The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 3 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 2 (of 3)
by Hippolyte A. Taine
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"just as the nation begins to enjoy the inestimable right of free thought and free speech, factional tyrants lose no time in depriving citizens of these, proclaiming to all that would maintain the integrity of their consciences: Tremble, die, or believe as we do!"

After this, to impose silence on those who express what is offensive, the crowd, the club, the section, decree and execute, each on its own authority,[1227] searches, arrests, assaults, and, at length, assassinations. During the month of June, 1792, "three decrees of arrest and fifteen denunciations, two acts of affixing seals, four civic invasions of his premises, and the confiscation of whatever belonged to him in France" is the experience of Mallet du Pan. He passes four years "without knowing with any certainty on going to bed whether he should get out of it in the morning alive and free." Later on, if he escapes the guillotine and the lantern, it is owing to exile. On the 10th of August, Suleau, a conservative journalist, is massacred in the street.—This shows how the party regards the freedom of the press. Other liberties may be judged of by its encroachments on this domain. Law, in its eyes, is null when it proves an obstacle, and when it affords protection to adversaries; consequently there is no excess which it does not sanction for itself; and no right which it does not refuse to others.

There is no escape from the tyranny of the clubs. "That of Marseilles has forced the city officials to resign;[1228] it has summoned the municipal body to appear before it; it has ignored the authority of the department, and has insulted the administrators of the law. Members of the Orleans club have kept the national Supreme Court under supervision, and taken part in its proceedings. Those of the Caen club have insulted the magistrates, and seized and burnt the records of the proceedings commenced against the destroyers of the statue of Louis XIV. At Alby they have forcibly abstracted from the record-office the papers relating to an assassin's trial, and burnt them." The club at Coutance gives the deputies of its district to understand that "no reflections must be cast on the laws of the people." That of Lyons stops an artillery train, under the pretext that the ministry in office does not enjoy the nation's confidence.—Thus does the club everywhere govern, or prepare to govern. On the one hand, at the elections, it sets aside or supports candidates; it alone votes, or, at least, controls the voting. In short, the club is the elective power, and practically, if not legally, enjoys the privileges of a political aristocracy. On the other hand, it assumes to be a spontaneous police-board; it prepares and circulates the lists which designate the ill-disposed, suspected, and lukewarm; it lodges information against nobles whose sons have emigrated; against unsworn priests who still reside in their former parishes, and against nuns, "whose conduct is unconstitutional". It prompts, directs, and rebukes local authorities; it is itself a supplemental, superior, and usurping authority.—All at once, sensible men realize its character, and protest against it.

"A body thus organized," says a petition,[1229] "exists solely for arming one citizen against another.... Discussions take place there, and denunciations are made under the seal of inviolable secrecy..... Honest citizens, surrendered to the most atrocious calumny, are destroyed without an opportunity of defending themselves. It is a veritable Inquisition. It is the center of seditious publications, a school of cabals and intrigue. If the citizens have to blush at the selection of unworthy candidates, they are all due to this class of associations... Composed of the excited and the incendiary, of those who aim to rule the State," the club everywhere tends

"to a mastery of the popular opinion, to thwarting the municipalities, to an intrusion of itself between these and the people," to an usurpation of legal forms and to become a "colossus of despotism."

Vain complaints! The National Assembly, ever in alarm on its own account, shields the popular club and accords it its favor or indulgence. A journal of the party had recommended "the people to form themselves into small platoons." These platoons, one by one, are growing. Each borough now has a local oligarchy, an enlisted and governing band. To create an army out of these scattered bands, simply requires a staff and a central rallying-point. The central point and the staff have both for a long time been ready in Paris, it is the association of the "Friends of the Constitution."

IV.—Their rallying-points.

Origin and composition of the Paris Jacobin club.—It affiliates with provincial clubs.—Its leaders.—The fanatics.—The Intriguers.—Their object.—Their means.

No association in France, indeed, dates farther back, and has an equal prestige. It was born before the Revolution, April 30, 1789.[1230] At the assembly of the States-General in Brittany, the deputies from Quimper, Hennebon, and Pontivy saw how important it was to vote in concert, and they had scarcely reached Versailles when, in common with others, they hired a hall, and, along with Mounier, secretary of the States-General of Dauphiny, and other deputies from the provinces, at once organized a union which was destined to last. Up to the 6th of October, none but deputies were comprised in it; after that date, on removing to Paris, in the library of the Jacobins, a convent in the Rue St. Honore, many well-known eminent men were admitted, such as Condorcet, and then Laharpe, Chenier, Champfort, David, and Talma, among the most prominent, with other authors and artists, the whole amounting to about a thousand notable personages.—No assemblage could be more imposing—two or three hundred deputies are on its benches, while its rules and by-laws seem specially designed to gather a superior body of men. Candidates for admission were proposed by ten members and afterwards voted on by ballot. To be present at one of its meetings required a card of admission. On one occasion, a member of the committee of two, appointed to verify these cards, happens to be the young Duke of Chartres. There is a committee on administration and a president. Discussions took place with parliamentary formalities, and, according to its status, the questions considered there were those under debate in the National Assembly.[1231] In the lower hall, at certain hours, workmen received instruction and the constitution was explained to them. Seen from afar, no society seems worthier of directing public opinion; near by, the case is different. In the departments, however, where distance lends enchantment, and where old customs prevail implanted by centralization, it is accepted as a guide because its seat is at the capital. Its statutes, its regulations, its spirit, are all imitated; it becomes the alma mater of other associations and they its adopted daughters. It publishes, accordingly, a list of all clubs conspicuously in its journal, together with their denunciations; it insists on their demands; henceforth, every Jacobin in the remotest borough feels the support and endorsement, not only of his local, club, but again of the great club whose numerous offshoots reached the entire territory and which extends its all-powerful protection to the least of its adherents. In return for this protection, each associated club obeys the word of command given at Paris, and to and from, from the center to the extremities, a constant correspondence maintains the established harmony. A vast political machine is thus set agoing, a machine with thousands of arms, all working at once under one impulsion, and the lever which the motions is in the hands of a few master spirits in the Rue St. Honore.

No machine could be more effective; never was one seen so well contrived for manufacturing artificial, violent public opinion, for making this appear to be national, spontaneous sentiment, for conferring the rights of the silent majority on a vociferous minority, for forcing the surrender of the government.

"Our tactics were very simple," says Gregoire[1232]. "It was understood that one of us should take advantage of the first favorable opportunity to propose some measure in the National Assembly that was sure to be applauded by a small minority and cried down by the majority. But that made no difference. The proposer demanded, which was granted, that the measure should be referred to a committee in which its opponents hoped to see it buried. Then the Paris Jacobins took hold of it. A circular was issued, after which an article on the measure was printed in their journal and discussed in three or four hundred clubs that were leagued together. Three weeks after this the Assembly was flooded with petitions from every quarter, demanding a decree of which the first proposal had been rejected, and which is now passed by a great majority because a discussion of it had ripened public opinion."

In other words, the Assembly must go ahead or it will be driven along, in which process the worst expedients are the best. Those who conduct the club, whether fanatics or intriguers, are fully agreed on this point.

