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History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 by F. A. M. Mignet

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murmur rose in the assembly. Fréron, rendering himself the organ of the
general indignation, exclaimed: "I demand that at last the earth be
delivered from that monster, and that Fouquier be sent to hell, there to
wallow in the blood he has shed." His proposition was applauded, and
Fouquier's accusation decreed. Barrère, however, did not regard himself as
defeated; he still retained toward the convention the imperious language
which the old committee had made use of with success; this was at once
habit and calculation on his part; for he well knew that nothing is so
easily continued as that which has been successful.

But the political tergiversations of Barrère, a man of noble birth, and
who was a royalist Feuillant before the 10th of August, did not
countenance his assuming this imperious and inflexible tone. "Who is this
president of the Feuillants," said Merlin de Thionville, "who assumes to
dictate to us the law?" The hall resounded with applause. Barrère became
confused, left the tribune, and this first check of the committees
indicated their decline in the convention. The revolutionary tribunal
continued to exist, but with other members and another organization. The
law of the 22nd Prairial was abolished, and there were now as much
deliberation and moderation, as many protecting forms in trials, as before
there had been precipitation and inhumanity. This tribunal was no longer
made use of against persons formerly suspected, who were still detained in
prison, though under milder treatment, and who, by degrees, were restored
to liberty on the plan proposed by Camille Desmoulins for his Committee of

On the 13th of Thermidor the government itself became the subject of
discussion. The committee of public safety was deficient in many members;
Hérault de Séchelles had never been replaced; Jean-Bon-Saint-André and
Prieur de la Marne were on missions; Robespierre, Couthon, and Saint-Just
had perished on the scaffold. In the places of these were appointed
Tallien, Bréard, Echassériaux, Treilhard, Thuriot, and Laloi, whose
accession lessened still more the influence of the old members. At the
same time, were reorganized the two committees, so as to render them more
dependent on the assembly, and less so on one another. The committee of
public safety was charged with military and diplomatic operations; that of
general safety with internal administration. As it was desired, by
limiting the revolutionary power, to calm the fever which had excited the
multitude; and gradually to disperse them, the daily meetings of the
sections were reduced to one in every ten days; and the pay of forty sous
a day, lately given to every indigent citizen who attended them, was

These measures being carried into effect, on the 11th of Fructidor, one
month after the death of Robespierre, Lecointre of Versailles denounced
Billaud, Collot, Barrère, of the committee of public safety; and Vadier,
Amar, and Vouland, of the committee of general safety. The evening before,
Tallien had vehemently assailed the reign of terror, and Lecointre was.
encouraged to his attack by the sensation which Tallien's speech had
produced. He brought twenty-three charges against the accused; he imputed
to them all the measures of cruelty or tyranny which they threw on the
triumvirs, and called them the successors of Robespierre. This
denunciation agitated the assembly, and more especially those who
supported the committees, or who wished that divisions might cease in the
republic. "If the crimes Lecointre reproaches us with were proved," said
Billaud-Varennes--"if they were as real as they are absurd and chimerical,
there is, doubtless, not one of us but would deserve to lose his head on
the scaffold. But I defy Lecointre to prove, by documents or any evidence
worthy of belief, any of the facts he has charged us with." He repelled
the charges brought against him by Lecointre; he reproached his enemies
with being corrupt and intriguing men, who wished to sacrifice him to the
memory of Danton, _an odious conspirator, the hope of all parricidal
factions_. "What seek these men," he continued--"what seek these men who
call us the successors of Robespierre? Citizens, know you what they seek?
To destroy liberty on the tomb of the tyrant." Lecointre's denunciation
was premature; almost all the convention pronounced it calumnious. The
accused and their friends gave way to outbursts of unrestrained and still
powerful indignation, for they were now attacked for the first time; the
accuser, scarcely supported by any one, was silenced. Billaud-Varennes and
his friends triumphed for the time.

A few days after, the period for renewing a third of the committee
arrived. The following members were fixed on by lot to retire: Barrère,
Carnot, Robert Lindet, in the committee of public safety; Vadier, Vouland,
Moise Baile in the committee of general safety. They were replaced by
Thermidorians; and Collot-d'Herbois, as well as Billaud-Varennes, finding
themselves too weak, resigned. Another circumstance contributed still more
to the fall of their party, by exciting public opinion against it; this
was the publicity given to the crimes of Joseph Lebon and Carrier, two of
the proconsuls of the committee. They had been sent, the one to Arras and
to Cambrai, the frontier exposed to invasion; the other to Nantes, the
limit of the Vendéan war. They had signalized their mission by, beyond all
others, displaying a cruelty and a caprice of tyranny, which are, however,
generally found in those who are invested with supreme human power. Lebon,
young and of a weak constitution, was naturally mild. On a first mission,
he had been humane; but he was censured for this by the committee, and
sent to Arras, with orders to show himself _somewhat more revolutionary_.
Not to fall short of the inexorable policy of the committee, he gave way
to unheard of excesses; he mingled debauchery with extermination; he had
the guillotine always in his presence, and called it holy. He associated
with the executioner, and admitted him to his table. Carrier, having more
victims to strike, surpassed even Lebon; he was bilious, fanatical, and
naturally blood-thirsty. He had only awaited the opportunity to execute
enormities that the imagination even of Marat would not have dared to
conceive. Sent to the borders of an insurgent country, he condemned to
death the whole hostile population--priests, women, children, old men, and
girls. As the scaffold did not suffice for his cruelty, he substituted a
company of assassins, called Marat's company, for the revolutionary
tribune, and, for the guillotine, boats, with false bottoms, by means of
which he drowned his victims in the Loire. Cries of vengeance and justice
were raised against these enormities. After the 9th of Thermidor, Lebon
was attacked first, because he was more especially the agent of
Robespierre. Carrier, who was that of the committee of public safety, and
of whose conduct Robespierre had disapproved, was prosecuted subsequently.

There were in the prisons of Paris ninety-four people of Nantes, sincerely
attached to the revolution, and who had defended their town with courage
during the attack made on it by the Vendéans. Carrier had sent them to
Paris as federalists. It had not been deemed safe to bring them before the
revolutionary tribunal until the ninth of Thermidor; they were then taken
there for the purpose of unmasking, by their trial, the crimes of Carrier.
They were tried purposely with prolonged solemnity; their trial lasted
nearly a month; there was time given for public opinion to declare itself;
and on their acquittal, there was a general demand for justice on the
revolutionary committee of Nantes, and on the proconsul Carrier. Legendre
renewed Lecointre's impeachment of Billaud, Barrère, Collot, and Vadier,
who were generously defended by Carnot, Prieur, and Cambon, their former
colleagues, who demanded to share their fate. Lecointre's motion was not
attended with any result; and, for the present, they only brought to trial
the members of the revolutionary committee of Nantes; but we may observe
the progress of the Thermidorian party. This time the members of the
committee were obliged to have recourse to defence, and the convention
simply passed to the order of the day, on the question of the denunciation
made by Legendre, without voting it calumnious, as they had done that of

The revolutionary democrats were, however, still very powerful in Paris:
if they had lost the commune, the tribunal, the convention, and the
committee, they yet retained the Jacobins and the faubourgs. It was in
these popular societies that their party concentrated, especially for the
purpose of defending themselves. Carrier attended them assiduously, and
invoked their assistance; Billaud-Varennes, and Collot-d'Herbois also
resorted to them; but these being somewhat less threatened were
circumspect. They were accordingly censured for their silence. "_The lion
sleeps_," replied Billaud-Varennes, "_but his waking will be terrible_."
This club had been expurgated after the 10th Thermidor, and it had
congratulated the convention in the name of the regenerated societies, on
the fall of Robespierre and of tyranny. About this time, as many of its
leaders were proceeded against, and many Jacobins were imprisoned in the
departments, it came in the name of the united societies "_to give
utterance to the cry of grief that resounded from every part of the
republic, and to the voice of oppressed patriots, plunged in the dungeons
which the aristocrats had just left_."

The convention, far from yielding to the Jacobins, prohibited, for the
purpose of destroying their influence, all collective petitions, branch-
associations, correspondence, etc., between the parent society and its
off-sets, and in this way disorganized the famous confederation of the
clubs. The Jacobins, rejected from the convention, began to agitate Paris,
where they were still masters. Then the Thermidorians also began to
convoke their people, by appealing to the support of the sections. At the
same time Fréron called the young men at arms, in his journal _l'Orateur
du Peuple_, and placed himself at their head. This new and irregular
militia called itself _La jeunesse dorée de Fréron_. All those who
composed it belonged to the rich and the middle class; they had adopted a
particular costume, called _Costume à la victime_. Instead of the blouse
of the Jacobins, they wore a square open coat and very low shoes; the
hair, long at the sides, was turned up behind, with tresses called
_cadenettes_; they were armed with short sticks, leadened and formed like
bludgeons. Some of these young men and some of the sectionaries were
royalists; others followed the impulse of the moment, which was anti-
revolutionary. The latter acted without object or ambition, declaring in
favour of the strongest party, especially when the triumph of that party
promised to restore order, the want of which was generally felt. The other
contended under the Thermidorians against the old committees, as the
Thermidorians had contended under the old committees against Robespierre;
it waited for an opportunity of acting on its own account, which occurred
after the entire downfall of the revolutionary party. In the violent
situation of the two parties, actuated by fear and resentment, they
pursued each other ruthlessly and often came to blows in the streets to
the cry of "Vive la Montagne!" or "Vive la Convention!" The _jeunesse
dorée_ were powerful in the Palais Royal, where they were supported by the
shopkeepers; but the Jacobins were the strongest in the garden of the
Tuileries, which was near their club.

These quarrels became more animated every day; and Paris was transformed
into a field of battle, where the fate of the parties was left to the
decision of arms. This state of war and disorder would necessarily have an
end; and since the parties had not the wisdom to come to an understanding,
one or the other must inevitably carry the day. The Thermidorians were the
growing party, and victory naturally fell to them. On the day following
that on which Billaud had spoken of the _waking of the lion_ in the
popular society, there was great agitation throughout Paris. It was wished
to take the Jacobin club by assault. Men shouted in the streets--"The
great Jacobin conspiracy! Outlaw the Jacobins!" At this period the
revolutionary committee of Nantes were being tried. In their defence they
pleaded that they had received from Carrier the sanguinary orders they had
executed; which led the convention to enter into an examination of his
conduct. Carrier was allowed to defend himself before the decree was
passed against him. He justified his cruelty by the cruelty of the
Vendéans, and the maddening; fury of civil war. "When I acted," he said,
"the air still seemed to resound with the civic songs of twenty thousand
martyrs, who had shouted 'Vive la république!' in the midst of tortures.
How could the voice of humanity, which had died in this terrible crisis,
be heard? What would my adversaries have done in my place? I saved the
republic at Nantes; my life has been devoted to my country, and I am ready
to die for it." Out of five hundred voters, four hundred and ninety-eight
were for the impeachment; the other two voted for it, but conditionally.

The Jacobins finding their opponents were going from subordinate agents to
the representatives themselves, regarded themselves as lost. They
endeavoured to rouse the multitude, less to defend Carrier than for the
support of their party, which was threatened more and more. But they were
kept in check by the _jeunesse dorée_ and the sectionaries, who eventually
proceeded to the place of their sittings to dissolve the club. A sharp
conflict ensued. The besiegers broke the windows with stones, forced the
doors, and dispersed the Jacobins after some resistance on their part. The
latter complained to the convention of this violence. Rewbell, deputed to
make a report on the subject, was not favourable to them. "Where was
tyranny organized?" said he. "At the Jacobin club. Where had it its
supports and its satellites? At the Jacobin club. Who covered France with
mourning, threw families into despair, filled the republic with bastilles,
made the republican system so odious, that a slave laden with fetters
would have refused to live under it? The Jacobins. Who regret the terrible
reign we have lived under? The Jacobins. If you have not courage to decide
in a moment like this, the republic is at an end, because you have
Jacobins." The convention suspended them provisionally, in order to
expurgate and reorganize them, not daring to destroy them at once. The
Jacobins, setting the decree at defiance, assembled in arms at their usual
place of meeting; the Thermidorian troop who had already besieged them
there, came again to assail them. It surrounded the club with cries of
"Long live the convention! Down with the Jacobins!" The latter prepared
for defence; they left their seats, shouting, "Long live the republic!"
rushed to the doors, and attempted a sortie. At first they made a few
prisoners; but soon yielding to superior numbers, they submitted, and
traversed the ranks of the victors, who, after disarming them, covered
them with hisses, insults, and even blows. These illegal expeditions were
accompanied by all the excesses which attend party struggles.

The next day commissioners of the convention came to close the club, and
put seals on its registers and papers, and from that moment the society of
the Jacobins ceased to exist. This popular body had powerfully served the
revolution, when, in order to repel Europe, it was necessary to place the
government in the multitude, and to give the republic all the energy of
defence; but now it only obstructed the progress of the new order of

The situation of affairs was changed; liberty was to succeed the
dictatorship, now that the salvation of the revolution had been effected,
and that it was necessary to revert to legal order, in order to preserve
it. An exorbitant and extraordinary power, like the confederation of the
clubs, would necessarily terminate with the defeat of the party which had
supported it, and that party itself expire with the circumstances which
had given it rise.

Carrier, brought before the revolutionary tribunal, was tried without
interruption, and condemned with the majority of his accomplices. During
the trial, the seventy-three deputies, whose protest against the 31st of
May had excluded them from the assemblies, were reinstated. Merlin de
Douai moved their recall in the name of the committee of public safety;
his motion was received with applause, and the seventy-three resumed their
seats in the convention. The seventy-three, in their turn, tried to obtain
the return of the outlawed deputies; but they met with warm opposition.
The Thermidorians and the members of the new committees feared that such a
measure would be calling the revolution itself into question. They were
also afraid of introducing a new party into the convention, already
divided, and of recalling implacable enemies, who might cause, with regard
to themselves, a reaction similar to that which had taken place against
the old committees. Accordingly they vehemently opposed the motion, and
Merlin de Douai went so far as to say: "Do you want to throw open the
doors of the Temple?" The young son of Louis XVI. was confined there, and
the Girondists, on account of the results of the 31st of May, were
confounded with the Royalists; besides, the 31st of May still figured
among the revolutionary dates beside the 10th of August and the 14th of
July. The retrograde movement had yet some steps to take before it reached
that period. The republican counter-revolution had turned back from the
9th Thermidor, 1794, to the 3rd of October, 1793, the day on which the
seventy-three had been arrested, but not to the 2nd of June, 1793, when
the twenty-two were arrested. After overthrowing Robespierre, and the
committee, it had to attack Marat and the Mountain. In the almost
geometrical progression of popular movement, a few months were still
necessary to effect this.

They went on to abolish the decemviral system. The decree against the
priests and nobles, who had formed two proscribed classes under the reign
of terror, was revoked; the _maximum_ was abolished, in order to restore
confidence by putting an end to commercial tyranny; the general and
earnest effort was to substitute the most elevated liberty for the
despotic pressure of the committee of public safety. This period was also
marked by the independence of the press, the restoration of religious
worship, and the return of the property confiscated from the federalists
during the reign of the committees.

Here was a complete reaction against the revolutionary government; it soon
reached Marat and the Mountain. After the 9th of Thermidor, it had been
considered necessary to oppose a great revolutionary reputation to that of
Robespierre, and Marat had been selected for this purpose. To him were
decreed the honours of the Panthéon, which Robespierre, while in power,
had deferred granting him. He, in his turn, was now attacked. His bust was
in the convention, the theatres, on the public squares, and in the popular
assemblies. The _jeunesse dorée_ broke that in the Théâtre Feydeau. The
Mountain complained, but the convention decreed that no citizen could
obtain the honours of the Panthéon, nor his bust be placed in the
convention, until he had been dead ten years. The bust of Marat
disappeared from the hall of the convention, and as the excitement was
very great in the faubourgs, the sections, the usual support of the
assembly, defiled through it. There was, also, opposite the Invalides, an
elevated mound, a _Mountain_, surmounted by a colossal group, representing
Hercules crushing a hydra. The section of the Halle-au-blé demanded that
this should be removed. The left of the assembly murmured. "The giant,"
said a member, "is an emblem of the people." "All I see in it is a
mountain," replied another, "and what is a Mountain but an eternal protest
against equality." These words were much applauded, and sufficed to carry
the petition and overthrow the monument of the victory and domination of a

Next were recalled the proscribed conventionalists; already, some time
since, their outlawry had been reversed. Isnard and Louvet wrote to the
assembly to be reinstated in their rights; they were met by the objection
as to the consequences of the 31st of May, and the insurrections of the
departments. "I will not," said Chénier, who spoke in their favour, "I
will not so insult the national convention as to bring before them the
phantom of federalism, which has been preposterously made the chief charge
against your colleagues. They fled, it will be said; they hid themselves.
This, then, is their crime! would that this, for the welfare of the
republic, had been the crime of all! Why were there not caverns deep
enough to preserve to the country the meditations of Condorcet, the
eloquence of Vergniaud? Why did not some hospitable land, on the 10th
Thermidor, give back to light that colony of energetic patriots and
virtuous republicans? But projects of vengeance are apprehended from these
men, soured by misfortune. Taught in the school of suffering, they have
learnt only to lament human errors. No, no, Condorcet, Rabaud-Saint-
Etienne, Vergniaud, Camille Desmoulins seek not holocausts of blood; their
manes are not to be appeased by hecatombs." The Left opposed Chénier's
motion. "You are about," cried Bentabole, "to rouse every passion; if you
attack the insurrection of the 31st of May, you attack the eighty thousand
men who concurred in it." "Let us take care," replied Sieyès, "not to
confound the work of tyranny with that of principles. When men, supported
by a subordinate authority, the rival of ours, succeeded in organizing the
greatest of crimes, on the fatal 31st of May, and 2nd of June, it was not
a work of patriotism, but an outrage of tyranny; from that time you have
seen the convention domineered over, the majority oppressed, the minority
dictating laws. The present session is divided into three distinct
periods; till the 31st of May, there was oppression of the convention by
the people; till the 9th Thermidor, oppression of the people by the
convention, itself the object of tyranny; and lastly, since the 9th of
Thermidor, justice, as regards the convention, has resumed its rights." He
demanded the recall of the proscribed members, as a pledge of union in the
assembly, and of security for the republic. Merlin de Douai immediately
proposed their return in the name of the committee of public safety; it
was granted, and after eighteen months' proscription, the twenty-two
conventionalists resumed their seats; among them were Isnard, Louvet,
Lanjuinais, Kervelegan, Henri La Rivière, La Réveillère-Lépaux, and
Lesage, all that remained of the brilliant but unfortunate Gironde. They
joined the moderate party, which was composed daily more and more of the
remains of different parties. For old enemies, forgetting their
resentments and their contest for domination, because they had now the
same interests and the same object, became allies. It was the commencement
of pacification between those who wished for a republic against the
royalists, and a practicable constitution, in opposition to the
revolutionists. At this period all measures against the federalists were
rescinded, and the Girondists assumed the lead of the republican counter-

The convention was, however, carried much too far by the partisans of
reaction; in its desire to repair all and to punish all, it fell into
excesses of justice. After the abolition of the decemviral régime, the
past should have been buried in oblivion, and the revolutionary abyss
closed after a few expiatory victims had been thrown into it. Security
alone brings about pacification; and pacification only admits of liberty.
By again entering upon a course characterized by passion, they only
effected a transference of tyranny, violence, and calamity. Hitherto the
bourgeoisie had been sacrificed to the multitude, to the consumers now it
was just the reverse. Stock-jobbing was substituted for the _maximum_, and
informers of the middle class altogether surpassed the popular informers.
All who had taken part in the dictatorial government were proceeded
against with the fiercest determination. The sections, the seat of the
middle class, required the disarming and punishment of the members of
their revolutionary committees, composed of sans-culottes. There was a
general hue and cry against the _terrorists_, who increased in number
daily. The departments denounced all the former proconsuls, thus rendering
desperate a numerous party, in reality no longer to be feared, since it
had lost all power, by thus threatening it with great and perpetual

Dread of proscription, and several other reasons, disposed them for
revolt. The general want was terrible. Labour and its produce had been
diminished ever since the revolutionary period, during which the rich had
been imprisoned and the poor had governed; the suppression of the
_maximum_ had occasioned a violent crisis, which the traders and farmers
turned to account, by disastrous monopoly and jobbing. To increase the
difficulty, the assignats were falling into discredit, and their value
diminished daily. More than eight milliards worth of them had been issued.
The insecurity of this paper money, by reason of the revolutionary
confiscations, which had depreciated the national property, the want of
confidence on the part of the merchants, tradesmen, etc., in the stability
of the revolutionary government, which they considered merely provisional,
all this had combined to reduce the real value of the assignats to one-
fifteenth of their nominal value. They were received reluctantly, and
specie was hoarded up with all the greater care, in proportion to the
increasing demand for it, and the depreciation of paper money. The people,
in want of food, and without the means of buying it, even when they held
assignats, were in utter distress. They attributed this to the merchants,
the farmers, the landed and other proprietors, to the government, and
dwelt with regret upon the fact that before, under the committee of public
safety, they had enjoyed both power and food. The convention had indeed
appointed a committee of subsistence to supply Paris with provisions, but
this committee had great difficulty and expense in procuring from day to
day the supply of fifteen hundred sacks of flour necessary to support this
immense city; and the people, who waited in crowds for hours together
before the bakers' shops, for the pound of bad bread, distributed to each
inhabitant, were loud in their complaints, and violent in their murmurs.
They called Boissy d'Anglas, president of the committee of subsistence,
_Boissy-Famine_. Such was the state of the fanatical and exasperated
multitude, when its former leaders were brought to trial.

On the 12th Ventôse, a short time after the return of the remaining
Girondists, the assembly had decreed the arrest of Billaud-Varennes,
Collot-d'Herbois, Barrère and Vadier. Their trial before the convention
was appointed to commence on the 3rd Germinal. On the 1st (20th of March,
1795), the Décade day, and that on which the sections assembled, their
partisans organized a riot to prevent their being brought to trial; the
outer sections of the faubourgs Saint Antoine and Saint Marceau were
devoted to their cause. From these quarters they proceeded, half
petitioners, half insurgents, towards the convention, to demand bread, the
constitution of '93, and the liberation of the imprisoned patriots. They
met a few young men on their way, whom they threw into the basins of the
Tuileries. The news, however, soon spread that the convention was exposed
to danger, and that the Jacobins were about to liberate their leaders, and
the _jeunesse dorée_, followed by about five thousand citizens of the
inner sections, came, dispersed the men of the faubourgs, and acted as a
guard for the assembly. The latter, warned by this new danger, revived, on
the motion of Sieyès, the old martial law, under the name of _loi de
grande police_.

This rising in favour of the accused having failed, they were brought
before the convention on the 3rd Germinal. Vadier alone was contumacious.
Their conduct was investigated with the greatest solemnity; they were
charged with having tyrannized over the people and oppressed the
convention. Though proofs were not wanting to support this charge, the
accused defended themselves with much address. They ascribed to
Robespierre the oppression of the assembly, and of themselves; they
endeavoured to palliate their own conduct by citing the measures taken by
the committee, and adopted by the convention, by urging the excitement of
the period, and the necessity of securing the defence and safety of the
republic. Their former colleagues appeared as witnesses in their favour,
and wished to make common cause with them. The _Crêtois_ (the name then
given to the remnant of the Mountain) also supported them warmly. Their
trial had lasted nine days, and each sitting had been occupied by the
prosecution and the defence. The sections of the faubourgs were greatly
excited. The mobs which had collected every day since the 1st Germinal,
increased twofold on the 12th, and a new rising took place, in order to
suspend the trial, which the first rising had failed to prevent. The
agitators, more numerous and bold on this occasion, forced their way
through the guard of the convention, and entered the hall, having written
with chalk on their hats the words, "Bread," "The constitution of '93,"
"Liberty for the patriots." Many of the deputies of the _Crête_ declared
in their favour; the other members, astounded at the tumult and disorder
of this popular invasion, awaited the arrival of the inner sections for
their deliverance. All debating was at an end. The tocsin, which had been
removed from the commune after its defeat, and placed on the top of the
Tuileries, where the convention sat, sounded the alarm. The committee
ordered the drums to beat to arms. In a short time the citizens of the
nearest sections assembled, marched in arms to assist the convention, and
rescued it a second time. It sentenced the accused, whose cause was the
pretext for this rising, to transportation, and decreed the arrest of
seventeen members of the _Crête_ who had favoured the insurgents, and
might therefore be regarded as their accomplices. Among these were Cambon,
Ruamps, Leonard Bourdon, Thuriot, Chasle, Amar, and Lecointre, who, since
the recall of the Girondists, had returned to the Mountain. On the
following day they, and the persons sentenced to transportation, were
conveyed to the castle of Ham.

The events of the 12th of Germinal decided nothing. The faubourgs had been
repulsed, but not conquered; and both power and confidence must be taken
from a party by a decisive defeat, before it is effectually destroyed.
After so many questions decided against the democratists, there still
remained one of the utmost importance--the constitution. On this depended
the ascendancy of the multitude or of the bourgeoisie. The supporters of
the revolutionary government then fell back on the democratic constitution
of '93, which presented to them the means of resuming the authority they
had lost. Their opponents, on the other hand, endeavoured to replace it by
a constitution which would secure all the advantage to them, by
concentrating the government a little more, and giving it to the middle
class. For a month, both parties were preparing for this last contest. The
constitution of 1793, having been sanctioned by the people, enjoyed a
great prestige. It was accordingly attacked with infinite precaution. At
first its assailants engaged to carry it into execution without
restriction; next they appointed a commission of eleven members to prepare
the _lois organiques_, which were to render it practicable; by and by,
they ventured to suggest objections to it on the ground that it
distributed power too loosely, and only recognised one assembly dependent
on the people, even in its measures of legislation. At last, a deputation
of the sectionaries went so far as to call the constitution of '93 a
decemviral constitution, dictated by terror. All its partisans, at once
indignant and filled with fears, organized an insurrection to maintain it.
This was another 31st of May, as terrible as the first, but which, not
having the support of an all-powerful commune, not being directed by a
general commandant, and not having a terrified convention and submissive
sections to deal with, had not the same result.

The conspirators, warned by the failure of the risings of the 1st and 12th
Germinal, omitted nothing to make up for their want of direct object and
of organization. On the 1st Prairial (20th of May) in the name of the
people, insurgent for the purpose of obtaining bread and their rights,
they decreed the abolition of the revolutionary government, the
establishment of the democratic constitution of '93, the dismissal and
arrest of the members of the existing government, the liberation of the
patriots, the convocation of the primary assemblies on the 25th Prairial,
the convocation of the legislative assembly, destined to replace the
convention, on the 25th Messidor, and the suspension of all authority not
emanating from the people. They determined on forming a new municipality,
to serve as a common centre; to seize on the barriers, telegraph, cannon,
tocsins, drums, and not to rest till they had secured repose, happiness,
liberty, and means of subsistence for all the French nation. They invited
the artillery, gendarmes, horse and foot soldiers, to join the banners of
the people, and marched on the convention.

Meantime, the latter was deliberating on the means of preventing the
insurrection. The daily assemblages occasioned by the distribution of
bread and the popular excitement, had concealed from it the preparations
for a great rising, and it had taken no steps to prevent it. The
committees came in all haste to apprise it of its danger; it immediately
declared its sitting permanent, voted Paris responsible for the safety of
the representatives of the republic, closed its doors, outlawed all the
leaders of the mob, summoned the citizens of the sections to arms, and
appointed as their leaders eight commissioners, among whom were Legendre,
Henri La Rivière, Kervelegan, etc. These deputies had scarcely gone, when
a loud noise was heard without. An outer door had been forced, and numbers
of women rushed into the galleries, crying, "Bread and the constitution of
'93!" The convention received them firmly. "Your cries," said the
president Vernier, "will not alter our position; they will not accelerate
by one moment the arrival of supplies. They will only serve to hinder it."
A fearful tumult drowned the voice of the president, and interrupted the
proceedings. The galleries were then cleared; but the insurgents of the
faubourgs soon reached the inner doors, and finding them closed, forced
them with hatchets and hammers, and then rushed in amidst the convention.

The hall now became a field of battle. The veterans and gendarmes, to whom
the guard of the assembly was confided, cried, "To arms!" The deputy
Auguis, sword in hand, headed them, and succeeded in repelling the
assailants, and even made a few of them prisoners. But the insurgents,
more numerous, returned to the charge, and again rushed into the house.
The deputy Féraud entered precipitately, pursued by the insurgents, who
fired some shots in the house. They took aim at Boissy d'Anglas, who was
occupying the president's chair, in place of Vernier. Féraud ran to the
tribune, to shield him with his body; he was struck at with pikes and
sabres, and fell dangerously wounded.

The insurgents dragged him into the lobby, and, mistaking him for Fréron,
cut off his head, and placed it on a pike.

After this skirmish, they became masters of the hall. Most of the deputies
had taken flight. There only remained the members of the _Crête_ and
Boissy d'Anglas, who, calm, his hat on, heedless of threat and insult,
protested in the name of the convention against this popular violence.
They held out to him the bleeding head of Féraud; he bowed respectfully
before it. They tried to force him, by placing pikes at his breast, to put
the propositions of the insurgents to the vote; he steadily and
courageously refused. But the _Crêtois_, who approved of the insurrection,
took possession of the bureaux and of the tribune, and decreed, amidst the
applause of the multitude, all the articles contained in the manifesto of
the insurrection. The deputy Romme became their organ. They further
appointed an executive commission, composed of Bourbotte, Duroy,
Duquesnoy, Prieur de la Marne, and a general-in-chief of the armed force,
the deputy Soubrany. In this way they prepared for the return of their
domination. They decreed the recall of their imprisoned colleagues, the
dismissal of their enemies, a democratic constitution, the re-
establishment of the Jacobin club. But it was not enough for them to have
usurped the assembly for a short time; it was necessary to conquer the
sections, for it was only with these they could really contend there.

The commissioners despatched to the sections had quickly gathered them
together. The battalions of the _Butte des Moulins, Lepelletier, des
Piques, de la Fontaine-Grenelle_, who were the nearest, soon occupied the
Carrousel and its principal avenues. The aspect of affairs then underwent
a change; Legendre, Kervelegan, and Auguis besieged the insurgents, in
their turn, at the head of the sectionaries. At first they experienced
some resistance. But with fixed bayonets they soon entered the hall, where
the conspirators were still deliberating, and Legendre cried out: "_In the
name of the law, I order armed citizens to withdraw_." They hesitated a
moment, but the arrival of the battalions, now entering at every door,
intimidated them, and they hastened from the hall in all the disorder of
flight. The assembly again became complete; the sections received a vote
of thanks, and the deliberations were resumed. All the measures adopted in
the interim were annulled, and fourteen representatives, to whom were
afterwards joined fourteen others, were arrested, for organizing the
insurrection, or approving it in their speeches. It was then midnight; at
five in the morning the prisoners were already six leagues from Paris.

Despite this defeat, the faubourgs did not consider themselves beaten; and
the next day they advanced _en masse_ with their cannon against the
convention. The sections, on their side, marched for its defence. The two
parties were on the point of engaging; the cannons of the faubourg which
were mounted on the Place du Carrousel, were directed towards the château,
when the assembly sent commissioners to the insurgents. Negotiations were
begun. A deputy of the faubourgs, admitted to the convention, first
repeated the demand made the preceding day, adding: "We are resolved to
die at the post we now occupy, rather than abate our present demands. I
fear nothing! My name is Saint-Légier. Vive la République! Vive la
Convention! if it is attached to principles, as I believe it to be." The
deputy was favourably received, and they came to friendly terms with the
faubourgs, without, however, granting them anything positive. The latter
having no longer a general council of the commune to support their
resolutions, nor a commander like Henriot to keep them under arms, till
their propositions were decreed, went no further. They retired after
having received an assurance that the convention would assiduously attend
to the question of provisions, and would soon publish the organic laws of
the constitution of '93. That day showed that immense physical force and a
decided object are not the only things essential to secure success;
leaders and an authority to support and direct the insurrection are also
necessary. The convention was the only remaining legal power: the party
which it held in favour triumphed.

Six democratic members of the Mountain, Goujon, Bourbotte, Romme, Duroy,
Duquesnoy, and Soubrany, were brought before a military commission. They
behaved firmly, like men fanatically devoted to their cause, and almost
all free from excesses. The Prairial movement was the only thing against
them; but that was sufficient in times of party strife, and they were
condemned to death. They all stabbed themselves with the same knife, which
was transferred from one to the other, exclaiming, "_Vive la République!_"
Romme, Goujon, and Duquesnoy were fortunate enough to wound themselves
fatally; the other three were conducted to the scaffold in a dying state,
but faced death with serene countenances.

Meantime, the faubourgs, though repelled on the 1st, and diverted from
their object on the 2nd of Prairial, still had the means of rising. An
event of much less importance than the preceding riots occasioned their
final ruin. The murderer of Féraud was discovered, condemned, and on the
4th, the day of his execution, a mob succeeded in rescuing him. There was
a general outcry against this attempt; and the convention ordered the
faubourgs to be disarmed. They were encompassed by all the interior
sections. After attempting to resist, they yielded, giving up some of
their leaders, their arms, and artillery. The democratic party had lost
its chiefs, its clubs, and its authorities; it had nothing left but an
armed force, which rendered it still formidable, and institutions by means
of which it might yet regain everything. After the last check, the
inferior class was entirely excluded from the government of the state, the
revolutionary committees which formed its assemblies were destroyed; the
cannoneers forming its armed force were disarmed; the constitution of '93,
which was its code, was abolished; and here the rule of the multitude

From the 9th Thermidor to the 1st Prairial, the Mountain was treated as
the Girondist party had been treated from the 2nd of June to the 9th
Thermidor. Seventy-six of its members were sentenced to death or arrest.
In its turn, it underwent the destiny it had imposed on the other; for in
times when the passions are called into play, parties know not how to come
to terms, and seek only to conquer. Like the Girondists, they resorted to
insurrection, in order to regain the power which they had lost; and like
them, they fell. Vergniaud, Brissot, Guadet, etc., were tried by a
revolutionary tribunal; Bourbotte, Duroy, Soubrany, Romme, Goujon,
Duquesnoy, by a military commission. They all died with the same courage;
which shows that all parties are the same, and are guided by the same
maxims, or, if you please, by the same necessities. From that period, the
middle class resumed the management of the revolution without, and the
assembly was as united under the Girondists as it had been, after the 2nd
of June, under the Mountain.



The exterior prosperity of the revolution chiefly contributed to the fall
of the dictatorial government and of the Jacobin party. The increasing
victories of the republic to which they had very greatly contributed by
their vigorous measures, and by their enthusiasm, rendered their power
superfluous. The committee of public safety, by crushing with its strong
and formidable hand the interior of France, had developed resources,
organized armies, found generals and guided them to victories which
ultimately secured the triumph of the revolution in the face of Europe. A
prosperous position no longer required the same efforts; its mission was
accomplished, the peculiar province of such a dictatorship being to save a
country and a cause, and to perish by the very safety it has secured.
Internal events have prevented our rapidly describing the impulse which
the committee of public safety gave to the armies after the 31st of May,
and the results which it obtained from it.

The levy en masse that took place in the summer of 1793, formed the troops
of the Mountain. The leaders of that party soon selected from the
secondary ranks generals belonging to the Mountain to replace the
Girondist generals. Those generals were Jourdan, Pichegru, Hoche, Moreau,
Westermann, Dugommier, Marceau, Joubert, Kléber, etc. Carnot, by his
admission to the committee of public safety, became minister of war and
commander-in-chief of all the republican armies. Instead of scattered
bodies, acting without concert upon isolated points, he proceeded with
strong masses, concentrated on one object. He commenced the practice of a
great plan of warfare, which he tried with decided success at Watignies,
in his capacity of commissioner of the convention. This important victory,
at which he assisted in person, drove the allied generals, Clairfait and
the prince of Coburg, behind the Sambre, and raised the siege of Maubeuge.
During the winter of 1793 and 1794 the two armies continued in presence of
each other without undertaking anything.

At the opening of the campaign, they each conceived a plan of invasion.
The Austrian army advanced upon the towns on the Somme, Péronne, Saint-
Quentin, Arras, and threatened Paris, while the French army again
projected the conquest of Belgium. The plan of the committee of public
safety was combined in a very different way to the vague design of the
coalition. Pichegru, at the head of fifty thousand men of the army of the
north, entered Flanders, resting on the sea and the Scheldt. On his right,
Moreau advanced with twenty thousand men upon Menin and Courtrai. General
Souham, with thirty thousand men, remained under Lille, to sustain the
extreme right of the invading army against the Austrians; while Jourdan,
with the army of the Moselle, directed his course towards Charleroi by
Arlon and Dinan, to join the army of the north.

The Austrians, attacked in Flanders, and threatened with a surprise in the
rear by Jourdan, soon abandoned their positions on the Somme. Clairfait
and the duke of York allowed themselves to be beaten at Courtrai and
Hooglède by the army of Pichegru; Coburg at Fleurus by that of Jourdan,
who had just taken Charleroi. The two victorious generals rapidly
completed the invasion of the Netherlands. The Anglo-Dutch army fell back
on Antwerp, and from thence upon Breda, and from Breda to Bois-le-Duc,
receiving continual checks. It crossed the Waal, and fell back upon
Holland. The Austrians endeavoured with the same want of success, to cover
Brussels and Maëstricht: they were pursued and beaten by the army of
Jourdan, which since its union had taken the name of the army of the
_Sambre et Meuse_, and which did not leave them behind the Roër, as
Dumouriez had done, but drove them beyond the Rhine. Jourdan made himself
master of Cologne and Bonn, and communicated by his left with the right of
the army of the Moselle, which had advanced into the country of
Luxembourg, and which, conjointly with him, occupied Coblentz. A general
and concerted movement of all the French armies had taken place, all of
them marching towards the Rhenish frontier. At the time of the defeats,
the lines of Weissenburg had been forced. The committee of public safety
employed in the army of the Rhine the expeditious measures peculiar to its
policy. The commissioners, Saint-Just and Lebas, gave the chief command to
Hoche, made terror and victory the order of the day; and generals
Brunswick and Wurmser were very soon driven from Haguenau on the lines of
the Lauter, and not being able even to maintain that position, passed the
Rhine at Philipsburg. Spire and Worms were retaken. The republican troops,
everywhere victorious, occupied Belgium, that part of Holland situated on
the left of the Meuse, and all the towns on the Rhine, except Mayence and
Mannheim, which were closely beset.

The army of the Alps did not make much progress in this campaign. It tried
to invade Piedmont, but failed. On the Spanish frontier, the war had
commenced under ill auspices: the two armies of the eastern and western
Pyrenees, few in number and badly disciplined, were constantly beaten; one
had retired under Perpignan, the other under Bayonne. The committee of
public safety turned its attention and efforts but tardily on this point,
which was not the most dangerous for it. But as soon as it had introduced
its system, generals, and organization into the two armies, the appearance
of things changed. Dugommier, after repeated successes, drove the
Spaniards from the French territory, and entered the peninsula by
Catalonia. Moncey also invaded it by the valley of Bastan, the other
opening of the Pyrenees, and became master of San Sebastian and
Fontarabia. The coalition was everywhere conquered, and some of the
confederated powers began to repent of their over-confident adhesion.

In the meantime, news of the revolution of the 9th Thermidor reached the
armies. They were entirely republican, and they feared that Robespierre's
fall would lead to that of the popular government; and they, accordingly,
received this intelligence with marked disapprobation; but, as the armies
were submissive to the civil authority, none of them rebelled. The
insurrections of the army only took place from the 14th of July to the
31st of May; because, being the refuge of the conquered parties, their
leaders had at every crisis the advantage of political precedence, and
contended with all the ardour of compromised factions. Under the committee
of public safety, on the contrary, the most renowned generals had no
political influence, and were subject to the terrible discipline of
parties. While occasionally thwarting the generals, the convention had no
difficulty in keeping the armies in obedience.

A short time afterwards the movement of invasion was prolonged in Holland
and in the Spanish peninsula. The United Provinces were attacked in the
middle of winter, and on several sides, by Pichegru, who summoned the
Dutch patriots to liberty. The party opposed to the stadtholderate
seconded the victorious efforts of the French army, and the revolution and
conquest took place simultaneously at Leyden, Amsterdam, the Hague, and
Utrecht. The stadtholder took refuge in England, his authority was
abolished, and the assembly of the states-general proclaimed the
sovereignty of the people, and constituted the Dutch Republic, which
formed a close alliance with France, to which it ceded, by the treaty of
Paris, of the 16th of May, 1795, Dutch Flanders, Maëstricht, Venloo, and
their dependencies. The navigation of the Rhine, the Scheldt, and the
Meuse was left free to both nations. Holland, by its wealth, powerfully
contributed towards the continuance of the war against the coalition. This
important conquest at the same time deprived the English of a powerful
support, and compelled Prussia, threatened on the Rhine and by Holland, to
conclude, at Basle, with the French Republic, a peace, for which its
reverses and the affairs of Poland had long rendered it disposed. A peace
was also made at Basle, on the 10th of July, with Spain, alarmed by our
progress on its territory. Figuières and the fortress of Rosas had been
taken; and Perignon was advancing into Catalonia; while Moncey, after
becoming master of Villa Réal, Bilbao, and Vittoria, marched against the
Spaniards who had retired to the frontiers of Old Castile. The cabinet of
Madrid demanded peace. It recognised the French Republic, which restored
its conquests, and which received in exchange the portion of San Domingo
possessed by Spain. The two disciplined armies of the Pyrenees joined the
army of the Alps, which by this means soon overran Piedmont, and entered
Italy--Tuscany only having made peace with the republic on the 9th of
February, 1795.

These partial pacifications and the reverses of the allied troops gave
another direction to the efforts of England and the emigrant party. The
time had arrived for making the interior of France the fulcrum of the
counter-revolutionary movement. In 1791, when unanimity existed in France,
the royalists placed all their hopes in foreign powers; now, dissensions
at home and the defeat of their allies in Europe left them no resource but
in conspiracies. Unsuccessful attempts, as we have seen, never make
vanquished parties despair: victory alone wearies and enervates, and
sooner or later restores the dominion of those who wait.

The events of Prairial and the defeat of the Jacobin party, had decided
the counter-revolutionary movement. At this period, the reaction, hitherto
conducted by moderate republicans, became generally royalist. The
partisans of monarchy were still as divided as they had been from the
opening of the states-general to the 10th of August. In the interior, the
old constitutionalists, who had their sittings in the sections, and who
consisted of the wealthy middle classes, had not the same views of
monarchy with the absolute royalists. They still felt the rivalry and
opposition of interest, natural to the middle against the privileged
classes. The absolute royalists themselves did not agree; the party beaten
in the interior had little sympathy with that enrolled among the armies of
Europe; but besides the divisions between the emigrants and Vendéans,
dissensions had arisen among the emigrants from the date of their
departure from France. Meantime, all these royalists of different
opinions, not having yet to contend for the reward of victory, came to an
agreement to attack the convention in common. The emigrants and the
priests, who for some months past had returned in great numbers, took the
banner of the sections, quite certain, if they carried the day by means of
the middle class, to establish their own government; for they had a
leader, and a definite object, which the sectionaries had not.

This reaction, of a new character, was restrained for some time in Paris,
where the convention, a strong and neutral power, wished to prevent the
violence and usurpation of both parties. While overthrowing the sway of
the Jacobins, it suppressed the vengeance of the royalists. Then it was
that the greater part of _la troupe dorée_ deserted its cause, that the
leaders of the sections prepared the bourgeoisie to oppose the assembly,
and that the confederation of the Journalists succeeded that of the
Jacobins. La Harpe, Richer-de-Sérizy, Poncelin, Tronçon-du-Coudray,
Marchéna, etc., became the organs of this new opinion, and were the
literary clubists. The active but irregular troops of this party assembled
at the Théâtre Feydeau. the Boulevard des Italiens, and the Palais Royal,
and began _the chase of the Jacobins_, while they sang the _Réveil du
Peuple_. The word of proscription, at that time, was Terrorist, in virtue
of which an _honest man_ might with good conscience attack a
revolutionist. The Terrorist class was extended at the will or the
passions of the new reactionaries, who wore their hair _à la victime_, and
who, no longer fearing to avow their intentions, for some time past had
adopted the Chouan uniform--a grey turned-back coat with a green or black

But this reaction was much more ardent in the departments where there was
no authority to interpose in the prevention of bloodshed. Here there were
only two parties, that which had dominated and that which had suffered
under the Mountain. The intermediate class was alternately governed by the
royalists and by the democrats. The latter, foreseeing the terrible
reprisals to which they would be subject if they fell, held out as long as
they could; but their defeat at Paris led to their downfall in the
departments. Party executions then took place, similar to those of the
proconsuls of the committee of public safety. The south was, more
especially, a prey to wholesale massacres and acts of personal vengeance.
Societies, called _Compagnies de Jésus_ and _Compagnies du Soleil_, which
were of royalists origin, were organized, and executed terrible reprisals.
At Lyons, Aix, Tarascon, and Marseilles, they slew in the prisons those
who had taken part in the preceding régime. Nearly all the south had its
2nd of September. At Lyons, after the first revolutionary massacres, the
members of the _compagnie_ hunted out those who had not been taken; and
when they met one, without any other form than the exclamation, "There's a
Matavon," (the name given to them), they slew and threw him into the
Rhone. At Tarascon, they threw them from the top of the tower on a rock on
the bank of the Rhone. During this new reign of terror, and this general
defeat of the revolutionists, England and the emigrants attempted the
daring enterprise of Quiberon.

The Vendéans were exhausted by their repeated defeats, but they were not
wholly reduced. Their losses, however, and the divisions between their
principal leaders, Charette and Stofflet, rendered them an extremely
feeble succour. Charette had even consented to treat with the republic,
and a sort of pacification had been concluded between him and the
convention at Jusnay. The marquis de Puisaye, an enterprising man, but
volatile and more capable of intrigue than of vigorous party conceptions,
intended to replace the almost expiring insurrection of La Vendée by that
of Brittany. Since the enterprise of Wimpfen, in which Puisaye had a
command, there already existed, in Calvados and Morbihan, bands of
Chouans, composed of the remains of parties, adventurers, men without
employment, and daring smugglers, who made expeditions, but were unable to
keep the field, like the Vendéans. Puisaye had recourse to England to
extend the _Chouanerie_, leading it to hope for a general rising in
Brittany, and from thence in the rest of France, if it would land the
nucleus of an army, with ammunition and guns.

The ministry of Great Britain, deceived as to the coalition, desired
nothing better than to expose the republic to fresh perils, while it
sought to revive the courage of Europe. It confided in Puisaye, and in the
spring of 1795 prepared an expedition, in which the most energetic
emigrants took a share, nearly all the officers of the former navy, and
all who, weary of the part of exiles and of the distresses of a life of
wandering, wished to try their fortunes for the last time.

The English fleet landed, on the peninsula of Quiberon, fifteen hundred
emigrants, six thousand republican prisoners who had embraced the cause of
the emigrants to return to France, sixty thousand muskets, and the full
equipment for an army of forty thousand men. Fifteen hundred Chouans
joined the army on its landing, but it was soon attacked by General Hoche.
His attack proved successful; the republican prisoners who were in the
ranks deserted, and it was defeated after a most energetic resistance. In
the mortal warfare between the emigrants and the republic, the vanquished,
being considered as _outlaws_, were mercilessly massacred. Their loss
inflicted a deep and incurable wound on the emigrant party.

The hopes founded on the victories of Europe, on the progress of
insurrection and the attempt of the emigrants, being thus overthrown,
recourse was had to the discontented sections. It was hoped to make a
counter-revolution by means of the new constitution decreed by the
convention on the 22nd of August, 1795. This constitution was, indeed, the
work of the moderate republican party; but as it restored the ascendancy
of the middle class, the royalist leaders thought that by it they might
easily enter the legislative body and the government.

This constitution was the best, the wisest, and most liberal, and the most
provident that had as yet been established or projected; it contained the
result of six years' revolutionary and legislative experience. At this
period, the convention felt the necessity of organizing power, and of
rendering the people settled, while the first assembly, from its position,
only felt the necessity of weakening royalty and agitating the nation. All
had been exhausted, from the throne to the people; existence now depended
on reconstructing and restoring order, at the same time keeping the nation
in great activity. The new constitution accomplished this. It differed but
little from that of 1791, with respect to the exercise of sovereignty; but
greatly in everything relative to government. It confided the legislative
power to two councils; that of the _Cinq-cents_ and that of the _Anciens_;
and the executive power to a directory of five members. It restored the
two degrees of elections destined to retard the popular movement, and to
lead to a more enlightened choice than immediate elections. The wise but
moderate qualifications with respect to property, required in the members
of the primary assemblies and the electoral assemblies, again conferred
political importance on the middle class, to which it became imperatively
necessary to recur after the dismissal of the multitude and the
abandonment of the constitution of '93.

In order to prevent the despotism or the servility of a single assembly,
it was necessary to place somewhere a power to check or defend it. The
division of the legislative body into two councils, which had the same
origin, the same duration, and only differed in functions, attained the
twofold object of not alarming the people by an aristocratic institution,
and of contributing to the formation of a good government. The Council of
Five Hundred, whose members were required to be thirty years old, was
alone entrusted with the initiative and the discussion of laws. The
Council of Ancients, composed of two hundred and fifty members, who had
completed their fortieth year, was charged with adopting or rejecting

In order to avoid precipitation in legislative measures, and to prevent a
compulsory sanction from the Council of Ancients in a moment of popular
excitement, they could not come to a decision until after three readings,
at a distance of five days at least from each other. In _urgent cases_
this formality was dispensed with; and the council had the right of
determining such urgency. This council acted sometimes as a legislative
power, when it did not thoroughly approve a measure, and made use of the
form "_Le Conseil des Anciens ne peut pas adopter_," and sometimes as a
conservative power, when it only considered a measure in its legal
bearing, and said "_La Constitution annule_." For the first time, partial
re-elections were adopted, and the renewing of half of the council every
two years was fixed, in order to avoid that rush of legislators who came
with an immoderate desire for innovation, and suddenly changed the spirit
of an assembly.

The executive power was distinct from the councils, and no longer existed
in the committees. Monarchy was still too much feared to admit of a
president of the republic being named. They, therefore, confined
themselves to the creation of a directory of five members, nominated by
the council of ancients, at the recommendation of that of the Five
Hundred. The directors might be brought to trial by the councils, but
could not be dismissed by them. They were entrusted with a general and
independent power of execution, but it was wished also to prevent their
abusing it, and especially to guard against the danger of a long habit of
authority leading to usurpation. They had the management of the armed
force and of the finances; the nomination of functionaries, the conduct of
negotiations, but they could do nothing of themselves; they had ministers
and generals, for whose conduct they were responsible. Each member was
president for three months, holding the seals and affixing his signature.
Every year, one of the members was to go out. It will be seen by this
account that the functions of royalty as they were in 1791, were shared by
the council of ancients, who had the _veto_, and the directory, which held
the executive power. The directory had a guard, a national palace, the
Luxembourg, for a residence, and a kind of civil list. The council of the
ancients, destined to check the encroachments of the legislative power,
was invested with the means of restraining the usurpations of the
directory; it could change the residence of the councils and of the

The foresight of this constitution was infinite: it prevented popular
violence, the encroachments of power, and provided for all the perils
which the different crises of the revolution had displayed. If any
constitution could have become firmly established at that period, it was
the directorial constitution. It restored authority, granted liberty, and
offered the different parties an opportunity of peace, if each, sincerely
renouncing exclusive dominion, and satisfied with the common right, would
have taken its proper place in the state. But it did not last longer than
the others, because it could not establish legal order in spite of
parties. Each of them aspired to the government, in order to make its
system and its interests prevail, and instead of the reign of law, it was
still necessary to relapse into that of force, and of coups-d'état. When
parties do not wish to terminate a revolution--and those who do not
dominate never wish to terminate it--a constitution, however excellent it
may be, cannot accomplish it.

The members of the Commission of Eleven, who, previously to the events of
Prairial, had no other mission than to prepare the organic laws of the
constitution of '93, and who, after those events, made the constitution of
the year III., were at the head of the conventional party. This party
neither belonged to the old Gironde nor to the old Mountain. Neutral up to
the 31st of May, subject till the 9th Thermidor, it had been in the
possession of power since that period, because the twofold defeat of the
Girondists and the Mountain had left it the strongest. The men of the
extreme sides, who had begun the fusion of parties, joined it. Merlin de
Douai represented the party of that mass which had yielded to
circumstances, Thibaudeau, the party that continued inactive, and Daunou,
the courageous party. The latter had declared himself opposed to all
coups-d'état, ever since the opening of the assembly, both the 21st of
January, and to the 31st of May, because he wished for the régime of the
convention, without party violence and measures. After the 9th Thermidor,
he blamed the fury displayed towards the chiefs of the revolutionary
government, whose victim he had been, as one of the _seventy-three_. He
had obtained great ascendancy, as men gradually approached towards a legal
system. His enlightened attachment to the revolution, his noble
independence, the solidity and extent of his ideas, and his imperturbable
fortitude, rendered him one of the most influential actors of this period.
He was the chief author of the constitution of the year III., and the
convention deputed him, with some others of its members, to undertake the
defence of the republic, during the crisis of Vendémiaire.

The reaction gradually increased; it was indirectly favoured by the
members of the Right, who, since the opening of that assembly, had only
been incidentally republican. They were not prepared to repel the attacks
of the royalists with the same energy as that of the revolutionists. Among
this number were Boissy d'Anglas, Lanjuinais, Henri La Rivière, Saladin,
Aubry, etc.; they formed in the assembly the nucleus of the sectionary
party. Old and ardent members of the Mountain, such as Rovère, Bourdon de
l'Oise, etc., carried away by the counter-revolutionary movement, suffered
the reaction to be prolonged, doubtless in order to make their peace with
those whom they had so violently combated.

But the conventional party, reassured with respect to the democrats, set
itself to prevent the triumph of the royalists. It felt that the safety of
the republic depended on the formation of the councils, and that the
councils being elected by the middle class, which was directed by
royalists, would be composed on counter-revolutionary principles. It was
important to entrust the guardianship of the régime they were about to
establish to those who had an interest in defending it. In order to avoid
the error of the constituent assembly, which had excluded itself from the
legislature that succeeded it, the convention decided by a decree, that
two-thirds of its members should be re-elected. By this means it secured
the majority of the councils and the nomination of the directory; it could
accompany its constitution into the state, and consolidate it without
violence. This re-election of two-thirds was not exactly legal, but it was
politic, and the only means of saving France from the rule of the
democrats or counter-revolutionists. The convention granted itself a
moderate dictatorship, by the decrees of the 5th and 13th Fructidor (22nd
and 30th of August, 1795), one of which established the re-election, and
the other fixed the manner of it. But these two exceptional decrees were
submitted to the ratification of the primary assemblies, at the same time
as the constitutional act.

The royalist party was taken by surprise by the decrees of Fructidor. It
hoped to form part of the government by the councils, of the councils by
elections, and to effect a change of system when once in power. It
inveighed against the convention. The royalist committee of Paris, whose
agent was an obscure man, named Lemaître, the journalists, and the leaders
of the sections coalesced. They had no difficulty in securing the support
of public opinion, of which they were the only organs; they accused the
convention of perpetuating its power, and of assailing the sovereignty of
the people. The chief advocates of the two-thirds, Louvet, Daunou, and
Chénier, were not spared, and every preparation was made for a grand
movement. The Faubourg Saint Germain, lately almost deserted, gradually
filled; emigrants flocked in, and the conspirators, scarcely concealing
their plans, adopted the Chouan uniform.

The convention, perceiving the storm increase, sought support in the army,
which, at that time, was the republican class, and a camp was formed at
Paris. The people had been disbanded, and the royalists had secured the
bourgeoisie. In the meantime, the primary assemblies met on the 20th
Fructidor, to deliberate on the constitutional act, and the decrees of the
two-thirds, which were to be accepted or rejected together. The
Lepelletier section (formerly Filles Saint Thomas) was the centre of all
the others. On a motion made by that section, it was decided that the
power of all constituent authority ceased in the presence of the assembled
people. The Lepelletier section, directed by Richer-Sérizy, La Harpe,
Lacretelle junior, Vaublanc, etc., turned its attention to the
organization of the insurrectional government, under the name of the
central committee. This committee was to replace in Vendémiaire, against
the convention, the committee of the 10th of August against the throne,
and of the 31st of May against the Girondists. The majority of the
sections adopted this measure, which was annulled by the convention, whose
decree was in its turn rejected by the majority of the sections. The
struggle now became open; and in Paris they separated the constitutional
act, which was adopted, from the decrees of re-election, which were

On the 1st Vendémiaire, the convention proclaimed the acceptance of the
decrees by the greater number of the primary assemblies of France. The
sections assembled again to nominate the electors who were to choose the
members of the legislature. On the 10th they determined that the electors
should assemble in the Théâtre Français (it was then on the other side of
the bridges); that they should be accompanied there by the armed force of
the sections, after having sworn to defend them till death. On the 11th,
accordingly, the electors assembled under the presidency of the duc de
Nivernois, and the guard of some detachments of chasseurs and grenadiers.

The convention, apprised of the danger, sat permanently, stationed round
its place of sitting the troops of the camp of Sablons, and concentrated
its powers in a committee of five members, who were entrusted with all
measures of public safety. These members were Colombel, Barras, Daunou,
Letourneur, and Merlin de Douai. For some time the revolutionists had
ceased to be feared, and all had been liberated who had been imprisoned
for the events of Prairial. They enrolled, under the name of _Battalion of
Patriots of '89_, about fifteen or eighteen hundred of them, who had been
proceeded against, in the departments or in Paris, by the friends of the
reaction. In the evening of the 11th, the convention sent to dissolve the
assembly of electors by force, but they had already adjourned to the
following day.

During the night of the 11th, the decree which dissolved the college of
electors, and which armed the battalion of patriots of '89, caused the
greatest agitation. Drums beat to arms; the Lepelletier section declaimed
against the despotism of the convention, against the return of the _Reign
of Terror_, and during the whole of the 12th prepared the other sections
for the contest. In the evening, the convention, scarcely less agitated,
decided on taking the initiative, by surrounding the conspiring section,
and terminating the crisis by disarming it. Menou, general of the
interior, and Laporte the representative, were entrusted with this
mission. The convent of the Filles Saint Thomas was the headquarters of
the sectionaries, before which they had seven or eight hundred men in
battle array. These were surrounded by superior forces, from the
Boulevards on each side, and the Rue Vivienne opposite. Instead of
disarming them, the leaders of the expedition began to parley. Both
parties agreed to withdraw; but the conventional troops had no sooner
retired than the sectionaries returned reinforced. This was a complete
victory for them, which being exaggerated in Paris, as such things always
are, increased their number, and gave them courage to attack the
convention the next day.

About eleven at night the convention learned the issue of the expedition
and the dangerous effect which it had produced; it immediately dismissed
Menou, and gave the command of the armed force to Barras, the general in
command on the 9th Thermidor. Barras asked the committee of five to
appoint as his second in command, a young officer who had distinguished
himself at the siege of Toulon, but had been dismissed by Aubry of the
reaction party; a young man of talent and resolution, calculated to do
good service to the republic in a moment of peril. This young officer was
Bonaparte. He appeared before the committee, but there was nothing in his
appearance that announced his astonishing destiny. Not a man of party,
summoned for the first time to this great scene of action, his demeanour
exhibited a timidity and a want of assurance, which disappeared entirely
in the preparations for battle, and in the heat of action. He immediately
sent for the artillery of the camp of Sablons, and disposed them, with the
five thousand men of the conventional army, on all the points from which
the convention could be assailed. At noon on the 13th Vendémiaire, the
enclosure of the convention had the appearance of a fortified place, which
could only be taken by assault. The line of defence extended, on the left
side of the Tuileries along the river, from the Pont Neuf to the Pont
Louis XV.; on the right, in all the small streets opening on the Rue Saint
Honoré, from the Rues de Rohan, de l'Échelle and the Cul-de-sac Dauphin,
to the Place de la Révolution. In front, the Louvre, the Jardin de
l'Infante, and the Carrousel were planted with cannon; and behind, the
Pont Tournant and the Place de la Révolution formed a park of reserve. In
this position the convention awaited the insurgents.

The latter soon encompassed it on several points. They had about forty
thousand men under arms, commanded by generals Danican, Duhoux, and the
ex-garde-du-corps Lafond. The thirty-two sections which formed the
majority, had supplied their military contingent. Of the other sixteen,
several sections of the faubourgs had their troops in the battalion of
'89. A few, those of the Quinze-vingts and Montreuil, sent assistance
during the action; others, though favourably disposed, as that of
Popincourt, could not do so; and lastly, others remained neutral, like
that of L'Indivisibilité. From two to three o'clock, general Carteaux, who
occupied the Pont Neuf with four hundred men and two four-pounders, was
surrounded by several columns of sectionaries, who obliged him to retire
on the Louvre. This advantage emboldened the insurgents, who were strong
on all points. General Danican summoned the convention to withdraw its
troops, and disarm the terrorists. The officer entrusted with the summons
was led into the assembly blindfold, and his message occasioned some
agitation, several members declaring in favour of conciliatory measures.
Boissy d'Anglas advised a conference with Danican; Gamon proposed a
proclamation in which they should call upon the citizens to retire,
promising then to disarm the battalion of '89. This address excited
violent murmurs. Chénier rushed to the tribune. "I am surprised," said he,
"that the demands of sections in a state of revolt should be discussed
here. Negotiation must not be heard of; there is only victory or death for
the national convention." Lanjuinais wished to support the address, by
dwelling on the danger and misery of civil war; but the convention would
not hear him, and on the motion of Fermond, passed to the order of the
day. The debates respecting measures of peace or war with the sections
were continued for some time, when, about half-past four several
discharges of musketry were heard, which put an end to all discussion.
Seven hundred guns were brought in, and the convention took arms as a body
of reserve.

The conflict had now commenced in the Rue Saint Honoré, of which the
insurgents were masters. The first shots were fired from the Hôtel de
Noailles, and a murderous fire extended the whole length of this line. A
few moments after, on the other side, two columns of sectionaries, about
four thousand strong, commanded by the count de Maulevrier, advanced by
the quays, and attacked the Pont Royal. The action then became general,
but it could not last long; the place was too well defended to be taken by
assault. After an hour's fighting, the sectionaries were driven from Saint
Roch and Rue Saint Honoré, by the cannon of the convention and the
battalion of patriots. The column of the Pont Royal received three
discharges of artillery in front and on the side, from the bridge and the
quays, which put it entirely to flight. At seven o'clock the conventional
troops, victorious on all sides, took the offensive; by nine o'clock they
had dislodged the sectionaries from the Théâtre de la République and the
posts they still occupied in the neighbourhood of the Palais Royal. They
prepared to make barricades during the night, and several volleys were
fired in the Rue de la Loi (Richelieu), to prevent the works. The next
day, the 14th, the troops of the convention disarmed the Lepelletier
section, and compelled the others to return to order.

The assembly, which had only fought in its own defence, displayed much
moderation. The 13th Vendémiaire was the 10th of August of the royalists
against the republic, except that the convention resisted the bourgeoisie
much better than the throne resisted the faubourgs. The position of France
contributed very much to this victory. Men now wished for a republic
without a revolutionary government, a moderate regime without a counter-
revolution. The convention, which was a mediatory power, pronounced alike
against the exclusive domination of the lower class, which it had thrown
off in Prairial, and the reactionary domination of the bourgeoisie, which
it repelled in Vendémiaire, seemed alone capable of satisfying this
twofold want, and of putting an end to the state of warfare between the
two parties, which was prolonged by their alternate entrance into the
government. This situation, as well as its own dangers, gave it courage to
resist, and secured its triumph. The sections could not take it by
surprise, and still less by assault.

After the events of Vendémiaire, the convention occupied itself with
forming the councils and the directory. The third part, freely elected,
had been favourable to reaction. A few conventionalists, headed by
Tallien, proposed to annul the elections of this _third_, and wished to
suspend, for a longer time, the conventional government. Thibaudeau
exposed their design with much courage and eloquence. The whole
conventional party adopted his opinion. It rejected all superfluous
arbitrary sway, and showed itself impatient to leave the provisional state
it had been in for the last three years. The convention established itself
as a _national electoral assembly_, in order to complete the _two-thirds_
from among its members. It then formed the councils; that of the
_Ancients_ of two hundred and fifty members, who according to the new law
had completed forty years; that of _The Five Hundred_ from among the
others. The councils met in the Tuileries. They then proceeded to form the

The attack of Vendémiaire was quite recent; and the republican party,
especially dreading the counter-revolution, agreed to choose the directors
only, from the conventionalists, and further from among those of them who
had voted for the death of the king. Some of the most influential members,
among whom was Daunou, opposed this view, which restricted the choice, and
continued to give the government a dictatorial and revolutionary
character; but it prevailed. The conventionalists thus elected were La
Réveillère-Lépaux, invested with general confidence on account of his
courageous conduct on the 31st of May, for his probity and his moderation;
Sieyès, the man who of all others enjoyed the greatest celebrity of the
day; Rewbell, possessed of great administrative activity; Letourneur, one
of the members of the commission of five during the last crisis; and
Barras, chosen for his two pieces of good fortune of Thermidor and
Vendémiaire. Sieyès, who had refused to take part in the legislative
commission _of the eleven_, also refused to enter upon the directory. It
is difficult to say whether this reluctance arose from calculation or an
insurmountable antipathy for Rewbell. He was replaced by Carnot, the only
member of the former committee whom they were disposed to favour, on
account of his political purity, and his great share in the victories of
the republic. Such was the first composition of the directory. On the 4th
Brumaire, the convention passed a law of amnesty, in order to enter on
legal government; changed the name of the Place de la Révolution into
Place de la Concorde, and declared its session closed.

The convention lasted three years, from the 21st of September, 1792, to
October 26, 1795 (4th Brumaire, year IV.). It took several directions.
During the six first months of its existence it was drawn into the
struggle which arose between the legal party of the Gironde, and the
revolutionary party of the Mountain. The latter had the lead from the 31st
of May, 1793, to the 9th Thermidor, year II. (26th July, 1794). The
convention then obeyed the committee of public safety, which first
destroyed its old allies of the commune and of the Mountain, and
afterwards perished through its own divisions. From the 9th Thermidor to
the month of Brumaire, year IV., the convention conquered the
revolutionary and royalist parties, and sought to establish a moderate
republic in opposition to both.

During this long and terrible period, the violence of the situation
changed the revolution into a war, and the assembly into a field of
battle. Each party wished to establish its sway by victory, and to secure
it by founding its system. The Girondist party made the attempt, and
perished; the Mountain made the attempt, and perished; the party of the
commune made the attempt, and perished; Robespierre's party made the
attempt, and perished. They could only conquer, they were unable to found
a system. The property of such a storm was to overthrow everything that
attempted to become settled. All was provisional; dominion, men, parties,
and systems, because the only thing real and possible was--war. A year was
necessary to enable the conventional party, on its return to power, to
restore the revolution to a legal position; and it could only accomplish
this by two victories--that of Prairial and that of Vendémiaire. But the
convention having then returned to the point whence it started, and having
discharged its true mission, which was to establish the republic after
having defended it, disappeared from the theatre of the world which it had
filled with surprise. A revolutionary power, it ceased as soon as legal
order recommenced. Three years of dictatorship had been lost to liberty
but not to the revolution.




The French revolution, which had destroyed the old government, and
thoroughly overturned the old society, had two wholly distinct objects;
that of a free constitution, and that of a more perfect state of
civilization. The six years we have just gone over were the search for
government by each of the classes which composed the French nation. The
privileged classes wished to establish their régime against the court and
the bourgeoisie, by preserving the social orders and the states-general;
the bourgeoisie sought to establish its régime against the privileged
classes and the multitude, by the constitution of 1791; and the multitude
wished to establish its régime against all the others, by the constitution
of 1793. Not one of these governments could become consolidated, because
they were all exclusive. But during their attempts, each class, in power
for a time, destroyed of the higher classes all that was intolerant or
calculated to oppose the progress of the new civilization.

When the directory succeeded the convention, the struggle between the
classes was greatly weakened. The higher ranks of each formed a party
which still contended for the possession and for the form of government;
but the mass of the nation which had been so profoundly agitated from 1789
to 1795, longed to become settled again, and to arrange itself according
to the new order of things. This period witnessed the end of the movement
for liberty, and the beginning of the movement towards civilization. The
revolution now took its second character, its character of order,
foundation, repose, after the agitation, the immense toil, and system of
complete demolition of its early years.

This second period was remarkable, inasmuch as it seemed a kind of
abandonment of liberty. The different parties being no longer able to
possess it in an exclusive and durable manner, became discouraged, and
fell back from public into private life. This second period divided itself
into two epochs: it was liberal under the directory and at the
commencement of the Consulate, and military at the close of the Consulate
and under the empire. The revolution daily grew more materialized; after
having made a nation of sectaries, it made a nation of working men, and
then it made a nation of soldiers.

Many illusions were already destroyed; men had passed through so many
different states, had lived so much in so few years, that all ideas were
confounded and all creeds shaken. The reign of the middle class and that
of the multitude had passed away like a rapid phantasmagoria. They were
far from that France of the 14th of July, with its deep conviction, its
high morality, its assembly exercising the all-powerful sway of liberty
and of reason, its popular magistracies, its citizen-guard, its
brilliant, peaceable, and animated exterior, wearing the impress of order
and independence. They were far from the more sombre and more tempestuous
France of the 10th of August, when a single class held the government and
society, and had introduced therein its language, manners, and costume,
the agitation of its fears, the fanaticism of its ideas, the distrust of
its position. Then private life entirely gave place to public life; the
republic presented, in turn, the aspect of an assembly and of a camp; the
rich were subject to the poor; the creed of democracy combined with the
gloomy and ragged administration of the people. At each of these periods
men had been strongly attached to some idea: first, to liberty and
constitutional monarchy; afterwards, to equality, fraternity, and the
republic. But at the beginning of the directory, there was belief in
nothing; in the great shipwreck of parties, all had been lost, both the
virtue of the bourgeoisie and the virtue of the people.

Men arose from this furious turmoil weakened and wounded, and each,
remembering his political existence with terror, plunged wildly into the
pleasures and relations of private life which had so long been suspended.
Balls, banquets, debauchery, splendid carriages, became more fashionable
than ever; this was the reaction of the ancient régime. The reign of the
sans-culottes brought back the dominion of the rich; the clubs, the
return of the salons. For the rest, it was scarcely possible but that the
first symptom of the resumption of modern civilization should be thus
irregular. The directorial manners were the product of another society,
which had to appear again before the new state of society could regulate
its relations, and constitute its own manners. In this transition, luxury
would give rise to labour, stock-jobbing to commerce; salons bring parties
together who could not approximate except in private life; in a word,
civilization would again usher in liberty.

The situation of the republic was discouraging at the installation of the
directory. There existed no element of order or administration. There was
no money in the public treasury; couriers were often delayed for want of
the small sum necessary to enable them to set out. In the interior,
anarchy and uneasiness were general; paper currency, in the last stage of
discredit, destroyed confidence and commerce; the dearth became
protracted, every one refusing to part with his commodities, for it
amounted to giving them away; the arsenals were exhausted or almost empty.
Without, the armies were destitute of baggage-wagons, horses, and
supplies; the soldiers were in want of clothes, and the generals were
often unable to liquidate their pay of eight francs a month in specie, an
indispensable supplement, small as it was, to their pay in assignats; and
lastly, the troops, discontented and undisciplined, on account of their
necessities, were again beaten, and on the defensive.

Things were at this state of crisis after the fall of the committee of
public safety. This committee had foreseen the dearth, and prepared for
it, both in the army and in the interior, by the requisitions and the
_maximum_. No one had dared to exempt himself from this financial system,
which rendered the wealthy and commercial classes tributary to the
soldiers and the multitude, and at that time provisions had not been
withheld from the market. But since violence and confiscation had ceased,
the people, the convention, and the armies were at the mercy of the landed
proprietors and speculators, and terrible scarcity existed, a reaction
against the _maximum_. The system of the convention had consisted, in
political economy, in the consumption of an immense capital, represented
by the assignats. This assembly had been a rich government, which had
ruined itself in defending the revolution. Nearly half the French
territory, consisting of domains of the crown, ecclesiastical property, or
the estates of the emigrant nobility, had been sold, and the produce
applied to the support of the people, who did little labour, and to the
external defence of the republic by the armies. More than eight milliards
of assignats had been issued before the 9th Thermidor, and since that
period thirty thousand millions had been added to that sum, already so
enormous. Such a system could not be continued; it was necessary to begin
the work again, and return to real money.

The men deputed to remedy this great disorganization were, for the most
part, of ordinary talent; but they set to work with zeal, courage, and
good sense. "When the directors," said M. Bailleul, [Footnote: _Examen
Critique des Considérations de Madame de Staël, sur la Révolution
Française_, by M. J. Ch. Bailleul, vol. ii., pp. 275, 281.] "entered the
Luxembourg, there was not an article of furniture. In a small room, at a
little broken table, one leg of which was half eaten away with age, on
which they placed some letter-paper and a calumet standish, which they had
fortunately brought from the committee of public safety, seated on four
straw-bottom chairs, opposite a few logs of dimly-burning wood, the whole
borrowed from Dupont, the porter; who would believe that it was in such a
condition that the members of the new government, after having
investigated all the difficulties, nay, all the horror of their position,
resolved that they would face all obstacles, and that they would either
perish or rescue France from the abyss into which she had fallen? On a
sheet of writing-paper they drew up the act by which they ventured to
declare themselves constituted; an act which they immediately despatched
to the legislative chambers."

The directors then proceeded to divide their labours, taking as their
guide the grounds which had induced the constitutional party to select
them. Rewbell, possessed of great energy, a lawyer versed in government
and diplomacy, had assigned to him the departments of law, finance, and
foreign affairs. His skill and commanding character soon made him the
moving spirit of the directory in all civil matters. Barras had no special
knowledge; his mind was mediocre, his resources few, his habits indolent.
In an hour of danger, his resolution qualified him to execute sudden
measures, like those of Thermidor or Vendémiaire. But being, on ordinary
occasions, only adapted for the surveillance of parties, the intrigues of
which he was better acquainted with than any one else, the police
department was allotted to him. He was well suited for the task, being
supple and insinuating, without partiality for any political sect, and
having revolutionary connexions by his past life, while his birth gave him
access to the aristocracy. Barras took on himself the representation of
the directory, and established a sort of republican regency at the
Luxembourg. The pure and moderate La Réveillère, whose gentleness tempered
with courage, whose sincere attachment for the republic and legal
measures, had procured him a post in the directory, with the general
consent of the assembly and public opinion, had assigned to him the moral
department, embracing education, the arts, sciences, manufactures, etc.
Letourneur, an ex-artillery officer, member of the committee of public
safety at the latter period of the convention, had been appointed to the
war department. But when Carnot was chosen, on the refusal of Sieyès, he
assumed the direction of military operations, and left to his colleague
Letourneur the navy and the colonies. His high talents and resolute
character gave him the upper hand in the direction. Letourneur attached
himself to him, as La Réveillère to Rewbell, and Barras was between the
two. At this period, the directors turned their attention with the
greatest concord to the improvement and welfare of the state.

The directors frankly followed the route traced out for them by the
constitution. After having established authority in the centre of the
republic, they organized it in the departments, and established, as well
as they could, a correspondence of design between local administrations
and their own. Placed between the two exclusive and dissatisfied parties
of Prairial and Vendémiaire, they endeavoured, by a decided line of
conduct, to subject them to an order of things, holding a place midway
between their extreme pretensions. They sought to revive the enthusiasm
and order of the first years of the revolution. "You, whom we summon to
share our labours," they wrote to their agents, "you who have, with us, to
promote the progress of the republican constitution, your first virtue,
your first feeling, should be that decided resolution, that patriotic
faith, which has also produced its enthusiasts and its miracles. All will
be achieved when, by your care, that sincere love of liberty which
sanctified the dawn of the revolution, again animates the heart of every
Frenchman. The banners of liberty floating on every house, and the
republican device written on every door, doubtless form an interesting
sight. Obtain more; hasten the day when the sacred name of the republic
shall be graven voluntarily on every heart."

In a short time, the wise and firm proceedings of the new government
restored confidence, labour, and plenty. The circulation of provisions was
secured, and at the end of a month the directory was relieved from the
obligation to provide Paris with supplies, which it effected for itself.
The immense activity created by the revolution began to be directed
towards industry and agriculture. A part of the population quitted the
clubs and public places for workshops and fields; and then the benefit of
a revolution, which, having destroyed corporations, divided property,
abolished privileges, increased fourfold the means of civilization, and
was destined to produce prodigious good to France, began to be felt. The
directory encouraged this movement in the direction of labour by salutary
institutions. It re-established public exhibitions of the produce of
industry, and improved the system of education decreed under the
convention. The national institute, primary, central, and normal schools,
formed a complete system of republican institutions. La Réveillère, the
director intrusted with the moral department of the government, then
sought to establish, under the name of _Theophilanthropie_, the deistical
religion which the committee of public safety had vainly endeavoured to
establish by the _Fête à l'Etre Suprême_. He provided temples, hymns,
forms, and a kind of liturgy, for the new religion; but such a faith could
only be individual, could not long continue public. The
_theophilanthropists_, whose religion was opposed to the political
opinions and the unbelief of the revolutionists, were much ridiculed.
Thus, in the passage from public institutions to individual faith, all
that had been liberty became civilization, and what had been religion
became opinion. Deists remained, but _theophilanthropists_ were no longer
to be met with.

The directory, pressed for money, and shackled by the disastrous state of
the finances, had recourse to measures somewhat extraordinary. It had sold
or pledged the most valuable articles of the Wardrobe, in order to meet
the greatest urgencies. National property was still left; but it sold
badly, and for assignats. The directory proposed a compulsory loan, which
was decreed by the councils. This was a relic of the revolutionary
measures with regard to the rich; but, having been irresolutely adopted,
and executed without due authority, it did not succeed. The directory then
endeavoured to revive paper money; it proposed the issue of _mandats
territoriaux_, which were to be substituted for the assignats then in
circulation, at the rate of thirty for one, and to take the place of
money. The councils decreed the issue of _mandats territoriaux_ to the
amount of two thousand four hundred millions. They had the advantage of
being exchangeable at once and upon presentation, for the national domains
which represented them. Their sale was very extensive, and in this way was
completed the revolutionary mission of the assignats, of which they were
the second period. They procured the directory a momentary resource; but
they also lost their credit, and led insensibly to bankruptcy, which was
the transition from paper to specie.

The military situation of the republic was not a brilliant one; at the
close of the convention there had been an abatement of victories. The
equivocal position and weakness of the central authority, as much as the
scarcity, had relaxed the discipline of the troops. The generals, too,
disappointed that they had distinguished their command by so few
victories, and were not spurred on by an energetic government, became
inclined to insubordination. The convention had deputed Pichegru and
Jourdan, one at the head of the army of the Rhine, the other with that of
the Sambre-et-Meuse, to surround and capture Mayence, in order that they
might occupy the whole line of the Rhine. Pichegru made this project
completely fail; although possessing the entire confidence of the
republic, and enjoying the greatest military fame of the day, he formed
counter-revolutionary schemes with the prince of Condé; but they were
unable to agree. Pichegru urged the emigrant prince to enter France with
his troops, by Switzerland or the Rhine, promising to remain inactive, the
only thing in his power to do in favour of such an attempt. The prince
required as a preliminary, that Pichegru should hoist the white flag in
his army, which was, to a man, republican. This hesitation, no doubt,
injured the projects of the reactionists, who were preparing the
conspiracy of Vendémiaire. But Pichegru wishing, one way or the other, to
serve his new allies and to betray his country, allowed himself to be
defeated at Heidelberg, compromised the army of Jourdan, evacuated
Mannheim, raised the siege of Mayence with considerable loss, and exposed
that frontier to the enemy.

The directory found the Rhine open towards Mayence, the war of La Vendée
rekindled; the coasts of France and Holland threatened with a descent from
England; lastly, the army of Italy destitute of everything, and merely
maintaining the defensive under Schérer and Kellermann. Carnot prepared a
new plan of campaign, which was to carry the armies of the republic to the
very heart of the hostile states. Bonaparte, appointed general of the
interior after the events of Vendémiaire, was placed at the head of the
army of Italy; Jourdan retained the command of the army of the Sambre-et-
Meuse, and Moreau had that of the army of the Rhine, in place of Pichegru.
The latter, whose treason was suspected by the directory, though not
proved, was offered the embassy to Sweden, which he refused, and retired
to Arbois, his native place. The three great armies, placed under the
orders of Bonaparte, Jourdan, and Moreau, were to attack the Austrian
monarchy by Italy and Germany, combine at the entrance of the Tyrol and
march upon Vienna, in echelon. The generals prepared to execute this vast
movement, the success of which would make the republic mistress of the
headquarters of the coalition on the continent.

The directory gave to general Hoche the command of the coast, and deputed
him to conclude the Vendéan war. Hoche changed the system of warfare
adopted by his predecessors. La Vendée was disposed to submit. Its
previous victories had not led to the success of its cause; defeat and
ill-fortune had exposed it to plunder and conflagration. The insurgents,
irreparably injured by the disaster of Savenay, by the loss of their
principal leader, and their best soldiers, by the devastating system of
the infernal columns, now desired nothing more than to live on good terms
with the republic. The war now depended only on a few chiefs, upon
Charette, Stofflet, etc. Hoche saw that it was necessary to wean the
masses from these men by concessions, and then to crush them. He skilfully
separated the royalist cause from the cause of religion, and employed the
priests against the generals, by showing great indulgence to the catholic
religion. He had the country scoured by four powerful columns, took their
cattle from the inhabitants, and only restored them in return for their
arms. He left no repose to the armed party, defeated Charette in several
encounters, pursued him from one retreat to another, and at last made him
prisoner. Stofflet wished to raise the Vendéan standard again on his
territory; but it was given up to the republicans. These two chiefs, who
had witnessed the beginning of the insurrection, were present at its
close. They died courageously; Stofflet at Angers, Charette at Nantes,
after having displayed character and talents worthy of a larger theatre.
Hoche likewise tranquillized Brittany. Morbihan was occupied by numerous
bands of Chouans, who formed a formidable association, the principal
leader of which was George Cadoudal. Without entering on a campaign, they
were mastering the country. Hoche directed all his force and activity
against them, and before long had destroyed or exhausted them. Most of
their leaders quitted their arms, and took refuge in England. The
directory, on learning these fortunate pacifications, formally announced
to both councils, on the 28th Messidor (June, 1796), that this civil war
was definitively terminated.

In this manner the winter of the year IV. passed away. But the directory
could hardly fail to be attacked by the two parties, whose sway was
prevented by its existence, the democrats and the royalists. The former
constituted an inflexible and enterprising sect. For them, the 9th
Thermidor was an era of pain and oppression: they desired to establish
absolute equality, in spite of the state of society, and democratic
liberty, in spite of civilization. This sect had been so vanquished as
effectually to prevent its return to power. On the 9th Thermidor it had
been driven from the government; on the 2nd Prairial, from society; and it
had lost both power and insurrections. But though disorganized and
proscribed, it was far from having disappeared. After the unfortunate
attempt of the royalists in Vendémiaire, it arose through their abasement.

The democrats re-established their club at the Panthéon, which the
directory tolerated for some time. They had for their chief, "Gracchus"
Babeuf, who styled himself the "Tribune of the people." He was a daring
man, of an exalted imagination, an extraordinary fanaticism of democracy,
and with great influence over his party. In his journal, he prepared the
reign of general happiness. The society at the Panthéon daily became more
numerous, and more alarming to the directory who at first endeavoured to
restrain it. But the sittings were soon protracted to an advanced hour of
the night; the democrats repaired thither in arms, and proposed marching
against the directory and the councils. The directory determined to oppose
them openly. On the 8th Ventôse, year IV. (February, 1796), it closed the
society of the Panthéon, and on the 9th, by a message informed the
legislative body that it had done so.

The democrats, deprived of their place of meeting, had recourse to another
plan. They seduced the police force, which was chiefly composed of deposed
revolutionists; and in concert with it, they were to destroy the
constitution of the year III. The directory, informed of this new
manoeuvre, disbanded the police force, causing it to be disarmed by other
troops on whom it could rely. The conspirators, taken by surprise a second
time, determined on a project of attack and insurrection: they formed an
insurrectionary committee of public safety, which communicated by
secondary agents with the lower orders of the twelve communes of Paris.
The members of this principal committee were Babeuf, the chief of the
conspiracy, ex-conventionalists, such as Vadier, Amar, Choudieu, Ricord,
the representative Drouet, the former generals of the decemviral
committee, Rossignol, Parrein, Fyon, Lami. Many cashiered officers,
patriots of the departments, and the old Jacobin mass, composed the army
of this faction. The chiefs often assembled in a place they called the
Temple of Reason; here they sang lamentations on the death of Robespierre,
and deplored the slavery of the people. They opened a negotiation with the
troops of the camp of Grenelle, admitted among them a captain of that
camp, named Grisel, whom they supposed their own, and concerted every
measure for the attack.

Their plan was to establish common happiness; and for that purpose, to
make a distribution of property, and to cause the government of true,
pure, and absolute democrats to prevail; to create a convention composed
of sixty-eight members of the Mountain, the remnant of the numbers
proscribed since the reaction of Thermidor, and to join with these a
democrat for each department; lastly, to start from the different quarters
in which they had distributed themselves, and march at the same time
against the directory and against the councils. On the night of the
insurrection, they were to fix up two placards; one, containing the words,
"The Constitution of 1793! liberty! equality! common happiness!" the
other, containing the following declaration, "Those who usurp the
sovereignty, ought to be put to death by free men." All was ready; the
proclamations printed, the day appointed, when they were betrayed by
Grisel, as generally happens in conspiracies.

On the 21st Floréal (May), the eve of the day fixed for the attack, the
conspirators were seized at their regular place of meeting. In Babeuf's
house were found a plan of the plot and all the documents connected with
it. The directory apprised the councils of it by a message, and announced
it to the people by proclamation. This strange attempt, savouring so
strongly of fanaticism, and which could only be a repetition of the
insurrection of Prairial, without its means and its hopes of success,
excited the greatest terror. The public mind was still terrified with the
recent domination of the Jacobins.

Babeuf, like a daring conspirator, prisoner as he was, proposed terms of
peace to the directory:--

"Would you consider it beneath you, citizen directors," he wrote to them,
"to treat with me, as power with power? You have seen what vast confidence
centres in me; you have seen that my party may well balance equally in the
scale your own; you have seen its immense ramifications. I am convinced
you have trembled at the sight." He concluded by saying: "I see but one
wise mode of proceeding; declare there has been no serious conspiracy.
Five men, by showing themselves great and generous may now save the
country. I will answer for it, that the patriots will defend you with
their lives; the patriots do not hate you; they only hated your unpopular
measures. For my part, I will give you a guarantee as extensive as is my
perpetual franchise." The directors, instead of this reconciliation,
published Babeuf's letter, and sent the conspirators before the high court
of Vendôme.

Their partisans made one more attempt. On the 13th Fructidor (August),
about eleven at night, they marched, to the number of six or seven
hundred, armed with sabres and pistols, against the directory, whom they
found defended by its guard. They then repaired to the camp of Grenelle,
which they hoped to gain over by means of a correspondence which they had
established with it. The troops had retired to rest when the conspirators
arrived. To the sentinel's cry of "_Qui vive?_" they replied: "_Vive la
république! Vive la constitution de '93!_" The sentinels gave the alarm
through the camp. The conspirators, relying on the assistance of a
battalion from Gard, which had been disbanded, advanced towards the tent
of Malo, the commander-in-chief, who gave orders to sound to arms, and
commanded his half-dressed dragoons to mount. The conspirators, surprised
at this reception, feebly defended themselves: they were cut down by the
dragoons or put to flight, leaving many dead and prisoners on the field of
battle. This ill-fated expedition was almost the last of the party: with
each defeat it lost its force, its chiefs, and acquired the secret
conviction that its reign was over. The Grenelle enterprise proved most
fatal to it; besides the numbers slain in the fight, many were condemned
to death by the military commissions, which were to it what the
revolutionary tribunals had been to its foes. The commission of the camp
of Grenelle, in five sittings, condemned one-and-thirty conspirators to
death, thirty to transportation, and twenty-five to imprisonment.

Shortly afterwards the high court of Vendôme tried Babeuf and his
accomplices, among whom were Amar, Vadier, and Darthé, formerly secretary
to Joseph Lebon. They none of them belied themselves; they spoke as men
who feared neither to avow their object, nor to die for their cause. At
the beginning and the end of each sitting, they sang the _Marseillaise_.
This old song of victory, and their firm demeanour, struck the public mind
with astonishment, and seemed to render them still more formidable. Their
wives accompanied them to the trial, Babeuf, at the close of his defence,
turned to them, and said, "_they should accompany them even to Calvary,
because the cause of their punishment would not bring them to shame_." The
high court condemned Babeuf and Darthé to death: as they heard their
sentence they both stabbed themselves with a poignard. Babeuf was the last
leader of the old commune and the committee of public safety, which had
separated previous to Thermidor, and which afterwards united again. This
party decreased daily. Its dispersal and isolation more especially date
from this period. Under the reaction, it still formed a compact mass;
under Babeuf, it maintained the position of a formidable association. From
that time democrates existed, but the party was broken up.

In the interim between the Grenelle enterprise and Babeuf's condemnation,
the royalists also formed their conspiracy. The projects of the democrats
produced a movement of opinion, contrary to that which had been manifested
after Vendémiaire, and the counter-revolutionists in their turn became
emboldened. The secret chiefs of this party hoped to find auxiliaries in
the troops of the camp of Grenelle, who had repelled the Babeuf faction.
This party, impatient and unskilful, unable to employ the whole of the
sectionaries, as in Vendémiaire, or the mass of the councils, as on the
18th Fructidor, made use of three men without either name or influence:
the abbé Brothier, the ex-counsellor of parliament, Lavilheurnois, and a
sort of adventurer, named Dunan. They applied at once, in all simplicity,
to Malo for the camp of Grenelle, in order by its means to restore the
ancient régime. Malo delivered them up to the directory, who transferred
them to the civil tribunals, not having been able, as he wished, to have
them tried by military commissioners. They were treated with much
consideration by judges of their party, elected under the influence of
Vendémiaire, and the sentence pronounced against them was only a short
imprisonment. At this period, a contest arose between all the authorities
appointed by the sections, and the directory supported by the army; each
taking its strength and judges wherever its party prevailed; the result
was, that the electoral power placing itself at the disposition of the
counter-revolution, the directory was compelled to introduce the army in
the state; which afterwards gave rise to serious inconvenience.

The directory, triumphant over the two dissentient parties, also triumphed
over Europe. The new campaign opened under the most favourable auspices.
Bonaparte, on arriving at Nice, signalised his command by one of the most
daring of invasions. Hitherto his army had hovered idly on the side of the
Alps; it was destitute of everything, and scarcely amounted to thirty
thousand men; but it was well provided with courage and patriotism; and,
by their means, Bonaparte then commenced that world-astonishment by which
he carried all before him for twenty years. He broke up the cantonments,
and entered the valley of Savona, in order to march into Italy between the
Alps and the Apennines. There were before him ninety thousand troops of
the coalition, commanded in the centre by Argentau, by Colle on the left,
and Beaulieu on the right. This immense army was dispersed in a few days
by prodigies of genius and courage. Bonaparte overthrew the centre at
Montenotte, and entered Piedmont; at Millesimo he entirely separated the
Sardinian from the Austrian army. They hastened to defend Turin and Milan,
the capitals of their domination. Before pursuing the Austrians, the
republican general threw himself on the left, to cut off the Sardinian
army. The fate of Piedmont was decided at Mondovi, and the terrified court
of Turin hastened to submit. At Cherasco an armistice was concluded, which
was soon afterwards followed by a treaty of peace, signed at Paris, on the
18th of May, 1796, between the republic and the king of Sardinia, who
ceded Savoy and the counties of Nice and Tenda. The occupation of
Alessandria, which opened the Lombard country; the demolition of the
fortresses of Susa, and of Brunette, on the borders of France; the
abandonment of the territory of Nice, and of Savoy, and the rendering
available the other army of the Alps, under Kellermann, was the reward of
a fortnight's campaign, and six victories.

War being over with Piedmont, Bonaparte marched against the Austrian army,
to which he left no repose. He passed the Po at Piacenza, and the Adda at
Lodi. The latter victory opened the gates of Milan, and secured him the
possession of Lombardy. General Beaulieu was driven into the defiles of
Tyrol by the republican army, which invested Mantua, and appeared on the
mountains of the empire. General Wurmser came to replace Beaulieu, and a
new army was sent to join the wrecks of the conquered one. Wurmser
advanced to relieve Mantua, and once more make Italy the field of battle;
but he was overpowered, like his predecessor, by Bonaparte, who, after
having raised the blockade of Mantua, in order to oppose this new enemy,
renewed it with increased vigour, and resumed his positions in Tyrol. The
plan of invasion was executed with much union and success. While the army
of Italy threatened Austria by Tyrol, the two armies of the Meuse and
Rhine entered Germany; Moreau, supported by Jourdan on his left, was ready
to join Bonaparte on his right. The two armies had passed the Rhine at
Neuwied and Strasburg, and had advanced on a front, drawn up in echelons
to the distance of sixty leagues, driving back the enemy, who, while
retreating before them, strove to impede their march and break their line.
They had almost attained the aim of their enterprise; Moreau had entered
Ulm and Augsburg, crossed the Leek, and his advanced guard was on the
extreme of the defiles of Tyrol, when Jourdan, from a misunderstanding,
passed beyond the line, was attacked by the archduke Charles, and
completely routed. Moreau, exposed on his left wing, was reduced to the
necessity of retracing his steps, and he then effected his memorable
retreat. The fault of Jourdan was a capital one: it prevented the success
of this vast plan of campaign, and gave respite to the Austrian

The cabinet of Vienna, which had lost Belgium in this war, and which felt
the importance of preserving Italy, defended it with the greatest
obstinacy. Wurmser, after a new defeat, was obliged to throw himself into
Mantua with the wreck of his army. General Alvinzy, at the head of fifty
thousand Hungarians, now came to try his fortune, but was not more
successful than Beaulieu or Wurmser. New victories were added to the
wonders already achieved by the army of Italy, and secured the conquest of
that country. Mantua capitulated; the republican troops, masters of Italy,
took the route to Vienna across the mountains. Bonaparte had before him
prince Charles, the last hope of Austria. He soon passed through the
defiles of Tyrol, and entered the plains of Germany. In the meantime, the
army of the Rhine under Moreau, and that of the Meuse under Hoche,
successfully resumed the plan of the preceding campaign; and the cabinet
of Vienna, in a state of alarm, concluded the truce of Leoben. It had
exhausted all its force, and tried all its generals, while the French
republic was in the full vigour of conquest.

The army of Italy accomplished in Europe the work of the French
revolution. This wonderful campaign was owing to the union of a general of
genius, and an intelligent army. Bonaparte had for lieutenants generals
capable of commanding themselves, who knew how to take upon themselves the
responsibility of a movement of a battle, and an army of citizens all
possessing cultivated minds, deep feeling, strong emulation of all that is
great; passionately attached to a revolution which aggrandized their
country, preserved their independence under discipline, and which afforded
an opportunity to every soldier of becoming a general. There is nothing
which a leader of genius might not accomplish with such men. He must have
regretted, at this recollection of his earlier years, that he ever centred
in himself all liberty and intelligence, that he ever created mechanical
armies and generals only fit to obey. Bonaparte began the third epoch of
the war. The campaign of 1792 had been made on the old system, with
dispersed corps, acting separately without abandoning their fixed line.
The committee of public safety concentrated the corps, made them operate
no longer merely on what was before them, but at a distance; it hastened
their movement, and directed them towards a common end. Bonaparte did for
each battle what the committee had done for each campaign. He brought all
these corps on the determinate point, and destroyed several armies with a
single one by the rapidity of his measures. He disposed of whole masses of
troops at his pleasure, moved them here or there, brought them forward, or
kept them out of sight, had them wholly at his disposition, when, where,
and how he pleased, whether to occupy a position or to gain a battle. His
diplomacy was as masterly as his military science.

All the Italian governments, except Venice and Genoa, had adhered to the
coalition, but the people were in favour of the French republic. Bonaparte
relied on the latter. He abolished Piedmont, which he could not conquer;
transformed the Milanese, hitherto dependent on Austria, into the
_Cisalpine Republic_; he weakened Tuscany and the petty princes of Parma
and Modena by contributions, without dispossessing them; the pope, who had
signed a truce on Bonaparte's first success against Beaulieu, and who did
not hesitate to infringe it on the arrival of Wurmser, bought peace by
yielding Romagna, Bologna, and Ferrara, which were joined to the Cisalpine
republic; lastly, the aristocracy of Venice and Genoa having favoured the
coalition, and raised an insurrection in the rear of the army, their
government was changed, and Bonaparte made it democratic, in order to
oppose the power of the people to that of the nobility. In this way the
revolution penetrated into Italy.

Austria, by the preliminaries of Leoben, ceded Belgium to France, and
recognised the Lombard republic. All the allied powers had laid down their
arms, and even England asked to treat. France, peaceable and free at home,
had on her borders attained her natural limits, and was surrounded with
rising republics, such as Holland, Lombardy, and Liguria, which guarded
her sides and extended her system in Europe. The coalition was little
disposed to assail anew a revolution, all the governments of which were
victorious; that of anarchy after the 10th of August, of the dictatorship
after the 31st of May, and of legal authority under the directory; a
revolution, which, at every new hostility, advanced a step further upon
European territory. In 1792, it had only extended to Belgium; in 1794, it
had reached Holland and the Rhine; in 1796, had reached Italy, and entered
Germany. If it continued its progress, the coalition had reason to fear
that it would carry its conquests further. Everything seemed prepared for
general peace.

But the situation of the directory was materially changed by the elections
of the year V. (May, 1797). These elections, by introducing, in a legal
way, the royalist party into the legislature and government, brought again
into question what the conflict of Vendémiaire had decided. Up to this
period, a good understanding had existed between the directory and the
councils. Composed of conventionalists, united by a common interest, and
the necessity of establishing the republic, after having been blown about
by the winds of all parties, they had manifested much good-will in their
intercourse, and much union in their measures. The councils had yielded to
the various demands of the directory; and, with the exception of a few
slight modifications, they had approved its projects concerning the
finance and the administration, its conduct with regard to the
conspiracies, the armies, and Europe. The anti-conventional minority had
formed an opposition in the councils; but this opposition, while waiting
the reinforcement of a new third, had but cautiously contended against the
policy of the directory. At its head were Barbé-Marbois, Pastoret,
Vaublanc, Dumas, Portalis, Siméon, Tronçon-Ducoudray, Dupont de Nemours,
most of them members of the Right in the legislative assembly, and some of
them avowed royalists. Their position soon became less equivocal and more
aggressive, by the addition of those members elected in the year V.

The royalists formed a formidable and active confederation, having its
leaders, agents, budgets, and journals. They excluded republicans from the
elections, influenced the masses, who always follow the most energetic
party, and whose banner they momentarily assume. They would not even admit
patriots of the first epoch, and only elected decided counter-
revolutionists or equivocal constitutionalists. The republican party was
then placed in the government and in the army; the royalist party in the
electoral assemblies and the councils.

On the 1st Prairial, year V. (20th May), the two councils opened their
sittings. From the beginning they manifested the spirit which actuated
them. Pichegru, whom the royalists transferred on to the new field of
battle of the counter-revolution, was enthusiastically elected president
of the council _des jeunes_. Barbé-Marbois had given him, with the same
eagerness, the presidentship of the elder council. The legislative body
proceeded to appoint a director to replace Letourneur, who, on the 30th
Floréal, had been fixed on by ballot as the retiring member. Their choice
fell on Barthélemy, the ambassador to Switzerland, whose moderate views
and attachment to peace suited the councils and Europe, but who was
scarcely adapted for the government of the republic, owing to his absence
from France during all the revolution.

These first hostilities against the directory and the conventional party
were followed by more actual attacks. Its administration and policy were
now attacked without scruple. The directory had done all it had been able
to do by a legal government in a situation still revolutionary. It was
blamed for continuing the war and for the disorder of the financial
department. The legislative majority skilfully turned its attention to the
public wants; it supported the entire liberty of the press, which allowed
journalists to attack the directory, and to prepare the way for another
system; it supported peace because it would lead to the disarming of the
republic, and lastly, it supported economy.

These demands were in one sense useful and national. France was weary, and
felt the need of all these things in order to complete its social
restoration; accordingly, the nation half adopted the views of the
royalists, but from entirely different motives. It saw with rather more
anxiety the measures adopted by the councils relative to priests and
emigrants. A pacification was desired; but the nation did not wish that
the conquered foes of the revolution should return triumphant. The
councils passed the laws with regard to them with great precipitation.
They justly abolished the sentence of transportation or imprisonment
against priests for matters of religion or incivism; but they wished to
restore the ancient prerogatives of their form of worship; to render
Catholicism, already re-established, outwardly manifest by the use of
bells, and to exempt priests from the oath of public functionaries.
Camille Jordan, a young Lyonnais deputy, full of eloquence and courage,
but professing unreasonable opinions, was the principal panegyrist of the
clergy in the younger council. The speech which he delivered on this
subject excited great surprise and violent opposition. The little
enthusiasm that remained was still entirely patriotic, and all were
astonished at witnessing the revival of another enthusiasm, that of
religion: the last century and the revolution had made men entirely
unaccustomed to it, and prevented them from understanding it. This was the
moment when the old party revived its creed, introduced its language, and
mingled them with the creed and language of the reform party, which had
hitherto prevailed alone. The result was, as is usual with all that is
unexpected, an unfavourable and ridiculous impression against Camille
Jordan, who was nicknamed _Jordan-Carillon, Jordan-les-Cloches_. The
attempt of the protectors of the clergy did not, however, succeed; and the
council of five hundred did not venture as yet to pass a decree for the
use of bells, or to make the priests independent. After some hesitation,
the moderate party joined the directorial party, and supported the civic
oath with cries of "Vive la République!"

Meantime, hostilities continued against the directory, especially in the
council of five hundred, which was more zealous and impatient than that of
the ancients. All this greatly emboldened the royalist faction in the
interior. The counter-revolutionary reprisals against the _patriots_, and
those who had acquired national property, were renewed. Emigrant and
dissentient priests returned in crowds, and being unable to endure
anything savouring of the revolution, they did not conceal their projects
for its overthrow. The directorial authority, threatened in the centre,
and disowned in the departments, became wholly powerless.

But the necessity of defence, the anxiety of all men who were devoted to
the directory, and especially to the revolution, gave courage and support
to the government. The aggressive progress of the councils brought their

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