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armed man in cold blood, under an act of the parte, who thoroughly understood war, who legislature, would have produced more evil at Jaffa and elsewhere gave ample proof that than the carnage of ten such fields as Albu- he was not unwilling to strain the laws of era.
Public law would have been subverted war to their utmost rigor, and whose hatred from the foundations; national enmities would of England amounted to a folly, always spoke have been inflamed to a degree of rage which of Barère's decree with loathing, and boasihappily it is not easy for us to conceive; cor- ed that the army had refused to obey the dial peace would have been impossible. The Convention. moral character of the European nations Such disobedience on the part of any other would have been rapidly and deeply corrupt- class of citizens would have been instantly ed; for in all countries those men whose punished by wholesale massacre; but the calling is to put their lives in jeopardy for Committee of Public Safety was aware that the defence of the public weal enjoy high the discipline which had tamed the unwarconsideration, and are considered as the best like population of the fields and cities might arbitrators on points of honor and manly not answer in camps. To fling people by bearing With the standard of morality scores out of a boat, and, when they catch established in the military profession, the hold of it, to chop off their fingers with a general standard of morality must to a great hatchet, is undoubtedly a very agreeable pasextent sink or rise. It is, therefore, a fortu- time for a thorough-bred Jacobin, when the nate circumstance, that during a long course sufferers are, as at Nantes, old confessors, of years, respect for the weak, and clemency young girls, or women with child. But such towards the vanquished, have been consider- sport might prove a little dangerous if tried ed as qualities not less essential to the ac- upon grim ranks of grenadiers, marked with complished soldier than personal courage. the scars of Hondschoote, and singed by the How long would this continue to be the case, smoke of Fleurus. if the slaying of prisoners were a part of the Barère, however, found some consolation. daily duty of the warrior ? What man of If he could not succeed in murdering the kind and generous nature would, under such English and the Hanoverians, he was amply a system, willingly bear arms? Who, that indemnified by a new and vast slaughter of was compelled to bear arms, would long con- his own countrymen and countrywomen. If tinue kind and generous ? And is it not the defence which has been set up for the certain that, if barbarity towards the helpless members of the Committee of Public Safety became the characteristic of military men, had been well founded, if it had been true the taint must rapidly spread to civil and to that they governed with extreme severity domestic life, and must show itself in all the only because the republic was in extreme dealings of the strong with the weak, of hus- peril, it is clear that the severity would have bands with wives, of employers with work- diminished as the peril diminished. But the men, of creditors with debtors ?
fact is, that those cruelties for which the pubBut, thank God, Barère's decree was a lic danger is made a plea, became more and mere dead letter. was to be executed by more enormous as the danger became less men very different from those who, in the and less, and reached the full height when interior of France, were the instruments of there was no longer any danger at all. In the Committee of Public Safety, who prated the autumn of 1793, there was undoubtedly at Jacobin Clubs, and ran to Fouquier Tin- reason to apprehend that France might be ville with charges of incivism against women unable to maintain the struggle against the whom they could not seduce, and bankers European coalition. The enemy was trifrom whom they could not extort money. umphant on the frontiers. More than half The warriors who, under Hoche, had guard the departments disowned the authority of ed the walls of Dunkirk, and who, under the Convention. But at that time eight or Kléber, had made good the defence of the ten necks a-day were thought an ample allowwood of Monceaux, shrank with horror from ance for the guillotine of the capital. In the an office more degrading than that of the summer of 1794, Bordeaux, Toulon, Caen, hangman. "The Convention,' said an offi- Lyons, Marseilles, had submitted to the cer to his men, 'has sent orders that all the ascendency of Paris. The French arms English prisoners shall be shot.' 'We will were victorious under the Pyrenees and on not shoot them,' answered a stout-hearted the Sambre. Brussels had fallen. Prussia sergeant. 'Send them to the Convention. had announced her intention of withdrawing If the deputies take pleasure in killing a pri- from the contest. The Republic, no longer soner, they may kill him themselves, and eat content with defending her own indepenhim too, like savages as they are.' This was dence, was beginning to meditate: conquest the sentiment of the whole army. Bona- beyond the Alps and the Rhine. She was