At the head of the former class is Duport, once a counselor in the parliament, who, after 1788, knew how to turn riots to account. The first revolutionary consultations were held in his house. He wants to plough deep, and his devices for burying the ploughshare are such that Sieyes, a radical, if there ever was one, dubbed it a "cavernous policy."[1233] Duport, on the 28th of July, 1789, is the organizer of the Committee on Searches, by which all favorably disposed informers or spies form in his hands a supervisory police, which fast becomes a police of provocation. He finds recruits in the lower hall of the Jacobin club, where workmen come to be catechized every morning, while his two lieutenants, the brothers Laurette, have only to draw on the same source for a zealous staff in a choice selection of their instruments. "Ten reliable men receive orders there daily;[1234] each of these in turn gives his orders to ten more, belonging to different battalions in Paris. In this way each battalion and section receives the same insurrectionary orders, the same denunciations of the constituted authorities, of the mayor of Paris, of the president of the department, and of the commander of the National Guard," everything taking place secretly. These are dark deeds: the leaders themselves call it 'the Sabbath' and, along with fanatics they enlist ruffians. "They spread the rumor that, on a certain day, there will be a great commotion with assassinations and pillage, preceded by the payment of money distributed from hand to hand by subaltern officers among those that can be relied on, and that these bands are to assemble, as advertised, within a radius of thirty or forty leagues."[1235]—One day, to provoke a riot, "half a dozen men, who have arranged the thing, form a small group, in which one of them holds forth vehemently; at once a crowd of about sixty others gathers around them. Then the six men move on from place to place, to form fresh groups making their apparent excitement pass for popular irritation.—Another day, "about forty fanatics, with powerful lungs, and four or five hundred paid men," scatter themselves around the Tuileries, "yelling furiously," and, gathering under the windows of the Assembly, "move resolutions to assassinate."—"Our ushers," says a deputy to the Assembly, "whom you ordered to suppress this tumult, heard reiterated threats of bringing you the heads of those the crowd wished to proscribe. That very evening, in the Palais-Royal, "I heard a subordinate leader of this factious band boast of having charged your ushers to take this answer back, adding that there was time enough yet for all good citizens to follow his advice."—The watchword of these agitators is, are you true and the response is, a true man. Their pay is twelve francs a day, and when in action they make engagements on the spot at that rate. "From several depositions taken by officers of the National Guard and at the mayoralty," it is ascertained that twelve francs a day were tendered to "honest people to join in with those you may have heard shouting, and some of them actually had the twelve francs put into their hands."—The money comes from the coffers of the Duke of Orleans, and they are freely drawn upon; at his death, with a property amounting to 114,000,000 francs, his debts amount to 74,000,000.[1236] Being one of the faction, he contributes to its expenses, and, being the richest man in the kingdom, he contributes proportionately to his wealth. Not because he is a party leader, for he is too effeminate, too nervous; but "his petty council,"[1237] and especially one of his private secretaries, Laclos, cherishes great designs for him, their object being to make him lieutenant-general of the kingdom, afterwards regent, and even king,[1238] so that they may rule in his name and "share the profits."——In the mean time they turn his whims to the best account, particularly Laclos, who is a kind of subordinate Macchiavelli, capable of anything, profound, depraved, and long indulging his fondness for monstrous combinations; nobody ever so coolly delighted in indescribable compounds of human wickedness and debauchery. In politics, as in romance, his department is "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." Formerly he maneuvered as an amateur with prostitutes and ruffians in the fashionable world; now he maneuvers in earnest with the prostitutes and ruffians of the sidewalks. On the 5th of October 1789, he is seen, "dressed in a brown coat,"[1239] foremost among the women starting for Versailles, while his hand[1240] is visible "in the Reveillon affair, also in the burning of barriers and Chateaux," and in the widespread panic which aroused all France against imaginary bandits. His operations, says Malouet, "were all paid for by the Duke of Orleans"; he entered into them "for his own account, and the Jacobins for theirs."—At this time their alliance is plain to everybody. On the 21st of November, 1790, Laclos becomes secretary of the club, chief of the department of correspondence, titular editor of its journal, and the invisible, active, and permanent director of all its enterprises. Whether actual demagogues or prompted by ambition, whether paid agents or earnest revolutionaries, each group works on its own account, both in concert, both in the same direction, and both devoted to the same undertaking, which is the conquest of power by every possible means.

V.—Small number of Jacobins.

Sources of their power.—They form a league.—They have faith.—Their unscrupulousness.—The power of the party vested in the group which best fulfills these conditions.

At first sight their success seems doubtful, for they are in a minority, and a very small one. At Besancon, in November, 1791, the revolutionaries of every shade of opinion and degree, whether Girondists or Montagnards, consist of about 500 or 600 out of 3,000 electors, and, in November, 1792, of not more than the same number out of 6,000 and 7,000.[1241] At Paris, in November, 1791, there are 6,700 out of more than 81,000 on the rolls; in October, 1792, there are less than 14,000 out of 160,000.[1242] At Troyes, in 1792, there are found only 400 or 500 out of 7,000 electors, and at Strasbourg the same number out of 8,000 electors.[1243] Accordingly only about one-tenth of the electoral population are revolutionaries, and if we leave out the Girondists and the semi-conservatives, the number is reduced by one-half. Towards the end of 1792, at Besancon, scarcely more than 300 pure Jacobins are found in a population of from 25,000 to 30,000, while at Paris, out of 700,000 inhabitants only 5,000 are Jacobins. It is certain that in the capital, where the most excitement prevails, and where more of them are found than elsewhere, never, even in a crisis and when vagabonds are paid and bandits recruited, are there more than 10,000.[1244] In a large town like Toulouse a representative of the people on missionary service wins over only about 400 persons.[1245] Counting fifty or so in each small town, twenty in each large borough, and five or six in each village, we find, on an average, but one Jacobin to fifteen electors and National Guards, while, taking the whole of France, all the Jacobins put together do not amount to 300,000.[1246]—This is a small number for the enslavement of six millions of able-bodied men, and for installing in a country of twenty-six millions inhabitants a more absolute despotism than that of an Asiatic sovereign. Force, however, is not measured by numbers; they form a band in the midst of a crowd and, in this disorganized, inert crowd, a band that is determined to push its way like an iron wedge splitting a log.

And against sedition from within as well as conquest from without a nation may only defend itself through the activities of its government, which provides the indispensable instruments of common action. Let it fail or falter and the great majority, undecided about what to do, lukewarm and busy elsewhere, ceases to be a corps and disintegrates into dust. Of the two governments around which the nation might have rallied, the first one, after July 14, 1789, lies prostrate on the ground where it slowly crumbles away. Now its ghost, which returns, is still more odious because it brings with it the same senseless abuses and intolerable burdens, and, in addition to these, a yelping pack of claimants and recriminators. After 1790 it appears on the frontier more arbitrary than ever at the head of a coming invasion of angry emigres and grasping foreigners.—The other government, that just constructed by the Constituent Assembly, is so badly put together that the majority cannot use it. It is not adapted to its hand; no political instrument at once so ponderous and so helpless was ever seen. An enormous effort is needed to set it in motion; every citizen is obliged to give it about two days labor per week.[1247] Thus laboriously started but half in motion, it poorly meets the various tasks imposed upon it—the collection of taxes, public order in the streets, the circulation of supplies, and security for consciences, lives and property. Toppled over by its own action, another rises out of it, illegal and serviceable, which takes its place and stands.—In a great centralized state whoever possesses the head possesses the body. By virtue of being led, the French have contracted the habit of letting themselves be led.[1248] People in the provinces involuntarily turn their eyes to the capital, and, on a crisis occurring, run out to stop the mailman to know what government happens to have fallen, the majority accepts or submits to it.—Because, in the first place, most of the isolated groups which would like to overthrow it dare not engage in the struggle: it seems too strong; through inveterate routine they imagine behind it that great, distant France which, under its impulsion, will crush them with its mass.[1249] In the second place, should a few isolated groups undertake to overthrow it, they are not in a condition to keep up the struggle: it is too strong. They are, indeed, not yet organized while it is fully so, owing to the docile set of officials inherited from the government overthrown. Under monarchy or republic the government clerk comes to his office regularly every morning to dispatch the orders transmitted to him.[1250] Under monarchy or republic the policeman daily makes his round to arrest those against who he has a warrant. So long as instructions come from above in the hierarchical order of things, they are obeyed. From one end of the territory to the other, therefore, the machine, with its hundred thousand arms, works efficiently in the hands of those who have seized the lever at the central point. Resolution, audacity, rude energy, are all that are needed to make the lever act, and none of these are wanting in the Jacobin. [1251]

First, he has faith, and faith at all times "moves mountains.[1252] "Take any ordinary party recruit, an attorney, a second-rate lawyer, a shopkeeper, an artisan, and conceive, if you can, the extraordinary effect of this doctrine on a mind so poorly prepared for it, so narrow, so out of proportion with the gigantic conception which has mastered it. Formed for the routine and the limited views of one in his position, he is suddenly carried away by a complete system of philosophy, a theory of nature and of man, a theory of society and of religion, a theory of universal history,[1253] conclusions about the past, the present, and the future of humanity, axioms of absolute right, a system of perfect and final truth, the whole concentrated in a few rigid formulae as, for example:

"Religion is superstition, monarchy is usurpation, priests are impostors, aristocrats are vampires, and kings are so many tyrants and monsters."

These ideas flood a mind of his stamp like a vast torrent precipitating itself into a narrow gorge; they upset it, and, no longer under self-direction, they sweep it away. The man is beside himself. A plain bourgeois, a common laborer is not transformed with impunity into an apostle or liberator of the human species.—For, it is not his country that he would save, but the entire race. Roland, just before the 10th of August, exclaims "with tears in his eyes, should liberty die in France, she is lost the rest of the world forever! The hopes of philosophers will perish! The whole earth will succumb to the cruelest tyranny!"[1254]—Gregoire, on the meeting of the Convention, obtained a decree abolishing royalty, and seemed overcome with the thought of the immense benefit he had conferred on the human race.

"I must confess," said he, "that for days I could neither eat nor sleep for excess of joy!"

