, six departments providing grain, twenty six departments
providing pork,[60] at the rate of the maximum, through requisitions,
through the prospect of imprisonment and of the scaffold in case of
refusal or concealment, under the predatory bayonets of the
revolutionary army. The capital, above all, has to be fed. Let us
see, under this system of partiality, how people live in Paris and
what they feed on.

"Frightful crowds" at the doors of the bakeries, then at the doors of
the butchers and grocers, then at the markets for butter, eggs, fish
and vegetables, and then on the quay for wine, firewood and charcoal -
such is the steady refrain of the police reports.[61] - And this lasts
uninterruptedly during the fourteen months of revolutionary
government: long lines of people waiting in turn for bread, meat, oil,
soap and candles, "queues for milk, for butter, for wood, for
charcoal, queues everywhere! "[62] "There was one queue beginning at
the door of a grocery in the Petit Carreau stretching half way up the
rue Montorgueil."[63] These queues form at three o'clock in the
morning, one o'clock and at midnight, increasing from hour to hour.
Picture to yourself, reader, the file of wretched men and women
sleeping on the pavement when the weather is fine[64] and when not
fine, standing up on stiff tottering legs; above all)in winter, "the
rain pouring on their backs," and their feet in the snow, for so many
weary hours in dark, foul, dimly lighted streets strewed with garbage;
for, for want of oil, one half of the street lamps are extinguished,
and for lack of money, there is no repaving, no more sweeping, the
offal being piled up against the walls.[65] The crowd draggles along
through it, likewise, nasty, tattered and torn, people with shoes full
of holes, because the shoemakers do no more work for their customers,
and in dirty shirts, because no more soap can be had to wash with,
while, morally as well as physically, all these forlorn beings
elbowing each other render themselves still fouler. -
Promiscuousness, contact, weariness, waiting and darkness afford free
play to the grosser instincts; especially in summer, natural
bestiality and Parisian mischievousness have full play. "Lewd
women"[66] pursue their calling standing in the row; it is an
interlude for them; "their provoking expressions, their immoderate
laughter," is heard some distance off and they find it a convenient
place: two steps aside, on the flank of the row, are "half open doors
and dark alleys" which invite tête-à-tête; many of these women who
have brought their mattresses "sleep there and commit untold
abominations." What an example for the wives and daughters of steady
workmen, for honest servants who hear and see! "Men stop at each row
and choose their dulcinea, while others, less shameless, pounce on the
women like bulls and kiss them one after the other." Are not these the
fraternal kisses of patriotic Jacobins? Do not Mayor Pache's wife and
daughter go to the clubs and kiss drunken sans-culottes? And what says
the guard? - It has enough to do to restrain another blind and deaf
animal instinct, aroused as it is by suffering, anticipation and

On approaching each butcher's stall before it opens "the porters,
bending under the weight of a side of beef, quicken their steps so as
not to be assailed by the crowd which presses against them, seeming to
devour the raw meat with their eyes." They force a passage, enter the
shop in the rear, and it seems as if the time for distributing the
meat had come; the gendarmes, spurring their horses to a gallop,
scatter the groups that are too dense; "rascals, in pay of the
Commune," range the women in files, two and two, "shivering" in the
cold morning air of December and January, awaiting their turn.
Beforehand, however, the butcher, according to law, sets aside the
portion for the hospitals, for pregnant women and others who are
confined, for nurses, and besides, notwithstanding the law, he sets
aside another portion for the revolutionary committee of the section,
for the assistant commissioner and superintendent, for the pashas and
semi pashas of the quarter, and finally for his rich customers who pay
him extra.[67] To this end, "porters with broad shoulders form an
impenetrable rampart in front of the shop and carry away whole oxen;"
after this is over, the women find the shop stripped, while many,
after wasting their time for four mortal hours," go away empty handed.
- With this prospect before them the daily assemblages get to be
uneasy and the waves rise; nobody, except those at the head of the
row, is sure of his pittance those that are behind regard enviously
and with suppressed anger the person ahead of them. First come
outcries, then jeering and then scuffling; the women rival the men in
struggling and in profanity,[68] and they hustle each other. The line
suddenly breaks; each rushes to get ahead of the other; the foremost
place belongs to the most robust and the most brutal, and to secure it
they have to trample down their neighbors.

There are fisticuffs every day. When an assemblage remains quiet the
spectators take notice of it. In general "they fight,[69] snatch
bread out of each other's hands; those who cannot get any forcing
whoever gets a loaf weighing four pounds to share it in small pieces.
The women yell frightfully. . . . Children sent by their parents
are beaten," while the weak are pitched into the gutter. "In
distributing the meanest portions of food[70] it is force which
decides," the strength of loins and arms; "a number of women this
morning came near losing their lives in trying to get four ounces of
butter. - More sensitive and more violent than men, "they do not, or
will not, listen to reason,[71] they pounce down like harpies" on the
market wagons; they thrash the drivers, strew the vegetables and
butter on the ground, tumble over each other and are suffocated
through the impetuosity of the assault; some, "trampled upon, almost
crushed, are carried off half dead." Everybody for himself. Empty
stomachs feel that, to get anything, it is important to get ahead, not
to await for the distribution, the unloading or even the arrival of
the supplies. - "A boat laden with wine having been signaled, the
crowd rushed on board to pillage it and the boat sunk," probably along
with a good many of its invaders.[72] Other gatherings at the
barriers stop the peasants' wagons and take their produce before they
reach the markets. Outside the barriers, children and women throw
stones at the milkmen, forcing them to get down from their carts and
distribute milk on the spot. Still further out, one or two leagues
off on the highways, gangs from Paris go at night to intercept and
seize the supplies intended for Paris. "This morning," says a
watchman, "all the Faubourg St. Antoine scattered itself along the
Vincennes road and pillaged whatever was on the way to the city; some
paid, while others carried off without paying. . . . The
unfortunate peasants swore that they would not fetch anything more,"
the dearth thus increasing through the efforts to escape it.

In vain the government makes its requisitions for Paris as if in a
state of siege, and fixes the quantity of grain on paper which each
department, district, canton, and commune, must send to the capital.
- Naturally, each department, district, canton and commune strives to
retain its own supplies, for charity begins at home.[73] Especially in
a village, the mayor and members of a municipality, themselves
cultivators, are lukewarm when the commune is to be starved for the
benefit of the capital. They declare a less return of grain than
there really is; they allege reasons and pretexts. They mystify or
suborn the commissioner on provisions, who is a stranger, incompetent
and needy; they make him drink and eat, and, now and then, fill his
pocket book. He slips over the accounts, he gives the village
receipts on furnishing three-quarters or a half of the demand, often
in spoilt or mixed grain or poor flour, while those who have no rusty
wheat get it of their neighbors. Instead of parting with a hundred
quintals they part with fifty, while the quantity of grain in the
Paris markets is not only insufficient, but the grain blackens or
sprouts and the flour grows musty. In vain the government makes
clerks and depositaries of butchers and grocers, allowing them five or
ten per cent. profit on retail sales of the food it supplies them
with at wholesale, and thus creates in Paris, at the expense of all
France, an artificial drop in prices. Naturally, the bread[74] which,
thanks to the State, costs three sous in Paris, is furtively carried
out of Paris into the suburbs, where six sous are obtained for it.
There is the same furtive leakage for other food furnished by the
State on the same conditions to other dealers; the tax is a burden
which forces them to go outside their shops. Food finds its level
like water, not alone outside of Paris, but in Paris itself.

* Naturally, "the grocers peddle their goods" secretly, "sugar,
candles, soap, butter, dried vegetables, meat pies and the rest,"
amongst private houses, in which these articles are bought at any

* Naturally, the butcher keeps his large pieces of beef and choice
morsels for the large eating houses, and for rich customers who pay
him whatever profit he asks.

* Naturally, whoever is in authority, or has the power, uses it to
supply himself first, largely, and in preference; we have seen the
levies of the revolutionary committees, superintendents and agents; as
soon as rations are allotted to all mouths, each potentate will have
several rations delivered for his mouth alone; in the meantime[75] the
patriots who guard the barriers appropriate all provisions that
arrive, and the next morning, should any scolding appear in the orders
of the day, it is but slight.

Such are the two results of the system: not only is the food which is
supplied to Paris scant and poor, but the regular consumers of it,
those who take their turn to get it, obtain but a small portion, and
that the worst.[76] A certain inspector, on going to the corn market
for a sample of flour, writes "that it cannot be called flour;[77] it
is ground bran," and not a nutritive substance; the bakers are forced
to take it, the markets containing for the most part no other supply
than this flour." - Again, three weeks later, "Food is still very
scarce and poor in quality. The bread is disagreeable to the taste
and produces maladies with which many citizens are suffering, like
dysentery and other inflammatory ailments." The same report, three
months later during the month of Nivôse: "Complaints are constantly
made of the poor quality of flour, which, it is said, makes a good
many people ill ; it causes severe pain in the intestines, accompanied
with a slow fever. - During Ventôse, "the scarcity of every article
is extremely great,"[78] especially of meat. Some women in the Place
Maubert, pass six hours in a line waiting for it, and do not get the
quarter of a pound; in many stalls there is none at all, not "an
ounce" being obtainable to make broth for the sick. Workmen do not
get it in their shops and do without their soup; they live on "bread
and salted herrings." A great many people groan over "not having eaten
bread for a fortnight;" women say that "they have not had a dish of
meat and vegetables (pot au feu) for a month." Meanwhile "vegetables
are astonishingly scarce and excessively dear. . . . two sous for
a miserable carrot, and as much for two small leeks." Out of two
thousand women who wait at the central market for a distribution of
beans, only six hundred receive any. Potatoes increase in price in
one week from two to three francs a bushel, and oatmeal and ground
peas triple in price. "The grocers have no more brown sugar, even for
the sick," and sell candles and soap only by the half pound. - A
fortnight later candles are wholly wanting in certain quarters, except
in the section storehouse, which is almost empty, each person being
allowed only one. A good many households go to rest at sundown for
lack of lights and do not cook any dinner for lack of coal. Eggs,
especially, are "honored as invisible divinities," while the absent
butter "is a god."[79] "If this lasts," say the workmen, "we shall
have to cut each other's throats, since there is nothing left to live
on."[80] "Sick women,[81] children in their cradles, lie outstretched
in the sun," in the very heart of Paris, in rue Vivienne, on the Pont-
Royal, and remain there "late in the night, demanding alms of the
passers-by." "One is constantly stopped by beggars of both sexes, most
of them healthy and strong," begging, they say, for lack of work.
Without counting the feeble and the infirm who are unable to stand in
a line, whose sufferings are visible, who gradually waste away and die
without a murmur at home, "one encounters in the streets and markets"
only famished and eager visages, "an immense crowd of citizens running
and dashing against each other," crying out and weeping, "everywhere
presenting an image of despair."[82]

V. Revolutionary Remedies.

Revolutionary remedies. - Rigor against the refractory. - Decrees
and orders rendering the State the only depositary and distributor of
food. - Efforts made to establish a conscription of labor. -
Discouragement of the Peasant. - He refuses to cultivate. - Decrees
and orders compelling him to harvest. - His stubbornness. -
Cultivators imprisoned by thousands. - The Convention is obliged to
set them at liberty. - Fortunate circumstances which save France from
extreme famine.

This penury only exists, say the Jacobins, because the laws against
monopoly, and sales above the "maximum" prices are not being obeyed to
the letter of the law. The egoism of the cultivator and the cupidity
of dealers are not restrained by fear and delinquents escape too
frequently from the legal penalty. Let us enforce this penalty
rigorously; let us increase the punishment against them and their
instruments; let us screw up the machine and give them a new wrench.
A new estimate and verification of the food supply takes place,
domiciliary searches, seizures of special stores regarded as too
ample,[83] limited rations for each consumer, a common and obligatory
mess table for all prisoners, brown, égalité bread, mostly of bran,
for every mouth that can chew, prohibition of the making of any other
kind, confiscation of boulters and sieves,[84] the "individual,"
personal responsibility of every administrator who allows the people
he directs to resist or escape providing the demanded supplies, the
sequestration of his property, imprisonment, fines, the pillory and
the guillotine to hurry up requisitions, or stop free trading, - every
terrifying method is driven to the utmost against the farmers and
cultivators of the soil.

