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to evade their own revolutionary justice, have fallen by their own hands.
These ministers were regarded by the king as in a conspiracy to dethrone him. Nobody who considers the circumstances which preceded the deposition of Louis the sixteenth, nobody who attends to the subsequent conduct of those ministers, can hesitate about the reality of such a conspiracy. The king certainly had no doubt of it; he found himself obliged to remove them; and the necessity, which first obliged him to choose such regicide ministers, constrained him to replace them by Dumourier the jacobin, and some others of little efficiency, though of a better description.
A little before this removal, and evidently as a part of the conspiracy, Roland put into the king's hands, as a memorial, the most insolent, seditious, and atrocious libel, that has probably even been penned. This paper Roland a few days after delivered to the National Assembly,* who instantly published and dispersed it all over France; and in order to give it the stronger operation they declared, that he and his brother ministers had carried with them the regret of the nation. None of the writings, which have inflamed the jacobin spirit to a savage fury, ever worked up a fiercer ferment
* Presented to the king June 13, delivered to him the preceding Monday.---Translator.
through the whole mass of the republicans in every part of France.
Under the thin veil of prediction, he strongly recommends all the abominable practices which afterwards followed. In particular he inflamed the minds of the populace against the respectable and conscientious clergy, who became the chief objects of the massacre, and who were to him the chief objects of a malignity and rancour that one could hardly think to exist in a human heart.
We have the relicks of his fanatical persecution here. We are in a condition to judge of the merits of the persecutors and of the persecuted—I do not say the accusers and accused; because, in all the furious declamations of the atheistick faction against these men, not one specifick charge has been made upon any one person of those who suffered in their massacre, or by their decree of exile.
The king had declared that he would sooner perish under their axe (he too well saw what was preparing for him) than give his sanction to the iniquitous act of proscription, under which those innocent people were to be transported.
On this proscription of the clergy a principal part of the ostensible quarrel between the king and those ministers had turned. From the time of the authorized publication of this libel, some of the manæuvres long and uniformly pursued for the king's deposition became more and more evident and declared.
The tenth of August came on, and in the manner in which Roland had predicted; it was followed by the same consequences.-The king was deposed, after cruel massacres, in the courts and the apartments of his palace, and in almost all parts of the city. In reward of his treason to his old master, Roland was by his new masters named minister of the home department.
The massacres of the second of September were begotten by the massacres of the tenth of August. They were universally foreseen and hourly expected. During this short interval between the two murderous scenes, the furies, male and female, cried out havock as loudly and as fiercely as ever. The ordinary jails were all filled with prepared victims; and, when they overflowed, churches were turned into jails. At this time the relentless Roland had the care of the general police; he had for his colleague the bloody Danton, who was minister of justice:—the insidious Petion was mayor of Paris—the treacherous Manuel was procurator of the Common-hall. The magistrates (some or all of them) were evidently the authors of this massacre. Lest the national guards should, by their very name, be reminded of their duty in preserving the lives of their fellow citizens, the common council of Paris, pretending that it was in vain to think of resisting the murderers (although in truth neither their numbers nor their arms were at all formidable) obliged those guards to draw the charges from their musquets, and took away their bayonets. One of their journalists, and, according to their fashion, one of their leading statesmen, Gorsas, mentions this fact in his newspaper, which he formerly called the Galley Journal. The title was well suited to the paper and its author. For some felonies he had been sentenced to the gallies; but, by the benignity of the late king, this felon (to be one day advanced to the rank of a regicide) had been pardoned and released at the intercession of the ambassadors of Tippoo Sultan. His gratitude was such as might naturally have been expected ; and it has lately been rewarded as it deserved. This liberated galley-slave was raised, in mockery of all criminal law, to be minister of justice: he became from his elevation a more conspicuous object of accusation, and he has since received the punishment of his former crimes in proscription and death.
It will be asked, how the minister of the home department was employed at this crisis? The day after the massacre had commenced, Roland appeared; but not with the powerful apparatus of a protecting magistrate, to rescue those who had survived the slaughter of the first day: nothing of
this. On the third of September (that is the day after the commencement of the massacre)* he writes a long, elaborate, verbose epistle to the Assembly, in which, after magnifying, according to the bon ton of the Revolution, his own integrity, humanity, courage, and patriotism, he first directly justifies all the bloody proceedings of the tenth of August. He considers the slaughter of that day as a necessary measure for defeating a conspiracy, which (with a full knowledge of the falsehood of his assertion) he asserts to have been formed for a massacre of the people of Paris, and which, he more than insinuates, was the work of his late unhappy master; who was universally known to carry his dread of shedding the blood of his most guilty subjects to an excess.
“ Without the day of the tenth,” says he,"it " is evident that we should have been lost. The “ court, prepared for a long time, waited for the 6 hour which was to accumulate all treasons, to
display over Paris the standard of death, and to reign there by terrour. The sense of the people,
(le sentiment) always just and ready when their “ opinion is not corrupted, foresaw the epoch “ marked for their destruction, and rendered it “ fatal to the conspirators.” He then proceeds, in the cant which has been applied to palliate all their atrocities from the fourteenth of July, 1789, to the
* Letter to the National Assembly, signed-The Minister of the interior,ROLAND,dated Paris, Sept.3d, 4th year of Liberty.