One day a Jacobin in the tribune declared: "We shall be a nation of gods!"—Fancies like these bring on lunacy, or, at all events, they create disease. "Some men are in a fever all day long," said a companion of St. Just; "I had it for twelve years..."[1255] Later on, "when advanced in life and trying to analyze their experiences, they cannot comprehend it."[1256] Another tells that, in his case, on a "crisis occurring, there was only a hair's breadth between reason and madness."—"When St. Just and myself," says Baudot, "discharged the batteries at Wissenbourg, we were most liberally thanked for it. Well, there was no merit in that; we knew perfectly well that the shot could not do us any harm."—Man, in this exalted state, is unconscious of obstacles, and, according to circumstances, rise above or falls below himself, freely spilling his own blood as well as the blood of others, heroic as a soldier and atrocious as a civilian; he is not to be resisted in either direction for his strength increases a hundredfold through his fury, and, on his tearing wildly through the streets, people get out of his way as on the approach of a mad bull.

If they do not jump aside of their own accord, he will run at them, for he is unscrupulous as well as furious.—In every political struggle certain kinds of actions are prohibited; at all events, if the majority is sensible and wishes to act fairly, it repudiates them for itself. It will not violate any particular law, for, if one law is broken, this tends to the breaking of others. It is opposed to overthrowing an established government because every interregnum is a return to barbarism. It is opposed to the element of popular insurrection because, in such a resort, public power is surrendered to the irrationality of brutal passion. It is opposed to a conversion of the government into a machine for confiscation and murder because it deems the natural function of government to be the protection of life and property.—The majority, accordingly, in confronting the Jacobin, who allows himself all this,[1257] is like a unarmed man facing one who is fully armed.[1258] The Jacobin, on principle, holds the law in contempt, for the only law, which he accepts is arbitrary mob rule. He has no hesitation in proceeding against the government because, in his eyes, the government is a clerk which the people always has the right to remove. He welcomes insurrection because, through it, the people recover their sovereignty with no limitations.—Moreover, as with casuists, "the end justifies the means."[1259] "Let the colonies perish," exclaims a Jacobin in the Constituent Assembly, "rather than sacrifice a principle." "Should the day come," says St. Just, "when I become convinced that it is impossible to endow the French with mild, vigorous, and rational ways, inflexible against tyranny and injustice, that day I will stab myself." Meanwhile he guillotines the others. "We will make France a graveyard," exclaimed Carrier, "rather than not regenerating it our own way!"[1260] They are ready to risk the ship in order to seize the helm. From the first, they organize street riots and jacqueries in the rural districts, they let loose on society prostitutes and ruffians, vile and savage beasts. Throughout the struggle they take advantage of the coarsest and most destructive passions, of the blindness, credulity, and rage of an infatuated crowd, of dearth, of fear of bandits, of rumors of conspiracy, and of threats of invasion. At last, having seized power through a general upheaval, they hold on to it through terror and executions.—Straining will to the utmost, with no curb to check it, steadfastly believing in its own right and with utter contempt for the rights of others, with fanatical energy and the expedients of scoundrels, a minority may, in employing such forces, easily master and subdue a majority. So true is that, with faction itself, that victory is always on the side of the group with the strongest faith and the least scruples. Four times between 1789 and 1794, political gamblers take their seats at a table where the stake is supreme power, and four times in succession the "Impartiaux," the "Feuillants," the "Girondins," and the "Dantonists," form the majority and lose the game. Four times in succession the majority has no desire to break customary rules, or, at the very least, to infringe on any rule universally accepted, to wholly disregard the teachings of experience, the letter of the law, the precepts of humanity, or the suggestions of pity.—The minority, on the contrary, is determined beforehand to win at any price; its views and opinion are correct, and if rules are opposed to that, so much the worse for the rules. At the decisive moment, it claps a pistol to its adversary's head, overturns the table, and collects the stakes.


[Footnote 1201: See the figures further on.]

[Footnote 1202: Mallet du Pan, II. 491. Danton, in 1793, said one day to one of his former brethren an advocate to the Council.: "The old regime made a great mistake. It brought me up on a scholarship in Plessis College. I was brought up with nobles, who were my comrades, and with whom I lived on familiar terms. On completing my studies, I had nothing; I was poor and tried to get a place. The Paris bar was very expensive, and it required extensive efforts to be accepted. I could not get into the army, having neither rank nor patronage. There was no opening for me in the Church. I could purchase no employment, for I hadn't a cent. My old companions turned their backs on me. I remained without a situation, and only after many long years did I succeed in buying the post of advocate in the Royal Council. The Revolution came, when I, and all like me, threw themselves into it. The ancient regime forced us to do so, by providing a good education for us, without providing an opening for our talents." This applies to Robespierre, C. Desmoulins, Brissot, Vergniaud, and others.]

[Footnote 1203: Religious order founded in Rome in 1654 by saint Philippe Neri and who dedicated their efforts to preaching and the education of children. (SR)]

[Footnote 1204: Dauban, "La Demagogie a Paris en 1793," and "Paris in 1794." Read General Henriot's orders of the day in these two works. Comparton, "Histoire du Tribunal Revolutionaire de Paris," a letter by Trinchard, I. 306 (which is here given in the original, on account of the ortography): "Si tu nest pas toute seulle et que le compagnion soit a travailler tu peus ma chaire amie ventir voir juger 24 mesieurs tous si devent president ou conselier au parlement de Paris et de Toulouse. Je t'ainvite a prendre quelque chose aven de venir parcheque nous naurons pas fini de 3 hurres. Je t'embrase ma chaire amie et epouge."-Ibid. II. 350, examination of Andre Chenier.—Wallon, "Hist. Du Trib. Rev.", I, 316. Letter by Simon. "Je te coitte le bonjour mois est mon est pousse."]

[Footnote 1205: Cf. "The Revolution," page 60.]

[Footnote 1206: Cf. On this point the admissions of the honest Bailly ("Memoires," passim)]

[Footnote 1207: Retif de la Bretonne: "Nuits de Paris," 11eme nuit, p. 36. "I lived in Paris twenty-five years as free as air. All could enjoy as much freedom as myself in two ways—by living uprightly, and by not writing pamphlets against the ministry. All else was permitted, my freedom never being interfered with. It is only since the Revolution that a scoundrel could succeed in having me arrested twice."]

[Footnote 1208: Cf. "The Revolution," vol. I. p.264.]

[Footnote 1209: Moniteur, IV. 495. (Letter from Chartres, May 27, 1790.)]

[Footnote 1210: Sauzay, I.147, 195 218, 711.]

[Footnote 1211: Mercure de France, numbers of August 7, 14, 26, and Dec. 18, 1790.]

[Footnote 1212: Ibid. number of November 26, 1790. Petion is elected mayor of Paris by 6,728 out of 10,632 voters. "Only 7,000 voters are found at the election of the electors who elect deputies to the legislature. Primary and municipal meetings are deserted in the same proportion."—-Moniteur, X. 529 (Number of Dec. 4, 1791). Manuel is elected Attorney of the Commune by 3,770 out of 5,311 voters.—Ibid. XI. 378. At the election of municipal officers for Paris, Feb.10 and 11, 1792, only 3,787 voters present themselves; Dussault, who obtains the most votes, has 2,588; Sergent receives 1,648.—Buchez et Roux, XI. 238 (session of Aug.12, 1791). Speech by Chapelier; "Archives Nationales," F.6 (carton), 21. Primary meeting of June 13, 1791, canton of Beze (Cote d'Or). Out of 460 active citizens, 157 are present, and, on the final ballot, 58.—Ibid., F7, 3235, (January, 1792). Lozerre: "1,000 citizens, at most, out of 25,000, voted in the primary meetings. At. Saint-Chely, capital of the district, a few armed ruffians succeed in forming the primary meeting and in substituting their own election for that of eight parishes, whose frightened citizens who withdrew from it... At Langogne, chief town of the canton and district, out of more than 400 active citizens, 22 or 23 at most—just what one would suppose them to be when their presence drove away the rest—alone formed the meeting."]

[Footnote 1213: This power, with its gratifications, is thus shown, Beugnot, I. 140, 147. "On the publication of the decrees of August 4, the committee of surveillance of Montigny, reinforced by all the patriots of the country, came down like a torrent on the barony of Choiseul, and exterminated all the hares and partridges... They fished out the ponds. At Mandres we find, in the best room of the inn, a dozen peasants gathered around a table decked with tumblers and bottles, amongst which we noticed an inkstand, pens, and something resembling a register.—'I don't know what they are about,' said the landlady, 'but there they are, from morning till night, drinking, swearing, and storming away at everybody, and they say that they are a committee.'"]

[Footnote 1214: Albert Babeau, I. 206, 242.—The first meeting of the revolutionary committee of Troyes in the cemetery of St. Jules, August, 1789. This committee becomes the only authority in the town, after the assassination of the mayor, M. Huez (Sept 10, 1790).]

