[Footnote 2686: "Revolution de Paris," number for Aug. 18. On his way a sans-culotte steps out in front of the rows and tries to prevent the king from proceeding. The officer of the guard argues with him, upon which he extends his hand to the king, exclaiming: "Touch that hand, bastard, and you have shaken the hand of an honest man! But I have no intention that your bitch of a wife goes with you to the Assembly; we don't want that whore."—"Louis XVI," says Prudhomme, "kept on his way without being upset by the with this noble impulse."—I regard this as a masterpiece of Jacobin interpretation.]
[Footnote 2687: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 311, 325. The king, at the foot of the staircase, had asked Roederer: "what will become of the persons remaining above?" "Sire," he replies, "they seem to be in plain dress. Those who have swords have merely to take them off, follow you and leave by the garden." A certain number of gentlemen, indeed, do so, and thus depart while others escape by the opposite side through the gallery of the Louvre.]
[Footnote 2688: Mathon de la Varenne, "Histoire particuliere," etc., 108. (Testimony of the valet-de-chambre Lorimier de Chamilly, with whom Mathon was imprisoned in the prison of La Force.]
[Footnote 2689: De Lavalette, "Memoires," I. 81. "We there found the grand staircase barred by a sort of beam placed across it, and defended by several Swiss officers, who were civilly disputing its passage with about fifty mad fellows, whose odd dress very much resembled that of the brigands in our melodramas. They were intoxicated, while their coarse language and queer imprecations indicated the town of Marseilles, which had belched them forth."]
[Footnote 2690: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 314, 317 (questioning of M. de Diesbach). "Their orders were not to fire until the word was given, and not before the national guard had set the example."]
[Footnote 2691: Buchez et Roux, XVI, 443. Narration by Petion.—Peltier, "Histoire du 10 aout."]
[Footnote 2692: M. de Nicolay wrote the following day, the 11th of August: "The federates fired first, which was followed by a sharp volley from the chateau windows." (Le Comte de Fersen et la cour de France. II. 347.)]
[Footnote 2693: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 491. The abandonment of the Tuileries is proved by the small loss of the assailants. (List of the wounded belonging to the Marseilles corps and of the killed and wounded of the Brest corps, drawn up Oct. 16, 1792.—Statement of the aid granted to wounded Parisians, to widows, to orphans, and to the aged, October, 1792, and then 1794.)—The total amounts to 74 dead and 54 severely wounded The two corps in the hottest of the fight were the Marseilles band, which lost 22 dead and 14 wounded, and the Bretons, who lost 2 dead and 5 wounded. The sections that suffered the most were the Quinze-Vingts (4 dead and 4 wounded), the Faubourg-Montmartre (3 dead), the Lombards (4 wounded), and the Gravilliers (3 wounded).—Out of twenty-one sections reported, seven declare that they did not lose a man.—The Swiss regiment, on the contrary, lost 760 men and 26 officers.]
[Footnote 2694: Napoleon's narrative.]
[Footnote 2695: Petion's account.]
[Footnote 2696: Prudhomme's "Revolution de Paris," XIII. 236 and 237.—Barbaroux, 73.—Madame Campan, II. 250.]
[Footnote 2697: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 258.—Moore, I. 59. Some of the robbers are killed. Moore saw one of them thrown down the grand staircase.]
[Footnote 2698: Michelet, III. 289.]
[Footnote 2699: Mercier, "Le Nouveau Paris," II. 108.—"The Comte de Fersen et la Cour de France," II. 348. (Letter of Sainte-Foix, Aug. 11). "The cellars were broken open and more than 10,000 bottles of wine of which I saw the fragments in the court, so intoxicated the people that I made haste to put an end to an investigation imprudently begun amidst 2,000 sots with naked swords, handled by them very carelessly."]
[Footnote 26100: Napoleon's narrative.—Memoirs of Barbaroux.]
[Footnote 26101: Moniteur, XIII. 387.—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 340.]
[Footnote 26102: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 303. Words of the president Vergniaud on receiving Louis XVI.—Ibid. 340, 342, 350.]
[Footnote 26103: Mortimer-Ternaux, 356, 357.]
[Footnote 26104: Mortimer-Ternaux, 337. Speech of Huguenin, president of the Commune, at the bar of the National Assembly: "The people by whom we are sent to you have instructed us to declare to you that they invest you anew with its confidence; but they at the same time instruct us to declare to you that, as judge of the extraordinary measures to which they have been driven by necessity and resistance to oppression, they k now no other authority than the French people, your sovereign and ours, assembled in its primary meetings."]
[Footnote 26105: Duvergier, "Collection des lois et decrets," (between Aug. 10 and Sept. 20).]
[Footnote 26106: Duvergier, "Collection des lois et decrets," Aug. 11-12. "The National Assembly considering that it has not the right to subject sovereignty in the formation of a national Convention to imperative regulations,... invites citizens to conform to the following rules."]
[Footnote 26107: August 11 (article 8)]
[Footnote 26108: Aug. 10-12 and Aug. 28.]
[Footnote 26109: Ibid., Aug. 10, Aug. 13.—Cf. Moniteur, XIII. 399 (session of Aug. 12).]
[Footnote 26110: Ibid., Aug. 18.]
[Footnote 26111: Aug. 23 and Sep. 3. After the 11th of August the Assembly passes a decree releasing Saint-Huruge and annulling the warrant against Antoine.]
[Footnote 26112: Ibid., Aug. 14.]
[Footnote 26113: Ibid., Aug. 14. Decree for dividing the property of the emigres into lots of from two to four arpents, in order to "multiply small proprietors."—Ibid., Sept. 2. Other decrees against the emigres and their relations, Aug. 14, 23, 30, and Sept. 5 and 9.]
[Footnote 26114: Ibid., Aug. 26. Other decrees against the ecclesiastics or the property of the church, Aug. 17, 18, 19, and Sept. 9 and 19.]
[Footnote 26115: Ibid., Sept. 20.]
[Footnote 26116: Imagine the impression these last lines may have upon any ardent, ambitious and arrogant young man who, like Lenin in 1907, would have read this between 1893 and 1962, date of the last English reprinting of Taine's once widely know work. They summed up both what had to be done and who would be the primary beneficiaries of the revolution. Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini and countless other young hopeful political men. Read it once more and ask yourself if much of this program has not been more or less surreptitiously carried out in most western countries after the second world war? (SR).]
[Footnote 26117: Malouet, II. 241.]
[Footnote 26118: Mercure de France, July 21, 1792.]
[Footnote 26119: "Revolutions de Paris," XIII. 137.]
[Footnote 26120: Mallet du Pan. "Memoires," I. 322. Letters to Mallet du Pan. Aug. 4 and following days.]
[Footnote 26121: Buchez et Roux, XVI. 446. Petion's narrative.—Arnault, "Souvenirs d'un sexagenaire," I. 342. (An eye-witness on the 10th of August.) "The massacre extended but little beyond the Carrousel, and did not cross the Seine. Everywhere else I found a population as quiet as if nothing had happened. Inside the city the people scarcely manifested any surprise; dancing went on in the public gardens. In the Marais, where I lived then, there was only a suspicion of the occurrence, the same as at Saint-Germain; it was said that something was going on in Paris, and the evening newspaper was impatiently looked for to know what it was."]
[Footnote 26122: Moore, I. 122.—The same thing is observable at other crises in the Revolution. On the 6th of October, 1789 (Sainte-Beuve, "Causeries du Lundi," XII. 461), Senac de Meilhan at an evening reception hears the following conversations: "'Did you see the king pass?' asks one. 'No, I was at the theater.' 'Did Mole play?'—'As for myself; I was obliged to stay in the Tuileries; there was no way of getting out before 9 o'clock.' 'You saw the king pass then?' 'I could not see very well; it was dark.'—Another says: 'It must have taken six hours for him to come from Versailles.'—Others coolly add a few details.—To continue: 'Will you take a hand at whist?' 'I will play after supper, which is just ready.' Cannon are heard, and then a few whisperings, and a transient moment of depression,. 'The king is leaving the Hotel-de-ville. They must be very tired.' Supper is taken and there are snatches of conversation. They play trente et quarante and while walking about watching the game and their cards they do some talking: 'What a horrid affair!' while some speak together briefly and in a low tone of voice. The clock strikes two and they all leave or go to bed.—These people seem to you insensible. Very well; there is not one of them who would not accept death at the king's feet."—On the 23d of June, 1791, at the news of the king's arrest at Varennes, "the Bois de Boulogne and the Champs Elysees were filled with people talking in a frivolous way about the most serious matters, while young men are seen, pronouncing sentences of death in their frolics with courtesans." (Mercure de France, July 9, 1791. It begins with a little piece entitled Depit d'un Amant.)—See ch. XI. for the sentiment of the population in May and June, 1793.]
[Footnote 26123: Moniteur, XIII. 290 (July 29) and 278 (July 30).]
[Footnote 26124: "Archives Nationales," F7, 145. Letter of Santerre to the Minister of the Interior, Sept. 16, 1792, with the daily list of all the men that have left Paris between the3rd and 15th of September, the total amounting to 18,635, of which 15,504 are volunteers. Other letters from the same, indicating subsequent departures: Sept. 17, 1,071 men; none the following days until Sept. 21, 243; 22nd 150; up to the 26th, 813; on Oct. 1st, 113; 2nd and 3rd, 1,088; 4th, 1620; 16th, 196, etc.—I believe that amongst those who leave, some are passing through Paris coming from the provinces; this prevents an exact calculation of the number of Parisian volunteers. M. de Lavalette, himself a volunteer, says 60,000; but he furnishes not proofs of this.]
[Footnote 26125: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 362.]
[Footnote 26126: Soulavie, "Vie privee du Marechal duc de Richelieu," IX. 384.——"One can scarcely comprehend," says Lafayette, ("Memoires," I. 454), "how the Jacobin minority and a gang of pretended Marseilles men could render themselves masters of Paris, while almost the whole of the 40,000 citizens forming the national guard desired the Constitution."]
[Footnote 26127: Hua, 169.]
[Footnote 26128: Moniteur, XIII. 437. (session of Aug. 16, the applause reiterated and the speech ordered to be printed).]
[Footnote 26129: These words should cause society to change resulting in a leveling of incomes through proportional taxation and aids of all kinds throughout the industrialized world. Nobody could ever imagine the immense wealth which was to be produced by the efficient industry of the 20th century. (SR).]
[Footnote 26130: Roederer, "oeuvres Completes." VIII 477. "The club orators displayed France to the proletariat as a sure prey if they would seize hold of it."]
[Footnote 26131: This manifesto, was drafted for the Duke of Brunswick-Lunebourg, the general commanding the combined Prussian and Austrian forces, by the French emigre Marquis de Limon. It threatened the French and especially the Paris population with unspecified "rigors of war" should it have the temerity to resist or to harm the King and his family. It was signed in Koblenz, Germany on 25 August 1792 and published in royalist newspapers 3 days later in Paris.(SR).]
[Footnote 26132: "Moore's Journal," I. 303-309.]
[Footnote 26133: "Archives Nationales," 474, 426. Section of Gravilliers, letter of Charles Chemin, commissary, to Santerre, and deposition of Ilingray, cavalryman of the national gendarmerie, Aug. 11.]
[Footnote 26134: Beaumarchais, "oeuvres completes," letter of Aug. 12, 1792.—This very interesting letter shows how mobs are composed at this epoch. A small gang of regular brigands and thieves plot together some enterprise, to which is added a frightened, infatuated crowd, which may become ferocious, but which remains honest.]
[Footnote 26135: The words of Hobbes applied by Roederer to the democracy of 1792: "In democratia tot possent esse Nerones quot sunt oratores qui populo adulantur; simul et plures sunt in democratia, et quotidie novi suboriuntur."]
[Footnote 26136: Lucas de Montigny, "Memoires de Mirabeau," II. 231 and following pages.—The preface affixed by Manuel to his edition (of Mirabeau's letters) is a masterpiece of nonsense and impertinence.—Peltier, "Histoire du 10 Aout," II. 205.—Manuel "came out of a little shop at Montargis and hawked about obscene tracts in the upper stories of Paris. He got hold of Mirabeau's letters in the drawers of the public department and sold them for 2,000 crowns." (testimony of Boquillon, juge-de la paix).]
[Footnote 26137: Lafayette, "Memoires," I. 467, 471. "The queen had 50,000 crowns put into Danton's hands a short time before these terrible days."—" The court had Danton under pay for two years, employing him as a spy on the Jacobins."—" Correspondance de Mirabeau et du Comte de la Marck," III. 82. Letter from Mirabeau, March 10, 1791: "Danton received yesterday 30,000 livres".—Other testimony, Bertrand de Molleville, I. 354, II. 288.—Brissot, IV. 193—. Miot de Melito, "Memoires," I. 40, 42. Miot was present at the conversations which took place between Danton, Legendre, etc., at the table of Desforges, Minister of Foreign Affairs. "Danton made no concealment of his love of pleasure and money, and laughed at all conscientious and delicate scruples."—" Legendre could not say enough in praise of Danton in speaking of his talents as a public man; but he loudly censured his habits and cxpensive tastes, and never joined him in any of his odious speculations."—The opposite thesis has been maintained by Robinet and Bougeart in their articles on Danton. The discussion would require too much space. The important points are as follows: Danton, a barrister in the royal council in March, 1787, loses about 10,000 francs on the refund of his charge. In his marriage-contract dated June, 1787, he admits 12,000 francs patrimony in lands and houses, while his wife brings him only 20,000 francs dowry. From 1787 to 1791 he could not earn much, being in constant attendance at the Cordeliers club and devoted to politics; Lacretelle saw him in the riots of 1788. He left at his death about 85,000 francs in national property bought in 1791. Besides, he probably held property and valuables under third parties, who kept them after his death. (De Martel, "Types Revolutionnaires," 2d part, p.139. Investigations of Blache at Choisy-sur-Seine, where a certain Fauvel seems to have been Danton's assumed name.)—See on this question, "Avocats aux conseils du Roi," by Emil Bos, pp.513-520. According to accounts proved by M. Bos, it follows that Danton, at the end of 1791, was in debt to the amount of 53,000 francs; this is the hole stopped by the court. On the other side, Danton before the Revolution signs himself Danton even in authentic writing, which is an usurpation of nobility and at that time subject to the penalty of the galleys.—The double-faced infidelity in question must have been frequent, for their leaders were anything else but sensitive. On the 7th of August Madame Elizabeth tells M. de Montmorin that the insurrection would not take place; that Petion and Santerre were concerned in it, and that they had received 750,000 francs to prevent it and bring over the Marseilles troop to the king's side (Malouet, II. 223).—There is no doubt that Santerre, in using the king's money against the king, thought he was acting patriotically. Money is at the bottom of every riot, to pay for drink and to stimulate subordinate agents.]
[Footnote 26138: Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 92. Letter of Gadolle to Roland, October, 1792, according to a narrative by one of the teachers in the college d'Harcourt, in which Varlet was placed.]
[Footnote 26139: Buchez et Roux, XIII. 254.]
[Footnote 26140: "C. Desmoulins," by Claretie, 238 (in 1786 and in 1775). "The inquest still exists, unfortunately it is convincing."—Westermann was accused of these acts in December, 1792, by the section of the Lombards, "proofs in hand."—Gouverneur Morris, so well informed, writes to Washington, Jan. 10, 1793: The retreat of the King of Prussia "was worth to Westermann about 10,000 pounds... The council ... exerted against him a prosecution for old affairs of no higher rank than petty larceny."]
[Footnote 26141: "Archives Nationales," F7, 4434 (papers of the committee of general safety). Note on Panis, with full details and references to the occurrence.]
[Footnote 26142: "Revolutions de Paris," No.177 (session of the council-general at the Hotel-de-ville, Nov. 8, 1792, report of the committee of surveillance). "Sergent admits, except as to one of the watches, that he intended to pay for the said object the price they would have brought. It was noticed, as he said this, that he had on his finger the agate ring that was claimed."]
[Footnote 26143: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 638; III. 500 and following pages; IV. 132.—Cf. II. 451.]
[Footnote 26144: Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 456.]
[Footnote 26145: Buchez et Roux, XVI. 138, 140 (testimony of Mathon de la Varenne, who was engaged in the case).]
[Footnote 26146: "Dictionnaire biographique," by Eymery (Leipsic, 1807), article HEBERT.]
[Footnote 26147: Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 484, 601. Cf. letter of the representative Cavaignac, Ibid., 399.]
[Footnote 26148: "Dictionnaire biographique," article HENRIOT.-The lives of many of these subordinate leaders are well done. Cf. "Stanislas Maillard," by AL Sorel; "Le Patriote Palloy," by V Fournel.]
[Footnote 26149: Granier de Cassagnac, "Histoire des Girondins," 409.—"Archives Nationales," F7 3196. Letters of de Sades on the sacking of his house near Apt, with supporting document and proofs of his civism; among others a petition drawn up by him in the name of the Pique section and read at the Convention year II. brumaire 25. "Legislators, the reign of philosophy has at last annihilated that of imposture... The worship of a Jewish slave of the Romans is not adapted to the descendants of Scoevola. The general prosperity which is certain to proceed from individual happiness will spread to the farthest regions of the universe and everywhere the dreaded hydra of ultramontane superstition, chased by the combined lights of reason and virtue, no longer finding a refuge in the hateful haunts of a dying aristocracy, will perish at her side in despair at finally beholding on this earth the triumph of philosophy!"]
[Footnote 26150: Barbaroux, "Memoires," 57, 59. The latter months of the legislative assembly.]
BOOK THIRD. THE SECOND STAGE OF THE CONQUEST.
I.—Government by gangs in times of anarchy.
Case where anarchy is recent and suddenly brought on.—The band that succeeds the fallen government and its administrative tools.
The worst feature of anarchy is not so much the absence of the overthrown government as the rise of new governments of an inferior grade. In every state which breaks up, new groups will form to conquer and become sovereign: it was so in Gaul on the fall of the Roman empire, also under the latest of Charlemagne's successors; the same state of things exists now (1875) in Rumania and in Mexico. Adventurers, gangsters, corrupted or downgraded men, social outcasts, men overwhelmed with debts and lost to honor, vagabonds, deserters, dissolute troopers, born enemies of work, of subordination, and of the law, unite to break the worm-eaten barriers which still surround the sheep-like masses; and as they are unscrupulous, they slaughter on all occasions. On this foundation their authority rests; each in turn reigns in its own area, and their government, in keeping with its brutal masters, consists in robbery and murder; nothing else can be looked for from barbarians and brigands.
But never are they so dangerous as when, in a great State recently fallen, a sudden revolution places the central power in their hands; for they then regard themselves as the legitimate inheritors of the shattered government, and, under this title, they undertake to manage the commonwealth. Now in times of anarchy the ruling power does not proceed from above, but from below; and the chiefs, therefore, who would remain such, are obliged to follow the blind impulsion of their flock. Hence the important and dominant personage, the one whose ideas prevail, the veritable successor of Richelieu and of Louis XIV. is here the subordinate Jacobin, the pillar of the club, the maker of motions, the street rioter, Panis Sergent, Hebert, Varlet, Henriot, Maillard, Fournier, Lazowski, or, still lower in the scale, the Marseilles "rough," the Faubourg gunner, the drinking market-porter who elaborates his political conceptions in the interval between his hiccups.—For information he has the rumors circulating in the streets which tell of a traitor to each house, and for confirmed knowledge the club slogans inciting him to rule over the vast machine. A machinery so vast and complicated, a whole assembly of entangled services ramifying in innumerable offices, with so much apparatus of special import, so delicate as to require constant adaptation to changing circumstances, diplomacy, finances, justice, army administration—all this surpasses his limited comprehension; a bottle cannot be made to contain the bulk of a hogshead. In his narrow brain, perverted and turned topsy-turvy by the disproportionate notions put into it, only one idea suited to his gross instincts and aptitudes finds a place there, and that is the desire to kill his enemies; and these are also the State's enemies, however open or concealed, present or future, probable or even possible. He carries this savagery and bewilderment into politics, and hence the evil arising from his government. Simply a brigand, he would have murdered only to rob, and his murders would have been restricted. As representing the State, he undertakes wholesale massacres, of which he has the means ready at hand.—For he has not yet had time enough to take apart the old administrative implements; at all events the minor wheels, gendarmes, jailers, employees, book-keepers, and accountants, are always in their places and under control. There can be no resistance on the part of those arrested; accustomed to the protection of the laws and to peaceable ways and times, they have never relied on defending themselves nor ever could imagine that any one could be so summarily slain. As to the mass, rendered incapable of any effort of its own by ancient centralization, it remains inert and passive and lets things go their own way.—Hence, during many long, successive days, without being hurried or impeded, with official papers quite correct and accounts in perfect order, a massacre can be carried out with the same impunity and as methodically as cleaning the streets or clubbing stray dogs.
II.—The development of the ideas of killings in the mass of the party.
The morning after August 10.—The tribunal of August 17. —The funereal fete of August 27.—The prison plot.
Let us trace the progress of the homicidal idea in the mass of the party. It lies at the very bottom of the revolutionary creed. Collot d'Herbois, two months after this, aptly says in the Jacobin tribune: "The second of September is the great article in the credo of our freedom." It is peculiar to the Jacobin to consider himself as a legitimate sovereign, and to treat his adversaries not as belligerents, but as criminals. They are guilty of lese-nation; they are outlaws, fit to be killed at all times and places, and deserve extinction, even when no longer able or in a condition do any harm.—Consequently, on the 10th of August the Swiss Guards, who do not fire a gun and who surrender, the wounded lying on the ground, their surgeons, the palace domestics, are killed; and worse still, persons like M. de Clermont-Tonnerre who pass quietly along the street. All this is now called in official phraseology the justice of the people.—On the 11th the Swiss Guards, collected in the Feuillants building, come near being massacred; the mob on the outside of it demand their heads; "it conceives the project of visiting all the prisons in Paris to take out the prisoners and administer prompt justice on them."—On the 12th in the markets "diverse groups of the low class call Petion a scoundrel," because "he saved the Swiss in the Palais Bourbon"; accordingly, "he and the Swiss must be hung to-day."-In these minds turned topsy-turvy the actual, palpable truth gives way to its opposite; "the attack was not begun by them; the order to sound the tocsin came from the palace; it is the palace which was besieging the nation, and not the nation which was besieging the palace." The vanquished "are the assassins of the people," caught in the act; and on the 14th of August the Federates demand a court-martial "to avenge the death of their comrades." And even a court-martial will not answer. "It is not sufficient to mete out punishment for crimes committed on the 10th of August, but the vengeance of the people must be extended to all conspirators;" to that "Lafayette, who probably was not in Paris, but who may have been there;" to all the ministers, generals, judges, and other officials guilty of maintaining legal order wherever it had been maintained, and of not having recognized the Jacobin government before it came into being. Let them be brought before, not the ordinary courts, which are not to be trusted because they belong to the defunct regime, but before a specially organized tribunal, a sort of "chambre ardente," elected by the sections, that is to say, by a Jacobin minority. These improvised judges must give judgment on conviction, without appeal; there must be no preliminary examinations, no interval of time between arrest and execution, no dilatory and protective formalities. And above all, the Assembly must be expeditious in passing the decree; "otherwise," it is informed by a delegate from the Commune, "the tocsin will be rung at midnight and the general alarm sounded; for the people are tired of waiting to be avenged. Look out lest they do themselves justice!—A moment later, new threats and with an advanced deadline. "If the juries are not ready to act in two or three hours great misfortunes will overtake Paris."
Even if the new tribunal, set up on the spot, is quick, guillotining three innocent persons in five days; it does not move fast enough. On the 23rd of August one of the sections declares to the Commune in furious language that the people themselves, "wearied and indignant" with so many delays, mean to force open the prisons and massacre the inmates.—Not only do the sections harass the judges, but they force the accused into their presence: a deputation from the Commune and the Federates summons the Assembly "to transfer the criminals at Orleans to Paris to undergo the penalty of their heinous crimes". "Otherwise," says the speaker, "we will not answer for the vengeance of the people." And in a still more imperative manner:
"You have heard and you know that insurrection is a sacred duty," a sacred duty towards and against all: towards the Assembly if it refuses, and towards the tribunal if it acquits. They dash at their prey contrary to all legislative and judicial formalities, like a kite across the web of a spider, while nothing detach them from their fixed ideas. On the acquittal of M. Luce de Montmorin the gross audience, mistaking him for his cousin the former minister of Louis XVI., break out in murmurs. The president tries to enforce silence, which increases the uproar, and M. de Montmorin is in danger. On this the president, discovering a side issue, announces that one of the jurors is related to the accused, and that in such a case a new jury must be impaneled and a new trial take place; that the matter will be inquired into, and meanwhile the prisoner will be returned to the Conciergerie prison. Thereupon he takes M. de Montmorin by the arm and leads him out of the court-room, amidst the yells of the audience and not without risks to himself; in the outside court a soldier of the National Guard strikes at him with a saber, and the following day the court is obliged to authorize eight delegates from the audience to go and see with their own eyes that M. de Montmorin is really in prison.
At the moment of his acquittal a tragic remark is heard:
"You discharge him to-day and in two weeks he will cut our throats!"
Fear is evidently an adjunct of hatred. The Jacobin rabble is vaguely conscious of their inferior numbers, of their usurpation, of their danger, which increases in proportion as Brunswick draws near. They feel that they live above a mine, and if the mine should explode!—Since they think that their adversaries are scoundrels they feel they are capable of a dirty trick, of a plot, of a massacre. As they themselves have never behaved in any other way, they cannot conceive anything else. Through an inevitable inversion of thought, they impute to others the murderous intentions obscurely wrought out in the dark recesses of their own disturbed brains.—On the 27th of August, after the funeral procession gotten up by Sergent expressly to excite popular resentment, their suspicions, at once specific and guided, begin to take the form of certainty. Ten "commemorative" banners, each borne by a volunteer on horseback, have paraded before all eyes the long list of massacres "by the court and its agents":
1. the massacre at Nancy,
2. the massacre at Nimes,
3. the massacre at Montauban,
4. the massacre at Avignon,
5. the massacre at La Chapelle,
6. the massacre at Carpentras,
7. the massacre of the Champ de Mars, etc.
Faced with such displays, doubts and misgivings are out of the question. To the women in the galleries, to the frequenters of the clubs, and to pikemen in the suburbs it is from now beyond any doubt proved that the aristocrats are habitual killers.
And on the other side there is another sign equally alarming "This lugubrious ceremony, which ought to inspire by turns both reflection and indignation,... did not generally produce that effect." The National Guard in uniform, who came "apparently to make up for not appearing on the day of action," did not behave themselves with civic propriety, but, on the contrary, put on "an air of inattention and even of noisy gaiety"; they come out of curiosity, like so many Parisian onlookers, and are much more numerous than the sans-culottes with their pikes. The latter could count themselves and plainly see that they are just a minority, and a very small one, and that their rage finds no echo. The organizers and their stooges are the only ones to call for speedy sentencing and for death-penalties. A foreigner, a good observer, who questions the shop-keepers of whom he makes purchases, the tradesmen he knows, and the company he finds in the coffee-houses, writes that he never had "seen any symptom of a sanguinary disposition except in the galleries of the National Assembly and at the Jacobin Club," but then the galleries are full of paid "applauders,' especially "females, who are more noisy and to be had cheaper than males." At the Jacobin Club are "the leaders, who dread a turnaround or who have resentments to gratify": thus the only enrages are the leaders and the populace of the suburbs.—Lost in the crowd of this vast city, in the face of a National Guard still armed and three times their own number, confronting an indifferent or discontented bourgeoisie, the patriots are alarmed. In this state of anxiety a feverish imagination, exasperated by the waiting, involuntarily gives birth to imaginings passionately accepted as truths. All that is now required is an incident in order to put the final touch to complete the legend, the germ of which has unwittingly grown in their minds.
On the 1st of September a poor wagoner, Jean Julien, condemned to twelve years in irons, has been exposed in the pillory. After two hours he becomes furious, probably on account of the jeers of the bystanders. With the coarseness of people of his kind he has vented his impotent rage by abuse, he has unbuttoned and exposed himself to the public, and has naturally chosen expressions which would appear most offensive to the people looking at him:
"Hurrah for the King! Hurrah for the Queen! Hurra for Lafayette! To hell with the nation!"
It is also natural that he missed being torn to pieces. He was at once led away to the Conciergerie prison, and sentenced on the spot to be guillotined as soon as possible, for being a promoter of sedition in connection with the conspiracy of August the 10th.—The conspiracy, accordingly, is still in existence. It is so declared by the tribunal, which makes no declaration without evidence. Jean Julien has certainly confessed; now what has he revealed?—On the following day, like a crop of poisonous mushrooms, the growth of a single night, the story obtains general credence. "Jean Julien has declared that all the prisons in Paris thought as he did, that there would soon be fine times, that the prisoners were armed, and that as soon as the volunteers cleared out they would be let loose on all Paris." The streets are full of anxious faces. "One says that Verdun had been betrayed like Longwy. Others shook their heads and said it was the traitors within Paris and not the declared enemies on the frontier that were to be feared." On the following day the story grows: "There are royalist officers and soldiers hidden away in Paris and in the outskirts. They are going to open the prisons, arm the prisoners, set the King and his family free, put the patriots in Paris to death, also the wives and children of those in the army... Isn't it natural for men to look after the safety of their wives and children, and to use the only efficient means to arrest the assassin's dagger."—The working-class inferno has been stirred up, now it's up to the contractors of public revolt to fan and direct the flames.
III. Terror is their Salvation.
Rise of the homicidal idea among the leaders.—Their situation.—The powers they seize.—Their pillage.—The risks they run—Terror is their rescue.
They have been fanning the flames for a long time. Already, on the 11th of August, the new Commune had announced, in a proclamation, that "the guilty should perish on the scaffold," while its threatening deputations force the national Assembly into the immediate institution of a bloody tribunal. Carried into power by brutal force, it must perish if it does not maintain itself, and this can be done only through terror.—Let us pause and consider this unusual situation. Installed in the Hotel-de-ville by a nightly surprise attack, about one hundred strangers, delegated by a party which thinks or asserts itself to be the peoples' delegates, have overthrown one of the two great powers of the State, mangled and enslaved the other, and now rule in a capital of 700,000 souls, by the grace of eight or ten thousand fanatics and cut-throats. Never did a radical change promote men from so low a point and raise so high! The basest of newspaper scribblers, penny-a-liners out of the gutters, bar-room oracles, unfrocked monks and priests, the refuse of the literary guild, of the bar, and of the clergy, carpenters, turners, grocers, locksmiths, shoemakers, common laborers, many with no profession at all, strolling politicians and public brawlers, who, like the sellers of counterfeit wares, have speculated for the past three years on popular credulity. There were among them a number of men in bad repute, of doubtful honesty or of proven dishonesty, who, in their youth led shiftless lives. They are still besmirched with old slime, they were put outside the pale of useful labor by their vices, driven out of inferior stations even into prohibited occupations, bruised by the perilous leap, with consciences distorted like the muscles of a tight-rope dancer. Were it not for the Revolution, they would still grovel in their native filth, awaiting prison or forced labor to which they were destined. Can one imagine their growing intoxication as they drink deep draughts from the bottomless cup of absolute power?—For it is absolute power which they demand and which they exercise. Raised by a special delegation above the regular authorities, they put up with these only as subordinates, and tolerate none among them who may become their rivals. Consequently, they reduce the Legislative body simply to the function of editor and herald of their decrees; they have forced the new department electors to "abjure their title," to confine themselves to tax assessments, while they lay their ignorant hands daily on every other service, on the finances, the army, supplies, the administration, justice, at the risk of breaking the administrative wheels or of interrupting their action.
One day they summon the Minister of War before them, or, for lack of one, his chief clerk; another day they keep the whole body of officials in his department in arrest for two hours, under the pretext of finding a suspected printer. At one time they affix seals on the funds devoted to extraordinary expenses; at another time they do away with the commission on supplies; at another they meddle with the course of justice, either to aggravate proceedings or to impede the execution of sentences rendered. There is no principle, no law, no regulation, no verdict, no public man or establishment that is not subject to the risk of their arbitrariness.—And, as they have laid hands on power, they do the same with money. Not only do they extort from the Assembly 850,000 francs a months, with arrears from the 1st of January, 1792, more than six millions in all, to defray the expenses of their military police, which means to pay their bands, but again, "invested with the municipal scarf," they seize, "in the public establishment belonging to the nation, all furniture, and whatever is of most value." "In one building alone, they carry off the value of 100,000 crowns." Elsewhere, in the hands of the treasurer of the civil list, they appropriate to themselves, a box of jewels, other precious objects, and 340, 000 francs. Their commissioners bring in from Chantilly three wagons each drawn by three horses "loaded with the spoils of M. de Conde," and they undertake "removing the contents of the houses of the emigres." They confiscate in the churches of Paris "the crucifixes, music-stands, bells, railings, and every object in bronze or of iron, chandeliers, cups, vases, reliquaries, statues, every article of plate," as well "on the altars as in the sacristies," and we can imagine the enormous booty obtained; to cart away the silver plate belonging to the single church of Madeleine-de-la-ville required a vehicle drawn by four horses.—Now they use all this money, so freely seized, as freely as they do power itself. One fills his pockets in the Tuileries without the slightest concern; another, in the Garde-Meuble, rummages secretaries, and carries off a wardrobe with its contents. We have already seen that in the depositories of the Commune "most of the seals are broken," that enormous sums in plate, in jewels, in gold and silver coin have disappeared. Future inquests and accounts will charge on the Committee of Supervision, "abstractions, dilapidations, and embezzlements," in short, "a mass of violations and breaches of trust."—When one is king, one easily mistakes the money-drawer of the State for the drawer in which one keeps one's own money.
Unfortunately, this full possession of public power and the public funds holds only by a slender thread. Let the evicted and outraged majority dare, as subsequently at Lyons, Marseilles, and Toulon, to Return to the section assemblies and revoke the false mandate which they have arrogated to themselves through fraud and force, and, on the instance, they again become, through the sovereign will of the people, and by virtue of their own deed, what they really are, usurpers, extortioners, and robbers, there is no middle course for them between a dictatorship and the galleys.—The mind, before such an alternative, unless extraordinarily well-balanced, loses its equilibrium; they have no difficulty in deluding themselves with the idea that the State is menaced in their persons, and, in postulating the rule, that all is allowable for them, even massacre. Has not Bazire stated in the tribune that, against the enemies of the nation, "all means are fair justifiable? Has not another deputy, Jean Debry, proposed the formation of a body of 1,200 volunteers, who "will sacrifice themselves," as formerly the assassins of the Old Man of the Mountain, in "attacking tyrants, hand to hand, individually," as well as generals? Have we not seen Merlin de Thionville insisting that "the wives and children of the emigres should be kept as hostages," and declared responsible, or, in other words, ready for slaughter if their relatives continue their attacks?
That is all that is left to do, since all the other measures have proved insufficient.—In vain has the Commune decreed the arrest of journalists belonging to the opposite party, and distributed their printing machinery amongst patriotic printers. In vain has it declared the members of the Sainte-Chapelle club, the National Guards who have sworn allegiance to Lafayette, the signers of the petition of 8,000, and of that of 20,000, disqualified for any service whatever. In vain has it multiplied domiciliary visits, even to the residence and carriages of the Venetian ambassador. In vain, through insulting and repeated examinations, does it keep at its bar, under the hootings and death-cries of its tribunes, the most honorable and most illustrious men, Lavoisier, Dupont de Nemours, the eminent surgeon Desault, the most harmless and most refined ladies, Madame de Tourzel, Mademoiselle de Tourzel, and the Princesse de Lamballe. In vain, after a profusion of arrests during twenty days, it envelopes all Paris inside one cast of its net for a nocturnal searchduring which,
1. the barriers are closed and doubly guarded,
2. sentinels are on the quays and boats stationed on the Seine to prevent escape by water,
3. the city is divided beforehand into circumscriptions, and for each section, a list of suspected persons,
4. the circulation of vehicles is stopped,
5. every citizen is ordered to stay at home,
6. the silence of death reigns after six o'clock in the evening, and then,
7. in each street, a patrol of sixty pikemen, seven hundred squads of sans-culottes, all working at the same time, and with their usual brutality,
8. doors are burst in with pile drivers,
9. wardrobes are picked by locksmiths,
10. walls are sounded by masons,
11. cellars are searched even to digging in the ground,
12. papers are seized,
13. arms are confiscated,
14. three thousand persons are arrested and led off; priests, old men, the infirm, the sick.
The action lasts from ten in the evening to five o'clock in the morning, the same as in a city taken by assault, the screams of women rudely treated, the cries of prisoners compelled to march, the oaths of the guards, cursing and drinking at each grog-shop; never was there such an universal, methodical execution, so well calculated to suppress all inclination for resistance in the silence of general stupefaction.
And yet, at this very moment, there are those who act in good faith in the sections and in the Assembly, and who rebel at being under such masters. A deputation from the Lombards section, and another from the Corn-market, come to the Assembly and protest against the Commune's usurpations. Choudieu, the Montagnard, denounces its blatant corrupt practices. Cambon, a stern financier, will no longer consent to have his accounts tampered with by thieving tricksters. The Assembly at last seems to have recovered itself. It extends its protection to Geray, the journalist, against whom the new pashas had issued a warrant; it summons to its own bar the signers of the warrant, and orders them to confine themselves in future to the exact limits of the law which they transgress. Better still, it dissolves the interloping Council, and substitutes for it ninety-six delegates, to be elected by the sections in twenty-four hours. And, even still better, it orders an account to be rendered within two days of the objects it has seized, and the return of all gold or silver articles to the Treasury. Quashed, and summoned to disgorge their booty, the autocrats of the Hotel-de-ville come in vain to the Assembly in force on the following day to extort from it a repeal of its decrees; the Assembly, in spite of their threats and those of their satellites, stands its ground.—So much the worse for the stubborn; if they are not disposed to regard the flash of the saber, they will feel its sharp edge and point. The Commune, on the motion of Manuel, decides that, so long as public danger continues, they will stay where they are; it adopts an address by Robespierre to "restore sovereign power to the people," which means to fill the streets with armed bands; it collects together its brigands by giving them the ownership of all that they stole on the 10th of August. The session, prolonged into the night, does not terminate until one o'clock in the morning. Sunday has come and there is no time to lose, for, in a few hours, the sections, by virtue of the decree of the National Assembly, and following the example of the Temple section the evening before, may revoke the pretended representatives at the Hotel-de-ville. To remain at the Hotel-de-ville, and to be elected to the convention, demands on the part of the leaders some striking action, and this they require that very day.—That day is the second of September.
IV.—Date of the determination of this.—The actors and their parts.
Marat.—Danton.—The Commune.—Its co-operators.—Harmony of dispositions and readiness of operation.
Since the 23rd of August their resolution is taken. They have arranged in their minds a plan of the massacre, and each one, little by little, spontaneously, according to his aptitudes, takes the part that suits him or is assigned to him.
Marat, foremost among them all, is the proposer and preacher of the operation, which, for him, is a perfectly natural one. It is the epitome of his political system: a dictator or tribune, with full power to slay, and with no other power but that; a good master executioner, responsible, and "tied hand and foot"; this is his program for a government since July the 14th, 1789, and he does not blush at it: "so much the worse for those who are not on a level with it!" He appreciated the character of the Revolution from the first, not through genius, but sympathetically, he himself being equally as one-sided and monstrous; crazy with suspicion and beset with a homicidal mania for the past three years, reduced to one idea through mental impoverishment, that of murder, having lost the faculty for even the lowest order of reasoning, the poorest of journalists, save for pikemen and Billingsgate market-women, so monotonous in his constant paroxysms that the regular reading of his journal is like listening to hoarse cries from the cells of a madhouse. From the 19th of August he excites people to attack the prisons. "The wisest and best course to pursue," he says, "is to go armed to the Abbaye, drag out the traitors, especially the Swiss officers and their accomplices, and put them to the sword. What folly it is to give them a trial! That is already done. You have massacred the soldiers, why should you spare the officers, ten times guiltier?"—Also, two days later, his brain teeming with an executioner's fancies, insisting that "the soldiers deserved a thousand deaths. As to the officers, they should be drawn and quartered, like Louis Capet and his tools of the Manege."—On the strength of this the Commune adopts him as its official editor, assigns him a tribune in its assembly room, entrusts him to report its acts, and soon puts him on its supervisory or executive committee.
A fanatic of this stamp, however, is good for nothing but as a mouthpiece or instigator; he may, at best, figure in the end among the subordinate managers.—The chief of the enterprise, Danton, is of another species, and of another stature, a veritable leader of men: Through his past career and actual position, through his popular cynicism, ways and language, through his capacity for taking the initiative and for command, through his excessive corporeal and intellectual vigor, through his physical ascendancy due to his ardent, absorbing will, he is well calculated for his terrible office.—He alone of the Commune has become Minister, and there is no one but him to shelter the violations of the Commune under the protection or under the passivity of the central authority.—He alone of the Commune and of the ministry is able to push things through and harmonize action in the pell-mell of the revolutionary chaos; both in the councils of the ministry which he governs, as he formerly governed at the Hotel-de ville. In the constant uproar of incoherent discussions, athwart "propositions ex abrupto, among shouts, swearing, and the going and coming of questioning petitioners," he is seen mastering his new colleagues with his "stentorian voice, his gestures of an athlete, his fearful threats," taking upon himself their duties, dictating to them what and whom he chooses, "fetching in commissions already drawn up," taking charge of everything, "making propositions, arrests, and proclamations, issuing brevets," and drawing millions out of the public treasury, casting a sop to his dogs in the Cordeliers and the Commune, "to one 20,000 francs, and to another 10,000," "for the Revolution, and on account of their patriotism,"—such is a summary report of his doings. Thus gorged, the pack of hungry "brawlers" and grasping intriguers, the whole serviceable force of the sections and of the clubs, is in his hands. One is strong in times of anarchy at the head of such a herd. Indeed, during the months of August and September, Danton was king, and, later on, he may well say of the 2d of September, as he did of the 10th of August, "I did it!"
Not that he is naturally vindictive or sanguinary: on the contrary, with a butcher's temperament, he has a man's heart, and, at the risk of compromising himself, against the wills of Marat and Robespierre, he will, by-and-by, save his political adversaries, Duport, Brissot, and the Girondists, the old party of the "Right." Not that he is blinded by fear, enmities, or the theory; furious as a clubbist, he has the clear-sightedness of the politician; he is not the dupe of the sonorous phrases he utters, he knows the value of the rogues he employs; he has no illusions about men or things, about other people or about himself; if he slays, it is with a full consciousness of what he is doing, of his party, of the situation, of the revolution, while the crude expressions which, in the tones of his bull's voice, he flings out as he passes along, are but a vivid statement of the precise truth "We are the rabble! We spring from the gutters!" With the normal principles of mankind, "we should soon get back into them. We can only rule through fear!" "The Parisians are so many j... f...; a river of blood must flow between them and the emigres." The tocsin about to be rung is not a signal of alarm, but a charge on the enemies of the country... What is necessary to overcome them? Boldness, boldness, always boldness! I have brought my mother here, seventy years of age; I have sent for my children, and they came last night. Before the Prussians enter Paris, I want my family to die with me. Let twenty thousand torches be applied, and Paris instantly reduced to ashes!" "We must maintain ourselves in Paris at all hazards. Republicans are in an extreme minority, and, for fighting, we can rely only on them. The rest of France is devoted to royalty. The royalists must be terrified!"—It is he who, on the 28th of August, obtains from the Assembly the great domiciliary visit, by which the Commune fills the prisons. It is he who, on the 2d of September, to paralyze the resistance of honest people, causes the penalty of death to be decreed against whoever, "directly or indirectly shall, in any manner whatsoever, refuse to execute, or who shall interfere with the orders issued, or with the measures of the executive power." It is he who, on that day, informs the journalist Prudhomme of the pretended prison plot, and who, the second day after, sends his secretary, Camille Desmoulins, to falsify the report of the massacres, It is he who, on the 3rd of September, at the office of the Minister of Justice, before the battalion officers and the heads of the service, before Lacroix, president of the Assembly, and Petion, mayor of Paris, before Clavieres, Servan, Monge, Lebrun, and the entire Executive Council, except Roland, reduces at one stroke the head men of the government to the position of passive accomplices, replying to a man of feeling, who rises to stay the slaughter, "Sit down—it was necessary!" It is he who, the same day, dispatches the circular, countersigned by him, by which the Committee of Supervision announces the massacre, and invites "their brethren of the departments" to follow the example of Paris. It is he who, on the 10th of September, "not as Minister of Justice, but as Minister of the People," is to congratulate and thank the slaughterers of Versailles.—After the 10th of August, through Billaud-Varennes, his former secretary, through Fabre d'Eglantine, his Keeper of the Seals, through Tallien, secretary of the Commune and his most trusty henchman, he is present at all deliberations in the Hotel-de-ville, and, at the last hour, is careful to put on the Committee of Supervision one of his own men, the head clerk, Desforges.—Not only was the reaping-machine constructed under his own eye, and with his assent, but, again, when it is put in motion, he holds the handle, so as to guide the scythe.
He is right; if he did not sometimes put on the brake, it would go to pieces through its own action. Introduced into the Committee as professor of political blood-letting, Marat, stubbornly following out a fixed idea, cuts down deep, much below the designated line; warrants of arrest were already out against thirty deputies, Brissot's papers were rummaged, Roland's house was surrounded, while Duport, seized in a neighboring department, is deposed in the slaughterhouse. The latter is saved with the utmost difficulty; many a blow is necessary before he can be wrested from the maniac who had seized him. With a surgeon like Marat, and medics like the four or five hundred leaders of the Commune and of the sections, it is not essential to guide the knife; it is a foregone conclusion that the amputation will be extensive. Their names speak for themselves: in the Commune, Manuel, the syndic-attorney; and his two deputies Hebert and Billaud-Varennes, Huguenin, Lhuillier, M.-J. Chenier, Audoin, Leonard Bourdon, Boula and Truchon, presidents in succession. In the Commune and the sections, Panis, Sergent, Tallien, Rossignol, Chaumette, Fabre d'Eglantine, Pache, Hassenfratz, the cobbler Simon, and the printer Momoro. From the National Guard, the commanding-general, Santerre, and the battalion commander Henriot, and, lower down, the common herd of district demagogues, Danton's, Hebert's, or Robespierre's side kicks, guillotined later on with their file-leaders, in brief, the flower of the future terrorists.—Today they are taking their first steps in blood, each with their own attitude and motives:
* Chenier denounced as a member of the Sainte-Chapelle club, in danger because he is among the suspected;
* Manuel, poor, excitable, bewildered, carried away, and afterwards shuddering at the sight of his own work;
* Santerre, a fine circumspect figure-head, who, on the 2nd of September, under pretense of watching the baggage, climbs on the seat of a landau standing on the street, where he remains a couple of hours, to avoid doing his duty as commanding-general;
* Panis, president of the Committee of Supervision, a good subordinate, his born disciple and bootlicker, an admirer of Robespierre's whom he proposes for the dictatorship, as well as of Marat, whom he extols as a prophet;
* Henriot, Hebert, and Rossignol, simple evil-doers in uniform or in their scarves;
* Collot d'Herbois, a stage poetaster, whose theatrical imagination delights in a combination of melodramatic horrors;
* Billaud-Varennes, a former oratorian monk, irascible and gloomy, as cool before a murder as an inquisitor at an auto-da-fe;
finally, the wily Robespierre, pushing others without committing himself, never signing his name, giving no orders, haranguing a great deal, always advising, showing himself everywhere, getting ready to reign, and suddenly, at the last moment, pouncing like a cat on his prey, and trying to slaughter his rivals, the Girondists.
Up to this time, in slaughtering or having it done, it was always as insurrectionists in the street; now, it is in places of imprisonment, as magistrates and functionaries, according to the registers of a lock-up, after proofs of identity and on snap judgments, by paid executioners, in the name of public security, methodically, and in cool blood, almost with the same regularity as subsequently under "the revolutionary government." September, indeed, is the beginning of it, a summary and a model; they will not do it differently or better than during the best days of the guillotine. Only, as they are as yet poorly supplied with tools, they are obliged to use pikes instead of the guillotine, and, as decency has not entirely disappeared, the chiefs conceal themselves behind maneuvers. Nevertheless, we can track them, take them in the act, and we have their signatures; they planned commanded, and conducted the operation. On the 30th of August, the Commune decided that the sections should try accused persons, and, on the 2nd of September, five trusted sections reply to it by resolving that the accused shall be murdered. The same day, September 2, Marat takes his place on the Committee of Supervision. The same day, September 2, Panis and Sergent sign the commissions of "their comrades," Maillard and associates, for the Abbaye, and "order them to judge," that is to say, kill the prisoners. The same and the following days, at La Force, three members of the Commune, Hebert, Monneuse, and Rossignol, preside in turn over the assassin court. The same day, a commissar of the Committee of Supervision comes and demands a dozen men of the Sans-Culottes section to help massacre the priests of Saint Firmin. The same day, a commissar of the Commune visits the different prisons during the slaughter, and finds that "things are going on well in all of them." The same day, at five o'clock in the afternoon, Billaud-Varennes, deputy-attorney for the Commune, "in his well-known puce-colored coat and black perruque," walking over the corpses, says to the Abbaye butchers: "Fellow-citizens, you are immolating your enemies, you are performing your duty." He returns during the night, highly commends them, and confirms the promise of the "agreed wages." On the following any at noon, he again returns, congratulates them more warmly, allows each one twenty francs, and urges them to keep on.—In the mean time, Santerre, summoned to the general staff headquarters by Roland, hypocritically deplores his voluntary inability, and persists in not giving the orders, without which the National Guard cannot move. At the sections, the presidents, Chenier, Ceyrat, Boula, Momoro, Collot d'Herbois, dispatch or take their victims back under pikes. At the Commune, the council-general votes 12,000 francs, to be taken from the dead, to defray the expenses of the operation. In the Committee of Supervision, Marat sends off dispatches to spread murder through the departments.—It is evident that the leaders and their subordinates are unanimous, each at his post and in the service he performs; through the spontaneous co-operation of the whole party, the command from above meets the impulse from below; both unite in a common murderous disposition, the work being done with the more precision in proportion to its being easily done.—Jailers have received orders to open the prison doors, and give themselves no concern. Through an excess of precaution, the knives and forks of the prisoners have been taken away from them. One by one, on their names being called, they will march out like oxen in a slaughter-house, while about twenty butchers to each prison, from to two to three hundred in all, will suffice to do the work.
V. Abasement and Stupor.
Common workers.—Their numbers.—Their condition.—Their sentiments.—Effect of murder on the murderers.—Their degradation.—Their insensibility.
Two kinds of men make up the recruits, and it is especially on their crude brains that we have to admire the effect of the revolutionary dogma.
First, there are the Federates of the South, lusty fellows, former soldiers or old bandits, deserters, bohemians, and scoundrels of all lands and from every source, who, after finishing their work at Marseilles and Avignon, have come to Paris to begin over again. "Triple nom de Dieu!" exclaims one of them, "I didn't come a hundred and eighty leagues to restrain myself from sticking a hundred and eighty heads on the end of my pike!" Accordingly, they form in themselves a special, permanent, resident body, allowing no one to divert them from their adopted occupation. "They turn a deaf ear to the excitements of spurious patriotism"; they are not going to be sent off to the frontier. Their post is at the capital; they have sworn "to defend liberty"; neither before nor after September make them deviate from this end. When, after having drawn money on every treasury and under every pretext, they at last consent to leave Paris, it is only on the condition that they return to Marseilles. Their operations are limited to the interior of France, and only against political adversaries. But their zeal in this field is only the greater; it is their band which, first of all, takes the twenty-four priests from the town hall, and, on the way, begins the massacre with their own hands.
Then there are the "enrages" of the Paris proletariat, a few of them clerks or shopkeepers, most of them artisans of all the trades; locksmiths, masons, butchers, wheelwrights, tailors, shoemakers, waggoners, especially dockers working in the harbor, market-porters, and, above all, journeymen and apprentices of all kinds, in short, manual workers on the bottom of the social ladder. Among these we find beasts of prey, murderers by instinct, or simple robbers. Others who, like one of the disciples of Abbe Sicard, whom he loves and venerates, confess that they never stirred except under constraint. Others are simple machines, who let themselves be driven: for instance the local forwarding agent, a good sort of man, but who, dragged along, plied with liquor, and then made crazy, kills twenty priests for his share, and dies at the end of the month, still drinking, unable to sleep, frothing at the mouth and trembling in every limb. And finally the few, who, with good intentions, are carried away by the bloody whirlwind, and, struck by the grace of Revolution, become converted to the religion of murder. One of them a certain Grapin, deputized by his section to save two prisoners, seats himself alongside of Maillard, sits in judgment at his side during sixty-three hours, and demands a certificate from him. The majority, however, entertain the same opinions as the cook, who, after taking the Bastille, finding himself on the spot and having cut off M. de Launay's head, regards it as a "patriotic" action, and deems himself worthy of a "medal for having destroyed a monster." These people are not common criminals, but well-disposed persons living in the vicinity, who, seeing a public service established in their neighborhood, issue from their homes to give a hand; their degree of probity is about the same as we find nowadays among people of the same condition in life.
At the outset, especially, no one considers filling his pockets. At the Abbaye prison, they come honorably and place on the table in the room of the civil committee the purses and jewels of the dead. If they appropriate anything to themselves, it is shoes to cover their naked feet, and then only after asking permission. As to pay, all rough work deserves it, and, moreover, between them and their recruiters, the answer is obvious. With nothing but their own hands to rely on, they cannot work for nothing, and, as the work is hard, they ought to be paid double time. They require six francs a day, besides their meals and as much wine as they want. One caterer alone furnished the men at the Abbaye with 346 pints: when working incessantly day and night with a task like that of sewer-cleaners and miners, nothing else will keep their courage up.—Food and wages must be paid for by the nation; the work is done for the nation, and, naturally, on interposing formalities, they get out of temper and betake themselves to Roland, to the City treasurer, to the section committees, to the Committee of Supervision, murmuring, threatening, and showing their bloody pikes. That is the evidence of having done their work well. They boast of it to Petion, impress upon him how "just and attentive" they were, their discernment, the time given to the work, so many days and so many hours; they ask only for what is "due to them"; when the treasurer, on paying them, demands their names, they give them without the slightest hesitation. Those who escort a dismissed prisoner; masons, hairdressers, federates, require no recompense but "something to drink"; "we do not carry on this business for money," they say; "here is your friend; he promised us a glass of brandy, which we will take and then go back to our work."—Outside of their business they possess the expansive cordiality and ready sensitivity of the Parisian workman. At the Abbaye, a federate, on learning that the prisoners had been kept without water for twenty-six hours, wanted to "exterminate" the turnkey for his negligence, and would have done it if "the prisoners themselves had not pleaded for him." On the acquittal of a prisoner, the guards and the butchers, everybody, embraces him with enthusiasm; Weber is greeted again and again for more than a hundred yards; they cheer to excess. Each wants to escort the prisoner; the cab of Mathon de la Varenne is invaded; "they perch themselves on the driver's seat, at the doors, on top, and behind."—A few even display strange fits of tact. Two of the butchers, still covered with blood, who lead the chevalier de Bertrand home, insist on going up stairs with him to witness the joy of his family; after their terrible task they need the relaxation of tender emotion. On entering, they wait discreetly in the drawing-room until the ladies have been prepared; the happiness of which they are witnesses melts them; they remain some time, refuse money, expressing their gratitude and depart.—Still more extraordinary are the vestiges of innate politeness. A market-porter desirous of embracing a discharged prisoner, first asks his permission. Old "hags," who had just clapped their hands at the slaughtering, stop the guards "violently" as they hurry Weber along, in white silk stockings, across pools of blood: "Hey, guard, look out, you are making Monsieur walk in the gutter!" In short, they display the permanent qualities of their race and class; they seem to be neither above nor below the average of their brethren, Most of them, probably, would never have done anything very monstrous had a rigid police, like that which maintains order in ordinary times, kept them in their shops or at home in their lodgings or in their tap-rooms.
But, in their own eyes, they are so many kings; "sovereignty is committed to their hands," their powers are unlimited; whoever doubts this is a traitor, and is properly punished; he must be put out of the way; while, for royal councillors, they take maniacs and rascals, who, through monomania or calculation, have preach all that to them: just like a Negro king surrounded by white slave-dealers, who urge him into raids, and by black sorcerers, who prompt him to massacre. How could such a man with such guides, and in such an office, be retarded by the formalities of justice, or by the distinctions of equity? Equity and justice are the elaborate products of civilization, while he is merely a political savage. In vain are the innocent recommended to his mercy!
"Look here, citizen, do you, too, want to put us to sleep? Suppose that those cursed Prussian and Austrian beggars were in Paris, would they pick out the guilty? Wouldn't they strike right and left, the same as the Swiss did on the 10th of August? Very well, I can't make speeches, but I don't put anybody to sleep. I say, I am the father of a family—I have a wife and five children that I mean to leave here for the section to look after, while I go and fight the enemy. But I have no intention that while I am gone these villains here in prison, and other villains who would come and let them out, should cut the throats of my wife and children. I have three boys who I hope will some day be more useful to their country than those rascals you want to save. Anyhow, all that can be done is to let 'em out and give them arms, and we will fight 'em on an equal footing. Whether I die here or on the frontiers, scoundrels would kill me all the same, and I will sell my life dearly. But, whether it is done by me or by someone else, the prison shall be cleaned out of those cursed beggars, there, now!" At this a general cry is heard: "He's right! No mercy! Let us go in!"
All that the crowd assent to is an improvised tribunal, the reading of the jailer's register, and prompt judgment; condemnation and slaughter must follow, according to the famous Commune, which simplifies things—There is another simplification still more formidable, which is the condemnation and slaughter by categories. Any title suffices, Swiss, priest, officer, or servant of the King, "the 'worms' on the civil list"; wherever a lot of priests or Swiss are found, it is not worth while to have a trial, the throats of the lot can be slit.—Reduced to this, the operation is adapted to the operators; the arms of the new sovereign are as strong as his mind is weak, and, through an inevitable adaptation, he degrades his work to the level of his faculties.
His work, in its turn, degrades and perverts him. No man, and especially a man of the people, rendered pacific by an old civilization, can, with impunity, become at one stroke both sovereign and executioner. In vain does he work himself up against the condemned and heap insults on them to augment his fury; I he is dimly conscious of committing a great crime, and his soul, like that of Macbeth, "is full of scorpions." Through a terrible tightening up, he hardens himself against the inborn, hereditary impulses of humanity; these resist while he becomes exasperated, and, to stifle them, there is no other way but to "gorge himself on horrors," by adding murder to murder. For murder, especially as he practices it, that is to say, with a naked sword on defense-less people, introduces into his animal and moral machine two extraordinary and disproportionate emotions which unsettle it, on the one hand, a sensation of omnipotence exercised uncontrolled, unimpeded, without danger, on human life, on throbbing flesh and, on the other hand, an interest in bloody and diversified death, accompanied with an ever new series of contortions and exclamations; formerly, in the Roman circus, one could not tear one's self away from it; the spectacle once seen, the spectator always returned to see it again. Just at this time each prison court is a circus, and what makes it worse is that the spectators are likewise actors.—Thus, for them, two fiery liquids mingle together in one draught. To moral intoxication is added physical intoxication, wine in profusion, bumpers at every pause, revelry over corpses; and we see rising out of this unnatural creature the demon of Dante, at once brutal and refined, not merely a destroyer, but, again, an executioner, instigator and calculator of suffering, and radiant and joyous over the evil it accomplishes.
They are merry; they dance around each new corpse, and sing the carmagnole; they arouse the people of the quarter "to amuse them," and that they may have their share of "the fine fete." Benches are arranged for "gentlemen" and others for "ladies": the latter, with greater curiosity, are additionally anxious to contemplate at their ease "the aristocrats" already slain; consequently, lights are required, and one is placed on the breast of each corpse.—Meanwhile, the slaughter continues, and is carried to perfection. A butcher at the Abbaye complains that "the aristocrats die too quick, and that those only who strike first have the pleasure of it"; henceforth they are to be struck with the backs of the swords only, and made to run between two rows of their butchers, like soldiers formerly running a gauntlet. If there happens to be well-known person, it is agreed to take more care in prolonging the torment. At La Force, the Federates who come for M. de Rulhieres swear "with frightful imprecations that they will cut the head of anyone daring to end his sufferings with a thrust of his pike"; the first thing is to strip him naked, and then, for half an hour, with the flat of their sabers, they cut and slash him until he drips with blood and is "skinned to his entrails."—All the monstrous instincts who grovels chained up in the dregs of the human heart, not only cruelty with its bared fangs, but also the slimier desires, unite in fury against women whose noble or infamous repute makes them conspicuous; against Madame de Lamballe, the Queen's friend; against Madame Desrues, widow of the famous poisoner; against the flower-girl of the Palais-Royal, who, two years before, had mutilated her lover, a French guardsman, in a fit of jealousy. Ferocity here is associated with lewdness to add debasement to torture, while life is violated through outrages on modesty. In Madame de Lamballe, killed too quickly, the libidinous butchers could outrage only a corpse, but for the widow, and especially the flower-girl, they revive, like so many Neros, the fire-circle of the Iroquois.—From the Iroquois to the cannibal, the gulf is small, and some of them jump across it. At the Abbaye, an old soldier named Damiens, buries his saber in the side of the adjutant-general la Leu, thrusts his hand into the opening, tears out the heart "and puts it to his mouth as if to eat it"; "the blood," says an eye-witness, "trickled from his mouth and formed a sort of mustache for him." At La Force, Madame de Lamballe is carved up. What Charlot, the wig-maker, who carried her head did, I to it, should not be described. I merely state that another wretch, in the Rue Saint-Antoine, bore off her heart and "ate it."
They kill and they drink, and drink and kill again. Weariness comes and stupor begins. One of them, a wheelwright's apprentice, has dispatched sixteen for his share; another "has labored so hard at this merchandise as to leave the blade of his saber sticking in it"; "I was more tired," says a Federate, "with two hours pulling limbs to pieces, right and left, than any mason who for two days has been plastering a wall." The first excitement is gone, and now they strike automatically. Some of them fall asleep stretched out on benches. Others, huddled together, sleep off the fumes of their wine, removed on one side. The exhalation from the carnage is so strong that the president of the civil committee faints in his chair, the fumes of the tavern blending with those from the charnel-house. A heavy, dull state of torpor gradually overcomes their clouded brains, the last glimmerings of reason dying out one by one, like the smoky lights on the already cold breasts of the corpses lying around them. Through the stupor spreading over the faces of butchers and cannibals, we see appearing that of the idiot. It is the revolutionary idiot, in which all conceptions, save two, have vanished, two fixed, rudimentary, and mechanical ideas, one destruction and the other that of public safety. With no others in his empty head, these blend together through an irresistible attraction, and the effect proceeding from their contact may be imagined. "Is there anything else to do?" asks one of these butchers in the deserted court.—"If there is no more to do," reply a couple of women at the gate, "you will have to think of something," and, naturally, this is done.
As the prisons are to be cleaned out, it is as well to clean them all out, and do it at once. After the Swiss, priests, the aristocrats, and the "white-skinned gentlemen," there remain convicts and those confined through the ordinary channels of justice, robbers, assassins, and those sentenced to the galleys in the Conciergerie, in the Chatelet, and in the Tour St. Bernard, with branded women, vagabonds, old beggars, and boys confined in Bicetre and the Salpetriere. They are good for nothing, cost something to feed, and, probably, cherish evil designs. At the Salpetriere, for example, the wife of Desrues, the poisoner, is, assuredly, like himself, "cunning, wicked, and capable of anything"; she must be furious at being in prison; if she could, she would set fire to Paris; she must have said so; she did say it—one more sweep of the broom.—This time, as the job is more foul, the broom is wielded by fouler hands; among those who seize the handle are the frequenters of jails. The butchers at the Abbaye prison, especially towards the close, had already committed thefts; here, at the Chatelet and the Conciergerie prisons, they carry away "everything which seems to them suitable," even to the clothes of the dead, prison sheets and coverlids, even the small savings of the jailers, and, besides this, they enlist their cronies. "Out of 36 prisoners set free, many were assassins and robbers, the killers attached them to their group. There were also 75 women, confined in part for larceny, who promised to faithfully serve their liberators." Later on, indeed, these are to become, at the Jacobin and Cordeliers clubs, the tricoteuses (knitters) who fill their tribunes.—At the Salpetriere prison, "all the pimps of Paris, former spies,... libertines, the rascals of France and all Europe, prepare beforehand for the operation," and rape alternates with massacre.—Thus far, at least, slaughter has been seasoned with robbery, and the grossness of eating and drinking; at Bicetre, however, it is crude butchery, the carnivorous instinct alone satisfying itself. Among other prisoners are 43 youths of the lowest class, from 17 to 19 years of age, placed there for correction by their parents, or by those to whom they are bound; one need only look at them to see that they are genuine Parisian scamps, the apprentices of vice and misery, the future recruits for the reigning band, and these the band falls on, beating them to death with clubs. At this age life is tenacious, and, no life being harder to take, it requires extra efforts to dispatch them. "In that corner," said a jailer, "they made a mountain of their bodies. The next day, when they were to be buried, the sight was enough to break one's heart. One of them looked as if he were sleeping like one of God's angels, but the rest were horribly mutilated."—Here, man has sunk below himself, down into the lowest strata of the animal kingdom, lower that the wolf; for wolves do not strangle their young.
VI. Jacobin Massacre.
Effect of the massacre on the public.—General dejection and the dissolution of society.—The ascendancy of the Jacobins assured in Paris.—The men of September upheld in the Commune and elected to the Convention.
There are six days and five nights of uninterrupted butchery, 171 murders at the Abbaye, 169 at La Force, 223 at the Chatelet, 328 at the Consciergerie, 73 at the Tour-Saint-Bernard, 120 at the Carmelites, 79 at Saint Firmin, 170 at Bicetre, 35 at the Salpetriere; among the dead, 250 priests, 3 bishops or archbishops, general officers, magistrates, one former minister, one royal princess, belonging to the best names in France, and, on the other side, one Negro, several working class women, kids, convicts, and poor old men: What man now, little or big, does not feel himself threatened?—And all the more because the band has grown larger. Fournier, Lazowski, and Becard, the chiefs of robbers and assassins, return from Orleans with fifteen hundred cut-throats. One the way they kill M. de Brissac, M. de Lessart, and 42 others accused of lese-nation, whom they wrested from their judges' hands, and then, by the way of surplus, "following the example of Paris," twenty-one prisoners taken from the Versailles prisons. At Paris the Minister of Justice thanks them, the Commune congratulates them, and the sections feast them and embrace them.—Can anybody doubt that they were ready to begin again? Can a step be taken in or out of Paris without being subject to their oppression or encountering their despotism? Should one leave the city, sentinels of their species are posted at the barriers and on the section committees in continuous session. Malouet, led before that of Roule, sees before him a pandemonium of fanatics, at least a hundred individuals in the same room, the suspected, those denouncing them, collaborators, attendants, a long, green table in the center, covered with swords and daggers, with the committee around it, "twenty patriots with their shirt sleeves rolled up, some holding pistols and others pens," signing warrants of arrest, "quarreling with and threatening each other, all talking at once, and shouting: Traitor!—Conspirator!—Off to prison with him!—Guillotine him!—and behind these, a crowd of spectators, pell-mell, yelling, and gesticulating" like wild beasts pressed against each other in the same cage, showing their teeth and trying to spring at each other. "One of the most excited, brandishing his saber in order to strike an antagonist, stopped on seeing me, and exclaimed, 'There's Malouet!'—The other, however, less occupied with me than with his enemy, took advantage of the opportunity, and with a blow of his club, knocked him down." Malouet had a close shave, in Paris escapes take place by such accidents.—If one remains in the city, one is beset with lugubrious fears by,
1. the hurrying step of squads of men in each street, leading the suspected to prison or before the committee;
2. around each prison the crowds that have come "to see the disasters";
3. in the court of the Abaye the cry of the auctioneer selling the clothes of the dead;
4. the rumbling of carts on the pavement bearing away 1,300 corpses;
5. the songs of the women mounted aloft on the carts, beating time on the naked bodies.
Is there a man who, after one of these encounters, does not see himself in imagination before the green table of the section committee, after this, in prison with sabers over his head, and then in the cart in the midst of the bloody pile?
Courage falters before a vision like this. All the journals approve, palliate, or keep silent; nobody dares offer resistance. Property as well as lives belong to whoever wants to take them. At the barriers, at the markets, on the boulevard of the Temple, thieves, decked with the tricolor ribbon, stop people as they pass along, seize whatever they carry, and, under the pretext that jewels should be deposited on the altars of Patriotism, take purses, watches, rings, and other articles, so rudely that women who are not quick enough, have the lobes of their ears torn in unhooking their earrings. Others, installed in the cellars of the Tuileries, sell the nation's wine and oil for their own profit. Others, again, given their liberty eight days before by the people, scent out a bigger job by finding their way into the Garde-meuble and stealing diamonds to the value of thirty millions.
Like a man struck on the head with a mallet, Paris, felled to the ground, lets things go; the authors of the massacre have fully attained their ends. The faction has fast hold of power, and will maintain its hold. Neither in the Legislative Assembly nor in the Convention will the aims of the Girondins be successful against its tenacious usurpation. It has proved by a striking example that it is capable of anything, and boasts of it; it is still armed, it stands there ever prepared and anonymous on its murderous basis, with its speedy modes of operation, its own group of fanatical agents and bravos, with Maillard and Fournier, with its cannon and its pikes. All that does not live within it lives only through its favor from day to day, through its good will. Everybody knows that. The Assembly no longer thinks of dislodging people who meet decrees of expulsion with massacre; it is no longer a question of auditing their accounts, or of keeping them within the confines of the law. Their dictatorship is not to be disputed, and their purification continue. From four to five hundred new prisoners, arrested within eleven days, by order of the municipality, by the sections, and by this or that individual Jacobin, are crowded into cells still dripping with blood, and the report is spread that, on the 20th of September, the prisons will be emptied by a second massacre.—Let the Convention, if it pleases, pompously install itself as sovereign, and grind out decrees—it makes no difference; regular or irregular, the government still marches on in the hands of those who hold the sword. The Jacobins, through sudden terror, have maintained their illegal authority; through a prolongation of terror they are going to establish their legal authority. A forced suffrage is going to put them in office at the Hotel-de-ville, in the tribunals, in the National Guard, in the sections, and in the various administrations, while they have already elected to the Convention, Marat, Danton, Fabre d'Eglantine, Camille Desmoulins, Manuel, Billaud-Varennes, Panis, Sergent, Collot d'Herbois, Robespierre, Legendre, Osselin, Freron, David, Robert, Lavicourterie, in short, the instigators, leaders and accomplices of the massacre. Nothing that could force or falsify voting is omitted. In the first place the presence of the people is imposed on the electoral assembly, and, to this end, it is transferred to the large hall of the Jacobin club, under the pressure of the Jacobin galleries. As a second precaution, every opponent is excluded from voting, every Constitutionalist, every former member of the monarchical club, of the Feuillants, and of the Sainte-Chapelle club, of the Feuillants, and of the Sainte-Chapelle club, every signer of the petition of the 20,000, or of that of the 8,000, and, on the sections protesting against this, their protest is thrown out on the ground of its being the fruit of "an intrigue." Finally, at each balloting, each elector's vote is called out, which ensures the right vote beforehand, the warnings he has received being very explicit. On the 2nd of September, during the first meeting of the electoral body, held at the bishop's palace, the Marseilles troop, 500 yards away, came and took the twenty-four priests from the town-hall, and, on the way, hacked them to pieces on the Pont-Neuf. Throughout the evening and all night the agents of the municipality carried on their work at the Abbaye, at the Carmelites, and at La Force, and, on the 3rd of September, on the electoral assembly transferring itself to the Jacobin club, it passed over the Pont-au-Change between two rows of corpses, which the slaughterers had brought there from the Chatelet and the Conciergerie prisons.
[Footnote 3101: Thierry, son of Clovis, unwilling to take part in an expedition of his brothers into Burgundy, was told by his men: "If thou art unwilling to march into Burgundy with thy brothers, we will leave thee and follow them in thy place."—Clotaire, another of his sons, disposed to make peace with the Saxons, "the angry Francs rush upon him, revile him, and threaten to kill him if he declines to accompany them. Upon which he puts himself at their head."]
[Footnote 3102: Social condition and degree of culture are often indicated orthographically.—Granier de Cassagnac, II..480. Becard, commanding the expedition which brought back the prisoners from Orleans, signs himself: "Becard, commandant congointement aveque M. Fournier generalle. "—"Archives Nationales," F7, 4426. Letter of Chemin, commissioner of the Gravilliers section, to Santerre, Aug.11, 1792. "Mois Charles Chemin commissaire... fait part a Monsieur Santaire generale de la troupe parisiene que le nomme Hingray cavaliers de la gendarmeris nationalle.. me delares qu'ille sestes trouves aux jourduis 11 aoux avec une home attaches a la cours aux Equris; quille lui aves dis quiere 800 home a peupres des sidevant garde du roy etes tous pres a fondre sure Paris pour donaire du secour a naux rebelle et a signer avec moi la presante."]