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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, by An English Lady

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has engendered.--These, together with the numberless agents of government
enriched by more direct pillage, live in coarse luxury, and dissipate
with careless profusion those riches which their original situations and
habits have disqualified them from converting to a better use.

Although the circumstances of the times have necessitated a good deal of
domestic oeconomy among people who live on their fortunes, they have
lately assumed a gayer style of dress, and are less averse from
frequenting public amusements. For three years past, (and very
naturally,) the gentry have openly murmured at the revolution; and they
now, either convinced of the impolicy of such conduct, terrified by their
past sufferings, or, above all, desirous of proclaiming their triumph
over the Jacobins, are every where reviving the national taste for modes
and finery. The attempt to reconcile these gaieties with prudence, has
introduced some contrasts in apparel whimsical enough, though our French
belles adopt them with much gravity.

In consequence of the disorders in the South of France, and the
interruption of commerce by sea, soap is not only dear, but sometimes
difficult to purchase at any rate. We have ourselves paid equal to five
livres a pound in money. Hence we have white wigs* and grey stockings,
medallions and gold chains with coloured handkerchiefs and discoloured
tuckers, and chemises de Sappho, which are often worn till they rather
remind one of the pious Queen Isabel, than the Greek poetess.

* Vilate, in his pamphlet on the secret causes of the revolution of
the ninth Thermidor, relates the following anecdote of the origin of
the peruques blondes. "The caprice of a revolutionary female who,
on the fete in celebration of the Supreme Being, covered her own
dark hair with a tete of a lighter colour, having excited the
jealousy of La Demahe, one of Barrere's mistresses, she took
occasion to complain to him of this coquettry, by which she thought
her own charms eclipsed. Barrere instantly sent for Payen, the
national agent, and informed him that a new counter-revolutionary
sect had started up, and that its partizans distinguished themselves
by wearing wigs made of light hair cut from the heads of the
guillotined aristocrats. He therefore enjoined Payen to make a
speech at the municipality, and to thunder against this new mode.
The mandate was, of course, obeyed; and the women of rank, who had
never before heard of these wigs, were both surprized and alarmed at
an imputation so dangerous. Barrere is said to have been highly
amused at having thus solemnly stopped the progress of a fashion,
only becuase it displeased one of his female favourites.--I
perfectly remember Payen's oration against this coeffure, and every
woman in Paris who had light hair, was, I doubt not, intimidated."

This pleasantry of Barrere's proves with what inhuman levity the
government sported with the feelings of the people. At the fall of
Robespierre, the peruque blonde, no longer subject to the empire of
Barrere's favourites, became a reigning mode.

--Madame Tallien, who is supposed occasionally to dictate decrees to the
Convention, presides with a more avowed and certain sway over the realms
of fashion; and the Turkish draperies that may float very gracefully on a
form like hers, are imitated by rotund sesquipedal Fatimas, who make one
regret even the tight lacings and unnatural diminishings of our

I came to Beauvais a fortnight ago with the Marquise. Her long
confinement has totally ruined her health, and I much fear she will not
recover. She has an aunt lives here, and we flattered ourselves she
might benefit by change of air--but, on the contrary, she seems worse,
and we propose to return in the course of a week to Amiens.

I had a good deal of altercation with the municipality about obtaining a
passport; and when they at last consented, they gave me to understand I
was still a prisoner in the eye of the law, and that I was indebted to
them for all the freedom I enjoyed. This is but too true; for the decree
constituting the English hostages for the Deputies at Toulon has never
been repealed--

"Ah, what avails it that from slavery far,
"I drew the breath of life in English air?"

Yet is it a consolation, that the title by which I was made an object of
mean vengeance is the one I most value.*

* An English gentleman, who was asked by a republican Commissary,
employed in examining the prisons, why he was there, replied,
"Because I have not the misfortune to be a Frenchman!"

This is a large manufacturing town, and the capital of the department of
l'Oise. Its manufactories now owe their chief activity to the
requisitions for supplying cloth to the armies. Such commerce is by no
means courted; and if people were permitted, as they are in most
countries, to trade or let it alone, it would soon decline.--The choir of
the cathedral is extremely beautiful, and has luckily escaped republican
devastation, though there seems to exist no hope that it will be again
restored to the use of public worship. Your books will inform you, that
Beauvais was besieged in 1472 by the Duke of Burgundy, with eighty
thousand men, and that he failed in the attempt. Its modern history is
not so fortunate. It was for some time harassed by a revolutionary army,
whose exactions and disorders being opposed by the inhabitants, a decree
of the Convention declared the town in a state of rebellion; and this
ban, which operates like the Papal excommunications three centuries ago,
and authorizes tyranny of all kinds, was not removed until long after the
death of Robespierre.--Such a specimen of republican government has made
the people cautious, and abundant in the exteriors of patriotism. Where
they are sure of their company, they express themselves without reserve,
both on the subject of their legislators and the miseries of the country;
but intercourse is considerably more timid here than at Amiens.

Two gentlemen dined with us yesterday, whom I know to be zealous
royalists, and, as they are acquainted, I made no scruple of producing an
engraving which commemorates mysteriously the death of the King, and
which I had just received from Paris by a private conveyance. They
looked alarmed, and affected not to understand it; and, perceiving I had
done wrong, I replaced the print without farther explanation: but they
both called this evening, and reproached me separately for thus exposing
their sentiments to each other.--This is a trifling incident, yet perhaps
it may partly explain the great aenigma why no effectual resistance is
made to a government which is secretly detested. It has been the policy
of all the revolutionists, from the Lameths and La Fayette down to
Brissot and Robespierre, to destroy the confidence of society; and the
calamities of last year, now aiding the system of spies and informers,
occasion an apprehension and distrust which impede union, and check every
enterprize that might tend to restore the freedom of the country.--Yours,

Amiens, April 12, 1795.

Instead of commenting on the late disorders at Paris, I subjoin the
translation of a letter just received by Mrs. D-------- from a friend,
whose information, we have reason to believe, is as exact as can possibly
be obtained in the chaos of little intrigues which now comprise the whole
science of French politics.

"Paris, April 9.

"Though I know, my good friend, you are sufficiently versed in the
technicals of our revolution not to form an opinion of occurrences from
the language in which they are officially described, yet I cannot resist
the favourable opportunity of Mad. --------'s return, to communicate such
explanations of the late events as their very ambiguous appearance may
render necessary even to you.

"I must begin by informing you, that the proposed decree of the
Convention to dissolve themselves and call a new Assembly, was a mere
coquettry. Harassed by the struggles of the Jacobins, and alarmed at
the symptoms of public weariness and disgust, which became every day more
visible, they hoped this feint might operate on the fears of the people
of Paris, and animate them to a more decided support against the efforts
of the common enemy, as well as tend to reconcile them to a farther
endurance of a representation from which they did not disguise their
wishes to be released. An opportunity was therefore seized on, or
created, when our allowance of bread had become unusually short, and the
Jacobins unusually turbulent, to bring forward this project of renovating
the legislature. But in politics, as well as love, such experiments are
dangerous. Far from being received with regret, the proposition excited
universal transport; and it required all the diligence of the agents of
government to insinuate effectually, that if Paris were abandoned by the
Convention at this juncture, it would not only become a prey to famine,
but the Jacobins would avail themselves of the momentary disorder to
regain their power, and renew their past atrocities.

"A conviction that we in reality derive our scanty supplies from
exertions which would not be made, were they not necessary to restrain
the popular ill humour, added to an habitual apprehension of the Clubs,*
assisted this manoeuvre; and a few of the sections were, in consequence,
prevailed on to address our Representatives, and to request they would
remain at their post.--

* Paris had been long almost entirely dependent on the government
for subsistence, so that an insurrection could always be procured by
withholding the usual supply. The departments were pillaged by
requisitions, and enormous sums sent to the neutral countries to
purchase provisions, that the capital might be maintained in
dependence and good humour. The provisions obtained by these means
were distributed to the shopkeepers, who had instructions to retail
them to the idle and disorderly, at about a twentieth part of the
original cost, and no one could profit by this regulation, without
first receiving a ticket from the Committee of his section.

It was lately asserted in the Convention, and not disavowed, that if
the government persisted in this sort of traffic, the annual loss
attending the article of corn alone would amount to fifty millions
sterling. The reduction of the sum in question into English money
is made on a presumption that the French government did not mean
(were it to be avoided) to commit an act of bankruptcy, and redeem
their paper at less than par. Reckoning, however, at the real value
of assignats when the calculation was made, and they were then worth
perhaps a fifth of their nominal value, the government was actually
at the expence of ten millions sterling a year, for supplying Paris
with a very scanty portion of bread! The sum must appear enormous,
but the peculation under such a government must be incalculable; and
when it is recollected that all neutral ships bringing cargoes for
the republic must have been insured at an immense premium, or
perhaps eventually purchased by the French, and that very few could
reach their destination, we may conclude that such as did arrive
cost an immoderate sum.

--"The insurrection that immediately succeeded was at first the effect of
a similar scheme, and it ended in a party contention, in which the
people, as usual, were neuter.

"The examination into the conduct of Barrere, Collot, &c. had been
delayed until it seemed rather a measure destined to protect than to
bring them to punishment; and the impatience which was every where
expressed on the subject, sufficiently indicated the necessity, or at
least the prudence, of hastening their trial. Such a process could not
be ventured on but at the risk of involving the whole Convention in a
labyrinth of crimes, inconsistencies, and ridicule, and the delinquents
already began to exonerate themselves by appealing to the vote of solemn
approbation passed in their favour three months after the death of
Robespierre had restored the Assembly to entire freedom.

"The only means of extrication from this dilemma, appeared to be that of
finding some pretext to satisfy the public vengeance, without hazarding
the scandal of a judicial exposure. Such a pretext it was not difficult
to give rise to: a diminished portion of bread never fails to produce
tumultuous assemblages, that are easily directed, though not easily
suppressed; and crouds of this description, agitated by real misery, were
excited (as we have every reason to suppose) by hired emissaries to
assail the Convention with disorderly clamours for bread. This being
attributed to the friends of the culprits, decrees were opportunely
introduced and passed for transporting them untried out of the republic,
and for arresting most of the principal Jacobin members as their

"The subsequent disturbances were less artificial; for the Jacobins, thus
rendered desperate, attempted resistance; but, as they were unsuccessful,
their efforts only served their adversaries as an excuse for arresting
several of the party who had escaped the former decrees.

"Nothing, I assure you, can with less truth be denominated popular
movements, than many of these scenes, which have, notwithstanding,
powerfully influenced the fate of our country. A revolt, or
insurrection, is often only an affair of intrigue and arrangement; and
the desultory violences of the suburbs of St. Antoine, or of the market
women, are regulated by the same Committee and cabals that direct our
campaigns and treaties. The common distresses of the people are
continually drawing them together; and, when thus collected, their
credulity renders them the ready instruments of any prevailing faction.

"Our recent disorders afforded a striking proof of this. I was myself
the Cicerone of a country friend on the day the Convention was first
assailed. The numbers who crouded into the hall were at first
considerable, yet they exhibited no signs of hostility, and it was
evident they were brought there for some purpose of which they were
themselves ignorant. When asked their intentions, they vociferated 'Du
pain! Du pain!'--Bread, Bread; and, after occupying the seats of the
Deputies for a short time, quietly withdrew.

"That this insurrection was originally factitious, and devised for the
purpose I have mentioned, is farther corroborated by the sudden
appearance of Pichegru and other officers, who seemed brought expressly
to protect the departure of the obnoxious trio, in case it should be
opposed either by their friends or enemies. It is likewise to be
remarked, that Barrere and the rest were stopped at the gates of Paris by
the same mob who were alledged to have risen in their favour, and who,
instead of endeavouring to rescue them, brought them back to the
Committee of General Safety, on a supposition that they had escaped from
prison.--The members of the moderate party, who were detained in some of
the sections, sustained no ill treatment whatever, and were released on
being claimed by their colleagues, which could scarcely have happened,
had the mob been under the direction of the Jacobins, or excited by
them.--In short, the whole business proved that the populace were mere
agents, guided by no impulse of their own, except hunger, and who, when
left to themselves, rather impeded than promoted the designs of both

"You must have been surprized to see among the list of members arrested,
the name of Laurent Lecointre; but he could never be pardoned for having
reduced the Convention to the embarrassing necessity of prosecuting
Robespierre's associates, and he is now secured, lest his restless
Quixotism should remind the public, that the pretended punishment of
these criminals is in fact only a scandalous impunity.

"We are at present calm, but our distress for bread is intolerable, and
the people occasionally assail the pastry-cooks' shops; which act of
hostility is called, with more pleasantry than truth or feeling, _'La
guerre du pain bis contre la brioche.'_ [The war of brown bread against
cakes.]--God knows, it is not the quality of bread, but the scarcity of
it which excites these discontents.

"The new arithmetic* is more followed, and more interesting, than ever,
though our hopes are all vague, and we neither guess how or by whom they
are to be fulfilled.

* This was a mysterious way of expressing that the royalists were
still gaining ground. It alluded to a custom which then prevailed,
of people asking each other in the street, and sometimes even
assailing the Deputies, with the question of "How much is eight and
a half and eight and a half?"--By which was understood Louis the

"I have done every thing that depends on me to obtain your passports
without success, and I still advise you to come to Paris and solicit them
in person. Your departure, in happier times, would be a subject of
regret, at present I shall both envy and congratulate you when you are
enabled to quit a country which promises so little security or

"We receive, at this moment, the two loaves. My sister joins me in
acknowledgments, and expresses her fears that you must suffer by your
kindness, though it is truly acceptable--for I have been several days
under arms, and have had no time to make my usual excursions in search of

"Yours, &c."

The proposed dissolution of the Assembly alluded to in the beginning of
Mons. --------'s letter, occasioned here a more general rejoicing than
even the fall of the Jacobin club, and, not being influenced by the
motives suggested to the Parisians, we were sincerely disappointed when
we found the measure postponed. The morning this news arrived, we walked
about the town till dinner, and in every street people were collected in
groupes, and engaged in eager discussion. An acquaintance whom we
happened to meet, instead of the usual salutations, exclaimed "_Nous
viola quittes, ils s'en vont les brigands_" ["At length we are quit of
them--the rogues are going about their business."]; and I observed several
recontres of this sort, where people skipped and caracoled, as though
unable to contain their satisfaction. Nothing was talked of but _Le
Petit_ [An endearing appellation given to the young King by those who
would not venture to mention his name.], and the new elections; and I
remarked with pleasure, that every one agreed in the total exclusion of
all the present Deputies.

Two mornings after we had been indulging in these agreeable visions, we
learned that the Convention, purely from a patriotic desire of serving
their country, had determined not to quit their post. We were at this
time in extreme want of bread, the distribution not exceeding a quarter
of a pound per day; and numbers who are at their ease in other respects,
could not obtain any. This, operating perhaps with the latent ill humour
occasioned by so unwelcome a declaration of perseverance on the part of
their Representatives, occasioned a violent ferment among the people, and
on the second of this month they were in open revolt; the magazine of
corn for the use of the army was besieged, the national colours were
insulted, and Blaux, a Deputy who is here on mission, was dragged from
the Hotel de Ville, and obliged by the enraged populace to cry "Vive le
Roi!" These disorders continued till the next day, but were at length
appeased by a small distribution of flour from the magazine.

In the debates of the Convention the whole is ascribed to the Jacobins,
though it is well known they have no influence here; and I wish you to
attend to this circumstance more particularly, as it proves what
artifices are used to conceal the real sentiments of the people.
I, and every inhabitant of Amiens, can attest that this revolt, which was
declared in the Assembly to have been instigated by the partizans of the
Jacobins, was, as far as it had any decided political character, an
effervescence of royalism.

At Rouen, Abbeville, and other places, the trees of liberty, (or, rather,
the trees of the republic,) have been cut down, the tri-coloured flag
torn, and the cry of "Vive le Roi!" was for some time predominant; yet
the same misrepresentation was had recourse to, and all these places were
asserted to have espoused the cause of that party to which they are most

I acknowledge that the chief source of these useless excesses is famine,
and that it is for the most part the lower classes only who promote them;
but the same cause and the same description of people were made the
instruments for bringing about the revolution, and the poor seek now, as
they did in 1789, a remedy for their accumulated sufferings in a change
of government. The mass of mankind are ever more readily deluded by hope
than benefited by experience; and the French, being taught by the
revolutionists to look for that relief from changes of government which
such changes cannot afford, now expect that the restoration of the
monarchy will produce plenty, as they were before persuaded that the
first efforts to subvert it would banish want.

We are now tolerably quiet, and should seriously think of going to Paris,
were we not apprehensive that some attempt from the Jacobins to rescue
their chiefs, may create new disturbances. The late affair appears to
have been only a retaliation of the thirty-first of May, 1792; and the
remains of the Girondists have now proscribed the leaders of the
Mountaineers, much in the same way as they were then proscribed

Amiens, May 9, 1795.

Whilst all Europe is probably watching with solicitude the progress of
the French arms, and the variations of their government, the French
themselves, almost indifferent to war and politics, think only of
averting the horrors of famine. The important news of the day is the
portion of bread which is to be distributed; and the siege of Mentz,
or the treaty with the King of Prussia, are almost forgotten, amidst
enquiries about the arrival of corn, and anxiety for the approach of
harvest. The same paper that announces the surrender of towns, and the
success of battles, tells us that the poor die in the streets of Paris,
or are driven to commit suicide, through want. We have no longer to
contend with avaricious speculations, but a real scarcity; and
detachments of the National Guard, reinforced by cannon, often search the
adjacent villages several days successively without finding a single
septier of corn. The farmers who have yet been able to conceal any,
refuse to dispose of it for assignats; and the poor, who have neither
plate nor money, exchange their best clothes or linen for a loaf, or a
small quantity of flour. Our gates are sometimes assailed by twenty or
thirty people, not to beg money, but bread; and I am frequently accosted
in the street by women of decent appearance, who, when I offer them
assignats, refuse them, saying, "We have enough of this sorry paper--it
is bread we want."--If you are asked to dine, you take your bread with
you; and you travel as though you were going a voyage--for there are not
many inns on the road where you can expect to find bread, or indeed
provisions of any kind.

Having procured a few six-livre pieces, we were enabled to purchase a
small supply of corn, though by no means enough for our consumption, so
that we are obliged to oeconomise very rigidly. Mr. D-------- and the
servants eat bread made with three-parts bran to one of flour. The
little provision we possess is, however, a great embarrassment to us, for
we are not only subject to domiciliary visits, but continually liable to
be pillaged by the starving poor around us; and we are often under the
necessity of passing several meals without bread, because we dare not
send the wheat to be ground, nor bake except at night. While the last
operation is performing, the doors are carefully shut, the bell rings in
vain, and no guest is admitted till every vestige of it is removed.--All
the breweries have seals put upon the doors, and severe penal laws are
issued against converting barley to any other purpose than the making of
bread. If what is allowed us were composed only of barley, or any other
wholesome grain, we should not repine; but the distribution at present is
a mixture of grown wheat, peas, rye, &c. which has scarcely the
resemblance of bread.

I was asked to-day, by some women who had just received their portion,
and in an accent of rage and despair that alarmed me, whether I thought
such food fit for a human creature.--We cannot alleviate this misery, and
are impatient to escape from the sight of it. If we can obtain passports
to go from hence to Paris, we hope there to get a final release, and a
permission to return to England.

My friend Madame de la F-------- has left us, and I fear is only gone
home to die. Her health was perfectly good when we were first arrested,
though vexation, more than confinement, has contributed to undermine it.
The revolution had, in various ways, diminished her property; but this
she would have endured with patience, had not the law of successions
involved her in difficulties which appeared every day more interminable,
and perplexed her mind by the prospect of a life of litigation and
uncertainty. By this law, all inheritances, donations, or bequests,
since the fourteenth of July 1789, are annulled and subjected to a
general partition among the nearest relatives. In consequence, a large
estate of the Marquise's, as well as another already sold, are to be
accounted for, and divided between a variety of claimants. Two of the
number being emigrants, the republic is also to share; and as the live
stock, furniture, farming utensils, and arrears, are included in this
absurd and iniquitous regulation, the confusion and embarrassment which
it has occasioned are indescribable.

Though an unlucky combination of circumstances has rendered such a law
particularly oppressive to Madame de la F--------, she is only one of an
infinite number who are affected by it, and many of whom may perhaps be
still greater sufferers than herself. The Constituent Assembly had
attempted to form a code that might counteract the spirit of legal
disputation, for which the French are so remarkable; but this single
decree will give birth to more processes than all the _pandects, canons,_
and _droits feodaux,_ accumulated since the days of Charlemagne; and I
doubt, though one half the nation were lawyers, whether they might not
find sufficient employment in demalgamating the property of the other

This mode of partition, in itself ill calculated for a rich and
commercial people, and better adapted to the republic of St. Marino than
to that of France, was introduced under pretext of favouring the system
of equality; and its transition from absurdity to injustice, by giving it
a retroactive effect, was promoted to accommodate the "virtuous" Herault
de Sechelles, who acquired a considerable addition of fortune by it. The
Convention are daily beset with petitions from all parts on this subject;
but their followers and themselves being somewhat in the style of
Falstaff's regiment--"younger sons of younger brothers," they seem
determined, as they usually are, to square their notions of justice by
what is most conducive to their own interest.

An apprehension of some attempt from the Jacobins, and the discontents
which the scarcity of bread give rise to among the people, have produced
a private order from the Committees of government for arming and
re-organizing the National Guard.*

* Though I have often had occasion to use the term National Guard,
it is to be understood only as citizens armed for some temporary
purpose, whose arms were taken from them as soon as that service was
performed. The _Garde Nationale,_ as a regular institution, had
been in a great measure suppressed since the summer of 1793, and
those who composed it gradually disarmed. The usual service of
mounting guard was still continued, but the citizens, with very few
exceptions, were armed only with pikes, and even those were not
entrusted to their own care, each delivering up his arms when he
retired more exactly than if it were an article of capitulation with
a successful enemy.

--I remember, in 1789 and 1790, when this popular militia was first
instituted, every one, either from policy or inclination, appeared eager
to promote it; and nothing was discussed but military fetes, balls,
exercise, and uniforms. These patriotic levities have now entirely
vanished, and the business proceeds with languor and difficulty. One
dreads the present expence, another future persecution, and all are
solicitous to find cause for exemption.

This reluctance, though perhaps to be regretted, is in a great measure
justifiable. Where the lives and fortunes of a whole nation are
dependent on the changes of party, obscurity becomes the surest
protection, and those who are zealous now, may be the first sacrifices
hereafter. Nor is it encouraging to arm for the defence of the
Convention, which is despised, or to oppose the violence of a populace,
who, however misguided, are more objects of compassion than of

Fouquier Tinville, with sixteen revolutionary Judges and Jurymen, have
been tried and executed, at the moment when the instigators of their
crimes, Billaud-Varennes, Collot, &c. were sentenced by the Convention to
a banishment, which is probably the object of their wishes. This
Tinville and his accomplices, who condemned thousands with such ferocious
gaiety, beheld the approach of death themselves with a mixture of rage
and terror, that even cowardice and guilt do not always exhibit. It
seems an awful dispensation of Providence, that they who were inhuman
enough to wish to deprive their victims of the courage which enabled them
to submit to their fate with resignation, should in their last moments
want that courage, and die despairing, furious, and uttering
imprecations, which were returned by the enraged multitude.*

--Yours, &c.

* Some of the Jurymen were in the habit of taking caricatures of the
prisoners while they condemned them. Among the papers of the
Revolutionary Tribunal were found blank sentences, which were
occasionally sent to the Committee of Public Safety, to be filled up
with the names of those intended to be sacrificed.--The name of one
of the Jurymen executed on this occasion was Leroi, but being a very
ardent republican, he had changed it for that of Citizen Tenth of

Amiens, May 26, 1795.

Our journey to Paris has been postponed by the insurrection which
occurred on the first and second of Prairial, (20th and 21st of May,) and
which was not like that of Germinal, fabricated--but a real and violent
attempt of the Jacobins to regain their power. Of this event it is to be
remarked, that the people of Paris were at first merely spectators, and
that the Convention were at length defended by the very classes which
they have so long oppressed under the denomination of aristocrats. For
several hours the Assembly was surrounded, and in the power of its
enemies; the head of Ferraud, a deputy, was borne in triumph to the
hall;* and but for the impolitic precipitation of the Jacobins, the
present government might have been destroyed.

* The head of Ferraud was placed on a pole, and, after being paraded
about the Hall, stationed opposite the President. It is impossible
to execrate sufficiently this savage triumph; but similar scenes had
been applauded on the fourteenth of July and the fifth and sixth of
October 1789; and the Parisians had learned, from the example of the
Convention themselves, that to rejoice in the daily sacrifice of
fifty or sixty people, was an act of patriotism. As to the epithets
of Coquin, Scelerats, Voleurs, &c. which were now bestowed on the
Assembly, they were only what the members were in the constant habit
of applying to each other.

The assassin of Ferraud being afterwards taken and sentenced to the
Guillotine, was rescued by the mob at the place of execution, and
the inhabitants of the Fauxbourg St. Antoine were in revolt for two
days on this occasion, nor would they give him up until abandoned by
the cannoneers of their party.--It is singular, and does no honour
to the revolutionary school, or the people of Paris, that Madame
Elizabeth, Malsherbes, Cecile Renaud, and thousands of others,
should perish innocently, and that the only effort of this kind
should be exerted in favour of a murderer who deserved even a worse

The contest began, as usual, by an assemblage of females, who forced
themselves into the national palace, and loudly clamoured for immediate
supplies of bread. They then proceeded to reproach the Convention with
having robbed them of their liberty, plundered the public treasure, and
finally reduced the country to a state of famine.*

* People.--_"Nous vous demandons ce que vous avez fait de nos
tresors et de notre liberte?"_--"We want to know what you have done
with our treasure and our liberty?"

President.--_"Citoyens, vous etes dans le sein de la Convention
Nationale."_--"Citizens, I must remind you that you are in the
presence of the National Convention."

People.--_"Du pain, du pain, Coquin--Qu'as tu fait de notre argent?
Pas tant de belles phrases, mais du pain, du pain, il n'y a point
ici de conspirateurs--nous demandons du pain parceque nous avons
saim."_--"Bread, bread, rogue!--what have you done with our money?--
Fine speeches won't do--'tis bread we want.--There are no
conspirators among us--we only ask for bread, because we are

See Debates of the Convention.

--It was not easy either to produce bread, or refute these charges, and
the Deputies of the moderate party remained silent and overpowered, while
the Jacobins encouraged the mob, and began to head them openly. The
Parisians, however interested in the result of this struggle, appeared to
behold it with indifference, or at least with inactivity. Ferraud had
already been massacred in endeavouring to repel the croud, and the
Convention was abandoned to outrage and insult; yet no effectual attempt
had been made in their defence, until the Deputies of the Mountain
prematurely avowed their designs, and moved for a repeal of all the
doctrines since the death of Robespierre--for the reincarceration of
suspected persons--and, in fine, for an absolute revival of the whole
revolutionary system.

The avowal of these projects created an immediate alarm among those on
whom the massacre of Ferraud, and the dangers to which the Assembly was
exposed, had made no impression. The dismay became general; and in a few
hours the aristocrats themselves collected together a force sufficient to
liberate the Assembly,* and wrest the government from the hands of the

* This is stated as a ground of reproach by the Jacobins, and is
admitted by the Convention. Andre Dumont, who had taken so active a
part in supporting Robespierre's government, was yet on this
occasion defended and protected the whole day by a young man whose
father had been guillotined.

--This defeat ended in the arrest of all who had taken a part against the
now triumphant majority; and there are, I believe, near fifty of them in
custody, besides numbers who contrived to escape.*

* Among those implicated in this attempt to revive the revolutionary
government was Carnot, and the decree of arrest would have been
carried against him, had it not been suggested that his talents were
necessary in the military department. All that remained of
Robespierre's Committees, Jean Bon St. Andre, Robert Lindet, and
Prieur, were arrested. Carnot alone was excepted; and it was not
disguised that his utility, more than any supposed integrity,
procured him the exemption.

That the efforts of this more sanguinary faction have been checked, is
doubtless a temporary advantage; yet those who calculate beyond the
moment see only the perpetuation of anarchy, in a habit of expelling one
part of the legislature to secure the government of the other; nor can it
be denied, that the freedom of the representative body has been as much
violated by the Moderates in the recent transactions, as by the Jacobins
on the thirty-first of May 1793. The Deputies of the Mountain have been
proscribed and imprisoned, rather as partizans than criminals; and it is
the opinion of many, that these measures, which deprive the Convention of
such a portion of its members, attach as much illegality to the
proceedings of the rest, as the former violences of Robespierre and his

* The decrees passed by the Jacobin members during their few hours
triumph cannot be defended; but the whole Convention had long
acquiesced in them, and the precise time when they were to cease was
certainly a matter of opinion. The greater part of these members
were accused of no active violence, nor could they have been
arrested on any principles but that of being rivals to a faction
stronger than themselves.

--It is true, the reigning party may plead in their justification that
they only inflict what they would themselves have suffered, had the
Jacobins prevailed; and this is an additional proof of the weakness and
instability of a form of government which is incapable of resisting
opposition, and which knows no medium between yielding to its
adversaries, and destroying them.

In a well organized constitution, it is supposed that a liberal spirit of
party is salutary. Here they dispute the alternatives of power and
emolument, or prisons and guillotines; and the sole result to the people
is the certainty of being sacrificed to the fears, and plundered by the
rapacity of either faction which may chance to acquire the superiority.--
Had the government any permanent or inherent strength, a party watching
its errors, and eager to attack them, might, in time, by these perpetual
collisions, give birth to some principles of liberty and order. But, as
I have often had occasion to notice, this species of republicanism is in
itself so weak, that it cannot exist except by a constant recurrence to
the very despotism it professes to exclude. Hence it is jealous and
suspicious, and all opposition to it is fatal; so that, to use an
argument somewhat similar to Hume's on the liberty of the press in
republics, the French possess a sort of freedom which does not admit of
enjoyment; and, in order to boast that they have a popular constitution,
are obliged to support every kind of tyranny.*

* Hume observes, that absolute monarchies and republics nearly
approach; for the excess of liberty in the latter renders such
restraints necessary as to make them in practice resemble the

The provinces take much less interest in this event, than in one of a
more general and personal effect, though not apparently of equal
importance. A very few weeks ago, the Convention asseverated, in the
usual acclamatory style, that they would never even listen to a proposal
for diminishing the value, or stopping the currency, of any description
of assignats. Their oaths are not, indeed, in great repute, yet many
people were so far deceived, as to imagine that at least the credit of
the paper would not be formally destroyed by those who had forced its
circulation. All of a sudden, and without any previous notice, a decree
was issued to suppress the corsets, (or assignats of five livres,)
bearing the King's image;* and as these were very numerous, and chiefly
in the hands of the lower order of people, the consternation produced by
this measure was serious and unusual.--

* The opinion that prevailed at this time that a restoration of the
monarchy was intended by the Convention, had rendered every one
solicitous to amass assignats issued during the late King's reign.
Royal assignats of five livres were exchanged for six, seven, and
eight livres of the republican paper.

--There cannot be a stronger proof of the tyranny of the government, or
of the national propensity to submission, than the circumstance of making
it penal to refuse one day, what, by the same authority, is rendered
valueless the next--and that notwithstanding this, the remaining
assignats are still received under all the probability of their
experiencing a similar fate.

Paris now offers an interval of tranquillity which we mean to avail
ourselves of, and shall, in a day or two, leave this place with the hope
of procuring passports for England. The Convention affect great
moderation and gratitude for their late rescue; and the people, persuaded
in general that the victorious party are royalists, wait with impatience
some important change, and expect, if not an immediate restoration of the
monarchy, at least a free election of new Representatives, which must
infallibly lead to it. With this hope, which is the first that has long
presented itself to this harassed country, I shall probably bid it adieu;
but a visit to the metropolis will be too interesting for me to conclude
these papers, without giving you the result of my observations.

--Yours. &c.

Paris, June 3, 1795.

We arrived here early on Saturday, and as no stranger coming to Paris,
whether a native of France, or a foreigner, is suffered to remain longer
than three days without a particular permission, our first care was to
present ourselves to the Committee of the section where we lodge, and, on
giving proper security for our good conduct, we have had this permission
extended to a Decade.

I approached Paris with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension, as
though I expected the scenes which had passed in it, and the moral
changes it had undergone, would be every where visible; but the gloomy
ideas produced by a visit to this metropolis, are rather the effect of
mental association than external objects. Palaces and public buildings
still remain; but we recollect that they are become the prisons of
misfortune, or the rewards of baseness. We see the same hotels, but
their owners are wandering over the world, or have expired on the
scaffold. Public places are not less numerous, nor less frequented; but,
far from inspiring gaiety, we behold them with regret and disgust, as
proofs of the national levity and want of feeling.

I could almost wish, for the credit of the French character, to have
found some indications that the past was not so soon consigned to
oblivion. It is true, the reign of Robespierre and his sanguinary
tribunal are execrated in studied phrases; yet is it enough to adopt
humanity as a mode, to sing the _Revel du Peuple_ in preference to the
_Marseillois,_ or to go to a theatre with a well-powdered head, instead
of cropped locks a la Jacobin? But the people forget, that while they
permitted, and even applauded, the past horrors, they were also accessary
to them, and if they rejoice at their termination, their sensibility does
not extend to compunction; they cast their sorrows away, and think it
sufficient to exhibit their reformation in dressing and dancing--

"Yet hearts refin'd their sadden'd tint retain,
"The sigh is pleasure, and the jest is pain."

French refinements are not, however, of this poetical kind.*

* This too great facility of the Parisians has been commented upon
by an anonymous writer in the following terms:

"At Paris, where more than fifty victims were dragged daily to the
scaffold, the theatres never failed to overflow, and that on the
Place de la Revolution was not the least frequented. The public, in
their way every evening to the Champs Ellisees, continued
uninterruptedly to cross the stream of blood that deluged this fatal
spot with the most dreadful indifference; and now, though these days
of horror are scarcely passed over our heads, one would suppose them
ages removed--so little are we sensible that we are dancing, as it
were, on a platform of dead bodies. Well may we say, respecting
those events which have not reached ourselves--

_'Le malheur Qui n'est plus, n'a jamais existe.'_

But if we desire earnestly that the same misfortunes should not
return, we must keep them always present in our recollection."

The practice of the government appears to depart every day more widely
from its professions; and the moderate harangues of the tribune are often
succeeded by measures as arbitrary as those which are said to be
exploded.--Perhaps the Convention begin to perceive their mistake in
supposing that they can maintain a government against the inclination of
the people, without the aid of tyranny. They expected at the same time
that they decried Robespierre, to retain all the power he possessed.
Hence, their assumed principles and their conduct are generally at
variance; and, divided between despotism and weakness, they arrest the
printers of pamphlets and newspapers one day, and are obliged to liberate
them the next.--They exclaim publicly against the system of terror, yet
secretly court the assistance of its agents.--They affect to respect the
liberty of the press, yet every new publication has to defend itself
against the whole force of the government, if it happen to censure a
single member of the reigning party.--Thus, the _Memoirs of Dumouriez_
had circulated nearly through all Europe, yet it was not without much
risk, and after a long warfare, that they were printed in France.*

*On this subject the government appears sometimes to have adopted
the maxim--that prevention is better than punishment; for, in
several instances, they seized on manuscripts, and laid embargoes on
the printers' presses, where they only suspected that a work which
they might disapprove was intended to be published.

I know not if it be attributable to these political inconsistencies that
the calm which has succeeded the late disorders is little more than
external. The minds of the people are uncommonly agitated, and every one
expresses either hope or apprehension of some impending event. The
royalists, amidst their ostensible persecutions, are particularly elated;
and I have been told, that many conspicuous revolutionists already talk
of emigration.

I am just returned from a day's ramble, during which I have met with
various subjects of unpleasant meditation. About dinner-time I called on
an old Chevalier de St. Louis and his lady, who live in the Fauxbourg
St. Germain. When I knew them formerly, they had a handsome annuity on
the Hotel de Ville, and were in possession of all the comforts necessary
to their declining years. To-day the door was opened by a girl of dirty
appearance, the house looked miserable, the furniture worn, and I found
the old couple over a slender meal of soup maigre and eggs, without wine
or bread. Our revolutionary adventures, as is usual on all meetings of
this kind, were soon communicated; and I learned, that almost before they
knew what was passing around them, Monsieur du G--------'s forty years'
service, and his croix, had rendered him suspected, and that he and his
wife were taken from their beds at midnight and carried to prison. Here
they consumed their stock of ready money, while a guard, placed in their
house, pillaged what was moveable, and spoiled what could not be
pillaged. Soon after the ninth of Thermidor they were released, but they
returned to bare walls, and their annuity, being paid in assignats, now
scarcely affords them a subsistence.--Monsieur du G-------- is near
seventy, and Madame is become helpless from a nervous complaint, the
effect of fear and confinement; and if this depreciation of the paper
should continue, these poor people may probably die of absolute want.

I dined with a relation of the Marquise's, and in the afternoon we called
by appointment on a person who is employed by the Committee of National
Domains, and who has long promised my friend to facilitate the adjustment
of some of the various claims which the government has on her property.
This man was originally a valet to the brother of the Marquise: at the
revolution he set up a shop, became a bankrupt, and a furious Jacobin,
and, in the end, a member of a Revolutionary Committee. In the last
capacity he found means to enrich himself, and intimidate his creditors
so as to obtain a discharge of his debts, without the trouble of paying

* "It was common for men in debt to procure themselves to be made
members of a revolutionary committee, and then force their creditors
to give them a receipt in full, under the fear of being imprisoned."
Clauzel's Report, Oct. 13, 1794.

I am myself acquainted with an old lady, who was confined four
months, for having asked one of these patriots for three hundred
livres which he owed her.

--Since the dissolution of the Committees, he has contrived to obtain the
situation I have mentioned, and now occupies superb apartments in an
hotel, amply furnished with the proofs of his official dexterity, and the
perquisites of patriotism.

The humiliating vicissitudes occasioned by the revolution induced Madame
de la F-------- to apply to this democratic _parvenu,_ [Upstart.] whose
office at present gives him the power, and whose former obligations to
her family (by whom he was brought up) she hoped would add the
disposition, to serve her.--The gratitude she expected has, however,
ended only in delays and disappointments, and the sole object of my
commission was to get some papers which she had entrusted to him out of
his possession.

When we enquired if the Citizen was at home, a servant, not in livery,
informed us Monsieur was dressing, but that if we would walk in, he would
let Monsieur know we were there. We passed through a dining parlour,
where we saw the remains of a dessert, coffee, &c. and were assailed by
the odours of a plentiful repast. As we entered the saloon, we heard the
servant call at the door of an adjoining parlour, _"Monsieur, voici deux
Citoyennes et un Citoyen qui vous demandent."_ ["Sir, here are two female
citizens and one male citizen enquiring for you."] When Monsieur
appeared, he apologized with an air of graciousness for the impossibility
he had been under of getting my friend's affairs arranged--protested he
was _accable_ [Oppressed..]--that he had scarcely an instant at his own
disposal--that _enfin_ the responsibility of people in office was so
terrible, and the fatigue so _assommante,_ [Overpowering.] that nothing
but the purest _civism,_ and a heart _penetre de l'amour de la patrie,_
[Penetrated with the love of his country.] could enable him to persevere
in the task imposed on him. As for the papers we required, he would
endeavour to find them, though his cabinet was really so filled with
petitions and certificates of all sorts, _que des malheureux lui avoient
addresses,_ [Addressed to him by unfortunate people.] that it would not
be very easy to find them at present; and, with this answer, which we
should have smiled at from M. de Choiseul or Sartine, we were obliged to
be satisfied. We then talked of the news of the day, and he lamented
that the aristocrats were still restless and increasing in number, and
that notwithstanding the efforts of the Convention to diffuse a spirit of
philosophy, it was too evident there was yet much fanaticism among the

As we rose to depart, Madame entered, dressed for visiting, and decorated
with bracelets on her wrists and above her elbows, medallions on her
waists and neck, and, indeed, finery wherever it could possibly be
bestowed. We observed her primitive condition of a waiting-woman still
operated, and that far from affecting the language of her husband, she
retained a great deference for rank, and was solicitous to insinuate that
she was secretly of a superior way of thinking. As we left the room
together, she made advances to an acquaintance with my companions (who
were people of condition); and having occasion to speak to a person at
the door, as she uttered the word _Citoyen_ she looked at us with an
expression which she intended should imply the contempt and reluctance
with which she made use of it.

I have in general remarked, that the republicans are either of the
species I have just been describing, waiters, jockies, gamblers,
bankrupts, and low scribblers, living in great splendour, or men taken
from laborious professions, more sincere in their principles, more
ignorant and brutal--and who dissipate what they have gained in gross
luxury, because they have been told that elegance and delicacy are worthy
only of Sybarites, and that the Greeks and Romans despised both. These
patriots are not, however, so uninformed, nor so disinterested, as to
suppose they are to serve their country without serving themselves; and
they perfectly understand, that the rich are their legal patrimony, and
that it is enjoined them by their mission to pillage royalists and


* Garat observes, it was a maxim of Danton, _"Que ceux qui fesaient
les affaires de la republique devaient aussi faireles leurs,"_ that
who undertook the care of the republic should also take care of
themselves. This tenet, however, seems common to the friends of

Paris, June 6, 1795.

I had scarcely concluded my last, when I received advice of the death of
Madame de la F--------; and though I have, almost from the time we
quitted the Providence, thought she was declining, and that such an event
was probable, it has, nevertheless, both shocked and grieved me.

Exclusively of her many good and engaging qualities, which were
reasonable objects of attachment, Madame de la F-------- was endeared to
me by those habits of intimacy that often supply the want of merit, and
make us adhere to our early friendships, even when not sanctioned by our
maturer judgment. Madame de la F-------- never became entirely divested
of the effects of a convent education; but if she retained a love of
trifling amusements, and a sort of infantine gaiety, she likewise
continued pious, charitable, and strictly attentive not only to the
duties, but to the decorum, essential in the female character and merits
of this sort are, I believe, now more rare than those in which she might
be deemed deficient.

I was speaking of her this morning to a lady of our acquaintance, who
acquiesced in my friendly eulogiums, but added, in a tone of superiority,
_"C'etoit pourtant une petite femme bien minutieuse_--she always put me
out of patience with her birds and her flowers, her levees of poor
people, and her persevering industry in frivolous projects." My friend
was, indeed, the most feminine creature in the world, and this is a
flippant literary lady, who talks in raptures of the Greeks and Romans,
calls Rousseau familiarly Jean Jaques, frisks through the whole circle of
science at the Lyceum, and has an utter contempt both for personal
neatness and domestic oeconomy. How would Madame de Sevigne wonder,
could she behold one of these modern belles esprits, with which her
country, as well as England, abounds? In our zeal for reforming the
irregular orthography and housewifely penmanship of the last century, we
are all become readers, and authors, and critics. I do not assert, that
the female mind is too much cultivated, but that it is too generally so;
and that we encourage a taste for attainments not always compatible with
the duties and occupations of domestic life. No age has, I believe,
produced so many literary ladies as the present;* yet I cannot learn that
we are at all improved in morals, or that domestic happiness is more
universal than when, instead of writing sonnets to dew-drops or
daisies,** we copied prayers and recipes, in spelling similar to that of
Stowe or Hollingshed.

* Let me not be supposed to undervalue the female authors of the
present day. There are some who, uniting great talents with
personal worth, are justly entitled to our respect and admiration.
The authoress of "Cecilia," or the Miss Lees, cannot be confounded
with the proprietors of all the Castles, Forests, Groves, Woods,
Cottages, and Caverns, which are so alluring in the catalogue of a
circulating library.

** Mrs. Smith's beautiful Sonnets have produced sonnetteers for
every object in nature, visible or invisible; and her elegant
translations of Petrarch have procured the Italian bard many an
English dress that he would have been ashamed to appear in.

--We seem industrious to make every branch of education a vehicle for
inspiring a premature taste for literary amusements; and our old
fashioned moral adages in writing-books are replaced by scraps from
"Elegant Extracts," while print-work and embroidery represent scenes from
poems or novels. I allow, that the subjects formerly pourtrayed by the
needle were not pictoresque, yet, the tendency considered, young ladies
might as well employ their silk or pencils in exhibiting Daniel in the
lions' den, or Joseph and his brethren, as Sterne's Maria, or Charlotte
and Werter.

You will forgive this digression, which I have been led into on hearing
the character of Madame de la F-------- depreciated, because she was only
gentle and amiable, and did not read Plutarch, nor hold literary
assemblies. It is, in truth, a little amende I owe her memory, for I may
myself have sometimes estimated her too lightly, and concluded my own
pursuits more rational than hers, when possibly they were only different.
Her death has left an impression on my mind, which the turbulence of
Paris is not calculated to soothe; but the short time we have to stay,
and the number of people I must see, oblige me to conquer both my regret
and my indolence, and to pass a great part of the day in running from
place to place.

I have been employed all this morning in executing some female
commissions, which, of course, led me to milliners, mantua-makers, &c.
These people now recommend fashions by saying one thing is invented by
Tallien's wife, and another by Merlin de Thionville, or some other
Deputy's mistress; and the genius of these elegantes has contrived, by a
mode of dressing the hair which lengthens the neck, and by robes with an
inch of waist, to give their countrywomen an appearance not much unlike
that of a Bar Gander.

I saw yesterday a relation of Madame de la F--------, who is in the army,
and whom I formerly mentioned as having met when we passed through
Dourlens. He was for some months suspended, and in confinement, but is
now restored to his rank, and ordered on service. He asked me if I ever
intended to visit France again. I told him I had so little reason to be
satisfied with my treatment, that I did not imagine I should.--"Yes,
(returned he,) but if the republic should conquer Italy, and bring all
its treasures to Paris, as has lately been suggested in the Convention,
we shall tempt you to return, in spite of yourself."*

*The project of pillaging Italy of its most valuable works of art
was suggested by the philosophic Abbe Gregoire, a constitutional
Bishop, as early as September 1794, because, as he alledged, the
chefs d'ouvres of the Greek republic ought not to embellish a
country of slaves.

--I told him, I neither doubted their intending such a scheme, nor the
possibility of its success, though it was not altogether worthy of
philosophers and republicans to wage war for Venus's and Appollos, and to
sacrifice the lives of one part of their fellow-citizens, that the rest
might be amused with pictures and statues.--"That's not our affair (says
Monsieur de --------). Soldiers do not reason. And if the Convention
should have a fancy to pillage the Emperor of China's palace, I see no
remedy but to set sail with the first fair wind,"--"I wish, (said his
sister, who was the only person present,) instead of being under such
orders, you had escaped from the service." "Yes, (returned the General
quickly,) and wander about Europe like Dumouriez, suspected and despised
by all parties." I observed, Dumouriez was an adventurer, and that on
many accounts it was necessary to guard against him. He said, he did not
dispute the necessity or even the justice of the conduct observed towards
him, but that nevertheless I might be assured it had operated as an
effectual check to those who might, otherwise, have been tempted to
follow Dumouriez's example; "And we have now (added he, in a tone between
gaiety and despair,) no alternative but obedience or the guillotine."--I
have transcribed the substance of this conversation, as it confirms what
I have frequently been told, that the fate of Dumouriez, however merited,
is one great cause why no desertion of importance has since taken place.

I was just now interrupted by a noise and shouting near my window, and
could plainly distinguish the words Scipio and Solon uttered in a tone of
taunt and reproach. Not immediately comprehending how Solon or Scipio
could be introduced in a fray at Paris, I dispatched Angelique to make
enquiry; and at her return I learned that a croud of boys were following
a shoemaker of the neighbourhood, who, while he was member of a
revolutionary Committee, had chosen to unite in his person the glories of
both Rome and Greece, of the sword and gown, and had taken unto himself
the name of Scipio Solon. A decree of the Convention some weeks since
enjoined all such heroes and sages to resume their original appellations,
and forbade any person, however ardent his patriotism, to distinguish
himself by the name of Brutus, Timoleon, or any other but that which he
derived from his Christian parents. The people, it seems, are not so
obedient to the decree as those whom it more immediately concerns; and as
the above-mentioned Scipio Solon had been detected in various larcenies,
he is not allowed to quit his shop without being reproached with his
thefts, and his Greek and Roman appellations.

--I am, &c.

Paris, June 8, 1795.

Yesterday being Sunday, and to-day the Decade, we have had two holidays
successively, though, since the people have been more at liberty to
manifest their opinions, they give a decided preference to the Christian
festival over that of the republic.*

* This was only at Paris, where the people, from their number, are
less manageable, and of course more courageous. In the departments,
the same cautious timidity prevailed, and appeared likely to

--They observe the former from inclination, and the latter from
necessity; so that between the performance of their religious duties, and
the sacrifice to their political fears, a larger portion of time will be
deducted from industry than was gained by the suppression of the Saints'
days. The Parisians, however, seem to acquiesce very readily in this
compromise, and the philosophers of the Convention, who have so often
declaimed against the idleness occasioned by the numerous fetes of the
old calendar, obstinately persist in the adoption of a new one, which
increases the evil they pretend to remedy.

If the people are to be taken from their labour for such a number of
days, it might as well be in the name of St. Genevieve or St. Denis, as
of the Decade, and the Saints'-days have at least this advantage, that
the forenoons are passed in churches; whereas the republican festivals,
dedicated one to love, another to stoicism, and so forth, not conveying
any very determinate idea, are interpreted to mean only an obligation to
do nothing, or to pass some supernumerary hours at the cabaret.

I noticed with extreme pleasure yesterday, that as many of the places of
public worship as are permitted to be open were much crouded, and that
religion appears to have survived the loss of those exterior allurements
which might be supposed to have rendered it peculiarly attractive to the
Parisians. The churches at present, far from being splendid, are not
even decent, the walls and windows still bear traces of the Goths (or, if
you will, the philosophers,) and in some places service is celebrated
amidst piles of farage, sacks, casks, or lumber appertaining to the
government--who, though they have by their own confession the disposal of
half the metropolis, choose the churches in preference for such

* It has frequently been asserted in the Convention, that by
emigrations, banishments, and executions, half Paris had become the
property of the public.

--Yet these unseemly and desolate appearances do not prevent the
attendance of congregations more numerous, and, I think, more fervent,
than were usual when the altars shone with the offerings of wealth, and
the walls were covered with the more interesting decorations of pictures
and tapestry.

This it is not difficult to account for. Many who used to perform these
religious duties with negligence, or indifference, are now become pious,
and even enthusiastic--and this not from hypocrisy or political
contradiction, but from a real sense of the evils of irreligion, produced
by the examples and conduct of those in whom such a tendency has been
most remarkable.--It must, indeed, be acknowledged, that did Christianity
require an advocate, a more powerful one need not be found, than in a
retrospect of the crimes and sufferings of the French since its

Those who have made fortunes by the revolution (for very few have been
able to preserve them) now begin to exhibit equipages; and they hope to
render the people blind to this departure from their visionary systems of
equality, by foregoing the use of arms and liveries--as if the real
difference between the rich and the poor was not constituted rather by
essential accommodation, than extrinsic embellishments, which perhaps do
not gratify the eyes of the possessor a second time, and are, probably of
all branches of luxury, the most useful. The livery of servants can be
of very little importance, whether morally or politically considered--it
is the act of maintaining men in idleness, who might be more profitably
employed, that makes the keeping a great number exceptionable; nor is a
man more degraded by going behind a carriage with a hat and feather, than
with a bonnet de police, or a plain beaver; but he eats just as much, and
earns just as little, equipped as a Carmagnole, as though glittering in
the most superb gala suit.*

* In their zeal to imitate the Roman republicans, the French seem to
forget that a political consideration very different from the love
of simplicity, or an idea of the dignity of man, made the Romans
averse from distinguishing their slaves by any external indication.
They were so numerous that it was thought impolitic to furnish them
with such means of knowing their own strength in case of a revolt.

The marks of service cannot be more degrading than service itself; and it
is the mere chicane of philosophy to extend reform only to cuffs and
collars, while we do not dispense with the services annexed to them. A
valet who walks the street in his powdering jacket, disdains a livery as
much as the fiercest republican, and with as much reason--for there is no
more difference between domestic occupation performed in one coat or
another, than there is between the party-coloured habit and the jacket.

If the luxury of carriages be an evil, it must be because the horses
employed in them consume the produce of land which might be more
beneficially cultivated: but the gilding, fringe, salamanders, and lions,
in all their heraldic positions, afford an easy livelihood to
manufacturers and artisans, who might not be capable of more laborious

I believe it will generally be found, that most of the republican reforms
are of this description--calculated only to impose on the people, and
disguising, by frivolous prohibitions, their real inutility. The
affectation of simplicity in a nation already familiarized with luxury,
only tends to divert the wealth of the rich to purposes which render it
more destructive. Vanity and ostentation, when they are excluded from
one means of gratification, will always seek another; and those who,
having the means, cannot distinguish themselves by ostensible splendour,
will often do so by domestic profusion.*

* "Sectaries (says Walpole in his Anecdotes of Painting, speaking of
the republicans under Cromwell) have no ostensible enjoyments; their
pleasures are private, comfortable and gross. The arts of civilized
society are not calculated for men who mean to rise on the ruins of
established order." Judging by comparison, I am persuaded these
observations are yet more applicable to the political, than the
religious opinions of the English republicans of that period; for,
in these respects, there is no difference between them and the
French of the present day, though there is a wide one between an
Anabaptist and the disciples of Boulanger and Voltaire.

--Nor can it well be disputed, that a gross luxury is more pernicious
than an elegant one; for the former consumes the necessaries of life
wantonly, while the latter maintains numerous hands in rendering things
valuable by the workmanship which are little so in themselves.

Every one who has been a reflecting spectator of the revolution will
acknowledge the justice of these observations. The agents and retainers
of government are the general monopolizers of the markets, and these men,
who are enriched by peculation, and are on all occasions retailing the
cant phrases of the Convention, on the _purete des moeurs republicains,
et la luxe de la ci-devant Noblesse,_ [The purity of republican manners,
and the luxury of the ci-devant Noblesse.] exhibit scandalous exceptions
to the national habits of oeconomy, at a time too when others more
deserving are often compelled to sacrifice even their essential
accommodations to a more rigid compliance with them.*

* Lindet, in a report on the situation of the republic, declares,
that since the revolution the consumption of wines and every article
of luxury has been such, that very little has been left for
exportation. I have selected the following specimens of republican
manners, from many others equally authentic, as they may be of some
utility to those who would wish to estimate what the French have
gained in this respect by a change of government.

"In the name of the French people the Representatives sent to
Commune Affranchie (Lyons) to promote the felicity of its
inhabitants, order the Committee of Sequestration to send them
immediately two hundred bottles of the best wine that can be
procured, also five hundred bottles of claret, of prime quality, for
their own table. For this purpose the commission are authorized to
take of the sequestration, wherever the above wine can be found.

Done at Commune Affranchie, thirteenth Nivose, second year.
(Signed) "Albitte,
"Deputies of the National Convention."

Extract of a denunciation of Citizen Boismartin against Citizen
Laplanche, member of the National Convention:

"The twenty-fourth of Brumaire, in the second year of the republic,
the Administrators of the district of St. Lo gave orders to the
municipality over which I at that time presided, to lodge the
Representative of the people, Laplanche, and General Siphert, in the
house of Citizen Lemonnier, who was then under arrest at Thorigni.
In introducing one of the founders of the republic, and a French
General, into this hospitable mansion, we thought to put the
property of our fellow-citizen under the safeguard of all the
virtues; but, alas, how were we mistaken! They had no sooner
entered the house, than the provisions of every sort, the linen,
clothes, furniture, trinkets, books, plate, carriages, and even
title-deeds, all disappeared; and, as if they purposely insulted our
wretchedness, while we were reduced to the sad necessity of
distributing with a parsimonious hand a few ounces of black bread to
our fellow-citizens, the best bread, pillaged from Citizen
Lemonnier, was lavished by buckets full to the horses of General
Siphert, and the Representative Laplanche.--The Citizen Lemonnier,
who is seventy years of age, having now recovered his liberty, which
he never deserved to lose, finds himself so entirely despoiled, that
he is at present obliged to live at an inn; and, of property to the
amount of sixty thousand livres, he has nothing left but a single
spoon, which he took with him when carried to one of the Bastilles
in the department de la Manche."

The chief defence of Laplanche consisted in allegations that the
said Citizen Lemonnier was rich, and a royalist, and that he had
found emblems of royalism and fanaticism about the house.

At the house of one of our common friends, I met --------, and so little
did I imagine that he had escaped all the revolutionary perils to which
he had been exposed, that I could almost have supposed myself in the
regions of the dead, or that he had been permitted to quit them, for his
being alive scarcely seemed less miraculous or incredible. As I had not
seen him since 1792, he gave me a very interesting detail of his
adventures, and his testimony corroborates the opinion generally
entertained by those who knew the late King, that he had much personal
courage, and that he lost his crown and his life by political indecision,
and an humane, but ill-judged, unwillingness to reduce his enemies by
force. He assured me, the Queen might have been conveyed out of France
previous to the tenth of August, if she would have agreed to leave the
King and her children behind; that she had twice consulted him on the
subject; but, persisting in her resolution not to depart unaccompanied by
her family, nothing practicable could be devised, and she determined to
share their fate.*

* The gentleman here alluded to has great talents, and is
particularly well acquainted with some of the most obscure and
disastrous periods of the French revolution. I have reason to
believe, whenever it is consistent with his own safety, he will, by
a genuine relation, expose many of the popular falsehoods by which
the public have been misled.

This, as well as many other instances of tenderness and heroism, which
distinguished the Queen under her misfortunes, accord but ill with the
vices imputed to her; and were not such imputations encouraged to serve
the cause of faction, rather than that of morality, these inconsistencies
would have been interpreted in her favour, and candour have palliated or
forgotten the levities of her youth, and remembered only the sorrows and
the virtues by which they were succeeded.

I had, in compliance with your request on my first arrival in France,
made a collection of prints of all the most conspicuous actors in the
revolution; but as they could not be secreted so easily as other papers,
my fears overcame my desire of obliging you, and I destroyed them
successively, as the originals became proscribed or were sacrificed.
Desirous of repairing my loss, I persuaded some friends to accompany me
to a shop, kept by a man of whom they frequently purchased, and whom, as
his principles were known to them, I might safely ask for the articles I
wanted. He shook his head, while he ran over my list, and then told me,
that having preferred his safety to his property, he had disposed of his
prints in the same way I had disposed of mine. "At the accession of a
new party, (continued he,) I always prepare for a domiciliary visit,
clear my windows and shelves of the exploded heads, and replace them by
those of their rivals. Nay, I assure you, since the revolution, our
trade is become as precarious as that of a gamester. The
Constitutionalists, indeed, held out pretty well, but then I was half
ruined by the fall of the Brissotins; and, before I could retrieve a
little by the Hebertists and Dantonists, the too were out of fashion."--
"Well, but the Robespierrians--you must have gained by them?"--"Why,
true; Robespierre and Marat, and Chalier, answered well enough, because
the royalists generally placed them in their houses to give themselves an
air of patriotism, yet they are gone after the rest.--Here, however,
(says he, taking down an engraving of the Abbe Sieyes,) is a piece of
merchandize that I have kept through all parties, religions, and
constitutions--_et le voila encore a la mode,_ ["And now you see him in
fashion again."] mounted on the wrecks, and supported by the remnants of
both his friends and enemies. _Ah! c'est un fin matois."_ ["Ah! He's a
knowing one."]

This conversation passed in a gay tone, though the man added, very
seriously, that the instability of popular factions, and their
intolerance towards each other, had obliged him to destroy to the amount
of some thousand livres, and that he intended, if affairs did not change,
to quit business.

Of all the prints I enquired for, I only got Barrere, Sieyes, and a few
others of less note. Your last commissions I have executed more
successfully, for though the necessaries of life are almost
unpurchaseable, articles of taste, books, perfumery, &c. are cheaper than
ever. This is unfortunately the reverse of what ought to be the case,
but the augmentation in the price of provisions is to be accounted for in
various ways, and that things of the description I allude to do not bear
a price in proportion is doubtless to be attributed to the present
poverty of those who used to be the purchasers of them; while the people
who are become rich under the new government are of a description to seek
for more substantial luxuries than books and essences.--I should however
observe, that the venders of any thing not perishable, and who are not
forced to sell for their daily subsistence, are solicitous to evade every
demand for any article which is to be paid for in assignats.

I was looking at some trinkets in a shop at the Palais Royal, and on my
asking the mistress of it if the ornaments were silver, she smiled
significantly, and replied, she had nothing silver nor gold in the shop,
but if I chose to purchase _en espece,_ she would show me whatever I
desired: _"Mais pour le papier nous n'en avons que trop."_ ["In coin, but
for paper we have already too much of it."]

Many of the old shops are nearly empty, and the little trade which yet
exists is carried on by a sort of adventurers who, without being bred to
any one trade, set up half a dozen, and perhaps disappear three months
afterwards. They are, I believe, chiefly men who have speculated on the
assignats, and as soon as they have turned their capital in a mercantile
way a short time, become apprehensive of the paper, realize it, and
retire; or, becoming bankrupts by some unlucky monopoly, begin a new
career of patriotism.

There is, properly speaking, no money in circulation, yet a vast quantity
is bought and sold. Annuitants, possessors of moderate landed property,
&c., finding it impossible to subsist on their incomes, are forced to
have recourse to the little specie they have reserved, and exchange it
for paper. Immense sums in coin are purchased by the government, to make
good the balance of their trade with the neutral countries for
provisions, so that I should suppose, if this continue a few months, very
little will be left in the country.

One might be tempted to fancy there is something in the atmosphere of
Paris which adapts the minds of its inhabitants to their political
situation. They talk of the day appointed for a revolt a fortnight
before, as though it were a fete, and the most timid begin to be inured
to a state of agitation and apprehension, and to consider it as a natural
vicissitude that their lives should be endangered periodically.

A commission has been employed for some time in devising another new
constitution, which is to be proposed to the Assembly on the thirteenth
of this month; and on that day, it is said, an effort is to be made by
the royalists. They are certainly very numerous, and the interest taken
in the young King is universal. In vain have the journalists been
forbidden to cherish these sentiments, by publishing details concerning
him: whatever escapes the walls of his prison is circulated in impatient
whispers, and requires neither printing nor gazettes a la main to give it

* Under the monarchy people disseminated anecdotes or intelligence
which they did not think it safe to print, by means of these written
gazettes.--I doubt if any one would venture to have recourse to them
at present.

--The child is reported to be ill, and in a kind of stupefaction, so as
to sit whole days without speaking or moving: this is not natural at his
age, and must be the consequence of neglect, or barbarous treatment.

The Committees of Government, and indeed most of the Convention who have
occasionally appeared to give tacit indications of favouring the
royalists, in order to secure their support against the Jacobins, having
now crushed the latter, begin to be seriously alarmed at the projects of
the former.--Sevestre, in the name of the Committee of Public Safety,
has announced that a formidable insurrection may be expected on the
twenty-fifth of Prairial, (thirteenth June,) the Deputies on mission are
ordered to return, and the Assembly propose to die under the ruins of the
republic. They have, notwithstanding, judged it expedient to fortify
these heroic dispositions by the aid of a military force, and a large
number of regular troops are in Paris and the environs. We shall
certainly depart before this menacing epoch: the application for our
passports was made on our first arrival, and Citizen Liebault, Principal
of the Office for Foreign Affairs, who is really very civil, has promised
them in a day or two.

Our journey here was, in fact, unnecessary; but we have few republican
acquaintance, and those who are called aristocrats do not execute
commission of this kind zealously, nor without some apprehensions of
committing themselves.--You will wonder that I find time to write to you,
nor do I pretend to assume much merit from it. We have not often courage
to frequent public places in the evening, and, when we do, I continually
dread some unlucky accident: either a riot between the Terrorists and
Muscadins, within, or a military investment without. The last time we
were at the theatre, a French gentleman, who was our escort, entered into
a trifling altercation with a rude vulgar-looking man, in the box, who
seemed to speak in a very authoritative tone, and I know not how the
matter might have ended, had not a friend in the next box silenced our
companion, by conveying a penciled card, which informed him the person he
was disputing with was a Deputy of the Convention. We took an early
opportunity of retreating, not perfectly at ease about the consequences
which might ensue from Mr. -------- having ventured to differ in opinion
from a Member of the Republican Legislature. Since that time we have
passed our evenings in private societies, or at home; and while Mr.
D-------- devours new pamphlets, and Mrs. D-------- and the lady we lodge
with recount their mutual sufferings at Arras and St. Pelagie, I take the
opportunity of writing.


Paris, June 12, 1795.

The hopes and fears, plots and counterplots, of both royalists and
republicans, are now suspended by the death of the young King. This
event was announced on Tuesday last, and since that time the minds and
conversation of the public have been entirely occupied by it. Latent
suspicion, and regret unwillingly suppressed, are every where visible;
and, in the fond interest taken in this child's life, it seems to be
forgotten that it is the lot of man "to pass through nature to eternity,"
and that it was possible for him to die without being sacrificed by human

All that has been said and written on original equality has not yet
persuaded the people that the fate of Kings is regulated only by the
ordinary dispensations of Providence; and they seem to persist in
believing, that royalty, if it has not a more fortunate pre-eminence, is
at least distinguished by an unusual portion of calamities.

When we recollect the various and absurd stories which have been
propagated and believed at the death of Monarchs or their offspring,
without even a single ground either political or physical to justify
them, we cannot now wonder, when so many circumstances of every kind tend
to excite suspicion, that the public opinion should be influenced, and
attribute the death of the King to poison. The child is allowed to have
been of a lively disposition, and, even long after his seclusion from his
family, to have frequently amused himself by singing at the window of his
prison, until the interest he was observed to create in those who
listened under it, occasioned an order to prevent him. It is therefore
extraordinary, that he should lately have appeared in a state of
stupefaction, which is by no means a symptom of the disorder he is
alledged to have died of, but a very common one of opiates improperly

* In order to account in some way for the state in which the young
King had lately appeared, it was reported that he had been in the
habit of drinking strong liquors to excess. Admitting this to be
true, they must have been furnished for him, for he could have no
means of procuring them.--It is not inapposite to record, that on a
petition being formerly presented to the legislature from the
Jacobin societies, praying that the "son of the tyrant" might be put
to death, an honourable mention in the national bulletin was
unanimously decreed!!!

Though this presumption, if supported by the evidence of external
appearances, may seem but of little weight; when combined with others, of
a moral and political nature, it becomes of considerable importance. The
people, long amused by a supposed design of the Convention to place the
Dauphin on the throne, were now become impatient to see their wishes
realized; or, they hoped that a renewal of the representative body,
which, if conducted with freedom, must infallibly lead to the
accomplishment of this object, would at least deliver them from an
Assembly which they considered as exhausted in talents and degraded in
reputation.--These dispositions were not attempted to be concealed; they
were manifested on all occasions: and a general and successful effort in
favour of the Royal Prisoner was expected to take place on the

* That there were such designs, and such expectations on the part of
the people, is indubitable. The following extract, written and
signed by one of the editors of the _Moniteur,_ is sufficiently
expressive of the temper of the public at this period; and I must
observe here, that the _Moniteur_ is to be considered as nearly
equivalent to an official paper, and is always supposed to express
the sense of government, by whom it is supported and paid, whatever
party or system may happen to prevail:

_"Les esperances les plus folles se manifestent de toutes parts.--
C'est a qui jettera plus promptement le masque--on dirait, a lire
les ecrits qui paraissent, a entendre les conversations des gens qui
se croient dans les confidences, que c'en est fait de la republique:
la Convention, secondee, poussee meme par le zele et l'energie des
bons citoyens a remporte une grande victoire sur les Terroristes,
sur les successeurs de Robespierre, il semble qu'elle n'ait plus
qu'a proclamer la royaute. Ce qui donne lieu a toutes les
conjectures plus ou moins absurdes aux quelles chacun se livre,
c'est l'approche du 25 Prairial."_ (13th June, the day on which the
new constitution was to be presented).

"The most extravagant hopes, and a general impatience to throw off
the mask are manifested on all sides.--To witness the publications
that appear, and to hear what is said by those who believe
themselves in the secret, one would suppose that it was all over
with the republic.--The Convention seconded, impelled even, by the
good citizens, has gained a victory over the Terrorists and the
successors of Robespierre, and now it should seem that nothing
remained to be done by to proclaim royalty--what particularly gives
rise to these absurdities, which exist more or less in the minds of
all, is the approach of the 25th Prairial."
_Moniteur,_ June 6, 1795.

Perhaps the majority of the Convention, under the hope of securing
impunity for their past crimes, might have yielded to the popular
impulse; but the government is no longer in the hands of those men who,
having shared the power of Robespierre before they succeeded him, might,
as Rabaut St. Etienne expressed himself, "be wearied of their portion of

* -"Je suis las de la portion de tyrannie que j'exerce."---"I am
weary of the portion of tyranny which I exercise."
Rabaut de St. Etienne

--The remains of the Brissotins, with their newly-acquired authority,
have vanity, interest, and revenge, to satiate; and there is no reason to
suppose that a crime, which should favour these views, would, in their
estimation, be considered otherwise than venial. To these are added
Sieyes, Louvet, &c. men not only eager to retain their power, but known
to have been of the Orleans faction, and who, if they are royalists, are
not loyalists, and the last persons to whose care a son of Louis the
Sixteenth ought to have been intrusted.

At this crisis, then, when the Convention could no longer temporize with
the expectations it raised--when the government was divided between one
party who had deposed the King to gratify their own ambition, and another
who had lent their assistance in order to facilitate the pretensions of
an usurper--and when the hopes of the country were anxiously fixed on
him, died Louis the Seventeenth. At an age which, in common life, is
perhaps the only portion of our existence unalloyed by misery, this
innocent child had suffered more than is often the lot of extended years
and mature guilt. He lived to see his father sent to the scaffold--to be
torn from his mother and family--to drudge in the service of brutality
and insolence--and to want those cares and necessaries which are not
refused even to the infant mendicant, whose wretchedness contributes to
the support of his parents.*

* It is unnecessary to remind the reader, that the Dauphin had been
under the care of one Simon, a shoemaker, who employed him to clean
his (Simon's) shoes, and in any other drudgery of which his close
confinement admitted.

--When his death was announced to the Convention, Sevestre, the reporter,
acknowledged that Dessault, the surgeon, had some time since declared the
case to be dangerous; yet, notwithstanding policy as well as humanity
required that every appearance of mystery and harshness should, on such
an occasion, be avoided, the poor child continued to be secluded with the
same barbarous jealousy--nor was the Princess, his sister, whose evidence
on the subject would have been so conclusive, ever suffered to approach

No report of Dessault's opinion had till now been made public; and
Dessault himself, who was an honest man, died of an inflammatory disorder
four days before the Dauphin.--It is possible, he might have expressed
himself too freely, respecting his patient, to those who employed him--
his future discretion might be doubted--or, perhaps, he was only called
in at first, that his character might give a sanction to the future
operations of those who were more confided in. But whether this event is
to be ascribed to natural causes, or to that of opiates, the times and
circumstances render it peculiarly liable to suspicions, and the
reputation of those who are involved, is not calculated to repel them.
Indeed, so conscious are the advocates of government, that the imputation
cannot be obviated by pleading the integrity of the parties, that they
seem to rest their sole defence on the inutility of a murder, which only
transfers whatever rights the House of Bourbon may be supposed to
possess, from one branch of it to another. Yet those who make use of
this argument are well aware of its fallaciousness: the shades of
political opinion in France are extremely diversified, and a considerable
part of the Royalists are also Constitutionalists, whom it will require
time and necessity to reconcile to the emigrant Princes. But the young
King had neither enemies nor errors--and his claims would have united the
efforts and affections of all parties, from the friends of the monarchy,
as it existed under Louis the Fourteenth, down to the converted
Republican, who compromises with his principles, and stipulates for the
title of Perpetual President.

That the removal of this child has been fortunate for those who govern,
is proved by the effect: insurrections are no longer talked of, the
royalists are confounded, the point of interest is no more, and a sort of
despondency and confusion prevails, which is highly favourable to a
continuance of the present system.--There is no doubt, but that when
men's minds become more settled, the advantage of having a Prince who is
capable of acting, and whose success will not be accompanied by a long
minority, will conciliate all the reflecting part of the constitutional
royalists, in spite of their political objections. But the people who
are more under the influence of their feelings, and yield less to
expediency, may not, till urged by distress and anarchy, be brought to
take the same interest in the absent claimant of the throne, that they
did in their infant Prince.

It is to be regretted, that an habitual and unconquerable deference for
the law which excludes females from the Crown of France, should have
survived monarchy itself; otherwise the tender compassion excited by the
youth, beauty and sufferings of the Princess, might yet have been the
means of procuring peace to this distracted country. But the French
admire, lament, and leave her to her fate--

"O, shame of Gallia, in one sullen tower
"She wets with royal tears her daily cell;
"She finds keen anguish every rose devour,
"They spring, they bloom, then bid the world farewell.
"Illustrious mourner! will no gallant mind
"The cause of love, the cause of justice own?
"Such claims! such charms! And is no life resign'd
"To see them sparkle from their parent throne?"

How inconsistent do we often become through prejudices! The French are
at this moment governed by adventurers and courtezans--by whatever is
base, degraded, or mean, in both sexes; yet, perhaps, would they blush to
see enrolled among their Sovereigns an innocent and beautiful Princess,
the descendant of Henry the Fourth.

Nothing since our arrival at Paris has seemed more strange than the
eagerness with which every one recounts some atrocity, either committed
or suffered by his fellow-citizens; and all seem to conclude, that the
guilt or shame of these scenes is so divided by being general, that no
share of either attaches to any individual. They are never tired of the
details of popular or judicial massacres; and so zealous are they to do
the honours of the place, that I might, but for disinclination on my
part, pass half my time in visiting the spots where they were
perpetrated. It was but to-day I was requested to go and examine a kind
of sewer, lately described by Louvet, in the Convention, where the blood
of those who suffered at the Guillotine was daily carried in buckets, by
men employed for the purpose.*

* "At the gate of St. Antoine an immense aqueduct had been
constructed for the purpose of carrying off the blood that was shed
at the executions, and every day four men were employed in taking it
up in buckets, and conveying it to this horrid reservoir of
Louvet's Report, 2d May.

--These barbarous propensities have long been the theme of French
satyrists; and though I do not pretend to infer that they are national,
yet certainly the revolution has produced instances of ferocity not to be
paralleled in any country that ever had been civilized, and still less in
one that had not.*

* It would be too shocking, both to decency and humanity, to recite
the more serious enormities alluded to; and I only add, to those I
have formerly mentioned, a few examples which particularly describe
the manners of the revolution.--

At Metz, the heads of the guillotined were placed on the tops of
their own houses. The Guillotine was stationary, fronting the
Town-house, for months; and whoever was observed to pass it with
looks of disapprobation, was marked as an object of suspicion. A
popular Commission, instituted for receiving the revolutionary tax
at this place, held their meetings in a room hung with stripes of
red and black, lighted only with sepulchral lamps; and on the desk
was placed a small Guillotine, surrounded by daggers and swords. In
this vault, and amidst this gloomy apparatus, the inhabitants of
Metz brought their patriotic gifts, (that is, the arbitrary and
exorbitant contributions to which they were condemned,) and laid
them on the altar of the Guillotine, like the sacrifice of fear to
the infernal deities; and, that the keeping of the whole business
might be preserved, the receipts were signed with red ink, avowedly
intended as expressive of the reigning system.

At Cahors, the deputy, Taillefer, after making a triumphal entry
with several waggons full of people whom he had arrested, ordered a
Guillotine to be erected in the square, and some of the prisoners to
be brought forth and decorated in a mock costume representing Kings,
Queens, and Nobility. He then obliged them successively to pay
homage to the Guillotine, as though it had been a throne, the
executioner manoeuvring the instrument all the while, and exciting
the people to call for the heads of those who were forced to act in
this horrid farce. The attempt, however, did not succeed, and the
spectators retired in silent indignation.

At Laval, the head of Laroche, a deputy of the Constituent Assembly,
was exhibited (by order of Lavallee, a deputy there on mission) on
the house inhabited by his wife.--At Auch, in the department of
Gers, d'Artigoyte, another deputy, obliged some of the people under
arrest to eat out of a manger.--Borie used to amuse himself, and the
inhabitants of Nismes, by dancing what he called a farandole round
the Guillotine in his legislative costume.--The representative
Lejeune solaced his leisure hours in beheading animals with a
miniature Guillotine, the expence of which he had placed to the
account of the nation; and so much was he delighted with it, that
the poultry served at his table were submitted to its operation, as
well as the fruits at his dessert! (Debates, June 1.)

But it would be tedious and disgusting to describe all the _menus
plaisirs_ of these founders of the French republic. Let it suffice
to say, that they comprised whatever is ludicrous, sanguinary, and
licentious, and that such examples were but too successful in
procuring imitators. At Tours, even the women wore Guillotines in
their ears, and it was not unusual for people to seal their letters
with a similar representation!

We have been once at the theatre since the King's death, and the stanza
of the _Reveil du Peuple,_ [The rousing of the people.] which contains a
compliment to the Convention, was hissed pretty generally, while those
expressing an abhorrence of Jacobinism were sung with enthusiasm. But
the sincerity of these musical politics is not always to be relied on: a
popular air is caught and echoed with avidity; and whether the words be
_"Peuple Francais, peuple de Freres,"_ ["Brethren."]--or _"Dansons la
Guillotine,"_ the expression with which it is sung is not very different.
How often have the theatres resounded with _"Dieu de clemence et de
justice."_ ["God of mercy and justice."] and _"Liberte, Liberte,
cherie!"_ ["Liberty, beloved Liberty!"] while the instrument of death was
in a state of unceasing activity--and when the auditors, who joined in
these invocations to Liberty, returned to their homes trembling, lest
they should be arrested in the street, or find a mandate or guard at
their own houses.*

* An acquaintance of mine told me, that he was one evening in
company at Dijon, where, after singing hymns to liberty in the most
energetic style, all the party were arrested, and betook themselves
as tranquilly to prison, as though the name of liberty had been
unknown to them. The municipality of Dijon commonly issued their
writs of arrest in this form--"Such and such a person shall be
arrested, and his wife, if he has one!"

--At present, however, the Parisians really sing the _Reveil_ from
principle, and I doubt if even a new and more agreeable air in the
Jacobin interest would be able to supplant it.

We have had our permission to remain here extended to another Decade; but
Mr. D------, who declares, ten times in an hour, that the French are the
strangest people on earth, besides being the most barbarous and the most
frivolous, is impatient to be gone; and as we now have our passports, I
believe we shall depart the middle of next week.


Paris, June 15, 1795.

I am now, after a residence of more than three years, amidst the chaos of
a revolution, on the eve of my departure from France. Yet, while I
joyfully prepare to revisit my own country, my mind involuntarily traces
the rapid succession of calamities which have filled this period, and
dwells with painful contemplation on those changes in the morals and
condition of the French people that seem hitherto to be the only fruits
which they have produced. In this recurrence to the past, and estimation
of the present, however we may regret the persecution of wealth, the
destruction of commerce, and the general oppression, the most important
and irretrievable mischief of the revolution is, doubtless, the
corruption of manners introduced among the middle and lower classes of
the people.

The labouring poor of France have often been described as frugal,
thoughtless, and happy, earning, indeed, but little, yet spending still
less, and in general able to procure such a subsistence as their habits
and climate rendered agreeable and sufficient.*

* Mr. Young seems to have been persuaded, that the common people of
France worked harder, and were worse fed, than those of the same
description in England. Yet, as far as I have had opportunity of
observing, and from the information I have been able to procure, I
cannot help supposing that this gentleman has drawn his inference
partially, and that he has often compared some particular case of
distress, with the general situation of the peasantry in the rich
counties, which are the scene of his experiments. The peasantry of
many distant parts of England fare as coarsely, and labour harder,
than was common in France; and taking their habits of frugality,
their disposition to be satisfied, and their climate into the
account, the situation of the French perhaps was preferable.

Mr. Young's Tour has been quoted very triumphantly by a Noble Lord,
particularly a passage which laments and ascribes to political
causes the appearance of premature old age, observable in French
women of the lower classes. Yet, for the satisfaction of his
Lordship's benevolence and gallantry, I can assure him, that the
female peasants in France have not more laborious occupations than
those of England, but they wear no stays, and expose themselves to
all weathers without hats; in consequence, lose their shape, tan
their complexions, and harden their features so as to look much
older than they really are.--Mr. Young's book is translated into
French, and I have too high an opinion both of his principles and
his talents to doubt that he must regret the ill effects it may have
had in France, and the use that has been made of it in England.

--They are now become idle, profuse, and gloomy; their poverty is
embittered by fanciful claims to riches and a taste for expence. They
work with despair and unwillingness, because they can no longer live by
their labour; and, alternately the victims of intemperance or want, they
are often to be found in a state of intoxication, when they have not been
able to satisfy their hunger--for, as bread cannot always be purchased
with paper, they procure a temporary support, at the expence of their
health and morals, in the destructive substitute of strong liquors.

Those of the next class, such as working tradesmen, artizans, and
domestic servants, though less wretched, are far more dissolute; and it
is not uncommon in great towns to see men of this description unite the
ferociousness of savages with all the vices of systematic profligacy.
The original principles of the revolution, of themselves, naturally
tended to produce such a depravation; but the suspension of religious
worship, the conduct of the Deputies on mission, and the universal
immorality of the existing government, must have considerably hastened
it. When the people were forbidden the exercise of their religion,
though they did not cease to be attached to it, yet they lost the good
effects which even external forms alone are calculated to produce; and
while deism and atheism failed in perverting their faith, they were but
too successful in corrupting their morals.

As in all countries the restraints which religion imposes are more
readily submitted to by the inferior ranks of life, it is these which
must be most affected by its abolition; and we cannot wonder, that when
men have been once accustomed to neglect the duty they consider as most
essential, they should in time become capable of violating every other:
for, however it may be among the learned, _qui s'aveuglent a force de
lumiere,_ [Who blind themselves by excess of light. Destouchet.] with
the ignorant the transition from religious indifference to actual vice is
rapid and certain.

The Missionaries of the Convention, who for two years extended their
destructive depredations over the departments, were every where guilty of
the most odious excesses, and those least culpable offered examples of
licentiousness and intemperance with which, till then, the people had
never been familiar.*

* "When the Convention was elected, (says Durand Maillane, see
Report of the Committee of Legislation, 13th Prairial, 1st June,)
the choice fell upon men who abused the name of patriot, and adopted
it as a cloak for their vices.--Vainly do we inculcate justice, and
expect the Tribunals will bring thieves and assassins to punishment,
if we do not punish those amongst ourselves.--Vainly shall we talk
of republican manners and democratic government, while our
representatives carry into the departments examples of despotism and

The conduct of these civilized banditti has been sufficiently
described. Allard, Lacoste, Mallarme, Milhaud, Laplanche,
Monestier, Guyardin, Sergent, and many others, were not only
ferocious and extravagant, but known to have been guilty of the
meanest thefts. Javoques is alledged to have sacrificed two hundred
people of Montibrison, and to have stolen a vast quantity of their
effects. It was common for him to say, that he acknowledged as true
patriots those only who, like himself, _"etaient capables de boire
une verre de sang,"_--("were capable of drinking a glass of blood.")
D'Artigoyte distinguished himself by such scandalous violations of
morals and decency, that they are not fit to be recited. He often
obliged married women, by menaces, to bring their daughters to the
Jacobin clubs, for the purpose of insulting them with the grossest
obscenities.--Having a project of getting up a play for his
amusement, he caused it to be declared, that those who had any
talents for acting, and did not present themselves, should be
imprisoned as suspects. And it is notorious, that this same Deputy
once insulted all the women present at the theatre, and, after using
the most obscene language for some time, concluded by stripping
himself entirely in presence of the spectators.
Report of the Committee of Legislation, 13th Prairial (1st of

Lacoste and Baudet, when they were on mission at Strasburgh, lived
in daily riot and intoxication with the members of the Revolutionary
Tribunal, who, after qualifying themselves in these orgies,
proceeded to condemn all the prisoners brought before them.--During
the debate following the above quoted report, Dentzel accused
Lacoste, among other larcenies, of having purloined some shirts
belonging to himself; and addressing Lacoste, who was present in the
Assembly, with true democratic frankness, adds, _"Je suis sur qu'il
en a une sur le corps."_--("I am certain he has one of them on at
this moment.") Debate, 1st of June.

The following is a translation of a letter from Piorry,
Representative of the People, to the popular society of Poitiers:--
"My honest and determined _Sans Culottes,_ as you seemed to desire a
Deputy amongst you who has never deviated from the right principles,
that is to say, a true Mountaineeer, I fulfil your wishes in sending
you the Citizen Ingrand.--Remember, honest and determined _Sans
Culottes,_ that with the sanction of the patriot Ingrand, you may do
every thing, obtain every thing, destroy every thing--imprison all,
try all, transport all, or guillotine all. Don't spare him a
moment; and thus, through his means, all may tremble, every thing be
swept away, and, finally, be re-established in lasting order.
(Signed) "Piorry."

The gentleman who translated the above for me, subjoined, that he
had omitted various oaths too bad for translation.--This Piorry
always attended the executions, and as fast as a head fell, used to
wave his hat in the air, and cry, _"Vive la Republique!"_

Such are the founders of the French Republic, and such the means by
which it has been supported!

--It may be admitted, that the lives of the higher Noblesse were not
always edifying; but if their dissipation was public, their vices were
less so, and the scenes of both were for the most part confined to Paris.
What they did not practise themselves, they at least did not discourage
in others; and though they might be too indolent to endeavour at
preserving the morals of their dependents, they knew their own interest
too well to assist in depraving them.

But the Representatives, and their agents, are not to be considered
merely as individuals who have corrupted only by example;--they were
armed with unlimited authority, and made proselytes through fear, where
they failed to produce them from inclination. A contempt for religion or
decency has been considered as the test of an attachment to the
government; and a gross infraction of any moral or social duty as a proof
of civism, and a victory over prejudice. Whoever dreaded an arrest, or
courted an office, affected profaneness and profligacy--and, doubtless,
many who at first assumed an appearance of vice from timidity, in the end
contracted a preference for it. I myself know instances of several who
began by deploring that they were no longer able to practise the duties
of their religion, and ended by ridiculing or fearing them. Industrious
mechanics, who used to go regularly to mass, and bestow their weekly
_liard_ on the poor, after a month's revolutionising, in the suite of a
Deputy, have danced round the flames which consumed the sacred writings,
and become as licentious and dishonest as their leader.

The general principles of the Convention have been adapted to sanction
and accelerate the labours of their itinerant colleagues. The sentences
of felons were often reversed, in consideration of their "patriotism"--
women of scandalous lives have been pensioned, and complimented publicly
--and various decrees passed, all tending to promote a national
dissoluteness of manners.*

* Among others, a decree which gave all illegitimate children a
claim to an equal participation in the property of the father to
whom they should (at the discretion of the mother) be attributed.

--The evil propensities of our nature, which penal laws and moralists
vainly contend against, were fostered by praise, and stimulated by
reward--all the established distinctions of right and wrong confounded--
and a system of revolutionary ethics adopted, not less incompatible with
the happiness of mankind than revolutionary politics.

Thus, all the purposes for which this general demoralization was
promoted, being at length attained, those who were rich having been
pillaged, those who were feared massacred, and a croud of needy and
desperate adventurers attached to the fate of the revolution, the
expediency of a reform has lately been suggested. But the mischief is
already irreparable. Whatever was good in the national character is
vitiated; and I do not scruple to assert, that the revolution has both
destroyed the morals of the people, and rendered their condition less
happy*--that they are not only removed to a greater distance from the
possession of rational liberty, but are become more unfit for it than

* It has been asserted, with a view to serve the purposes of party,
that the condition of the lower classes in France was mended by the
revolution. If those who advance this were not either partial or
ill-informed, they would observe that the largesses of the
Convention are always intended to palliate some misery, the
consequence of the revolution, and not to banish what is said to
have existed before. For the most part, these philanthropic
projects are never carried into effect, and when they are, it is to
answer political purposes.--For instance, many idle people are kept
in pay to applaud at the debates and executions, and assignats are
distributed to those who have sons serving in the army. The
tendency of both these donations needs no comment. The last, which
is the most specious, only affords a means of temporary profusion to
people whose children are no incumbrance to them, while such as have
numerous and helpless families, are left without assistance. Even
the poorest people now regard the national paper with contempt; and,
persuaded it must soon be of no value, they eagerly squander
whatever they receive, without care for the future.

As I have frequently, in the course of these letters, had occasion to
quote from the debates of the Convention, and other recent publications,
I ought to observe that the French language, like every thing else in the
country, has been a subject of innovation--new words have been invented,
the meaning of old ones has been changed, and a sort of jargon,
compounded of the appropriate terms of various arts and sciences,
introduced, which habit alone can render intelligible. There is scarcely
a report read in the Convention that does not exhibit every possible
example of the Bathos, together with more conceits than are to be found
in a writer of the sixteenth century; and I doubt whether any of their
projects of legislation or finance would be understood by Montesquieu or

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