After April, 1794,[85] crowds of this class are found filling the
prisons to overflowing; the Revolution has struck them also. They
stroll about in the court yard, and wander through the corridors with
a sad, stupefied expression, no longer comprehending the way things
are going on in the world. In vain are efforts made to explain to
them that "their crops are national property and that they are simply
its depositaries;"[86] never had this new principle entered into, nor
will it enter, their rude brains; always, through habit and instinct,
will they work against it. - Let them be spared the temptation. Let
us (the Jacobins) relieve them from, and, in fact, take their crops;
let the State in France become the sole depositary and distributor of
grain; let it solely buy and sell grain at a fixed rate.
Consequently, at Paris,[87] the Committee of Public Safety first puts
"in requisition all the oats that can be found in the Republic; every
holder of oats is required to deposit his stock on hand within eight
days, in the storehouse indicated by the district administration " at
the maximum " price; otherwise he is " a 'suspect' and must be
punished as such." In the meantime, through still more comprehensive
orders issued in the provinces, Paganel in the department of Tarn, and
Dartigoyte in those of Gers and the Upper-Garonne,[88] enjoin each
commune to establish public granaries. "All citizens are ordered to
bring in whatever produce they possess in grain, flour, wheat, maslin,
rye, barley, oats, millet, buckwheat" at the "maximum" rate. Nobody
shall keep on hand more than one month's supply, fifty pounds of flour
or wheat for each person; in this way, the State, which holds in its
hands the keys of the storehouses, may "carry out the salutary
equalization of provisions" between department and department,
district and district, commune and commune, individual and individual.
A storekeeper will look after each of these well filled granaries; the
municipality will itself deliver rations and, moreover, "take suitable
steps to see that beans and vegetables, as they mature, be
economically distributed under its supervision," at so much per head,
and always at the rate of the "maximum." Otherwise, dismissal,
imprisonment and prosecution "in the extraordinary criminal tribunal.
"-This being accomplished, and the fruits of labor duly allotted,
there remains only the allotment of labor itself. To effect this,
Maignet,[89] in Vaucluse, and in the Bouches du Rhône, prescribes for
each municipality the immediate formation of two lists, one of day
laborers and the other of proprietors. "All proprietors in need of a
cultivator by the day," are to appear and ask for one at the
municipality, which will assign the applicant as many as he wants, "in
order on the list," with a card for himself and numbers for the
designated parties. The laborer who does not enter his name on the
list, or who exacts more than the "maximum " wages, is to be sentenced
to the pillory with two years in irons. The same sentence with the
addition of a fine of three hundred livres, is for every proprietor
who employs any laborer not on the list or who pays more than the
"maximum rate of wages.

After this, nothing more is necessary, in practice, than to

* draw up and keep in sight the new registries of names and figures
made by the members of thirty thousand municipal boards, who cannot
keep accounts and who scarcely know how to read and write;

* build a vast public granary, or put in requisition three or four
barns in each commune, in which half dried and mixed grain may rot;

* pay two hundred thousand incorruptible storekeepers and measurers
who will not divert anything from the depots for their friends or

* add to the thirty five thousand employees of the Committee on
Provisions,[90] five hundred thousand municipal scribes disposed to
quit their trades or ploughs for the purpose of making daily
distributions gratuitously; but more precisely, to maintain four or
five millions of perfect gendarmes, one in each family, living with
it, to help along the purchases, sales and transactions of each day
and to verify at night the contents of the locker.

In short, to set one half of the French people as spies on the other
half. - These are the conditions which secure the production and
distribution of food, and which suffice for the institution throughout
France of a conscription of labor and the captivity of grain.

Unfortunately, the peasant does not understand this theory, but he
understands business; he makes close calculations, and the positive,
patent, vulgar facts on which he reasons lead to other

"In Messidor last they took all my last years' oats, at fourteen
francs in assignats, and, in Thermidor, they are going to take all
this year's oats, at eleven francs in assignats. At this rate I shall
not sow at all. Besides, I do not need any for myself, as they have
taken my horses for the army wagons. To raise rye and wheat, as much
of it as formerly, is also working at a loss; I will raise no more
than the little I want for myself, and again, I suppose that this will
be put in requisition, even my supplies for the year! I had rather let
my fields lie fallow. Just see now, they are taking all the live
three months' pigs! Luckily, I killed mine be forehand and it is now
in the pork barrel. But they are going to claim all salt provisions
like the rest. The new grabbers are worse than the old ones. Six
months more, and we shall all die of hunger. It is better to cross
one's arms at once and go to prison; there, at least, we shall be fed
and not have to work."

In effect, they allow themselves to be imprisoned, the best of the
small cultivators and proprietors by thousands, and Lindet,[92] at the
head of the Commission on Provisions, speaks with dismay of the ground
being no longer tilled, of cattle in France being no more abundant
than the year before, and of nothing to be had to cut this year.

For a strange thing has happened, unheard of in Europe, almost
incredible to any one familiar with the French peasant and his love of
work. This field which he has ploughed, manured, harrowed and reaped
with his own hands, its precious crop, the crop that belongs to him
and on which he has feasted his eyes for seven months, now that it is
ripe, he will not take the trouble to gather it; it would be bothering
himself for some one else. As the crop that he sees there is for the
government, let the government defray the final cost of getting it in;
let it do the harvesting, the reaping, the putting it in sheaves, the
carting and the thrashing in the barn. - Thereupon, the
representatives on mission exclaim, each shouting in a louder or lower
key, according to his character.

"Many of the cultivators," writes Dartigoyte,[93] "affect a supreme
indifference for this splendid crop. One must have seen it, as I
have, to believe how great the neglect of the wheat is in certain
parts, how it is smothered by the grass . . . . Draft, if the case
requires it, a certain number of inhabitants in this or that commune
to work in another one. . . . Every man who refuses to work,
except on the 'decade' day, must be punished as an ill-disposed
citizen, as a royalist." -

" Generous friends of nature," writes Ferry,[94] introduce amongst
you, perpetuate around you, the habit of working in common and begin
with the present crop. Do not spare either indolent women or indolent
men, those social parasites, many of whom you doubtless have in your
midst. What! allow lazy men and lazy women where we are! Where should
we find a Republican police? . . . Immediately on the reception of
this present order the municipal officers of each commune will convoke
all citoyennes in the Temple of the Eternal and urge them, in the name
of the law, to devote themselves to the labors of harvesting. Those
women who fail in this patriotic duty, shall be excluded from the
assemblies, from the national festivals, while all good citoyennes are
requested to repel them from their homes. All good citizens are
requested to give to this rural festivity that sentimental character
which befits it."

- And the programme is carried out, here in idyllic shape and there
under compulsion. Around Avignon,[95] the commanding officer, the
battalions of volunteers, and patriotic ladies, "the wives and
daughters of patriots," inscribe themselves as harvesters. Around
Arles, "the municipality drafts all the inhabitants; patrols are sent
into the country to compel all who are engaged on other work to leave
it and do the harvesting." The Convention, on its side, orders[96] the
release, "provisionally, of all ploughmen, day-laborers, reapers, and
professional artisans and brewers, in the country and in the market
towns and communes, the population of which is not over twelve hundred
inhabitants, and who are confined as 'suspects.' " - In other terms,
physical necessity has imposed silence on the inept theory; above all
things, the crop must be harvested, and indispensable arms be restored
to the field of labor. The governors of France are compelled to put
on the brake, if only for an instant, at the last moment, at sight of
the yawning abyss, of approaching and actual famine; France was then
gliding into it, and, if not engulfed, it is simply a miracle.

Four fortunate circumstances, at the last hour, concur to keep her
suspended on the hither brink of the precipice. - The winter chances
to be exceptionally mild.[97] The vegetables which make up for the
absence of bread and meat provide food for April and May, while the
remarkably fine harvest, almost spontaneous, is three weeks in
advance. - Another, and the second piece of good fortune, consists in
the great convoy from America, one hundred and sixteen vessels loaded
with grain, which reached Brest on the 8th of June, 1794, in spite of
English cruisers, thanks to the sacrifice of the fleet that protected
it and which, eight days previously, had succumbed in its behalf. The
third stroke of fortune is the entry of a victorious army into the
enemies country and feeding itself through foreign requisitions, in
Belgium, in the Palatinate and on the frontier provinces of Italy and
Spain. - Finally, most fortunate of all, Robespierre, Saint Just and
Couthon, the Paris commune and the theorist Jacobins, are guillotined
on the 23rd of July, and with them falls despotic socialism.
Henceforth, the Jacobin edifice crumbles, owing to great crevices in
its walls. The "maximum," in fact, is no longer maintained, while the
Convention, at the end of December, 1794, legally abolishes it. The
farmers now sell as they please and at two prices, according as they
are paid in assignats or coin; their hope, confidence and courage are
restored; in October and November, 1794, they voluntarily do their own
plowing and planting, and still more gladly will they gather in their
own crops in July, 1795. Nevertheless, we can judge by the
discouragement into which they had been plunged by four months of the
system, the utter prostration into which they would have fallen had
the system lasted an indefinite time. It is very probable that
cultivation at the end of one or two years would have proved
unproductive or have ceased altogether. Already, subject to every
sort of exhortation and threat, the peasant had remained inert,
apparently deaf and insensible, like an overloaded beast of burden
which, so often struck, grows obstinate or sinks down and refuses to
move. It is evident that he would have never stirred again could
Saint-Just, holding him by the throat, have bound him hand and foot,
as he had done at Strasbourg, in the multiplied knots of his Spartan
Utopia. We should have seen what labor and the stagnation it produces
comes to, when managed through State maneuvers by administrative
manikins and humanitarian automatons. This experiment had been tried
in China, in the eleventh century, and according to principles, long
and regularly, by a well manipulated and omnipotent State, on the most
industrious and soberest people in the world, and men died in myriads
like flies. If the French, at the end of 1794 and during the
following years did not die like flies, it was because the Jacobin
system was relaxed too soon.[98]

VI. Relaxation.

Relaxation of the Revolutionary system after Thermidor. - Repeal of
the Maximum. - New situation of the peasant. - He begins to
cultivation again. - Requisition of grain by the State. - The
cultivator indemnifies himself at the expense of private persons. -
Multiplication and increasing decline of Assignats. The classes who
have to bear the burden. - Famine and misery during year III, and the
first half of year IV. - In the country.- In the small towns. - In
large towns and cities.

But, if the Jacobin system, in spite of its surviving founders,
gradually relaxes after Thermidor; if the main ligature tied around
the man's neck, broke just as the man was strangling, the others that
still bind him hold him tight, except as they are loosened in places;
and, as it is, some of the straps, terribly stiffened, sink deeper and
deeper into his flesh. - In the first place, the requisitions
continue there is no other way of provisioning the armies and the
cities; the gendarme is always on the road, compelling each village to
contribute its portion of grain, and at the legal rate. The
refractory are subject to keepers, confiscations, fines and
imprisonment; they are confined and kept in the district lock ups "at
their own expense," men and women, twenty two on Pluviôse 17, year
III., in the district of Bar-sur-Aube ; forty five, Germinal 7, in the
district of Troyes ; forty-five, the same day, in the district of
Nogent-sur-Seine, and twenty others, eight days later, in the same
district, in the commune of Traine alone.[99] - The condition of the
cultivator is certainly not an easy one, while public authority, aided
by the public force, extorts from him all it can at a rate of its own;
moreover, it will soon exact from him one half of his contributions in
kind, and, it must be noted, that at this time, the direct
contributions alone absorb twelve and thirteen sous on the franc of
the revenue. Nevertheless, under this condition, which is that of
laborers in a Muslim country, the French peasant, like the Syrian or
Tunisian peasant, can keep himself alive; for, through the abolition
of the "maximum," private transactions are now free, and, to indemnify
himself on this side, he sells to private individuals and even to
towns,[100] by agreement, on understood terms, and as dear as he
pleases; all the dearer because through the legal requisitions the
towns are half empty, and there are fewer sacks of grain for a larger
number of purchasers ; hence his losses by the government are more
than made up by his gains on private parties; he gains in the end, and
that is why he persists in farming.