[Footnote 1215: "The French Revolution," Vol.I. pp. 235, 242, 251.—Buchez et Roux, VI, 179.—Guillon de Montleon, "Histoire de la Ville de Lyon pendant la Revolution," I. 87.—Guadet, "Les Girondins."]

[Footnote 1216: Michelet, "Histoire de la Revolution," II.47.]

[Footnote 1217: The rules of the Paris club state that members must "labor to establish and strengthen the Constitution, according to the spirit of the club."]

[Footnote 1218: Mercure de France, Aug.11, 1790.—"Journal de la Societe des Amis la Constitution," Nov.21, 1790.—Ibid., March, 1791.—Ibid., March, 1791.—Ibid., Aug.14, 1791 (speech by Roederer)—Buchez et Roux, XI. 481.]

[Footnote 1219: Michelet, II. 407.—Moniteur, XII 347 (May 11, 1792), article by Marie-Joseph Chenier, according to whom 800 Jacobin clubs exist at this date.—Ibid., XII. 753 (speech by M. Delfaux session of June 25, 1792).—Roederer, preface to his translation of Hobbes.]

[Footnote 1220: "Les Revolutions de Paris," by Prudhomme, number 173.]

[Footnote 1221: Constant, "Histoire d'un Club Jacobin en province, "passim (Fontainbleau Club, founded May 5, 1791).—Albert Babeau, I.434 and following pages (foundation of the Troyes Club, Oct 1790).—Sauzay, I 206 and following pages (foundation of the Besancon Club Aug. 28, 1790).—Ibid., 214 (foundation of the Pontarlier Club, March, 1791)]

[Footnote 1222: Sauzay, I. 214 (April 2, 1791)]

[Footnote 1223: "Journal des Amis de la Constitution," I. 534 (Letter of the "Cafe National" Club of Bordeaux, Jan.29, 1791). Guillon de Monthleon, I. 88.-"The French Revolution," vol. I. 128, 242.]

[Footnote 1224: Here we have a complete system of propaganda and organizational tactics identical to those used by the NAZIS, the Marxist-Leninists and other 'children' of the original communist-Jacobins. (SR.)]

[Footnote 1225: Eugene Hatin, "Histoire politique et litteraire de la presse," IV. 210 (with Marat's text in "L'Ami L'Ami du peuple," and Freron's in "l'Orateur du peuple").]

[Footnote 1226: Mercure de France, Nov. 27, 1790.]

[Footnote 1227: Mercure de France, Sept. 3, 1791 (article by Mallet du Pan). "On the strength of a denunciation, the authors of which I knew, the Luxembourg section on the 21st of June, the day of the king's departure, sent commissaries and a military detachment to my domicile. There was no judicial verdict, no legal order, either of police-court, or justice of the peace, no examination whatever preceding this mission... The employees of the section overhauled my papers, books and letters, transcribing some of the latter, and carried away copies and the originals, putting seals on the rest, which were left in charge of two fusiliers."]

[Footnote 1228: Mercure de France, Aug. 27, 1791 (report by Duport-Dutertre, Minister of Justice).—Ibid., Cf. numbers of Sept. 8, 1790, and March 12, 1791.]

[Footnote 1229: Sauzay, I.208. (Petition of the officers of the National Guard of Besancon, and observations of the municipal body, Sept. 15, 1790.—Petition of 500 national guards, Dec. 15, 1790).—Observations of the district directory, which directory, having authorized the club, avows that "three-quarters" of the national guard and a portion of other citizens "are quite hostile to it."—Similar petitions at Dax, Chalons-sur-Saone, etc., against the local club.]

[Footnote 1230: "Lettres" (manuscript) of M. Roulle, deputy from Pontivy, to his constituents (May 1, 1789).]

[Footnote 1231: A rule of the association says: "The object of the association is to discuss questions beforehand which are to be decided by the National Assembly,... and to correspond with associations of the same character which may be formed in the kingdom."]

[Footnote 1232: Gregoires, "Memoires," I. 387.]

[Footnote 1233: Malouet, II. 248. "I saw counselor Duport, who was a fanatic, and not a bad man, with two or three others like him, exclaim: 'Terror! Terror! What a pity that it has become necessary!'"]

[Footnote 1234: Lafayette, "Memoires" (in relation to Messieurs de Lameth and their friends).—According to a squib of the day: "What Duport thinks, Barnave says and Lameth does"—This trio was named the Triumvirate. Mirabeau, a government man, and a man to whom brutal disorder was repugnant, called it the Triumgueusat. (A trinity of shabby fellows)]

[Footnote 1235: Moniteur, V.212, 583. (Report and speech of Dupont de Nemours, sessions of July 31 and September 7, 1790.)—Vagabonds and ruffians begin to play their parts in Paris on the 27th of April, 1789 (the Reveillon affair).—Already on the 30th of July, 1789, Rivarol wrote: "Woe to whoever stirs up the dregs of a nation! The century Enlightenment has not touched the populace!"—In the preface of his future dictionary, he refers to his articles of this period: "There may be seen the precautions I took to prevent Europe from attributing to the French nation the horrors committed by the crowd of ruffians which the Revolution and the gold of a great personage had attracted to the capital."—"Letter of a deputy to his constituents," published by Duprez, Paris, in the beginning of 1790 (cited by M. de Segur, in the Revue de France, September 1, 1880). It relates to the maneuvers for forcing a vote in favor of confiscating clerical property. "Throughout All-Saints' day (November 1, 1789), drums were beaten to call together the band known here as the Coadjutors of the Revolution. On the morning of November 2, when the deputies went to the Assembly, they found the cathedral square and all the avenues to the archbishop's palace, where the sessions were held, filled with an innumerable crowd of people. This army was composed of from 20,000 to 25,000 men, of which the greater number had no shoes or stockings; woollen caps and rags formed their uniform and they had clubs instead of guns. They overwhelmed the ecclesiastical deputies with insults, as they passed on their way, and shouted that they would massacre without mercy all who would not vote for stripping the clergy... Near 300 deputies who were opposed to the motion did not dare attend the Assembly... The rush of ruffians in the vicinity of the hall, their comments and threats, excited fears of this atrocious project being carried out. All who did not feel courageous enough to sacrifice themselves, avoided going to the Assembly." (The decree was adopted by 378 votes against 346.)]

[Footnote 1236: Cf. "The Ancient Regime," p. 51.]

[Footnote 1237: Malouet, 1.247, 248.—"Correspondence (manuscript) of M. de Stael," Swedish Ambassador, with his court, copied from the archives at Stockholm by M. Leouzon-le-Duc. Letter from M. Stael of April 21, 1791: "M. Laclos, secret agent of this wretched prince, (is a) clever and subtle intriguer." April 24: "His agents are more to be feared than himself. Through his bad conduct, he is more of a nuisance than a benefit to his party."]

[Footnote 1238: Especially after the king's flight to Varennes, and at the time of the affair in the Champ de Mars. The petition of the Jacobins was drawn up by Laclos and Brissot.]

[Footnote 1239: Investigations at the Chatelet, testimony of Count d'Absac de Ternay.]

[Footnote 1240: Malouet I. 247, 248. This evidence is conclusive. "Apart from what I saw myself," says Malouet, "M. de Montmorin and M. Delessart communicated to me all the police reports of 1789 and 1790."]

[Footnote 1241: Sauzay, II.79 (municipal election, Nov.15, 1791).—III. 221 (mayoralty election, November, 1792). The half-way moderates had 237 votes, and the sans-culottes, 310.]

[Footnote 1242: Mercure de France, Nov. 26, 1791 (Petion was elected mayor, Nov.17, by 6,728 votes out of 10,682 voters).—Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 95. (Oct 4, 1792, Petion was elected mayor by 13,746 votes out of 14,137 voters. He declines.—Oct. 21, d'Ormessan, a moderate, who declines to stand, has nevertheless, 4,910 votes. His competitor, Lhuillier, a pure Jacobin, obtains only 4,896.)]

[Footnote 1243: Albert Babeau, II. 15. (The 32,000 inhabitants of Troyes indicate about 7,000 electors. In December, 1792, Jacquet is elected mayor by 400 votes out of 555 voters. A striking coincidence is found in there being 400 members of the Troyes club at this time.)—Carnot, Memoires," I. 181. "Dr. Bollmann, who passed through Strasbourg in 1792, relates that out of 8,000 qualified citizens, only 400 voters presented themselves.]

[Footnote 1244: Mortimer-Ternaux, VI. 21. In February, 1793, Pache is elected mayor of Paris by 11,881 votes.—Journal de Paris, number 185. Henriot, July 2, 1793, is elected commander-in-chief of the Paris national guard, by 9,084, against 6,095 votes given for his competitor, Raffet. The national guard comprises at this time 110,000 registered members, besides 10,000 gendarmes and federates. Many of Henriot's partisans, again, voted twice. (Cf. on the elections and the number of Jacobins at Paris, chapters XI. and XII. of this volume.)]

