Page images

the oth of

him on the 9th of March, whereupon the assembly testified its constitutional party, but the king and queen eluded his offers of confidence in Narbonne. De Lessart having incurred its anger assistance. They had always disliked and distrusted Lafayette by the tameness of his replies to Austrian dictation, the Assembly and the Feuillants, and preferred to rest their hopes of deliverance voted his impeachment.

on the foreigner. Lafayette returned to his troops without having The king, seeing no other course open, formed a new ministry effected anything. The Girondins made a last advance to Louis, which was chiefly Girondin. Roland became minister of the offering to save the monarchy if he would accept them as War

interior, Clavière of finance, De Grave of war, and ministers. His refusal united all the Jacobins in the project of declared Lacoste of marine. Far abler and more resolute than overturning the monarchy by force. The ruling spirit of this new agalast any of these men was Dumouriez, the new minister revolution was Danton, a barrister only thirty-two years of age, Austria

for foreign affairs. A soldier by profession, he had who had not sat in either Assembly, although he had been the been employed in the secret diplomacy of Louis XV. and had thus leader of the Cordeliers, an advanced republican club, and had gained a wide knowledge of international politics. He stood a strong hold on the common people of Paris. Danton and his aloof from parties and had no rigid principles, but held views friends were assisted in their work by the fear of invasion, for closely resembling those of Narbonne. He wished for a war with the allied army was at length mustering on the frontier. The Austria which should restore some influence to the crown and Assembly declared the country in danger. All the regular troops make himself the arbiter of France. The king bent to necessity, in or near Paris were sent to the front. Volunteers and fédérés and on the 20th of April came to the Assembly with the proposal were constantly arriving in Paris, and, although most went on to that war should be declared against Austria. It was carried by join the army, the Jacobins enlisted those who were suitable for acclamation. Dumouriez intended to begin with an invasion their purpose, especially some 500 whom Barbaroux, a Girondin, of the Austrian Netherlands. As this would awaken English had summoned from Marseilles. At the same time the National jealousy, he sent Talleyrand to London with assurances that, Guard was opened to the lowest class. Brunswick's famous if victorious, the French would annex no territory.

declaration of the 25th of July, announcing that the allies would It was designed that the French should invade the Netherlands enter France to restore the royal authority and would visit the at three points simultaneously. Lafayette was to match against Assembly and the city of Paris with military execution if any Namur, Biron against Mons, and Dillon against Tournay. But further outrage were offered to the king, heated the republican the first movement disclosed the miserable state of the army. spirit to fury. It was resolved to strike the decisive blow on the Smitten with panic, Dillon's force filed at sight of the enemy, and 10th of August. Dillon, after receiving a wound from one of his own soldiers, On the night of the oth a new revolutionary Commune took was murdered by the mob of Lille. Biron was easily routed possession of the hotel de ville, and early on the morning of the before Mons. On hearing of these disasters Lafayette found it oth the insurgents assailed the Tuileries. As the necessary to retreat. This shameful discomfiture quickened all preparations of the Jacobins had been notorious, some

Rislag of the suspicion and jealousy fermenting in France. De Grave had measures of defence had been taken. Beside a few

August to resign and was succeeded by Servan. The Austrian forces in gentlemen in arms and a number of National Guards the Netherlands were, however, so weak that they could not take the palace was garrisoned by the Swiss Guard, about 950 strong. the offensive. Austria demanded help from Prussia under the The disparity of force was not so great as to make resistance recent alliance, and the claim was admitted. Prussia declared altogether hopeless. But Louis let himself be persuaded into war against France, and the duke of Brunswick was chosen to betraying his own cause and retiring with his family under the command the allied forces, but various causes delayed action. shelter of the Assembly. The National Guards either dispersed Austrian and Prussian interests clashed in Poland. The Austrian or fraternized with the assailants. The Swiss Guard stood firm, government wished to preserve a harmless neighbour. The and, possibly by accident, a fusillade began. The enemy were Prussian government desired another partition and a large tract gaining ground when the Swiss received an order from the king to of Polish territory. Only after long discussion was it agreed that cease firing and withdraw. They were mostly shot down as they Prussia should be free to act in Poland, while Austria might find were retiring, and of those who surrendered many were murdered compensation in provinces conquered from France.