The weight, however, of which he relieves himself falls upon the
overburdened buyer, and this weight, already excessive, goes on
increasing, through another effect of the revolutionary institution,
until it becomes ten-fold and even a hundred-fold. - The only money,
in fact, which private individuals possess melts away in their hands,
and, so to say, destroys itself. When the guillotine stops working,
the assignat, losing its official value, falls to its real value. In
August, 1794, the loss on it is sixty six per cent., in October,
seventy two per cent., in December, seventy eight per cent., in
January, 1795, eighty one per cent., and after that date the constant
issues of enormous amounts, five hundred millions, then a billion, a
billion and a half, and, finally, two billions a month, hastens its
depreciation.[101] The greater the depreciation of the assignats the
greater the amount the government is obliged to issue to provide for
its expenses, and the more it issues the more it causes their
depreciation, so that the decline which increases the issue increases
the depreciation, until, finally, the assignat comes down to nothing.
On March II, 1795, the louis d'or brings two hundred and five francs
in assignats, May 11, four hundred francs, June 12, one thousand
francs, in the month of October, one thousand seven hundred francs,
November 13, two thousand eight hundred and fifty francs, November 21
three thousand francs, and six months later, nineteen thousand francs.
Accordingly, an assignat of one hundred francs is worth in June, 1795,
four francs, in August three francs, in November fifteen sous, in
December ten sous, and then five sous. Naturally, all provisions rise
proportionately in price. A pound of bread in Paris, January 2, 1796,
costs fifty francs, a pound of meat sixty francs, a pound of candles
one hundred and eighty francs, a bushel of potatoes two hundred
francs, a bottle of wine one hundred francs. The reader may imagine,
if he can, the distress of people with small incomes, pensioners and
employees, mechanics and artisans in the towns out of work,[102] in
brief, all who have nothing but a small package of assignats to live
on, and who have nothing to do, whose indispensable wants are not
directly supplied by the labor of their own hands in producing wine,
candles, meat, potatoes and bread.

Immediately after the abolition of the "maximum,"[103] the cry of
hunger increases. From month to month its accents become more painful
and vehement in proportion to the increased dearness of provisions,
especially in the summer of 1795, as the harvesting draws near, when
the granaries, filled by the crop of 1794, are getting empty. And
these hungering cries go up by millions: for a good many of the
departments in France do not produce sufficient grain for home
consumption, this being the case in fertile wheat departments, and
likewise in certain districts; cries also go up from the large and
small towns, while in each village numbers of peasants fast because
they have no land to provide them with food, or because they lack
strength, health, employment and wages. "For a fortnight past,"
writes a municipal body in Seine-et-Marne,[104] "at least two hundred
citizens in our commune are without bread, grain and flour; they have
had no other food than bran and vegetables. We see with sorrow
children deprived of nourishment, their nurses without milk, unable to
suckle them; old men falling down through inanition, and young men in
the fields too weak to stand up to their work." And other communes in
the district "are about in the same condition." The same spectacle is
visible throughout the Ile-de-France, Normandy, and in Picardy.
Around Dieppe, in the country,[105] entire communes support themselves
on herbs and bran. "Citizen representatives," write the
administrators, "we can no longer maintain ourselves. Our fellow
citizens reproach us with having despoiled them of their grain in
favor of the large communes." - "All means of subsistence are
exhausted," writes the district of Louviers;[106] "we are reduced here
for a month past to eating bran bread and boiled herbs, and even this
rude food is getting scarce. Bear in mind that we have seventy-one
thousand people to govern, at this very time subject to all the
horrors of famine, a large number of them having already perished,
some with hunger and others with diseases engendered by the poor food
they live on. " - In the Caen district,[107] "the unripe peas, horse
peas, beans, and green barley and rye are attacked;" mothers and
children go after these in the fields in default of other food; "other
vegetables in the gardens are already consumed; furniture, the
comforts of the well to do class, have become the prey of the farming
egoist; having nothing more to sell they consequently have nothing
with which to obtain a morsel of bread."

" It is impossible," writes the representative on mission, "to wait
for the crop without further aid. As long as bran lasted the people
ate that; none can now be found and despair is at its height. I have
not seen the sun since I came. The harvest will be a month behind.
What shall we do? What will become of us?" - "In Picardy," writes the
Beauvais district, "the great majority of people in the rural communes
search the woods" to find mushrooms, berries and wild fruits.[108]
"They think themselves lucky," says the Bapaume district, "if they can
get a share of the food of animals." "In many communes," the district
of Vervier reports, "the inhabitants are reduced to living on
herbage." "Many families, entire communes," reports the Laon
commissary, "have been without bread two or three months and live on
bran or herbs. . . . Mothers of families, children, old men,
pregnant women, come to the (members of the) Directory for bread and
often faint in their arms.

And yet, great as the famine is in the country it is worse in the
towns; and the proof of it is that the starving people flock into the
country to find whatever they can to live on, no matter how, and,
generally speaking, in vain. - "Three quarters of our fellow
citizens," writes the Rozoy municipality,[109] "are forced to quit
work and overrun the country here and there, among the farmers, to
obtain bread for specie, and with more entreaty than the poorest
wretches; for the most part, they return with tears in their eyes at
not being able to find, not merely a bushel of wheat, but a pound of
bread." "Yesterday," writes the Montreuil-sur-Mer municipality,[110]
"more than two hundred of our citizens set out to beg in the country,"
and, when they get nothing, they steal. "Bands of brigands[111]
spread through the country and pillage all dwellings anywise remote.
. . . Grain, flour, bread, cattle, poultry, stuffs, etc., all come
in play. Our terrified shepherds are no longer willing to sleep in
their sheep pens and are leaving us." The most timid dig Carrots at
night or, during the day, gather dandelions; but their town stomachs
cannot digest this food. "Lately," writes the procureur- syndic of
Saint-Germain,[112] "the corpse of a father of a family, found in the
fields with his mouth still filled with the grass he had striven to
chew, exasperates and arouses the spirit of the poor creatures
awaiting a similar fate."

What then, do people in the towns do in order to survive? - In small
towns or scattered villages, each municipality, using what gendarmes
it has, makes legal requisitions in its vicinity, and sometimes the
commune obtains from the government a charitable gift of wheat, oats,
rice or assignats. But the quantity of grain it receives is so small,
one asks how it is that, after two months, six months or a year of
such a system, that half of the inhabitants are not in the grave yard.
I suppose that many of them live on what they raise in their gardens,
or on their small farms; others are helped by their relations,
neighbors and companions; in any event, it is clear that the human
body is very resistant, and a few mouthfuls suffice to keep it going a
long time. - At Ervy,[113] in Aube, "not a grain of wheat has been
brought in the last two market days." "To morrow,[114] Prairial 25, in
Bapaume, the main town of the district, there will be only two bushels
of flour left (for food of any sort)." "At Boulogne-sur-Mer, for the
past ten days, there has been distributed to each person only three
pounds of bad barley, or maslin, without knowing whether we can again
distribute this miserable ration next decade." Out of sixteen hundred
inhabitants in Brionne, "twelve hundred and sixty[115] are reduced to
the small portion of wheat they receive at the market, and which,
unfortunately, for too long a time, has been reduced from eight to
three ounces of wheat for each person, every eight days." For three
months past, in Seine et Marne,[116] in "the commune of Meaux, that of
Laferté, Lagny, Daumartin, and other principal towns of the canton,
they have had only half a pound per head, for each day, of bad bread."
In Seine et Oise, "citizens of the neighborhood of Paris and even of
Versailles[117] state that they are reduced to four ounces of bread."
At Saint-Denis,[118] with a population of six thousand, "a large part
of the inhabitants, worn out with suffering, betake themselves to the
charity depots. Workmen, especially, cannot do their work for lack of
food. A good many women, mothers and nurses, have been found in their
houses unconscious, without any sign of life in them, and many have
died with their infants at their breasts." Even in a larger and less
forsaken town, Saint-Germain,[119] the misery surpasses all that one
can imagine. "Half-a-pound of flour for each inhabitant," not daily,
but at long intervals; "bread at fifteen and sixteen francs the pound
and all other provisions at the same rate; a people which is sinking,
losing hope and perishing. Yesterday, for the fête of the 9th of
Thermidor, not a sign of rejoicing; on the contrary, symptoms of
general and profound depression, tottering specters in the streets,
mournful shrieks of ravaging hunger or shouts of rage, almost every
one, driven to the last extremity of misery, welcoming death as a

Such is the aspect of these huge artificial agglomerations, where the
soil, made sterile by habitation, bears only stones, and where twenty,
thirty, fifty and a hundred thousand suffering stomachs have to obtain
from ten, twenty and thirty leagues off their first and last mouthful
of food. Within these close pens long lines of human sheep huddle
together every day bleating and trembling around almost empty troughs,
and only through extraordinary efforts do the shepherds daily succeed
in providing them with a little nourishment. The central government,
strenuously appealed to, enlarges or defines the circle of their
requisitions; it authorizes them to borrow, to tax themselves; it
lends or gives to them millions of assignats;[120] frequently, in
cases of extreme want, it allows them to take so much grain or rice
from its storehouses, for a week's supply. - But, in truth, this sort
of life is not living, it is only not dying. For one half, and more
than one half of the inhabitants simply subsist on rations of bread
obtained by long waiting for it at the end of a string of people and
delivered at a reduced price. What rations and what bread! "It
seems," says the municipality of Troyes, "that[121] the country has
anathematized the towns. Formerly, the finest grain was brought to
market; the farmer kept the inferior quality and consumed it at home.
Now it is the reverse, and this is carried still further, for, not
only do we receive no wheat whatever, but the farmers give us sprouted
barley and rye, which they reserve for our commune; the farmer who has
none arranges with those who have, so as to buy it and deliver it in
town, and sell his good wheat elsewhere. Half a pound per day and per
head, in Pluviôse , to the thirteen thousand or fourteen thousand
indigent in Troyes; then a quarter of a pound, and, finally, two
ounces with a little rice and some dried vegetables, "which feeble
resource is going to fail us."[122] Half a pound in Pluviôse , to the
twenty thousand needy in Amiens, which ration is only nominal, for "it
often happens that each individual gets only four ounces, while the
distribution has repeatedly failed three days in succession,'' and
this continues. Six months later, Fructidor 7, Amiens has but sixty
nine quintals of flour in its market storehouse, "an insufficient
quantity for distribution this very day; to morrow, it will be
impossible to make any distribution at all, and the day after to
morrow the needy population of this commune will be brought down to
absolute famine." - "Complete desperation! There are already "many
suicides."[123] At other times, rage predominates and there are riots.
At Evreux,[124] Germinal 21, a riot breaks out, owing to the delivery
of only two pounds of flour per head and per week, and because three
days before, only a pound and a half was delivered. There is a riot
at Dieppe,[125] Prairial 14 and 15, because "the people are reduced
here to three or four ounces of bread." There is another at Vervins,
Prairial 9, because the municipality which obtains bread at a cost of
seven and eight francs a pound, raises the price from twenty-five to
fifty sous. At Lille, an insurrection breaks out Messidor 4, because
the municipality, paying nine francs for bread, can give it to the
poor only for about twenty and thirty sous. - Lyons, during the month
of Nivôse, remains without bread "for five full days."[126] At
Chartres, Thermidor 15,[127] the distribution of bread for a month is
only eight ounces a day, and there is not enough to keep this up until
the 20th of Thermidor. On the fifteenth of Fructidor, La Rochelle
writes that "its public distributions, reduced to seven or eight
ounces of bread, are on the point of failing entirely." For four
months, at Painbœuf, the ration is but the quarter of a pound of
bread.[128] And the same at Nantes, which has eighty-two thousand
inhabitants and swarms with the wretched; "the distribution never
exceeded four ounces a day," and that only for the past year. The
same at Rouen, which contains sixty thousand inhabitants; and, in
addition, within the past fortnight the distribution has failed three
times. In other reports, those who are well-off suffer more than the
indigent because they take no part in the communal distribution, "all
resources for obtaining food being, so to say, interdicted to them." -
Five ounces of bread per diem for four months is the allowance to the
forty thousand inhabitants of Caen and its district.[129] A great
many in the town, as well as in the country, live on bran and wild
herbs." At the end of Prairial, "there is not a bushel of grain in the
town storehouses, while the requisitions, enforced in the most
rigorous and imposing style, produce nothing or next to nothing."
Misery augments from week to week: "it is impossible to form any idea
of it; the people of Caen live on brown bread and the blood of cattle.
. . . Every countenance bears traces of the famine. . . Faces
are of livid hue. . . . It is impossible to await the new crop,
until the end of Fructidor." - Such are the exclamations everywhere.
The object now, indeed, is to cross the narrowest and most terrible
defile; a fortnight more of absolute fasting and hundreds of thousands
of lives would be sacrificed.[130] At this moment the government half
opens the doors of its storehouses; it lends a few sacks of flour on
condition of re-payment, - for example, at Cherbourg a few hundreds of
quintals of oats; by means of oat bread, the poor can subsist until
the coming harvest. But above all, it doubles its guard and shows its
bayonets. At Nancy, a traveler sees[131] "more than three thousand
persons soliciting in vain for a few pounds of flour." They are
dispersed with the butt-ends of muskets. - Thus are the peasantry
taught patriotism and the townspeople patience. Physical constraint
exercised on all in the name of all; this is the only procedure which
an arbitrary socialism can resort to for the distribution of food and
to discipline starvation.