[Footnote 1245: Michelet, VI. 95. "Almost all (the missionary representatives) were supported by only, the smallest minority. Baudot, for instance, at Toulouse, in 1793, had but 400 men for him."]

[Footnote 1246: For example, "Archives Nationales," Fl 6, carton 3. Petition of the inhabitants of Arnay-le-Duc to the king (April, 1792), very insulting, employing the most familiar language; about fifty signatures.—Sauzay, III. ch. XXXV. and XXXIV. (details of local elections).—Ibid., VII. 687 (letter of Gregoire, Dec. 24, 1796).—Malouet, II. 531 (letter by Malouet, July 22, 1779). Malouet and Gregoire agree on the number 300,000. Marie-Joseph Chenier (Moniteur, XII, 695, 20 avril 1792) carries it up to 400,000.]

[Footnote 1247: Cf. "The French Revolution," Vol. I. book II. Ch. III.]

[Footnote 1248: Cf. "The Ancient Regime," p.352.]

[Footnote 1249: "Memoires de Madame de Sapinaud," p. 18. Reply of M. de Sapinaud to the peasants of La Vendee, who wished him to act as their general: "My friends, it is the earthen pot against the iron pot. What could we do? One department against eighty-two—we should be smashed!"]

[Footnote 1250: Malouet, II. 241. "I knew a clerk in one of the bureaus, who, during these sad days, September, 1792), never missed going. as usual, to copy and add up his registers. Ministerial correspondence with the armies and the provinces followed its regular course in regular forms. The Paris police looked after supplies and kept its eye on sharpers, while blood ran in the streets."—Cf. on this mechanical need and inveterate habit of receiving orders from the central authority, Mallet du Pan, "Memoires," 490: "Dumouriez' soldiers said to him: 'F—, papa general, get the Convention to order us to march on Paris and you'll see how we will make mince-meat of those b—in the Assembly!'"]

[Footnote 1251: With want great interest did any aspiring radical politicians read these lines, whether the German socialist from Hitler learned so much or Lenin during his long stay in Paris around 1906. Taine maybe thought that he was arming decent men to better understand and defend the republic against a new Jacobin onslaught while, in fact, he provided them with an accurate recipe for repeating the revolution. (SR).]

[Footnote 1252: At. Matthew, 17:20. (SR.)]

[Footnote 1253: Buchez et Roux, XXVIII 55. Letter by Brun-Lafond, a grenadier in the national guard, July 14, 1793, to a friend in the provinces, in justification of the 31st of May. The whole of this letter requires to be read. In it are found the ordinary ideas of a Jacobin in relation to history: "Can we ignore, that it is ever the people of Paris which, through its murmurings and righteous insurrections against the oppressive system of many of our kings, has forced them to entertain milder sentiments regarding the relief of the French people, and principally of the tiller of the soil?.. Without the energy of Paris, Paris and France would now be inhabited solely by slaves, while this beautiful soil would present an aspect as wild and deserted as that of the Turkish empire or that of Germany," which has led us "to confer still greater lustre on this Revolution, by re-establishing on earth the ancient Athenian and other Grecian republics in all their purity. Distinctions among the early people of the earth did not exist; early family ties bound people together who had no ancient founders or origin; they had no other laws in their republics but those which, so to say, inspired them with those sentiments of fraternity experienced by them in the cradle of primitive populations."]

[Footnote 1254: Barbaroux, "Memoires" (Ed. Dauban), 336.—Gregoire, "Memoires," I. 410.]

[Footnote 1255: "La Revolution Francaise," by Quinet (extracts from the unpublished "Memoires" of Baudot), II. 209, 211, 421, 620.—Guillon de Montleon I. 445 (speech by Chalier, in the Lyons Central Club, March 23, 1793). "They say that the sans-culottes will go on spilling their blood. This is only the talk of aristocrats. Can a sans-culotte be reached in that quarter? Is he not invulnerable, like the gods whom he replaces on this earth?"—Speech by David, in the Convention, on Barra and Viala: "Under so fine a government woman will bring forth without pain."—Mercier "Le Nouveau Paris," I. 13. "I heard (an orator) exclaim in one of the sections, to which I bear witness: 'Yes, I would take my own head by the hair, cut it off, and, presenting it to the despot, I would say to him: Tyrant, behold the act of a free man!'"]

[Footnote 1256: Now, one hundred years later, I consider the tens of thousands of western intellectuals, who, in their old age, seem unable to understand their longtime fascination with Lenin, Stalin and Mao, I cannot help to think that history might be holding similar future surprises in store for us. (SR).]

[Footnote 1257: And my lifetime, our Jacobins the communists, have including in their register the distortion, the lie and slander as a regular tool of their trade. (SR).]

[Footnote 1258: Lafayette, "Memoires," I.467 (on the Jacobins of August 10, 1792). "This sect, the destruction of which was desired by nineteen-twentieths of France."—Durand-Maillan, 49. The aversion to the Jacobins after June 20, 1792, was general. "The communes of France, everywhere wearied and dissatisfied with popular clubs, would gladly have got rid of them, that they might no longer be under their control."]

[Footnote 1259: The words of Leclerc, a deputy of the Lyons committee in the Jacobin Club at Paris May 12, 1793. "Popular machiavelianism must be established... Everything impure must disappear off the French soil... I shall doubtless be regarded as a brigand, but there is one way to get ahead of calumny, and that is to exterminate the calumniators."]

[Footnote 1260: Buchez et Roux, XXXIV. 204 (testimony of Francois Lameyrie). "Collection of authentic documents for the History of the Revolution at Strasbourg," II. 210 (speech by Baudot, Frimaire 19, year II., in the Jacobin club at Strasbourg). "Egoists, the heedless, the enemies of liberty, the enemies of all nature should not be regarded as her children. Are not all who oppose the public good, or who do not share it, in the same case? Let us, then, utterly destroy them... Were they a million, would not one sacrifice the twenty-fourth part of one's self to get rid of a gangrene which might infect the rest of the body?..."For these reasons, the orator thinks that every man who is not wholly devoted to the Republic must be put to death. He states that the Republic should at one blow cause the instant disappearance of every friend to kings and feudalism.—Beaulieu, "Essai," V. 200. M. d'Antonelle thought, "like most of the revolutionary clubs, that, to constitute a republic, an approximate equality of property should be established; and to do this, a third of the population should be suppressed."—"This was the general idea among the fanatics of the Revolution. "—Larevelliere-Lepaux, "Memoires," I.150 "Jean Bon St. Andre... suggested that for the solid foundation of the Republic in France, the population should be reduced one-half." He is violently interrupted by Larevelliere-Lepeaux, but continues and insists on this.—Guffroy, deputy of the Pas-de-Calais, proposed in his journal a still larger amputation; he wanted to reduce France to five millions of inhabitants.]



The Elections Of 1791.—Proportion Of Places Gained By Them.

In June, 1791, and during the five following months, the class of active citizens[2101] are convoked to elect their representatives, which, as we know, according to the law, are of every kind and degree. In the first place, there are 40,000 members of electoral colleges of the second degree and 745 deputies. Next, there are one-half of the administrators of 83 departments, one-half of the administrators of 544 districts, one-half of the administrators of 41,000 communes, and finally, in each municipality, the mayor and syndic-attorney. Then in each department they have to elect the president of the criminal court and the prosecuting-attorney, and, throughout France, officers of the National Guard; in short, almost the entire body of the agents and depositories of legal authority. The garrison of the public citadel is to be renewed, which is the second and even the third time since 1789.—At each time the Jacobins have crept into the place, in small bands, but this time they enter in large bodies. Petion becomes mayor of Paris, Manual, syndic-attorney, and Danton the deputy of Manuel. Robespierre is elected prosecuting-attorney in criminal cases. The very first week,[2102] 136 new deputies enter their names on the club's register. In the Assembly the party numbers about 250 members. On passing all the posts of the fortress in review, we may estimate the besiegers as occupying one-third of them, and perhaps more. Their siege for two years has been carried on with unerring instinct, the extraordinary spectacle presenting itself of an entire nation legally overcome by a troop of insurgents.[2103]

I.—Their siege operations.

Means used by them to discourage the majority of electors and conservative candidates.—Frequency of elections.— Obligation to take the oath.

First of all, they clear the ground, and through the decrees forced out of the Constituent Assembly, they keep most of the majority away from the polls.—On the one hand, under the pretext of better ensuring popular sovereignty, the elections are so multiplied, and held so near together, as to demand of each active citizen one-sixth of his time; such an exaction is very great for hard-working people who have a trade or any occupation,[2104] which is the case with the great mass; at all events, with the useful and sane portion of the population. Accordingly, as we have seen, it stays away from the polls, leaving the field open to idlers or fanatics.[2105]—On the other hand, by virtue of the constitution, the civic oath, which includes the ecclesiastical oath, is imposed on all electors, for, if any one takes the former and reserves the latter, his vote is thrown out: in November, in the Doubs, the municipal elections of thirty-three communes are invalidated solely on this pretext.[2106] Not only forty thousand ecclesiastics are thus rendered unsworn (insermentes), but again, all scrupulous Catholics lose the right of suffrage, these being by far the most numerous in Artois, Doubs and the Jura, in the Lower and Upper Rhine district,[2107] in the two Sevres and la Vendee, in the Lower Loire, Morbihan, Finisterre and Cotes du Nord, in Lozere and Ardeche, without mentioning the southern departments.[2108] Thus, aided by the law which they have rendered impracticable, the Jacobins, on the one hand, are rid of all sensible voters in advance, counting by millions; and, on the other, aided by a law which they have rendered intolerant, they are rid of the Catholic vote which counts by hundreds of thousands. On entering the electoral lists, consequently, thanks to this double exclusion, they find themselves confronted by only the smallest number of electors.

II.—Annoyances and dangers of public elections.

The constituents excluded from the Legislative body.

Operations must now be commenced against these, and a first expedient consists in depriving them of their candidates. The obligation of taking the oath has already partly provided for this, in Lozere all the officials send in their resignations rather than take the oath;[2109] here are men who will not be candidates at the coming elections, for nobody covets a place which he was forced to abandon; in general, the suppression of all party candidatures is effected in no other way than by making the post of a magistrate distasteful.—The Jacobins have successfully adhered to this principle by promoting and taking the lead in innumerable riots against the King, the officials and the clerks, against nobles, ecclesiastics, corn-dealers and land-owners, against every species of public authority whatever its origin. Everywhere the authorities are constrained to tolerate or excuse murders, pillage and arson, or, at the very least, insurrections and disobedience. For two years a mayor runs the risk of being hung on proclaiming martial law; a captain is not sure of his men on marching to protect a tax levy; a judge on the bench is threatened if he condemns the marauders who devastate the national forests. The magistrate, whose duty it is to see that the law is respected, is constantly obliged to strain the law, or allow it to be strained; if refractory, a summary blow dealt by the local Jacobins forces his legal authority to yield to their illegal dictate, so that he has to resign himself to being either their accomplice or their puppet. Such a role is intolerable to a man of feeling or conscience. Hence, in 1790 and 1791, nearly all the prominent and reputable men who, in 1789, had seats in the Hotels-de-villes, or held command in the National Guard, all country-gentlemen, chevaliers of St. Louis, old parliamentarians, the upper bourgeoisie and large landed-proprietors, retire into private life and renounce public functions which are no longer tenable. Instead of offering themselves to public suffrage they avoid it, and the party of order, far from electing the magistracy, no longer even finds candidates for it.

Through an excess of precaution, its natural leaders have been legally disqualified, the principal offices, especially those of deputy and minister, being interdicted beforehand to the influential men in whom we find the little common sense gained by the French people during the past two years.-In the month of June, 1779, even after the irreconcilables had parted company with the "Right," there still remained in the Assembly about 700 members who, adhering to the constitution but determined to repress disorder, would have formed a sensible legislature had they been re-elected. All of these, except a very small group of revolutionaries, had learned something by experience, and, in the last days of their session, two serious events, the king's flight and the riot in the Champ de Mars, had made them acquainted with the defects of their machinery. With this executive instrument in their hands for three months, they see that it is racked, that things are tottering, and that they themselves are being run over by fanatics and the crowd. They accordingly attempt to put on a drag, and several even think of retracing their steps.[2110] They cut loose from the Jacobins; of the three or four hundred deputies on the club list in the Rue St. Honore[2111] but seven remain; the rest form at the Feuillants a distinct opposition club, and at their head are the first founders, Duport, the two Lameths, Barnave, the authors of the constitution, all the fathers of the new regime.[2112] In the last decree of the Constituent Assembly they loudly condemn the usurpations of popular associations, and not only interdict to these all meddling in administrative or political matters, but likewise any collective petition or deputation.[2113]—Here may the friends of order find candidates whose chances are good, for, during two years and more, each in his own district is the most conspicuous, the best accredited, and the most influential man there; he stands well with his electors on account of the popularity of the constitution he has made, and it is very probable that his name would rally to it a majority of votes.-The Jacobins, however, have foreseen this danger: Four months earlier,[2114] with the aid of the Court, which never missed an opportunity to ruin itself and everything else,[2115] they made the most of the grudges of the conservatives and the weariness of the Assembly. Tired and disgusted, in a fit of mistaken selflessness, the Assembly, through enthusiasm and taken by surprise, passes an act declaring all its members ineligible for election to the next Assembly dismissing in advance the leaders of the gentlemen's party.

III.—The friends of order deprived of the right of free assemblage.

Violent treatment of their clubs in Paris and the provinces.—Legal prevention of conservative associations.

If the latter (the honest men of the Right), in spite of so many drawbacks, attempt a struggle, they are arrested at the very first step. For, to enter upon an electoral campaign, requires preliminary meetings for conference and to understand each other, while the faculty of forming an association, which the law grants them as a right, is actually withheld from them by their adversaries. As a beginning, the Jacobins hooted at and "stone" the members of the "Right"[2116] holding their meetings in the Salon francais of the Rue Royale, and, according to the prevailing rule, the police tribunal, "considering that this assemblage is a cause of disturbance, that it produces gatherings in the street, that only violent means can be employed to protect it," orders its dissolution.[2117]—Towards the month of August, 1790, a second club is organized, and, this time, composed of the wisest and most liberal men. Malouet and Count Clermont-Tonnerre are at the head of it. It takes the name of "Friends of a Monarchical Constitution," and is desirous of restoring public order by maintaining the reforms which have been reached. All formalities on its part have been complied with. There are already about 800 members in Paris. Subscriptions flow into its treasury. The provinces send in numerous adhesions, and, what is worse than all, bread is distributed by them at a reduced price, by which the people, probably, will be conciliated. Here is a center of opinion and influence, analogous to that of the Jacobin club, which the Jacobins cannot tolerate.[2118] M. de Clermont-Tonnerre having leased the summer Vauxhall, a captain in the National Guard notifies the proprietor of it that if he rents it, the patriots of the Palais-Royal will march to it in a body, and close it; fearing that the building will be damaged, he cancels the lease, while the municipality, which fears skirmishes, orders a suspension of the meetings. The club makes a complaint and follows it up, while the letter of the law is so plain that an official authorization of the club is finally granted. Thereupon the Jacobin newspapers and stump—speakers let loose their fury against a future rival that threatens to dispute their empire. On the 23rd of January, 1791, Barnave, in the National Assembly, employing metaphorical language apt to be used as a death-shout, accuses the members of the new club "of giving the people bread that carries poison with it." Four days after this, M. Clermont-Tonnerre's dwelling is assailed by an armed throng. Malouet, on leaving it, is almost dragged from his carriage, and the crowd around him cry out, "There goes the bastard who denounced the people!"—At length, its founders, who, out of consideration for the municipality, have waited two months, hire another hall in the Rue des Petites-Ecuries, and on the 28th of March begin their sessions. "On reaching it," writes one of them, "we found a mob composed of drunkards, screaming boys, ragged women, soldiers exciting them on, and especially those frightful hounds, armed with stout, knotty cudgels, two feet long, which are excellent skull-crackers."[2119] The thing was made up beforehand. At first there were only three or four hundred of them, and, ten minutes after, five or six hundred; in a quarter of an hour, there are perhaps four thousand flocking in from all sides; in short, the usual make-up of an insurrection. "The people of the quarter certified that they did not recognize one of the faces." Jokes, insults, cuffs, clubbings, and saber-cuts,—the members of the club "who agreed to come unarmed" being dispersed, while several are knocked down, dragged by the hair, and a dozen or fifteen more are wounded. To justify the attack, white cockades are shown, which, it is pretended, were found in their pockets. Mayor Bailly arrives only when it is all over, and, as a measure of "public order," the municipal authorities have the club of Constitutional Monarchists closed for good.

Owing to these outrages by the faction, with the connivance of the authorities, other similar clubs are suppressed in the same way. There are a good many of them, and in the principal towns—"Friends of Peace," "Friends of the Country," "Friends of the King, of Peace, and of Religion," "Defenders of Religion, Persons, and Property". Magistrates and officers, the most cultivated and polished people, are generally members; in short, the elite of the place. Formerly, meetings took place for conversation and debate, and, being long-established, the club naturally passes over from literature to politics.—The watch-word against all these provincial clubs is given from the Rue St. Honore.[2120] "They are centers of conspiracy, and must be looked after" forthwith, and be at once trodden out.—At one time, as at Cahors,[2121] a squad of the National Guard, on its return from an expedition against the neighboring gentry, and to finish its task breaks in on the club, "throws its furniture out of the windows and demolishes the house."—At another time, as at Perpignan, the excited mob surrounds the club, dancing a fandango, and yell out, to the lantern! The club-house is sacked, while eighty of its members, covered with bruises, are shut up in the citadel for their safety.[2122]—At another time, as at Aix, the Jacobin club insults its adversaries on their own premises and provokes a scuffle, whereupon the municipality causes the doors of the assailed club to be walled up and issues warrants of arrest against its members.—Always punishment awaits them for whatever violence they have to submit to. Their mere existence seems an offense. At Grenoble, they scarcely assemble before they are dispersed. The fact is, they are suspected of "incivism;" their intentions may not be right; in any event, they cause a division of the place into two camps, and that is enough. In the department of Gard, their clubs are all broken up, by order of the department, because "they are centers of malevolence." At Bordeaux, the municipality, considering that "alarming reports are current of priests and privileged persons returning to town," prohibits all reunions, except that of the Jacobin club.—Thus, "under a system of liberty of the most exalted kind, in the presence of the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man which legitimates whatever is not unlawful," and which postulates equality as the principle of the French constitution, whoever is not a Jacobin is excluded from common rights. An intolerant club sets itself up as a holy church, and proscribes others which have not received from it "orthodox baptism, civic inspiration, and the aptitude of languages." To her alone belongs the right of assemblage, and the right of making proselytes. Conservative, thoughtful men in all towns throughout the kingdom are forbidden to form electoral committees, to possess a tribune, a fund, subscribers and adherents, to cast the weight of their names and common strength into the scale of public opinion, to gather around their permanent nucleus the scattered multitude of sensible people, who would like to escape from the Revolution without falling back into the ancient regime. Let them whisper amongst themselves in corners, and they may still be tolerated, but woe to them if they would leave their lonely retreat to act in concert, to canvass voters, and support a candidate. Up to the day of voting they must remain in the presence of their combined, active, and obstreperous adversaries, scattered, inert, and mute.

IV. Turmoil of the elections of 1790.—Elections in 1791.—Effect of the King's flight.—Domiciliary visits.—Montagne during the electoral period.

Will they at least be able to vote freely on that day? They are not sure of it, and, judging by occurrences during the past year, it is doubtful.—In April, 1790, at Bois d'Aisy, in Burgundy, M. de Bois d'Aisy, a deputy, who had returned from Paris to deposit his vote,[2123] was publicly menaced. He was informed that nobles and priests must take no part m the elections, while many were heard to say, in his hearing, that in order to prevent this it would be better to hang him. Not far off; at Ste. Colombe, M. de Viteaux was driven out of the electoral assembly, and then put to death after three hours of torture. The same thing occurred at Semur; two gentlemen were knocked down with clubs and stones, another saved himself with difficulty, and a cure died after being stabbed six times.—A warning for priests and for gentlemen: they had better not vote, and the same good advice may be given to dealers in grain, to land-owners, and every other suspected person. For this is the day on which the people recover their sovereignty; the violent believe that they have the right to do exactly what suits them, nothing being more natural than to exclude candidates in advance who are distrusted, or electors who do not vote as they ought to.—At Villeneuve-St.-Georges, near Paris,[2124] a barrister, a man of austere and energetic character, is about to be elected judge by the district electors; the proletariat, however, mistrust a judge likely to condemn marauders, and forty or fifty vagabonds collect together under the windows and cry out: "We don't want him elected." The cure of Crosne, president of the electoral assembly, informs them in vain that the assembled electors represent 90 communes, nearly 100,000 inhabitants, and that "40 persons should not prevail against 100,000. Shouts redouble and the electors renounce their candidate.—At Pau, patriots among the militia[2125] forcibly release one of their imprisoned leaders, circulate a list for proscriptions, attack a poll-teller with their fists and afterwards with sabers, until the proscribed hide themselves away; on the following day "nobody is disposed to attend the electoral assembly."——Things are much worse in 1791. In the month of June, just at the time of the opening of the primary meetings, the king has fled to Varennes, the Revolution seems compromised, civil war and a foreign war loom up on the horizon like two ghosts; the National Guard had everywhere taken up arms, and the Jacobins were making the most of the universal panic for their own advantage. To dispute their votes is no longer the question; it is not well to be visible: among so many turbulent gatherings a popular execution is soon over. The best thing now for royalists, constitutionalists, conservatives and moderates of every kind, for the friends of law and of order, is to stay at home—too happy if they may be allowed to remain there, to which the armed rabble agrees; on the condition of frequently paying them visits.

Consider their situation during the whole of the electoral period, in a calm district, and judge of the rest of France by this corner of it. At Mortagne,[2126] a small town of 6,000 souls, the laudable spirit of 1789 still existed up to the journey to Varennes. Among the forty or fifty noble families were a good many liberals. Here, as elsewhere among the gentry, the clergy and the middle class, the philosophic education of the eighteenth century had revived the old provincial spirit of initiative, and the entire upper class had zealously and gratuitously undertaken the public duties which it alone could perform well. District presidents, mayors, and municipal officers, were all chosen from among ecclesiastics and the nobles; the three principal officers of the National Guard were chevaliers of St. Louis, while other grades were filled by the leading people of the community. Thus had the free elections placed authority in the hands of the socially superior, the new order of things resting on the legitimate hierarchy of conditions, educations, and capacities.—But for six months the club, formed out of "a dozen hot-headed, turbulent fellows, under the presidency and in the hands of a certain Rattier, formerly a cook," worked upon the population and the rural districts. Immediately on the receipt of the news of the King's flight, the Jacobins "give out that nobles and priests had supplied him with money for his departure, to bring about a counter-revolution." One family had given such an amount, and another so much; there was no doubt about it; the precise figures are given, and given for each family according to its known resources.—Forthwith, "the principal clubbists, associated with the dubious part of the National Guard," spread through the streets in squads: the houses of the nobles and of other suspected persons are invaded. All the arms, "guns, pistols, swords, hunting-knives, and sword-canes," are carried off. Every hole and corner is ransacked; they make the inmates open, or they force open, secretaries and clothes-presses in search of ammunition, the search extending "even to the ladies' toilette-tables". By way of precaution "they break sticks of pomatum in two, presuming that musket-balls are concealed in them, and they take away hair-powder under the pretext that it is either colored or masked gunpowder." Then, without disbanding, the troop betakes itself to the environs and into the country, where it operates with the same promptness in the chateaux, so that "in one day all honest citizens, those with the most property and furniture to protect, are left without arms at the mercy of the first robber that comes along." All reputed aristocrats are disarmed. As such are considered those who "disapprove of the enthusiasm of the day, or who do not attend the club, or who harbor any unsworn ecclesiastic," and, first of all, "the officers of the National Guard who are nobles, beginning with the commander and his entire staff."—The latter allow their swords to be taken without resistance, and with a forbearance and patriotic spirit of which their brethren everywhere furnish an example "they are obliging enough to remain at their posts so as not to disorganize the army, hoping that this frenzy will soon come to an end," contenting themselves with making their complaint to the department.—But in vain the department orders their arms to be restored to them. The clubbists refuse to give them up so long as the king refuses to accept the Constitution; meanwhile they do not hesitate to say that "at the very first gun on the frontier, they will cut the throats of all the nobles and unsworn priests."—After the royal oath to the Constitution is taken, the department again insists, but no attention is paid to it. On the contrary, the National Guard, dragging cannons along with them, purposely station themselves before the mansions of the unarmed gentry; the ladies of their families are followed in the streets by urchins who sing CA IRA[2127] in their faces, and, in the final refrain, they mention them by name and promise them the lantern; "not one of them could invite a dozen of his friends to supper without incurring the risk of an uproar."—On the strength of this, the old chiefs of the National Guard resign, and the Jacobins turn the opportunity to account. In contempt of the law the whole body of officers is renewed, and, as peaceable folks dare not deposit their votes, the new staff "is composed of maniacs, taken for the most part, from the lowest class." With this purged militia the club expels nuns, drives off unsworn priests, organizes expeditions in the neighborhood, and goes so far as to purify suspected municipalities.[2128]—So many acts of violence committed in town and country, render town and country uninhabitable, and for the elite of the propriety owners, or for well-bred persons, there is no longer any asylum but Paris. After the first disarmament seven or eight families take refuge there, and a dozen or fifteen more join them after a threat of having their throats cut; after the religious persecution, unsworn ecclesiastics, the rest of the nobles, and countless other townspeople, "even with little means," betake themselves there in a mass. There, at least, one is lost in the crowd; one is protected by an incognito against the outrages of the commonalty; one can live there as a private individual. In the provinces even civil rights do not exist; how could any one there exercise political rights? "All honest citizens are kept away from the primary meetings by threats or maltreatment.. . The electoral battlefield is left for those who pay forty-five sous of taxes, more than one-half of them being registered on the poor list."—Thus the elections are decided beforehand! The former cook is the one who authorizes or creates candidatures, and on the election of the department deputies at the county town, the electors elected are, like himself, true Jacobins.[2129]

V.—Intimidation and withdrawal of the Conservatives.

Popular outbreaks in Burgundy, Lyonnais, Provence, and the large cities.—Electoral proceedings of the Jacobins; examples at Aix, Dax, and Montpellier.—Agitators go unpunished—Denunciations by name.—Manoeuvres with the peasantry.—General tactics of the Jacobins.

Such is the pressure under which voting takes place in France during the summer and fall of 1791. Domiciliary visits[2130] and disarmament everywhere force nobles and ecclesiastics, landed proprietors and people of culture, to abandon their homes, to seek refuge in the large towns and to emigrate,[2131] or, at least, confine themselves strictly to private life, to abstain from all propaganda, from every candidature, and from all voting. It would be madness to be seen in so many cantons where searches end in a riot; in Burgundy and the Lyonnais, where castles are sacked, where aged gentlemen are mauled and left for dead, where M. de Guillin has just been assassinated and cut to pieces; at Marseilles, where conservative party leaders are imprisoned, where a regiment of Swiss guards under arms scarcely suffices to enforce the verdict of the court which sets them at liberty, where, if any indiscreet person opposes Jacobin resolutions his mouth is closed by being notified that he will be buried alive; at Toulon, where the Jacobins shoot down all conservatives and the regular troops, where M. de Beaucaire, captain in the navy, is killed by a shot in the back, where the club, supported by the needy, by sailors, by navvies, and "vagabond peddlers," maintains a dictatorship by right of conquest; at Brest, at Tulle, at Cahors, where at this very moment gentlemen and officers are massacred in the street. It is not surprising that honest people turn away from the ballot-box as from a center of cut-throats.—Nevertheless, let them come if they like; it will be easy to get rid of them. At Aix, the assessor whose duty it is to read the electors' names is informed that "the names should be called out by an unsullied mouth, that, being an aristocrat and fanatical, he could neither speak nor vote," and, without further ceremony, they put him out of the room.[2132] The process is an admirable one for converting a minority into a majority and yet here is another, still more effective.—At Dax, the Feuillants, taking the title of "Friends of the French Constitution," have split up with the Jacobins,[2133] and, moreover, they insist on excluding from the National Guard "foreigners without property or position," the passive citizens who are admitted into it in spite of the law, who usurp the right of voting and who "daily affront tranquil inhabitants." Consequently, on election day, in the church where the primary meeting is held, two of the Feuillants, Laurede, formerly collector of the vingtiemes,, and Brunache, a glazier, propose to exclude an intruder, a servant on wages. The Jacobins at once rush forward. Laurede is pressed back on the holy-water basin and wounded on the head; on trying to escape he is seized by the hair, thrown down, pierced in the arm with a bayonet, put in prison, and Brunache along with him. Eight days afterwards, at the second meeting none are present but Jacobins; naturally, "they are all elected". They form the new municipality, which, notwithstanding the orders of the department, not only refuses to liberate the two prisoners, but throws them into a dungeon.—At Montpellier, the delay in the operation is greater, but it is only the more complete. The votes are deposited, the ballot-boxes closed and sealed up and the conservatives obtain a majority. Thereupon the Jacobin club, with the Society of the "iron-clubs," calling itself the Executive power, betake themselves in force to the sectional meetings, burn one of the ballots, use firearms and kill two men. To restore order the municipality stations each company of the National Guard at its captain's door, The moderates among them naturally obey orders, but the violent party do not. They overrun the town, numbering about 2,000 inhabitants, enter the houses, kill three men in the street or in their domiciles, and force the administrative body to suspend its electoral assemblies. In addition to this they require the disarmament "of the aristocrats," and this not being done soon enough, they kill an artisan who is walking in the street with his mother, cut off his head, bear it aloft in triumph, and suspend it in front of his dwelling. The authorities are now convinced and accordingly decree a disarmament, and the victors parade the streets in a body. In exuberance or as a precaution, they fire, as they pass along, at the windows of suspected houses and happen to kill an additional man and woman. During the three following days six hundred families emigrate, while the authorities report that everything is going on well, and that order is restored. "The elections," they say, "are now proceeding in the quietest manner since the ill-intentioned voluntarily keeping away from them, a large number having left the town. "[2134] A void is created around the ballot-box and this is called the unanimity of voters.—The effect of such assassinations is great and only a few are required; especially when they go unpunished, which is always the case. Henceforth all that the Jacobins have to do is to threaten; people no longer resist them for they know that it costs too much to face them down. They do not care to attend electoral meetings where they meet insult and danger; they acknowledge defeat at the start. Have not the Jacobins irresistible arguments, without taking blows into account? At Paris,[2135] Marat in three successive numbers of his paper has just denounced by name "the rascals and thieves" who canvass for electoral nominations, not the nobles and priests but ordinary citizens, lawyers, architects, physicians, jewellers, stationers, printers, upholsterers and other artisans, each name being given in full with the professions, addresses and one of the following qualifications, "hypocrite (tartufe), immoral, dishonest, bankrupt, informer, usurer, cheat," not to mention others that I cannot write down. It must be noted that this slanderous list may become a proscriptive list, and that in every town and village in France similar lists are constantly drawn up and circulated by the local dub, which enables us to judge whether the struggle between it and its adversaries is a fair one.-As to rural electors, it has suitable means for persuading them, especially in the innumerable cantons ravaged or threatened by the jacqueries, (country-riots) or, for example, in Correze, where "the whole department is smattered with insurrections and devastation's, and where nobody talks of anything but of hanging the officers who serve papers."[2136] Through-out the electoral operations the sittings of the dub are permanent; "its electors are incessantly summoned to its meetings;" at each of these "the main question is the destruction of fish-ponds and rentals, their principal speakers summing it all up by saying that none ought to be paid." The majority of electors, composed of rustics, are found to be sensitive to speeches like this; all its candidates are obliged to express themselves against fishponds and rentals; its deputies and the public prosecuting attorney are nominated on this profession of faith; in other words, to be elected, the Jacobins promise to greedy tenants the incomes and property of their owners.—We already see in the proceedings by which they secure one-third of the offices in 1791 the germ of the methods by which they will secure the whole of them in 1792; in this first electoral campaign their acts indicate not merely their maxims and policy but, again, the condition, education, spirit and character of the men whom they place in power locally as well as at the capital.


[Footnote 2101: Law of May 28, 29, 1791 (according to official statements, the total of active citizens amounted to 4,288,360).—Laws of July 23, Sept. 12, Sept. 29, 1791.—Buchez et Roux, XII. 310.]

[Footnote 2102: Bucher Ct Roux, XII. 33.—Mortimer-Ternaux, "Histoire de la Terreur," II. 205, 348.—Sauzay, II. ch. XVIII—Albert Babeau, I. ch. XX.]

[Footnote 2103: Lenin repeated this performance in 1917 and Stalin attempted to do the same in the rest of the World. (SR)..]

[Footnote 2104: The following letter, by Camille Desmoulins (April 3, 1792), shows at once the time consumed by public affairs, the sort of attraction they had, and the kind of men which they diverted from their business. "I have gone back to my old profession of the law, to which I give nearly all the time which my municipal or electoral functions, and the Jacobins (club), allow me—that is to say, very little. It is very disagreeable to me to come down to pleading bourgeois cases after having managed interests of such importance, and the affairs of the government, in the face of all Europe."]

[Footnote 2105: I cannot help but think of the willful proliferation of idle functionaries, pensioners and other receivers of public funds which today vote for the party which represents their interests. (SR.)]

[Footnote 2106: Sauzay, II. 83-89 and 123. A resolution of the inhabitants of Chaleze, who, headed by their municipal officers, declare themselves unanimously "non-conformists," and demand "the right of using a temple for the exercise of their religious opinions, belonging to them and built with their contributions" On the strength of this, the municipal officers of Chaleze are soundly rated by the district administration, which thus states what principles are: "Liberty, indefinite for the private individual, must be restricted for the public man whose opinions must conform to the law: otherwise,.. he must renounce all public functions."]

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