in cold blood next day. The king and queen spent long hours in A respite was thus given and something was done to improve a reporter's box while the Assembly discussed their fate and the the army. Meantime the Assembly passed three decrees: one fate of the French monarchy. Little more than a third of the for the deportation of nonjuring priests, another to suppress the deputies were present and they were almost all Jacobins. They king's Constitutional Guard, and a third for the establishment decreed that Louis should be suspended from his office and that of a camp of fédérés near Paris. Louis consented to sacrifice a convention should be summoned to give France a new conhis guard, but vetoed the other decrees, Roland having addressed stitution. An executive council was formed by recalling Roland, to him an arrogant letter of remonstrance, the king with the Clavière and Servan to office and joining with them. Danton as support of Dumouriez dismissed Roland, Servan and Clavière. minister of justice, Lebrun as minister of foreign affairs, and Dumouriez then took the ministry of war, and the other places Monge as minister of marine, were filled with such men as could be had. Dumouriez, who When Lafayette heard of the insurrection in Paris he tried cared only for the successful prosecution of the war, urged the to rally his troops in defence of the constitution, but they refused king to accept the,decrees. As Louis was obstinate, he felt that to follow him. He was driven to cross the frontier The reva he could do no more, resigned office on the 15th of June and and surrender himself to the Austrians. Dumouriez lutionary émeute of went to join the army of the north. Lafayette, who was named his successor. But the new government was commune

of Paris. remained faithful to the constitution of 1791, ventured still beset with danger, It had no root in law and little on a letter of remonstrance to the Assembly. It paid hold on public opinion. It could not lean on the Assembly, a

no attention, for Lafayette could no longer sway the mere shrunken remnant, whose days were numbered. It repeople. The Jacobins tried to frighten the king into accepting the mained dependent on the power which had set it up, the revolu. decrees and recalling his ministers. On the 20th of June the tionary Commune of Paris. The Commune could therefore extort armed populace invaded the hall of the Assembly and the royal what concessions it pleased. It got the custody of the king and apartments in the Tuileries. For some hours the king and queen his family who were imprisoned in the Temple. Having obtained were in the utmost peril. With passive courage Louis refrained an indefinite power of arrest, it soon filled the prisons of Paris. from making any promise to the insurgents.

As the elections to the Convention were close at hand, the ComThe failure of the insurrection encouraged a movement in mune resolved to strike the public with terror by the slaughter favour of the king. Some twenty thousand Parisians signed a of its prisoners. It found its opportunity in the progress of petition expressing sympathy with Louis. Addresses of like invasion. On the 19th Brunswick crossed the frontier. On the tenour poured in from the departments and the provincial cities. . 22nd Longwy surrendered. Verdun was invested and seemed Lafayette bimself came to Paris in the hope of rallying the I likely to fall. On the 1st of September the Commune decreed

the 20th of June 1792



Abolition of the

that on the following day the tocsin should be rung, all able-| the Parisian populace. Barbaroux accused Robespierre of aiming bodied citizens convened in the Champs de Mars, and 60,000 at a dictatorship, and Buzot demanded a guard recruited in the

volunteers enrolled for the defence of the country. departments to protect the Convention. In October Louvet The Sep

While this assembly was in progress gangs of assassins reiterated the charge against Robespierre, and Barbaroux called massacres. were sent to the prisons and began a butchery which for the dissolution of the Commune of Paris. But the Girondins

lasted four days and consumed 1400 victims. The Com- gained no tangible result from this wordy warfare. For a time mune addressed a circular letter to the other cities of France the question how to dispose of the king diverted the thoughts of inviting them to follow the example. A number of state prisoners all parties. It was approached in a political, not in a judicial awaiting-trial at Orleans were ordered to Paris and on the way spirit. The Jacobins desired the death of Louis, partly because were murdered at Versailles. The Assembly offered a feeble they hated kings and deemed him a traitor, partly because they resistance to these crimes. Danton can hardly be acquitted of wished to envenom the Revolution, defy Europe and compromise connivancc at them. Roland hinted disapproval, but did not their more temperate colleagues. The Girondins wished to spare venture more. He with many other Girondins had been marked Louis, but were afraid of incurring the reproach of royalism. for slaughter in the original project.

At this critical moment the discovery of the famous iron chest, The elections to the Convention were by almost universal containing papers which showed that many public men had suffrage, but indifference or intimidation reduced the voters 10 a intrigued with the court, was disastrous for Louis. Members of The

small number. Many who had sat in the National, the Convention were anxious to be thought severe lest they should National and many more who had sat in the Legislative be thought corrupt. Robespierre frankly demanded that Louis Conveg.