VII. Misery at Paris.

Famine and misery at Paris. - Steps taken by the government to feed
the capital. - Monthly cost to the Treasury. - Cold and hunger in
the winter of 1794-1795. - Quality of the bread. - Daily rations
diminished. - Suffering, especially of the populace. - Excessive
physical suffering, despair, suicides, and deaths from exhaustion in
1795. - Government dinners and suppers. - Number of lives lost
through want and war. - Socialism as applied, and its effects on
comfort, well-being and mortality.

Anything that a totalitarian government may do to ensure that the
capital is supplied with food is undertaken and carried out by this
one, for here is its seat, and one more degree of dearth in Paris
would overthrow it. Each week, on reading the daily reports of its
agents,[132] it finds itself on the verge of explosion; twice, in
Germinal and Prairial, a popular outbreak does overthrow it for a few
hours, and, if it maintains itself, it is on the condition of either
giving the needy a piece of bread or the hope of getting it.
Consequently, military posts are spaced out around Paris, up to
eighteen leagues off, on all the highways; permanent patrols in
correspondence with each other to urge on the wagoners and draft
relays of horses on the spot. Escorts dispatched from Paris to meet
convoys;[133] requisition "all the carts and all the horses whatever
to effect transportation in preference to any other work or service."
All communes traversed by a highway are ordered to put rubble and
manure on the bad spots and cover the whole way with a layer of soil,
so that the horses may drag their loads in spite of the slippery road.
The national agents are ordered to draft the necessary number of men
to break the ice around the water-mills.[134] A requisition is made
for "all the barley throughout the length and breadth of the Republic,
" this must be utilized to produce "the mixture for making bread,"
while the brewers are forbidden to use barley in the manufacture of
beer; the starch makers are forbidden to convert potatoes into starch,
with penalty of death against all offenders "as destroyers of
alimentary produce;" the breweries and starch-factories[135] are to be
closed until further notice. Paris must have grain, no matter of what
kind, no matter how, and at any cost, not merely in the following
week, but to-morrow, this very day, because hunger chews and swallows
everything, and it will not wait. - Once the grain is obtained, a
price must be fixed which people can pay. Now, the difference between
the selling and cost price is enormous; it keeps on increasing as the
assignat declines and it is the government which pays this. "You
furnish bread at three sous," said Dubois-Crancé, Floréal 16, year
III,[136] "and it costs you four francs. Paris consumes 8,000
quintals of meal daily, which expenditure alone amounts to 1,200
millions per annum." Seven months later, when a bag of flour brings
13,000 francs, the same expenditure reaches 546 millions per month. -
Under the ancient régime, Paris, although overgrown, continued to be
an useful organism; if it absorbed much, it elaborated more; its
productiveness compensated for what it consumed, and, every year,
instead of exhausting the public treasury it poured 77 millions into
it. The new régime has converted it into a monstrous canker in the
very heart of France, a devouring parasite which, through its six
hundred thousand leeches, drains its surroundings for a distance of
forty leagues, consumes one-half the annual revenue of the State, and
yet still remains emaciated in spite of the sacrifices made by the
treasury it depletes and the exhaustion of the provinces which supply
it with food.

Always the same alimentary system, the same long lines of people
waiting at, and before, dawn in every quarter of Paris, in the dark,
for a long time, and often to no purpose, subject to the brutalities
of the strong and the outrages of the licentious! On the 9th of
Thermidor, the daily trot of the multitude in quest of food has lasted
uninterruptedly for seventeen months, accompanied with outrages of the
worst kind because there is less terror and less submissiveness, with
more obstinacy because provisions at free sale are dearer, with
greater privation because the ration distributed is smaller, and with
more sombre despair because each household, having consumed its
stores, has nothing of its own to make up for the insufficiencies of
public charity. - And to cap it all, the winter of 1794-1795 is so
cold[137] that the Seine freezes and people cross the Loire on foot.
Rafts no longer arrive and, to obtain fire-wood, it is necessary "to
cut down trees at Boulogne, Vincennes, Verrières, St. Cloud, Meudon
and two other forests in the vicinity." Fuel costs "four hundred
francs per cord of wood, forty sous for a bushel of charcoal, twenty
sous for a small basket. The needy are seen in the streets sawing the
wood of their bedsteads to cook with and to keep from freezing." On
the resumption of transportation by water amongst the cakes of ice
"rafts are sold as fast as the raftsmen can haul the wood out of the
water, the people being obliged to pass three nights at the landing to
get it, each in turn according to his number." "On Pluviôse 3 at least
two thousand persons are at the Louviers landing," each with his card
allowing him four sticks at fifteen sous each. Naturally, there is
pulling, hauling, tumult and a rush; "the dealers take to flight for
fear, and the inspectors come near being murdered;" they get away
along with the police commissioner and "the public helps itself."
Likewise, the following day, there is "an abominable pillage;" the
gendarmes and soldiers placed there to maintain order, "make a rush
for the wood and carry it away together with the crowd." Bear in mind
that on this day the thermometer is sixteen degrees below zero, that
one hundred, two hundred other lines of people likewise stand waiting
at the doors of bakers and butchers, enduring the same cold, and that
they have already endured it and will yet endure it a month and more.
Words are wanting to describe the sufferings of these long lines of
motionless beings, during the night, at daybreak, standing there five
or six hours, with the blast driving through their rags and their feet
freezing. - Ventôse is beginning, and the ration of bread is reduced
to a pound and a half;[138] Ventôse ends, and the ration of bread,
kept at a pound and a half for the three hundred and twenty-four
laborers, falls to one pound; in fact, a great many get none at all,
many only a half and a quarter of a pound. Germinal follows and the
Committee of Public Safety, finding that its magazines are giving out,
limits all rations to a quarter of a pound. Thereupon, on the 12th of
Germinal, an insurrection of workmen and women breaks out; the
Convention is invaded and liberated by military force. Paris is
declared in a state of siege and the government, again in the saddle,
tightens the reins. Thenceforth, the ration of meat served out every
four or five days, is a quarter of a pound; bread averages every day,
sometimes five, sometimes six and sometimes seven ounces, at long
intervals eight ounces, often three, two and one ounce and a half, or
even none at all; while this bread, black and "making mischief,"
becomes more and more worthless and detestable.[139] People who are
well off live on potatoes, but only for them, for, in the middle of
Germinal, these cost fifteen francs the bushel and, towards the end,
twenty francs; towards the end of Messidor, forty-five francs; in the
first month of the Directory, one hundred and eighty francs, and then
two hundred and eighty-four francs, whilst other produce goes up at
the same rates. - After the abolition of the "maximum " the evil
springs not from a lack of provisions, but from their dearness: the
shops are well supplied. Whoever comes with a full purse gets what he
wants[140]: The former rich, the property owners and large
capitalists, may eat on the condition that they hand their bundles of
assignats over, that they withdrawing their last louis from its
hiding-place, that they sell their jewelry, clocks, furniture and
clothes. And the nouveaux rich, the speculators, the suppliers, the
happy and extravagant robbers, spend four hundred, one thousand, three
thousand, then five thousand francs for their dinner, and revel in the
great eating establishments on fine wines and exquisite cheer: the
burden of the scarcity is transferred to other shoulders. - At
present, the class which suffers, and which suffers beyond all bounds
of patience is, together with employees and people with small
incomes,[141] the crowd of workmen, the City plebeians, the low
Parisian populace

* which lives from day to day,
* which is Jacobin at heart,
* which made the Revolution in order to better itself,
* which finds itself worse off,
* which gets up one insurrection more on the 1st of Prairial,
* which forcibly enters the Tuileries yelling "Bread and the
Constitution of '93,"
* which installs itself as sovereign in the Convention,
* which murders the Representative Féraud,
* which decrees a return to Terror,
but which, put down by the National Guard, disarmed and forced back
into lasting obedience, has only to submit to the consequences of its
own outrages, the socialism it has itself instituted and the
economical system it itself has organized.

Because the workers of Paris have been usurpers and tyrants they are
now beggars. Owing to the ruin brought on proprietors and capitalists
by them, individuals can no longer employ them. Owing to the ruin
they have brought on the Treasury, the State can provide them with
only the semblance of charity, and hence, while all are compelled to
go hungry, a great many die, and many commit suicide.

* On Germinal 6th, "Section of the Observatory,"[142] at the
distribution, "forty-one persons had been without bread; several
pregnant women desired immediate confinement so as to destroy their
infants; others asked for knives to stab themselves."

* On Germinal 8th," a large number of persons who had passed the night
at the doors of the bakeries were obliged to leave without getting any

* On Germinal 24th, "the police commissioner of the Arsenal section
states that many become ill for lack of food, and that he buries quite
a number.... The same day, he has heard of five or six citizens, who,
finding themselves without bread, and unable to get other food, throw
themselves into the Seine."

* Germinal 27, "the women say that they feel so furious and are in
such despair on account of hunger and want that they must inevitably
commit some act of violence. . . . In the section of 'Les Amis de
la Patrie,' one half have no bread. . . . Three persons tumbled
down through weakness on the Boulevard du Temple."

* Floréal 2, "most of the workmen in the 'République' section are
leaving Paris on account of the scarcity of bread."

* Floréal 5, "eighteen out of twenty-four inspectors state that
patience is exhausted and that things are coming to an end."

* Floréal 14, "the distribution is always unsatisfactory on account of
the four-ounce ration; two thirds of the citizens do without it. One
woman, on seeing the excitement of her husband and her four children
who had been without bread for two days, trailed through the gutter
tearing her hair and striking her head; she then got up in a state of
fury and attempted to drown herself."

* Floréal 20, "all exclaim that they cannot live on three ounces of
bread, and, again, of such bad quality. Mothers and pregnant women
fall down with weakness."

* Floréal 21, "the inspectors state that they encounter many persons
in the streets who have fallen through feebleness and inanition."

* Floréal 23, "a citoyenne who had no bread for her child tied it to
her side and jumped into the river. Yesterday, an individual named
Mottez, in despair through want, cut his throat."

* Floréal 25, "several persons, deprived of any means of existence,
gave up in complete discouragement, and fell down with weakness and
exhaustion. . . . In the 'Gravilliers' section, two men were found
dead with inanition. . . . The peace officers report the decease
of several citizens; one cut his throat, while another was found dead
in his bed." Floréal 28, "numbers of people sink down for lack of
something to eat; yesterday, a man was found dead and others exhausted
through want."

* Prairial 24, "Inspector Laignier states that the indigent are
compelled to seek nourishment in the piles of garbage on the corners."

* Messidor 1,[143] "the said Picard fell through weakness at ten
o'clock in the morning in the rue de la Loi, and was only brought to
at seven o'clock in the evening; he was carried to the hospital on a

* Messidor 11, "There is a report that the number of people trying to
drown themselves is so great that the nets at St. Cloud scarcely
suffice to drag them out of the water."

* Messidor 19, "A man was found on the corner of a street just dead
with hunger."

* Messidor 27, "At four o'clock in the afternoon, Place Maubert, a man
named Marcelin, employed in the Jardin des Plantes, fell down through
starvation and died while assistance was being given to him." On the
previous evening, the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille, a
laborer on the Pont-au-Change, says " I have eaten nothing all day.
''Another replies : " I have not been home because I have nothing to
give to my wife and children, dying with hunger." About the same date,
a friend of Mallet-Dupan writes to him "that he is daily witness to
people amongst the lower classes dying of inanition in the streets;
others, and principally women, have nothing but garbage to live on,
scraps of refuse vegetables and the blood running out of the slaughter
houses. Laborers, generally, work on short time on account of their
lack of strength and of their exhaustion for want of food."[144] -

Thus ends the rule of the Convention. Well has it looked out for the
interests of the poor! According to the reports of its own inspectors,
"famished stomachs on all sides cry vengeance, beat to arms and sound
the tocsin of alarm[145] . . . . Those who have to dwell daily on
the sacrifices they make to keep themselves alive declare that there
is no hope except in death." Are they going to be relieved by the new
government which the Convention imposes on them with thunders of
artillery and in which it perpetuates itself?[146] -

* Brumaire 28, " Most of the workmen in the 'Temple' and 'Gravilliers'
sections have done no work for want of bread."

* Brumaire 24, "Citizens of all classes refuse to mount guard because
they have nothing to eat."

* Brumaire 25, "In the 'Gravilliers' section the women say that they
have sold all that they possessed, while others, in the 'Faubourg-
Antoine' section, declare that it would be better to be shot down."