now more formidable to her neighbors than conspicuous among the chiefs of the Mounever Louis the Fourteenth had been. And tain, now found that their own lives, or lives now the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris was still dearer to them than their own, were in not content with forty, fifty, sixty heads in a extreme peril. Nor could it be longer kept morning. It was just after a series of victo- secret that there was a schism in the despotic ries which destroyed the whole force of the committee. On one side were Robespierre, single argument which has been urged in de St Just, and Couthon ; on the other, Collot fence of the system of Terror, that the Com- and Billaud. Barère leaned towards these mittee of Public Safety resolved to infuse last, but only leaned towards them. As was into that system an energy hitherto unknown. ever his fashion when a great crisis was at It was proposed to reconstruct the Revolu- hand, he fawned alternately on both parties, tionary Tribunal, and to collect in the space struck alternately at both, and held himself of two pages the whole revolutionary juris- in readiness to chant the praises or to sign prudence. Lists of twelve judges and fifty the death-warrant of either. In any event jurors were made out from among the fiercest his Carmagnole was ready. The tree of Jacobins. The substantive law was simply liberty, the blood of traitors, the dagger of this, that whatever the tribunal should think Brutus, the guineas of perfidious Albion, pernicious to the republic was a capital would do equally well for Billaud and for crime. The law of evidence was simply this, Robespierre. that whatever satisfied the jurors was suffi- The first attack which was made on cient proof. The law of procedure was of a Robespierre was indirect.
An old woman piece with every thing else. There was to named Catharine Théot, half maniac, half be an advocate against the prisoner, and no impostor, was protected by him, and exeradvocate for him. It was expressly declared cised a strange influence over his mind; for that, if the jurors were in any manner con- he was naturally prone to superstition, and, vinced of the guilt of the prisoner, they having abjured the faith in which he had might convict him without hearing a single been brought up, was looking about for somewitress. The only punishment which the thing to believe. Barère drew up a report court could inflict was death.
against Catharine, which contained many Robespierre proposed this decree. When facetious conceits, and ended, as might be he had read it, a murmur rose from the Con- expected, with a motion for sending her and vention. The fear which had long restrain- some other wretched creatures of both sexes ed the deputies from opposing the Commit- to the Revolutionary Tribunal, or, in other tee was overcome by a stronger fear. Every words, to death. This report, however, he man felt the knife at his throat. The de- did not dare to read to the Convention himcree,' said one, ‘is of grave importance. I self. Another member, less timid, was inmove that it be printed, and that the debate duced to father the cruel buffoonery; and be adjourned. If such a measure were adopt the real author enjoyed in security the dised without time for consideration, I would may and vexation of Robespierre. blow my brains out at once.' The motion Barère now thought that he had done for adjournment was seconded. Then Ba- enough on one side, and that it was time to rère sprang up. “It is impossible,' he said, make his peace with the other. On the “that there can be any difference of opinion seventh of Thermidor, he pronounced in the among us as to a law like this, a law so Convention a panegyricon Robespierre. favorable in all respects to patriots; a law · That representative of the people,' he said, which insures the speedy punishment of con- enjoys a reputation for patriotism, earned spirators. If there is to be an adjournment, by five years of exertion, and by unalterable I must insist that it shall not be for more than fidelity to the principles of independence and three days.' The opposition was overawed ; liberty. On the eighth of Thermidor, it bethe decree was passed; and, during the six came clear that a decisive struggle was at weeks which followed, the havoc was such as hand. Robespierre struck the first blow. had never been known before.
