Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 6 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

composed by him.) "The convention, Nivôse I, has approved of the
orders and other measures taken by you. We can add nothing to its
approval. The Committee of Public Safety subjects all operations to
the same principles, that is to say, it conforms to yours and acts
with you."

[35] Sainte-Beuve, "Nouveaux Lundis," VIII., 105. (Unpublished report
by Vice-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, May 28, 1794.)

[36] Carnot, "Mémoires," I., 107.

[37] Ibid., I., 450, 523, 527, "we often ate only a morsel of dry
bread on the Committee's table."

[38] Moniteur, XXI., 362. (Speech by Cambon, Session of Thermidor 11,
year II.)

[39] Beugnot, "Mémoires," II., 15. (Stated by Jean Bon himself in a
conversation at Mayence in 1813.)

[40] Gaudia, duc de Gaéte, "Mémoires," I., 16, 28. "I owed my life to
Cambon personally, while, through his firmness, he preserved the whole
Treasury department, continually attacked by the all-powerful Jacobin
club." - On the 8th of Thermidor, Robespierre was "very severe on the
administration of the Treasury, which he accused of an aristocratic
and anti-revolutionary spirit.... Under this pretext, it was known
that the orator meant to propose an act of accusation against the
representative charged with its surveillance, as well as against the
six commissioners, and bring them before the Revolutionary Tribunal,
whose verdict could not be doubtful." - Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 431,
436, 441. Speech by Robespierre, Thermidor 8, year II. . . ".
Machiavellian designs against the small fund-holders of the State. .
. . A contemptible financial system, wasteful, irritating,
devouring, absolutely independent of your supreme oversight. . . .
Anti-revolution exists in the financial department. . . . Who are
its head administrators? Brissotins, Feuillants, aristocrats and well-
known knaves - the Cambons, the Mallarmés, the Ramels!"

[41] Carnot, "Mémoires," I., 425.

[42] Moniteur, XXIV., 47, 50. (Session of Germinal 2, year II.)
Speeches by Lindet and Carnot with confirmatory details. - Lindet
says that he had signed twenty thousand papers. - Ibid., XXXIII.,
591. (Session of Ventôse 12, year III. Speech by Barère.) "The labor
of the Committee was divided amongst the different members composing
it, but all, without distinction, signed each other's work. I,
myself, knowing nothing of military affairs, have perhaps, in this
matter, given four thousand signatures." - Ibid., XXIV., 74. (Session
of Germinal 6, year III.) Speech of Lavesseur, witness of an animated
scene between Carnot and Robespierre concerning two of Carnot's
clerks, arrested by order of Robespierre. - Carnot adds " I had
myself signed this order of arrest without knowing it." - Ibid.,
XXII., 116. (Session of Vendémiaire 8, year II., speech by Carnot in
narrating the arrest of General Huchet for his cruelties in Vendée.)
On appearing before the committee of Public Safety, Robespierre
defended him and he was sent back to the army and promoted to a higher
rank; I was obliged to sign in spite of my opposition."

[43] Carnot, "Mémoires," I., 572. (Speech by Carnot, Germinal 2, year

[44] Sénart, "Mémoires," 145, 153. (Details on the members of the two

[45] Reports by Billaud on the organization of the revolutionary
government, November 18, 1793 and on the theory of democratic
government, April 20, 1794. - Reports by Robespierre on the political
situation of the Republic, November 17, 1793; and on the principles of
revolutionary government, December 5, 1793. - Information on the
genius of revolutionary laws, signed principally by Robespierre and
Billaud, November 29, 1793. - Reports by Robespierre on the
principles of political morality which ought to govern the Convention,
February 5, 1794; and on the relationship between religious and moral
ideas and republican principles, May 7, 1794.

[46] Billaud no longer goes on mission after he becomes one of the
Committee of Public Safety. Robespierre never went. Barère, who is
of daily service, is likewise retained at Paris. - All the others
serve on the missions and several repeatedly, and for a long time.

[47] Moniteur, XXIV., 60. The words of Carnot, session of Germinal 2,
year III.- Ibid., XXII., 138, words of Collot, session of Vendémiaire
12, year III. "Billaud and myself have sent into the departments
three hundred thousand written documents, and have made at least ten
thousand minutes (of meetings) with our own hand."

[48] Dussault "Fragment pour servir à l'histoire de la Convention."

[49] Thibaudeau, I., 49.

[50] Arnault, "Souvenirs d'un Sexagenaire," II., 78.

[51] "Mémoires d'un Bourgeois de Paris," by Veron, II., 14. (July 7,

[52] Cf. Thibaudeau, "Mémoires," I., 46. "It seemed, then, that to
escape imprisonment, or the scaffold, there was no other way than to
put others in your place."

[53] Carnot, "Mémoires." I., 508.

[54] Carnot, I., 527. (Words of Prieur de la Côte d'Or.)

[55] Carnot, ibid., 527. (The words of Prieur.)

[56] "La Nouvelle Minerve," I., 355, (Notes by Billaud-Varennes,
indited at St. Domingo and copied by Dr. Chervin.) "We came to a
decision only after being wearied out by the nightly meetings of our

[57] Decree of September 17, 1793, on "Suspects." Ordinance of the
Paris Commune, October 10, 1793, extending it so as to include "those
who, having done nothing against the Revolution, do nothing for it." -
Cf. "Papers seized in Robespierre's apartments," II., 370, letter of
Payan. "Every man who has not been for the Revolution has been
against it, for he has done nothing for the country. . . . In
popular commissions, individual humanity, the moderation which assumes
the veil of justice, is criminal."

[58] Mortimer-Ternaux, VIII., 394, and following pages; 414 and
following pages, (on the successive members of the two Committees).

[59] Wallon, "Histoire du Tribunal Révolutionaire," III., 129-131.
Hérault de Sechelles, allied with Danton, and accused of being
indulgent, had just given guarantees, however, and applied the
revolutionary regime in Alsace with a severity worthy of Billaud.
(Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol. V., 141.) "Instructions for
civil commissioners by Hérault, representative of the people,"
(Colmar, Frimaire 2, year II.,) with suggestions as to the categories
of persons that are to be "sought for, arrested and immediately put in
jail," probably embracing nineteen-twentieths of the inhabitants.

[60] Dauban, "Paris en 1794, 285, and following pages. (Police
Reports, Germinal, year II.) Arrest of Hébert and associates "Nothing
was talked about the whole morning but the atrocious crimes of the
conspirators. They were regarded as a thousand times more criminal
than Capet and his wife. They ought to be punished a thousand times
over. . . . The popular hatred of Hébert is at its height . . .
. The people cannot forgive Hébert for having deceived them. . . .
Popular rejoicings were universal on seeing the conspirators led to
the scaffold."

[61] Moniteur, XXIV., 53. (Session of Germinal 2, year III.) Words of
Prieur de la Côte-d'Or: "The first quarrel that occurred in the
Committee was between Saint-Just and Carnot; the latter says to the
former, 'I see that you and Robespierre are after a dictatorship.'" -
Ibid., 74. Levasseur makes a similar statement.-Ibid., 570. (Session
of Germinal 2, year III., words of Carnot): "I had a right to call
Robespierre a tyrant every time I spoke to him. I did the same with
Saint-Just and Couthon."

[62] Carnot, I., 525. (Testimony of Prieur.) Ibid., 522. Saint-Just
says to Carnot: "You are in league with the enemies of the patriots.
It is well for you to know that a few lines from me could send you to
the guillotine in two days."

[63] Buchez et Roux, XXX., 185. (Reply of Billaud, Collot, Vadier and
Barère to the renewed charges against them by Lecointre.) - Moniteur,
XXIV., 84. (Session of Germinal 7, year III.) Words of Barère: "On
the 4th of Thermidor, in the Committee, Robespierre speaks like a man
who had orders to give and victims to point out." - " And you,
Barère," he replies, "remember the report you made on the2nd of

[64] Heraclitus ( c. 540-480 BC) pre-Socratic philosopher, who
believed in a cosmic justice where sinners would be punished and
haunted by the Erinyes, (the furies) the handmaids of justice. (SR).

[65] Saint-Just, report on the Girondists, July 8, 1793; on the
necessity of imprisoning persons inimical to the Revolution, Feb.26,
1794; on the Hébertists, March 13; on the arrest of Herault-Séchelles
and Simond, March 17; on the arrest of Danton and associates March 31;
on a general policy, April 15. - Cf., likewise, his report on
declaring the government revolutionary until peace is declared, Oct.
10, 1793, and his report of the 9th of Thermidor, year II.

[66] Buchez et Roux, XXXI., 346. (Report of March 13, 1794.) -
XXXII., 314. (Report of April 15.)

[67] See "The Revolution," II., 313.

[68] A single phrase often suffices to give the measure of a man's
intellect and character. The following by Saint-Just has this merit.
(Apropos of Louis XVI. who, refraining from defending himself, left
the Tuileries and took refuge in the Assembly on the 10th of August.)
"He came amongst you; he forced his way here. . . . He resorted to
the bosom of the legislature; his soldiers burst into the asylum. .
. . He made his way, so to say, by sword thrusts into the bowels of
his country that he might find a place of concealment."

[69] Particularly in the long report on Danton containing a historic
survey of the factions, (Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 76,) and the report
on the general police, (Ibid., 304,) with another historic document of
the same order. "Brissot and Ronsin (were) recognized royalists. .
. . Since Necker a system of famine has been devised. . . .
Necker had a hand in the Orleans faction. . . . Double
representation (of the Third Estate) was proposed for it." Among other
charges made against Danton; after the fusillade on the Champ de Mars
in July, 1791 "You went to pass happy days at Arcis-sur-Aube, if it is
possible for a conspirator against his country to be happy. . . .
When you knew that the tyrant's fall was prepared and inevitable you
returned to Paris on the 9th of August. You wanted to go to bed on
that evil night. . . . Hatred, you said, is insupportable to me
and (yet) you said to us 'I do not like Marat,' etc." There is an
apostrophe of nine consecutive pages against Danton, who is absent.

[70] Buchez et Roux, Ibid., 312. "Liberty emanated from the bosom of
tempests; its origin dates with that of the world issuing out of chaos
along with man, who is born dissolved in tears." (Applause.) - Ibid.,
308. Cf. his portrait, got up for effect, of the "revolutionary who
is "a treasure of good sense and probity."

[71] Ibid., 312. "Liberty is not the chicanery of a palace; it is
rigidity towards evil."

[72] Barère, " Mémoires," I. 347. "Saint-Just . . . discussed
like a vizier."

[73] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 314. "Are the lessons furnished by
history, the examples afforded by all great men, lost to the universe?
These all counsel us to lead obscure lives; the lowly cot and virtue
form the grandeurs of this world. Let us seek our habitations on the
banks of streams, rock the cradles of our children and educate them in
Disinterestedness and Intrepidity." - As to his political or economic
capacity and general ideas, read his speeches and his "Institutions,"
(Buchez et Roux, XXVIII., 133; XXX., 305, XXXV., 369,) a mass of
chemical and abstract rant.

[74] Carnot, I., 527. (Narrated by Prieur.) "Often when hurriedly
eating a bit of dry bread at the Committee table, Barère with a jest,
brought a smile on our lips."

[75] Veron, II., 14.-Arnault, II., 74. - Cf., passim, "Mémoires de
Barère," and the essay on Barère by Macaulay.

[76] Vilate, Barère Edition, 184, 186, 244. " Fickle, frank,
affectionate, fond of society, especially that of women, in quest of
luxuries and knowing how to spend money." - Carnot, II. 511. In
Prieur's eyes, Barère was simply "a good fellow."

[77] Moniteur, XXI., 173. (Justification of Joseph Lebon and "his
somewhat harsh ways.") "The Revolution is to be spoken of with
respect, and revolutionary measures with due regard. Liberty is a
virgin, to raise whose veil is a crime." - And again: "The tree of
Liberty grows when watered with the blood of tyrants."

[78] Moniteur, XX., 580, 582, 583, 587. - "Campagnes de la Révolution
Française dans les Pyrénées-Orientales," by Fervel, II., 36 and
following pages. - General Dugommier, after the capture of Toulouse,
spared the English general O'Hara, taken prisoner in spite of the
orders of the Convention. and received the following letter from the
committee of Public Safety. "The Committee accepts your victory and
your wound as compensations." On the 24th of December, Dugommier, that
he may not be present at the Toulon massacres, asks to return to the
convention and is ordered off to the army of the eastern Pyrenees. -
In 1797, there were thirty thousand French prisoners in England.