* Brumaire 30, "A woman beside herself came and asked a baker to kill
her children as she had nothing to give them to eat."

* Frimaire 1, 2, 3, and 4, "In many of the sections bread is given out
only in the evening, in others at one o'clock in the morning, and of
very poor quality.... Several sections yesterday had no bread."

* Frimaire 7, the inspectors declare that "the hospitals soon will not
be vast enough to hold the sick and the wretched."

* Frimaire 14, At the central market a woman nursing her child sunk
down with inanition." A few days before this, "a man fell down from
weakness, on his way to Bourg l'Abbé."

" All our reports," say the district administrators, "resound with
shrieks of despair." People are infatuated; "it seems to us that a
crazy spirit prevails universally, we often encounter people in the
street who, although alone, gesticulate and talk to themselves aloud."
"How many times," writes a Swiss traveller,[147] who lived in Paris
during the latter half of 1795, "how often have I chanced to encounter
men sinking through starvation, scarcely able to stand up against a
post, or else down on the ground and unable to get up for want of
strength !" A journalist states that he saw "within ten minutes, along
the street, seven poor creatures fall on account of hunger, a child
die on its mother's breast which was dry of milk, and a woman
struggling with a dog near a sewer to get a bone away from him."[148]
Meissner never leaves his hotel without filling his pockets with
pieces of the national bread. "This bread," he says, "which the poor
would formerly have despised, I found accepted with the liveliest
gratitude, and by well educated persons;" the lady who contended with
the dog for the bone was a former nun, without either parents or
friends and everywhere repulsed." "I still hear with a shudder," says
Meissner, "the weak, melancholy voice of a well-dressed woman who
stopped me in the rue du Bac, to tell me in accents indicative both of
shame and despair: 'Ah, Sir, do help me! I am not an outcast. I have
some talent - you may have seen some of my works in the salon. I have
had nothing to eat for two days and I am crazy for want of food.'"
Again, in June, 1796, the inspectors state that despair and
despondency have reached the highest point, only one cry being heard-
misery !.. . . Our reports all teem with groans and complaints. .
. . Pallor and suffering are stamped on all faces. . . . Each
day presents a sadder and more melancholy aspect." And
repeatedly,[149] they sum up their scattered observations in a general

* "A mournful silence, the deepest distress on every countenance;
* the most intense hatred of the government in general developed in
all conversations;
* contempt for all existing authority;
* an insolent luxuriousness, insulting to the wretchedness of the poor
rentiers who expire with hunger in their garrets, no longer possessing
the courage to crawl to the Treasury and get the wherewithal to
prolong their misery for a few days;
* the worthy father of a family daily deciding what article of
furniture he will sell to make up for what is lacking in his wages
that he may buy a half-pound of bread;
* every sort of provision increasing in price sixty times an hour;
* the smallest business dependent on the fall of assignats;
* intriguers of all parties overthrowing each other only to get
* the intoxicated soldier boasting of the services he has rendered and
is to render, and abandoning himself shamelessly to every sort of
* commercial houses transformed into dens of thieves;
* rascals become traders and traders become rascals; the most sordid
cupidity and a mortal egoism-

such is the picture presented by Paris."[150]

One group is wanting in this picture, that of the governors who
preside over this wretchedness, which group remains in the background;
one might say that it was so designed and composed by some great
artist, a lover of contrasts, an inexorable logician, whose invisible
hand traces human character unvaryingly, and whose mournful irony
unfailingly depicts side by side, in strong relief, the grotesqueness
of folly and the seriousness of death. How many perished on account
of this misery? Probably more than a million persons.[151] -

Try to take in at a glance the extraordinary spectacle presented on
twenty-six thousand square leagues of territory:

* The immense multitude of the starving in town and country,
* the long lines of women for three years waiting for bread in all the
* this or that town of twenty-three thousand souls in which one-third
of the population dies in the hospitals in three months,
* the crowds of paupers at the poor-houses,
* the file of poor wretches entering and the file of coffins going
* the asylums deprived of their property, overcrowded with the sick,
unable to feed the multitude of foundlings pining away in their
cradles the very first week, their little faces in wrinkles like those
of old men,
* the malady of want aggravating all other maladies, the long
suffering of a persistent vitality amidst pain and which refuses to
succumb, the final death-rattle in a garret or in a ditch.

Contrast this with this the small, powerful, triumphant group of
Jacobins which, having understood how to place themselves in the good
places, is determined to stay there at any cost. - About ten o'clock
in the morning,[152] Cambacérès, president of the Committee of Public
Safety, is seen entering its hall in the Pavillon de l'Egalité. He is
a large, cautious and shrewd personage who will, later on, become
arch-chancellor of the Empire and famous for his epicurean inventions
and other peculiar tastes revived from antiquity. Scarcely seated, he
orders an ample pat-au-feu to be placed on the chimney hearth and, on
the table, "fine wine and fine white bread; three articles," says a
guest, " not to be found elsewhere in all Paris." Between twelve and
two o'clock, his colleagues enter the room in turn, take a plate of
soup and a slice of meat, swallow some wine, and then proceed, each to
his bureau, to receive his coterie, giving this one an office and
compelling another to pay up, looking all the time after his own
special interests. At this moment, especially, towards the close of
the Convention, there are no public interests, all interests being
private and personal. - In the mean time, the deputy in charge of
provisions, Roux de la Haute Marne, an unfrocked Benedictine, formerly
a terrorist in the provinces, subsequently the protégé and employee of
Fouché, with whom he is to be associated in the police department,
keeps the throng of women in check which daily resorts to the
Tuileries to beg for bread. He is well adapted for this duty, being
tall, chubby, ornamental, and with vigorous lungs. He has taken his
office in the right place, in the attic of the palace, at the top of
long, narrow and steep stairs, so that the line of women stretching up
between the two walls, piled one above the other, necessarily becomes
immovable. With the exception of the two or three at the front, no
one has her hands free to grab the haranguer by the throat and close
the oratorical stop-cock. He can spout his tirades accordingly with
impunity, and for an indefinite time. On one occasion, his sonorous
jabber rattles away uninterruptedly from the top to the bottom of the
staircase, from nine o'clock in the morning to five o'clock in the
afternoon. Under such a voluble shower, his hearers become weary and
end by going home. - About nine or ten o'clock in the evening, the
Committee of Public Safety reassembles, but not to discuss business.
Danton and La Révellière preach in vain; each is too egoistic and too
worn-out; they let the rein slacken on Cambacérès. As to him, he
would rather keep quiet and drag the cart no longer; but there are two
things necessary which he must provide for on pain of death. - "It
will not do," says he in plaintive tones, "to keep on printing the
assignats at night which we want for the next day. If that lasts, ma
foi, we run the risk of being strung up at a lantern. . .Go and find
Hourier-Eloi, as he has charge of the finances, and tell him that we
entreat him to keep us a-going for a fortnight or eighteen days
longer, when the executive Directory will come in and do what it
pleases." " But food - shall we have enough for to-morrow?

"Aha, I don't know - I'll send for our colleague Roux, who will post
us on that point." Roux enters, the official spokesman, the fat,
jovial tamer of the popular dog. "Well, Roux, how do we stand about
supplying Paris with food?" "The supply, citizen President, is just as
abundant as ever, two ounces per head, - at least for most of the
sections." "Go to the devil with your abundant supply! You'll have our
heads off! " All remain silent, for this possible dénouement sets them
to thinking. Then, one of them exclaims: "President, are there any
refreshments provided for us? After working so hard for so many days
we need something to strengthen us !" "Why, yes ; there is a good
calf's-tongue, a large turbot, a large piece of pie and some other
things." They cheer up, begin to eat and drink champagne, and indulge
in drolleries. About eleven or twelve o'clock the members of other
Committees come in; signatures are affixed to their various decrees,
on trust, without reading them over. They, in their turn, sit down at
the table and the conclave of sovereign bellies digests without giving
itself further trouble about the millions of stomachs that are empty.



[1] On the other more complicated functions, such as the maintenance
of roads, canals, harbors, public buildings, lighting, cleanliness,
hygiene, superior secondary and primary education, hospitals, and
other asylums, highway security, the suppression of robbery and
kindred crimes, the destruction of wolves, etc., see Rocquam, "Etat de
la France au 18 Brumaire," and the "Statistiques des Departements,"
published by the prefets, from years IX. to XIII. - These branches
of the service were almost entirely overthrown; the reader will see
the practical results of their suppression in the documents referred

[2] "St. John de Crêvecœur," by Robert de Crêvecœur, p.216. (Letter
of Mdlle. de Gouves, July, 1800.) "We are negotiating for the payment
of, at least, the arrearages since 1789 on the Arras property." (M.
de Gouves and his sisters had not emigrated, and yet they had had no
income from their property for ten years.)

[3] Cf. "The Revolution," vol. I., 254-261, 311-352; vol. II., 234-

[4] Cf. "The Revolution," II., 273-276.

[5] Buchez et Roux, XXII., 178. (Speech by Robespierre in the
Convention, December 2, 1792.) - Mallet-Dupan, "Mémoires." I., 400.
About the same date, "a deputation from the department of Gard
expressly demands a sum of two hundred and fifty millions, as
indemnity to the cultivator, for grain which it calls national
property." - This fearful sum of two hundred and fifty millions, they
add, is only a fictive advance, placing at its disposal real and
purely national wealth, not belonging in full ownership to any
distinct member of the social body any more than the pernicious metals
minted as current coin."

[6] Buchez et Roux, XXVI., 95. (Declaration of Rights presented in
the Jacobin Club, April 21, 1793.)

[7] Decrees in every commune establishing a tax on the rich in order
to render the price of bread proportionate to wages, also in each
large city to raise an army of paid sans-culottes, that will keep
aristocrats under their pikes, April 5-7. - Decree ordering the
forced loan of a billion on the rich, May 20-25- - Buchez et Roux,
XXV., 156. (Speech by Charles, March 27. - Gorsas, "Courrier des
Départements," No. for May I5, 1793. (Speech by Simon in the club at
Annecy.) - Speech by Guffroy at Chartres, and of Chalier and
associates at Lyons, etc.

[8] Report by Minister Claviéres, February 1, 1793, p. 27. - Cf.
Report of M. de Montesquiou, September 9, 1791, p. 47. "During the
first twenty-six months of the Revolution the taxes brought in three
hundred and fifty-six millions less than they should naturally have
done." - There is the same deficit in the receipts of the towns,
especially on account of the abolition of the octroi. Paris, under
this head, loses ten millions per annum.

[9] Report by Cambon, Pluviôse 3, year III. "The Revolution and the
war have cost in four years five thousand three hundred and fifty
millions above the ordinary expenses." (Cambon, in his estimates,
purposely exaggerates ordinary expenses of the monarchy. According to
Necker's budget, the expenditure in 1759 was fixed at five hundred and
thirty-one millions and not, as Cambon states, seven hundred millions.
This raises the expenses of the Revolution and of the war to seven
thousand one hundred and twenty-one millions for the four and a half
years, and hence to one thousand five hundred and eighty-one millions
per annum, that is to say, to triple the ordinary expenses.) The
expenses of the cities are therefore exaggerated like those of the
State and for the same reasons.

[10] Schmidt, "Pariser Zustände," I. 93, 96. "During the first half
of the year 1789 there were seventeen thousand men at twenty sous a
day in the national workshops at Montmartre. In 1790, there were
nineteen thousand. In 1791, thirty-one thousand costing sixty
thousand francs a day. In 1790, the State expends seventy-five
millions for maintaining the price of bread in Paris at eleven sous
for four pounds. - Ibid., 113. During the first six months of 1793
the State pays the Paris bakers about seventy-five thousand francs a
day to keep bread at three sous the pound.

[11] Ibid. I., 139-144.

[12] Decree of September 27, 1790. "The circulation of assignats
shall not extend beyond one billion two hundred millions.... Those
which are paid in shall be destroyed and there shall be no other
creation or emission of them, without a decree of the Corps
Legislatif, always subject to this condition that they shall not
exceed the value of the national possions nor obtain a circulation
above one billion two hundred millions.

[13] Schmidt, ibid., I., 104, 138, 144.

[14] Felix Rocquam, "L'Etat de la France au 18 Brumaire," p.240.
(Report by Lacuée, year IX. - Reports by préfets under the Consulate
(Reports of Laumont, préfet of the Lower-Rhine, year X.; of Coichen,
préfet of the Moselle, year XI., etc.) - Schmidt, Pariser Zustände,"
III., 205. ("The rate of interest during the Revolution was from four
to five per cent. per month; in 1796 from six to eight per cent. per
month, the lowest rate being two per cent. per month with security.")