He mounted the tribune, and uttered a long And now the evil was beyond endurance. invective on his opponents. It was moved That timid majority which had for a time that his discourse should be printed; and supported the Girondists, and which had, Barère spoke for the printing. The sense of after their fall, contented itself with register- the Convention soon appeared to be the ing in silence the decrees of the Committee other way; and Barère apologized for his of Public Safety, at length drew courage former speech, and implored his colleagues from despair. l.eaders of bold and firm to abstain from disputes, which could be character were not wanting, men such as agreeable only to Pitt and York. On the Fouché and Tallien, who, having been long next day, the ever-memorable ninth of Ther
midor, came the real tug of war. Tallien, concentrated all the love and all the hatred, bravely taking his life in his hand, led the all the admiration and all the contempt, onset. Billand followed; and then all that which he ought rightfully to share with a infinite hatred which had long been kept whole party, a whole sect, a whole nation, a down by terror burst forth, and swept every whole generation. Perhaps so human bebarrier before it. When at length the voice ing has suffered so much from this propenof Robespierre, drowned by the president's sity of the multitude as Robespierre. He is bell, and by shouts of ' Down with the regarded not merely as what he was, an entyrant! had died away in hoarse gasping, vious, malevolent zealot; but as the incarBarère arose.
He began with timid and nation of Terror, as Jacobinism personified. doubtful phrases, watched the effect of every The truth is, that it was not by him that the word he uttered, and, when the feeling of system of terror was carried to the last exthe Assembly had been unequivocally mani- treme. The most horrible days in the hisfested, declared against Robespierre. But tory of the revolutionary tribunal of Paris, it was not till the people out of doors, and were those which immediately preceded the especially the gunners of Paris, had espoused ninth of Thermidor. Robespierre had then the cause of the Convention, that Barère felt ceased to attend the meetings of the sovequite at ease. Then he sprang to the tri- reign Committee; and the direction of affairs bune, poured forth a Carmagnole about was really in the hands of Billaud, of Collot, Pisistratus and Catiline, and concluded by and Barère. moving that the heads of Robespierre and It had never occurred to those three tyRobespierre's accomplices should be cut off rants, that in overthrowing Robespierre, they without a trial. The motion was carried. were overthrowing that system of Terror to On the following morning the vanquished which they were more attached than he had members of the Committee of Public Safety ever been. Their object was to go on slayand their principal adherents suffered death. ing even more mercilessly than before. But It was exactly one year since Barère had they had misunderstood the nature of the commenced his career of slaughter, by great crisis which had at last arrived. The moving the proscription of his old allies the yoke of the Committee was broken for ever. Girondists. We greatly doubt whether any The Convention had regained its liberty, had human being has ever succeeded in packing tried its strength, had vanquished and punmore wickedness into the space of three hun- ished its enemies. A great reaction had dred and sixty-five days.
commenced. Twenty-four hours after RobeThe ninth of Thermidor is one of the spierre had ceased to live, it was moved and great epochs in the history of Europe. It is carried, amidst loud bursts of applause, that true that the three members of the Commit- the sittings of the Revolutionary Tribunal tee of Public Safety who triumphed, were by should be suspended. Billaud was not at no means better men than the three who fell. that moment present. He entered the hall Indeed, we are inclined to think that of soon after, learned with indignation what these six statesmen the least bad was Ro had passed, and inoved that the vote should spierre and Saint Just, whose cruelty was the be rescinded. But loud cries of 'No, no!" effect of sincere fanaticism operating on nar- rose from those benches which had lately row understandings and acrimonious tempers paid mute obedience to his commands. The worst of the six was, beyond all doubt, Barère came forward on the same day, and Barère, who had no faith in any part of the adjured the Convention not to relax the syssystem which he upheld by persecution; tem of terror. 'Beware, above all things,' who, while he sent his fellow-creatures to he cried, 'of that fatal moderation which death for being the third cousins of royal- talks of peace and of clemency. Let aristoists, had not in the least made up his mind cracy know, that here she will find only enethat a republic was better than a monarchy; mies sternly bent on vengeance, and judges who, while he slew his old friends for seder- who have no pity.' But the day of the Caralism, was himself far more a federalist than magnoles was over; the restraint of fear had any of them ; who had become a murderer been relaxed; and the hatred with which the merely for his safety, and who continued to nation regarded the Jacobin dominion broke be a murderer merely for his pleasure. forth with ungovernable violence. Not more
The tendency of the vulgar is to embody strongly did the tide of public opinion run every thing. Some individual is selected, against the old monarchy and aristocracy, at and often selected very injudiciously, as the the time of the taking of the Bastile, than it representative of every great movement of now ran against the tyranny of the Mounthe public mind, of every great revolution in tain. From every dungeon the prisoners human affairs; and on this individual are came forth, as they had gone in, by hundreds. The decree which forbade the sol- compared with the enormity, of the crimes. diers of the republic to give quarter to the Soon after the ninth of Thermidor, two of English, was repealed by an unanimous vote, the vilest of mankind, Fouquier Tinville, amidst loud acclamations; nor, passed as it whom Barère had placed at the Revolutionwas, disobeyed as it was, and rescinded as it ary Tribunal, and Lebon, whom Barère had was, can it be with justice considered as a defended in the Convention, were placed unblemish on the fame of the French nation. der arrest. A third miscreant soon shared The Jacobin Club was refractory. It was their fate, Carrier, the tyrant of Nantes. suppressed without resistance. The surviv- The trials of these men brought to light horing Girondist deputies, who had concealed rors surpassing any thing that Suetonius themselves from the vengeance of their ene- and Lampridius have related of the worst mies in caverns and garrets, were readmitted Cæsars. But it was impossible to punish to their seats in the Convention. No day pass- subordinate agents who, bad as they were, ed without some signal reparation of injustice; had only acted in accordance with the spirit no street in Paris was without some trace of of the government which they served, and, the recent change. In the theatre, the bust at the same time, to grant impunity to the of Marat was pulled down from its pedestal heads of the wicked administration. A cry and broken in pieces, amidst the applause of was raised, both within and without the Conthe audience. His carcass was ejected from vention, for justice on Collot, Billaud, and the Pantheon. The celebrated picture of Barère. his death, which had hung in the hall of the Collot and Billaud, with all their vices, Convention, was removed. The savage in- appear to have been men of resolute natures. scriptions with which the walls of the city They made no submission; but opposed to had been covered disappeared ; and in place the hatred of mankind, at first a fierce resistof death and terror, humanity, the watch-ance, and afterwards a dogged and sullen word of the new rulers, was every where to endurance. Barère, on the other hand, as be seen. In the mean time, the gay spirit of soon as he began to understand the real naFrance, recently subdued by oppression, and ture of the revolution of Thermidor, attemptnow elated by the joy of a great deliverance, ed to abandon the Mountain, and to obtain wantoned in a thousand forms. Art, taste, admission among his old friends of the modluxury, revived. Female beauty regained erate party. He declared every where that its empire-an empire strengthened by the he had never been in favor of severe mearemembrance of all the tender and all the sures; that he was a Girondist; that he had sublime virtues which women, delicately always condemned and lamented the manner bred and reputed frivolous, had displayed in which the Brissotine deputies had been during the evil days. Refined manners, treated. He now preached mercy from that chivalrous sentiments, followed in the train tribune from which he had recently preached of love. The dawn of the Arctic summer extermination. · The time, he said, "has day after the Arctic winter night, the great un- come at which our clemency may be insealing of the waters, the awakening of ani- dulged without danger. We may now safely mal and vegetable life, the sudden softening consider temporary imprisonment as an adeof the air, the sudden blooming of the flow-quate punishment for political misdemeanors.' ers, the sudden bursting of whole forests into It was only a fortnight since, from the same verdure, is but a feeble type of that happiest place, he had declaimed against the moderaand most genial of revolutions, the revolution tion which dared even to talk of clemency; of the ninth of Thermidor.
it was only a fortnight since he had ceased But, in the midst of the revival of all kind to send men and women to the guillotine of and generous sentiments, there was one por- Paris, at the rate of three hundred a-week. tion of the community against which mercy He now wished to make his peace with the itself seemed to cry out for vengeance. The moderate party at the expense of the Terrorists, chiefs of the late government and their tools as he had, a year before, made his peace
with were now never named but as the men of the Terrorists at the expense of the moderate blood, the drinkers of blood, the cannibals. party. But he was disappointed. He had In some parts of France, where the creatures left himself no retreat. His face, his voice, of the Mountain had acted with peculiar his rants, his jokes, had become hateful to barbarity, the populace took the law into its the Convention. When he spoke he was inown hands, and meted out justice to the terrupted by murmurs. Bitter reflections Jacobins with the true Jacobin measure ; were daily cast on his cowardice and perfidy. but at Paris the punishments were inflicted On one occasion Carnot rose to give an acwith order and decency; and were few when count of a victory, and so far forgot the compared with the number, and lenient when gravity of his character, as to indulge in the
sort of oratory which Barère had affected on how it is to dine. The rabble of the Fausimilar occasions. He was interrupted by bourg St. Antoine rose, menaced the depucries of ‘No more Carmagnoles !' 'No more ties, and demanded with loud cries the liberaof Barère's puns!'
tion of the persecuted patriots. But the ConAt length, five months after the revolution vention was no longer such as it had been, of Thermidor, the Convention resolved that when similar means were employed too a committee of twenty-one members should successfully against the Girondists. Its spirit be appointed to examine into the conduct of was roused. Its strength had been proved. Billaud, Callot, and Barère. In some weeks Military means were at its command. The the report was made. From that report we tumult was suppressed, and it was decreed learn that a paper had been discovered, that same evening that Collot, Billaud, and signed by Barère, and containing a propo- Barère should instantly be removed to a dissition for adding the last improvement to the tant place of confinement. system of terror. France was to be divided The next day the order of the Convention into circuits ; itinerant revolutionary tri- was executed. The account which Barère bunals, composed of trusty Jacobins, were to has given of his journey is the most interestmove from department to department; and ing and the most trustworthy part of these the guillotine was to travel in their train. Memoirs. There is no witness so infamous
Barère, in his defence, insisted that no that a court of justice will not take his word speech or motion which he had made in the against himself; and even Barère may be beConvention could, without a violation of the lieved when he tells us how much he was freedom of debate, be treated as a crime. hated and despised. He was asked how he could resort to such a The carriage in which he was to travel mode of defence, after putting to death so passed, surrounded by armed men, along the many deputies on account of opinions ex- street of St. Honoré. A crowd soon gathered pressed in the Convention. He had nothing round it, and increased every moment. On to say, but that it was much to be regret- the long flight of steps before the church of ted that the sound principle had ever been St. Roch stood rows of eager spectators. It violated.
was with difficulty that the coach could make He arrogated to himself a large share of its way through those who hung upon it, the merit of the revolution of Thermidor. hooting, cursing, and striving to burst the The men who had risked their lives to effect doors. Barère thought his life in danger, that revolution, and who knew that, if they and was conducted at his own request to a had failed, Barère would, in all probability, public office, where he hoped that he might have moved the decree for beheading them find shelter till the crowd should disperse. without a trial, and have drawn up a pro- In the mean time, another discussion on his clamation announcing their guilt and their fate took place in the Convention. It was punishment to all France, were by no means proposed to deal with him as he had dealt disposed to acquiesce in his claims. He was with better men, to put him out of the pale reminded that, only forty-eight hours before of the law, and to deliver him at once withthe decisive conflict, he had, in the tribune, out any trial to the headsman. But the been profuse of adulation to Robespierre. humanity which, since the ninth of ThermiHis answer to this reproach is worthy of him- dor had generally directed the public counself. It was necessary,' he said, 'to dissem- sels, restrained the deputies from taking this ble. It was necessary to flatter Robespierre's course. vanity, and, by panegyric, to impel him to It was now night; and the streets gradualthe attack. This was the motive which in-ly became quiet. The clock struck twelve; duced me to load him with those praises of and Barère, under a strong guard, again set which you complain. Who ever blamed forth on his journey. He was conducted Brutus for dissembling with Tarquin ?' over the river to a place where the Orleans
The accused triumvirs had only one chance road branches off from the southern bouleof escaping punishment. There was severe vard. Two travelling carriages stood there. distress at that moment among the working In one of them was Billaud, attended by two people of the capital. This distress the officers; in the other, two more officers were Jacobins attributed to the reaction of Ther- waiting to receive Barère. Collot was already midor, to the lenity with which the aristo- on the road. crats were now treated, and to the measures At Orleans, a city which had suffered which had been adopted against the chiefs of cruelly from the Jacobin tyranny, the three the late administration. Nothing is too ab- deputies were surrounded by a mob bent on surd to be believed by a populace which has tearing them to pieces. All the national not breakfasted, and which does not know guards of the neighborhood were assembled;