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off. Too happy that the Twenty-two are still left unviolated!–Vergniaud, carrying the laws of refinement to a great length, moves, to the amazement of some, that ‘the Sections of Paris have deserved well of their country.’ Whereupon, at a late hour of the evening, the deserving Sections retire to their respective places of abode. Barrere shall report on it. With busy quill and brain he sits, secluded; for him no sleep to-night. Friday the last of May has ended in this manner.

The Sections have deserved well: but ought they not to deserve better? Faction and Girondism is struck down for the moment, and consents to be a nullity; but will it not, at another favourabler moment rise, still feller; and the Republic have to be saved in spite of it? So reasons Patriotism, still Permanent; so reasons the Figure of Marat, visible in the dim Section-world, on the morrow. To the conviction of men!–And so at eventide of Saturday, when Barrere had just got it all varnished in the course of the day, and his Report was setting off in the evening mail-bags, tocsin peals out again! Generale is beating; armed men taking station in the Place Vendome and elsewhere for the night; supplied with provisions and liquor. There under the summer stars will they wait, this night, what is to be seen and to be done, Henriot and Townhall giving due signal.

The Convention, at sound of generale, hastens back to its Hall; but to the number only of a Hundred; and does little business, puts off business till the morrow. The Girondins do not stir out thither, the Girondins are abroad seeking beds. Poor Rabaut, on the morrow morning, returning to his post, with Louvet and some others, through streets all in ferment, wrings his hands, ejaculating, “Illa suprema dies!” (Louvet, Memoires, p. 89.) It has become Sunday, the second day of June, year 1793, by the old style; by the new style, year One of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. We have got to the last scene of all, that ends this history of the Girondin Senatorship.

It seems doubtful whether any terrestrial Convention had ever met in such circumstances as this National one now does. Tocsin is pealing; Barriers shut; all Paris is on the gaze, or under arms. As many as a Hundred Thousand under arms they count: National Force; and the Armed Volunteers, who should have flown to the Frontiers and La Vendee; but would not, treason being unpunished; and only flew hither and thither! So many, steady under arms, environ the National Tuileries and Garden. There are horse, foot, artillery, sappers with beards: the artillery one can see with their camp-furnaces in this National Garden, heating bullets red, and their match is lighted. Henriot in plumes rides, amid a plumed Staff: all posts and issues are safe; reserves lie out, as far as the Wood of Boulogne; the choicest Patriots nearest the scene. One other circumstance we will note: that a careful Municipality, liberal of camp-furnaces, has not forgotten provision-carts. No member of the Sovereign need now go home to dinner; but can keep rank,–plentiful victual circulating unsought. Does not this People understand Insurrection? Ye, not uninventive, Gualches!–

Therefore let a National Representation, ‘mandatories of the Sovereign,’ take thought of it. Expulsion of your Twenty-two, and your Commission of Twelve: we stand here till it be done! Deputation after Deputation, in ever stronger language, comes with that message. Barrere proposes a middle course:–Will not perhaps the inculpated Deputies consent to withdraw voluntarily; to make a generous demission, and self-sacrifice for the sake of one’s country? Isnard, repentant of that search on which river-bank Paris stood, declares himself ready to demit. Ready also is Te-Deum Fauchet; old Dusaulx of the Bastille, ‘vieux radoteur, old dotard,’ as Marat calls him, is still readier. On the contrary, Lanjuinais the Breton declares that there is one man who never will demit voluntarily; but will protest to the uttermost, while a voice is left him. And he accordingly goes on protesting; amid rage and clangor; Legendre crying at last: “Lanjuinais, come down from the Tribune, or I will fling thee down, ou je te jette en bas!” For matters are come to extremity. Nay they do clutch hold of Lanjuinais, certain zealous Mountain-men; but cannot fling him down, for he ‘cramps himself on the railing;’ and ‘his clothes get torn.’ Brave Senator, worthy of pity! Neither will Barbaroux demit; he “has sworn to die at his post, and will keep that oath.” Whereupon the Galleries all rise with explosion; brandishing weapons, some of them; and rush out saying: “Allons, then; we must save our country!” Such a Session is this of Sunday the second of June.

Churches fill, over Christian Europe, and then empty themselves; but this Convention empties not, the while: a day of shrieking contention, of agony, humiliation and tearing of coatskirts; illa suprema dies! Round stand Henriot and his Hundred Thousand, copiously refreshed from tray and basket: nay he is ‘distributing five francs a-piece;’ we Girondins saw it with our eyes; five francs to keep them in heart! And distraction of armed riot encumbers our borders, jangles at our Bar; we are prisoners in our own Hall: Bishop Gregoire could not get out for a besoin actuel without four gendarmes to wait on him! What is the character of a National Representative become? And now the sunlight falls yellower on western windows, and the chimney-tops are flinging longer shadows; the refreshed Hundred Thousand, nor their shadows, stir not! What to resolve on? Motion rises, superfluous one would think, That the Convention go forth in a body; ascertain with its own eyes whether it is free or not. Lo, therefore, from the Eastern Gate of the Tuileries, a distressed Convention issuing; handsome Herault Sechelles at their head; he with hat on, in sign of public calamity, the rest bareheaded,–towards the Gate of the Carrousel; wondrous to see: towards Henriot and his plumed staff. “In the name of the National Convention, make way!” Not an inch of the way does Henriot make: “I receive no orders, till the Sovereign, yours and mine, has been obeyed.” The Convention presses on; Henriot prances back, with his staff, some fifteen paces, “To arms! Cannoneers to your guns!”–flashes out his puissant sword, as the Staff all do, and the Hussars all do. Cannoneers brandish the lit match; Infantry present arms,–alas, in the level way, as if for firing! Hatted Herault leads his distressed flock, through their pinfold of a Tuileries again; across the Garden, to the Gate on the opposite side. Here is Feuillans Terrace, alas, there is our old Salle de Manege; but neither at this Gate of the Pont Tournant is there egress. Try the other; and the other: no egress! We wander disconsolate through armed ranks; who indeed salute with Live the Republic, but also with Die the Gironde. Other such sight, in the year One of Liberty, the westering sun never saw.

And now behold Marat meets us; for he lagged in this Suppliant Procession of ours: he has got some hundred elect Patriots at his heels: he orders us in the Sovereign’s name to return to our place, and do as we are bidden and bound. The Convention returns. “Does not the Convention,” says Couthon with a singular power of face, “see that it is free?”–none but friends round it? The Convention, overflowing with friends and armed Sectioners, proceeds to vote as bidden. Many will not vote, but remain silent; some one or two protest, in words: the Mountain has a clear unanimity. Commission of Twelve, and the denounced Twenty-two, to whom we add Ex-Ministers Claviere and Lebrun: these, with some slight extempore alterations (this or that orator proposing, but Marat disposing), are voted to be under ‘Arrestment in their own houses.’ Brissot, Buzot, Vergniaud, Guadet, Louvet, Gensonne, Barbaroux, Lasource, Lanjuinais, Rabaut,–Thirty- two, by the tale; all that we have known as Girondins, and more than we have known. They, ‘under the safeguard of the French People;’ by and by, under the safeguard of two Gendarmes each, shall dwell peaceably in their own houses; as Non-Senators; till further order. Herewith ends Seance of Sunday the second of June 1793.

At ten o’clock, under mild stars, the Hundred Thousand, their work well finished, turn homewards. This same day, Central Insurrection Committee has arrested Madame Roland; imprisoned her in the Abbaye. Roland has fled, no one knows whither.

Thus fell the Girondins, by Insurrection; and became extinct as a Party: not without a sigh from most Historians. The men were men of parts, of Philosophic culture, decent behaviour; not condemnable in that they were Pedants and had not better parts; not condemnable, but most unfortunate. They wanted a Republic of the Virtues, wherein themselves should be head; and they could only get a Republic of the Strengths, wherein others than they were head.

For the rest, Barrere shall make Report of it. The night concludes with a ‘civic promenade by torchlight:’ (Buzot, Memoires, p. 310. See Pieces Justificatives, of Narratives, Commentaries, &c. in Buzot, Louvet, Meillan: Documens Complementaires, in Hist. Parl. xxviii. 1-78.) surely the true reign of Fraternity is now not far?



Chapter 3.4.I.

Charlotte Corday.

In the leafy months of June and July, several French Departments germinate a set of rebellious paper-leaves, named Proclamations, Resolutions, Journals, or Diurnals ‘of the Union for Resistance to Oppression.’ In particular, the Town of Caen, in Calvados, sees its paper-leaf of Bulletin de Caen suddenly bud, suddenly establish itself as Newspaper there; under the Editorship of Girondin National Representatives!

For among the proscribed Girondins are certain of a more desperate humour. Some, as Vergniaud, Valaze, Gensonne, ‘arrested in their own houses’ will await with stoical resignation what the issue may be. Some, as Brissot, Rabaut, will take to flight, to concealment; which, as the Paris Barriers are opened again in a day or two, is not yet difficult. But others there are who will rush, with Buzot, to Calvados; or far over France, to Lyons, Toulon, Nantes and elsewhither, and then rendezvous at Caen: to awaken as with war-trumpet the respectable Departments; and strike down an anarchic Mountain Faction; at least not yield without a stroke at it. Of this latter temper we count some score or more, of the Arrested, and of the Not- yet-arrested; a Buzot, a Barbaroux, Louvet, Guadet, Petion, who have escaped from Arrestment in their own homes; a Salles, a Pythagorean Valady, a Duchatel, the Duchatel that came in blanket and nightcap to vote for the life of Louis, who have escaped from danger and likelihood of Arrestment. These, to the number at one time of Twenty-seven, do accordingly lodge here, at the ‘Intendance, or Departmental Mansion,’ of the Town of Caen; welcomed by Persons in Authority; welcomed and defrayed, having no money of their own. And the Bulletin de Caen comes forth, with the most animating paragraphs: How the Bourdeaux Department, the Lyons Department, this Department after the other is declaring itself; sixty, or say sixty-nine, or seventy-two (Meillan, p. 72, 73; Louvet, p. 129.) respectable Departments either declaring, or ready to declare. Nay Marseilles, it seems, will march on Paris by itself, if need be. So has Marseilles Town said, That she will march. But on the other hand, that Montelimart Town has said, No thoroughfare; and means even to ‘bury herself’ under her own stone and mortar first–of this be no mention in Bulletin of Caen.

Such animating paragraphs we read in this Newspaper; and fervours, and eloquent sarcasm: tirades against the Mountain, frame pen of Deputy Salles; which resemble, say friends, Pascal’s Provincials. What is more to the purpose, these Girondins have got a General in chief, one Wimpfen, formerly under Dumouriez; also a secondary questionable General Puisaye, and others; and are doing their best to raise a force for war. National Volunteers, whosoever is of right heart: gather in, ye National Volunteers, friends of Liberty; from our Calvados Townships, from the Eure, from Brittany, from far and near; forward to Paris, and extinguish Anarchy! Thus at Caen, in the early July days, there is a drumming and parading, a perorating and consulting: Staff and Army; Council; Club of Carabots, Anti-jacobin friends of Freedom, to denounce atrocious Marat. With all which, and the editing of Bulletins, a National Representative has his hands full.

At Caen it is most animated; and, as one hopes, more or less animated in the ‘Seventy-two Departments that adhere to us.’ And in a France begirt with Cimmerian invading Coalitions, and torn with an internal La Vendee, this is the conclusion we have arrived at: to put down Anarchy by Civil War! Durum et durum, the Proverb says, non faciunt murum. La Vendee burns: Santerre can do nothing there; he may return home and brew beer. Cimmerian bombshells fly all along the North. That Siege of Mentz is become famed;–lovers of the Picturesque (as Goethe will testify), washed country-people of both sexes, stroll thither on Sundays, to see the artillery work and counterwork; ‘you only duck a little while the shot whizzes past.’ (Belagerung von Mainz (Goethe’s Werke, xxx. 278-334).) Conde is capitulating to the Austrians; Royal Highness of York, these several weeks, fiercely batters Valenciennes. For, alas, our fortified Camp of Famars was stormed; General Dampierre was killed; General Custine was blamed,–and indeed is now come to Paris to give ‘explanations.’

Against all which the Mountain and atrocious Marat must even make head as they can. They, anarchic Convention as they are, publish Decrees, expostulatory, explanatory, yet not without severity; they ray forth Commissioners, singly or in pairs, the olive-branch in one hand, yet the sword in the other. Commissioners come even to Caen; but without effect. Mathematical Romme, and Prieur named of the Cote d’Or, venturing thither, with their olive and sword, are packed into prison: there may Romme lie, under lock and key, ‘for fifty days;’ and meditate his New Calendar, if he please. Cimmeria and Civil War! Never was Republic One and Indivisible at a lower ebb.–

Amid which dim ferment of Caen and the World, History specially notices one thing: in the lobby of the Mansion de l’Intendance, where busy Deputies are coming and going, a young Lady with an aged valet, taking grave graceful leave of Deputy Barbaroux. (Meillan, p.75; Louvet, p. 114.) She is of stately Norman figure; in her twenty-fifth year; of beautiful still countenance: her name is Charlotte Corday, heretofore styled d’Armans, while Nobility still was. Barbaroux has given her a Note to Deputy Duperret,–him who once drew his sword in the effervescence. Apparently she will to Paris on some errand? ‘She was a Republican before the Revolution, and never wanted energy.’ A completeness, a decision is in this fair female Figure: ‘by energy she means the spirit that will prompt one to sacrifice himself for his country.’ What if she, this fair young Charlotte, had emerged from her secluded stillness, suddenly like a Star; cruel-lovely, with half-angelic, half-demonic splendour; to gleam for a moment, and in a moment be extinguished: to be held in memory, so bright complete was she, through long centuries!–Quitting Cimmerian Coalitions without, and the dim-simmering Twenty-five millions within, History will look fixedly at this one fair Apparition of a Charlotte Corday; will note whither Charlotte moves, how the little Life burns forth so radiant, then vanishes swallowed of the Night.

With Barbaroux’s Note of Introduction, and slight stock of luggage, we see Charlotte, on Tuesday the ninth of July, seated in the Caen Diligence, with a place for Paris. None takes farewell of her, wishes her Good-journey: her Father will find a line left, signifying that she is gone to England, that he must pardon her and forget her. The drowsy Diligence lumbers along; amid drowsy talk of Politics, and praise of the Mountain; in which she mingles not; all night, all day, and again all night. On Thursday, not long before none, we are at the Bridge of Neuilly; here is Paris with her thousand black domes,–the goal and purpose of thy journey! Arrived at the Inn de la Providence in the Rue des Vieux Augustins, Charlotte demands a room; hastens to bed; sleeps all afternoon and night, till the morrow morning.

On the morrow morning, she delivers her Note to Duperret. It relates to certain Family Papers which are in the Minister of the Interior’s hand; which a Nun at Caen, an old Convent-friend of Charlotte’s, has need of; which Duperret shall assist her in getting: this then was Charlotte’s errand to Paris? She has finished this, in the course of Friday;–yet says nothing of returning. She has seen and silently investigated several things. The Convention, in bodily reality, she has seen; what the Mountain is like. The living physiognomy of Marat she could not see; he is sick at present, and confined to home.

About eight on the Saturday morning, she purchases a large sheath-knife in the Palais Royal; then straightway, in the Place des Victoires, takes a hackney-coach: “To the Rue de l’Ecole de Medecine, No. 44.” It is the residence of the Citoyen Marat!–The Citoyen Marat is ill, and cannot be seen; which seems to disappoint her much. Her business is with Marat, then? Hapless beautiful Charlotte; hapless squalid Marat! From Caen in the utmost West, from Neuchatel in the utmost East, they two are drawing nigh each other; they two have, very strangely, business together.– Charlotte, returning to her Inn, despatches a short Note to Marat; signifying that she is from Caen, the seat of rebellion; that she desires earnestly to see him, and ‘will put it in his power to do France a great service.’ No answer. Charlotte writes another Note, still more pressing; sets out with it by coach, about seven in the evening, herself. Tired day- labourers have again finished their Week; huge Paris is circling and simmering, manifold, according to its vague wont: this one fair Figure has decision in it; drives straight,–towards a purpose.

It is yellow July evening, we say, the thirteenth of the month; eve of the Bastille day,–when ‘M. Marat,’ four years ago, in the crowd of the Pont Neuf, shrewdly required of that Besenval Hussar-party, which had such friendly dispositions, “to dismount, and give up their arms, then;” and became notable among Patriot men! Four years: what a road he has travelled;–and sits now, about half-past seven of the clock, stewing in slipper-bath; sore afflicted; ill of Revolution Fever,–of what other malady this History had rather not name. Excessively sick and worn, poor man: with precisely elevenpence-halfpenny of ready money, in paper; with slipper-bath; strong three-footed stool for writing on, the while; and a squalid–Washerwoman, one may call her: that is his civic establishment in Medical-School Street; thither and not elsewhither has his road led him. Not to the reign of Brotherhood and Perfect Felicity; yet surely on the way towards that?–Hark, a rap again! A musical woman’s-voice, refusing to be rejected: it is the Citoyenne who would do France a service. Marat, recognising from within, cries, Admit her. Charlotte Corday is admitted.

Citoyen Marat, I am from Caen the seat of rebellion, and wished to speak with you.–Be seated, mon enfant. Now what are the Traitors doing at Caen? What Deputies are at Caen?–Charlotte names some Deputies. “Their heads shall fall within a fortnight,” croaks the eager People’s-Friend, clutching his tablets to write: Barbaroux, Petion, writes he with bare shrunk arm, turning aside in the bath: Petion, and Louvet, and–Charlotte has drawn her knife from the sheath; plunges it, with one sure stroke, into the writer’s heart. “A moi, chere amie, Help, dear!” No more could the Death- choked say or shriek. The helpful Washerwoman running in, there is no Friend of the People, or Friend of the Washerwoman, left; but his life with a groan gushes out, indignant, to the shades below. (Moniteur, Nos. 197, 198, 199; Hist. Parl. xxviii. 301-5; Deux Amis, x. 368-374.)

And so Marat People’s-Friend is ended; the lone Stylites has got hurled down suddenly from his Pillar,–whither He that made him does know. Patriot Paris may sound triple and tenfold, in dole and wail; re-echoed by Patriot France; and the Convention, ‘Chabot pale with terror declaring that they are to be all assassinated,’ may decree him Pantheon Honours, Public Funeral, Mirabeau’s dust making way for him; and Jacobin Societies, in lamentable oratory, summing up his character, parallel him to One, whom they think it honour to call ‘the good Sansculotte,’–whom we name not here. (See Eloge funebre de Jean-Paul Marat, prononce a Strasbourg (in Barbaroux, p. 125-131); Mercier, &c.) Also a Chapel may be made, for the urn that holds his Heart, in the Place du Carrousel; and new-born children be named Marat; and Lago-de-Como Hawkers bake mountains of stucco into unbeautiful Busts; and David paint his Picture, or Death-scene; and such other Apotheosis take place as the human genius, in these circumstances, can devise: but Marat returns no more to the light of this Sun. One sole circumstance we have read with clear sympathy, in the old Moniteur Newspaper: how Marat’s brother comes from Neuchatel to ask of the Convention ‘that the deceased Jean-Paul Marat’s musket be given him.’ (Seance du 16 Septembre 1793.) For Marat too had a brother, and natural affections; and was wrapt once in swaddling-clothes, and slept safe in a cradle like the rest of us. Ye children of men!–A sister of his, they say, lives still to this day in Paris.

As for Charlotte Corday her work is accomplished; the recompense of it is near and sure. The chere amie, and neighbours of the house, flying at her, she ‘overturns some movables,’ entrenches herself till the gendarmes arrive; then quietly surrenders; goes quietly to the Abbaye Prison: she alone quiet, all Paris sounding in wonder, in rage or admiration, round her. Duperret is put in arrest, on account of her; his Papers sealed,– which may lead to consequences. Fauchet, in like manner; though Fauchet had not so much as heard of her. Charlotte, confronted with these two Deputies, praises the grave firmness of Duperret, censures the dejection of Fauchet.

On Wednesday morning, the thronged Palais de Justice and Revolutionary Tribunal can see her face; beautiful and calm: she dates it ‘fourth day of the Preparation of Peace.’ A strange murmur ran through the Hall, at sight of her; you could not say of what character. (Proces de Charlotte Corday, &c. (Hist. Parl. xxviii. 311-338).) Tinville has his indictments and tape- papers the cutler of the Palais Royal will testify that he sold her the sheath-knife; “all these details are needless,” interrupted Charlotte; “it is I that killed Marat.” By whose instigation?–“By no one’s.” What tempted you, then? His crimes. “I killed one man,” added she, raising her voice extremely (extremement), as they went on with their questions, “I killed one man to save a hundred thousand; a villain to save innocents; a savage wild-beast to give repose to my country. I was a Republican before the Revolution; I never wanted energy.” There is therefore nothing to be said. The public gazes astonished: the hasty limners sketch her features, Charlotte not disapproving; the men of law proceed with their formalities. The doom is Death as a murderess. To her Advocate she gives thanks; in gentle phrase, in high-flown classical spirit. To the Priest they send her she gives thanks; but needs not any shriving, or ghostly or other aid from him.

On this same evening, therefore, about half-past seven o’clock, from the gate of the Conciergerie, to a City all on tiptoe, the fatal Cart issues: seated on it a fair young creature, sheeted in red smock of Murderess; so beautiful, serene, so full of life; journeying towards death,–alone amid the world. Many take off their hats, saluting reverently; for what heart but must be touched? (Deux Amis, x. 374-384.) Others growl and howl. Adam Lux, of Mentz, declares that she is greater than Brutus; that it were beautiful to die with her: the head of this young man seems turned. At the Place de la Revolution, the countenance of Charlotte wears the same still smile. The executioners proceed to bind her feet; she resists, thinking it meant as an insult; on a word of explanation, she submits with cheerful apology. As the last act, all being now ready, they take the neckerchief from her neck: a blush of maidenly shame overspreads that fair face and neck; the cheeks were still tinged with it, when the executioner lifted the severed head, to shew it to the people. ‘It is most true,’ says Foster, ‘that he struck the cheek insultingly; for I saw it with my eyes: the Police imprisoned him for it.’ (Briefwechsel, i. 508.)

In this manner have the Beautifullest and the Squalidest come in collision, and extinguished one another. Jean-Paul Marat and Marie-Anne Charlotte Corday both, suddenly, are no more. ‘Day of the Preparation of Peace?’ Alas, how were peace possible or preparable, while, for example, the hearts of lovely Maidens, in their convent-stillness, are dreaming not of Love- paradises, and the light of Life; but of Codrus’-sacrifices, and death well earned? That Twenty-five million hearts have got to such temper, this is the Anarchy; the soul of it lies in this: whereof not peace can be the embodyment! The death of Marat, whetting old animosities tenfold, will be worse than any life. O ye hapless Two, mutually extinctive, the Beautiful and the Squalid, sleep ye well,–in the Mother’s bosom that bore you both!

This was the History of Charlotte Corday; most definite, most complete; angelic-demonic: like a Star! Adam Lux goes home, half-delirious; to pour forth his Apotheosis of her, in paper and print; to propose that she have a statue with this inscription, Greater than Brutus. Friends represent his danger; Lux is reckless; thinks it were beautiful to die with her.

Chapter 3.4.II.

In Civil War.

But during these same hours, another guillotine is at work, on another: Charlotte, for the Girondins, dies at Paris to-day; Chalier, by the Girondins, dies at Lyons to-morrow.

From rumbling of cannon along the streets of that City, it has come to firing of them, to rabid fighting: Nievre-Chol and the Girondins triumph;- -behind whom there is, as everywhere, a Royalist Faction waiting to strike in. Trouble enough at Lyons; and the dominant party carrying it with a high hand! For indeed, the whole South is astir; incarcerating Jacobins; arming for Girondins: wherefore we have got a ‘Congress of Lyons;’ also a ‘Revolutionary Tribunal of Lyons,’ and Anarchists shall tremble. So Chalier was soon found guilty, of Jacobinism, of murderous Plot, ‘address with drawn dagger on the sixth of February last;’ and, on the morrow, he also travels his final road, along the streets of Lyons, ‘by the side of an ecclesiastic, with whom he seems to speak earnestly,’–the axe now glittering high. He could weep, in old years, this man, and ‘fall on his knees on the pavement,’ blessing Heaven at sight of Federation Programs or like; then he pilgrimed to Paris, to worship Marat and the Mountain: now Marat and he are both gone;–we said he could not end well. Jacobinism groans inwardly, at Lyons; but dare not outwardly. Chalier, when the Tribunal sentenced him, made answer: “My death will cost this City dear.”

Montelimart Town is not buried under its ruins; yet Marseilles is actually marching, under order of a ‘Lyons Congress;’ is incarcerating Patriots; the very Royalists now shewing face. Against which a General Cartaux fights, though in small force; and with him an Artillery Major, of the name of– Napoleon Buonaparte. This Napoleon, to prove that the Marseillese have no chance ultimately, not only fights but writes; publishes his Supper of Beaucaire, a Dialogue which has become curious. (See Hazlitt, ii. 529-41.) Unfortunate Cities, with their actions and their reactions! Violence to be paid with violence in geometrical ratio; Royalism and Anarchism both striking in;–the final net-amount of which geometrical series, what man shall sum?

The Bar of Iron has never yet floated in Marseilles Harbour; but the Body of Rebecqui was found floating, self-drowned there. Hot Rebecqui seeing how confusion deepened, and Respectability grew poisoned with Royalism, felt that there was no refuge for a Republican but death. Rebecqui disappeared: no one knew whither; till, one morning, they found the empty case or body of him risen to the top, tumbling on the salt waves; (Barbaroux, p. 29.) and perceived that Rebecqui had withdrawn forever.– Toulon likewise is incarcerating Patriots; sending delegates to Congress; intriguing, in case of necessity, with the Royalists and English. Montpellier, Bourdeaux, Nantes: all France, that is not under the swoop of Austria and Cimmeria, seems rushing into madness, and suicidal ruin. The Mountain labours; like a volcano in a burning volcanic Land. Convention Committees, of Surety, of Salvation, are busy night and day: Convention Commissioners whirl on all highways; bearing olive-branch and sword, or now perhaps sword only. Chaumette and Municipals come daily to the Tuileries demanding a Constitution: it is some weeks now since he resolved, in Townhall, that a Deputation ‘should go every day’ and demand a Constitution, till one were got; (Deux Amis, x. 345.) whereby suicidal France might rally and pacify itself; a thing inexpressibly desirable.

This then is the fruit your Anti-anarchic Girondins have got from that Levying of War in Calvados? This fruit, we may say; and no other whatsoever. For indeed, before either Charlotte’s or Chalier’s head had fallen, the Calvados War itself had, as it were, vanished, dreamlike, in a shriek! With ‘seventy-two Departments’ on one’s side, one might have hoped better things. But it turns out that Respectabilities, though they will vote, will not fight. Possession is always nine points in Law; but in Lawsuits of this kind, one may say, it is ninety-and-nine points. Men do what they were wont to do; and have immense irresolution and inertia: they obey him who has the symbols that claim obedience. Consider what, in modern society, this one fact means: the Metropolis is with our enemies! Metropolis, Mother-city; rightly so named: all the rest are but as her children, her nurselings. Why, there is not a leathern Diligence, with its post-bags and luggage-boots, that lumbers out from her, but is as a huge life-pulse; she is the heart of all. Cut short that one leathern Diligence, how much is cut short!–General Wimpfen, looking practically into the matter, can see nothing for it but that one should fall back on Royalism; get into communication with Pitt! Dark innuendoes he flings out, to that effect: whereat we Girondins start, horrorstruck. He produces as his Second in command a certain ‘Ci-devant,’ one Comte Puisaye; entirely unknown to Louvet; greatly suspected by him.

Few wars, accordingly, were ever levied of a more insufficient character than this of Calvados. He that is curious in such things may read the details of it in the Memoirs of that same Ci-devant Puisaye, the much- enduring man and Royalist: How our Girondin National Forces, marching off with plenty of wind-music, were drawn out about the old Chateau of Brecourt, in the wood-country near Vernon, to meet the Mountain National forces advancing from Paris. How on the fifteenth afternoon of July, they did meet,–and, as it were, shrieked mutually, and took mutually to flight without loss. How Puisaye thereafter, for the Mountain Nationals fled first, and we thought ourselves the victors,–was roused from his warm bed in the Castle of Brecourt; and had to gallop without boots; our Nationals, in the night-watches, having fallen unexpectedly into sauve qui peut:–and in brief the Calvados War had burnt priming; and the only question now was, Whitherward to vanish, in what hole to hide oneself! (Memoires de Puisaye (London, 1803), ii. 142-67.)

The National Volunteers rush homewards, faster than they came. The Seventy-two Respectable Departments, says Meillan, ‘all turned round, and forsook us, in the space of four-and-twenty hours.’ Unhappy those who, as at Lyons for instance, have gone too far for turning! ‘One morning,’ we find placarded on our Intendance Mansion, the Decree of Convention which casts us Hors la loi, into Outlawry: placarded by our Caen Magistrates;– clear hint that we also are to vanish. Vanish, indeed: but whitherward? Gorsas has friends in Rennes; he will hide there,–unhappily will not lie hid. Guadet, Lanjuinais are on cross roads; making for Bourdeaux. To Bourdeaux! cries the general voice, of Valour alike and of Despair. Some flag of Respectability still floats there, or is thought to float.

Thitherward therefore; each as he can! Eleven of these ill-fated Deputies, among whom we may count, as twelfth, Friend Riouffe the Man of Letters, do an original thing. Take the uniform of National Volunteers, and retreat southward with the Breton Battalion, as private soldiers of that corps. These brave Bretons had stood truer by us than any other. Nevertheless, at the end of a day or two, they also do now get dubious, self-divided; we must part from them; and, with some half-dozen as convoy or guide, retreat by ourselves,–a solitary marching detachment, through waste regions of the West. (Louvet, pp. 101-37; Meillan, pp. 81, 241-70.)

Chapter 3.4.III.

Retreat of the Eleven.

It is one of the notablest Retreats, this of the Eleven, that History presents: The handful of forlorn Legislators retreating there, continually, with shouldered firelock and well-filled cartridge-box, in the yellow autumn; long hundreds of miles between them and Bourdeaux; the country all getting hostile, suspicious of the truth; simmering and buzzing on all sides, more and more. Louvet has preserved the Itinerary of it; a piece worth all the rest he ever wrote.

O virtuous Petion, with thy early-white head, O brave young Barbaroux, has it come to this? Weary ways, worn shoes, light purse;–encompassed with perils as with a sea! Revolutionary Committees are in every Township; of Jacobin temper; our friends all cowed, our cause the losing one. In the Borough of Moncontour, by ill chance, it is market-day: to the gaping public such transit of a solitary Marching Detachment is suspicious; we have need of energy, of promptitude and luck, to be allowed to march through. Hasten, ye weary pilgrims! The country is getting up; noise of you is bruited day after day, a solitary Twelve retreating in this mysterious manner: with every new day, a wider wave of inquisitive pursuing tumult is stirred up till the whole West will be in motion. ‘Cussy is tormented with gout, Buzot is too fat for marching.’ Riouffe, blistered, bleeding, marching only on tiptoe; Barbaroux limps with sprained ancle, yet ever cheery, full of hope and valour. Light Louvet glances hare-eyed, not hare-hearted: only virtuous Petion’s serenity ‘was but once seen ruffled.’ (Meillan, pp. 119-137.) They lie in straw-lofts, in woody brakes; rudest paillasse on the floor of a secret friend is luxury. They are seized in the dead of night by Jacobin mayors and tap of drum; get off by firm countenance, rattle of muskets, and ready wit.

Of Bourdeaux, through fiery La Vendee and the long geographical spaces that remain, it were madness to think: well, if you can get to Quimper on the sea-coast, and take shipping there. Faster, ever faster! Before the end of the march, so hot has the country grown, it is found advisable to march all night. They do it; under the still night-canopy they plod along;–and yet behold, Rumour has outplodded them. In the paltry Village of Carhaix (be its thatched huts, and bottomless peat-bogs, long notable to the Traveller), one is astonished to find light still glimmering: citizens are awake, with rush-lights burning, in that nook of the terrestrial Planet; as we traverse swiftly the one poor street, a voice is heard saying, “There they are, Les voila qui passent!” (Louvet, pp. 138-164.) Swifter, ye doomed lame Twelve: speed ere they can arm; gain the Woods of Quimper before day, and lie squatted there!

The doomed Twelve do it; though with difficulty, with loss of road, with peril, and the mistakes of a night. In Quimper are Girondin friends, who perhaps will harbour the homeless, till a Bourdeaux ship weigh. Wayworn, heartworn, in agony of suspense, till Quimper friendship get warning, they lie there, squatted under the thick wet boscage; suspicious of the face of man. Some pity to the brave; to the unhappy! Unhappiest of all Legislators, O when ye packed your luggage, some score, or two-score months ago; and mounted this or the other leathern vehicle, to be Conscript Fathers of a regenerated France, and reap deathless laurels,–did ye think your journey was to lead hither? The Quimper Samaritans find them squatted; lift them up to help and comfort; will hide them in sure places. Thence let them dissipate gradually; or there they can lie quiet, and write Memoirs, till a Bourdeaux ship sail.

And thus, in Calvados all is dissipated; Romme is out of prison, meditating his Calendar; ringleaders are locked in his room. At Caen the Corday family mourns in silence; Buzot’s House is a heap of dust and demolition; and amid the rubbish sticks a Gallows, with this inscription, Here dwelt the Traitor Buzot who conspired against the Republic. Buzot and the other vanished Deputies are hors la loi, as we saw; their lives free to take where they can be found. The worse fares it with the poor Arrested visible Deputies at Paris. ‘Arrestment at home’ threatens to become ‘Confinement in the Luxembourg;’ to end: where? For example, what pale-visaged thin man is this, journeying towards Switzerland as a Merchant of Neuchatel, whom they arrest in the town of Moulins? To Revolutionary Committee he is suspect. To Revolutionary Committee, on probing the matter, he is evidently: Deputy Brissot! Back to thy Arrestment, poor Brissot; or indeed to strait confinement,–whither others are fared to follow. Rabaut has built himself a false-partition, in a friend’s house; lives, in invisible darkness, between two walls. It will end, this same Arrestment business, in Prison, and the Revolutionary Tribunal.

Nor must we forget Duperret, and the seal put on his papers by reason of Charlotte. One Paper is there, fit to breed woe enough: A secret solemn Protest against that suprema dies of the Second of June! This Secret Protest our poor Duperret had drawn up, the same week, in all plainness of speech; waiting the time for publishing it: to which Secret Protest his signature, and that of other honourable Deputies not a few, stands legibly appended. And now, if the seals were once broken, the Mountain still victorious? Such Protestors, your Merciers, Bailleuls, Seventy-three by the tale, what yet remains of Respectable Girondism in the Convention, may tremble to think!–These are the fruits of levying civil war.

Also we find, that, in these last days of July, the famed Siege of Mentz is finished; the Garrison to march out with honours of war; not to serve against the Coalition for a year! Lovers of the Picturesque, and Goethe standing on the Chaussee of Mentz, saw, with due interest, the Procession issuing forth, in all solemnity:

‘Escorted by Prussian horse came first the French Garrison. Nothing could look stranger than this latter: a column of Marseillese, slight, swarthy, party-coloured, in patched clothes, came tripping on;–as if King Edwin had opened the Dwarf Hill, and sent out his nimble Host of Dwarfs. Next followed regular troops; serious, sullen; not as if downcast or ashamed. But the remarkablest appearance, which struck every one, was that of the Chasers (Chasseurs) coming out mounted: they had advanced quite silent to where we stood, when their Band struck up the Marseillaise. This Revolutionary Te-Deum has in itself something mournful and bodeful, however briskly played; but at present they gave it in altogether slow time, proportionate to the creeping step they rode at. It was piercing and fearful, and a most serious-looking thing, as these cavaliers, long, lean men, of a certain age, with mien suitable to the music, came pacing on: singly you might have likened them to Don Quixote; in mass, they were highly dignified.

‘But now a single troop became notable: that of the Commissioners or Representans. Merlin of Thionville, in hussar uniform, distinguishing himself by wild beard and look, had another person in similar costume on his left; the crowd shouted out, with rage, at sight of this latter, the name of a Jacobin Townsman and Clubbist; and shook itself to seize him. Merlin drew bridle; referred to his dignity as French Representative, to the vengeance that should follow any injury done; he would advise every one to compose himself, for this was not the last time they would see him here. (Belagerung von Maintz (Goethe’s Werke, xxx. 315.) Thus rode Merlin; threatening in defeat. But what now shall stem that tide of Prussians setting in through the open North-East?’ Lucky, if fortified Lines of Weissembourg, and impassibilities of Vosges Mountains, confine it to French Alsace, keep it from submerging the very heart of the country!

Furthermore, precisely in the same days, Valenciennes Siege is finished, in the North-West:–fallen, under the red hail of York! Conde fell some fortnight since. Cimmerian Coalition presses on. What seems very notable too, on all these captured French Towns there flies not the Royalist fleur- de-lys, in the name of a new Louis the Pretender; but the Austrian flag flies; as if Austria meant to keep them for herself! Perhaps General Custines, still in Paris, can give some explanation of the fall of these strong-places? Mother Society, from tribune and gallery, growls loud that he ought to do it;–remarks, however, in a splenetic manner that ‘the Monsieurs of the Palais Royal’ are calling, Long-life to this General.

The Mother Society, purged now, by successive ‘scrutinies or epurations,’ from all taint of Girondism, has become a great Authority: what we can call shield-bearer, or bottle-holder, nay call it fugleman, to the purged National Convention itself. The Jacobins Debates are reported in the Moniteur, like Parliamentary ones.

Chapter 3.4.IV.

O Nature.

But looking more specially into Paris City, what is this that History, on the 10th of August, Year One of Liberty, ‘by old-style, year 1793,’ discerns there? Praised be the Heavens, a new Feast of Pikes!

For Chaumette’s ‘Deputation every day’ has worked out its result: a Constitution. It was one of the rapidest Constitutions ever put together; made, some say in eight days, by Herault Sechelles and others: probably a workmanlike, roadworthy Constitution enough;–on which point, however, we are, for some reasons, little called to form a judgment. Workmanlike or not, the Forty-four Thousand Communes of France, by overwhelming majorities, did hasten to accept it; glad of any Constitution whatsoever. Nay Departmental Deputies have come, the venerablest Republicans of each Department, with solemn message of Acceptance; and now what remains but that our new Final Constitution be proclaimed, and sworn to, in Feast of Pikes? The Departmental Deputies, we say, are come some time ago;– Chaumette very anxious about them, lest Girondin Monsieurs, Agio-jobbers, or were it even Filles de joie of a Girondin temper, corrupt their morals. (Deux Amis, xi. 73.) Tenth of August, immortal Anniversary, greater almost than Bastille July, is the Day.

Painter David has not been idle. Thanks to David and the French genius, there steps forth into the sunlight, this day, a Scenic Phantasmagory unexampled:–whereof History, so occupied with Real-Phantasmagories, will say but little.

For one thing, History can notice with satisfaction, on the ruins of the Bastille, a Statue of Nature; gigantic, spouting water from her two mammelles. Not a Dream this; but a Fact, palpable visible. There she spouts, great Nature; dim, before daybreak. But as the coming Sun ruddies the East, come countless Multitudes, regulated and unregulated; come Departmental Deputies, come Mother Society and Daughters; comes National Convention, led on by handsome Herault; soft wind-music breathing note of expectation. Lo, as great Sol scatters his first fire-handful, tipping the hills and chimney-heads with gold, Herault is at great Nature’s feet (she is Plaster of Paris merely); Herault lifts, in an iron saucer, water spouted from the sacred breasts; drinks of it, with an eloquent Pagan Prayer, beginning, “O Nature!” and all the Departmental Deputies drink, each with what best suitable ejaculation or prophetic-utterance is in him;- -amid breathings, which become blasts, of wind-music; and the roar of artillery and human throats: finishing well the first act of this solemnity.

Next are processionings along the Boulevards: Deputies or Officials bound together by long indivisible tricolor riband; general ‘members of the Sovereign’ walking pellmell, with pikes, with hammers, with the tools and emblems of their crafts; among which we notice a Plough, and ancient Baucis and Philemon seated on it, drawn by their children. Many-voiced harmony and dissonance filling the air. Through Triumphal Arches enough: at the basis of the first of which, we descry–whom thinkest thou?–the Heroines of the Insurrection of Women. Strong Dames of the Market, they sit there (Theroigne too ill to attend, one fears), with oak-branches, tricolor bedizenment; firm-seated on their Cannons. To whom handsome Herault, making pause of admiration, addresses soothing eloquence; whereupon they rise and fall into the march.

And now mark, in the Place de la Revolution, what other August Statue may this be; veiled in canvas,–which swiftly we shear off by pulley and cord? The Statue of Liberty! She too is of plaster, hoping to become of metal; stands where a Tyrant Louis Quinze once stood. ‘Three thousand birds’ are let loose, into the whole world, with labels round their neck, We are free; imitate us. Holocaust of Royalist and ci-devant trumpery, such as one could still gather, is burnt; pontifical eloquence must be uttered, by handsome Herault, and Pagan orisons offered up.

And then forward across the River; where is new enormous Statuary; enormous plaster Mountain; Hercules-Peuple, with uplifted all-conquering club; ‘many-headed Dragon of Girondin Federalism rising from fetid marsh;’– needing new eloquence from Herault. To say nothing of Champ-de-Mars, and Fatherland’s Altar there; with urn of slain Defenders, Carpenter’s-level of the Law; and such exploding, gesticulating and perorating, that Herault’s lips must be growing white, and his tongue cleaving to the roof of his mouth. (Choix des Rapports, xii. 432-42.)

Towards six-o’clock let the wearied President, let Paris Patriotism generally sit down to what repast, and social repasts, can be had; and with flowing tankard or light-mantling glass, usher in this New and Newest Era. In fact, is not Romme’s New Calendar getting ready? On all housetops flicker little tricolor Flags, their flagstaff a Pike and Liberty-Cap. On all house-walls, for no Patriot, not suspect, will be behind another, there stand printed these words: Republic one and indivisible, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.

As to the New Calendar, we may say here rather than elsewhere that speculative men have long been struck with the inequalities and incongruities of the Old Calendar; that a New one has long been as good as determined on. Marechal the Atheist, almost ten years ago, proposed a New Calendar, free at least from superstition: this the Paris Municipality would now adopt, in defect of a better; at all events, let us have either this of Marechal’s or a better,–the New Era being come. Petitions, more than once, have been sent to that effect; and indeed, for a year past, all Public Bodies, Journalists, and Patriots in general, have dated First Year of the Republic. It is a subject not without difficulties. But the Convention has taken it up; and Romme, as we say, has been meditating it; not Marechal’s New Calendar, but a better New one of Romme’s and our own. Romme, aided by a Monge, a Lagrange and others, furnishes mathematics; Fabre d’Eglantine furnishes poetic nomenclature: and so, on the 5th of October 1793, after trouble enough, they bring forth this New Republican Calendar of theirs, in a complete state; and by Law, get it put in action.

Four equal Seasons, Twelve equal Months of thirty days each: this makes three hundred and sixty days; and five odd days remain to be disposed of. The five odd days we will make Festivals, and name the five Sansculottides, or Days without Breeches. Festival of Genius; Festival of Labour; of Actions; of Rewards; of Opinion: these are the five Sansculottides. Whereby the great Circle, or Year, is made complete: solely every fourth year, whilom called Leap-year, we introduce a sixth Sansculottide; and name it Festival of the Revolution. Now as to the day of commencement, which offers difficulties, is it not one of the luckiest coincidences that the Republic herself commenced on the 21st of September; close on the Vernal Equinox? Vernal Equinox, at midnight for the meridian of Paris, in the year whilom Christian 1792, from that moment shall the New Era reckon itself to begin. Vendemiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire; or as one might say, in mixed English, Vintagearious, Fogarious, Frostarious: these are our three Autumn months. Nivose, Pluviose, Ventose, or say Snowous, Rainous, Windous, make our Winter season. Germinal, Floreal, Prairial, or Buddal, Floweral, Meadowal, are our Spring season. Messidor, Thermidor, Fructidor, that is to say (dor being Greek for gift) Reapidor, Heatidor, Fruitidor, are Republican Summer. These Twelve, in a singular manner, divide the Republican Year. Then as to minuter subdivisions, let us venture at once on a bold stroke: adopt your decimal subdivision; and instead of world-old Week, or Se’ennight, make it a Tennight or Decade;–not without results. There are three Decades, then, in each of the months; which is very regular; and the Decadi, or Tenth-day, shall always be ‘the Day of Rest.’ And the Christian Sabbath, in that case? Shall shift for itself!

This, in brief, in this New Calendar of Romme and the Convention; calculated for the meridian of Paris, and Gospel of Jean-Jacques: not one of the least afflicting occurrences for the actual British reader of French History;–confusing the soul with Messidors, Meadowals; till at last, in self-defence, one is forced to construct some ground-scheme, or rule of Commutation from New-style to Old-style, and have it lying by him. Such ground-scheme, almost worn out in our service, but still legible and printable, we shall now, in a Note, present to the reader. For the Romme Calendar, in so many Newspapers, Memoirs, Public Acts, has stamped itself deep into that section of Time: a New Era that lasts some Twelve years and odd is not to be despised. Let the reader, therefore, with such ground- scheme, help himself, where needful, out of New-style into Old-style, called also ‘slave-style, stile-esclave;’–whereof we, in these pages, shall as much as possible use the latter only.

(September 22nd of 1792 is Vendemiaire 1st of Year One, and the new months are all of 30 days each; therefore:

To the number of the We have the number of the day in Add day in Days

Vendemiaire 21 September 30 Brumaire 21 October 31 Frimaire 20 November 30

Nivose 20 December 31 Pluviose 19 January 31 Ventose 18 February 28

Germinal 20 March 31 Floreal 19 April 30
Prairial 19 May 31

Messidor 18 June 30 Thermidor 18 July 31 Fructidor 17 August 31

There are 5 Sansculottides, and in leap-year a sixth, to be added at the end of Fructidor.

The New Calendar ceased on the 1st of January 1806. See Choix des Rapports, xiii. 83-99; xix. 199.)

Thus with new Feast of Pikes, and New Era or New Calendar, did France accept her New Constitution: the most Democratic Constitution ever committed to paper. How it will work in practice? Patriot Deputations from time to time solicit fruition of it; that it be set a-going. Always, however, this seems questionable; for the moment, unsuitable. Till, in some weeks, Salut Public, through the organ of Saint-Just, makes report, that, in the present alarming circumstances, the state of France is Revolutionary; that her ‘Government must be Revolutionary till the Peace!’ Solely as Paper, then, and as a Hope, must this poor New Constitution exist;–in which shape we may conceive it lying; even now, with an infinity of other things, in that Limbo near the Moon. Further than paper it never got, nor ever will get.

Chapter 3.4.V.

Sword of Sharpness.

In fact it is something quite other than paper theorems, it is iron and audacity that France now needs.

Is not La Vendee still blazing;–alas too literally; rogue Rossignol burning the very corn-mills? General Santerre could do nothing there; General Rossignol, in blind fury, often in liquor, can do less than nothing. Rebellion spreads, grows ever madder. Happily those lean Quixote-figures, whom we saw retreating out of Mentz, ‘bound not to serve against the Coalition for a year,’ have got to Paris. National Convention packs them into post-vehicles and conveyances; sends them swiftly, by post, into La Vendee! There valiantly struggling, in obscure battle and skirmish, under rogue Rossignol, let them, unlaurelled, save the Republic, and ‘be cut down gradually to the last man.’ (Deux Amis, xi. 147; xiii. 160-92, &c.)

Does not the Coalition, like a fire-tide, pour in; Prussia through the opened North-East; Austria, England through the North-West? General Houchard prospers no better there than General Custine did: let him look to it! Through the Eastern and the Western Pyrenees Spain has deployed itself; spreads, rustling with Bourbon banners, over the face of the South. Ashes and embers of confused Girondin civil war covered that region already. Marseilles is damped down, not quenched; to be quenched in blood. Toulon, terrorstruck, too far gone for turning, has flung itself, ye righteous Powers,–into the hands of the English! On Toulon Arsenal there flies a Flag,–nay not even the Fleur-de-lys of a Louis Pretender; there flies that accursed St. George’s Cross of the English and Admiral Hood! What remnants of sea-craft, arsenals, roperies, war-navy France had, has given itself to these enemies of human nature, ‘ennemis du genre humain.’ Beleaguer it, bombard it, ye Commissioners Barras, Freron, Robespierre Junior; thou General Cartaux, General Dugommier; above all, thou remarkable Artillery-Major, Napoleon Buonaparte! Hood is fortifying himself, victualling himself; means, apparently, to make a new Gibraltar of it.

But lo, in the Autumn night, late night, among the last of August, what sudden red sunblaze is this that has risen over Lyons City; with a noise to deafen the world? It is the Powder-tower of Lyons, nay the Arsenal with four Powder-towers, which has caught fire in the Bombardment; and sprung into the air, carrying ‘a hundred and seventeen houses’ after it. With a light, one fancies, as of the noon sun; with a roar second only to the Last Trumpet! All living sleepers far and wide it has awakened. What a sight was that, which the eye of History saw, in the sudden nocturnal sunblaze! The roofs of hapless Lyons, and all its domes and steeples made momentarily clear; Rhone and Saone streams flashing suddenly visible; and height and hollow, hamlet and smooth stubblefield, and all the region round;–heights, alas, all scarped and counterscarped, into trenches, curtains, redouts; blue Artillery-men, little Powder-devilkins, plying their hell-trade there, through the not ambrosial night! Let the darkness cover it again; for it pains the eye. Of a truth, Chalier’s death is costing this City dear. Convention Commissioners, Lyons Congresses have come and gone; and action there was and reaction; bad ever growing worse; till it has come to this: Commissioner Dubois-Crance, ‘with seventy thousand men, and all the Artillery of several Provinces,’ bombarding Lyons day and night.

Worse things still are in store. Famine is in Lyons, and ruin, and fire. Desperate are the sallies of the besieged; brave Precy, their National Colonel and Commandant, doing what is in man: desperate but ineffectual. Provisions cut off; nothing entering our city but shot and shells! The Arsenal has roared aloft; the very Hospital will be battered down, and the sick buried alive. A Black Flag hung on this latter noble Edifice, appealing to the pity of the beseigers; for though maddened, were they not still our brethren? In their blind wrath, they took it for a flag of defiance, and aimed thitherward the more. Bad is growing ever worse here: and how will the worse stop, till it have grown worst of all? Commissioner Dubois will listen to no pleading, to no speech, save this only, ‘We surrender at discretion.’ Lyons contains in it subdued Jacobins; dominant Girondins; secret Royalists. And now, mere deaf madness and cannon-shot enveloping them, will not the desperate Municipality fly, at last, into the arms of Royalism itself? Majesty of Sardinia was to bring help, but it failed. Emigrant Autichamp, in name of the Two Pretender Royal Highnesses, is coming through Switzerland with help; coming, not yet come: Precy hoists the Fleur-de-lys!

At sight of which, all true Girondins sorrowfully fling down their arms:– Let our Tricolor brethren storm us, then, and slay us in their wrath: with you we conquer not. The famishing women and children are sent forth: deaf Dubois sends them back;–rains in mere fire and madness. Our ‘redouts of cotton-bags’ are taken, retaken; Precy under his Fleur-de-lys is valiant as Despair. What will become of Lyons? It is a siege of seventy days. (Deux Amis, xi. 80-143.)

Or see, in these same weeks, far in the Western waters: breasting through the Bay of Biscay, a greasy dingy little Merchantship, with Scotch skipper; under hatches whereof sit, disconsolate,–the last forlorn nucleus of Girondism, the Deputies from Quimper! Several have dissipated themselves, whithersoever they could. Poor Riouffe fell into the talons of Revolutionary Committee, and Paris Prison. The rest sit here under hatches; reverend Petion with his grey hair, angry Buzot, suspicious Louvet, brave young Barbaroux, and others. They have escaped from Quimper, in this sad craft; are now tacking and struggling; in danger from the waves, in danger from the English, in still worse danger from the French;– banished by Heaven and Earth to the greasy belly of this Scotch skipper’s Merchant-vessel, unfruitful Atlantic raving round. They are for Bourdeaux, if peradventure hope yet linger there. Enter not Bourdeaux, O Friends! Bloody Convention Representatives, Tallien and such like, with their Edicts, with their Guillotine, have arrived there; Respectability is driven under ground; Jacobinism lords it on high. From that Reole landingplace, or Beak of Ambes, as it were, Pale Death, waving his Revolutionary Sword of sharpness, waves you elsewhither!

On one side or the other of that Bec d’Ambes, the Scotch Skipper with difficulty moors, a dexterous greasy man; with difficulty lands his Girondins;–who, after reconnoitring, must rapidly burrow in the Earth; and so, in subterranean ways, in friends’ back-closets, in cellars, barn-lofts, in Caves of Saint-Emilion and Libourne, stave off cruel Death. (Louvet, p. 180-199.) Unhappiest of all Senators!

Chapter 3.4.VI.

Risen against Tyrants.

Against all which incalculable impediments, horrors and disasters, what can a Jacobin Convention oppose? The uncalculating Spirit of Jacobinism, and Sansculottic sans-formulistic Frenzy! Our Enemies press in on us, says Danton, but they shall not conquer us, “we will burn France to ashes rather, nous brulerons la France.”

Committees, of Surete or Salut, have raised themselves ‘a la hauteur, to the height of circumstances.’ Let all mortals raise themselves a la hauteur. Let the Forty-four thousand Sections and their Revolutionary Committees stir every fibre of the Republic; and every Frenchman feel that he is to do or die. They are the life-circulation of Jacobinism, these Sections and Committees: Danton, through the organ of Barrere and Salut Public, gets decreed, That there be in Paris, by law, two meetings of Section weekly; also, that the Poorer Citizen be paid for attending, and have his day’s-wages of Forty Sous. (Moniteur, Seance du 5 Septembre, 1793.) This is the celebrated ‘Law of the Forty Sous;’ fiercely stimulant to Sansculottism, to the life-circulation of Jacobinism.

On the twenty-third of August, Committee of Public Salvation, as usual through Barrere, had promulgated, in words not unworthy of remembering, their Report, which is soon made into a Law, of Levy in Mass. ‘All France, and whatsoever it contains of men or resources, is put under requisition,’ says Barrere; really in Tyrtaean words, the best we know of his. ‘The Republic is one vast besieged city.’ Two hundred and fifty Forges shall, in these days, be set up in the Luxembourg Garden, and round the outer wall of the Tuileries; to make gun-barrels; in sight of Earth and Heaven! From all hamlets, towards their Departmental Town; from all their Departmental Towns, towards the appointed Camp and seat of war, the Sons of Freedom shall march; their banner is to bear: ‘Le Peuple Francais debout contres les Tyrans, The French People risen against Tyrants.’ ‘The young men shall go to the battle; it is their task to conquer: the married men shall forge arms, transport baggage and artillery; provide subsistence: the women shall work at soldiers’ clothes, make tents; serve in the hospitals. The children shall scrape old-linen into surgeon’s-lint: the aged men shall have themselves carried into public places; and there, by their words, excite the courage of the young; preach hatred to Kings and unity to the Republic.’ (Debats, Seance du 23 Aout 1793.) Tyrtaean words, which tingle through all French hearts.

In this humour, then, since no other serves, will France rush against its enemies. Headlong, reckoning no cost or consequence; heeding no law or rule but that supreme law, Salvation of the People! The weapons are all the iron that is in France; the strength is that of all the men, women and children that are in France. There, in their two hundred and fifty shed- smithies, in Garden of Luxembourg or Tuileries, let them forge gun-barrels, in sight of Heaven and Earth.

Nor with heroic daring against the Foreign foe, can black vengeance against the Domestic be wanting. Life-circulation of the Revolutionary Committees being quickened by that Law of the Forty Sous, Deputy Merlin, not the Thionviller, whom we saw ride out of Mentz, but Merlin of Douai, named subsequently Merlin Suspect,–comes, about a week after, with his world- famous Law of the Suspect: ordering all Sections, by their Committees, instantly to arrest all Persons Suspect; and explaining withal who the Arrestable and Suspect specially are. “Are Suspect,” says he, “all who by their actions, by their connexions, speakings, writings have”–in short become Suspect. (Moniteur, Seance du 17 Septembre 1793.) Nay Chaumette, illuminating the matter still further, in his Municipal Placards and Proclamations, will bring it about that you may almost recognise a Suspect on the streets, and clutch him there,–off to Committee, and Prison. Watch well your words, watch well your looks: if Suspect of nothing else, you may grow, as came to be a saying, ‘Suspect of being Suspect!’ For are we not in a State of Revolution?

No frightfuller Law ever ruled in a Nation of men. All Prisons and Houses of Arrest in French land are getting crowded to the ridge-tile: Forty-four thousand Committees, like as many companies of reapers or gleaners, gleaning France, are gathering their harvest, and storing it in these Houses. Harvest of Aristocrat tares! Nay, lest the Forty-four thousand, each on its own harvest-field, prove insufficient, we are to have an ambulant ‘Revolutionary Army:’ six thousand strong, under right captains, this shall perambulate the country at large, and strike in wherever it finds such harvest-work slack. So have Municipality and Mother Society petitioned; so has Convention decreed. (Ibid. Seances du 5, 9, 11 Septembre.) Let Aristocrats, Federalists, Monsieurs vanish, and all men tremble: ‘The Soil of Liberty shall be purged,’–with a vengeance!

Neither hitherto has the Revolutionary Tribunal been keeping holyday. Blanchelande, for losing Saint-Domingo; ‘Conspirators of Orleans,’ for ‘assassinating,’ for assaulting the sacred Deputy Leonard-Bourdon: these with many Nameless, to whom life was sweet, have died. Daily the great Guillotine has its due. Like a black Spectre, daily at eventide, glides the Death-tumbril through the variegated throng of things. The variegated street shudders at it, for the moment; next moment forgets it: The Aristocrats! They were guilty against the Republic; their death, were it only that their goods are confiscated, will be useful to the Republic; Vive la Republique!

In the last days of August, fell a notabler head: General Custine’s. Custine was accused of harshness, of unskilfulness, perfidiousness; accused of many things: found guilty, we may say, of one thing, unsuccessfulness. Hearing his unexpected Sentence, ‘Custine fell down before the Crucifix,’ silent for the space of two hours: he fared, with moist eyes and a book of prayer, towards the Place de la Revolution; glanced upwards at the clear suspended axe; then mounted swiftly aloft, (Deux Amis, xi. 148-188.) swiftly was struck away from the lists of the Living. He had fought in America; he was a proud, brave man; and his fortune led him hither.

On the 2nd of this same month, at three in the morning, a vehicle rolled off, with closed blinds, from the Temple to the Conciergerie. Within it were two Municipals; and Marie-Antoinette, once Queen of France! There in that Conciergerie, in ignominious dreary cell, she, cut off from children, kindred, friend and hope, sits long weeks; expecting when the end will be. (See Memoires particuliers de la Captivite a la Tour du Temple (by the Duchesse d’Angouleme, Paris, 21 Janvier 1817).)

The Guillotine, we find, gets always a quicker motion, as other things are quickening. The Guillotine, by its speed of going, will give index of the general velocity of the Republic. The clanking of its huge axe, rising and falling there, in horrid systole-diastole, is portion of the whole enormous Life-movement and pulsation of the Sansculottic System!–‘Orleans Conspirators’ and Assaulters had to die, in spite of much weeping and entreating; so sacred is the person of a Deputy. Yet the sacred can become desecrated: your very Deputy is not greater than the Guillotine. Poor Deputy Journalist Gorsas: we saw him hide at Rennes, when the Calvados War burnt priming. He stole afterwards, in August, to Paris; lurked several weeks about the Palais ci-devant Royal; was seen there, one day; was clutched, identified, and without ceremony, being already ‘out of the Law,’ was sent to the Place de la Revolution. He died, recommending his wife and children to the pity of the Republic. It is the ninth day of October 1793. Gorsas is the first Deputy that dies on the scaffold; he will not be the last.

Ex-Mayor Bailly is in prison; Ex-Procureur Manuel. Brissot and our poor Arrested Girondins have become Incarcerated Indicted Girondins; universal Jacobinism clamouring for their punishment. Duperret’s Seals are broken! Those Seventy-three Secret Protesters, suddenly one day, are reported upon, are decreed accused; the Convention-doors being ‘previously shut,’ that none implicated might escape. They were marched, in a very rough manner, to Prison that evening. Happy those of them who chanced to be absent! Condorcet has vanished into darkness; perhaps, like Rabaut, sits between two walls, in the house of a friend.

Chapter 3.4.VII.


On Monday the Fourteenth of October, 1793, a Cause is pending in the Palais de Justice, in the new Revolutionary Court, such as these old stone-walls never witnessed: the Trial of Marie-Antoinette. The once brightest of Queens, now tarnished, defaced, forsaken, stands here at Fouquier Tinville’s Judgment-bar; answering for her life! The Indictment was delivered her last night. (Proces de la Reine (Deux Amis, xi. 251-381.) To such changes of human fortune what words are adequate? Silence alone is adequate.

There are few Printed things one meets with, of such tragic almost ghastly significance as those bald Pages of the Bulletin du Tribunal Revolutionnaire, which bear title, Trial of the Widow Capet. Dim, dim, as if in disastrous eclipse; like the pale kingdoms of Dis! Plutonic Judges, Plutonic Tinville; encircled, nine times, with Styx and Lethe, with Fire- Phlegethon and Cocytus named of Lamentation! The very witnesses summoned are like Ghosts: exculpatory, inculpatory, they themselves are all hovering over death and doom; they are known, in our imagination, as the prey of the Guillotine. Tall ci-devant Count d’Estaing, anxious to shew himself Patriot, cannot escape; nor Bailly, who, when asked If he knows the Accused, answers with a reverent inclination towards her, “Ah, yes, I know Madame.” Ex-Patriots are here, sharply dealt with, as Procureur Manuel; Ex-Ministers, shorn of their splendour. We have cold Aristocratic impassivity, faithful to itself even in Tartarus; rabid stupidity, of Patriot Corporals, Patriot Washerwomen, who have much to say of Plots, Treasons, August Tenth, old Insurrection of Women. For all now has become a crime, in her who has lost.

Marie-Antoinette, in this her utter abandonment and hour of extreme need, is not wanting to herself, the imperial woman. Her look, they say, as that hideous Indictment was reading, continued calm; ‘she was sometimes observed moving her fingers, as when one plays on the Piano.’ You discern, not without interest, across that dim Revolutionary Bulletin itself, how she bears herself queenlike. Her answers are prompt, clear, often of Laconic brevity; resolution, which has grown contemptuous without ceasing to be dignified, veils itself in calm words. “You persist then in denial?”–“My plan is not denial: it is the truth I have said, and I persist in that.” Scandalous Hebert has borne his testimony as to many things: as to one thing, concerning Marie-Antoinette and her little Son,–wherewith Human Speech had better not further be soiled. She has answered Hebert; a Juryman begs to observe that she has not answered as to this. “I have not answered,” she exclaims with noble emotion, “because Nature refuses to answer such a charge brought against a Mother. I appeal to all the Mothers that are here.” Robespierre, when he heard of it, broke out into something almost like swearing at the brutish blockheadism of this Hebert; (Vilate, Causes secretes de la Revolution de Thermidor (Paris, 1825), p. 179.) on whose foul head his foul lie has recoiled. At four o’clock on Wednesday morning, after two days and two nights of interrogating, jury-charging, and other darkening of counsel, the result comes out: Sentence of Death. “Have you anything to say?” The Accused shook her head, without speech. Night’s candles are burning out; and with her too Time is finishing, and it will be Eternity and Day. This Hall of Tinville’s is dark, ill-lighted except where she stands. Silently she withdraws from it, to die.

Two Processions, or Royal Progresses, three-and-twenty years apart, have often struck us with a strange feeling of contrast. The first is of a beautiful Archduchess and Dauphiness, quitting her Mother’s City, at the age of Fifteen; towards hopes such as no other Daughter of Eve then had: ‘On the morrow,’ says Weber an eye witness, ‘the Dauphiness left Vienna. The whole City crowded out; at first with a sorrow which was silent. She appeared: you saw her sunk back into her carriage; her face bathed in tears; hiding her eyes now with her handkerchief, now with her hands; several times putting out her head to see yet again this Palace of her Fathers, whither she was to return no more. She motioned her regret, her gratitude to the good Nation, which was crowding here to bid her farewell. Then arose not only tears; but piercing cries, on all sides. Men and women alike abandoned themselves to such expression of their sorrow. It was an audible sound of wail, in the streets and avenues of Vienna. The last Courier that followed her disappeared, and the crowd melted away.’ (Weber, i. 6.)

The young imperial Maiden of Fifteen has now become a worn discrowned Widow of Thirty-eight; grey before her time: this is the last Procession: ‘Few minutes after the Trial ended, the drums were beating to arms in all Sections; at sunrise the armed force was on foot, cannons getting placed at the extremities of the Bridges, in the Squares, Crossways, all along from the Palais de Justice to the Place de la Revolution. By ten o’clock, numerous patrols were circulating in the Streets; thirty thousand foot and horse drawn up under arms. At eleven, Marie-Antoinette was brought out. She had on an undress of pique blanc: she was led to the place of execution, in the same manner as an ordinary criminal; bound, on a Cart; accompanied by a Constitutional Priest in Lay dress; escorted by numerous detachments of infantry and cavalry. These, and the double row of troops all along her road, she appeared to regard with indifference. On her countenance there was visible neither abashment nor pride. To the cries of Vive la Republique and Down with Tyranny, which attended her all the way, she seemed to pay no heed. She spoke little to her Confessor. The tricolor Streamers on the housetops occupied her attention, in the Streets du Roule and Saint-Honore; she also noticed the Inscriptions on the house- fronts. On reaching the Place de la Revolution, her looks turned towards the Jardin National, whilom Tuileries; her face at that moment gave signs of lively emotion. She mounted the Scaffold with courage enough; at a quarter past Twelve, her head fell; the Executioner shewed it to the people, amid universal long-continued cries of ‘Vive la Republique.’ (Deux Amis, xi. 301.)

Chapter 3.4.VIII.

The Twenty-two.

Whom next, O Tinville? The next are of a different colour: our poor Arrested Girondin Deputies. What of them could still be laid hold of; our Vergniaud, Brissot, Fauchet, Valaze, Gensonne; the once flower of French Patriotism, Twenty-two by the tale: hither, at Tinville’s Bar, onward from ‘safeguard of the French People,’ from confinement in the Luxembourg, imprisonment in the Conciergerie, have they now, by the course of things, arrived. Fouquier Tinville must give what account of them he can.

Undoubtedly this Trial of the Girondins is the greatest that Fouquier has yet had to do. Twenty-two, all chief Republicans, ranged in a line there; the most eloquent in France; Lawyers too; not without friends in the auditory. How will Tinville prove these men guilty of Royalism, Federalism, Conspiracy against the Republic? Vergniaud’s eloquence awakes once more; ‘draws tears,’ they say. And Journalists report, and the Trial lengthens itself out day after day; ‘threatens to become eternal,’ murmur many. Jacobinism and Municipality rise to the aid of Fouquier. On the 28th of the month, Hebert and others come in deputation to inform a Patriot Convention that the Revolutionary Tribunal is quite ‘shackled by forms of Law;’ that a Patriot Jury ought to have ‘the power of cutting short, of terminer les debats , when they feel themselves convinced.’ Which pregnant suggestion, of cutting short, passes itself, with all despatch, into a Decree.

Accordingly, at ten o’clock on the night of the 30th of October, the Twenty-two, summoned back once more, receive this information, That the Jury feeling themselves convinced have cut short, have brought in their verdict; that the Accused are found guilty, and the Sentence on one and all of them is Death with confiscation of goods.

Loud natural clamour rises among the poor Girondins; tumult; which can only be repressed by the gendarmes. Valaze stabs himself; falls down dead on the spot. The rest, amid loud clamour and confusion, are driven back to their Conciergerie; Lasource exclaiming, “I die on the day when the People have lost their reason; ye will die when they recover it.” (Greek,–Plut. Opp. t. iv. p. 310. ed. Reiske, 1776.) No help! Yielding to violence, the Doomed uplift the Hymn of the Marseillese; return singing to their dungeon.

Riouffe, who was their Prison-mate in these last days, has lovingly recorded what death they made. To our notions, it is not an edifying death. Gay satirical Pot-pourri by Ducos; rhymed Scenes of Tragedy, wherein Barrere and Robespierre discourse with Satan; death’s eve spent in ‘singing’ and ‘sallies of gaiety,’ with ‘discourses on the happiness of peoples:’ these things, and the like of these, we have to accept for what they are worth. It is the manner in which the Girondins make their Last Supper. Valaze, with bloody breast, sleeps cold in death; hears not their singing. Vergniaud has his dose of poison; but it is not enough for his friends, it is enough only for himself; wherefore he flings it from him; presides at this Last Supper of the Girondins, with wild coruscations of eloquence, with song and mirth. Poor human Will struggles to assert itself; if not in this way, then in that. (Memoires de Riouffe (in Memoires sur les Prisons, Paris, 1823), p. 48-55.)

But on the morrow morning all Paris is out; such a crowd as no man had seen. The Death-carts, Valaze’s cold corpse stretched among the yet living Twenty-one, roll along. Bareheaded, hands bound; in their shirt-sleeves, coat flung loosely round the neck: so fare the eloquent of France; bemurmured, beshouted. To the shouts of Vive la Republique, some of them keep answering with counter-shouts of Vive la Republique. Others, as Brissot, sit sunk in silence. At the foot of the scaffold they again strike up, with appropriate variations, the Hymn of the Marseillese. Such an act of music; conceive it well! The yet Living chant there; the chorus so rapidly wearing weak! Samson’s axe is rapid; one head per minute, or little less. The chorus is worn out; farewell for evermore ye Girondins. Te-Deum Fauchet has become silent; Valaze’s dead head is lopped: the sickle of the Guillotine has reaped the Girondins all away. ‘The eloquent, the young, the beautiful and brave!’ exclaims Riouffe. O Death, what feast is toward in thy ghastly Halls?

Nor alas, in the far Bourdeaux region, will Girondism fare better. In caves of Saint-Emilion, in loft and cellar, the weariest months, roll on; apparel worn, purse empty; wintry November come; under Tallien and his Guillotine, all hope now gone. Danger drawing ever nigher, difficulty pressing ever straiter, they determine to separate. Not unpathetic the farewell; tall Barbaroux, cheeriest of brave men, stoops to clasp his Louvet: “In what place soever thou findest my mother,” cries he, “try to be instead of a son to her: no resource of mine but I will share with thy Wife, should chance ever lead me where she is.” (Louvet, p. 213.)

Louvet went with Guadet, with Salles and Valady; Barbaroux with Buzot and Petion. Valady soon went southward, on a way of his own. The two friends and Louvet had a miserable day and night; the 14th of November month, 1793. Sunk in wet, weariness and hunger, they knock, on the morrow, for help, at a friend’s country-house; the fainthearted friend refuses to admit them. They stood therefore under trees, in the pouring rain. Flying desperate, Louvet thereupon will to Paris. He sets forth, there and then, splashing the mud on each side of him, with a fresh strength gathered from fury or frenzy. He passes villages, finding ‘the sentry asleep in his box in the thick rain;’ he is gone, before the man can call after him. He bilks Revolutionary Committees; rides in carriers’ carts, covered carts and open; lies hidden in one, under knapsacks and cloaks of soldiers’ wives on the Street of Orleans, while men search for him: has hairbreadth escapes that would fill three romances: finally he gets to Paris to his fair Helpmate; gets to Switzerland, and waits better days.

Poor Guadet and Salles were both taken, ere long; they died by the Guillotine in Bourdeaux; drums beating to drown their voice. Valady also is caught, and guillotined. Barbaroux and his two comrades weathered it longer, into the summer of 1794; but not long enough. One July morning, changing their hiding place, as they have often to do, ‘about a league from Saint-Emilion, they observe a great crowd of country-people;’ doubtless Jacobins come to take them? Barbaroux draws a pistol, shoots himself dead. Alas, and it was not Jacobins; it was harmless villagers going to a village wake. Two days afterwards, Buzot and Petion were found in a Cornfield, their bodies half-eaten with dogs. (Recherches Historiques sur les Girondins (in Memoires de Buzot), p. 107.)

Such was the end of Girondism. They arose to regenerate France, these men; and have accomplished this. Alas, whatever quarrel we had with them, has not their cruel fate abolished it? Pity only survives. So many excellent souls of heroes sent down to Hades; they themselves given as a prey of dogs and all manner of birds! But, here too, the will of the Supreme Power was accomplished. As Vergniaud said: ‘The Revolution, like Saturn, is devouring its own children.’



Chapter 3.5.I.

Rushing down.

We are now, therefore, got to that black precipitous Abyss; whither all things have long been tending; where, having now arrived on the giddy verge, they hurl down, in confused ruin; headlong, pellmell, down, down;– till Sansculottism have consummated itself; and in this wondrous French Revolution, as in a Doomsday, a World have been rapidly, if not born again, yet destroyed and engulphed. Terror has long been terrible: but to the actors themselves it has now become manifest that their appointed course is one of Terror; and they say, Be it so. “Que la Terreur soit a l’ordre du jour.”

So many centuries, say only from Hugh Capet downwards, had been adding together, century transmitting it with increase to century, the sum of Wickedness, of Falsehood, Oppression of man by man. Kings were sinners, and Priests were, and People. Open-Scoundrels rode triumphant, bediademed, becoronetted, bemitred; or the still fataller species of Secret-Scoundrels, in their fair-sounding formulas, speciosities, respectabilities, hollow within: the race of Quacks was grown many as the sands of the sea. Till at length such a sum of Quackery had accumulated itself as, in brief, the Earth and the Heavens were weary of. Slow seemed the Day of Settlement: coming on, all imperceptible, across the bluster and fanfaronade of Courtierisms, Conquering-Heroisms, Most-Christian Grand Monarque-isms. Well-beloved Pompadourisms: yet behold it was always coming; behold it has come, suddenly, unlooked for by any man! The harvest of long centuries was ripening and whitening so rapidly of late; and now it is grown white, and is reaped rapidly, as it were, in one day. Reaped, in this Reign of Terror; and carried home, to Hades and the Pit!–Unhappy Sons of Adam: it is ever so; and never do they know it, nor will they know it. With cheerfully smoothed countenances, day after day, and generation after generation, they, calling cheerfully to one another, “Well-speed-ye,” are at work, sowing the wind. And yet, as God lives, they shall reap the whirlwind: no other thing, we say, is possible,–since God is a Truth and His World is a Truth.

History, however, in dealing with this Reign of Terror, has had her own difficulties. While the Phenomenon continued in its primary state, as mere ‘Horrors of the French Revolution,’ there was abundance to be said and shrieked. With and also without profit. Heaven knows there were terrors and horrors enough: yet that was not all the Phenomenon; nay, more properly, that was not the Phenomenon at all, but rather was the shadow of it, the negative part of it. And now, in a new stage of the business, when History, ceasing to shriek, would try rather to include under her old Forms of speech or speculation this new amazing Thing; that so some accredited scientific Law of Nature might suffice for the unexpected Product of Nature, and History might get to speak of it articulately, and draw inferences and profit from it; in this new stage, History, we must say, babbles and flounders perhaps in a still painfuller manner. Take, for example, the latest Form of speech we have seen propounded on the subject as adequate to it, almost in these months, by our worthy M. Roux, in his Histoire Parlementaire. The latest and the strangest: that the French Revolution was a dead-lift effort, after eighteen hundred years of preparation, to realise–the Christian Religion! (Hist. Parl. (Introd.), i. 1 et seqq.) Unity, Indivisibility, Brotherhood or Death did indeed stand printed on all Houses of the Living; also, on Cemeteries, or Houses of the Dead, stood printed, by order of Procureur Chaumette, Here is eternal Sleep: (Deux Amis, xii. 78.) but a Christian Religion realised by the Guillotine and Death-Eternal, ‘is suspect to me,’ as Robespierre was wont to say, ‘m’est suspecte.’

Alas, no, M. Roux! A Gospel of Brotherhood, not according to any of the Four old Evangelists, and calling on men to repent, and amend each his own wicked existence, that they might be saved; but a Gospel rather, as we often hint, according to a new Fifth Evangelist Jean-Jacques, calling on men to amend each the whole world’s wicked existence, and be saved by making the Constitution. A thing different and distant toto coelo, as they say: the whole breadth of the sky, and further if possible!–It is thus, however, that History, and indeed all human Speech and Reason does yet, what Father Adam began life by doing: strive to name the new Things it sees of Nature’s producing,–often helplessly enough.

But what if History were to admit, for once, that all the Names and Theorems yet known to her fall short? That this grand Product of Nature was even grand, and new, in that it came not to range itself under old recorded Laws-of-Nature at all; but to disclose new ones? In that case, History renouncing the pretention to name it at present, will look honestly at it, and name what she can of it! Any approximation to the right Name has value: were the right name itself once here, the Thing is known thenceforth; the Thing is then ours, and can be dealt with.

Now surely not realization, of Christianity, or of aught earthly, do we discern in this Reign of Terror, in this French Revolution of which it is the consummating. Destruction rather we discern–of all that was destructible. It is as if Twenty-five millions, risen at length into the Pythian mood, had stood up simultaneously to say, with a sound which goes through far lands and times, that this Untruth of an Existence had become insupportable. O ye Hypocrisies and Speciosities, Royal mantles, Cardinal plushcloaks, ye Credos, Formulas, Respectabilities, fair-painted Sepulchres full of dead men’s bones,–behold, ye appear to us to be altogether a Lie. Yet our Life is not a Lie; yet our Hunger and Misery is not a Lie! Behold we lift up, one and all, our Twenty-five million right-hands; and take the Heavens, and the Earth and also the Pit of Tophet to witness, that either ye shall be abolished, or else we shall be abolished!

No inconsiderable Oath, truly; forming, as has been often said, the most remarkable transaction in these last thousand years. Wherefrom likewise there follow, and will follow, results. The fulfilment of this Oath; that is to say, the black desperate battle of Men against their whole Condition and Environment,–a battle, alas, withal, against the Sin and Darkness that was in themselves as in others: this is the Reign of Terror. Transcendental despair was the purport of it, though not consciously so. False hopes, of Fraternity, Political Millennium, and what not, we have always seen: but the unseen heart of the whole, the transcendental despair, was not false; neither has it been of no effect. Despair, pushed far enough, completes the circle, so to speak; and becomes a kind of genuine productive hope again.

Doctrine of Fraternity, out of old Catholicism, does, it is true, very strangely in the vehicle of a Jean-Jacques Evangel, suddenly plump down out of its cloud-firmament; and from a theorem determine to make itself a practice. But just so do all creeds, intentions, customs, knowledges, thoughts and things, which the French have, suddenly plump down; Catholicism, Classicism, Sentimentalism, Cannibalism: all isms that make up Man in France, are rushing and roaring in that gulf; and the theorem has become a practice, and whatsoever cannot swim sinks. Not Evangelist Jean- Jacques alone; there is not a Village Schoolmaster but has contributed his quota: do we not ‘thou’ one another, according to the Free Peoples of Antiquity? The French Patriot, in red phrygian nightcap of Liberty, christens his poor little red infant Cato,–Censor, or else of Utica. Gracchus has become Baboeuf and edits Newspapers; Mutius Scaevola, Cordwainer of that ilk, presides in the Section Mutius-Scaevola: and in brief, there is a world wholly jumbling itself, to try what will swim!

Wherefore we will, at all events, call this Reign of Terror a very strange one. Dominant Sansculottism makes, as it were, free arena; one of the strangest temporary states Humanity was ever seen in. A nation of men, full of wants and void of habits! The old habits are gone to wreck because they were old: men, driven forward by Necessity and fierce Pythian Madness, have, on the spur of the instant, to devise for the want the way of satisfying it. The wonted tumbles down; by imitation, by invention, the Unwonted hastily builds itself up. What the French National head has in it comes out: if not a great result, surely one of the strangest.

Neither shall the reader fancy that it was all blank, this Reign of Terror: far from it. How many hammermen and squaremen, bakers and brewers, washers and wringers, over this France, must ply their old daily work, let the Government be one of Terror or one of Joy! In this Paris there are Twenty- three Theatres nightly; some count as many as Sixty Places of Dancing. (Mercier. ii. 124.) The Playwright manufactures: pieces of a strictly Republican character. Ever fresh Novelgarbage, as of old, fodders the Circulating Libraries. (Moniteur of these months, passim.) The ‘Cesspool of Agio,’ now in the time of Paper Money, works with a vivacity unexampled, unimagined; exhales from itself ‘sudden fortunes,’ like Alladin-Palaces: really a kind of miraculous Fata-Morganas, since you can live in them, for a time. Terror is as a sable ground, on which the most variegated of scenes paints itself. In startling transitions, in colours all intensated, the sublime, the ludicrous, the horrible succeed one another; or rather, in crowding tumult, accompany one another.

Here, accordingly, if anywhere, the ‘hundred tongues,’ which the old Poets often clamour for, were of supreme service! In defect of any such organ on our part, let the Reader stir up his own imaginative organ: let us snatch for him this or the other significant glimpse of things, in the fittest sequence we can.

Chapter 3.5.II.


In the early days of November, there is one transient glimpse of things that is to be noted: the last transit to his long home of Philippe d’Orleans Egalite. Philippe was ‘decreed accused,’ along with the Girondins, much to his and their surprise; but not tried along with them. They are doomed and dead, some three days, when Philippe, after his long half-year of durance at Marseilles, arrives in Paris. It is, as we calculate, the third of November 1793.

On which same day, two notable Female Prisoners are also put in ward there: Dame Dubarry and Josephine Beauharnais! Dame whilom Countess Dubarry, Unfortunate-female, had returned from London; they snatched her, not only as Ex-harlot of a whilom Majesty, and therefore suspect; but as having ‘furnished the Emigrants with money.’ Contemporaneously with whom, there comes the wife of Beauharnais, soon to be the widow: she that is Josephine Tascher Beauharnais; that shall be Josephine Empress Buonaparte, for a black Divineress of the Tropics prophesied long since that she should be a Queen and more. Likewise, in the same hours, poor Adam Lux, nigh turned in the head, who, according to Foster, ‘has taken no food these three weeks,’ marches to the Guillotine for his Pamphlet on Charlotte Corday: he ‘sprang to the scaffold;’ said he ‘died for her with great joy.’ Amid such fellow- travellers does Philippe arrive. For, be the month named Brumaire year 2 of Liberty, or November year 1793 of Slavery, the Guillotine goes always, Guillotine va toujours.

Enough, Philippe’s indictment is soon drawn, his jury soon convinced. He finds himself made guilty of Royalism, Conspiracy and much else; nay, it is a guilt in him that he voted Louis’s Death, though he answers, “I voted in my soul and conscience.” The doom he finds is death forthwith; this present sixth dim day of November is the last day that Philippe is to see. Philippe, says Montgaillard, thereupon called for breakfast: sufficiency of ‘oysters, two cutlets, best part of an excellent bottle of claret;’ and consumed the same with apparent relish. A Revolutionary Judge, or some official Convention Emissary, then arrived, to signify that he might still do the State some service by revealing the truth about a plot or two. Philippe answered that, on him, in the pass things had come to, the State had, he thought, small claim; that nevertheless, in the interest of Liberty, he, having still some leisure on his hands, was willing, were a reasonable question asked him, to give reasonable answer. And so, says Montgaillard, he lent his elbow on the mantel-piece, and conversed in an under-tone, with great seeming composure; till the leisure was done, or the Emissary went his ways.

At the door of the Conciergerie, Philippe’s attitude was erect and easy, almost commanding. It is five years, all but a few days, since Philippe, within these same stone walls, stood up with an air of graciosity, and asked King Louis, “Whether it was a Royal Session, then, or a Bed of Justice?” O Heaven!–Three poor blackguards were to ride and die with him: some say, they objected to such company, and had to be flung in, neck and heels; (Foster, ii. 628; Montgaillard, iv. 141-57.) but it seems not true. Objecting or not objecting, the gallows-vehicle gets under way. Philippe’s dress is remarked for its elegance; greenfrock, waistcoat of white pique, yellow buckskins, boots clear as Warren: his air, as before, entirely composed, impassive, not to say easy and Brummellean-polite. Through street after street; slowly, amid execrations;–past the Palais Egalite whilom Palais-Royal! The cruel Populace stopped him there, some minutes: Dame de Buffon, it is said, looked out on him, in Jezebel head-tire; along the ashlar Wall, there ran these words in huge tricolor print, REPUBLIC ONE AND INDIVISIBLE; LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY OR DEATH: National Property. Philippe’s eyes flashed hellfire, one instant; but the next instant it was gone, and he sat impassive, Brummellean-polite. On the scaffold, Samson was for drawing of his boots: “tush,” said Philippe, “they will come better off after; let us have done, depechons-nous!”

So Philippe was not without virtue, then? God forbid that there should be any living man without it! He had the virtue to keep living for five-and- forty years;–other virtues perhaps more than we know of. Probably no mortal ever had such things recorded of him: such facts, and also such lies. For he was a Jacobin Prince of the Blood; consider what a combination! Also, unlike any Nero, any Borgia, he lived in the Age of Pamphlets. Enough for us: Chaos has reabsorbed him; may it late or never bear his like again!–Brave young Orleans Egalite, deprived of all, only not deprived of himself, is gone to Coire in the Grisons, under the name of Corby, to teach Mathematics. The Egalite Family is at the darkest depths of the Nadir.

A far nobler Victim follows; one who will claim remembrance from several centuries: Jeanne-Marie Phlipon, the Wife of Roland. Queenly, sublime in her uncomplaining sorrow, seemed she to Riouffe in her Prison. ‘Something more than is usually found in the looks of women painted itself,’ says Riouffe, (Memoires (Sur les Prisons, i.), pp. 55-7.) ‘in those large black eyes of hers, full of expression and sweetness. She spoke to me often, at the Grate: we were all attentive round her, in a sort of admiration and astonishment; she expressed herself with a purity, with a harmony and prosody that made her language like music, of which the ear could never have enough. Her conversation was serious, not cold; coming from the mouth of a beautiful woman, it was frank and courageous as that of a great men.’ ‘And yet her maid said: “Before you, she collects her strength; but in her own room, she will sit three hours sometimes, leaning on the window, and weeping.”‘ She had been in Prison, liberated once, but recaptured the same hour, ever since the first of June: in agitation and uncertainty; which has gradually settled down into the last stern certainty, that of death. In the Abbaye Prison, she occupied Charlotte Corday’s apartment. Here in the Conciergerie, she speaks with Riouffe, with Ex-Minister Claviere; calls the beheaded Twenty-two “Nos amis, our Friends,”–whom we are soon to follow. During these five months, those Memoirs of hers were written, which all the world still reads.

But now, on the 8th of November, ‘clad in white,’ says Riouffe, ‘with her long black hair hanging down to her girdle,’ she is gone to the Judgment Bar. She returned with a quick step; lifted her finger, to signify to us that she was doomed: her eyes seemed to have been wet. Fouquier- Tinville’s questions had been ‘brutal;’ offended female honour flung them back on him, with scorn, not without tears. And now, short preparation soon done, she shall go her last road. There went with her a certain Lamarche, ‘Director of Assignat printing;’ whose dejection she endeavoured to cheer. Arrived at the foot of the scaffold, she asked for pen and paper, “to write the strange thoughts that were rising in her;” (Memoires de Madame Roland (Introd.), i. 68.) a remarkable request; which was refused. Looking at the Statue of Liberty which stands there, she says bitterly: “O Liberty, what things are done in thy name!” For Lamarche’s seek, she will die first; shew him how easy it is to die: “Contrary to the order” said Samson.–“Pshaw, you cannot refuse the last request of a Lady;” and Samson yielded.

Noble white Vision, with its high queenly face, its soft proud eyes, long black hair flowing down to the girdle; and as brave a heart as ever beat in woman’s bosom! Like a white Grecian Statue, serenely complete, she shines in that black wreck of things;–long memorable. Honour to great Nature who, in Paris City, in the Era of Noble-Sentiment and Pompadourism, can make a Jeanne Phlipon, and nourish her to clear perennial Womanhood, though but on Logics, Encyclopedies, and the Gospel according to Jean-Jacques! Biography will long remember that trait of asking for a pen “to write the strange thoughts that were rising in her.” It is as a little light-beam, shedding softness, and a kind of sacredness, over all that preceded: so in her too there was an Unnameable; she too was a Daughter of the Infinite; there were mysteries which Philosophism had not dreamt of!–She left long written counsels to her little Girl; she said her Husband would not survive her.

Still crueller was the fate of poor Bailly, First National President, First Mayor of Paris: doomed now for Royalism, Fayettism; for that Red-Flag Business of the Champ-de-Mars;–one may say in general, for leaving his Astronomy to meddle with Revolution. It is the 10th of November 1793, a cold bitter drizzling rain, as poor Bailly is led through the streets; howling Populace covering him with curses, with mud; waving over his face a burning or smoking mockery of a Red Flag. Silent, unpitied, sits the innocent old man. Slow faring through the sleety drizzle, they have got to the Champ-de-Mars: Not there! vociferates the cursing Populace; Such blood ought not to stain an Altar of the Fatherland; not there; but on that dungheap by the River-side! So vociferates the cursing Populace; Officiality gives ear to them. The Guillotine is taken down, though with hands numbed by the sleety drizzle; is carried to the River-side, is there set up again, with slow numbness; pulse after pulse still counting itself out in the old man’s weary heart. For hours long; amid curses and bitter frost-rain! “Bailly, thou tremblest,” said one. “Mon ami, it is for cold,” said Bailly, “c’est de froid.” Crueller end had no mortal. (Vie de Bailly (in Memoires, i.), p. 29.)

Some days afterwards, Roland hearing the news of what happened on the 8th, embraces his kind Friends at Rouen, leaves their kind house which had given him refuge; goes forth, with farewell too sad for tears. On the morrow morning, 16th of the month, ‘some four leagues from Rouen, Paris-ward, near Bourg-Baudoin, in M. Normand’s Avenue,’ there is seen sitting leant against a tree, the figure of rigorous wrinkled man; stiff now in the rigour of death; a cane-sword run through his heart; and at his feet this writing: ‘Whoever thou art that findest me lying, respect my remains: they are those of a man who consecrated all his life to being useful; and who has died as he lived, virtuous and honest.’ ‘Not fear, but indignation, made me quit my retreat, on learning that my Wife had been murdered. I wished not to remain longer on an Earth polluted with crimes.’ (Memoires de Madame Roland (Introd.), i. 88.)

Barnave’s appearance at the Revolutionary Tribunal was of the bravest; but it could not stead him. They have sent for him from Grenoble; to pay the common smart, Vain is eloquence, forensic or other, against the dumb Clotho-shears of Tinville. He is still but two-and-thirty, this Barnave, and has known such changes. Short while ago, we saw him at the top of Fortune’s Wheel, his word a law to all Patriots: and now surely he is at the bottom of the Wheel; in stormful altercation with a Tinville Tribunal, which is dooming him to die! (Foster, ii. 629.) And Petion, once also of the Extreme Left, and named Petion Virtue, where is he? Civilly dead; in the Caves of Saint-Emilion; to be devoured of dogs. And Robespierre, who rode along with him on the shoulders of the people, is in Committee of Salut; civilly alive: not to live always. So giddy-swift whirls and spins this immeasurable tormentum of a Revolution; wild-booming; not to be followed by the eye. Barnave, on the Scaffold, stamped his foot; and looking upwards was heard to ejaculate, “This then is my reward?”

Deputy Ex-Procureur Manuel is already gone; and Deputy Osselin, famed also in August and September, is about to go: and Rabaut, discovered treacherously between his two walls, and the Brother of Rabaut. National Deputies not a few! And Generals: the memory of General Custine cannot be defended by his Son; his Son is already guillotined. Custine the Ex-Noble was replaced by Houchard the Plebeian: he too could not prosper in the North; for him too there was no mercy; he has perished in the Place de la Revolution, after attempting suicide in Prison. And Generals Biron, Beauharnais, Brunet, whatsoever General prospers not; tough old Luckner, with his eyes grown rheumy; Alsatian Westermann, valiant and diligent in La Vendee: none of them can, as the Psalmist sings, his soul from death deliver.

How busy are the Revolutionary Committees; Sections with their Forty Halfpence a-day! Arrestment on arrestment falls quick, continual; followed by death. Ex-Minister Claviere has killed himself in Prison. Ex-Minister Lebrun, seized in a hayloft, under the disguise of a working man, is instantly conducted to death. (Moniteur, 11 Decembre, 30 Decembre, 1793; Louvet, p. 287.) Nay, withal, is it not what Barrere calls ‘coining money on the Place de la Revolution?’ For always the ‘property of the guilty, if property he have,’ is confiscated. To avoid accidents, we even make a Law that suicide shall not defraud us; that a criminal who kills himself does not the less incur forfeiture of goods. Let the guilty tremble, therefore, and the suspect, and the rich, and in a word all manner of culottic men! Luxembourg Palace, once Monsieur’s, has become a huge loathsome Prison; Chantilly Palace too, once Conde’s:–and their Landlords are at Blankenberg, on the wrong side of the Rhine. In Paris are now some Twelve Prisons; in France some Forty-four Thousand: thitherward, thick as brown leaves in Autumn, rustle and travel the suspect; shaken down by Revolutionary Committees, they are swept thitherward, as into their storehouse,–to be consumed by Samson and Tinville. ‘The Guillotine goes not ill, ne va pas mal.’

Chapter 3.5.III.


The suspect may well tremble; but how much more the open rebels;–the Girondin Cities of the South! Revolutionary Army is gone forth, under Ronsin the Playwright; six thousand strong; in ‘red nightcap, in tricolor waistcoat, in black-shag trousers, black-shag spencer, with enormous moustachioes, enormous sabre,–in carmagnole complete;’ (See Louvet, p. 301.) and has portable guillotines. Representative Carrier has got to Nantes, by the edge of blazing La Vendee, which Rossignol has literally set on fire: Carrier will try what captives you make, what accomplices they have, Royalist or Girondin: his guillotine goes always, va toujours; and his wool-capped ‘Company of Marat.’ Little children are guillotined, and aged men. Swift as the machine is, it will not serve; the Headsman and all his valets sink, worn down with work; declare that the human muscles can no more. (Deux Amis, xii. 249-51.) Whereupon you must try fusillading; to which perhaps still frightfuller methods may succeed.

In Brest, to like purpose, rules Jean-Bon Saint-Andre; with an Army of Red Nightcaps. In Bourdeaux rules Tallien, with his Isabeau and henchmen: Guadets, Cussys, Salleses, may fall; the bloody Pike and Nightcap bearing supreme sway; the Guillotine coining money. Bristly fox-haired Tallien, once Able Editor, still young in years, is now become most gloomy, potent; a Pluto on Earth, and has the keys of Tartarus. One remarks, however, that a certain Senhorina Cabarus, or call her rather Senhora and wedded not yet widowed Dame de Fontenai, brown beautiful woman, daughter of Cabarus the Spanish merchant,–has softened the red bristly countenance; pleading for herself and friends; and prevailing. The keys of Tartarus, or any kind of power, are something to a woman; gloomy Pluto himself is not insensible to love. Like a new Proserpine, she, by this red gloomy Dis, is gathered; and, they say, softens his stone heart a little.

Maignet, at Orange in the South; Lebon, at Arras in the North, become world’s wonders. Jacobin Popular Tribunal, with its National Representative, perhaps where Girondin Popular Tribunal had lately been, rises here and rises there; wheresoever needed. Fouches, Maignets, Barrases, Frerons scour the Southern Departments; like reapers, with their guillotine-sickle. Many are the labourers, great is the harvest. By the hundred and the thousand, men’s lives are cropt; cast like brands into the burning.

Marseilles is taken, and put under martial law: lo, at Marseilles, what one besmutted red-bearded corn-ear is this which they cut;–one gross Man, we mean, with copper-studded face; plenteous beard, or beard-stubble, of a tile-colour? By Nemesis and the Fatal Sisters, it is Jourdan Coupe-tete! Him they have clutched, in these martial-law districts; him too, with their ‘national razor,’ their rasoir national, they sternly shave away. Low now is Jourdan the Headsman’s own head;–low as Deshuttes’s and Varigny’s, which he sent on pikes, in the Insurrection of Women! No more shall he, as a copper Portent, be seen gyrating through the Cities of the South; no more sit judging, with pipes and brandy, in the Ice-tower of Avignon. The all- hiding Earth has received him, the bloated Tilebeard: may we never look upon his like again!–Jourdan one names; the other Hundreds are not named. Alas, they, like confused faggots, lie massed together for us; counted by the cartload: and yet not an individual faggot-twig of them but had a Life and History; and was cut, not without pangs as when a Kaiser dies!

Least of all cities can Lyons escape. Lyons, which we saw in dread sunblaze, that Autumn night when the Powder-tower sprang aloft, was clearly verging towards a sad end. Inevitable: what could desperate valour and Precy do; Dubois-Crance, deaf as Destiny, stern as Doom, capturing their ‘redouts of cotton-bags;’ hemming them in, ever closer, with his Artillery- lava? Never would that Ci-devant d’Autichamp arrive; never any help from Blankenberg. The Lyons Jacobins were hidden in cellars; the Girondin Municipality waxed pale, in famine, treason and red fire. Precy drew his sword, and some Fifteen Hundred with him; sprang to saddle, to cut their way to Switzerland. They cut fiercely; and were fiercely cut, and cut down; not hundreds, hardly units of them ever saw Switzerland. (Deux Amis, xi. 145.) Lyons, on the 9th of October, surrenders at discretion; it is become a devoted Town. Abbe Lamourette, now Bishop Lamourette, whilom Legislator, he of the old Baiser-l’Amourette or Delilah-Kiss, is seized here, is sent to Paris to be guillotined: ‘he made the sign of the cross,’ they say when Tinville intimated his death-sentence to him; and died as an eloquent Constitutional Bishop. But wo now to all Bishops, Priests, Aristocrats and Federalists that are in Lyons! The manes of Chalier are to be appeased; the Republic, maddened to the Sibylline pitch, has bared her right arm. Behold! Representative Fouche, it is Fouche of Nantes, a name to become well known; he with a Patriot company goes duly, in wondrous Procession, to raise the corpse of Chalier. An Ass, housed in Priest’s cloak, with a mitre on its head, and trailing the Mass-Books, some say the very Bible, at its tail, paces through Lyons streets; escorted by multitudinous Patriotism, by clangour as of the Pit; towards the grave of Martyr Chalier. The body is dug up and burnt: the ashes are collected in an Urn; to be worshipped of Paris Patriotism. The Holy Books were part of the funeral pile; their ashes are scattered to the wind. Amid cries of “Vengeance! Vengeance!”–which, writes Fouche, shall be satisfied. (Moniteur (du 17 Novembre 1793), &c.)

Lyons in fact is a Town to be abolished; not Lyons henceforth but ‘Commune Affranchie, Township Freed;’ the very name of it shall perish. It is to be razed, this once great City, if Jacobinism prophesy right; and a Pillar to be erected on the ruins, with this Inscription, Lyons rebelled against the Republic; Lyons is no more. Fouche, Couthon, Collot, Convention Representatives succeed one another: there is work for the hangman; work for the hammerman, not in building. The very Houses of Aristocrats, we say, are doomed. Paralytic Couthon, borne in a chair, taps on the wall, with emblematic mallet, saying, “La Loi te frappe, The Law strikes thee;” masons, with wedge and crowbar, begin demolition. Crash of downfall, dim ruin and dust-clouds fly in the winter wind. Had Lyons been of soft stuff, it had all vanished in those weeks, and the Jacobin prophecy had been fulfilled. But Towns are not built of soap-froth; Lyons Town is built of stone. Lyons, though it rebelled against the Republic, is to this day.

Neither have the Lyons Girondins all one neck, that you could despatch it at one swoop. Revolutionary Tribunal here, and Military Commission, guillotining, fusillading, do what they can: the kennels of the Place des Terreaux run red; mangled corpses roll down the Rhone. Collot d’Herbois, they say, was once hissed on the Lyons stage: but with what sibilation, of world-catcall or hoarse Tartarean Trumpet, will ye hiss him now, in this his new character of Convention Representative,–not to be repeated! Two hundred and nine men are marched forth over the River, to be shot in mass, by musket and cannon, in the Promenade of the Brotteaux. It is the second of such scenes; the first was of some Seventy. The corpses of the first were flung into the Rhone, but the Rhone stranded some; so these now, of the second lot, are to be buried on land. Their one long grave is dug; they stand ranked, by the loose mould-ridge; the younger of them singing the Marseillaise. Jacobin National Guards give fire; but have again to give fire, and again; and to take the bayonet and the spade, for though the doomed all fall, they do not all die;–and it becomes a butchery too horrible for speech. So that the very Nationals, as they fire, turn away their faces. Collot, snatching the musket from one such National, and levelling it with unmoved countenance, says “It is thus a Republican ought to fire.”

This is the second Fusillade, and happily the last: it is found too hideous; even inconvenient. They were Two hundred and nine marched out; one escaped at the end of the Bridge: yet behold, when you count the corpses, they are Two hundred and ten. Rede us this riddle, O Collot? After long guessing, it is called to mind that two individuals, here in the Brotteaux ground, did attempt to leave the rank, protesting with agony that they were not condemned men, that they were Police Commissaries: which two we repulsed, and disbelieved, and shot with the rest! (Deux Amis, xii. 251-62.) Such is the vengeance of an enraged Republic. Surely this, according to Barrere’s phrase, is Justice ‘under rough forms, sous des formes acerbes.’ But the Republic, as Fouche says, must “march to Liberty over corpses.” Or again as Barrere has it: “None but the dead do not come back, Il n’y a que les morts qui ne reviennent pas.” Terror hovers far and wide: ‘The Guillotine goes not ill.’

But before quitting those Southern regions, over which History can cast only glances from aloft, she will alight for a moment, and look fixedly at one point: the Siege of Toulon. Much battering and bombarding, heating of balls in furnaces or farm-houses, serving of artillery well and ill, attacking of Ollioules Passes, Forts Malbosquet, there has been: as yet to small purpose. We have had General Cartaux here, a whilom Painter elevated in the troubles of Marseilles; General Doppet, a whilom Medical man elevated in the troubles of Piemont, who, under Crance, took Lyons, but cannot take Toulon. Finally we have General Dugommier, a pupil of Washington. Convention Representans also we have had; Barrases, Salicettis, Robespierres the Younger:–also an Artillery Chef de brigade, of extreme diligence, who often takes his nap of sleep among the guns; a short taciturn, olive-complexioned young man, not unknown to us, by name Buonaparte: one of the best Artillery-officers yet met with. And still Toulon is not taken. It is the fourth month now; December, in slave-style; Frostarious or Frimaire, in new-style: and still their cursed Red-Blue Flag flies there. They are provisioned from the Sea; they have seized all heights, felling wood, and fortifying themselves; like the coney, they have built their nest in the rocks.

Meanwhile, Frostarious is not yet become Snowous or Nivose, when a Council of War is called; Instructions have just arrived from Government and Salut Public. Carnot, in Salut Public, has sent us a plan of siege: on which plan General Dugommier has this criticism to make, Commissioner Salicetti has that; and criticisms and plans are very various; when that young Artillery Officer ventures to speak; the same whom we saw snatching sleep among the guns, who has emerged several times in this History,–the name of him Napoleon Buonaparte. It is his humble opinion, for he has been gliding about with spy-glasses, with thoughts, That a certain Fort l’Eguillette can be clutched, as with lion-spring, on the sudden; wherefrom, were it once ours, the very heart of Toulon might be battered, the English Lines were, so to speak, turned inside out, and Hood and our Natural Enemies must next day either put to sea, or be burnt to ashes. Commissioners arch their eyebrows, with negatory sniff: who is this young gentleman with more wit than we all? Brave veteran Dugommier, however, thinks the idea worth a word; questions the young gentleman; becomes convinced; and there is for issue, Try it.

On the taciturn bronze-countenance, therefore, things being now all ready, there sits a grimmer gravity than ever, compressing a hotter central-fire than ever. Yonder, thou seest, is Fort l’Eguillette; a desperate lion- spring, yet a possible one; this day to be tried!–Tried it is; and found good. By stratagem and valour, stealing through ravines, plunging fiery through the fire-tempest, Fort l’Eguillette is clutched at, is carried; the smoke having cleared, wiser the Tricolor fly on it: the bronze- complexioned young man was right. Next morning, Hood, finding the interior of his lines exposed, his defences turned inside out, makes for his shipping. Taking such Royalists as wished it on board with him, he weighs anchor: on this 19th of December 1793, Toulon is once more the Republic’s!

Cannonading has ceased at Toulon; and now the guillotining and fusillading may begin. Civil horrors, truly: but at least that infamy of an English domination is purged away. Let there be Civic Feast universally over France: so reports Barrere, or Painter David; and the Convention assist in a body. (Moniteur, 1793, Nos. 101 (31 Decembre), 95, 96, 98, &c.) Nay, it is said, these infamous English (with an attention rather to their own interests than to ours) set fire to our store-houses, arsenals, warships in Toulon Harbour, before weighing; some score of brave warships, the only ones we now had! However, it did not prosper, though the flame spread far and high; some two ships were burnt, not more; the very galley-slaves ran with buckets to quench. These same proud Ships, Ships l’Orient and the rest, have to carry this same young Man to Egypt first: not yet can they be changed to ashes, or to Sea-Nymphs; not yet to sky-rockets, O Ship l’Orient, nor became the prey of England,–before their time!

And so, over France universally, there is Civic Feast and high-tide: and Toulon sees fusillading, grape-shotting in mass, as Lyons saw; and ‘death is poured out in great floods, vomie a grands flots’ and Twelve thousand Masons are requisitioned from the neighbouring country, to raze Toulon from the face of the Earth. For it is to be razed, so reports Barrere; all but the National Shipping Establishments; and to be called henceforth not Toulon, but Port of the Mountain. There in black death-cloud we must leave it;–hoping only that Toulon too is built of stone; that perhaps even Twelve thousand Masons cannot pull it down, till the fit pass.

One begins to be sick of ‘death vomited in great floods.’ Nevertheless hearest thou not, O reader (for the sound reaches through centuries), in the dead December and January nights, over Nantes Town,–confused noises, as of musketry and tumult, as of rage and lamentation; mingling with the everlasting moan of the Loire waters there? Nantes Town is sunk in sleep; but Representant Carrier is not sleeping, the wool-capped Company of Marat is not sleeping. Why unmoors that flatbottomed craft, that gabarre; about eleven at night; with Ninety Priests under hatches? They are going to Belle Isle? In the middle of the Loire stream, on signal given, the gabarre is scuttled; she sinks with all her cargo. ‘Sentence of Deportation,’ writes Carrier, ‘was executed vertically.’ The Ninety Priests, with their gabarre-coffin, lie deep! It is the first of the Noyades, what we may call Drownages, of Carrier; which have become famous forever.

Guillotining there was at Nantes, till the Headsman sank worn out: then fusillading ‘in the Plain of Saint-Mauve;’ little children fusilladed, and women with children at the breast; children and women, by the hundred and twenty; and by the five hundred, so hot is La Vendee: till the very Jacobins grew sick, and all but the Company of Marat cried, Hold! Wherefore now we have got Noyading; and on the 24th night of Frostarious year 2, which is 14th of December 1793, we have a second Noyade: consisting of ‘a Hundred and Thirty-eight persons.’ (Deux Amis, xii. 266- 72; Moniteur, du 2 Janvier 1794.)

Or why waste a gabarre, sinking it with them? Fling them out; fling them out, with their hands tied: pour a continual hail of lead over all the space, till the last struggler of them be sunk! Unsound sleepers of Nantes, and the Sea-Villages thereabouts, hear the musketry amid the night- winds; wonder what the meaning of it is. And women were in that gabarre; whom the Red Nightcaps were stripping naked; who begged, in their agony, that their smocks might not be stript from them. And young children were thrown in, their mothers vainly pleading: “Wolflings,” answered the Company of Marat, “who would grow to be wolves.”

By degrees, daylight itself witnesses Noyades: women and men are tied together, feet and feet, hands and hands: and flung in: this they call Mariage Republicain, Republican Marriage. Cruel is the panther of the woods, the she-bear bereaved of her whelps: but there is in man a hatred crueller than that. Dumb, out of suffering now, as pale swoln corpses, the victims tumble confusedly seaward along the Loire stream; the tide rolling them back: clouds of ravens darken the River; wolves prowl on the shoal- places: Carrier writes, ‘Quel torrent revolutionnaire, What a torrent of Revolution!’ For the man is rabid; and the Time is rabid. These are the Noyades of Carrier; twenty-five by the tale, for what is done in darkness comes to be investigated in sunlight: (Proces de Carrier (4 tomes, Paris, 1795.) not to be forgotten for centuries,–We will turn to another aspect of the Consummation of Sansculottism; leaving this as the blackest.

But indeed men are all rabid; as the Time is. Representative Lebon, at Arras, dashes his sword into the blood flowing from the Guillotine; exclaims, “How I like it!” Mothers, they say, by his order, have to stand by while the Guillotine devours their children: a band of music is stationed near; and, at the fall of every head, strikes up its ca-ira. (Les Horreures des Prisons d’Arras (Paris, 1823).) In the Burgh of Bedouin, in the Orange region, the Liberty-tree has been cut down over night. Representative Maignet, at Orange, hears of it; burns Bedouin Burgh to the last dog-hutch; guillotines the inhabitants, or drives them into the caves and hills. (Montgaillard, iv. 200.) Republic One and Indivisible! She is the newest Birth of Nature’s waste inorganic Deep, which men name Orcus, Chaos, primeval Night; and knows one law, that of self-preservation. Tigresse Nationale: meddle not with a whisker of her! Swift-crushing is her stroke; look what a paw she spreads;–pity has not entered her heart.