[15] Arthur Young, "Voyage en France," II., 360. (Fr. translation.)
"I regard Bordeaux as richer and more commercial than any city in
England except London."

[16] Ibid., II., 357. The statistics of exports in France in 1787
give three hundred and forty-nine millions, and imports three hundred
and forty millions (leaving out Lorraine. Alsace, the three Evéchés
and the West Indies).-Ibid., 360. In 1786 the importations from the
West Indies amounted to one hundred and seventy-four millions, of
which St. Domingo furnished one hundred and thirty-one millions; the
exports to the West Indies amounted to sixty-four millions, of which
St. Domingo had forty-four millions. These exchanges were effected
by five hundred and sixty-nine vessels carrying one hundred and sixty-
two thousand tons, of which Bordeaux provided two hundred and forty-
six vessels, carrying seventy-five thousand tons. - On the ruin of
manufactures cf. the reports of préfets in the year X., with details
from each department. - Arthur Young (II., 444) states that the
Revolution affected manufactures more seriously than any other branch
of industry.

[17] Reports of préfets. (Orme, year IX.) "The purchasers have
speculated on the profits for the time being, and have exhausted their
resources. Many of them have destroyed all the plantations, all the
enclosures and even the fruit trees." - Felix Rocquam, ibid., 116.
(Report by Fourcroy on Brittany.) "The condition of rural structures
everywhere demands considerable capital. But no advances, based on
any lasting state of things, can be made." - Ibid., 236. (Report of
Lacuée on the departments around Paris.) "The doubtful owners of
national possessions cultivate badly and let things largely go to

[18] Reports by préfets, years X. and XI. In general, the effect of
the partition of communal possessions was disastrous, especially
pasture and mountain grounds. - (Doubs.) "The partition of the
communal property has contributed, in all the communes, rather to the
complete ruin of the poor than to any amelioration of their fate." -
(Lozére.) "The partition of the communal property by the law of June
10, 1792, has proved very injurious to cultivation." These partitions
were numerous. (Moselle.) "Out of six hundred and eighty-six
communes, one hundred and seven have divided per capitum, five hundred
and seventy-nine by families, and one hundred and nineteen have
remained intact."

[19] Ibid. (Moselle.) Births largely increase in 1792. "But this is
an exceptional year. All kinds of abuses, paper-money, the non-
payment of taxes and claims, the partition in the communes, the sale
for nothing of national possessions, has spread so much comfort among
the people that the poorer classes, who are the most numerous, have
had no dread of increasing their families1 to which they hope some day
to leave their fields and render them happy."

[20] Mallet-Dupan, "Memoires," II., 29. (February 1, 1794.) "The late
crop in France was generally good, and, in some provinces, it was
above the average... I have seen the statements of two returns made
from twenty-seven departments; they declare an excess of fifteen,
twenty, thirty and thirty-five thousand bushels of grain. There is no
real dearth."

[21] Schmidt, ibid., I., 110, and following pages. - Buchez et Roux,
XX., 416. (Speeches of Lequinio, November 27, 1792.) - Moniteur,
XVII., 2. (Letter by Clement, Puy-de-Dome, June 15, 1793.) "For the
past fifteen days bread has been worth sixteen and eighteen sous the
pound. There is the most frightful distress in our mountains. The
government distributes one-eighth of a bushel to each person,
everybody being obliged to wait two days to take his turn. One woman
was smothered and several were wounded."

[22] Cf. "La Revolution," I., 208; II., 294, 205, 230. - Buchez et
Roux, XX., 431. (Report of Lecointe-Puyraveau, Nov. 30, 1792.) (Mobs
of four, five and six thousand men in the departments of Eure-et-
Loire, Eure, Orme, Calvados, Indre-et-Loire, Loiret, and Sarthe cut
down the prices of produce. The three delegates of the Convention
disposed to interfere have their lives saved only on condition of
announcing the rate dictated to them. - Ibid., 409. (Letter of
Roland, Nov.27, 1792.) - XXI., 198. (Another letter by Roland, Dec.
6, 1792.) "All convoys are stopped at Lissy, la Ferté, Milan, la
Ferté-sous-Jouarre . . . Carts loaded with wheat going to Paris
have been forced to go back near Lonjumeau and near Meaux."

[23] Archives Nationales, F. 7, 3265. (Letter of David, cultivator,
and administrator of the department of Seine-Inférieure, Oct.11, 1792;
letter of the special committee of Rouen, Oct.22; letter of the
delegates of the executive power, Oct.20, etc.) "Reports from all
quarters state that the farmers who drive to market are considered and
treated in their parishes as aristocrats. . . . . Each department
keeps to itself: they mutually repel each other."

[24] Buchez et Roux, XX., 409. (Letter of Roland, Nov. 271 1792.)
"The circulation of grain has for a long time encountered the greatest
obstacles; scarcely a citizen now dares to do that business." - Ibid.,
417. (Speech by Lequinio.) "The monopoly of wheat by land-owners and
farmers is almost universal. Fright is the cause of it. . . .
And where does this fear come from? From the general agitation, and
threats, with the bad treatment in many places of the farmers, land-
owners and traffickers in wheat known as bladiers." - Decrees of
Sep.16, 1792, and May 4, 1793.

[25] Buchez et Roux, XIX. (Report by Cambon, Sep.22, 1792.) "The
taxes no longer reach the public treasury, because they are used for
purchasing grain in the departments." Ibid., XIX., 29. (Speech by
Cambon, Oct.12, 1792.) "You can bear witness in your departments to
the sacrifices which well-to-do people have been obliged to make in
helping the poor class. In many of the towns extra taxes have been
laid for the purchase of grain and for a thousand other helpful

[26] Buchez et Roux, XX., 409. (Letter of Roland, Nov.29, 1792) -
XXI., 199. (Deliberations of the provisional executive council, Sep.
3, 1792.) - Dauban, "La Demagogie en 1793," p. 64. (Diary kept by
Beaulieu.) Ibid., 152.)

[27] Schmidt, I., 110-130. - Decrees against the export of coin or
ingots, Sep. 5 and 15, 1792.-Decree on stocks or bonds payable to
bearer, Aug.14, 1792.

[28] We might today call this sentiment a desire to acquire and
retain. (Sentiment of acquisiton). (SR.)

[29] Taine's remark in a footnote. (SR.)

[30] Archives Nationales, D., 55, I., file 2. (Letter by Joifroy,
national agent in the district of Bar-sur-Aube, Germinal 5, year III.)
"Most of the farmers, to escape the requisition, have sold their
horses and replaced them with oxen." - Memoirs (in ms.) of M. Dufort
de Cheverney (communicated by M. Robert de Crévecœur). In June,
1793, "the requisitions fall like hail, every week, on wheat, hay,
straw, oats, etc.," all at prices fixed by the contractors, who make
deductions, postpone and pay with difficulty. Then come requisitions
for hogs. "This was depriving all the country folks of what they
lived on." As the requisitions called for live hogs, there was a hog
St. Bartholomew. Everybody killed his pig and salted it down."
(Environs of Blois.) In relation to refusing to gather in crops, see
further on. - Dauban, "Paris in 1794, p.229. (Ventose 24, general
orders by Henriot.) "Citizen Guillon being on duty outside the walls,
saw with sorrow that citizens were cutting their wheat to feed rabbits

[31] Decree of Messidor 23, year II., on the consolidation with the
national domain of the assets and liabilities of hospitals and other
charitable institutions. (See reports of prefets on the effect of
this law, on the ruin of the hospitals, on the misery of the sick, of
foundlings and the infirm, from years IX. to XIII.) - Decrees of
August 8 and 12, 1793, and July 24, 1794, on academies and literary
societies. - Decree of August 24, 1793, § 29, on the assets and
liabilities of communes.

[32] Schmidt, I., 144. (Two billions September 27, 1793; one billion
four hundred millions June 19, 1794.) - Decree of August 24, September
13, 1793, on the conversion of title-deeds and the formation of the
Grand Ledger. - Decrees of July 31, August 30 and September 5, on
calling in the assignats à face royale. - Decrees of August 1 and
September 5, 1793, on the refusal to accept assignats at par.

[33] Archives Nationales, F.7, 4421. (Documents on the revolutionary
taxes organized at Troyes, Brumaire 11, year II.) Three hundred and
seventy-three persons are taxed, especially manufacturers, merchants
and land-owners; the minimum of the tax is one hundred francs, the
maximum fifty thousand francs, the total being one million seven
hundred and sixty-two thousand seven hundred francs. Seventy-six
petitions attached to the papers show exactly the situation of things
in relation to trade, manufactures and property, the state of fortunes
and credit of the upper and lower bourgeois class.

[34] Mallet-Dupan, "Mémoires," II., 17. "I have seen the thirty-
second list of émigrés at Marseilles, merely of those whose
possessions have been confiscated and sold; there are twelve thousand
of them, and the lists were not finished." - Reports of préfets. (Var
by Fanchet, year IX.) "The emigration of 1793 throws upon Leghorn and
the whole Italian coast a very large number of Marseilles and Toulon
traders. These men, generally industrious, have established (there)
more than one hundred and sixty soap factories and opened a market for
the oil of this region. This event may be likened to the Revocation
of the Edict of Nantes." - Cf. the reports on the departments of the
Rhône, Aude, Lot and Garonne, Lower Pyrenees, Orme, etc.

[35] Archives des Affaires Étrangères, vol. 332. (Letter of
Désgranges, Bordeaux, Brumaire 12, year II.) "Nobody here talks about
trade any more than if it had never existed."

[36] Dr. Jaïn, "Choix de documents et lettres privées trouvees dans
des papiers de famille," p.144. (Letter of Gédëon Jaïn, banker at
Paris, November 18, 1793.) "Business carried on with difficulty and at
a great risk occasion frequent and serious losses, credit and
resources being almost nothing."

[37] Archives Nationales, F.7, 2475. (Letters of Thullier, procureur-
syndic of the Paris department, September 7 and 10, 1793. - Report by
a member of the Piques section, September 8 and 10, 1793. - Cf. the
petitions of traders and lawyers imprisoned at Troyes, Strasbourg,
Bordeaux, etc. - Archives Nationales, AF.,II., 271. Letter of
Francastel: "At least three thousand monopolist aristocrats have been
arrested at Nantes.... and this is not the last purification."

[38] Decrees of May 4, 15, 19, 20 and 23, and of August 30, 1793. -
Decrees of July 26, August 15, September II, 1793, and February 24,
1794. - Camille Boursier, "Essai sur la Terreur en Anjou," p. 254.
(Letter of Buissart to his friend Maximilian Robespierre, Arras,
Pluviose 14, year II.) "we are dying with starvation in the midst of
abundance; I think that the mercantile aristocracy ought to be killed
out like the nobles and priests. The communes, with the help of a
storehouse of food and goods must alone be allowed to trade. This
idea, well carried out, can be realized; then, the benefits of trade
will turn to the advantage of the Republic, that is to say, to the
advantage of buyer and seller."

[39] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 49. (Documents on the levy of
revolutionary taxes, Belfort, Brumaire 30, year II.) " Verneur, sr.,
taxed at ten thousand livres, for having withheld goods deposited with
him by his sister, in order to save them from the coming taxation."
Campardon I., 292. (Judgments of the revolutionary commission at
Strasbourg.) - "The head-clerk in Hecht's apothecary shop is accused
of selling two ounces of rhubarb and manna at fifty-four sous; Hecht,
the proprietor, is condemned to a fine of fifteen thousand livres.
Madeleine Meyer, at Rosheim, a retailer, is accused of selling a
candle for ten sous and is condemned to a fine of one thousand livres,
payable in three days. Braun, butcher and bar-keeper, accused of
having sold a glass of wine for twenty sous, is condemned to a fine of
forty thousand francs, to be imprisoned until this is paid, and to
exposure in the pillory before his own house for four hours, with this
inscription: debaser of the national currency." - " Recueil de Pieces,
etc., at Strasbourg," (supplement, pp. 21, 30, 64). "Marie Ursule
Schnellen and Marie Schultzmann, servant, accused of monopolising
milk. The former is sentenced to the pillory for one day under a
placard, monopoliser of milk, and to hold in one hand the money and,
in the other, the milk-pot; the other, a servant with citizen Benner.
. . . he, the said Benner, is sentenced to a fine of three hundred
livres, payable in three days." - " Dorothy Franz, convicted of having
sold two heads of salad at twenty sous, and of thus having depreciated
the value of assignats, is sentenced to a fine of three thousand
livres, imprisonment for six weeks and exposure in the pillory for two
hours." - Ibid., I., 18. "A grocer, accused of having sold sugar-
candy at lower than the rate, although not comprised in the list, is
sentenced to one hundred thousand livres fine and imprisonment until
peace is declared." - Orders by Saint-Just and Lebas, Nivose 3, year
II. "The criminal court of the department of the Lower-Rhine is
ordered to destroy the house of any one convicted of having made sales
below the rates fixed by the maximum," consequently, the house of one
Schauer, a furrier, is torn down, Nivose 7.

[40] Archives des Affaires Étrangères, vol. 322. (Letter by Haupt,
Belfort, Brumaire 3, year II.) "On my arrival here, I found the law of
the maximum promulgated and in operation.. . (but) the necessary
steps have not been taken to prevent a new monopoly by the country
people, who have flocked in to the shops of the dealers, carried off
all their goods and created a factitious dearth."

[41] Archives Nationales, F.7, 4421. (Petitions of merchants and
shop-keepers at Troyes in relation to the revolutionary tax,
especially of hatters, linen, cotton and woollen manufacturers,
weavers and grocers. There is generally a loss of one-half, and
sometimes of three-fourths of the purchase money.)

[42] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol.330. (Letter of Brutus,
Marseilles, Nivose 6, year II.) "Since the maximum everything is
wanting at Marseilles." - Ibid. (Letter by Soligny and Gosse,
Thionville, Nivose 5, year II.) "No peasant is willing to bring
anything to market. . . They go off six leagues to get a better
price and thus the communes which they once supplied are famishing ..
According as they are paid in specie or assignats the difference often
amounts to two hundred per cent., and nearly always to one hundred per
cent." - " Un Sejour en France," pp. 188-189. - Archives Nationales,
D.. § I., file 2. (Letter of Representative Albert, Germinal 19,
year II., and of Joffroy, national agent, district of Bar-sur-Aube,
Germinal 5, year III. "The municipalities have always got themselves
exempted from the requisitions, which all fall on the farmers and
proprietors unable to satisfy them.... The allotment among the tax-
payers is made with the most revolting inequality.... Partiality
through connections of relatives and of friendship."

[43] Decrees of September 29, 1793 (articles 8 and 9); of May 4 and
20, and June 26, 1794. - Archives Nationales, AF., II., 68-72.
(Orders of the Committee of Public Safety, Prairial 26, year II.) "The
horses and wagons of coal peddlers, the drivers accustomed to taking
to Paris by law a portion of the supply of coal used in baking in the
department of Seine-et-Marne, are drafted until the 1st of Brumaire
next, for the transportation of coal to Paris. During this time they
cannot be drafted for any other service." (A good many orders in
relation to provisions and articles of prime necessity may be found in
these files, mostly in the handwriting of Robert Lindet.)

[44] Cf. "The Revolution," II., 69. - Dauban, "Paris en 1794."
(Report by Pouvoyeur, March 15, 1794.) "A report has been long
circulated that all the aged were to be slaughtered; there is not a
place where this falsehood is not uttered."

[45] Archives Nationales, F.7, 4435, file 10, letters of Collot
d'Herbois, Brumaire 17 and 19, year II. - De Martel, "Fouché," 340,
341. Letters of Collot d'Herbois, November 7 and 9, 1793.

[46] De Martel, ibid., 462. (Proclamation by Javogues, Pluviose 13,
year II.)

[47] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol. 330. (Letter of Brutus,
political agent, Nivôse 6.)

[48] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 116. (Orders of Taillefer and
Marat-Valette, and Deliberations of the Directory of Lot, Brumaire 20,
year II.)

[49] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol. 331. (Letter of the
agent Bertrand, Frimaire 3.)

[50] Ibid., vol. 1332. (Letter of the agent Chépy, Brumaire 2.)

[51] Ibid., vol.1411. (Letter of Blessmann and Hauser, Brumaire 30.)
- Ibid. (Letter of Haupt, Belfort, Brumaire 29.) "I believe that
Marat's advice should be followed here and a hundred scaffolds be
erected; there are not guillotines enough to cut off the heads of the
monopolists. I shall do what I can to have the pleasure of seeing one
of these damned bastards play hot cockles."

[52] Ibid., vol.333. (Letter of Garrigues, Pluviôse 16.)

[53] "Souvenirs et Journal d'un Bourgeois d'Evreux," pp.83-85. (June
and July, 1794.) - Ibid., at Nantes. - Dauban, "Paris en 1794,"
p.194, March 4.

[54] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vols. 331 and 332. (Letters
of Désgranges, Frimaire 3 and 8 and 10.) "Many of the peasants have
eaten no bread for a fortnight. Most of them no longer work." Buchez
et Roux, XVIII., 346. (Session of the convention, Brumaire 14, Speech
by Legendre.)

[55] Moniteur, xix., 671. (Speech by Tallien, March 12, 1794.) Buchez
et Roux, XXXII., 423. (Letter of Jullien, June 15, 1794.)

[56] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 111. (Letters of Michaud,
Chateauroux, Pluviôse 18 and 19, year II.)

[57] Dauban, "Paris en 1794," 410, 492, 498. (Letters frora the
national agent of the district of Sancoins, Thermidor 9, year II.;
from the Directory of Allier, Thermidor 9; from the national agent of
the district of Villefort, Thermidor 9.) - Gouverneur Morris, April
10, 1794, says in a letter to Washington that the famine in many
places is extremely severe. Men really die of starvation who have the
means to buy bread if they could only get it.

[58] Volney, "Voyage en Orient," II., 344. "When Constantinople lacks
food twenty provinces are starved for its supply."

[59] Archives Nationales, AF., II , 46, 68. (Decree of committee of
Public Safety.) The Treasury pays over to the city of Paris for
subsistence, on Aug. 2, 1793, two millions, August 14, three, and
September 2nd, one million; September 8, 16, and 23, one million each,
and so on. . . . Between August 7, 1793 and Germinal '9, year II.,
the Treasury paid over to Paris, thirty one millions.

[60] Ibid, AF., II., 68. Decrees of Brumaire 14, Nivôse 7 and
Germinal 22 on the departments assigned to the supply of Paris.
Buchez et Roux, XXVIII., 489. (Speech by Danton in Jacobin club,
Aug.28, '793.) "I constantly asserted that it was necessary to give
all to the mayor of Paris if he exacted it to feed its inhabitants. .
. . Let us sacrifice one hundred and ten millions and save Paris and
through it, the Republic."

[61] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vols. 1410 and 1411. Reports
of June 20 and 21, 1793, July 21, 22, 28, 29 and 31, and every day of
the months of August and September, 1793. Schmidt, "Tableaux de la
Revolution Française," vol. II., passim - Dauban, "Paris in 1794,"
(especially throughout Ventôse, year II.). - Archives Nationales,
F.7, 31167. (Reports for Nivôse, year II.)

[62] Dauban, "Paris en 1794,". (Report of Ventôse 2.)

[63] Mercier, "Paris Pendant la Revolution," I., 355.

[64] Archives des Affaires étrangères, 141 I. (Reports of August 1
and 2, 1763.) "At one o'clock in the morning, we were surprised to
find men and women lying along the sides of the houses patiently
waiting for the shops to open." - Dauban, 231. (Report of Ventôse
24.) To obtain the lights of a hog, at the slaughter house near the
Jardin des Plantes, at the rate of three francs ten sous, instead of
thirty sous as formerly, women "were lying on the ground with little
baskets by their side and waiting four and five hours."

[65] Archives Nationales, F.7, 31167. (Reports of Nivôse 9 and 28.)
"The streets of Paris are always abominable; they are certainly afraid
to use those brooms." Dauban, 120. (Ventôse 9.) "The rue St. Anne is
blocked up with manure. In that part of it near the Rue Louvois,
heaps of this stretch along the walls for the past fortnight."

[66] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol.1411. (Reports of August
9, 1793.) Mercier, I., 353. - Dauban, 530. (Reports of Fructidor 27,
year II. "There are always great gatherings at the coal depots. They
begin at midnight. one, two o'clock in the morning. Many of the
habitués take advantage of the obscurity and commit all sorts of

[67] Schmidt, "Tableaux de la Revolution Française," II., 155.
(Reports of Ventôse 25.) - Dauban, 188. (Reports of Ventôse 19). -
Ibid., (Reports of Ventôse 2.) Ibid., 126. (Reports of Ventôse 10.) -
Archives Nationales, F. 7, 31167. (Reports of Nivôse 28, year II.)
The women "denounce the butchers and pork sellers who pay no attention
to the maximum law, giving only the poorest meat to the poor." Ibid.,
(Reports of Nivôse 6.) "It is frightful to see what the butchers give
the people."

[68] Mercier, 363. "The women struggled with all their might against
the men and contracted the habit of swearing. The last on the row
knew how to worm themselves up to the head of it." Buchez et Roux,
XXVIII., 364. ("Journal de la Montague," July 28, 1793. "One citizen
was killed on Sunday, July 21, one of the Gravilliers (club) in trying
to hold on to a six pound loaf of bread which he had just secured for
himself and family. Another had a cut on his arm the same day in the
Rue Froid-Manteau. A pregnant woman was wounded and her child died in
her womb."

[69] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol.1410. (Reports of August 6
and 7, 1793.)

[70] Dauban, 144. (Reports of Ventôse 19.)

[71] Dauban, 199. (Reports of Ventôse 19.) - Dauban, "La Demagogie en
1793," p. 470. "Scarcely had the peasants arrived when harpies in
women's clothes attacked them and carried off their goods....
Yesterday, a peasant was beaten for wanting to sell his food at the
'maximum' rate." (October 19, 1793.) - Dauban, "Paris en 1794," 144,
173, 199. (Reports of Ventôse 13, 17 and 19.) - Archives des Affaires
étrangères, vol. 1410. (Reports of June 26 and 27, 1793.) Wagons and
boats are pillaged for candles and soap.

[72] Dauban, 45. (Reports of Pluviôse 17.) 222. (Reports of Ventôse
23.) - 160. (Reports of Ventôse 15.) - 340. (Reports of Germinal
28.) - 87. (Reports of Ventôse 5.)

[73] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 116. (Order of Paganel, Castres,
Pluviôse 6 and 7, year II. "The steps taken to obtain returns of food
have not fulfilled the object. . . . The statements made are
either false or inexact.") Cf., for details, the correspondence of the
other representatives on mission. - Dauban," Paris en1794." 190.
(Speech by Fouquier-Tinville in the Convention, Ventôse 19.) "The
mayor of Pont St. Maxence has dared to say that 'when Paris sends us
sugar we will then see about letting her have our eggs and butter.'"

[74] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol. 1411. (Reports of August
7 and 8, 1793.) "Seven thousand five hundred pounds of bread, about to
be taken out, have been stopped at the barriers." - Dauban, 45.
(Orders of the day. Pluviôse 17.) Lamps are set up at all the posts,
"especially at la Greve and Passy, so as to light up the river and see
that no eatables pass outside." - Mercier, I., 355. - Dauban, 181.
(Reports of Ventôse 18.) - 210. (Reports of Ventôse 21.) - 190.
Speech by Fouquier, Ventôse 19.) "The butchers in Paris who cannot
sell above the maximum carry the meat they buy to the Sèvres butchers
and sell it at any price they please. " - 257. (Reports of Ventôse
27.) "You see, about ten o'clock in the evening, aristocrats and other
egoists coming to the dealers who supply Egalité's mansion (the Duke
of Orleans) and buy chickens and turkeys which they carefully conceal
under their overcoats."

[75] Dauban, 255. (Orders of the day by Henriot, Ventôse 27.) "I have
to request my brethren in arms not to take any rations whatever. This
little deprivation will silence the malevolent who seek every
opportunity to humble us." - Ibid.,359. "On Floreal 29, between five
and six o'clock in the morning, a patrol of about fifteen men of the
Bonnet Rouge section, commanded by a sort of commissary, stop
subsistences on the Orleans road and take them to their section."

[76] Dauban, 341. (Letter of the Commissioner on Subsistences,
Germinal 23.) "The supplies are stolen under the people's eyes, or
what they get is of inferior quality." The commissioner is surprised
to find that, having provided so much, so little reaches the

[77] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol.1411. (Reports of August
11-12 and 31, and Sept. 1, 1793.) - Archives Nationales, F. 7,
31167.) (Reports of Nivôse 7 and 12, year II.)

[78] Dauban, "Paris en 1794, 60, 68, 69, 71, 82, 93, 216, 231. -
Schmidt, "Tableaux de Paris," 187, 190. - Archives Nationales, F. 7,
31167. (Report of Leharivel, Nivôse 7.) - The gunsmiths employed by
the government likewise state that they have for a long time had
nothing to eat but bread and cheese.