Assembly were returned. The Convention met on the as a public enemy should be put to death without form of trial.

20th of September. Like the previous assemblics, The 'majority shrank from such open injustice and decreed on it did not fall into well-defined parties. The success of the the 3rd of December that Louis should be tried by the Convention. Jacobins in overthrowing the monarchy had ended their union. A committee of twenty-one was chosen to frame the indictment Thenceforwards the name of Jacobin was confined to the smaller against Louis, and on the irth of December he was brought to and more fanatical group, while the rest came to be known as the bar for the first time to hear the charges read. Trial and the Girondins. The Jacobins, about 150 strong, formed the Left The most essential might be summed up in the state. execution of the Convention, afterwards known from the raised benches on ment that he had plotted against the Constitution and of Louis which they sat as the Mountain (9.0.). The Girondins, numbering against the safety of the kingdom. On the 26th Louis XV. perhaps 180, formed the Right. The rest of the House, ncarly appeared at the bar a second time, and the trial began. The soo members, voted now on one side now on the other, until in advocates of Louis could plead that all his actions down to the the course of the Terror they fell under the Jacobin domination. dissolution of the National Assembly came within the amnesty This neutral mass is often termed the Plain, in allusion to its then granted, and that the Constitution had proclaimed his seats on the floor of the House. The Convention as a whole was person inviolable, while enacting for certain offences the penalty Republican, if not on principle, from the feeling that no other of deposition which he had already undergone. Such argu

form of government could be established. It decreed ments were not likely to weigh with such a tribunal. The

the abolition of monarchy on the 21st of September. Mountain called for immediate sentence of death; the Girondins mogarchy. A committee was named to draft a new constitution, desired an appeal to the people of France. The galleries of the

which was presented and decreed in the following June, Convention were packed with adherents of the Jacobins, whose but never took effect and was superseded by a third constitution fury, not confined to words, struck terror into all who might in 1795. The actual government of France was by committees incline towards mercy. In Paris unmistakable signs announced of the Convention, but some months passed before it could be a new insurrection, to be followed perhaps by new massacres. fully organized.

On the question whether Louis was guilty none ventured to give The inner history of the Convention was strange and terrible. a negative vote. The motion for an appeal to the people was It turned on the successive schisms in the ruling minority. rejected by 424 votes to 283. The penalty of death was adopted

Whichever side prevailed destroyed its adversaries by 361 votes against 360 in favour of other penalties or of postJacobias

only to divide afresh and renew the strife until the poning at least the execution of the sentence. On the 21st of Girondins. victors were at length so reduced that their yoke was January 1793 Louis was beheaded in the Place de la Révolution,

shaken off and the mass of the Convention, hitherto now the Place de la Concorde. benumbed by fear, resumed its freedom and the government of Between the deposition and the death of Louis the war had France. The first and most memorable of these contests was run a surprising course. Accompanied by King Frederick the quarrel between Jacobin and Girondin. Both parties were William, Brunswick had entered France with 80,000 republican and democratic; both wished to complete the Revolu- men, of whom more than half were Prussians, the

Valmy. tion; both were determined to maintain the integrity of France. best soldiers in Europe. The disorder of France was But they differed in circumstances and temperament. Although such that many expected a triumphal march to Paris. But the the leaders on both sides were of the middle class, the Girondins Allies had opened the campaign late; they moved slowly; represented the bourgeoisie, the Jacobins represented the populace. the weather broke, and sickness began to waste their ranks. The Girondins desired a speedy return to law and order; the Dumouriez succeeded in rousing the spirit of the French; he Jacobins thought that they could keep power only by violence. occupied the defiles of the forest of Argonne, thus causing the The Jacobins leant on the revolutionary commune and the mob enemy to lose many valuable days, and when at last they turned of Paris; the Girondins leant on the ihriving burghers of the his position, he retreated without loss. At Valmy on the 20th provincial cities. Despite their smaller number the Jacobins were of September the two armies came in contact. The affair was victors. They were the more resolute and unscrupulous. The only a cannonade, but the French stood firm and the advance of Girondins numbered many orators, but not one man of action. the Allies was stayed. Brunswick had no heart for his work; The Jacobins controlled the parent club with its affiliated societies the king was ill satisfied with the Austrians, and both were alarmed and the whole machinery of terror. The Girondins had no by the ravages of disease among the soldiers. Within ten days organized force at their disposal. The Jacobins perpetuated in after the affair of Valmy they began their retreat. Dumouriez, a new form the old centralization of power to which France was who still hoped to detach Prussia from Austria, left them un. accustomed. The Girondins addressed themselves to provincials molested. When the enemy had quitted France, he invaded who had lost the power of initiative. They were termed federal- Hainaut and defeated the Austrians at Jemappes on the 6th of ists by their enemies and accused, unjustly enough, of wishing November. In Belgium a large party regarded the French as to dissolve the national unity.

deliverers. Dumouriez entered Brussels without further reEven in the first days of the Convention the feud broke out. sistance, and was soon master of the whole country. Elsewhere The Girondins condemned the September massacres and dreaded I the French were equally successfub With a slight force Custing


Battle of

Rising la La

The Nest coalition

assailed the electorate of Mainz. The common people were About the same time began the first formidable. uprising friendly, and he had no trouble in occupying the country as far against the Revolution, the War of La Vendée, the region lying as the Rhine. The king of Sardinia having shown a hostile to the south of the lower Loire and facing the Auantic. temper, Montesquiou made an easy conquest of Savoy. At the Its inbabitants differed in many ways from the mass close of 1792 the relative position of France and her enemies of the nation. Living far from large towns and busy

Vendée had been reversed. It was seen that the French were still able routes of commerce, they remained primitive in all their to wage war, and that the revolutionary spirit had permeated thoughts and ways, The peasants had always been on friendly the adjoining countries, while the old governments of Europe, terms with the gentry, and the agrarian changes made by the jealous of one another and uncertain of the loyalty of their Revolution had not been appreciated so highly as elsewhere. subjects, were ill qualified for resistanco.

The people were ardent Catholics, who venerated the nonjuring Intoxicated with these victories, the Convention abandoned clergy and resented the measures taken against them. But itself to the fervour of propaganda and conquest. The river they remained passive until the enforcement of the decree for Scheldt had been closed to commerce by various treaties to which the levy of 300,000 men. Caring little for the Convention and England and Holland, neutral powers, were parties. Without a knowing nothing of events on the northern or eastern frontier, pretence of negotiation the French government declared on the the peasants were determined not to serve and preferred to fight 16th of November that the Schelde was thenceforwards open. the Republic at home. When once they had taken up arms On the 19th a decree of the Convention offered the aid of France they found gentlemen to lead and priests to exhort, and their to all nations which were striving after freedom—in other words, rebellion became Royalist and Catholic. The chiefs were drawn 10 the malcontents in every neighbouring state. Not long from widely different classes. If Bonchamps and La Rocheafterwards the Convention annexed Savoy, with the consent, jacquelin were nobles, Stofilet was a gamekeeper and Cathelineau it should be added, of many Savoyards. On the 15th of a mason. As the country was favourable to guerilla warfare, and December the Convention decreed that all peoples freed by its the government could not spare regular troops from the frontiers, assistance should carry out a revolution like that which had the rebels were usually successful, and by the end of May had been made in France on pain of being treated as enemies. almost expelled the Republicans from La Vendée. Towards Great Britain the executive council and the Convention Danger without and within prompted the Convention to behaved with singular folly. There, in spite of a growing anti- strengthen the executive authority. That the executive and pathy to the Revolution, Pitt earnestly desired to maintain peace. legislative powers ought to be absolutely separate The The conquest of the Netherlands and the symptoms of a wish to had been an axiom throughout the Revolution. Committee annex that country made his task most difficult. But the French Ministers had always been excluded from a seat in the of Public

Safety. government underrated the strength of Great Britain, legislature. But the Assemblies were suspicious of

imagining that all Englishmen who desired parlia- the executive and bent on absorbing the government. They against mentary reform desired revolution, and that a few had nominated committees of their own members to control Prance.

democratic societies represented the nation. When every branch of public affairs. These committees, while rcducing Monge announced the intention of attacking Great Britain on the ministers to impotence, were themselves clumsy and inbehalf of the English republicans, the British government and effectual. It may be said that since the first meeting of the nation were thoroughly alarmed and roused; and when the states-general the executive authority had been paralysed in news of the execution of Louis XVI. was received, Chauvelin, France. The Convention in theory maintained the separation the French envoy, was ordered to quit England. France declared of powers. Even Danton had been forced to resign office when war against England and Holland on the ist of February and he was elected a member. But unity of government was restored soon afterwards against Spain. In the course of the year 1793 by the formation of a central committee. In. January the first the Empire, the kings of Portugal and Naples and the grand-Committee of General Defence was formed of members of the duke of Tuscany declared war against France. Thus was formed committees for the several departments of state. Too large and the first coalition.

too much divided for strenuous labour, it was reduced in April to France was not prepared to encounter so many enemies. nine members and re-named the Committee of Public Safety. Administrative confusion had been heightened by the triumph of It deliberated in secret and had authority over the ministers; the Jacobins. Servan was succeeded as minister of war by Pache it was entrusted with the whole of the national defence and emwho was incapable and dishonest. The army of Dumouriez was powered to use all the resources of the state, and it quickly left in such want that it dwindled rapidly. The commissioners became the supreme power in the republic. Under it the ministers of the Convention plundered the Netherlands with so little were no more than head clerks. About the same time were remorse that the people became bitterly hostile. The attempt to instituted the deputies on mission in the provinces, who could enforce a revolution of the French sort on the Catholic and con- overrule any local authority, and who corresponded regularly servative Belgians drove them to fury. By every unfair means with the Committee. France thus returned under new forms to the commissioners extorted the semblance of a popular vote in its traditional government: a despotic authority in Paris with favour of incorporation, and France annexed the Netherlands. all-powerful agents in the provinces. Against disaffection the This was the last outrage. When a new Austrian army under the government was armed with formidable weapons: the Comprince of Coburg entertd the country, Dumouriez, who had mittee of General Security and the Revolutionary Tribunal. invaded Holland, was unable to defend Belgium. On the 18th The Committee of General Security, first established in October of March he was defeated at Neerwinden, and a few days later he 1792, was several times remodelled. In September 1793 the was driven back to the frontier. Alike on public and personal Convention decreed that its members should be nominated by grounds Dumouriez was the enemy of the government. Trusting the Committee of Public Safety. The Committee of General in his influence over the army he resolved to lead it against the Security had unlimited powers for the prevention or discovery Convention, and, in order to secure his rear, he negotiated with of crime against the state. The Revolutionary Tribunal was the enemy. But he could make no impression on his soldiers, and decreed on the soth of March. It was an extraordinary court, deserted to the Austrians. Events followed a similar course in destined to try all offences against the Revolution without appeal. the Rhine valley. There also the French wore out the goodwill The jury, which received wages, voted openly, so that conat first shown to them. They summoned a convention and demnation was almost certain. The director of the jury or public obtained a vote for incorporation with France. But they were prosecutor was Fouquier Tinville. The first condemnation took unable to hold their ground on the approach of a Prussian army. place on the uth of April. By April they had lost the country with the exception of Mainz, Enmity between Girondin and Jacobin grew fiercer as the which was invested. France thus lay open to invasion from the perils of the Republic increased. Danton strove to unite all east and the north. The Convention decreed a levy of 300,000 partisans of the Revolution in defence of the country; but men.

che Girondins, detesting his character and fearing his ambition,

of terror.

rejected all advances. The Commune of Paris and the journalists | coalition. Meanwhile the Committee of Public Safety, inspired who were its mouthpieces, Hébert and Marat, aimed frankly by Danton, strove to rebuild the French administrative system.

at destroying the Girondins. In April the Girondins In July the Committee was renewed and Danton fell out; but Fall of the carried a decree that Marat should be sent before the soon afterwards it was reinforced by two officers, Carnot, who Girondios.

Revolutionary Tribunal for incendiary writings, but undertook the organization of the army, and Prieur of the his acquittal showed that a Jacobin leader was above the law. Côte d'Or, who undertook its equipment. Administrators of the In May they proposed that the Commune of Paris should be first rank, these men renovated the warlike power of France, and dissolved, and that the suppléants, the persons elected to fill enabled her to deal those crushing blows which broke up the vacancies occurring in the Convention, should assemble at coalition. Bourges, where they would be safe from that violence which The Royalist and Girondin insurrections and the critical might be applied to the Convention itself. Barère, who was aspect of the war favoured the establishment of what is known rising into notice by the skill with which he trimmed between as the reign of terror. Terrorism had prevailed more

The reiga parties, opposed this motion, and carried a decree appointing a or less since the beginning of the Revolution, but it was Committee of Twelve to watch over the safety of the Convention. the work of those who desired to rule, not of the Then the Commune named as commandant of the National nominal rulers. It had been lawless and rebellious. It ended by Guard, Hanriot, a ‘man concerned in the September massacres. becoming legal and official. While Danton kept power Terrorism It raised an insurrection on the 31st of May. On Barère's pro- remained imperfect, for Danton, although unscrupulous, did not posal the Convention stooped to dissolving the Committee of love cruelty and kept in view a return to normal government. Twelve. The Commune, which had hoped for the arrest of the But soon after Danton had ceased to be a member of the ComGirondin leaders, was not satisfied. It undertook a new and mittee of Public Safety Robespierie was elected, and now became more formidable outbreak on the 2nd of June. Enclosed by the most powerful man in France. "Robespierre was an acrid Hanriot's troops and thoroughly cowed, the Convention decreed fanatic, and unlike Danton, who only cared to securethe practical the arrest of the Committee of Twelve and of twenty-two results of the Revolution, he had a moral and religious ideal principal Girondins. They were put under confinement in their which he intended to force on the nation. All who rejected his own houses. Thus the Jacobins became all-powerful.

ideal were corrupt; all who resented his ascendancy were A tremor of revolt ran through the cities of the south which traitors. The death of Marat, who was stabbed by Charlotte chafed under the despotism of the Parisian mob. These cities Corday (9.0.) to avenge the Girondins, gave yet another pretext Revolt

had their own grievances. The Jacobin clubs menaced for terrible measures of repression. In Paris the armed ruffians of the

the lives and properties of all who were guilty of wealth who had long preyed upon respectable citizens were organized provlaces, or of moderate opinions, while the representatives on as a revolutionary army, and other revolutionary armies were

mission deposed the municipal authorities and placed established in the provinces. Two new laws placed almost their own creatures in power. At the end of April the citizens of everybody at the mercy of the government. The Law of the Marseilles closed the Jacobin club, put its chiefs on their trial Maximum, passed on the 17th of September, fixed the price of and drove out the representatives on mission. In May Lyons food and made it capital to ask for more. The Law of Suspects, rose. The Jacobin municipality was overturned, and Challier, passed at the same time, declared suspect every person who was their fiercest demagogue, was arrested. In June the citizens of of noble birth, or had held office before the Revolution, or had any Bordeaux declared that they would not acknowledge the connexion with an émigré, or could not produce a card of civisme authority of the Convention until the imprisoned deputies granted by the local authority, which had full discretion to refuse. were set free. In July Toulon rebelled. But in the north Any suspect might be arrested and imprisoned until the peace the appeals of such Girondins as escaped from Paris were of no or sent before the Revolutionary Tribunal. An earlier law had avail. Even the southern uprising proved far less dangerous established in every commune an elective committee of surveilihan might have been expected. The peasants, who had lance. These bodies, better known as revolutionary committees, gained more by the Revolution than any other class, held were charged with the enforcement of the Law of Suspects. aloof from the citizens. The citizens lacked the qualities on the roth of October the new constitution was suspended necessary for the successful conduct of civil war. Bordeaux and the government declared revolutionary until the peace. surrendered almost without waiting to be summoned. Marseilles The spirit of those in power was shown by the massacres was taken in August and treated with great cruelty. Lyons, which followed on the surrender of Lyons in that month. In where the Royalists were strong, defended itself with courage, Paris the slaughter of distinguished victims began with for the trial and execution of Challier made the townsmen the trial of Marie Antoinette, who was guillotined on hopeless of pardon. Toulon, also largely Royalist, invited the the 16th. Twenty-one Girondin deputies were next English and Spanish admirals, Hood and Langara, who occupied brought to the bar and, with the exception of Valaze the port and garrisoned the town. At the same time the Vendean who slabbed himself, were beheaded on the last day of October, War continued formidable. In June the insurgents took the im- Madame Roland and other Girondins of note suffered later. In portant town of Saumur, although they failed in an attempt upon November the duke of Orleans, who had styled himself Philippe Nantes. At the end of July the Republicans were still unable Egalité, had sat in the Convention, and had voted for the king's to make any impression upon the revolted territory.

death, went to the scaffold. Bailly, Barnave and many others of Thus in the summer of 1793 France seemed to be falling to note followed before the end of the year. As the bloody work pieces. It was saved by the imbecility and disunion of the went on the pretence of trial became more and more hollow, Disunion hostile powers. In the north the French army after the chance of acquittal fainter and fainter. The Revolutionary

the treason of Dumouriez could only attempt to cover Tribunal was a mere instrument of state. Knowing the slight allied the frontier. The Austrians were joined by British, foundation of its power the government deliberately sought to

Dutch and Prussian forces. Had the Allies pushed destroy all whose birth, political connexions or past career straight upon Paris, they might have ended the war. But the might mark them out as leaders of opposition. At the same time desire of each ally to make conquests on his own account led it took care to show that done was so obscure or so impotent as to them to spend time and strength in sieges. When Condé and be safe when its policy was to destroy. Valenciennes bad been taken, the British went off to assail The disastrous effects of the Terror were heightened by the Dunkirk and the Prassians retired into Luxemburg. In the east financial mismanagement of the Jacobins. Assignats were issued the Prussians and Austrians took Mainz at the end of July, with such reckless profusion that the total for the three years of allowing the garrison to depart on condition of not serving the Convention has been estimated at 7250 millions of francs. against the Allies for a year. Then they invaded Alsace, but their Enormous depreciation ensued and, although penalties rising mutual jealousy prevented them from going farther. Thus the to death itself were denounced against all who should refuse summer passed away without any decisive achievement of the I to take them at par, they fell to little more than 1% of their

Execution of the queeo.

of the


acy of

toa. The new calcadar.

nominal value. What were known as revolutionary taxes werc fixed. Twenty leaders of the Commune were arrested on the imposed at discretion by the representatives on mission and the 17th of March 1794 and guillotined a week later. It was then local authorities. A forced loan of 1000 millions was exacted from Danton's rurn. He had several warnings, but either through those citizens who were reputed to be prosperous. Immense over-confidence or weariness of life he scorned to fly. On the supplies of all kinds were requisitioned for the armies, and were 30th he was arrested along with his friends Desmoulins, Delasometimes allowed to rot unused. Anarchy and state interference croix, Philippeaux and Westermann. St Just read to the having combined to check the trade in necessaries, the govern- Convention a report on their case pre-eminent even in that day ment undertook to feed the people, and spent huge sums, for its shameless disregard of truth, nay, of plausibility. Before especially on bread for the starving inhabitants of Paris. As the Revolutionary Tribunal Danton defended himself with such no regular budget was attempted, as accounts were not kept, energy that St Just took means to have him silenced. Danton and as audi was unknown, the opportunities for fraud and and his friends were executed on the 5th of April. embezzlement were endless. Even when due allowance has been For a moment the conflict of parties seemed at an end. None made for the financial disorder which the Convention inherited could presume to challenge the authority of the Committee of from previous assemblies, and for the war which it had to wage Public Safety, and in the committee nune disputed the Supremo against a formidable alliance, it cannot be acquitted of reckless leadership of Robespierre. Robespierre was at last

Robes and wasteful maladministration.

free to establish the republic of virtue. On the 7th

pierre. Notwithstanding the disorder of the time, the mass of now of May he persuaded the Convention to decree that the laws produced by the Convention was extraordinary. A new French people acknowledged the existence of a Supreme Being

system of weights and measures, a new currency, a and the immortality of the soul. On the 4th of June he was Revolu. tionary

new chronological era (that of the Republic), and a new elected president of the Convention, and from that time forward legisla calendar were introduced (see the section Republican he appeared to be dictator of France. On the 8th the festival

Calendar below). A new and elaborate system of of the Supreme Being was solemnized, Robespierre acting as education was decreed. Two drafts of a complete pontiff amid the outward deference and secret jeers of his col

civil code were made and, although neither was enacted, leagues. But Robespierre knew what a gulf parted him from particular changes of great moment were decreed. Many of the almost all his countrymen. He knew that he could be safe only new laws were stamped with the passions of the time. Such by keeping power and powerful only by making the Terror more were the laws which suppressed all the remaining bodies cor-stringent. Two days after the festival. his friend Couthon porate, even the academies, and which extinguished all manorial presented the crowning law of the Terror, known as the Law rights without any indemnity to the owners. Such too were the of 22 Prairial. As the Revolutionary Tribunal was said to be laws which took away the power of testation, placed natural paralysed by forms and delays, this law abolished the desence of children upon an absolute equality with legitimate, and gave a prisoners by counsel and the examination of witnesses. Thenceboundless freedom of divorce. It would be absurd, however, to forward the impressions of judges and jurors were to decide the dismiss all the legislative work of the Convention as merely fate of the accused. For all offences the penalty was to be death. partisan or eccentric. Much of it was enlightened and skilful, The leave of the Convention was no longer required for the arrest the product of the best minds in the assembly. To compete for of a member. In spite of some murmurs even this law was power or even to express an opinion on public affairs was danger- adopted. Its effect was fearful. The Revolutionary Tribunal ous, and wholly to refrain from attendance might be construed had hitherto pronounced 1200 death sentences. In the next as disaffection. Able men who wished to be useful without six weeks it pronounced 1400: With Robespierre's approval hazarding their lives took refuge in the committees where new St Just sketched at this time the plan of an ideal society in which laws were drafted and discussed. The result of their labours every man should have just enough land to maintain him; in was often decreed as a matter of course. Whether the decree which domestic life should be regulated by law and all children would be carried into effect was always uncertain.

over seven years should be educated by the state. Pending The ruling faction was still divided against itself. The this regeneration of society St Just advised the rule of a dictator. Commune of Paris, which had overthrown the Girondins, was The growing ferocity of the Terror appeared more hideous as the jealous of the Committee of Public Safety, which meant to be dangers threatening the government receded. The surrender of supreme. Robespierre, the leading member of the committee, Toulon in December 1793 closed the south of France to

The . abhorred the chiefs of the Commune, not merely because they foreign enemies. The war in La Vendée turned against volution: conflicted with his ambition but from difference of character. the insurgents from the time when the yeteran garrison ary War. He was orderly and temperate, they were gross and debauched; of Mainz came to reinforce the Republican army. Republic he was a deist, they were atheists. In November the Commune After a severe defeat at Cholet on the 16th of October fitted up Notre Dame as a temple of Reason, selected an opera the Royalists determined to cross the Loire and raise girl to impersonate the goddess, and with profane ceremony Brittany and Anjou, where the Chouans, or Royalist partisans, installed her in the choir. All the churches in Paris were closed. were already stirring. They failed in an attempt on the little Danton, when he felt power slipping from his hands, had retired seaport of Granville and in another upon Angers.' In December from public business to his native town of Arcis-sur-Aube. When they were defeated with immense loss at Le Mans and at Savenay. he became aware of the feud between Robespierre and the The rebellion would probably have died out but for the measures Commune, he conceived the hope of limiting the Terror and of the new Republican general Turreau, who wasted La Vendée so guiding the Revolution into a sane course. He returned to horribly with his " infernal columns " that he drove the peasants Paris and joined with Robespierre in carrying the law of 14 to take up arms once more. Yet Turreau's crimes were almost Frimaire (December 4), which gave the Committee of Public surpassed by Carrier, the representative on mission at Nantes, Safety absolute control over all municipal authorities. He be- who, finding the guillotine too slow in the destruction of his came the advocate of mercy, and his friend Camille Desmoulins prisoners, adopted the plan of drowning them wholesale. In pleaded for the same cause in the Vieux Cordelier. Then the the autumn of 1793 the war against the coalition took a turn

oppressed nation took courage and began to demand favourable to France. The energy of Danton, the organizing pardon for the innocent and even justice upon skill of Carnot, and the high spirit of the French nation, resolute

murderers. A sharp contest ensued between the at all costs to avoid dismemberment, had well employed the Commune. Dantonists and the Commune, Robespierre inclining respite given by the sluggishness of the Allics. In Flanders Dastoo

now to this side, now to that, for he was really a friend the English were defeated at Hondschoote (September 8) and to neither. His friend St Just, a younger and fiercer the Austrians at Wattignies (October 15). In the cast Hoche

man, resolved to destroy both. Hébert and his routed the Austrians at Weissenburg and forced them to recross followers in despair planned a new insurrection, but they were the Rhine before the end of 1793. The summer of 1794 saw France deserted by Hanriot, their military chief.' Their doom was thus victorious on all her frontiers. Jourdan won the battle of Fleurus

can su cesses.

Overthrow of the Paris


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »