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HISTORY

OF THE

FRENCH REVOLUTION.

THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.

INTRIGUES OF THE ROYALIST PARTY IN THE SECTIONS-DIRECTORIAL

CONSTITUTION AND DECREES OF THE THIRD AND FIFTEENTH OF FRUCTIDOR-REVOLT OF THE SECTIONS OF PARIS AGAINST THOSE DECREESOCCURRENCES OF THE THIRTEENTH OF VENDEMIAIRE-DISSOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.

The royalist party, beaten on the frontiers, and deserted by the court of Spain, on which it placed most reliance, was now obliged to confine itself to intrigues in the interior; and it must be confessed that, at this moment, Paris offered a wide field for such intrigues. The work of the constitution was advancing ; the time when the Convention was to resign its powers, when France should meet to elect fresh representatives, when a new Assembly should succeed that which had so long reigned, was more favourable than any other for counter-revolutionary maneuvres.

The most vehement passions were in agitation in the sections of Paris. The members of them were not royalists, but they served the cause of royalty without being aware of it. They had made a point of opposing the Terrorists; they had animated themselves by the conflict; they wished to persecute also ; and they were exasperated against the Convention, which would not suffer this persecution to be carried too far. They were always ready to remember that Terror had sprung from its bosom; they demanded of it a constitution and laws, and the end of the long dictatorship which it had exercised. Most of those who demanded all this thought nothing whatever of the Bourbons. They belonged to the wealthy tiersétat of 1789; they were merchants, shopkeepers, landowners, advocates, writers, who wished at length for the establishment of the laws and the enjoyment of their rights; they were young men, sincerely republican, but blinded by their zeal against the revolutionary system; they were many of them ambitious men, newspaper-writers, or speakers in the sections, who, to gain a place for themselves, desired that the Convention should retire before them. Behind this mass the royalists concealed themselves. Among these were some emigrants, some returned priests, some creatures of the old court who had lost their situations, and many indifferent persons and poltroons, who dreaded a stormy liberty. These last did not frequent the sections ; but the former attended them diligently, and employed all possible means for exciting agitation among them. The instructions given by the royalist agents to their tools was to adopt the language of the sectionaries, to

make the same demands, to insist like them on the punishment of the Terrorists, the completion of the constitution, the trial of the Mountaineer deputies, but to demand all these things with greater violence, so as to compromise the sections with the Convention and to provoke new commotions, for every commotion was a chance for them, and served at least to excite disgust of so tumultuous a republic.

Fortunately, such proceedings were not practicable except in Paris, for at is always the most agitated city in France. It is there that the public interests are discussed with most warmth, that people are fond of pretending to influence the government, and that opposition always commences. With the exception of Lyons, Marseilles, and Toulon, where men were slaughtering one another, the rest of France took infinitely less share in these. political agitations than the sections of Paris. To all that they said, or caused to be said, in the sections, the intriguers in the service of royalism added pamphlets and articles in newspapers.

They there lied, according to their custom, gave themselves an importance which they had not, and sent abroad letters stating that they had seduced the principal heads of the government. It was by these lies that they procured money, and that they had recently obtained some thousand pounds sterling from England. It is nevertheless certain that, if they had not gained either Tallien or Hoche, as they alleged, they had at least gained some members of the Convention, perhaps two or three, for instance, Rovère and Saladin, two fiery revolutionists, who had become violent reactors. It is likewise believed that they had touched by more delicate means some of those deputies holding middle opinions, who had some leaning towards a representative monarchy, that is, towards a Bourbon professedly bound by laws after the English fashion. To Pichegru had been offered a mansion, money, and cannon: to some legislators or members of the committees, it may have been said,

France is too extensive to be a republic; she would be much happier with a king, responsible ministers, hereditary peers, and deputies." This idea, were it even not suggested, could scarcely fail to occur to more than one person, especially 10 those who were qualified to become deputies or hereditary peers. Messrs. Lanjuinais and Boissy-d'Anglas, Henri-Larivière, and Lesage of Eure and Loire, were then considered as secret royalists.

We thus see that the means of the agents were not very powerful; but they were sufficient to disturb the public tranquillity, to unsetile minds, and especially to recall to the mem

mory of the French' those Bourbons, the only enemies whom the republic still had, and whom its arms had not been able to conquer, because recollections are not to be destroyed with bayonets.

Among the seventy-three there was more than one monarchist; but in general they were republicans. The Girondins were all so, or nearly all. The counterrevolutionary journals, nevertheless, praised them with great warmth, and had thus succeeded in rendering them suspicious to the Thermidorians. To defend themselves from these praises, the seventy-three and the twenty-two protested their attachment to the republic ; for at that time nobody durst speak coldly of the republic. What a frightful contradiction would it have been, in fact, if people had not loved it, to have sacrified so much blood and treasure for its establishment, to have immolated thousands of Frenchmen either in civil war or in foreign war ! Were not men forced to love it, or at least to say so? However, notwithstanding

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*“ Will the Convention,” said one of the most eloquent of these royalist intriguers, “ never be satisfied ? Is a reign of three years, fraught with more crimes than the whole annals of twenty other nations, not sufficient for those who rose into power under the auspices of the 10th of August, and the 2d of September? Is that power fit to repose under the shadow of the laws which has only lived in tempests? The Convention hitherto has done nothing but destroy; shall we now intrust it with the work of a Constitution? What reliance can be placed on the monstrous coalition between the proscribers and the proscribed ? Irreconcilable enemies to each other, they have only entered into this semblance of alliance in order to resist those who hate them—that is, every man in France. Can two-thirds of the Convention be found who are not stained with blood ? Shall we admit a majority of regicides into the new Assembly, intrust our liberty to cowards, our fortunes to the authors of so many acts of rapine, our lives to murderers ? No; let us leave to the Convention its sins, and to our soldiers their triumphs, and the world will speedily do justice to both.” -Lacretelle. E.

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these protestations, the Thermidorians were distrustful; they reckoned only upon M. Daunou,* whose integrity and strict principles were well known, and on Louvet, whose ardent mind had continued to be republican. The latter, indeed, after losing so many illustrious friends, and incurring so many dangers, had no conception that all this could be in vain ; he had no conception that so many valuable lives had been sacrificed to bring about royalty! He had cordially joined the Thermidorians. The Thermidorians united themselves from day to day with the Mountaineers, with that mass of unshaken republicans, a very great number of whom they had sacrificed.

They wished, in the first place, to provoke measures against the return of the emigrants, who continued to make their appearance in shoals, some with false passports and by fictitious names, others upon pretext of coming to solicit their erasure. Almost all produced false certificates of residence, declared that they had not been out of France, and had merely concealed themselves, or that they had been proceeded against only on account of the events of the 31st of May. Upon pretext of soliciting the committee of general safety, they filled Paris, and some of them contributed to the agitations of the sections. Among the most distinguished personages who had returned to Paris was Madame de Staël, who had again made her appearance in France in company with her husband, the ambassador of Sweden. She had thrown open her drawing-room, where she had felt an irresistible impulse to display her brilliant talents. A republic was far from displeasing the boldness of her mind, provided she should see her proscribed friends shine in it; and on condition that those revolutionists should be excluded who passed no doubt for energetic men, but who were men of coarse and unpolished minds. There were others besides her, in fact, who were willing enough to receive from their hands the republic saved, but desirous to exclude them as speedily as possible from the tribune and the government. Foreigners of distinction, all the ambassadors, the literary men most celebrated for their abilities assembled at the house of Madame de Staël. It was no longer Madame Tallien's drawing-room, but hers, that now attracted exclusive attention ; and by this standard might be measured the change which French society had undergone during the last six months. It was said that Madame de Staël interceded for the emigrants ; it was asserted that she wished to obtain the recall of Narbonne, Jaucourt, and several others. Legendre formally denounced her from the tribune. Complaints were made in the newspapers of the influence which coteries formed around some of the foreign ambassadors were striving to exercise ; and the suspension of the erasures was demanded. The Thermidorians obtained, moreover, a decree enjoining every emigrant, who had returned for the purpose of soliciting his erasure, to repair to his commune, and

. « M. Daunou who was involved in the fall of the Girondins was readmitted into the Convention after the death of Robespierre, and became one of the commissioners for organizing the Constitution of 1795. He was afterwards chosen president of the council of Five Hundred, and was one of those who co-operated in the revolution of the 18th of Brumaire. Daunou was one of the best orators of the latter French legislatures.”—Biographie Moderne. E.

7“ Madame de Staël,' said Napoleon, 'was a woman of considerable talent and great ambition ; but so extremely intriguing and restless, as to give rise to the observation that she would throw her friends into the sea, that, at the moment of drowning, she might have an opportunity of saving them. Shortly after my return from the conquest of Italy, I was accosted by her in a large company, though at that time I avoided going out much in public. She followed me everywhere, and stuck so close that I could not shake her off. At last she asked me, “ Who is at this moment the first woman in the world ?" intending to pay a compliment to me, and thinking that I would return it. I looked at her, and coldly replied, “ She who has borne the greatest number of children ;” an answer which greatly confused her. The Emperor concluded by observing that he could not call her a wicked woman, but that she was a restless intriguante, possessed of considerable talent and influence.”—A Voice from St. Helena. E.

“ Madame de Staël possessed very superior powers of mind. She would have made a great man. I saw her once presented to Curran at Mackintosh's ; it was the grand confluence between the Rhone and the Saone, and they were both so ugly, that I could not help wondering how the best intellects of France and Ireland could have taken up respectively such residences. Madame de Staël was a good woman at heart, but spoiled by a wish to be, she knew not what. In her own house she was amiable; in any other person's, you wished her gone, and in her own again.”—Moore's Life of Byron. E. Vol. III.

2

To propose

there await the decision of the committee of general safety. They hoped by this measure to rid the capital of a multitude of intriguers, who contributed to excite agitation there.

The Thermidorians wished at the same time to put a stop to the persecutions directed against the patriots. They had caused many of them, Pache, Bouchotte, and the notorious Heron, to be set at liberty by the committee of general safety. They might, it is true, have made a better choice than this last for the purpose of doing justice to the patriots. The sections had, as we have seen, already presented petitions on the subject of these enlargements ; they now petitioned afresh. The committees replied that the patriots who were in confinement ought to be brought to trial, and not to be detained any longer if they were innocent. their trial was to propose their enlargement, for their misdemeanors were generally those political misdemeanors which it is impossible to lay hold of. Setting aside some members of the revolutionary committees, who had distinguished themselves by atrocious excesses, the greater number could not legally be condemned. Several sections came to desire that a few days' delay should be granted them, that they might collect evidence to justify the apprehension and the disarming of those whom they had confined, alleging that, at the first moment, they had not been able either to seek proofs or to assign motives, and offering to furnish them. These propositions which cloaked the desire to assemble and to obtain the delay, were not listened to; and a projet for bringing to trial the detained patriots was demanded of the committees.

A violent dispute arose concerning this projet. Some were for sending the patriots before the tribunals of the departments; others, distrusting local passions, rejected this mode of trial, and proposed that a commission of twelve members should be chosen from among the Convention, to investigate the cases of the detained persons, to release those against whom the charges preferred were insuffi. cient, and to send the others before the criminal tribunals. They alleged that this commission, strangers to the animosities which agitated the departments, would do better justice, and not confound the patriots compromised by the ardour of their zeal with the guilty men who had participated in the cruelties of the decemviral tyranny. All the violent enemies of the patriots condemned the idea of this commission which was likely to do as the committee of general safety, renewed after the fisth of Thermidor, had done, namely, to release en masse. They asked how it was possible for that commission of twelve members to investigate twenty or twenty-five thousand cases. In reply to this question, they were merely told that it would do like the committee of general safety, which had tried eighty or one hundred thousand at the opening of the prisons. But it was precisely this mode of trial that was found fault with. After a discussion of several days, intermingled with petitions, each bolder than the other, it was at length decided that the patriots' should be tried by the tribunals of the departments, and the decree was sent to the committees to have some of its secondary arrangements modified. It was found necessary also to consent to the continuation of the report concerning the deputies compromised in their missions. The Assembly decreed the arrest of Lequinio, Lanot, Lefiot, Dupin, Bộ, Piorry, Maxieu, Chaudron, Rousseau, Laplanche, Fouché, and proceedings were commenced against Lebon. At this moment the Convention had as many of its members in prison as in the time of Terror. Thus the partisans of clemency had nothing to regret, and had returned evil for evil.

The constitution had been presented by the commission of eleven. It was discussed during the three months of Messidor, Thermidor, and Fructidor, and was successively decreed with very little alteration. Its authors vere Lesage, Daunou, Boissy-d'Anglas, Creuzé-Latouche, Berlier, Louvet, Lareveillère-Lepeaux, Lanjuinais, Durand-Maillanne,* Baudin of the Ardennes, and Thibaudeau.“ Sieyes had

* “ Durand-Maillanne, a barrister, was deputy to the Convention, and voted for the King's confinement, and his banishment on the conclusion of peace. After the fall of Robespierre he inveighed bitterly against the Jacobins, and in 1795 was appointed to complete the committee of eleven. Being elected into the council of Ancients, he spoke in favour of the relatio ns of emigrants. After the

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