[79] Dauban, 231. (Report of Perriére, Ventôse 24.) "Butter of which
they make a god."

[80] Ibid., 68. (Report of Ventôse 2.)

[81] Archives Nationales, F.7, 31167. (Report of Nivôse 28.) - Dauban,
144. (Report of Nivôse 14.)

[82] Dauban, 81. (Report of Latour-Lamontagne, Ventôse 4.)

[83] Souvenirs et Journal d'un Bourgeois d'Evreux," 83. "Friday, June
15, 1794, a proclamation is made that all who have any provisions in
their houses, wheat, barley, rye, flour and even bread, must declare
them within twenty four hours under penalty of being regarded as an
enemy of the country and declared 'suspect,' put under arrest and
tried by the courts." - Schmidt, "Tableaux de la Revolution
Française," II.. 214. A seizure is made at Passy of two pigs and
forty pounds of butter, six bushels of beans, etc., in the domicile of
citizen Lucet who had laid in supplies for sixteen persons of his own

[84] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 68. Orders of the Committee of
Public Safety, Pluviôse 23, referring to the law of Brumaire 25,
forbidding the extraction of more than fifteen pounds of bran from a
quintal of flour. Order directing the removal of bolters from
bakeries and mills; he who keeps or conceals these on his property
"shall be treated as 'suspect' and put under arrest until peace is
declared." - Berryat Saint Prix, 357, 362. At Toulouse, three persons
are condemned to death for monopoly. At Montpelier, a baker, two
dealers and a merchant are guillotined for having invoiced, concealed
and kept a certain quantity of gingerbread cakes intended solely for
consumption by anti-revolutionaries.

[85] "Un Séjour en France," (April 22, 1794).

[86] Ludovic Sciout, IV., 236. (Proclamation of the representatives
on mission in Finisterre.) "Magistrates of the people tell all farmers
and owners of land that their crops belong to the nation and that they
are simply its depositaries." Archives Nationales, AF., II., 92.
(Orders by Bô, representative in Cautal, Pluviôse 8.) "Whereas, as all
citizens in a Republic form one family. . . . all those who refuse
to assist their brethren and neighbors under the specious pretext that
they have not sufficient supplies must be regarded as 'suspect '

[87] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 68. (Orders of the Committee of
Public Safety, Prairial 28.) The maximum price is fourteen francs the
quintal; after Messidor 30, it is not to be more than eleven francs.

[88] Ibid., AF., II., 116 and 106, orders of Paganel, Castres,
Pluviôse 6 and 7. Orders of Dartigoyte, Floréal 23, 25, and 29.

[89] Ibid., AF., II., 147. (Orders of Maignet, Avignon, Prairial 2.)

[90] Moniteur, XXIII., 397 (Speech by Dubois-Crancé, May 5, 1795.)
"The Committee on Commerce (and Supplies) had thirty-five thousand
employees in its service."

[91] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 68. (Orders of the Committee of
Public Safety, Prairial 28.) Decret of Messidor 8, year II. "All
kinds of grain and the hay of the present crop are required by the
government." A new estimate is made, each farmer being obliged to
state the amount of his crop; verification, confiscation in case of
inaccurate declarations, and orders to thrash out the sheaves. -
Dauban, 490. (Letter of the national agent of Villefort, Thermidor
19.) Calculations and the reasoning of farmers with a view to avoid
sowing and planting: "Not so much on account of the lack of hands as
not to ruin oneself by sowing and raising an expensive crop which,
they say, affords them small returns when they sell their grain at so
low a price." Archives Nationales, AF., II. 106. (Letter of the
national agent in Gers and Haute-Garonne, Floréal 25.) "They say here,
that as soon as the crop is gathered, all the grain will be taken
away, without leaving anything to live on. It is stated that all salt
provisions are going to be taken and the agriculturists reduced to the
horrors of a famine."

[92] Moniteur, XXII., 21. (Speech by Lindet, September 7, 1794.) "We
have long feared that the ground would not be tilled, that the meadows
would be covered with cattle while the proprietors and farmers were
kept in prison." Archives Nationales, D., § I, No. I. (Letter from
the district of Bar-sur-Seine, Ventôse 14, year III.) "The 'maximum'
causes the concealment of grain. The quit-claims ruined the consumers
and rendered them desperate. How many wretches, indeed, have been
arrested, - ?attacked, confiscated, fined and ruined for having gone
off fifteen or twenty leagues to get grain with which to feed their
wives and children?"

[93] AF., II., 106. (Circular by Dartigoyte, Floréal 25.) "You must
apply this rule, that is, make the municipal officers responsible for
the non cultivation of the soil." "If any citizen allows himself a
different kind of bread, other than that which all the cultivators and
laborers in the commune use, I shall have him brought before the
courts conjointly with the municipality as being the first culprit
guilty of having tolerated it. . . Reduce, if necessary, three
fourths of the bread allowed to non laboring citizens because
muscadins and muscadines: have resources and, besides, lead an idle

[94] AF., II., III. (Letters of Ferry, Bourges, Messidor 23, to his
"brethren in the popular club," and "to the citoyennes (women) of

[95] Moniteur, XXI., 171. (Letter from Avignon, Messidor 9, and
letter of the Jacobins of Arles.

[96] Moniteur, XXI., 184. (Decree of Messidor 21.)

[97] Gouverneur Morris. (correspondence with Washington. Letters of
March 27 and April 10, 1794.) He says that there is no record of such
an early spring. Rye has headed out and clover is in flower. It is
astonishing to see apricots in April as large as pigeons' eggs. In
the south, where the dearth is most severe, he has good reason to
believe that the ground is supplying the inhabitants with food. A
frost like that of the year before in the month of May (1793) would
help the famine more than all the armies and fleets in Europe.

[98] Stalin was to test the system and prove Taine right. (SR.)

[99] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 73. (Letter by the Directory of
Calvados, Prairial 26, year III.) "We have not a grain of wheat in
store, and the prisons are full of cultivators." Archives Nationales,
D., § 1, file No.3. (Warrants of arrest issued by Representative
Albert, Pluviôse 19, year III., Germinal 7 and 16.) On the details of
the difficulties and annoyances attending the requisitions, cf. this
file and the five preceding or following files. (Letter of the
National agent, district of Nogent-sur-Seine, Germinal 13.) "I have
had summoned before the district court a great many cultivators and
proprietors who are in arrears in furnishing the requisitions made on
them by their respective municipalities. . . . A large majority
declared that they were unable to furnish in full even if their seed
were taken. The court ordered the confiscation of the said grain with
a fine equal to the value of the quantity demanded of those called
upon . . It is now my duty to execute the sentence. But, I must
observe to you, that if you do not reduce the fine, many of them will
be reduced to despair. Hence I await your answer so that I may act
accordingly." (Another letter from the same agent, Germinal 9.) "It is
impossible to supply the market of Villarceaux; seven communes under
requisition prevented it through the district of Sozannes which
constantly keeps an armed force there to carry grain away as soon as
thrashed." - It is interesting to remark the inquisitorial
sentimentality of the official agents and the low stage of culture.
(Proces verbal of the Magincourt municipality, Ventôse 7.) Of course I
am obliged to correct the spelling so as to render it intelligible.
The said Croiset, gendarme, went with the national agent into the
houses of citizens in arrears, of whom, amongst those in arrears,
nobody refused but Jean Mauchin, whom we could not keep from talking
against him, seeing that he is wholly egoist and only wants for
himself. He declared to us that, if, the day before his harvesting he
had any left, he would share it with the citizens that needed it. .
. . Alas, yes, how could one refrain from shutting up such an egoist
who wants only for himself to the detriment of his fellow citizens? A
proof of the truth is that he feeds in his house three dogs, at least
one hundred and fifty chickens and even pigeons, which uses up a lot
of grain, enough to hinder the satisfaction of all the requisitions.
He might do without dogs, as his court is enclosed he might likewise
content himself with thirty chickens and then be able to satisfy the
requisitions." This document is signed "Bertrand, Agen." - Mauchin, on
the strength of it, is incarcerated at Troyes "at his own expense."

[100] Ibid. Letter from the district of Bar sur Seine, Ventôse 14,
year III. Since the abolition of the "maximum," "the inhabitants
travel thirty and forty leagues to purchase wheat." (Letter from the
municipality of Troyes, Ventôse 15.) "According to the price of grain,
which we keep on buying, by agreement, bread will cost fifteen sous
(the pound) next decade."

[101] Schmidt, "Pariser Zustände," 145-220. The re-opening of the
Bourse, April 25, 1795; ibid., 322, II., 105. - " Memoirs of Theobald
Wolf," vol. I., p.200, (February 3, 1796). At Havre, the louis d'or
is then worth five thousand francs, and the ecu of six francs in
proportion. At Paris (February 12), the louis d'or is worth six
thousand five hundred; a dinner for two persons at the Palais Royal
costs one thousand five hundred francs. - Mayer, ("Frankreich in
1796.") He gives a dinner for ten persons which costs three hundred
thousand francs in assignats. At this rate a cab ride costs one
thousand francs, and by the hour six thousand francs.

[102] "Correspondance de Mallet du Pan avec la cour de Vienne," I.,
253 (July 18, 1795). "It is not the same now as in the early days of
the Revolution, which then bore heavily only on certain classes of
society; now, everybody feels the scourge, hourly, in every department
of civil life. Goods and provisions advance daily (in price) in much
greater proportion than the decline in assignats. . . . Paris is
really a city of furnishing shops. . . The immense competition for
these objects raises all goods twenty five per cent. a week.... It
is the same with provisions. A sack of wheat weighing three quintals
is now worth nine thousand francs, a pound of beef thirty six francs,
a pair of shoes one hundred francs. It is impossible for artisans to
raise their wages proportionately with such a large and rapid
increase." - Cf. "Diary of Lord Malmesbury," III., 290 (October 27,
1796). After 1795, the gains of the peasants, land owners and
producers are very large; from 1792 to 1796 they accumulate and hide
away most of the current coin. They were courageous enough and smart
enough to protect their hoard against the violence of the
revolutionary government; "hence, at the time of the depreciation of
assignats, they bought land extraordinarily cheap." In 1796 they
cultivate and produce a great deal.

[103] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 72. (Letter of the
administrators of the district of Montpelier to the Convention,
Messidor 26, year II.) " Your decree of Nivôse 4 last, suppressed the
'maximum,' which step, provoked by justice and the 'maximum,' did not
have the effect you anticipated." The dearth ceases, but there is a
prodigious increase in prices, the farmer selling his wheat at from
four hundred and seventy to six hundred and seventy francs the

[104] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 71. (Deliberations of the
commune of Champs, canton of Lagny, Prairial 22, year III. Letter of
the procureur-syndic of Meaux, Messidor 3. Letter of the municipality
of Rozoy, Seine et Marne, Messidor 4.) - Ibid., AF., II., 74. (Letter
of the municipality of Emérainville, endorsed by the Directory of
Meaux, Messidor 14.) "The commune can procure only oat-bread for its
inhabitants, and, again, they have to go a long way to get this. This
food, of so poor a quality, far from strengthening the citizen
accustomed to agricultural labor, disheartens him and makes him ill,
the result being that the hay cannot be got in good time for lack
of hands." - At Champs, "the crop of hay is ready for mowing, but, for
want of food, the laborers cannot do the work."

[105] Ibid., AF., II., 73. (Letter from the Directory of the district
of Dieppe, Prairial 22.)

[106] Ibid. (Letter of the administrators of the district of
Louviers, Prairial 26.)

[107] Ibid. (Letter of the procureur-syndic of the Caen district,
Caen, Messidor 23. - Letter of Representative Porcher to the
Committee of Public Safety, Messidor 26. - Letter of the same,
Prairial 24. "The condition of this department seemed to me
frightful. . . . The privations of the department with respect to
subsistence cannot be over-stated to you; the evil is at its height."

[108] Archives Nationales, AF. II., 74. (Letter of the Beauvais
administrators, Prairial 15. - Letter of the Bapaume administrator,
Prairial 24. - Letter of the Vervier administrator, Messidor 7. -
Letter of the commissary sent by the district of Laon, Messidor.) -
Cf., I6id., letter from the Abbeville district, Prairial 11. "The
quintal of wheat is sold at one thousand assignats, or rather, the
farmers will not take assignats any more, grain not to be had for
anything but coin, and, as most people have none to give they are
hard-hearted enough to demand of one his clothes, and of another his

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