[79] Moniteur, XVIII., 291. (Speech by Barère, session of Brumaire 8,
year II.) At this rate, there are one hundred and forty deputies on
mission to the armies and in the departments. - Before the
institution of the Committee of Public Safety, (April 7, 1793) there
were one hundred and sixty representatives in the departments, sent
there to hasten the levy of two hundred thousand men. (Moniteur,
XVII., 99, speech by Cambon, July 11, 1793.) The Committee gradually
recalled most of these representatives and, on the 16th July, only
sixty-three were on mission. - (Ibid., XVII., 152, speech by Gossuin,
July 16.) - On the 9th of Nivôse, the committee designated fifty-eight
representatives to establish the revolutionary government in certain
places and fixing the limits of their jurisdictions. (Archives
Nationales, AF., II., 22.) Subsequently, several were recalled, and
replaced by others. - The letters and orders of the representatives
on mission are filed in the National Archives according to
departments, in two series, one of which comprises missions previous
to Thermidor 9, and the other missions after that date.

[80] Thibaudeau, "Histoire du Terrorisme dans le department de la
Vienne," p.4. "Paris, Brumaire 15, the sans-culotte Piorry,
representative of the people to the sans-culottes composing the
popular club of Poitiers."

[81] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 116. (Letter of Laplanche,
Orleans, September 10, 1793. - "Also procès-verbaux of the Orleans
sections, September 7.) "I organized them, after selecting them from
the popular club, into a revolutionary committee. They worked under
my own eye, their bureau being in an adjoining chamber. . . I
required sure, local information, which I could not have had without
collaborators of the country. . . . The result is that I have
arrested this night more than sixty aristocrats, strangers or
'suspects.' - "De Martel, "Études sur Fouche," 84. Letter of
Chaumette, who posted Fouché concerning the Nevers Jacobins.
"Surrounded by royalists, federalists and fanatics, representative
Fouché had only 3 or 4 persecuted patriots to advise him."

[82] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 88. Speech by Rousselin, Frimaire
9 - Ibid., F.7, 4421. Speech and orders issued by Rousselin, Brumaire
25. - Cf.. Albert Babeau, "Histoire de Troyes pendant la
Revolution," vol. II. Missions of Gamier de Rousselin and Bô.

[83] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 145. (Order of Maignet, Avignon,
Floreal 13, year II., and proclamation of Floréal 14.) - Ibid., AF.,
II., 111, Grenoble. Prairial 8, year II. Similar orders issued by
Albitte and Laporte, for renewing all the authorities of Grenoble. -
Ibid, AF., II., 135. Similar order of Ricord at Grasse, Pluviôse 28,
and throughout the Var. - Ibid., AF., II., 36. Brumaire, year II.,
circular of the Committee of Public Safety to the representatives on
mission in the departments: "Before quitting your post, you are to
effect the most complete purification of the constituted authorities
and public functionaries."

[84] Decrees of Frimaire 6 and 14, year II.

[85] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 22. Acts of the committee of
Public Safety, Nivôse 9, year II.

[86] Ibid., AF., II., 37. Letter to the Committee on the War, signed
by Barère and Billaud-Varennes, Pluviôse 23,, year II.

[87] Ibid., AF., II., 36. Letter of the Committee of Public Safety to
Le Carpentier, on mission in l'Orne, Brumaire 19, year II. "The
administrative bodies of Alençon, the district excepted, are wholly
gangrened; all are Feuillants, or infected with a no less pernicious
spirit. . . . For the choice of subjects, and the incarceration of
individuals, you can refer to the sans-culottes: the most nervous are
Symaroli and Préval. - At Montagne, the administration must be wholly
removed, as well as the collector of the district, and the post-
master; . . . purify the popular club, expel nobles and limbs of
the law, those that have been turned out of office, priests,
muscadins, etc. . . . Dissolve two companies, one the grenadiers
and the other the infantry who are very muscadin and too fond of
processions. . . . Re-form the staff and officers of the National
Guard. To secure more prompt and surer execution of these measures of
security you may refer to the present municipality, the Committee of
Surveillance and the Cannoneers.

[88] Ibid., AF.,II., 37. To Ricord, on mission at Marseilles,
Pluviôse 7, year II, a strong and rude admonition: he is going soft,
he has gone to live with Saint-Même, a suspect; he is too biased in
favor of the Marseilles people who, during the siege "made sacrifices
to procure subsistences;" he blamed their arrest, etc. - Floréal 13,
year II., to Bouret on mission in the Manche and at Calvados. "The
Committee are under the impression that you are constantly deceived by
an insidious secretary who, by the bad information he has given you,
has often led you to give favorable terms to the aristocracy, etc." -
Ventôse 6, year II., to Guimberteau, on mission near the army on the
coasts of Cherbourg: "The committee is astonished to find that the
military commission established by you, undoubtedly for striking off
the heads of conspirators, was the first to let them off. Are you not
acquainted with the men who compose it? For what have you chosen them?
If you do not know them, how does it happen that you have summoned
them for such duties? " - Ibid., and Ventôse 23, order to Guimberteau
to investigate the conduct of his secretary

[89] See especially in the "Archives des Affaires étrangères," vols.
324 to 334, the correspondence of secret agents sent into the

[90] Archives Nationales, AF.,II., 37, to Fromcastel on mission in
Indre-et-Loire, Floréal 13, year II. "The Committee sends you a
letter from the people's club of Chinon, demanding the purging and
organization of all the constituted authorities of this district. The
committee requests you to proceed at once to carry out this important

[91] Words of Robespierre, session of the convention September 24,
1793. - On another representative, Merlin de Thionville, who likewise
stood fire, Robespierre wrote as follows: "Merlin de Thionville,
famous for surrendering Mayence, and more than suspected of having
received his reward."

[92] Guillon, II., 207. - "Fouché," by M. de Martel, 292.

[93] Hamel, III., 395, and following pages. - Buchez et Roux, XXX.,
435. (Session of the Jacobin club, Nivôse 12, year II. Speech of
Collot d'Herbois.) "To-day I no longer recognize public opinion; had I
reached Paris three days later, I should probably have been indicted."

[94] Marcelin Boudet, "Les conventionnels d'Auvergne," 438.
(Unpublished memoir ot Maignet.)

[95] Buchez et Roux, XXXIV., 165, 191. (Evidence of witnesses on the
trial of Carrier.) - Paris, II., 113, "Histoire de Joseph Lebon." "The
prisons," says Le Bon, "overflowed at Saint-Pol. I was there and
released two hundred persons. Well, in spite of my orders, several
were put back by the committee of Surveillance, authorised by Lebas, a
friend of Darthé. What could I do against Darthé supported by Saint-
Just and Lebas? He would have denounced me." - Ibid., 128, apropos of
a certain Lefèvre, "veteran of the Revolution," arrested and brought
before the revolutionary tribunal by order of Lebon. "It was
necessary to take the choice of condemning him, or of being denounced
and persecuted myself, without saving him." - Beaulieu, "Essai," V.,
233. "I am afraid and I cause fear was the principle of all the
revolutionary atrocities."

[96] Ludovic Sciout, "Histoire de la Constitution civile du Clergé,
IV., 136. (Orders of Pinét and Cavaignac, Pluviôse 22, and Ventôse
2.) - Moniteur, XXIV., 469. (Session of Prairial 30, year III.,
denunciation of representative Laplanche at the bar of the house, by
Boismartin.) On the 24th of Brumaire, year II., Laplanche and General
Seepher installed themselves at St. Lô in the house of an old man of
seventy, a M. Lemonnier then under arrest. "Scarcely had they
entered the house when they demanded provisions of every kind, linen,
clothes, furniture, jewelry, plate, vehicles and title-deeds - all
disappeared." Whilst the inhabitants of St. Lô were living on a few
ounces of brown bread, "the best bread, the choicest wines, pillaged
in the house of Lemonnier, were lavishly given in pans and kettles to
General Seepher's horses, also to those of representative Laplanche."
Lemonnier, set at liberty, could not return to his emptied dwelling
then transformed into a storehouse. He lived at the inn, stripped of
all his possessions, valued at sixty thousand livres, having saved
from his effects only one silver table-service, which he had taken
with him into prison.

[97] Marcelin Boudet, 446. (Notes of M. Ignace de Barante.) Also
440. (Unpublished memoir of Maignet).

[98] Archives Nationales, AF., II., 59. Extract from the minutes of
the meetings of the People's club of Metz, and depositions made before
the committee of Surveillance of the club, Floreal 12, year II., on
the conduct of representative Duquesnoy, arrived at Metz the evening
before at six o'clock. - There are thirty-two depositions, and among
others those of M. Altmayer, Joly and Clédat. One of the witnesses
states: "As to these matters, I regarded this citizen (Duquesnoy) as
tipsy or drunk, or as a man beside himself." - This is customary with
Duquesnoy. - Cf. Paris, "His. de Joseph Lebon," I., 273, 370.-
"Archives des Affaires étrangères," vol. 329. Letter of Gadolle,
September 11, 1793. "I saw Duquesnoy, the deputy, dead drunk at
Bergues, on Whit-Monday, at11 o'clock in the evening." - "Un Séjour en
France, 1792 to 1796, p. 136. "His naturally savage temper is
excited to madness by the abuse of strong drink. General de
.....assures us that he saw him seize the mayor of Avesnes, a
respectable old man, by the hair on his presenting him with a petition
relating to the town, and throw him down with the air of a cannibal."
"He and his brother were dealers in hops at retail, at Saint Pol. He
made this brother a general."

[99] Alexandrine des Echerolles, "Une famile noble sous la Terreur,"
209. At Lyons, Marin, the commissioner, "a tall, powerful, robust man
with stentorian lungs," opens his court with a volley of "republican
oaths. . . " . . The crowd of supplicants melts away. One lady
alone dared present her petition. "Who are you?" She gives her name.
"What! You have the audacity to mention a traitor's name in this
place?" Get away and, giving her a push, he put her outside the door
with a kick.

[100] Ibid. A mass of evidence proves, on the contrary, that people
of every class gave their assistance, owing to which the fire was
almost immediately extinguished.

[101] Ibid. The popular club unanimously attests these facts, and
despatches six delegates to enter a protest at the convention. Up to
the 9th of Thermidor, no relief is granted, while the tax imposed by
Duquesnoy is collected. On the 5th Fructidor, year II., the order of
Duquesnoy is cancelled by the committee of Public Safety, but the
money is not paid back.

[102] Paris, I., 370. (Words of Duquesnoy to Lebon.)

[103] Carnot, "Mémoires," I., 414. (Letter of Duquesnoy to the
central bureau of representatives at Arras.) The import of these
untranslatable profanities being sufficiently clear I let them stand
as in the original.-Tr.

[104] "Un Sejour en France," 158, 171. - Manuscript journal of Mallet
du Pan (January, 1795).- Cf. his letters to the convention, the jokes
of jailors and sbirri, for instance. - (Moniteur, XVIII., 214,
Brumaire I, year II.) - Lacretelle, "Dix Années d'Epreuves," 178. "He
ordered that everybody should dance in his fief of Picardy. They
danced even in prison. Whoever did not dance was "suspect." He
insisted on a rigid observance of the fêtes in honor of Reason, and
that everybody should visit the temple of the Goddess each decadi,
which was the cathedral (at Noyon). Ladies, bourgeoises,
seamstresses, and cooks, were required to form what was called the
chain of Equality. We dragoons were forced to be performers in this
strange ballet."

[105] De Martel, "Fouché," 418. (Orders of Albitte and Collot, Nivôse
13, year II.)

[106] Camille Boursier, " Essai sur la Terreur en Anjou," 225. Letter
of Vacheron, Frimaire 15, year II.) "Republiquain, it is absolutely
necessary, immediately, that you have sent or brought into the house
of the representatives, a lot of red wine, of which the consumption is
greater than ever. People have a right to drink to the Republic when
they have helped to preserve the commune you and yours live in. I
hold you responsible for my demand." Signed, le republiquain,

[107] Ibid., 210. Deposition of Madame Edin, apropos of Quesnoy, a
prostitute, aged twenty-six, Brumaire 12, year III.; and of Rose,
another prostitute. Similar depositions by Benaben and Scotty.

[108] Dauban, "La Demagogie en 1793," p.369. (Extracts from the
unpublished memoirs of Mercier de Rocher.) - Ibid., 370. "Bourdon de
l'Oise had lived with Tuncq at Chantonney, where they kept busy
emptying bottles of fine wine. Bourdon is an excellent patriot, a man
of sensibility, but, in his fits of intoxication, he gives himself up
to impracticable views. "Let those rascally administrators," he
says, "be arrested!" Then, going to the window, - he heard a runaway
horse galloping in the street- "That's another anti-revolutionary! Let
'em all be arrested!" - Cf. "Souvenirs," by General Pélleport, p.21.
At Perpignan, he attended the fête of Reason. "The General in command
of the post made an impudent speech, even to the most repulsive
cynicisim. Some prostitutes, well known to this wretch, filled one of
the tribunes; they waved their handkerchiefs and shouted " Vive la
Raison! " After listening to similar harangues by representatives
Soubrang and Michaud, Pélleport, although half cured (of his wound)
returns to camp: "I could not breathe freely in town, and did not
think that I was safe until facing the enemy along with my comrades."

[109] Archives des Affaires étrangères, vol.332; correspondence of
secret agents, October, 1793. "Citizen Cusset, representative of the
people, shows no dignity in his mission; he drinks like a Lapithe, and
when intoxicated commits the arbitrary acts of a vizier." For the
style and orthography of Cusset, see one of his letters. (Dauban,
"Paris en 1794," p 14.) - Berryat St. Prix, "La Justice
Révolutionnaire," (2nd ed.) 339.

[110] Ibid., 371. (According to "Piecès et Documents" published by M.
Fajon.) - Moniteur, XXIV., 453. (Session of Floréal 24, year III.)
Address of the commune of Saint-Jean du Gard. - XXI., 528. (Session
of Fructidor 2, year III.) Address of the Popular club of Nîmes.

[111] Moniteur, XXIV., 602. (Session of Prairial 13, year III.) Report
of Durand Meillan: "This denunciation is only too well supported by
documents. It is for the convention to say whether it will hear them
read. I have to state beforehand that it can hear nothing more
repulsive nor better authenticated."- De Martel, "Fouché, 246.
(Report of the constituted authorities of la Nièvre on the missions of
Collot d'Herbois, Laplanche, Fouché and Pointe, Prairial 19, year
III.) Laplanche, a former Benedictine, is the most foul-mouthed." In
his speech to the people of Moulins-Engelbert, St. Pierre-le-Montier,
and Nevers, Laplanche asked girls to surrender themselves and let
modesty go. "Beget children," he exclaims, "the Republic needs them.
continence is the virtue of fools." Bibliotheque Nationale, Lb. 41,
No. 1802. (Denunciation, by the six sections of the Dijon commune to
the convention, of Leonard Bourdon and Piochefer Bernard de Saintes,
during their mission in Côte-d'Or.) Details on the orgies of Bernard
with the municipality, and on the drunkenness and debaucheries of
Bourdon with the riff-raff~ of the country; authentic documents
proving the robberies and assassinations committed by Bernard. He
pillaged the house of M. Micault, and, in four hours, had this person
arrested, tried and guillotined; he attended the execution himself,
and that evening, in the dead man's house, danced and sang before his
daughter with his acolytes.

[112] "Souvenirs," by General Pélleport, p.8. He, with his battalion,
is inspected in the Place du Capitale, at Toulouse, by the
representative on mission. "It seems as if I can still see that
charlatan: He shook his ugly plumed head and dragged along his saber
like a merry soldier, wishing to appear brave. It made me feel sad."

[113] Fervel, "Campagnes des Français dans les Pyrenees Orientals,"
I., 169. (October, 1793.) - Ibid., 201, 206. - Cf. 188. Plan of
Fabre for seizing Roses and Figuières, with eight thousand men,
without provisions or transports. "Fortune is on the side of fools,"
he said. Naturally the scheme fails. Collioure is lost, and
disasters accumulate. As an offset to this the worthy general
Dagobert is removed. Commandant Delatre and chief-of-staff Ramel are
guillotined. In the face of the impracticable orders of the
representatives the commandant of artillery commits suicide. On the
devotion of the officers and enthusiasm of the troops, Ibid., 105,
106, 130, 131, 162.

[114] Sybel (Dosquet's translation [French]), II., 435; III., 132,
140. (For details and authorities, cf. the Memoirs of Marshal

[115] Gouvion St. Cyr, "Mémoires sur les campagnes de 1792 à la paix
de Campio-Formio," I., pp.91 to 139. - Ibid., 229. "The effect of
this was to lead men who had any means to keep aloof from any sort of
promotion." - Cf., ibid., II., 131 (November, 1794,) the same order of
things still kept up. By order of the representatives the army
encamps during the winter in sheds on the left bank of the Rhine, near
Mayence, a useless proceeding and mere literary parade. "They would
listen to no reason; a fine army and well-mounted artillery were to
perish with cold and hunger, for no object whatever, in quarters that
might have been avoided." The details are heart-rending. Never was
military heroism so sacrificed to the folly of civilian commanders.

[116] See Paris, "Histoire de Joseph Lebon," I., ch. I, for
biographical details and traits of character.

[117] Ibid., I., 13. - His mother became crazy and was put in an
asylum. Her derangement, he says, was due to "her indignation at his
oath of allegiance (to the Republic) and at his appointment to the
curacy of Nouvelle-Vitasse."

[118] Ibid., I., 123. Speech by Lebon in the church of Beaurains.

[119] Ibid., II., 71, 72. - Cf. 85. "Citizen Chamonart, wine-
dealer, standing at the entrance of his cellar, sees the
representative pass, looks at him and does not salute him. Lebon
steps up to him, arrests him, treats him as an "agent of Pitt and
Cobourg.". . . ." They search him, take his pocket-book and lead
him off to the Anglaises (a prison").

[120] Ibid., II., 84.

[121] Moniteur, XXV., 201. (Session of Messidor 22, year III.) "When
in the tribune (of the Convention) prison conspiracies were announced.
. . . my dreams were wholly of prison conspiracies."

[122] Ibid., 211. (Explanations given by Lebon to the Convention.) -
Paris, II., 350, 351. (Verdict of the jury.)

[123] Paris, II., 85.

[124] Buchez et Roux, XXXIV., 181. (Depositions of Monneron, a

[125] Ibid., 184. (Deposition of Chaux.) - Cf. 200. (Depositions of
Monneron and Villemain, merchants.)

[126] Ibid., 204. (Deposition of Lamarie, administrator of the

[127] Ibid., 173. (Deposition of Erard, a copyist.) - 168.
(Deposition of Thomas, health officer.) "To all his questions, Carrier
replied in the grossest language."

[128] Ibid., 203. (Deposition of Bonami, merchant.)

[129] Ibid., 156. (Deposition of Vaujois, public prosecutor to the
military commission.)

[130] Ibid., 169. (Deposition of Thomas.) - Berryat Saint-Prix, pp.
34, 35.. - Buchez et Roux, 118. "He received the members of the
popular club with blows, also the municipal officers with saber
thrusts, who came to demand supplies". . . ." He draws his saber
(against the boatman) and strikes at him, which he avoids only by
running away."

[131] Buchez et Roux, XXXIV., 196. (Deposition of Julien.) "Carrier
said to me in a passion: "It is you, is it, you damned beggar, who
presumes to denounce me to the Committee of Public Safety. . . .
As it is sometimes necessary for the public interests to get rid of
certain folks quickly, I won't take the trouble to send you to the
guillotine, I'll be your executioner myself!"

[132] Ibid., 175. (Deposition of Tronjolly.) 295. (Depositions of
Jean Lavigne, a shopkeeper; of Arnandan, civil commissioner; also of
Corneret, merchant.) 179. (Deposition of Villemain). - Berryat
Saint-Prix, 34. "Carrier, says the gendarme Desquer, who carried his
letters, was a roaring lion rather than an officer of the people." "He
looked at once like a charlatan and a tiger," says another witness.

[133] Ibid., XXXIV., 204. (Deposition of Lamarie.)

[134] Ibid., 183. (Deposition of Caux.)

[135] Mallet-Dupan, Mémoires," II., 6. (Memorial of Feb. I, 1794.)
On André Dumont, "Un Séjour en France," 158, 171. - On Merlin de
Thionville, Michelet, VI., 97.

[136] De Martel, "Fouché" 100.

[137] Mallet-Dupan, II., 46.

[138] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 413, 423. (Letter of Julien to

[139] Archives Nationales, AF., II., III. An order issued by
Bourbotte, Tours, Messidor 5, year II., "requiring the district
administration to furnish him personally, as well as for the citizens
attached to his commission, forty bottles of red wine and thirty of
white wine, to be taken from the cellars of emigrés, or from those of
persons condemned to death; and, besides this, fifty bottles of common
wine other than white or red." - On the 2nd of Messidor, ale is drunk
and there is a fresh order for fifty bottles of red wine, fifty of
common wine, and two bottles of brandy. - De Martel, " Fouché," 419,
420. - Moniteur, XXIV., 604. (Session of Prairial 13, par III.)
"Dugué reads the list of charges brought against Mallarmé. He is
accused . . . . of having put in requisition whatever pleased him
for his table and for other wants, without paying for anything, not
even for the post-horses and postillions that carried him." - Ibid.
602. Report of Perès du Gers. "He accuses Dartigoyte . . . of
having taken part with his secretaries in the auction of the furniture
of Daspe, who had been condemned; of having kept the most valuable
pieces for himself, and afterwards fixing their price; of having
warned those who had charge of the sale that confinement awaited
whoever should bid on the articles he destined for himself." -
Laplanche, ex-Benedictine, said in his mission in Loiret, that "those
who did not like the Revolution must pay those who make it."

[140] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 426. (Extract from the Memoirs of
Sénart.) - Hamel, III., 565. (Description of Teresa's domicile by the
Marquis de Paroy, a petitioner and eye-witness.)

[141] The reader might read about Tallien in the book written by
Thérèse Chatrles-Vallin: "Tallien," "Le mal-aimé de la Révolution",
Ed. Jean Picollec, Paris 1997. (SR).

[142] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 12. (Extract from the Memoirs of
Sénart.) "The certified copies of these drafts are on file with the
committee of General Security."

[143] Report of Courtois, 360. (Letters of Julien to Robespierre,
Pluviôse 15 and 16, year II.) - Buchez et Roux, XXXIV., 199, 200, 202,
203, 211. (Depositions of Villemain, Monneron, Legros, Robin.) -
Berryat Saint-Prix, 35. (Depositions of Fourrier, and of Louise
Courant, sempstress.)

[144] See, on Tallien," Mémoires de Sénart." - On Javogues, Moniteur,
XXIV., 461, Floreal 24, III. Petition against Javogues, with several
pages of signatures, especially those of the inhabitants of
Montbrison: "In the report made by him to the Convention he puts down
coin and assignats at seven hundred and seventy-four thousand six
hundred and ninety-six francs, while the spoils of one person provided
him with five hundred thousand francs in cash." - On Fouché, De
Martel, 252. - On Dumont, Mallet-Dupan, "Manuscript notes." (January,
1795.) On Rovère, Michelet, VI., 256. - Carnot, II., 87. (According
to the Memoirs of the German Olsner, who was in Paris under the
Directory:) "The tone of Barras' Salon was that of a respectable
gambling house; the house of Reubell resembled the waiting-room of an
inn at which the mail-coach stops."

[145] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 391, and XXXIII., 9. (Extracts from the
Memoirs of Sénart.)

[146] Carnot, "Mémoires," I. 416. Carnot, having shown to the
Committee of Public Safety, proofs of the depredations committed on
the army of the North, Saint-Just got angry and exclaimed: "It is only
an enemy of the Republic that would accuse his colleagues of
depredations, as if patriots hadn't a right to everything!"

[147] As to Caligula see Suetonius and Philo.- With respect to Hakem,
see "L'Exposé de la Religion des Druses," by M. de Sacy.

[148] Saint-Just, speaking in the Convention, says: "What constitutes
a republic is the utter destruction of whatever is opposed to it."

[149] Orders issued by Saint-Just and Lebas for the departments of
Pas-de-Calais, Nord, la Somme et l'Aisne. - Cf. "Histoire de
l'Alsace," by Strœbel, and "Recueil de pieces authentiques pour servir
à l'histoire de la Révolution à Strasbourg," 3 vols.-Archives
Nationales AF., II., 135, orders issued Brumaire 10, year II., and
list of the one hundred and ninety-three persons taxed.

[150] Buchez et Roux, XXXI., 32. (Saint-Just's reply to Mayor Monet.)
- De Sybel, II., 447, 448. At the first interview Saint-Just said to
Schneider: "Why use so much ceremony? You know the crimes of the
aristocrats? In the twenty-four hours taken for one investigation you
might have twenty-four condemned."

[151] "Journal de marche du sergent Fricasse," p.34. (Narrative by
Marshal Soult.)

[152] Cf. in the Bible, the story of Ahasuerus who, out of respect
for his own majesty, can-not retract the order he has issued against
the Jews, but he turns the difficulty by allowing them to defend

[153] Mallet-Dupan, II., 47.

[154] Berryat Saint-Prix, "La Justice Revolutionnaire," XVII.-Marcelin
Boudet, "Les Conventionnels d'Auvergne," 269. - Moniteur, Brumaire
27, year III., report by Calès.

[155] Paris, "Histoire de Joseph Lebon," I., 371; II., 341, 344.-De
Martel, "Fouché," 153. - Berryat Saint-Prix, 347, 348.

[156] Berryat Saint-Prix, 390. -Ibid., 404. (On Soubrié, executioner
at Marseilles, letter of Lazare Giraud, public prosecutor): "I put him
in the dungeon for having shed tears on the scaffold, in executing the
anti-revolutionists we sent to be executed."

[157] Moniteur, XVIII., 413. (Session of the Convention, letter of
Lequinio and Laignelot, Rochefort, Brumaire 17, year II.) "We have
appointed the patriot Anse guilloteneur and we have invited him, in
dining with us, to come and assume his prescribed powers, and water
them with a libation in honor of the Republic. - Paris, II., 72.

[158] Marcelin Boudet, 270. (Testimony of Bardanèche de Bayonne.)

[159] Guil1on, "Histoire de la ville de Lyons pendant la Revolution,"
II., 427, 431, 433.

[160] "Mémoire du Citoyen Fréron," (in the Barrière collection,)
p.357. (Testimony of a survivor.)

[161] Paris, II., 32

[162] Delandine, "Tableaux des prisons de Lyons," p.14.

[163] Camille Boursier, "Essai sur la Terreur en Anjou," 164. (Letter
of Boniface, ex-Benedictine, president of the Revolutionary committee,
to Representative Richard, Brumaire 3, year II.) "We send you the said
Henri Verdier, called de la Saurinière. . . . It will not be long
before you will see that we make the guillotine a present. . . .
The Committee begs you to send him sacram sanctam guillotinam, and the
republican minister of his worship. . . Not an hour of the day
passes that new members do not come to us whom we desire to initiate
in its mysteries, (sic)."

[164] Thibaudeau, "Histoire du Terrorisme dans le départment de la
Vienne," 34, 48. - Berryat Saint-Prix, 239.

[165] Archives Nationales F.7, 4435. (Letter of Lebon, Floréal 23,
year II.) - Paris, I. 241.

[166] Buchez et Roux, XXXIV., 184, 200. (Depositions of Chaux,
Monneron and Villemain.)

[167] Register of the Revolutionary Tribunal of Nantes, copied by M.
Chevrier. (M. Chevrier has kindly sent me his manuscript copy.) -
Berryat Saint-Prix, 94. - Archives Nationales, F7. 4591. (Extract
from the acts of the Legislative Committee, session of Floréal 3, year
III. Restitution of the confiscated property of Alexander Long to his
son.) Dartigoyte, at Auch, did what Carrier did at Nantes. "It
follows from the above abstract duly signed that on the 27th Germinal,
year II., between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, Alexandre
Long, Sr., was put to death on the public square of the commune of
Auch by the executioner of criminal sentences, without any judgment
having been rendered against the said Long." - In many places an
execution becomes a spectacle for the Jacobins of the town and a party
of pleasure. For instance, at Arras, on the square devoted to
executions, a gallery was erected for spectators with a room for the
sale of refreshments, and, during the execution of M. de Montgon, the
"Ça ira" is played on the bass drum. (Paris, II., 158, and I., 159.)
A certain facetious representative has rehearsals of the performance
in his own house. "Lejeune, to feed his bloodthirsty imagination, had
a small guillotine put up, on which he cut off the heads of all the
poultry consumed at his table. . . . Often, in the middle of the
repast, he had it brought in and set to work for the amusement of his
guests." (Moniteur, XXIV., 607, session of June I, 1795, letter from
the district of Besançon, and with the letter, the confirmatory
document.) "This guillotine, says the reporter, is deposited with the
Committee of Legislation."


I. The Central Government Administration.

The administrative body at Paris. - Composition of the group out of
which it was recruited. - Deterioration of this group. - Weeding-out
of the Section Assemblies. - Weeding out of the popular clubs. -
Pressure of the government.

To provide these local sovereigns with the subordinate lieutenants and
agents which they require, we have the local Jacobin population, and
we have seen the composition of the recruits,[1]

* the distressed and the perverted of every class and degree,
especially the lowest,
* the castaways,
* envious and resentful subordinates,
* small shopkeepers in debt,
* the migrating, high-living workers,
* barflies,
* vagrants,
* men of the gutters,
* street-walkers,

- in short, every species of "anti-social vermin," male and
female,[2] including a few honest crack-brains into which the
fashionable theory had freely found its way; the rest, and by far the
largest number, are veritable beasts of prey, speculating on the
established order of things and adopting the revolutionary faith only
because it provides food for their appetites. - In Paris, they number
five or six thousand, and, after Thermidor, there is about the same
number, the same appetites rallying them around the same dogma,[3]
levelers and terrorists, "some because they are poor, others because
they have broken off the habit of working at their trade," furious
with "the scoundrels who own a coach house, against the rich and the
hoarders of objects of prime necessity." Many of them "having soiled
themselves during the Revolution, ready to do it again provided the
rich rascals, monopolists and merchants can all be killed," all
"frequenters of popular clubs who think themselves philosophers,
although most of them are unable to read," at the head of them the
remnant of the most notorious political bandits,

* the famous post-master, Drouet, who, in the tribune at the
Convention, declared himself a "brigand,"[4]
* Javogues, the robber of Montbrison and the "Nero of Ain,"
* the drunkard Casset, formerly a silk-worker and later the pasha of
* Bertrand, the friend of Charlier, the ex-mayor and executioner of
* Darthé, ex-secretary of Lebon and the executioner at Arras,
* Rossignol and nine other Septembriseurs of the Abbaye and the
Carmelites, and, finally, the great apostle of despotic communism,
* Babeuf, who, sentenced to twenty years in irons for the
falsification of public contracts, and as needy as he is vicious,
rambles about Paris airing his disappointed ambitions and empty
pockets along with the swaggering crew who, if not striving to reach
the throne by a new massacre,[5] tramp through the streets slipshod,
for lack of money "to redeem a pair of boots at the shoemakers," or to
sell some snuff-box their last resource, for a morning dram.[6]

In this class we see the governing rabble fully and distinctly.
Separated from its forced adherents and the official robots who serve
it as they would any other power, it stands out pure and unalloyed by
any neutral influx; we recognize here the permanent residue, the deep,
settled slime of the social sewer. It is to this sink of vice and
ignorance that the revolutionary government betakes itself for its
staff-officers and its administrative bodies.

Nowhere else could they be found. For the daily task imposed upon
them, and which must be done by them, is robbery and murder; excepting
the pure fanatics, who are few in number, only brutes and blackguards
have the aptitudes and tastes for such business. In Paris, as in the
provinces, it is from the clubs or popular associations in which they
congregate, that they are sought for. - Each section of Paris
contains one of these clubs, in all forty-eight, rallied around the
central club in the Rue St. Honoré, forty-eight district alliances of
professional rioters and brawlers, the rebels and blackguards of the
social army, all the men and women incapable of devoting themselves to
a regular life and useful labor,[7] especially those who, on the 31st
of May and 2nd of June, had aided the Paris Commune and the "Mountain"
in violating the Convention. They recognize each other by this sign
that, "each would be hung in case of a counter-revolution,"[8] laying
it down "as an incontestable fact that, should a single aristocrat be
spared, all of them would mount the scaffold."[9] They are naturally
wary and they stick together: in their clique "everything is done on
the basis of good fellowship;"[10] no one is admitted except on the
condition of having proved his qualifications "on the 10th of August
and 31st of May."[11] And, as they have made their way into the
Commune and into the revolutionary committees behind victorious
leaders, they are able, through the certificates of civism which these
arbitrarily grant or refuse, to exclude, not only from political life
but, again, from civil life, whoever is not of their party.

"See," writes one of Danton's correspondents,[12] "the sort of persons
who easily obtain these certificates, - the Ronsins, the Jourdans, the
Maillards, the Vincents, all bankrupts, keepers of gambling-hells and
cut-throats. Ask these individuals whether they have paid the
patriotic contribution, whether they regularly pay the usual taxes,
whether they give to the poor of their sections, to the volunteer
soldiers, etc.; whether they mount guard or see it regularly done,
whether they have made a loyal declaration for the forced loan. You
will find that they have not. . . . The Commune issues
certificates of civism to its satellites and refuses them to the best

The monopoly is obvious; they make no attempt to conceal it; six weeks
later,[13] it becomes official: several revolutionary committees
decide not to grant certificates of civism to citizens who are not
members of a popular club." And strict exclusion goes on increasing
from month to month. Old certificates are canceled and new ones
imposed, which new certificates have new formalities added to them, a
larger number of endorsers being required and certain kinds of
guarantees being rejected; there is greater strictness in relation to
the requisite securities and qualifications; the candidate is put off
until fuller information can be obtained about him; he is rejected at
the slightest suspicion:[14] he is only too fortunate if he is
tolerated in the Republic as a passive subject, if he is content to be
taxed and taxed when they please, and if he is not sent to join the
"suspects" in prison; whoever does not belong to the band does not
belong to the community.

Amongst themselves and in their popular club it is worse, for

"the eagerness to get any office leads to every one denouncing each
other; "[15]

consequently, at the Jacobin club in the rue St. Honoré, and in the
branch clubs of the quarter, there is constant purging, and always in
the same sense, until the faction is cleansed of all honest or
passable alloy and only a minority remains, which has its own way at
every balloting. One of them announces that, in his club, eighty
doubtful members have already been gotten rid of; another that, in his
club, one hundred are going to be excluded.[16] On Ventose 23, in the
"Bon-Consei1" club, most of the members examined are rejected: "they
are so strict that a man who cannot show that he acted energetically
in critical times, cannot form part of the assembly; he is set aside
for a mere trifle." On Ventôse 13, in the same club, "out of twenty-
six examined, seven only are admitted; one citizen, a tobacco dealer,
aged sixty-eight, who has always performed his duty, is rejected for
having called the president Monsieur, and for having spoken in the
tribune bareheaded; two members, after this, insisted on his being a
Moderate, which is enough to keep him out." Those who remain, consist
of the most restless and most loquacious, the most eager for office,
the self-mutilated club being thus reduced to a nucleus of charlatans
and scoundrels.

To these spontaneous eliminations through which the club deteriorates,
add the constant pressure through which the Committee of Public Safety
frightens and degrades it. The lower the revolutionary government
sinks, and the more it concentrates its power, the more servile and
sanguinary do its agents and employees become. It strikes right and
left as a warning; it imprisons or decapitates the turbulent among its
own clients, the secondary demagogues who are impatient at not being
principal demagogues, the bold who think of striking a fresh blow in
the streets, Jacques Roux, Vincent, Momoro, Hébert, leaders of the
Cordeliers club and of the Commune. After these, the indulgent who
are disposed to exercise some discernment or moderation in terrorism,
Camille Desmoulins, Danton and their adherents; and lastly, many
others who are more or less doubtful, compromised or compromising,
wearied or eccentric, from Maillard to Chaumette, from Antonelle to
Chabot, from Westermann to Clootz. Each of the proscribed has a gang
of followers, and suddenly the whole gang are obliged to do a volte-
face; those who were able to show initiative, grovel, while those who
could show mercy, become hardened. Henceforth, amongst the subaltern
Jacobins, the roots of independence, humanity, and loyalty, hard to
extirpate even in an ignoble and cruel nature, are eradicated even to
the last fiber, the revolutionary staff, already so debased, becoming
more and more degraded, until it is worthy of the office assigned to
it. The confidants of Hébert, those who listen to Chaumette, the
comrades of Westermann, the officers of Ronsin, the faithful readers
of Camille, the admirers and devotees of Danton, all are bound to
publicly repudiate their incarcerated friend or leader and approve of
the decree which sends him to the scaffold, to applaud his
calumniators, to overwhelm him on trial: this or that judge or
juryman, who is one of Danton's partisans, is obliged to stifle a
defense of him, and, knowing him to be innocent, pronounce him guilty;
one who had often dined with Desmoulins is not only to guillotine him,
but, in addition to this, to guillotine his young widow. Moreover, in
the revolutionary committees, at the Commune, in the offices of the
Committee of General Safety, in the bureau of the Central Police, at
the headquarters of the armed force, at the revolutionary Tribunal,
the service to which they are compelled to do becomes daily more
onerous and more repulsive. To denounce neighbors, to arrest
colleagues, to go and seize innocent persons, known to be such, in
their beds, to select in the prisons the thirty or forty unfortunates
who form the daily food of the guillotine, to "amalgamate" them
haphazard, to try them and condemn them in a lot, to escort
octogenarian women and girls of sixteen to the scaffold, even under
the knife-blade, to see heads dropping and bodies swinging, to
contrive means for getting rid of a multitude of corpses, and for
removing the too-visible stains of blood. Of what species do the
beings consist, who can accept such a task, and perform it day after
day, with the prospect of doing it indefinitely? Fouquier-Tinville
himself succumbs. One evening, on his way to the Committee of Public
Safety, "he feels unwell" on the Pont-Neuf and exclaims: "I think I
see the ghosts of the dead following us, especially those of the
patriots I have had guillotined!"[17] And at another time: "I would
rather plow the ground than be public prosecutor. If I could, I would
resign." -- The government, as the system becomes aggravated, is
forced to descend lower still that it may find suitable instruments;
it finds them now only in the lowest depths: in Germinal, to renew the
Commune, in Floréal, to renew the ministries, in Prairial, to re-
compose the revolutionary Tribunal, month after month, purging and re-
constituting the committees of each quarter[18] of the city. In vain
does Robespierre, writing and re-writing his secret lists, try to find
men able to maintain the system; he always falls back on the same
names, those of unknown persons, illiterate, about a hundred knaves or
fools with four or five second-class despots or fanatics among them,
as malevolent and as narrow as himself. - The purifying crucible has
been used too often and for too long a time; it has overheated; what
was sound, or nearly so, in the elements of the primitive fluid has
been forcibly evaporated; the rest has fermented and become acid;
nothing remains in the bottom of the vessel but the lees of stupidity
and wickedness, their concentrated and corrosive dregs.

II. Subaltern Jacobins.

Quality of subaltern leaders. - How they rule in the section
assemblies. - How they seize and hold office.

Such are the subordinate sovereigns[19] who in Paris, during 14 months
dispose as they please, of fortunes, liberties and lives. - And
first, in the section assemblies, which still maintain a semblance of
popular sovereignty, they rule despotically and uncontested. -

"A dozen or fifteen men wearing a red cap,[20] well-informed or not,
claim the exclusive right of speaking and acting, and if any other
citizen with honest motives happens to propose measures which he
thinks proper, and which really are so, no attention is paid to these
measures, or, if it is, it is only to show the members composing the
assemblage of how little account they are. These measures are
accordingly rejected, solely because they are not presented by one of
the men in a red cap, or by somebody like themselves, initiated in the
mysteries of the section."

" Sometimes," says one of the leaders,[21] "we find only ten members
of the club at the general assembly of the section; but there are
enough of us to intimidate the rest. Should any citizen of the
section make a proposition we do not like, we rise and shout that he
is an schemer, or a signer (of former constitutional petitions). In
this way we impose silence on those who are not in line with the
club." -

Since September, 1793, operation is all the easier because the
majority, is now composed of beasts of burden, ruled with an iron

"When something has to be effected that depends on intrigue or on
private interest,[22] the motion is always put by one of the members
of the Revolutionary Committee of the section, or by one of those
fanatical patriots who join in with the Committee, and otherwise act
as its spies. Immediately the ignorant men, to whom Danton has
allowed forty sous for each meeting, and who, from now on crowd an
assembly, where they never came before, welcome the proposition with
loud applause, shouting and demanding a vote, and the act is passed
unanimously, notwithstanding the contrary opinions of all well-
informed and honest citizens. Should any one dare make an objection,
he would run the risk of imprisonment as a suspect,[23] after being
treated as an aristocrat or federalist, or at least, refused a
certificate of civism, ( a serious matter) if he had the misfortune to
need one, did his survival depend on this, either as employee or
pensioner." - In the Maison-Commune section, most of the auditory are
masons, "excellent patriots," says one of the clubbists of the
quarter:[24] they always vote on our side; we make them do what we
want." Numbers of day-laborers, cab-drivers, cartmen and workmen of
every class, thus earn their forty sous, and have no idea that
anything else might be demanded from them. On entering the hall, when
the meeting opens, they write down their names, after which they go
out "to take a drink," without thinking themselves obliged to listen
to the rigmarole of the orators; towards the end, they come back, make
all the noise that is required of them with their lungs, feet and
hands, and then go and "take back their card and get their money."[25]
- With paid applauders of this stamp, they soon get the better of any
opponents, or, rather, all opposition is suppressed beforehand. "The
best citizens keep silent" in the section assemblies, or "stay away;"
these are simply "gambling-shops" where "the most absurd, the most
unjust, the most impolitic of resolutions are passed at every
moment.[26] Moreover, citizens are ruined there by the unlimited
sectional expenditure, which exceeds the usual taxation and the
communal expenses, already very heavy. At one time, some carpenter or
locksmith, member of the Revolutionary Committee, wants to construct,
enlarge or decorate a hall, and it is necessary to agree with him.
Again, a poor speech is made, full of exaggeration and political
extravagance, of which three, four, five and six thousand impressions
are ordered to be printed. Then, to cap the climax, following the
example of the Commune, no accounts are rendered, or, if this is done
for form's sake, no fault must be found with them, under penalty of
suspicion, etc." -- The twelve leaders, proprietors and distributors
of civism, have only to agree amongst themselves to share the profits,
each according to his appetite; henceforth, cupidity and vanity are
free to sacrifice the common weal, under cover of the common interest.
- The pasture is vast and it is at the disposal of the leaders. In
one of his orders of the day, Henriot says:[27]

"I am very glad to announce to my brethren in arms that all the
positions are at the disposal of the government. The actual
government, which is revolutionary, whose intentions are pure, and
which merely desires the happiness of all, . . . . will search
everywhere, even into the attics for virtuous men, . . . . poor
and genuine sans-culottes." And there is enough to satisfy them
thirty-five thousand places of public employment in the capital
alone:[28] it is a rich mine; already, before the month of May, 1793,
"the Jacobin club boasted of having placed nine thousand agents in the
administration,"[29] and since the 2nd of June, "virtuous men, poor,
genuine sans-culottes," arrive in crowds from "their garrets," dens
and hired rooms, each to grab his share. -- They besiege and install
themselves by hundreds the ancient offices in the War, Navy and
Public-Works departments, in the Treasury and Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Here they rule, constantly denouncing all the remaining,
able employees thus creating vacancies in order to fill them.[30] Then
there are twenty new administrative departments which they keep for
themselves: commissioners of the first confiscation of national
property, commissioners of national property arising from emigrants
and the convicted, commissioners of conscripted carriage-horses,
commissioners on clothing, commissioners on the collecting and
manufacturing of saltpeter, commissioners on monopolies, civil-
commissioners in each of the forty-eight sections, commissioners on
propagandas in the departments, Commissioners on provisions, and many
others. Fifteen hundred places are counted in the single department
of subsistence in Paris,[31] and all are salaried. Here, already, are
a number of desirable offices. - Some are for the lowest rabble, two
hundred, at twenty sous a day, paid to "stump-speakers," employed to
direct opinion in the Palais-Royal, also among the Tuileries groups,
as well as in the tribunes of the Convention and of the Hôtel-de-
Ville;[32] two hundred more at four hundred francs per annum, to
waiters in coffee-houses, gambling-saloons and hotels, for watching
foreigners and customers; hundreds of places at two, three, and five
francs a day with meals, for the guardians of seals, and for
garrisoning the domiciles of "suspects"; thousands, with premiums,
pay, and full license, for brigands who, under Ronsin, compose the
revolutionary army, and for the gunners, paid guard and gendarmes of
Henriot. - The principal posts, however, are those which subject
lives and freedom to the discretion of those who occupy them: for,
through this more than regal power, they possess all other power, and
such is that of the men composing the forty-eight revolutionary
committees, the bureaus of the Committee of General Security and of
the Commune, and the staff-officers of the armed force. They are the
prime-movers and active incentives of the system of Terror, all picked
Jacobins and tested by repeated selection, all designated or approved
by the Central Club, which claims for itself the monopoly of
patriotism, and which, erected into a supreme council of the party,
issues no patent of orthodoxy except to its own henchmen.[33]

They immediately assume the tone and arrogance of dictatorship. "
Pride has reached its highest point:[34] ... One who, yesterday, had
no post and was amiable and honest, has become haughty and insolent
because, deceived by appearances, his fellow-citizens have elected him
commissioner, or given him some employment or other." Henceforth, he
behaves like a Turkish agha amongst infidels, and, in command, carries
things out with a high hand. - On the 20th of Vendémiaire, year II.,
"in the middle of the night," the committee of the Piques section
summons M. Bélanger, the architect. He is notified that his house is
wanted immediately for a new Bastille. - "But, said he, 'I own no
other, and it is occupied by several tenants; it is decorated with
models of art, and is fit only for that purpose.' - 'Your house or you
go to prison!' - 'But I shall be obliged to indemnify my tenants.' -
'Either your house or you go to prison; as to indemnities, we have
vacant lodgings for your tenants, as well as for yourself, in (the
prisons of) La Force, or Sainte-Pélagie.' Twelve sentinels on the post
start off at once and take possession of the premises; the owner is
allowed six hours to move out and is forbidden, henceforth, to return;
the bureaus, to which he appeals, interpret his obedience as 'tacit
adhesion,' and, very soon, he himself is locked up."[35] -
Administrative tools that cut so sharply need the greatest care, and,
from time to time, they are carefully oiled:[36] on the 20th of July,
1793, two thousand francs are given to each of the forty-eight
committees, and eight thousand francs to General Henriot, "for
expenses in watching anti-revolutionary maneuvers;" on the 7th of
August, fifty thousand francs "to indemnify the less successful
members of the forty-eight committees;" three hundred thousand francs
to Gen. Henriot "for thwarting conspiracies and securing the triumph
of liberty;" fifty thousand francs to the mayor, "for detecting the
plots of the malevolent;" on the 10th of September, forty thousand
francs to the mayor, president and procureur-syndic of the department,
"for measures of security; " on the 13th of September, three hundred
thousand francs to the mayor "for preventing the attempts of the
malevolent;" on the 15th of November, one hundred thousand francs to
the popular clubs, "because these are essential to the propagation of
sound principles." - Moreover, besides gratuities and a fixed salary,
there are the gratifications and perquisites belonging to the
office.[37] Henriot appoints his comrades on the staff of paid spies
and denunciators, and, naturally, they take advantage of their
position to fill their pockets; under the pretext of incivism, they
multiply domiciliary visits, make the master of the house ransom
himself, or steal what suits them on the premises.[38] - In the
Commune, and on the revolutionary-committees, every extortion can be,
and is, practiced.

"I know," says Quevremont, "two citizens who have been put in prison,
without being told why, and, at the end of three weeks or a month, let
out and do you know how? By paying, one of them, fifteen thousand
livres, and the other, twenty-five thousand. . . . Gambron, at La
Force, pays one thousand five hundred livres a month for a room not to
live amongst lice, and besides this, he had to pay a bribe of two
thousand livres on entering. This happened to many others who, again,
dared not speak of it, except in a whisper."[39]

Woe to the imprudent who, never concerning themselves with public
affairs, and relying on their innocence, discard the officious broker
and fail to pay up at once! Brichard, the notary, having refused or
tendered too late, the hundred thousand crowns demanded of him, is to
put his head "at the red window." - And I omit ordinary rapine, the
vast field open to extortion through innumerable inventories,
sequestrations and adjudications, through the enormities of
contractors, through hastily executed purchases and deliveries,
through the waste of two or three millions given weekly by the
government to the Commune for supplies for the capital, through the
requisitions of grain which give fifteen hundred men of the
revolutionary army an opportunity to clean out all the neighboring
farms, as far as Corbeil and Meaux, and benefit by this after the
fashion of the chauffeurs.[40] - With such a staff, these anonymous
thefts cannot surprise us. Babeuf, the falsifier of public contracts,
is secretary for provisions to the Commune; Maillard, the Abbaye
Septembriseur, receives eight thousand francs for his direction, in
the forty-eight sections, of the ninety-six observers and leaders of
public opinion; Chrétien, whose smoking-shop serves as the rendezvous
of rowdies, becomes a juryman at eighteen francs a day in the
revolutionary Tribunal, and leads his section with uplifted saber;[41]
De Sade, professor of crimes, is now the oracle of his quarter, and,
in the name of the Piques Section, he reads addresses to the


A Minister of Foreign Affairs. - A General in command. - The Paris
Commune. - A Revolutionary Committee.

Let us examine some of these figures closely: the nearer they are to
the eye and foremost in position, the more the importance of the duty
brings into light the unworthiness of the potentate. - There is
already one of them, whom we have seen in passing, Buchot, twice
noticed by Robespierre under his own hand as "a man of probity,
energetic and capable of fulfilling the most important functions,"[42]
appointed by the Committee of Public Safety "Commissioner on External
Relations," that is to say, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and kept in
this important position for nearly six months. He is a school-master
from the Jura,[43] recently disembarked from his small town and whose
"ignorance, low habits and stupidity surpass anything that can be
imagined . . . The chief clerks have nothing to do with him; he
neither sees nor asks for them. He is never found in his office, and
when it is indispensable to ask for his signature on any legislative
matter, the sole act to which he has reduced his functions, they are
compelled to go and force it from him in the Café Hardy, where he
usually passes his days." It must be borne in mind that he is envious
and spiteful, avenging himself for his incapacity on those whose
competency makes him sensible of his incompetence; he denounces them
as Moderates, and, at last, succeeds in having a warrant of arrest
issued against his four chief clerks; on the morning of Thermidor 9,
with a wicked leer, he himself carries the news to one of them, M.
Miot. Unfortunately for him, after Thermidor, he is turned out and M.
Miot is put in his place. With diplomatic politeness, the latter
calls on his predecessor and "expresses to him the usual compliments."
Buchot, insensible to compliments, immediately thinks of the
substantial, and the first thing he asks for is to keep provisionally
his apartment in the ministry. On this being granted, he expresses
his thanks and tells M. Miot that it was very well to appoint him,
but "for myself, it is very disagreeable. I have been obliged to come
to Paris and quit my post in the provinces, and now they leave me in
the street." Thereupon, with astounding impudence, he asks the man
whom he wished to guillotine to give him a place as ministerial clerk.
M. Miot tries to make him understand that for a former minister to
descend so low would be improper. Buchot regards such delicacy as
strange, and, seeing M. Miot's embarrassment, he ends by saying: "If
you don't find me fit for a clerk, I shall be content with the place
of a servant." This estimate of himself shows his proper value.

The other, whom we have also met before, and who is already known by
his acts,[44] general in Paris of the entire armed force, commander-
in-chief of one hundred and ten thousand men, is that former servant
or under-clerk of the procureur Formey, who, dismissed by his employer
for robbery, shut up in Bicêtre, by turns a runner and announcer for a
traveling show, barrier-clerk and September assassin, has purged the
Convention on the 2nd of June - in short, the famous Henriot, and now
simply a brute and a sot. In this latter capacity, spared on the
trial of the Hébertists, he is kept as a tool, for the reason,
doubtless, that he is narrow, coarse and manageable, more compromised
than anybody else, good for any job, without the slightest chance of
becoming independent, unemployed in the army,45 having no prestige
with true soldiers, a general for street parade and an interloper and
lower than the lowest of the mob; his mansion, his box at the Opera-
Comique, his horses, his importance at festivals and reviews, and,
above all, his orgies make him perfectly content. - Every evening, in
full uniform, escorted by his aides-de-camp, he gallops to Choisy-sur-
Seine, where, in the domicile of a flatterer named Fauvel, along with
some of Robespierre's confederates or the local demagogues, he revels.
They toss off the wines of the Duc de Coigny, smash the glasses,
plates and bottles, betake themselves to neighboring dance-rooms and
kick up a row, bursting in doors, and breaking benches and chairs to
pieces - in short, they have a good time. - The next morning, having
slept himself sober, he dictates his orders for the day, veritable
masterpieces in which the silliness, imbecility and credulity of a
numskull, the sentimentality of the drunkard, the clap-trap of a
mountebank and the tirades of a cheap philosopher form an unique
compound, at once sickening and irritating, like the fiery, pungent
mixtures of cheap bars, which suit his audience better because they
contain the biting, mawkish ingredients that compose the adulterated
brandy of the Revolution. - He is posted on foreign maneuvers, and
enlarges upon the true reasons for the famine: "A lot of bread has
been lately found in the privies: the Pitts and Cobourgs and other
rascals who want to enslave justice and reason, and assassinate
philosophy, must be called to account for this. Headquarters,
etc."[46] He has theories on religions and preaches civic modesty to
all dissenters: "The ministers and sectaries of every form of worship
are requested not to practice any further religious ceremonies outside
their temples. Every good sectarian will see the propriety of
observing this order. The interior of a temple is large enough for
paying one's homage to the Eternal, who requires no rites that are
repulsive to every thinking man. The wise agree that a pure heart is
the sublimest homage that Divinity can desire. Headquarters, etc." -
He sighs for the universal idyllic state, and invokes the suppression
of the armed force:

"I beg my fellow-citizens, who are led to the criminal courts out of
curiosity, to act as their own police; this is a task which every good
citizen should fulfill wherever he happens to be. In a free country,
justice should not be secured by pikes and bayonets, but through
reason and philosophy. These must maintain a watchful eye over
society; these must purify it and proscribe thieves and evil-doers.
Each individual must bring his small philosophic portion with him and,
with these small portions, compose a rational totality that will turn
out to be of benefit and to the welfare of all. Oh, for the time when
functionaries shall be rare, when the wicked shall be overthrown, when
the law shall become the sole functionary in society! Headquarters,
etc. " -- Every morning, he preaches in the same pontifical strain.
Imagine the scene - Henriot's levee at head-quarters, and a writing
table, with, perhaps, a bottle of brandy on it; on one side of the
table, the rascal who, while buckling on his belt or drawing on his
boots, softens his husky voice, and, with his nervous twitchings,
flounders through his humanitarian homily; on the other side the mute,
uneasy secretary, who may probably be able to spell, but who dares not
materially change the grotesque phraseology of his master.

The Commune which employs the commanding-general is of about the same
alloy, for, in the municipal sword, the blade and hilt, forged
together in the Jacobin shop, are composed of the same base metal. -
Fifty-six, out of eighty-eight members, whose qualifications and
occupations are known, are decidedly illiterate, or nearly so, their
education being rudimentary, or none at all.[47] Some of them are
petty clerks, counter-jumpers and common scribblers, one among them
being a public writer; others are small shopkeepers, pastry-cooks,
mercers, hosiers, fruit-sellers and wine-dealers; yet others are
simple mechanics or even laborers, carpenters, joiners, cabinet-
makers, locksmiths, and especially three tailors, four hair-dressers,
two masons, two shoemakers, one cobbler, one gardener; one stone-
cutter, one paver, one office-runner, and one domestic. Among the
thirty-two who are instructed, one alone has any reputation, Paris,
professor at the University and the assistant of Abbé Delille. Only
one, Dumetz, an old engineer, steady, moderate and attending to the
supplies, seems a competent and useful workman. The rest, collected
from amongst the mass of unknown demagogues, are six art-apprentices
or bad painters, six business-agents or ex-lawyers, seven second or
third-rate merchants, one teacher, one surgeon, one unfrocked married
priest, all of whom, under the political direction of Mayor Fleuriot-
Lescot and Payen, the national agent, bring to the general council no
administrative ability, but the faculty for verbal argumentation,
along with the requisite amount of talk and scribbling indispensable
to a deliberative assembly. And it is curious to see them in session.
Toward the end of September, 1793,[48] one of the veterans of liberal
philosophy and political economy, belonging to the French Academy and
ruined by the Revolution, the old Abbé Morellet, needs a certificate
of civism, to enable him to obtain payment of the small pension of one
thousand francs, which the Constituent Assembly had voted him in
recompense for his writings; the Commune, desiring information about
this, selects three of its body to inquire into it. Morellet
naturally takes the preliminary steps. He first writes "a very
humble, very civic note," to the president of the General Council,
Lubin Jr., formerly an art-apprentice who had abandoned art for
politics, and is now living with his father a butcher, in the rue St.
Honoré; he calls on this authority, and passes through the stall,
picking his way amongst the slaughterhouse offal; admitted after some
delay, he finds his judge in bed, before whom he pleads his cause. He
then calls upon Bernard, an ex-priest, "built like an incendiary and
ill-looking," and respectfully bows to the lady of the house, "a
tolerably young woman, but very ugly and very dirty." Finally, he
carries his ten or a dozen volumes to the most important of the three
examiners, Vialard, " ex-ladies' hair-dresser; " the latter is almost
a colleague, "for," says he, " I have always liked technicians, having
presented to the Academy of Sciences a top which I invented myself."
Nobody, however, had seen the petitioner in the streets on the 10th of
August, nor on the 2nd of September, nor on the 31st of May; how can a
certificate of civism be granted after such evidences of lukewarmness?
Morellet, not disheartened, awaits the all-powerful hair-dresser at
the Hôtel-de-Ville, and accosts him frequently as he passes along.
He, "with greater haughtiness and distraction than the most
unapproachable Minister of War would show to an infantry lieutenant,"
scarcely listens to him and walks on; he goes in and takes his seat,
and Morellet, much against his will, has to be present at ten or
twelve of these meetings. What strange meetings, to which patriotic
deputations, volunteers and amateurs come in turn to declaim and sing;
where the president, Lubin, "decorated with his scarf," shouts the
Marseilles Hymn five or six times, "Ca Ira," and other songs of
several stanzas, set to tunes of the Comic Opera, and always "out of
time, displaying the voice, airs and songs of an exquisite Leander. .
. I really believe that, at the last meeting, he sung alone in this
manner three quarters of an hour at different times, the assembly
repeating the last line of the verse." - " How odd!" exclaims a common
woman alongside of Morellet, "how droll, passing all their time here,
singing in that fashion! Is that what they come here for?" - Not alone
for that: after the circus-parade is over, the ordinary haranguers,
and especially the hair-dresser, come and propose measures for murder
"in infuriate language and with fiery gesticulation." Such are the
good speakers[49] and men for show. The others, who remain silent,
and hardly know to write, act and do the rough work. A certain
Chalaudon, member of the Commune,[50] is one of this kind, president
of the Revolutionary Committee of the section of "L'Homme armé," and
probably an excellent man-hunter; for "the government committees
assigned to him the duty of watching the right bank of the Seine, and,
with extraordinary powers conferred on him, he rules from his back
shop one half of Paris. Woe to those he has reason to complain of,
those who have withdrawn from, or not given him, their custom!
Sovereign of his quarter up to Thermidor 10, his denunciations are
death-warrants. Some of the streets, especially that of Grand
Chantier, he "depopulates." And this Marais exterminator is a
"cobbler," a colleague in leather, as well as in the Commune, of Simon
the shoemaker, the preceptor and murderer of the young Dauphin.

Still lower down than this admirable municipal body, let us try to
imagine, from at least one complete example, the forty-eight
revolutionary committees who supply it with hands. - There is one of
them of which we know all the members, where the governing class,
under full headway, can be studied on the spot and in action.[51] This
consists of the underworld, nomadic class which is revolutionary only
through its appetites; no theory and no convictions animate it; during
the first three years of the Revolution it pays no attention to, or
cares for, public matters; if, since the 10th of August, and
especially since the 2nd of June, it takes any account of these, it is
to get a living and gorge itself with plunder. - Out of eighteen
members, simultaneously or in succession, of the "Bonnet Rouge,"
fourteen, before the 10th of August and especially since the 2nd of
June, are unknown in this quarter, and had taken no part in the
Revolution. The most prominent among these are three painters,
heraldic, carriage and miniature, evidently ruined and idle on account
of the Revolution, a candle-dealer, a vinegar-dealer, a manufacturer
of saltpeter, and a locksmith; while of these seven personages, four
have additionally enhanced the dignity of their calling by vending
tickets for small lotteries, acting as pawnbrokers or as keepers of a
biribi[52] saloon. Seated along with these are two upper-class
domestics, a hack-driver, an ex-gendarme dismissed from the corps, a
cobbler on the street corner, a runner on errands who was once a
carter's boy, and another who, two months before this, was a
scavenger's apprentice, the latter penniless and in tatters before he
became one of the Committee, and since that, well clad, lodged and
furnished. Finally, a former dealer in lottery-tickets, himself a
counterfeiter by his own admission, and a jail-bird. Four others have
been dismissed from their places for dishonesty or swindling, three
are known drunkards, two are not even Frenchmen, while the ring-
leader, the man of brains of this select company is, as usual, a
seedy, used-up lawyer, the ex-notary Pigeot, and expelled from his
professional body on account of bankruptcy. He is probably the author
of the following speculation: After the month of September, 1793, the
Committee, freely arresting whomsoever it pleased in the quarter, and
even outside of it, makes a haul of "three hundred heads of families"
in four months, with whom it fills the old barracks it occupies in the
rue de Sèvres. In this confined and unhealthy tenement, more than one
hundred and twenty prisoners are huddled together, sometimes ten in
one room, two in the same bed, and, for their keeping, they pay three
hundred francs a day. As sixty-two francs of this charge are
verified, there is of this sum, (not counting other extortions or
concessions which are not official), two hundred and thirty-eight
francs profit daily for these 'honest' contractors. Accordingly, they
live freely and have "the most magnificent dinners " in their assembly
chamber; the contribution of ten or twelve francs apiece is " nothing
" for them. - But, in this opulent St. Germain quarter, so many rich
and noble men and women form a herd which must be conveniently
stalled, so as to be the more easily milked. Consequently, toward the
end of March, 1794, the Committee, to increase its business and fill
up the pen, hires a large house on the corner of the boulevard
possessing a court and a garden, where the high society of the quarter
is assigned lodgings of two rooms each, at twelve francs a day, which
gives one hundred and fifty thousand livres per annum, and, as the
rent is twenty-four hundred francs, the Committee gain one hundred and
forty-seven thousand six hundred livres by the operation; we must add
to this twenty sorts of profit in money and other matters - taxes on
the articles consumed and on supplies of every description, charges on
the dispatch and receipt of correspondence and other gratuities, such
as ransoms and fees. A penned-up herd refuses nothing to its
keepers,[53] and this one less than any other; for if this herd is
plundered it is preserved, its keepers finding it too lucrative to
send it to the slaughter-house. During the last six months of Terror,
but two out of the one hundred and sixty boarders of the "Bonnet
Rouge" Committee are withdrawn from the establishment and handed over
to the guillotine. It is only on the 7th and 8th of Thermidor that
the Committee of Public Safety, having undertaken to empty the
prisons, breaks in upon the precious herd and disturbs the well-laid
scheme, so admirably managed. - It was only too well managed, for it
excited jealousy; three months after Thermidor, the " Bonnet Rouge"
committee is denounced and condemned; ten are sentenced to twenty
years in irons, with the pillory in addition, and, among others, the
clever notary,[54] amidst the jeering and insults of the crowd. - And
yet these are not the worst; their cupidity had mollified their
ferocity. Others, less adroit in robbing, show greater cruelty in
murdering. In any event, in the provinces as well as in Paris, in the
revolutionary committees paid three francs a day for each member, the
quality of one or the other of the officials is about the same.
According to the pay-lists which Barère keeps, there are twenty-one
thousand five hundred of these committees in France.[55]

IV. Provincial Administration.

The administrative staff in the provinces. - Jacobinism less in the
departmental towns than in Paris. - Less in the country than in the
towns. - The Revolutionary Committees in the small communes. -
Municipal bodies lukewarm in the villages. - Jacobins too numerous in
bourgs and small towns. - Unreliable or hampered as agents when
belonging to the administrative bodies of large or moderate-sized
towns. - Deficiency of locally recruited staff.

Had the laws of March 21 and September 5, 1793, been strictly
enforced, there would, instead of 21,500 have been 45,000 of these
revolutionary committees. They would have been composed of 540,000
members costing the public 591 millions per year.[56] This would have
made the regular administrative body, already twice as numerous and
twice as costly as under the ancient régime, an extra corps expending,
"simply in surveillance," one hundred millions more than the entire
taxation of the country, the greatness of which had excited the people
against the ancient régime. - Happily, the poisonous and monstrous
fungal growth was only able to achieve half its intended size; neither
the Jacobin seed nor the bad atmosphere it required to make it spread
could be found anywhere. "The people of the provinces," says a
contemporary,[57] "are not up to the level of the Revolution; it
opposes old habits and customs and the resistance of inertia to
innovations which it does not understand." "The plowman is an
estimable man," writes a missionary representative, " but he is
generally a poor patriot."[58] Actually, there is on the one hand,
less of human sediment in the departmental towns than in the great
Parisian sink, and, on the other hand, the rural population, preserved
from intellectual miasmas, better resists social epidemics than the
urban population. Less infested with vicious adventurers, less
fruitful in disordered intellects, the provinces supply a corps of
inquisitors and terrorists with greater difficulty.

And first, in the thousands of communes which have less than five
hundred inhabitants,[59] in many other villages of greater population,
but scattered[60] and purely agricultural, especially in those in
which patois is spoken, there is a scarcity of suitable subjects for a
revolutionary committee. People make use of their hands too much;
horny hands do not write every day; nobody desires to take up a pen,
especially to keep a register that may be preserved and some day or
other prove compromising. It is already a difficult matter to recruit
a municipal council, to find a mayor, the two additional municipal
officers, and the national agent which the law requires; in the small
communes, these are the only agents of the revolutionary government,
and I fancy that, in most cases, their Jacobin fervor is moderate.
Municipal officer, national agent or mayor, the real peasant of that
day belongs to no party, neither royalist nor republican;[61] his
ideas are rare, too transient and too sluggish, to enable him to form
a political opinion. All he comprehends of the Revolution is that
which nettles him, or that which he sees every day around him, with
his own eyes; to him '93 and '94 are and will remain "the time of bad
paper (money) and great fright," and nothing more.[62] Patient in his
habits., he submits to the new as he did to the ancient régime,
bearing the load put on his shoulders, and stooping down for fear of a
heavier one. He is often mayor or national agent in spite of himself;
he has been obliged to take the place and would gladly throw the
burden off. For, as times go, it is onerous; if he executes decrees
and orders, he is certain to make enemies; if he does not execute
them, he is sure to be imprisoned; he had better remain, or go back
home "Gros-Jean," as he was before. But he has no choice; the
appointment being once made and confirmed, he cannot decline, nor
resign, under penalty of being a "suspect;" he must be the hammer in
order not to become the anvil. Whether he is a wine-grower, miller,
ploughman or quarry-man, he acts reluctantly, "submitting a petition
for resignation," as soon as the Terror diminishes, on the ground that
"he writes badly," that "he knows nothing whatever about law and is
unable to enforce it;" that "he has to support himself with his own
hands;" that "he has a family to provide for, and is obliged to drive
his own cart" or vehicle; in short, entreating that he "may be
relieved of his charge."[63] - These involuntary recruits are
evidently nothing more than common laborers; if they drag along the
revolutionary cart they do it like their horses, because they are
pressed into the service.

Above the small communes, in the large villages possessing a
revolutionary committee, and also in certain bourgs, the horses in
harness often pretend to draw and do not, for fear of crushing some
one. - At this epoch, a straggling village, especially when isolated,
in an out-of-the-way place and on no highway, is a small world in
itself, much more secluded than now-a-days, much less accessible to
Parisian verbiage and outside pressure; local opinion here
preponderates; neighbors support each other; they would shrink from
denouncing a worthy man whom they had known for twenty years; the
moral sway of honest folks suffices for keeping down
"blackguards."[64] If the mayor is republican, it is only in words,
perhaps for self-protection, to protect his commune, and because one
must howl along with the other wolves. - - -Moreover, in other
bourgs, and in the small towns, the fanatics and rascals are not
sufficiently numerous to fill all the offices, and, in order to fill
the vacancies, those who are not good Jacobins have been pushed
forward or admitted into the new administrative corps, lukewarm,
indifferent, timid or needy men, who take the place as an asylum or
ask for it as a means of subsistence. " Citizens," one of the
recruits, more or less under restraint, writes later on,[65] " I was
put on the Committee of Surveillance of Aignay by force, and installed
by force." Three or four madmen on it ruled, and if one held any
discussion with them, "it was always threats . . . . Always
trembling, always afraid, - that is the way I passed eight months
doing duty in that miserable place." - Finally, in medium-sized or
large towns, the dead-lock produced by collective dismissals, the
pell-mell of improvised appointments, and the sudden renewal of an
entire set of officials, threw into the administration, willingly or
not, a lot of pretended Jacobins who, at heart, are Girondists or
Feuillantists, but who, having been excessively long-winded, are
assigned offices on account of their stump-speeches, and who
thenceforth sit alongside of the worst Jacobins, in the worst
employment. "Members of the Feurs Revolutionary Committee - those who
make that objection to me," wrote a lawyer in Clermont,[66] "are
persuaded that those only who secluded themselves, felt the Terror.
They are not aware, perhaps, that nobody felt it more than those who
were compelled to execute its decrees. Remember that the handwriting
of Couthon which designated some citizen for an office also conveyed a
threat, and in case of refusal, of being declared 'suspect,' a threat
which promised in perspective the loss of liberty and the
sequestration of property! Was I free, then, to refuse?" - Once
installed, the man must act, and many of those who do act let their
repugnance be seen in spite of themselves: at best, they cannot be got
to do more than mechanical service.

"Before going to court," says a judge at Cambray, "I swallowed a big

of spirits to give me strength enough to preside."

He leaves his house with no other intention than to finish the job,
and, the sentence once pronounced, to return home, shut himself up,
and close his eyes and ears.

"I had to pronounce judgment according to the jury's declaration -
what could I do?"[67]

Nothing, but remain blind and deaf: "I drank. I tried to ignore
everything, even the names of the accused." - It is plain enough that,
in the local official body, there are too many agents who are weak,
not zealous, without any push, unreliable, or even secretly hostile;
these must be replaced by others who are energetic and reliable, and
the latter must be taken wherever they can be found.[68] This
reservoir in each department or district is the Jacobin nursery of the
principal town; from this, they are sent into the bourgs and communes
of the conscription. The central Jacobin nursery for France is in
Paris, from whence they are dispatched to the towns and departments.

V. Jacobins sent to the Provinces.

Importation of a staff of strangers. - Paris Jacobins sent into the
provinces. - Jacobins of enthusiastic towns deported to moderate
ones. - The Jacobins of a district headquarters spread through the
district. - Resistance of public opinion. - Distribution and small
number of really Jacobin agents.

Consequently, swarms of Jacobin locusts spread from Paris out over
the provinces, and from the local country-towns over the surrounding
country. - In this cloud of destructive insects, there are various
figures of different sizes: in the front rank, are the representatives
on mission, who are to take command in the departments; in the second
rank, "the political agents," who, assigned the duty of watching the
neighboring frontier, take upon themselves the additional duty of
leading the popular club of the town they reside in, or of urging on
its administrative body.[69] Besides that, there issue from the Paris
headquarters in the rue St. Honoré, select sans-culottes who,
authorized or delegated by the Committee of Public Safety, proceed to
Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Tonnerre, Rochefort and elsewhere, to act
as missionaries among the too inert population, or form the committees
of action and the tribunals of extermination that are recruited with
difficulty on the spot.[70] - Sometimes also, when a town has a bad
record, the popular club of a sounder-minded city sends its delegates
there, to bring it into line; thus, four deputies of the Metz club
arrive without notice in Belfort, catechize their brethren, associate
with them on the local Revolutionary Committee, and, suddenly, without
consulting the municipality, or any other legal authority, draw up a
list of "moderates, fanatics and egoists," on whom they impose an
extraordinary tax of one hundred and thirty-six thousand six hundred
and seventeen livres;[71] in like manner, sixty delegates from the
club of Côte-d'Or, Haute-Marne, Vosges, Moselle, Saone-et-Loire and
Mont-Terrible, all "tempered by the white heat of Pére Duchesne,"
proceed to Strasbourg at the summons of the representatives, where,
under the title of "propagandists," they are to regenerate the town.
- At the same time, in each department, the Jacobins of the principal
town are found scattered along the high ways, that they may inspect
their domain and govern their subjects. Sometimes, it is the
representative on mission, who, personally, along with twenty "hairy
devils," makes his round and shows off his traveling dictatorship;
again, it is his secretary or delegate who, in his place and in his
name, comes to a second-class town and draws up his documents.[72] At
another time, it is "a committee of investigation and propaganda"
which, "chosen by the club and provided with full powers," comes, in
the name of the representatives, to work up for a month all the
communes of the district.[73] Again, finally, it is the revolutionary
committee of the principal town, which," declared central for the
whole department,"[74] delegates one or the other of its members to go
outside the walls, and purge and recompose suspected municipalities.
- Thus does Jacobinism descend and spread itself, story after story,
from the Parisian center to the smallest and remotest commune:
throughout provincial France, whether colorless or of uncertain color,
the imposed or imported administration imposes its red stigma.

But the stamp is only superficial; for the sans-culottes, naturally,
are not disposed to confer offices on any but men of their sort, while
in the provinces, especially in the rural districts, such men are
rare. As one of the representatives says: there is a "dearth of
subjects." - At Mâcon, Javogues tries in vain;[75] he finds in the
club only "disguised federalists;" the people, he says, "will not open
their eyes it seems to me that this blindness is due to the physique
of the country, which is very rich." Naturally, he storms and
dismisses; but, even in the revolutionary committee, none but dubious
candidates are presented to him for selection; he does not know how to
manage in order to renew the local authorities. "They play into each
others' hands," and he ends by threatening to transfer the public
institutions of the town elsewhere, if they persist in proposing to
him none but bad patriots. - At Strasbourg,[76] Couturier, and
Dentzel, on mission, report that: "owing to an unexampled coalition
among all the capable citizens, obstinately refusing to take the
office of mayor, in order, by this course, to clog the wheels, and
subject the representatives to repeated and indecent refusals," he is
compelled to appoint a young man, not of legal age, and a stranger in
the department. - At Marseilles, write the agents,[77] "in spite of
every effort and our ardent desire to republicanize the Marseilles
people, our pains and fatigues are nearly all fruitless. . . .
Public spirit among owners of property, mechanics and journey-men is
everywhere detestable. . . . The number of discontented seems to
increase from day to day. All the communes in Var, and most of those
in this department are against us. . . . they constitute a race to
be destroyed, a country to be colonized anew. . . .

"I repeat it, the only way to work out the Revolution in the
federalized departments, and especially in this one, is to deport all
the indigenous population who are able to bear arms, scatter them
through the armies and put garrisons in their places, which, again,
will have to be changed from time to time." - At the other extremity
of the territory, in Alsace, "republican sentiments are still in the
cradle; fanaticism is extreme and incredible; the spirit of the
inhabitants in general is in no respect revolutionary. . . Nothing
but the revolutionary army and the venerated guillotine will cure them
of their conceited aristocracy. The execution of the laws depends on
striking off the heads of the guilty, for nearly all the rural
municipalities are composed only of the rich, of clerks of former
bailiffs, almost always devoted to the ancient régime."[78]- And in
the rest of France, the population, less refractory, is not more
Jacobin; here where the people appear "humble and submissive" as in
Lyons and Bordeaux, the inspectors report that it is wholly owing to
terror;[79] there, where opinion seems enthusiastic, as at Rochefort
and Grenoble, they report that it is "artificial heat."[80] At
Rochefort, zeal is maintained only "by the presence of five or six
Parisian Jacobins." At Grenoble, Chépy, the political agent and
president of the club, writes that "he is knocked up, worn out, and
exhausted, in trying to keep up public spirit and maintain it on a
level with events," but he is "conscious that, if he should leave, all
would crumble." - There are none other than Moderates at Brest, at
Lille, at Dunkirk; if this or that department, the Nord, for instance,
hastened to accept the "Montagnard" constitution, it is only a
pretense: "an infinitely small portion of the population answered for
the rest."[81] - At Belfort, where "from one thousand to twelve
hundred fathers of families alone are counted," writes the agent,[82]
"one popular club of thirty or forty members, at the most, maintains
and enforces the love of liberty." - In Arras, "out of three or four
hundred members composing the popular club" the weeding-out of 1793
has spared but "sixty-three, one tenth of whom are absent."[83] At
Toulouse, "out of about fourteen hundred members" who form the club,
only three or four hundred remain after the weeding-out of 1793,[84]
"mere machines, for the most part," and "whom ten or a dozen
intriguers lead as they please." - The same state of things exists
elsewhere, a dozen or two determined Jacobins-twenty-two at Troyes,
twenty-one at Grenoble, ten at Bordeaux, seven at Poitiers, as many at
Dijon-constitute the active staff of a large town:[85] the whole
number might sit around one table. - The Jacobins, straining as they
do to swell their numbers, only scatter their band; careful as they
are in making their selections, they only limit their number. They
remain what they always have been, a small feudality of brigands
superposed on conquered France.[86] If the terror they spread around
multiplies their serfs, the horror they inspire diminishes their
proselytes, while their minority remains insignificant because, for
their collaborators, they can have only those just like themselves.


Quality of staff thus formed. - Social state of the agents. - Their
unfitness and bad conduct. - The administrators in Seine-et-Marne. -
Drunkenness and feasting. - Committees and Municipalities in the
Côte-d'Or. - Waste and extortions. - Traffickers in favors at
Bordeaux. - Seal breakers at Lyons. - Monopolizers of national
possessions. - Sales of personal property. - Embezzlements and
Frauds.-A procès-verbal in the office of the mayor of Strasbourg. -
Sales of real-estate. - Commissioners on declarations at Toulouse. -
The administrative staff and clubs of buyers in Provence. - The
Revolutionary Committee of Nantes.

But when we regard the final and last set of officials of the
revolutionary government closely, in the provinces as well as at
Paris, we find among them we hardly anyone who is noteworthy except in
vice, dishonesty and misconduct, or, at the very least, in stupidity
and grossness. - First, as is indicated by their name, they all must
be, and nearly all are, sans-culottes, that is to say, men who live
from day to day on their daily earnings, possessing no income from
capital, confined to subordinate places, to petty trading, to manual
services, lodged or encamped on the lowest steps of the social ladder,
and therefore requiring pay to enable them to attend to public
business;[87] it is on this account that decrees and orders allow them
wages of three, five, six, ten, and even eighteen francs a day. - At
Grenoble, the representatives form the municipal body and the
revolutionary committee, along with two health-officers, three
glovers, two farmers, one tobacco-merchant, one perfumer, one grocer,
one belt-maker, one innkeeper, one joiner, one shoemaker, one mason,
while the official order by which they are installed, appoints
"Teyssière, licoriste," national agent.[88] - At Troyes,[89] among the
men in authority we find a confectioner, a weaver, a journeyman-
weaver, a hatter, a hosier, a grocer, a carpenter, a dancing-master,
and a policeman, while the mayor, Gachez, formerly a private soldier
in the regiment of Vexin, was, when appointed, a school-teacher in the
vicinity. - At Toulouse,[90] a man named Terrain, a pâté dealer, is
installed as president of the administration; the revolutionary
committee is presided over by Pio, a journeyman-barber; the
inspiration, "the soul of the club," is a concierge, that of the
prison. - The last and most significant trait is found at
Rochefort,[91] where the president of the popular club is the
executioner. - If such persons form the select body of officials in
the large towns, what must they be in the small ones, in the bourgs
and in the villages? " Everywhere they are of the meanest"[92]
cartmen, sabot - (wooden shoe) makers, thatchers, stone-cutters,
dealers in rabbit-skins, day laborers, unemployed craftsmen, many
without any pursuit, or mere vagabonds who had already participated in
riots or jacqueries, bar flies, having given up work and designated
for a public career only by their irregular habits and incompetence to
follow a private career. - Even in the large towns, it is evident
that discretionary power has fallen into the hands of nearly raw
barbarians; one has only to note in the old documents, at the
Archives, the orthography and style of the committees empowered to
grant or refuse civic cards, and draw up reports on the opinions and
pursuits of prisoners. "His opinions appear insipid (Ces opignons
paroisse insipide)[93] . . . . He is married with no children."
(Il est marie cent (sans) enfants).. . . Her profession is wife of
Paillot-Montabert, she is living on her income, his relations are with
a woman we pay no attention to; we presume her opinions are like her
husband's."[94] The handwriting, unfortunately, cannot be represented
here, being that of a child five years old.[95]

"As stupid as they are immoral,"[96] says Representative Albert, of
the Jacobins he finds in office at Troyes. Low, indeed, as their
condition may be, their feeling and intelligence are yet lower
because, in their professions or occupations, they are the refuse
instead of the élite, and, especially on this account, they are turned
out after Thermidor, some, it is true, as Terrorists, but the larger
number as either dolts, scandalous or crazy, simply intruders, or mere
valets. - At Rheims, the president of the district is[97] "a former
bailiff, on familiar terms with the spies of the Robespierre régime,
acting in concert with them, but without being their accomplice,
possessing none of the requisite qualities for administration."
Another administrator is likewise "a former bailiff, without means,
negligent in the highest degree and a confirmed drunkard." Alongside
of these sit "a horse-dealer, without any means, more fit for shady
dealings than governing, moreover a drunkard, a dyer, lacking
judgment, open to all sorts of influences, pushed ahead by the Jacobin
faction, and having used power in the most arbitrary manner, rather,
perhaps, through ignorance than through cruelty, a shoemaker, entirely
uninstructed, knowing only how to sign his name," and others of the
same character. In the Tribunal, a judge is noted as

"true in principle, but whom poverty and want of resources have driven
to every excess, a turncoat according to circumstances in order to get
a place, associated with the leaders in order to keep the place, and
yet not without sensibility, having, perhaps, acted criminally merely
to keep himself and his family alive."

In the municipal body, the majority is composed of an incompetent lot,
some of them being journeymen-spinners or thread twisters, and others
second-hand dealers or shopkeepers, "incapable," "without means," with
a few crack-brains among them: one, "his brain being crazed,
absolutely of no account, anarchist and Jacobin;" another, "very
dangerous through lack of judgment, a Jacobin, over-excited; " a
third, "an instrument of tyranny, a man of blood capable of every
vice, having assumed the name of Mutius Scœvola, of recognized
depravity and unable to write." - Similarly, in the Aube districts, we
find some of the heads feverish with the prevailing epidemic, for
instance, at Nogent, the national agent, Delaporte, "who has the words
'guillotine' and 'revolutionary tribunal' always on his lips, and who
declares that if he were the government he would imprison doctor,
surgeon and lawyer, who delights in finding people guilty and says
that he is never content except when he gets three pounds' weight of
denunciations a day." But, apart from these madcaps, most of the
administrators or judges are either people wholly unworthy of their
offices, because they are "inept," "too uneducated," "good for
nothing," "too little familiar with administrative forms," "too little
accustomed to judicial action," " without information," "too busy with
their own affairs," "unable to read or write," or, because "they have
no delicacy," are "violent," "agitators," "knaves," "without public
esteem," and more or less dishonest and despised.[98] - As an example
a fellow from Paris, who was at first at Troyes, a baker's
apprentice,[99] and afterwards a dancing-master; then he appeared at
the Club, making headway, doubtless, through his Parisian chatter,
until he stood first and soon became a member of the district.
Appointed an officer in the sixth battalion of Aube, he behaved in
such a manner in Vendée that, on his return, " his brethren in arms"
broke up the banner presented to him, "declaring him unworthy of such
an honor, because he cowardly fled before the enemy." Nevertheless,
after a short plunge, he came back to the surface and, thanks to his
civil compeers, was reinstated in his administrative functions; during
the Terror, he was intimate with all the Terrorists, being one of the
important men of Troyes. - The mayor of the town, Gachez, an old
soldier and ex-schoolmaster, is of the same stuff as this baker's
apprentice. He, likewise, was a Vendéan hero; only, he was unable to
distinguish himself as much as he liked, for, after enlisting, he
failed to march; having pocketed the bounty of three hundred livres,
he discovered that he had infirmities and, getting himself
invalidated, he served the nation in a civil capacity. "His own
partisans admit that he is a drunkard and that he has committed
forgery." Some months after Thermidor he is sentenced to eight years
imprisonment and put in the pillory for this crime. Hence, "almost
the entire commune is against him; the women in the streets jeer him,
and the eight sections meet together to request his withdrawal." But
Representative Bô reports that he is every way entitled to remain,
being a true Jacobin, an admirable terrorist and "the only sans-
culotte mayor which the commune of Troyes has to be proud of."[100]

It would be awarding too much honor to men of this stamp, to suppose
that they had convictions or principles; they were governed by
animosities and especially by their appetites,[101] to satiate which
they[102] made the most of their offices. - At Troyes, "all
provisions and foodstuffs are drawn upon to supply the table of the
twenty-four" sans-culottes[103] to whom Bô entrusted the duty of
weeding-out the popular club; before the organization of "this
regenerating nucleus" the revolutionary committee, presided over by
Rousselin, the civil commissioner, carried on its "gluttony" in the
Petit-Louvre tavern, "passing nights bozing" and in the preparation of
lists of suspects.[104] In the neighboring provinces of Dijon, Beaune,
Semur and Aignayle-Duc, the heads of the municipality and of the club
always meet in taverns and bars. At Dijon, we see "the ten or twelve
Hercules of patriotism traversing the town, each with a chalice under
his arm:"[105] this is their drinking-cup; each has to bring his own
to the Montagnard inn; there, they imbibe copiously, frequently, and
between two glasses of wine "declare who are outlaws." At Aignay-le-
Duc, a small town with only half a dozen patriots "the majority of
whom can scarcely write, most of them poor, burdened with families,
and living without doing anything, never quit the bars, where, night
and day, they revel;" their chief, a financial ex-procureur, now
"concierge, archivist, secretary and president of the popular club,"
holds municipal council in the tavern. "Should they go out it was to
chase female aristocrats," and one of them declares "that if the half
of Aignay were slaughtered the other half would be all the better for
it." - There is nothing like drinking to excite ferocity to the
highest pitch. At Strasbourg the sixty mustachioed propagandist
lodged in the college in which they are settled fixtures, have a cook
provided for them by the town, and they revel day and night "on the
choice provisions put in requisition," "on wines destined to the
defenders of the country."[106] It is, undoubtedly, when coming out
from one of these orgies that they proceed, sword in hand, to the
popular club,[107] vote and force others to vote "death to all
prisoners confined in the Seminary to the number of seven hundred, of
every age and of both sexes, without any preliminary trial." For a man
to become a good cut-throat, he must first get intoxicated;[108] such
was the course pursued in Paris by those who did the work in
September: the revolutionary government being an organized, prolonged
and permanent Septembrisade, most of its agents are obliged to drink
hard.[109] - For the same reasons when the opportunity, as well as the
temptation, to steal, presents itself, they steal. - At first, during
six months, and up to the decree assigning them pay, the revolutionary
committees "take their pay themselves;"[110] they then add to their
legal salary of three and five francs a day about what they please:
for it is they who assess the extraordinary taxes, and often, as at
Montbrison, "without making any list or record of collections." On
Frimaire 16, year II., the financial committee reports that "the
collection and application of extraordinary taxes is unknown to the
government; that it was impossible to supervise them, the National
treasury having received no sums whatever arising from these
taxes."[111] Two years after, four years after, the accounts of
revolutionary taxation of forced loans, and of pretended voluntary
gifts, still form a bottomless pit; out of forty billions of accounts
rendered to the National Treasury only twenty are found to be
verified; the rest are irregular and worthless. Besides, in many
cases, not only is the voucher worthless or not forthcoming, but,
again, it is proved that the sums collected disappeared wholly or in
part. At Villefranche, out of one hundred and thirty-eight thousand
francs collected, the collector of the district deposited but forty-
two thousand; at Baugency, out of more than five hundred thousand

Book of the day: