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Press Opinions:

The Athenaum." Prince Kropotkin has written a most suggestive and stimulating study, showing not only immense range of reading and observation, and the power of marshalling facts in an orderly manner, but also a most attractive and generous personality, demonstrating unconquerable faith in the innate goodness of humanity and its golden future."

The Clarion. If I described this new work of Prince Kropotkin's as the most important English work published for several years, Ish uld not be guilty of excess. If any book of like value has appeared within the last ten " Read it Read it years, I do not remember it. The Review of Reviews. There are few more delightful books to read than Mutual Aid as a Factor in Evolution.' It is a good, healthy, cheerful, delightful book, which does one good to read." Nature, "The book is undeniably readable throughout. The author has a creed which he preaches with all the fervours of genuine conviction. He is anxious to make converts, but his zeal never leads him to forget fairness and courtesy. Those who disagree with him may learn much by studying the book." The Nation. " Prince Kropotkin has done an important service to sound thinking on questions of sociology." The British Weekly. The array of facts from all departments of life which he here collects is overTo most readers the facts adduced from whelming. mediaeval history and from modern conditions will be new. It will be for scientific readers to adjust the burden borne by each of the factors in evolution, but that mutual aid is an essential and important factor no one can doubt who reads this book. Though so full of facts, it is never tedious and never dry, but carries the reader with it."



' '


1 '










N. F.




Copyright. London, 1909, by

William Heinemtnn



THE more

one studies the French Revolution the clearer


to see how incomplete is the how many gaps in it remain to

history of that great epoch,



how many




set all



be otherwise


The Great

Revolution, that



that overthrew everything, and began the

task of universal reconstruction in the course of a





the working of cosmic forces dissolving and re-creating

a world.



in the writings of the historians



with that period, and especially of Michelet, we admire the immense work they have accomplished in disentangling and
co-ordinating the innumerable facts of the various parallel

movements that made up the Revolution, we realise at the same time the vastness of the work which still remains to be



made during the

past thirty years by

the school of historical research represented by M. Aulard and the Societe de la Revolution franaise, have certainly
furnished most valuable material.

They have shed

a flood of

light upon the acts of the Revolution, on

political aspects,

and on the struggles
the various parties.

supremacy that took place between But the study of the economic side of

the Revolution
rightly says,

is still

before us, and this study, as
entire lifetime.

M. Aulard

demands an

Yet without

study the history of the period remains incomplete and in


points wholly incomprehensible.



fact, a



of totally

new problems



to the historian as soon

he turns

his attention to the

economic side of the revolu-

tionary upheaval.

was with the intention of throwing some light upon these economic problems that I began in 1886 to make separate

studies of the earliest revolutionary stirrings

among the peasants


the peasant risings in 1789; the struggles for and against the feudal laws ; the real causes of the movement of May 31, and

Unfortunately I was not able to make any researches in the National Archives of France, and my studies have,
so on.

therefore, been confined to the collections of printed matter

in the British

Museum, which


however, in themselves

exceedingly rich.
it would not be easy for the reader to apthe bearing of separate studies of this kind without preciate a general view of the whole development of the Revolution

Believing that

understood in the light of these studies,
to write a more or
of the Revolution.


soon found



consecutive account of the chief events

In this account

have not dwelt upon the

have been so often described, but
object to utilise

dramatic side of the episodes of these disturbed years, which I have made it my chief


research so as to reveal the intimate

connection and interdependence of the various events which

combined to produce the climax of the eighteenth century's

This method of studying separately the various parts of the

work accomplished by the Revolution has

necessarily its



sometimes entails repetition.

have preferred,

however, to take the risk of reproach for this fault in the hope
of impressing



upon the


mind the mighty

currents of thought

and action that came into


the French Revolution

currents so intimately blended with



the very essence of human nature that they must inevitably reappear in the historic events of the future.

who know

the history of the Revolution will understand


difficult it is to

avoid errors in facts

when one



trace the development of its impassioned struggles.

I shall,

therefore, be extremely grateful to those who will be good enough to point out any mistakes I may have made. And I

wish to express here


sincerest gratitude to



James Guillaume and Ernest Nys, who have had the kindness to read my manuscript and to help me in this work with their
knowledge and their






obedience to the law. by preaching trust in human nature corrupted. they declared. The eighteenth-century philosophers had long been sapping the foundations of the law-and-order societies of that period. the current of ideas. belonged to the aristocracy and the clergy. whilst the mass of the people were nothing but beasts of burden to the ruling classes. but. came from the middle classes . all its qualities when it had had opened up new vistas to manreconquered liberty they kind. as well as an immense share of the wealth. supposed to express the will of the nation when it has been made by the representatives I A . the current of action. certain to regain . By proclaiming the sovereignty of reason . without distinction of birth by demanding from every citizen. By proclaiming equality among men. came from the people. concerning^ the political reorganisation of States. the result was the Revolution. whether nevertheless.CHAPTER I THE TWO GREAT CURRENTS OF THE REVOLUTION Main causes of Great Revolution Previous risings Union of middle classes and people necessary Importance of part ^ played by people Two great currents prepared and made the Great French Revolution. both peasants and workers in towns. One of them. king or peasant. endeavour to realise an aim which for some time was common to both. by the institutions that had reduced man to servitude. when they had helped each other for a certain time. wherein political power. who wanted to obtain immediate and definite improvements in their economic conAnd when these two currents met and joined in the dition. the other.

2 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION free . however. to the throne in 1774 was the signal for a whole These lasted up to 1783 . even when it takes such terrible forms as did the rising of the Russian peasants in A under the banner of Pougatchoff. and the lack of bread always remained one But it was chiefly of the principal causes of the risings. by demanding freedom of contract men. and then series of hunger riots. such as was made in France in 1830 and 1848. Famine had been the chief source of the earlier disturbances. of institutions which have taken 1773 . long before 1789. in a few years. jacquerie is not. And the most important point in the outbreak of the Revolution. came a period of comparative quiet. the downfall of the old regime. France had already entered upon an insurrectionary period. and in that year they became general in the east. north-eas* and south-east of this passage France. attempt On the other hand. disinclination on the part of the peasants to pay the feudal^ taxes which now spurred them to revolt. study of the history of that period is to bring into relief the circumstances that made it possible for the French nation at a given moment to enter on the realisation of the ideal to from theory to action. however. The outbreaks went on increasing in number up to 1789. would not have sufficed to cause the There was still the stage of passfrom theory to action. A revolution is in town and infinitely more than a series of insurrections It is more than a simple struggle between parties. country. But after 1786. and the abolition of feudal taxes and ser- of the people between vices by putting forward all these claims. the peasant insurrections broke out again with renewed vigour. a revolution. linked together with the system and method characteristic of French thought. at least in men's minds. the philosophers had undoubtedly prepared. In this way the dis aggregation of the body social came about. however sanguinary . A revolution is a swift overthrow. The accession of Louis XVI. This alone. more than mere street-fighting. and much more than a mere change of government. from the conception of an ideal to ing putting it into practice. and still more after 1788. finally.

convulsing the world and giving to the succeeding age its watchword. its lines of economic. by a series of constant insurrections to lasting for four years. and. and conceived a new scheme of political organisation. religious. it is not enough that a movement of ideas. and in France between 1789 and 1793. Strong in their knowledge and eager for the task. should manifest itself among the not enough that disturbances. 3 and seem so fixed and immovable that even the most ardent reformers hardly dare to attack them It is the fall. its science.THE TWO GREAT CURRENTS centuries to root in the soil. may it is be. frivolity and was bringing the kingdom to utter ruin. and for a movement to assume the proportions of a revolution. given : alone. it is the birth of completely new ideas concerning the manifold links in citizenship conceptions which soon realities. That is why the French Revolution. In short. There must be a union of the two. and then begin to spread among the neighbouring nations. the mass of the peasants had not also been stirred. political and moral development. middle and educated classes could not have done anything palace aristocracy if. its problems. however or great. like the English Revo- lution of the preceding century. as happened in England between 1648 and 1688. means the subversion of acquired ideas and of accepted notions concerning each of the complex institutions and relations of all that up to that time the human herd. the crumbling away in a brief in their writings. political composed the essence of It and economic life in a nation. should take place in the very heart of the many people. became conscious of their rights. by its incapacity. The revolutionary action coming from the people classes must coincide with a movement of revolutionary thought coming from the educated classes. . of social. they felt themselves quite capable of seizing the government by snatching it from a which. But the debauchery. become To arrive at a result of this importance. consequent on a complete chain of circumstances. no matter how profound educated it . period. having drunk deep at the sources of current philosophy. happened at the moment when the middle classes.

the descendants of those called anarchists. the current of popular action. of upsetting old institutions _and changing the political constitution of the kingdom. has not even been sketched. thoughts which civilised countries tried to put into practice during the nineteenth century. but the other. the current of / thought is known . temporaries the and to try to reconstruct at least its main features.4 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION among the middle classes the dissatisfied the possibility of combating both King and Court. The history of this double movement remains still to be written. has been studied and set forth in all its details. The part played by the people of the country places and towns in the Revolution has never been studied and narrated in its entirety. its policy and its diplomacy." to study the popular current. its wars. Thus we know very well the principles which dominated the Revolution and were translated into its legislative work. The told and re-told history of the great French Revolution has been many times. We have been enraptured by the great thoughts it flung to the world. " by their con- . The Parliamentary history of the Revolution. It is for us. from the point of view of as many different parties . ' Of the two currents which made the Revolution. but up to the present the historians have confined themselves to the political history. But the popular history of the Revolution remains still to be told. the history of the triumph of the middle classes over the Court party and the defenders of the institutions of the old monarchy.

upon which 5 . those territories. in full working order. that worker industrial system. that worship of law. and their assistants. by which an order sent from a certain capital puts all the men of a nation. where worship of power and passive obedience are taught . that system of schools. which we see about us to-day . That formidable eighteenth century. which accumulates incredible riches in the hands of those who monopolise the land. that commerce. which crushes under its wheels the whom the State delivers over to its tender mercies . overspread with a network of officials whose personality is completely effaced by their bureaucratic apprenticeship. The in structure of the law-and-order States which we see Europe at present was only outlined at the end of the The system of the centralised authority. and mourn- ing into families .CHAPTER IT THE IDEA Modern States Influence of English and American Revolutions on French Revolution Condition and aims of middle classes Centralisation of towards authority Attitude peasants Influence of eighteenth-century philosophy To understand 1789 fully the idea consider which inspired the middle it classes in we must in the light of its results the modern States. the ways of communication and the riches of Nature. the mines. and who obey mechanically the of citizens to the law orders emanating from a central will . had not then attained either the perfection or uniformity it possesses to-day. now in motion mechanism. that judges mass of hierarchically organised and disciplined functionaries . ready for war. that passive obedience of . and sends them out to carry devastation through countries. of Parliament. maintained or directed by the State.

that science. ever since the beginning of the eighteenth century the study of Politics and the constitution of organised societies based on elective representation had become popular. was already forecast and described in a great number of books and pamphlets from which the men of action during the Revolution afterwards drew their inspiration and their ^Trius at the it logical force. but which at the same time aims at subjecting them to the authority of the strongest and to the State all this was non-existent before the Revolution. That is why. Rousseau. long before the Revolution had by its mutterings given warning of its approach. and finally. the idea of a State. helped the French middle class towards a comprehension of the part they would be called on to play in the government of society. Hume. knew quite well what they wanted. Voltaire.6 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION is . governed by the classes holding property in lands or in factories. The middle classes were . Thanks to Hobbes. and they did not recognise the right of the nobility to seize on all the best places publicans are they republicans even to-day in the Government. long before the Revolution broke out. Montesquieu. came moment to pass that the French middle classes in 1789. of entering upon the revolutionary period. They were certainly not re- ? But they no longer wanted the King to have arbitrary powers. and to this Turgot and Adam Smith had just added the study of economic questions and the place of property in the political constitution of a State. they refused to be ruled by the princes or by the Court. the French middle classes the Third Estate had already developed a conception of the political edifice which should be erected on the ruins of feudal It is highly probable that the English Revolution had royalty. which libeand immensely increases the productive powers thought of men. or by members of the learned professions. d'Argenson and others. Mably. centralised and well-ordered. And it is certain that the revolution in America stimulated the energies of the middle-class revolutionaries. the State rates nourished However. though they were only capable of plunderingthe State as they had plundered their vast properties withoufcadding anything to their value.

as it had arrived one hundred and forty years before in England. with sometimes the power of a casting-vote. above classes. army. Their ideal was to give France modelled upon the English constitution. with its hierarchy and its bishops. schools. which would favour the enrichment of the individual and the accumulation of large fortunes two conditions to which great .THE IDEA 7 perhaps republican in sentiment. As to the real authority. The middle classes of 1789 understood that the moment had arrived in France. police. All this was to be kept under the strict control of the State. What they detested most was the Church. priests who made common cause with the princes. By the side of this political concentration. and combining every department taxes. but also strictly obeyed in the State. At the same time. which an educated middle class. general direction of commerce and industry everything. and desired republican simplicity of manners. and at the same time to give free rein to industrial enterprise for the exploitation of all sorts of natural wealth. as well as of the workers. should predominate. civic control. their ideal was to abolish all the local powers which at that time constituted so many autonomous units in the State. and its who had become the obedient tools of the nobility. that was to be vested in a Parliament. but they by no means disliked the Catholic form of religion. government by the propertied They inclined to free thought without being Atheists. but chiefly to act as the symbol of national unity. all things. strictly controlled by the Parliament. but they desired. as in the growing republic of America . They meant to concentrate all governin active mental power in the hands of a central executive authority. when the Third Estate was to seize the power falling from the hands of royalty. they intended to proclaim complete freedom in commercial transactions. and to reduce the King to the part of a mere enregistering scribe. and they knew what a constitution they meant to do with it. who henceforth would be delivered up defenceless to any one who might employ them. law courts. which would represent the and thinking part of the nation.

taxation would be simplified. he would bring gold to trade. They knew that the theories of those had already been applied in England. economic matters.8 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION importance was necessarily attached by the middle classes. State had to be put in order . the worker. Then. a bigger revenue obtained. the creators of political On writers economy. and even that he should be forced to leave it. what they wanted was what economists have called freedom of industry and commerce. both upper and lower. In short. which certainly pressed very heavily upon him. they looked forward to a foreign trade with distant lands. tithes and taxes. the men of action belonging to the Third Estate held ideas no less precise. in changing masters. so that he might be impelled towards the towns in search of work. seeing that the States General itself had been convoked to ward off the financial ruin of the State. to huge enterprises and colossal fortunes. There . at the same time. and they envied their middle-class neighbours across the Channel their powerful economic organisation. which had hitherto lain unproductive in the hands of the nobility and the clergy. It was necessary that he should be free to leave his hut. instead of paying to the landlords all sorts of rents. but which after all were not very And finally. They dreamed of an appropriation of the land by the middle classes. and the exportation of manufactured goods across the seas to markets that would be opened in the East. But before all this could be realised they knew the ties that bound the peasant to his village must be broken. who was and the giving to it full liberty to exploit still to be deprived of his freedom. The French middle classes had studied Turgot and Adam Smith. but which really meant the relieving of industry from the harassing and repressive supervision of the State. In this they were supported by the lower middle class settled in the country. even before the Revolution increased their number. just as they envied them their political power. and of the revenue they would draw from the soil. who had become a power in the villages. and. the finances of the profitable for the masters. They foresaw the rapid development of trade and the production of merchandise on a large scale by the help of machinery .

9 societies . complete denial of the right to combine for the others. And this any detail of it. greatness of the free man when he lives among his equals . Such was the two-fold scheme devised by the middle Therefore when the time came for its realisation. drunk from that sublime fount. For all the transactions of the employers. There were to be no duties on home industries. the eighteenth-century philosophy. profoundly moral character. because by them no ideal had been planned and elaborated which could have been opposed to the scheme of the gentlemen of the Third Estate. set to work to make they did with a consistent and in- telligent energy quite impossible to the masses of the people. amount of idealism is always necessary The best representatives of the Third Estate had. the clearness of their views and their business habits. the middle classes. moral even when it conventional morality . In great changes a certain to success. mocked at strength and Whence would they have drawn other- wise the powers of conviction and the devotion of which they It must also be owned that gave such proofs in the struggle ? even among those who worked hardest to realise the programme of enriching the middle classes. and for the workers a strict prohibition against combinations of any sort. which was the source of all the great ideas that have arisen since. Laisser fair* for the one . indeed. without hesitating over their scheme it as a whole or at become law. no prohibitive laws. its hatred of despotic institutions were all accepted by the revolutionists of that time. its trust in the intelligence. there was to be complete freedom. classes. its The eminently scientific spirit of this philosophy . There was no longer to be any State supervision which might hamper the manufac- no trade . nor master craftsmen turer. It would certainly be unjust to say that the middle classes were actuated only by purely selfish motives.THE IDEA were to be no guilds. strengthened by their knowledge. If that had been the case they would never have succeeded in their task. neither trade wardens nothing which might in any way check the exploitation of the wage-earner. there were some believed that the enrichment of the individual who seriously would be the .

liberty to the riches of Nature for personal aggrandisement. By then. persuasively- preached this view But however lofty were the abstract ideas of liberty. that we must judge them. it is by their practical programme. by Into what deeds shall the abstract idea be translated in actual life ? If. shall see presently what terrible struggles were evolved in 1793 when one of the revolutionary parties wished to go And we further than this programme. as soon as they took shape. we must also admit that these ideas. that alone can it is we find its true measure. as well as liberty to exploit human labour without any safeguard for the victims of such exploitation. . and political and religious freedom. and political power organised utilise so as to assure freedom of exploitation to the middle classes. only fair to admit that the middle classes of 1789 were inspired by ideas of liberty. equality and free progress that inspired the sincere men among the middle classes of 1789-1793. began to develop exactly on the two lines we have just sketched . Had not the best economists.io best THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION means of enriching the nation Adam Smith ? as a whole. the application of their theories. with at their head. equality (before the law).

" Something was to be done by some great folk for such poor " " ones she did not know who. contained any element of it dates only from the middle of the nineteenth century. was certainly is to-day. because The word " Socialism " Socialist party is now " not so much in evidence as it trying to reduce Socialism. Respect for royalty and aristocracy was passing away. had felt to a certain extent the influence of the current philosophy.* who better. p." travelled through France on the eve of the Revolution. 1892)." Vidal and Pecqueur. That " " something misery.CHAPTER ACTION III Revolution and Socialism Equal rights of all " Situation not clearly understood by people Hatred of poor towards aristocracy and clergy Hatred of feudalism People's readiness to take up arms to land The people " Communism BUT what of the people ? What was their idea ? The people. The hope of an approaching change throbbed in the hearts of the humblest. Ideas of Gleams equality were penetrating to the very lowest ranks. said an old woman. The idea of the State as Capitalist. Travels in France. of revolt flashed through many minds. but God send us . because the founders of Social-Democratic * Collectivism. 167 (London. and the Revolution itself. did not Arthur Young. too. to Arthur Young. was certainly not in either. nor how . By a thousand indirect channels the great principles of liberty and enfranchisement had filtered down to the villages and the suburbs of the large towns. n . to which the Social-Democratic fraction of the great The Socialism has been recently discussed. in 1789. was bound to bring an alleviation of the people's question whether the movement which preceded the Revolution.

Often they were mere negations. d'Argenson. It was natural. Those who addressed the people did not try to embody the concrete form in which their desiderata could be realised. and others of less importance. While among the educated these middle classes the ideas of emancipation had taken the form of a complete programme for political and economic organisation. and later on the thoughts of the revolutionists. Consciously or not. as well as of the left wing of the revolutionary masses during the period of upheaval ? communistic aspirations were not Unfortunately. while the factory was hardly developed at all. &c. formulated clearly and concretely in the minds of those who desired the people's happiness. Mably. so that land was at that time the main form of capital and the chief instrument for exploiting human labour. possession of it ? and to all natural wealth forests. these ideas were presented to the people only in the form of vague aspirations. ideas Two Rousseau inspired the men of the Revolution. But it is impossible to read the works of the pre-Revolutionary writers without being struck by the fact that they are imbued with which are the very essence of modern Socialism. was not this the dominant idea of the pre-Revolutionary writers. fundamental ideas the equal rights of all citizens to the land. " What good is there in speaking to the they seemed to say : would only people of the way in which they will be organised later on ? It chill their revolutionary ardour. who much more than possession of the land. All they want is the strength to attack and to march to the assault of the old Later on we shall see what can be done for them. Manufacturing production on a large scale was in its infancy. ." institutions. rivers. It is even probable that they avoided being precise. declare about 1768. and what we know to-day under the name of communism found devoted adherents among the more popular writers of that time. that the thoughts of the philosophers. that there should be equal rights to the land for all. in his Doutes sur Vordre naturel et essentiel des societes. therefore. and communist The rights of the nation to all landed property. waterfalls.12 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION write until the period between 1840 and 1849. should turn towards communal Did not Mably.

they ran foul of a mass of property prejudices. Thus. in the whole of that gathering of learned or experienced the National Assembly lawyers. according to their preconceived ideas. the people were hesitatIn the towns. and so forth there were only two or journalists. also. they did not seem to know how to ing. For these reasons the ideas of the masses were expressed " Let us burn the registers in chiefly by simple negations. three legal members who had studied the feudal laws. tradesmen. with the tithes which the feudal dues are recorded Down " But to Down with * Madame Veto Hang the aristocrats whom was the freed land to go ? Who were to be the heirs of the guillotined nobles ? Who was to grasp the political power when it should fall from the hands of " Monsieur Veto. when ideas concerning agrarian laws and the equalis! ! ' ! ! ing of incomes began to take definite form.ACTION 13 Are there not many Socialists and Anarchists who act still In their hurry to push on to the day in the same way ? of revolt they treat as soporific theorising every attempt to throw some light on what ought to be the aim of the Revolution. turn to their own advantage the power they had conquered. especially. A similar conflict was evoked by the conceptions of the political organisation of the State. We see it chiefly in the . While the middle classes were marching with firm and decided steps towards the establishment of their political power in a State which they were trying to mould. and we know there were among them but very few representatives of the peasants who were familiar by personal experience with the men who composed needs of village life. And later. It must be said. that the ignorance of the writers men and bookmen business for the most part counted for much city in this. with which even those sincerely devoted to the cause of the people were imbued." the power which became in the hands of the middle classes a much more formidable weapon than it had been under the old regime ? This want of clearness in the mind of the people as to what they should hope from the Revolution left its imprint on the whole movement.

which enabled the middle classes to overthrow the old . which stimulated revolts the incessant revolts of the peasants in the years 1789-1793. and the revolt ever since 1788. the hatred felt by the poor for the whole of the idle.H THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION dawned in the antagonism which arose between the governmental prejudices of the democrats of that time and the ideas that hearts of the people as to political decentralisation. and except in the recovery of part of the land from the lords. First of all. landowners long after personal serfdom Lastly. hatred towards the clergy. the cry of the starving in revolt against the lord who refused them access to it that awoke the spirit of And it was the same hatred. which kept the labourer in a them. too. Hatred for the feudal system and its exactions. state of servitude to the had ceased to exist. Next. hatred of all the institutions under the old which made poverty still harder to bear because they regime. and the prominent place which the people wished their municipalities assemblies. and the freeing of all land from the feudal taxes it lines. same need. It was all this hatred. while black misery reigned in the villages and in the dark lanes of the great towns. perverted aristocracy who ruled them. denied the rights of humanity to the poor. or serving merely as a pleasure-ground for the nobility while famine pressed hard on the villages. arose the indefiniteness of the results obtained by the Revolution for the great mass of the people in all directions. to take both in the division of the large towns and in the village This was the starting-point of the whole series of fierce contests which broke out in the Convention. mingled with the hope of success. And it was this need of land this land hunger. Thence. on the other hand. extremely clear on certain points ^ in their negations. who by sympathy belonged more to the aristocracy than to the people who fed Then. formerly had to pay. the despair of the peasant who in those years of scarcity saw land lying uncultivated in the hands of the lord. lazy. But if the people's ideas were confused on constructive they were. lay clerical. coming to a head after long years as the selfishness of the rich became more and more apparent in the | course of the eighteenth century.

. that of representative government. without that disorganisation of authority in the provinces which resulted in never-ceasing jacqueries. Without those risings.ACTION 15 I \ I } regime and to organise its own power under the new one. But it is to this true fount and origin of the Revolution the people's readiness to take up arms that the historians of the Revolution have not yet done justice the justice owed to it by the history of civilisation. and in marching against the strongholds of royalty whenever an appeal to the people was made by the revolutionaries. the middle classes would certainly not have accomplished anything. without that promptitude of the people of Paris and other towns in taking up arms.

bread always followed by massacres. one million one hundred thousand persons were officially declared to be beggars. At the same time. women and children in every province . As the municipalities riots. On the other hand might be seen the superfine aristocrat of the eighteenth century squandering immense fortunes hundreds of thousands and millions of francs a year in unbridled and absur^ luxury. and it decimated entire provinces. tithes collected by the clergy. soon undeceived. and it was quite usual for food to run short. as well as under the forced labour exacted by all Entire populations were reduced to beggary and wanthree. the number of the poor in the towns increased every year. of finding better conditions elsewhere. All the historians who have written about the great French Revolution have devoted eloquent pages to this subject. could not replenish the markets. in the hope. in 1777. To-day a Taine can go into 16 . became a persistent feature in the everyday life of the kingdom. rents and contributions paid to the lord.CHAPTER IV THE PEOPLE BEFORE THE REVOLUTION Condition of people previous to 1789 Wanton luxury of aristocrats Poverty of majority of peasants Rise and importance of well-to-do peasant class IT would be waste of time to describe here at any length the condition of the peasants in the country and of the poorer classes in the towns on the eve of 1789. The people groaned under the burden of taxes levied by the State. dered on the roads to the number of five. chronic its intervals were short. In the villages famine had become . ten or twenty thousand men. Peasants were flocking in hundreds and thousands from their own neighbourhood.

the eve of the great Russian Revolution. into middle-class money-grubbers. with the rigour of mere brokers. and through books but. they hid under their dancing-master manners roisterous dissipations and the crudest sensuality . Their worth and their nobility character can be estimated by the colonies of emigres. boredom at the Court of Versailles. as the expenditure of the State increased and the luxury of the great lords became more exquisite in the extravagancies revealed for us in certain memoirs of that time. " their " to defend left and " their " how futile they King. exploitation of ancient privileges. incapable. They treated the peasants. calling for a foreign invasion to protect their estates and privileges against the " of " revolted people. What helped to make the exactions of the nobility unendurable was that a great number of them. hiding their poverty under a show of luxury. Brussels and Mitau. they were without without thought. We also know what they were worth. resorted in desperation to the extortion of even the least of those rents and payments in kind. through the inter- mediary of their stewards. which only custom had established. hundred years away. when ruined. and they tried in vain to evade it by the most interest. and the most childish means. without even the simplest human feeling. Those extremes of luxury and misery with which life abounded in the eighteenth century have been admirably depicted by every historian of the Great Revolution. ever since the reign of Louis XIV. But one feature remains to be added. Impoverishment turned the nobility. great mass of French peasants was unIt had increased by leaps and bounds. boredom was always tapping at the doors of the rich. in their relations with their ex-serfs. Consequently.. and hastened to emigrate. the importance of which stands out especially when we study the condition of the peasants at this moment in Russia on The misery of the doubtedly frightful. in reality. of finding any other source of revenue than the however. boredom in their chateaux . these aristocrats. which they established at Coblentz. Queen themselves. . relics of the feudal age. when the Revolution broke out . a life 17 they led because he knows it only from a .THE PEOPLE BEFORE THE REVOLUTION raptures over the distance.

that if despair and misery impelled the people to incited riot. during those very years preceding the Revolution. . The fact that a double phenomenon became apparent in the villages the impoverishment of the great mass of the at that time : peasants and the bettering of the condition of a few among them. It was this class which. therefore. the well-to-do peasants. But though the historians are right in depicting the condition of the peasants in very dark colours.. like Tocqueville. it was through the peasant who had become of some importance in his village that hope filled men's hearts and inspired the spirit of revolt.1 8 is THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION why we find in certain documents. But a new class of peasant. for since the accession of Louis XVI. at the approach of the Revolution. Year after the year their livelihood became more and more precarious least drought resulted in scarcity and famine. Traces of this awakening are evident. it was the hope of obtaining some relief that them to revolt. too. and that the estates of the royalist nobles should be confiscated and sold in small parcels. was forming at the same time. especially in districts where aristocratic estates were disintegrating rapidly. indisputable traces of a recrudescence of seigneurial exactions. in 1774. which was most bitter. during the fifteen This years of Louis XVI. revolts were continually on the increase. Like every other revolution. It may be said. 's reign which preceded the Revolution. against les cidevantSy the dispossessed nobles. This may be seen to-day in Russia since the abolition of serfdom. the ex-landlords. The village middle classes. in 1793. mention some amelioration in the conditions of the country is. It was this class. and demanded their abolition. The great mass of the peasants grew poorer. a little better off and with ambitions. most firmly insisted that these feudal rights should be abolished Revolution drew near these furnished the without compensation. and as the : first speakers against feudal rights. it would be a mistake to impeach the veracity of those who. during the four or five years the Revolution lasted. For the time being. that of 1789 was inspired by the hope of attaining certain important results. came into being.

which enabled the lord to sell it at . For them it meant the first breach in the which had been put up odious privileges of the landowners * Before that the while the peasants who farmer could not sell his corn for three months after the harvest.CHAPTER V THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT: THE RIOTS Reforms at beginning of reign of Louis XVI. The poor rejoiced to see the breaking all down of the over France. Free trade in corn was proclaimed in September 1774. began with some reforms. and by these measures hopes of reform were awakened among the people. summoned Turgot to the ministry. vented the free circulation of corn. and a month later he him Controller-General him at first against the supported appointed of Finance. a high price. Two months after his accession Louis XVI. It was one of the feudal privileges. was bound to meet with from the Court party. which were no longer of any use except to keep up a kind of industrial aristocracy. the lord of the manor alone being entitled to do that. salt and other objects of prime necessity. and an enemy of the effete aristocracy. Revolution in America Riots on accession of Louis " ParTheir consequences Large towns revolt in turn " " and " Paris parliament refuses liaments Plenary Courts to grant money to Court Action of King Insurrections in Brittany Grenoble Queen's letter to Count de Mercy Gradual awakening of revolutionary spirit Louis compelled to convoke Assembly of Notables and States-General As is usual in every new reign. and pretoll-gates. Turgot Question of National Representation Character of Louis XVI.* and statute labour was abolished in 1776. 19 . that of Louis XVI. a parsimonious middle-class man Turgot. as well as the old corporations and guilds in the towns. He even violent opposition that as an economist.

also began to be spoken of. Turgot had even prepared a scheme of provincial assemblies. in spite of the Voltaireanism of the period. The " King found Turgot's schemes dangerous. but only in our thoughts do we see what does not yet exist. Louis XVI. in 1785. 1780. took his stand are of the highest interest. who understood very well the wishes of his master. p. : 1789. and wrote Though coming from a man who has good ideas. shrank from this proposal. which was abolished definitely only by the National Assembly. in the August of 1779. to be followed later on by representative government for all France in which the propertied classes would have been called upon to constitute a parliament. . J The arguments upon which Louis XVI. which was used in the most atrocious forms established by the Ordinance of 1670. further on: "The system of a rentexisting State. this Government. Samichon's Les reformes sous Louis XVI." such as was established by the English after and was advocated in the writings of the contemporary philosophers. but from that moment all educated France began to talk of a Constitution and national representation. Necker. it was no longer possible to elude the question of national representation. in Samichon's Appendix A. : assemblies provinciales et parlements. Marat their writings contributed to the agitation for the reform of the penal code. and we must not make dangerous experiments if we do not see wnere they will end. and the following year it was decided to abolish torture. and tried to bring his autocratic ideas * This has been abolished in Russia also. It is interesting to find (E.! " Representative their revolution. 97) that Brissot. enthusiastically defended the use of torture. I sum them up here according to E. The parliaments. La justice en France pendant la Revolution." paying electorate would tend to make malcontents of the non-propertied classes. and the general refinement in the conception of life.^ However. his constitution would overthrow the And again.20 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION were better off rejoiced to see the joint liability of the taxpayers abolished. mortmain and personal servitude were suppressed upon the King's private estates. and if these were allowed to assemble they would form a hotbed of disorder. between 1774 and and Robespierre by : . and dismissed Turgot . . . it came tip again for discussion.* Finally. Turgot now proposes ought to be considered we see well enough what is. With end in view. Breaking on the wheel existed still f Statute of August 24. and when Necker became minister in July 1777. The transition from the abolished system to the system M." Vide also. the very interesting list of the chief laws under Louis XVI. Seligman.

new was The weapon used by Louis XVI. until 1789.THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT 21 into some accord with the requirements of finance. Louis XVI. he resisted not only up to 1789. managed to resist the necessity. He convened the provincial assemblies of the provinces of Berri and Haute-Guienne (1778 and 1779). On July 4. for take the place of royal despotism and political forms to the abominations of the old regime." wrote the crafty financier. felt and declared. for fifteen years. historians belonging to careless. having become an intermediary between your estates and your people. in 1778. your authority should only appear to " To which mark the limits between severity and justice ? " It is Louis replied of the essence of my authority not to be an : It is well to remember intermediary. helped also to awaken minds. that they wished to represent him. Far from being the good-natured person. Only fear made him yield. " that be a happy contingency. inoffensive. interested only in hunting. . and that the hour had come for replacing it by some kind of national representation. meanwhile. attempted to manoeuvre by proposing the introduction of provincial y anc^ relegating the possibility of a national affliSiF^blieft flfll representation to the distant future. could never be brought to make any but the feeblest concessions. The revolution in America had. 1776. in preference to all others <|eceit. as it was to Turgot and Necker. But in face of the opposition shown by the privileged classes. At any rate. to the very foot of the scaffold. using always the same weapons. your Majesty. Louis XVI. and to inspire them with a breath of liberty and republican democracy. the English colonies in North America had proclaimed their independence. and. the plan of extending these assemblies to the other provinces was abandoned.. which have been propagated by the party of reaction. at a time when it was already evident to all minds of more or less perspicacity. deceit and hypocrisy. was met " Would it not by a formal refusal on the part of the King. But he. and Necker was dismissed in "178 1. but to be at the bead" these words in view of the sentimentalities concerning Louis XVI. too. that the absolute power of the King had had its day. but even up to the'Iast moment.

and helped powerfully in arousing the revolutionary spirit. knowing well that. in fact. There is. We know. It might be said also that the war in America. All historians mention the effect which this war had on men's minds. number and assuming proportions quite unforeseen. she used every means. were the new elements which gave the middle class the power of attack they themselves did not possess. there A continuous series of riots comes an inevitable slackening of authority. for like every event of primordial importance. that the Declaration of Rights. and creating the men who in their turn contributed to strengthen the effect of those causes. The people had patiently endured misery and oppression under Louis XV. no doubt that the revolt of the English colonies and the constitution of the United States exercised a far-reaching influence in France. converging at a given moment. which led to a war with England that lasted until 1783.. -y. they began to revolt. But it is nevertheless certain that this war was also the '* beginning of those terrible wars which England soon waged against France. drawn up by the young American States influenced the French Revolutionists profoundly. too. and was taken by them as a model for their declaration. open and secret. with a change of masters at the palace. growing and increasing in classes. All these causes of the Great Revolution must be clearly indicated. during which France had to build an entire fleet to oppose England's. to bring about the wars which we shall see waged relentlessly from 1793 till 1815. and in spite of all the intelligence and ambitions of the middle those ever-prudent people would have gone on a long time waiting for a change if the people had not hastened matters. it was the result of many causes. completed the financial ruin of the old regime and hastened its downfall. and the coalitions which she organised against the Republic. As soon as England recovered from her defeats and felt that France was weakened by internal struggles. but as soon as that King died. in 1774.22 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION and the new United States were recognised by France in 1778. broke out between 1775 an ^ 1 777' . But it must be understood that in spite of the events which prepared the Revolution. The popular revolts.

entered Paris and plundered the bakeries. destroyed their furniture and smashed up It was on this occasion that the governor of the town one of the superfine gentlemen of whom Taine has written with so fatal much complacence said to the people those words which were to be so often repeated during the " The grass has sprouted. go to the fields and browse on it. to tell them that he would reduce the price of bread . A few days later the " robbers. Forged governmental edicts. were of course suppressed. The hunger that had been repressed harvest of 1774 had been bad. These riots reaching consequences." for so the majority of historians Revolution : designate the famished rioters. that the State Council had reduced the price of wheat to twelve livres (francs) the measure. distributing whatever food they could seize among the crowd but they were dispersed by the troops. and bread was 1775." Auxerre. The reduction " in the price of bread was not made. scarce. The robbers. And from that time also began the placards insulting the King and his ministers which were pasted up at Versailles. wanted to go out on the balcony of the palace to speak to them. Passy and Saint-Germain with the intention of pillaging the Louis XVI. One of them asserted . but Turgot. their flour-mills. like a true economist. Amiens. began to be circulated through the country. followed Dijon. but they had farStrife was let loose among the various . opposed this. and as they were being hanged they cried out that they were dying for the people. At Dijon the people took Accordingly noting broke out in April possession of the houses of the ffloflflflftfets. Lille. too. containing threats to execute the King the day after his coronation. and even to exterminate the whole of the royal family if bread remained at the same price. and two of the rioters were hanged at the Place de la Greve." in the meantime. as it furnished the middle classes in the towns with a pretext for arming themselves.THE These were the until then only SPIRIT OF REVOLT 23 riots of by force. turned their steps towards Versailles. Since that " time the legend began to circulate in France about " robbers overrunning the country a legend which had such an important effect in 1789. having assembled at Pontoise.. granaries.

with men's minds already in a state of ferment. " " to punish the who sowed dissension wanting practitioners the peasants to incite them to go to law. However. broke into the among Gevaudan.24 parties. the riots recommenced. In short. But. in the course of the same year as a result of the reports respecting the abolition of all obligations in the matter of statute labour and dues claimed by the landowners. from 1783 to 1789 rioting broke out in the Cevennes. so that they rose in July to malcontents protest against ever paying them again. according to the printed documents. and this measure led the people of Rouen to declare that all manorial dues had been abolished. the American war having perhaps something to do with this. the archives have not been examined. Some of these accused the minister. in 1782 and 1783. taxes on milling were abolished. who were nicknamed mascarats. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION It rained pamphlets. never dreamed of before. Three of the leaders were hanged. were openly discussed . law courts and into the houses of the notaries and attorneys and burned all the deeds and contracts. the historians did not trouble about them . and from that time went on increasing until the Revolution. or made fun of the royal authority. Poitiers revolted in 1782 . The evidently lost no time and profited by the occasion to extend the popular risings. but the disorders broke out afresh." learn that in such-and-such a place there were there were riots of a somewhat serious nature in Paris. public works were set on foot . and it is only by accident that we disorders. Thus. after the abolition of the trade-guilds in " 1776 and all over false France. We have not the necessary documents for giving a full account of the popular insurrections during the reign of Louis XVI. the Vivarais and the The malcontents. Concessions to the people. as soon as the closing of the farlements (Courts of Justice) furnished them with a new pre- . it would appear also that there was a decrease in the rioting in the years 1777 to 1783. in 1786 it was Vizille's turn . the popular outbreaks were the sparks which ignited the powder. while others spoke of a plot of the princes against the King. others were sent to penal servitude.

THE text." insurrections broke out in every part of France It is evident that for the mass of the people there was not much to choose between a farlement and a " Plenary Court.. whereupon there was a fight and three From that moment. became a hotbed of revolt. and at last. after the dissolution of the Courts of Justice. the convocation of provincial assemblies and statute labour. says Turgot .* SPIRIT OF REVOLT 25 In 1786 strike . up to the of the leaders were hanged. sometimes they were to resist military enlistment every levy of soldiers led to a riot. and it was and north-east future hotbeds of the Revolution that these revolts broke out in the greatest steadily growing in importance. ^vyofls was the rioters of 1786 who were chosen as electors. they had on the other hand If displayed no solicitude for the people. But the parlements had shown opposition to the Court. 10 vols." and a new stamp duty. Genie de la Revolution. they were given it willingly. They went on Courts. t Chassin. in 1788. But east. revolts in the south-east went on without intermission. it went on was Lyons that revolt ed. and the Paris farlement unhesitatingly registered certain edicts concerning the corn trade. or it might be the salt tax against which the people rebelled. de Vic and J. But it taxes refused to register the edict which was to establish fresh " territorial a new subvention.f The silk." the 'parlements had refused sometimes to register edicts made by the King and his minister. or the exactions of the tithes. because it of demonstrating against the Court and the rich. and in 1789 it Revolution. Sometimes these risings had a religious character .weavers they were promised an increase of wages. which were called farlements and were replaced by " Plenary number. de Vaissete. 1840-1846. continued by du M6ge. but troops were called out. emissaries of the middle classes sought popular support was a way In the June of 1787 the Paris -parlement had made itself very popular by refusing a grant of money to the Court. . The law of the country was that the edicts of the King should be registered by the ^arlement. Histoire gSnfrale du Languedoc. that was enough . and when for rioting. this the Upon King convoked what was called a " Bed of * C.

" THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION and compelled his edicts to be registered. The won the sympathy of the middle farlement protested. who was nicknamed "Madame Deficit. " He is a monster that deserves to be strangled. the collected there to applaud the members. protested against this act of royal power. and so There were crowds round the Courts classes and the people. during September 9. and the middle classes profited by this rumour that the edict was all owing to the Governor. These disturbances were chiefly confined to the lower middle classes. and then riotous King demonstrations began in Paris. being directed against the princes chiefly. functionaries. banished the farlement to Troyes. the whole town turned out immediately. therefore. The crowd insulted and hustled the two The people in their hearts hated the Governor. they pelted several attempts among the crowd. the young men in the crowd breaking through the ranks of the soldiers when an officer threw down his sword and fraternised with the people.26 Justice. and the peasants rose in their turn when grain was being shipped at Quimper. Saint-Brieuc." of Paris (Cour des Aides). the King was com- The Exchequer Court the exiled farlement. as the agitation was growing. When he came out him with stones. In 1788 insurrections broke out in Brittany. This was done on and evoked fresh demonstrations in Paris. at every sitting clerks. supported the popular outburst. . which the minister Calonne was burnt in effigy." said one of the leaflets distributed of the palace. curious idlers and common men To stop this. especially against the Duke d'Artois and the Queen. The popular hatred was then . When the military Commander of Rennes and the Governor of the province went to the Breton ^arlement to announce the edict by which that body was abolished. to spread a Bertrand de Moleville. and. as well as by the provincial parlements by and the Court of Justice. and after a cord some one threw with a slip-knot over him. Fighting was about to begin By degrees troubles of the same kind broke out in several other towns in Brittany. But in other localities they assumed a more pelled to recall popular character.

unwilling to trust them even to the men. It was the people. the peasants hastened in crowds to the town. Clermont-Tonnerre. As soon as the military commander.. however. x. the insurstill more serious character. Cannon were trained on the rebels. . But been sent from Paris the disturbance subsided by degrees. 27 It is Morlaix. The agitation. Grenoble were in a state of terror. There was a sanguinary affray and many were killed. and it fresh reinforcements of troops having was proposed to convoke the Estates of the province. and the alarm spreading quickly rose. From June 9 to 14 reaction triumphed. p. had to revoke the royal edict. 1836 vol. As to the members of the and when the people prisoners insurrection. occasion. and wrote to Paris that the people had risen against their will. the people had a deal of trouble to find them. who acted on this -parlement. . 60-70. f Vic and Vaissete. who from that time fraternised with the rioters. but on the i^th news came that there had been a rising at Besangon and that the Swiss soldiers had refused to fire on the people. with an axe held over his palace his head. lest they should be allowed to escape. Upon this the people's spirit revived. Clermont-Tonnerre. kept up chiefly by the women.THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT places. their hands on them they were kept presence giving an air of legality to the laid The women mounted guard over these arrested members. vol. and chiefly the women. 6 vols. 161.f * Du Chatellier. The commander's guard was helpless and was sacked. good They hid themselves. to the neighbouring villages. lasted some time longer. 637. pp. Pont-PAbbe'. especially at Grenoble. Histoire de la Revolution dans les d&partements de Vancienne Bretagne. ii. while the 'parlement took advantage classes of The middle of the darkness to disappear. which they yielded to the troops soon after. had promulgated the edict which dissolved the 'parlement the people of Grenoble The tocsin was rung. During the night they organised a militia of citizens that took possession of the town gates as well as of some military posts.* rection assumed a In Dauphine. &c. Lamballe and other interesting to note the active part taken in these disorders by the students at Rennes.

Flanders.* part popular movements of the Revolution." Marie-Antoinette's letter to the Count de Mercy should also be read in this connection. Marie -Antoinette el Madame Elisabeth (Paris. and announces the retirement of the Archbishop of Sens and the steps she had taken to recall Necker . Even where no serious riots occurred advantage was taken of the prevailing excitement to keep up the discontent and to make demonstrations. and in the Rue Melee and the Rue de not defend themselves. p. and has notified my wish to you. The troops were called out." t Three weeks later. the riotings were renewed. i. in October 1788. . " Necker would lessen the King's authority . of The Queen foresaw that this recall very pressing. At Paris. many others broke out at the same time in Provence." said Les deux amis de la Later still. The Pont Neuf was guarded by troops. Lamoignon and Brienne. Feuillet de Conches. and that it is very essential that he (Necker) should accept. Languedoc." The next day she wrote again " We must no longer hesitate. . when the farlement * Vic and Vaissete." but " the moment is It is essential that Necker The mob rushed to set fire to the houses of the two ministers. of which I send you a copy. sir. when the retirement of Lamoignon became known. . and several conflicts occurred between them and the people. Grenelle there was a horrible slaughter of poor folk " Dubois fled from Paris. f J. Beam. vol. It is most urgent." wrote the Queen. of whom the leaders were. It is dated August 24." liberte. and has just brought me a paper with his own hand containing his ideas. pp. 1864). Franche-Comte and Burgundy. " I think more than ever that the moment is pressing. The King fully agrees with me. 214-216 " The Abbe has written to you this evening.28 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Besides these two risings mentioned by the majority of the historians. 1788. I fear that we may be compelled to nominate a prime minister. after the dismissal of the Archbishop of Sens. Rousillon. Lettres de Louis XVI. 1788. as Bertrand de " those who later on took in all the Moleville remarks. should accept. 1 36. she feared that they may be compelled to nominate a prime minister. the effect produced on the Court by those riotous crowds can therefore be understood. and in it she tells him of her fears. there were numerous demonstrations. September 14. as well as to that of Dubois. If he can get to work to-morrow all the better. who could The people themselves would execute justice..

the middle classes took care not to compromise themselves. . and finally the States-General. L'esprit r&olutionnaire la Revolution. and the number of them who opposed the Court.. Figures representing Calonne. tax-collectors.ame from the middle classes certainly chiefly from the lower middle classes but. there were ( summary hangings. want * For fuller information.. salt-tax agents and even against the troops. who let them off with light penalties. were tried the 'parlement judges. generally speaking. " and the populace illuminated the Place Dauphine for several evenings in succession..THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT " 29 the clerks that had been banished to Troyes was recalled. Fortunately a thousand circumstances impelled the masses to And in spite of the fact that after every outbreak revolt. by In this way the revolutionary spirit awoke and developed jj in the van of the Great Revolution. and forced gentlemen to alight from their carriages to salute the statue of Henri Quatre. lest his kingly authority should suffer. and of in ' Louis XVI. at last found himself compelled to convoke. and troops were sent to disperse them. If there had ' ( } ' been only their few attempts at resistance France might have waited many years for the overthrow of royal despotism. It was also proposed to burn the Queen in effigy. Those who were arrested. wholesale arrests and even torture for those arrested. first the two Assemblies of Notables.* XJ^illitiative . They demanded money from the passers-by to expend on fireworks. and by so doing completely disorganised the governmental machine. more or less openly. after having refused for fourteen years to convoke the representatives of the nation. Breteuil and the Duchess de Polignac were burned. pressed on J> J/ one side by their desperate misery. and spurred on the other by those vague hopes Young. These riotous assemblies gradually spread to other quarters. before the convoking of the States-General was very limited. the people did revolt. From 1788 the peasant risings became so general that it was impossible to provide for the expenses of the State. however. Blood was shed and many were killed and wounded in the Place de la Greve. see Felix Roquain. They rose which the old woman spoke to Arthur numbers against the governors of provinces.

A moment came. 30 . The taxes alone devoured half and often two-thirds of what the peasants could earn in the course of the year. however. for the money they had invested in loans to the State. when they began to fear for their monopolies. and they took advantage of the administrative demoralisation and the financial disorders of the moment to seize on all kinds of monopolies. too. were loudly expressing their discontent. and it became more and more difficult to levy the taxes and at the same time compel the peasants to pay rent to the landlords and perform the innumerable statute labours exacted by the provincial government. Moreover. it was not only the peasants who protested and revolted. The middle classes. For a while they managed to adapt themselves to royal despotism and Court government. Beggary and rioting were becoming normal conditions of country life. for the landed property they had acquired.CHAPTER VI THE CONVOCATION OF THE STATESGENERAL BECOMES NECESSARY Miserable condition of peasants Irresponsibility of old rSgime Discontent of middle classes They encourage riots among the people Change in political system of France Necker Financial crisis Assembly of Notables convoked Louis convokes States-General Third Estate Increased representation granted to To The any one who knew the condition of France it was clear that the irresponsible regime of the Court could not last. They profited certainly by the impoverishment of the peasants to enrol them in their factories. and to enrich themselves by loans to the State. misery in the country districts went on increasing year by year. But this did not satisfy the middle classes.

that if France was passing through a revolutionary * . instead of clearing itself in the shock of human passions and desiderata that find expression in a society at a given moment. But Louis XVI. 2 vols. executif is His proper element To read his Pouvoir to understand how his mind. who followed closely on Turgot.. and everything under the old fell regime in ruins together. in 1787 and 1788. 's reign. down during the first thirteen or fourteen years of Louis XVI. but demanded representative government with all the limitation of royal power which it involved. in 1775. to rejected Turgot's very modest of limiting the royal power was Therefore Turgot's reforms abolition of statute labour. the King was confronted by a public opinion which would no longer hearken compromise. and his Court resisted that change. was financial transactions raising loans. had no substantial results. religious and social. and afterwards to encourage the people in their riots in order that they might break own the government of the Court and establish their This evolution can be plainly traced political power.CONVOCATION OF STATES-GENERAL for 31 the factories they had established. political. that was thrust upon France in 1789. proposals. abolition of trade-wardens and a timid attempt make the two privileged classes the nobility and clergy pay some of the taxes. 1792. was incapable of comprehending the vast problem.* Du pouvoir ex&cutif dans les grands itats. and they opposed it so long that when the King at last decided to yield. representation would have the middle twelve or thirteen years later. a regime of autocracy satisfied mingled with national classes. Necker. He had the financier's narrow mind which sees things only in their petty aspects. was more a financier than a statesman. Whereas. it was just when those modest his reign reforms that would have been so welcome at the beginning of had already been found insufficient by the nation. to We have seen how Louis XVI. economic. The idea of this book is. Everything is interdependent in a State. from 1774 to 1788. The mere thought repugnant to him. accustomed only to reason about theories of government. An important change in the entire political system of France was visibly taking place.

a revolution The financial crash came after Necker's first dismissal. were helping towards the insurrection of 1788. leading in turn to the establishment of district and parish councils. exact. he had developed. . the report in 1781. and he enlarges in these two volumes on the boundless rights with which the royal power should be invested. which could not but spread all over the country down to the villages. the clear." The essential thing. solve the difficulties nor satisfy any one. it was the fault of her National Assembly for having " neglected to arm the King with a strong executive power. Likewise the famous Compte rendu. never dared to use to Louis XVI. the provinces. in the years 1781 to 1787. were evidently brought to discuss the most difficult questions and to lay bare the hideous corruption of the unlimited power of royalty. by way of protesting against a system of free trade in corn." says Necker. Everything would have gone its course more or less perfectly if only care had been taken to establish in our midst a tutelary authority. The finances were in such a miserable condition that the debts of the State. a upon the state of the provinces. but that was the limit of his " State-Socialism. eighteen of which Necker added required. while they made every one feel the necessity of a fundamental change. in advocating that the State should intervene to fix the price of wheat for their benefit. that Necker published few months before quitting office. As always happens on such occasions. He to those already instituted by Turgot. the State crisis in 1792. The provincial assemblies. some ideas showing sympathy with the poor.32 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Necker. was a heavy blow to royal autocracy. It is true that in his book. in his opinion. he helped to shake down the system which was already tottering to its fall. was a strong Government. but he was powerless to prevent the fall from be: coming probably he did not even perceive that it was impending. severe and bold language which the occasion spoke to him very timidly about representative and he limited his reforms to what could neither government. moreover. Sur la legislation et le commerce des grains. supported by Turgot. no doubt helped powerfully in the fall of the old regime. in the preface to this work . which in 1776 might have acted as lightning conductors and lessened the force of the storm. And these discussions. published in 1776. a throne respected and surrounded with that object by high functionaries and a powerful executive. In this way the provincial assemblies.

and revolted . Archbishop of Sens. that the national debt had mounted up to sixteen hundred two an appalling sum at that time and forty-six millions that the annual deficit was increasing by one hundred and forty millions annually. c . separated on May 25 without having done or decided anything. 1788. drawn and after every from the upper classes and practically a ministerial assembly. did not want at any price. and on the other hand inspired of the Court and hatred of the nobility and the distrust privileged orders. And this in a country ruined as and came to be known every one talked of it . To convoke this Assembly of Notables was to do exactly what ought not to have been done at that moment it was exactly the half -measure which on one side made the National Revolution. it And that the minister : Assembly inevitable. a bankruptcy which the middle classes. now interested in the State finances as With all this. 1789. Louis XVI. the Notables. by severity. one had talked about it. 1787. 1788. When he was dismissed on August 25. was at last obliged to convoke the States-General.CONVOCATION OF STATES-GENERAL 33 departments and even of the King's household were accumuAt any moment the bankruptcy lating in an alarming fashion. in provoking widely spread riots when he wished to disband them. while the clergy and the nobility refused to make any sacrifice in the interests of the State. Under such conditions the risings in the villages necessarily brought the country nearer to the was in the midst of these difficulties Calonne convoked an Assembly of the Notables at Versailles for February 22. and in exciting public opinion still more against the Court. But as he had proved clearly the impossibility of despotic government there was nothing for the Court but to submit. On August 8. only succeeded in and his attempted up the parlements. of the people were already so impoverished that they could no longer pay the taxes they did not pay. and to fix the opening for May I. of the State might have been declared. the mass creditors. the that Assembly it was learned Through clergy. During their deliberations Calonne was replaced by Lom6nie France was ! It de Brienne. there was general rejoicing all over France. his intrigues stirring But the new minister.

1789. of a national representative Assembly was in at Versailles The States-General on May 5. which would. managed so as to displease every one. who was recalled to the ministry in 1788. public opinion had been so predisposed in favour of the Third Estate by the provincial Assemblies that Necker and the Court were obliged to give in. . and that the voting should be by individuals. . But Louis XVI. The Third is Estate was granted a double representation that to say. and even convoked a second Assembly of Notables on November 6. and Necker were opposed to this. 1788. reject the doubling of numbers This was exactly in the Third Estate and the individual vote. the as many as the clergy and nobility combined. out of a thousand deputies the Third would have In short. The met Court's opposition to the convocation vain.34 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Even in this the Court and Necker. what happened but in spite of that. without gaining any advantage for themselves. the Third Estate ought to have twice as many members as the two others. in which the three classes would be separately represented. Court and Necker did everything they possibly could to turn public opinion against them. It was the general opinion in France that in the States-General. they were sure.

were to collect into a few pages the occasional instances. 1869. Guadet. and power invite them to say aloud what they had been saying in whispers. which some It is evident that if we historians had tried to propagate. La Revolution. of open resistance to the old regime on the part of the middle such as d'EspremeniPs opposition we could compose a tolerably impressive picture. And Dumbness.* And he asks : " doing Barnave. very rare after all.CHAPTER VII THE RISING OF THE COUNTRY DISTRICTS DURING THE OPENING MONTHS OF 1789 classes at beginning of Revolution overAbolition of serfdom Statute labour and other imRiots positions upon peasants Failure of crops in 1789 follow Nature of riots" Vive la Liberte "Riots at Agde Concessions granted to people Effect of riots on elections Heroism of middle rated ! Agitation in rural districts rection Importance of peasant insur- NOTHING could be more France as a erroneous than to imagine or describe nation of heroes on the eve of 1789. and all the others. and Quinet was perfectly right in destroying this legend. . Danton. of assertions of the individual. ed. Robespierre. very justly." says Quinet. Thouret. p. vol. 35 i. Sieyes. the servility of the middle classes. before the Third Estate issued their famous cabiers. silence. There is no oppor" What were they tunity even to know oneself. Roland. Nobody makes himself known. who were so soon to become the heroes of the Revolution ? " and in the had to summon men to vote. Vergniaud. The central * Quinet. But what is particularly apparent in making a survey of the conditions of classes the time is the absence of serious protests. 15. prevailed in the provinces towns.

and some legal guarantees against arbitrary right arrests. it can be seen by the proposals of the " Cahier gtnfral. perhaps even less than a million . demanded by several towns. and when the mutterings of even then ! the peasant insurrection began to be heard. demands which afterwards excited the fury The tax on bread and meat demanded by Lyons. there remained in 1788 only about 80. at most about 1.* It was later on. after the them. . that they wished to limit the deliberations of the StatesGeneral to questions of finance and of retrenchments in the household 'expenditures of the King and the princes. But they went on paying in money. it is well to note these to be fixed according to the average prices. " : . that work should be guaranteed to all able-bodied poor. had abolished it within the royal domains in 1779. what moderation in their demands to carry arms.000 persons held by mortmain in the Jura. and the tide of revolt. 185). even those subject to mort- main were not serfs in the strict meaning of the term. p. serfdom having long been abolished in France. It has already been said that the condition of the peasants and workers in the towns was such that a single bad harvest sufficed to bring about an alarming increase in the price of bread in the towns and sheer famine in the villages. 1889. at least on private estates.500. swept onward to the rising of the villages in July and August of 1789. and in working for their personal liberty with statute labour as well as with * With regard to the of the landowners. Fortunately. after the disturbances provoked by the farlements during the summer and autumn of 1788. Paris and Chalons that wages should be regulated periodically according to the daily needs. vol. it was chiefly a little more liberty in municipal affairs that was asked for in the cahiers of the Third Estate. The peasants were no longer serfs.36 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION ! If in some of the cahiers we find daring words of what submissiveness and timidity appear in most of revolt. they had long ceased to be serfs. As to the Royalist-Constitutionalists.000 in the whole of France.. gathering force. the people began to revolt everywhere. when the deputies of the Third saw themselves supported by the people of Paris. As to the majority of the French peasants." demanded by Rennes . After Louis XVI. For." analysed by Chassin (Les Elections et les cahiers de Paris en 1789. who were numerous. that they grew bolder in their attitude towards the Court. iii. Troyes.

mushrooms." As to statute labour. Lastly. there were all manner of tolls (banalites) for the use of the mill. Les fl&aux de V agriculture. the public bakehouse. 95). the large quantities of game preserved through abuse of privileges and and the vexation and abuse of the seigneurial law courts. he paid likewise on everything he bought or sold. as varied as they were collectively numerous. It sport " is here shown that it was by means of the attachment of manorial law courts to the fief that the landlords had made themselves despots and held the inhabitants of the country districts in the chains of " : * In . the washing-places. the tithes. The peasant paid also for the right of " my black quilted petti" the noble and have seen generous marriage. In some villages . linen. we find this statement of causes preventing the development of agriculture The enormous taxes. These dues were extremely heavy and variable. solites vidual. servir ' an excellent pamphlet.. as well as contributions of nuts. work in his parks and h. joint and indi" " and " insolites. thread. ." a bequest such as I lord or the noble and generous lady of the castle levied so much on the bequest. He could not sell before the lord had sold his own. on certain roads or particular fords all maintained since the days of serfdom. slavery (p.* When to her daughter one or two trees for example. and in virtue of this ancient prerogative he retained all an old woman bequeathed kinds of personal rights over his ex-serfs. And each parcel of land or farm had its dues. and they were considered as representing payments for the right of holding land.THE RISINGS OF 1789 37 work of other kinds." and these always increasing . the right of manorial justice had been retained. terriers.is gardens. the Besides. by D. of baptism. 1789).there was even an obligation to beat the pond during the night in order that the frogs should not prevent his lordship from sleeping. carefully recorded in the feudal registers. of burial . (April 10. it took an infinite variety of forms : work in the fields of the lord. whether by the community or privately as farm-land. work to satisfy all sorts of whims. . but they were not arbitrary. ouvrage pour d Vappui des cahiers des doUances des campagnes. and the very right of selling his crops or his wine was restricted. formerly considered as gifts for festive occasions. and a few old clothes coat. of the wine-press.. or else he nominated the judges . and over large districts the lord was still judge.

The former gave political strength to the Third Estate . The right of seigneurial justice remained feudal rights extended. to which they were added. and to win individual liberty. and a few chestnuts or the gleanings of the fields for food. But the principal they became feudal dues attaching to the land were exacted in full. Both of them existed. classes in to its full artisans extent in many a growing city. was always ready to exernew pretext for introducing ingenuity in devising some taxation. and the peasant crushed beneath the burden of his poverty are true to life. who had only mud cabins to live in. as well as to the villages. which they considered to be injurious exactions.38 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Personally the man was free. some new form of It is true that. not a word of exaggeration in the gloomy pictures of life in the villages drawn by every historian of the Revolution. and some provincial governors had even refused to resort to force to levy certain dues. and all the heavier as the State and provincial taxes. and the hovels of the and mechanics paid the same dues. continually increased. therefore. its fines. There is. its twentieths. too. its statute labours ever increasing. since the winter of 1788-1789 had begun to force the nobles to relinquish the feudal dues inscribed in the terriers. and that these were the men But neither village there who especially wished to shake off all feudal obligations. More than that. while the bands of insurgents that. as well as the steward of cise my lord. is there any exaggeration in saying that in each were some peasants who had created for themselves a certain amount of prosperity. The two types depicted by Erckmann and Chatrian in their Histoire d'un paysan'ihe middle-class man of the village. State. the State was there with its taxes. since Turgot's reforms. the peasants had ceased paying certain feudal taxes. and the exactions. The same remark applies also to the towns. but all this network of dues and which had been woven bit by bit through the craft of the lords and their stewards in the centuries of serfdom all this network still clung round the peasant. in cases of sales or . to which the The poorer the towns were just as much crushed beneath feudal taxes as the peasants. were recruited from among the starving poor in the villages.

by revoking in the towns and villages. however. who pretended that he had studied a risings of the peasants the reports of the Governors of the provinces concerning these insurrections. events But this time hopes had been awakened by preceding the provincial assemblies. and crops quite as bad. these poorer classes the Assembly a constituent body. just to maintain a shadow of municipal independence. the majority of the towns paid the don gratuit the voluntary gift to the King. had only glanced through twenty-six referring to 1770. and the impossibility of a mere commoner's obtaining justice to all this the heavy royal the fines. and even riots among the people. as M. the salt against a noble. Aulard has shown (Taine . the heavy expenses incurred in the law courts. who. Every year there was scarcity in some part of France. and if we take into consideration the many forms of oppression. even to pay a perpetual tribute as redemption from their former feudal subjection. Drought had caused a failure of the crops in 1788. at least in Brittany. the Convocation of Notables. insult and humiliation to which the lower classes were subject.THE RISINGS OF 1789 39 Several towns had inheritance.* For my own part. 1907). as well as the caprices of the functionaries. that in the is National Archives there on the huge bundle of documents bearing which preceded the taking of the Bastille. we shall be able to form some idea of the condition of the poor on the eve of 1789. Besides this. gave the representatives of the Third Estate in the States-General courage to oppose the King and to declare It was. and the burden of these taxes pressed hardest on the poor. which spread. to the villages these insurrections in 1789 soon became alarming both in extent and character. Before that there had certainly been winters as severe. also. - . and often it affected a fourth or a third part of the kingdom. And I learn of the Great Revolution through Professor Kareeff. the disturbances connected with the ^arlements in the towns. tax and the rest. as we have seen. historian de la Revolution fr an faise. the provincial contributions. If we add taxes. as the huts of the peasants. and the winter was very severe. Paris. even if he were a rich member of the middle classes. who has studied the effect upon the French peasants. never having been able to study * It is now known that Taine.

dated the formation of bands composed of peasants. Languedoc and Provence. Nearly all these riots were of the same character. the spring. Burgundy. or even those belonging to private persons.out the wheat and " divided it among themselves at a reduced price. . as at Thiers. and even after December In certain provinces the situation was terrible on 1788. .Le Limousin.. flocked in a body to the town. by du Chatellier. wood-cutters. Brittany." Where famine was town workers went to collect wheat in the country districts." promising to pay for it after the next harvest. Paris. too. arrived at the conclusion f that a great number of riots had broken out in the villages after January 1789. until In little known. at a certain honest as three livres the bushel corn merchants. and compelled the labourers and farmers who had " " the peasants. and everywhere a spirit of revolt. who went from village to village seizing the corn. June 1889 . Touraine. LaFranche-Comte. Le Languedoc. Castres. by Vic and Vaissete . the or else they went to the com" to by four sous the daily wage. 1893 Revolution and its Lesson. brought such corn to the market to sell it . by Dulaure. Moreover. was taking possession of the people.* I had already. The armed with knives. La Jura. Picardy. . Auvergne. scythes. but having consulted many provincial histories of that period. cudgels. . from this time. or they pelled the municipality to tax bread. . By degrees they began also to burn the land registers and to force the landlords to abdicate their feudal these were the same bands which gave the middle rights classes * the pretext for arming their militias in 1789. Alsace. sometimes even of contrabandists. Nivernais. the insurrection became more and more frequent in Poitou. Champagne. by Regnal . Le Berry. Normandy. He de then but France. by Clerc L' Auvergne. . In other places they forced the landowner to forego his dues upon flour for a couple of months. account of the scarcity. in former works. by Leymarie L' Alsace. and provided the bakers with flour. Orl6anais.40 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the archives in France. price. Often they broke open the granaries belonging to religious communities and merchant monopolists." anniversary article in The Nineteenth articles on the Revolution in La Revolte. " The Great French f La Grande Revolution (pamphlet). by Sommier. by Combes LaBretagne. took. Century. and sometimes increase severest. by Strobel &c.

fish and meat suppressed . Outside the three provinces. the direction in which popular agitation always goes forward with the greatest confidence and obtains some immediate results. among them Aix. and this also was granted. at Agde. the mob replied by stoning them. hides. March and April of 1789. Sometimes even a coffin was brought out the better to impress the refractory In Provence. furthermore and here we see already the communalist good sense of " the masses of the people in France " they wished to nominate consuls. "the people foolishly persuaded themselves that they were and they may everything. 22. . even the taxes. at least in * Taine. and here and there the mob pillaged the houses of officials whose duty was to levy the taxes on flour. Brittany. ii." and these demands were acceded to the insurgents.THE RISINGS OF ! 1789 41 Ever since January there was heard. abolished the tax on flour. riots of April 19." wrote the mayor and the consuls. or. Marseilles forty large villages and Toulon. butcher's meat.* This insurrection was the counterpart of a hundred others. more than and towns. 23. after the 20 and 21. Three days after the people demanded that the duty on milling should be reduced by one-half. In the south. To obtain bread was the prime cause of the movement. . traces are to be found after the month of similar movements nearly all over the eastern part of France. vol. and when the gentlemen of the upper middle classes protested. indeed. . Alsace and Dauphine. some of whom would be drawn from their own class. &c. we find the peasants here markedly and there refusing to pay the tithes and feudal dues. in these riots the " Vive la Liberte " and from that time. or else a trench was dug before their eyes which might serve for their grave. too." The people threatened to sack the town if the price of all provisions was not lowered. which are cited by Taine. and the provincial dues on wine. and still more cry of of March. but soon there were also demands in the direction where economic conditions and political organisation meet. The prices of provisions were reduced and a maximum established for all provisions. the pretended will of the King do everything according to concerning the equality of rank.

nor dues. p. f Letter in the Archives. ." say the " The and municipalities. says Chassin."* Before that. It is April 1789. ii. without kind of war declared on proprietors and property. The p. from the of April. Elsewhere. in his Genie de la Revolution. 162. and in January 1789. and they understood better than if of the nobles The statisticians had demonstrated it to them. States-General of Brittany at the end of December 1788. vol.! The military authorities could think of * Letters in the National Archive3. the peasants began to plunder the the nobility to renounce great country houses and to compel their rights. in Provence. to try to stir up the starving people against the middle classes. they forced the lord which he renounced his seigneurial rights of every At " month It is excitement these riots and this easy to discern the influence that exercised upon the elections for the National localities Assembly. very need to live made the peasant rise against the monopolisers of the soil. 1789. that so long as the did not take possession of the land to cultivate it peasants famine would be always present among them. During the winter of 1788-1789. who nor debts. we can already see the beginning of the great of the peasants which forced the nobility and clergy to rising make their first concessions on August 4. says that the nobility exercised a great influence on the elections. in Chassin. But what could these last convulsive efforts do against the pouplar tide. 24. no day passed in the Jura without convoys of wheat being plundered. to sign a Peinier.42 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION All this took place in apparently hastened to comply." f At Riez they wanted the bishop to burn the records. especially at the nobles took advantage even of the sitting of the Rennes. cited by Taine. In short. document by kind. " a the shedding of a drop of blood. people reports from the governors still declare that they will pay nothing. and that in these localities the peasant electors some dared not make any complaints. which rose steadily ? saw more than half the land lying idle in the hands people of the nobility and clergy. 1453. At Hyeres and elsewhere they burned the old papers concerning the feudal rents and taxes. neither taxes. J Chassin. since April.

as in the insurrection of the German peasantry in 1523. as soon as the sun shone again.f When the peasants sent in their But the tardiness cabiers. or the famous pamphlet EveryQu'est-ce que le tiers etat ? was changing wherever there was a weaver or a mason thing who could read and write. were it only the printed letters. or Sieves. Similar riots broke out everywhere.THE RISINGS OF 1789 43 " " but the tribunals of the riots but . and as soon as that terrible winter of 1788-1789 came to an end. north. It is true that these grievances were confined for the greater part to things of secondary importance . south. . f Doniol. a doctor or lawyer. the Three Estates and the vote by head had been agreed to in Dauphine since the month of August 1788 by the States of the province.nj-v. The lordly influence was great everywhere. but in some of the other provinces the middle classes extracted all the profit they desired from the electoral agitaWe can even see how the events which took place in tion. who had read his Voltaire. especially advantage of the elections to propagate revolutionary ideas. The intellectual middle classes evidently took A had struck Arthur Young in the eastern towns no doubt existed . but now in every village there was to be found some middle-class man. the riots broke out afresh. p. the demand that the lords should prove their right to the feudal exactions. 163. and its numerous branches spread themselves even into the smallest towns. The peasants were eager to put " their grievances " on paper. of the States-General and the National Assembly exasperated them. says Chassin. east and west. La Revolution franfaiss et (a . and brought with it hope of a coming harvest. but throughout we see cropping up.* Chassin. they waited patiently for the result.* The elections brought with them a renewal of life and of hope in the villages. at Versailles in the National Assembly were prepared June Thus the union of severla months before in the provinces. nothing Suppression refused to sentence or even to judge the famished rioters. The apathy which after the spring work in the fields was over. under pressure of the local insurrections. " Constitu" was tional Club formed.

to reform the entire the towns system of the government in France. . / / also. winning over The importance Court and the ." as Chassin says. peasants and and no one has more carefully studied this aspect of the " Such was the agitation in the rural districts that even if the people of Paris had been vanquished on July 4. ye nobles " ! There were also pamphlets addressed to the habitants secretly distributed. Tremble. until 1793. . the overthrow of royal despotism would never have been effected so completely. it country says. which began in winter / and went on. Without the peasant insurrection. and although they worked hard to disseminate discontent. as Chassin des campagneSy distributed at Chartres." To do that. and unknown persons began to go about appealing to the people to pay taxes no longer. people of Geneva were emancipated in a day. nor ) would it have been accompanied by so enormous a change. it is nevertheless certain that the peasant insurrection. > * Chassin. and gave the deputies of the Third Estate the determination. and to initiate a complete revolution in the distribution of wealth. / . p. 167 et seq+ . . since secret societies were found among the peasants. ever growing.44 It THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION must not be thought. Although the educated middle classes did undoubtedly profit by the conflicts with the 'parlements to arouse political ferment. it was no longer possible to restore the condition in which the had been previous to January 1789.* r districts of this profound agitation in the country can be easily understood. . however. peaceful As regards revolutionary measures. They were moderates. " The but that this was only a cunning trick on their part. month of March the feudal taxes were no longer paid by any one. made the real basis of the Revolution. rebels. Or else emissaries went about declaring that the nobles had already agreed to pay the taxes. but to make the nobles pay them. that the middle-class in the elections were in the people who took a prominent part " least degree revolutionary. presently to be expressed by them at Versailles. Revolution : would have been necessary to conquer each After the village separately. it was usually the people who spoke of them. such as UAvis aux In short.

indeed. as it did in the German States after tr. a sham parliament. but this innovation would not have assumed the character of a revolution it : would have remained 1 superficial.r . even as Prussia had in 1848 . economic and social. have had political.THE RISINGS OF 1789 45 France might.

by d'Entraigues. Cosnes. Qu'est-ce les pamphlet by tinctured Etienne's Considerations sur que le tiers? Rabaud de Saintinterhs du tiers etat> which was with Socialism. and passed rapidly those of the poorest. the peasants.CHAPTER RIOTS IN PARIS VIII ITS AND ENVIRONS " Reveillon Affair "First conflict between Activity in Paris of Paris and rich" English gold "Paris becomes people centre of Revolution such conditions it is easy to imagine that Paris could remain quiet. Rambouillet. Provisions were as scarce in Paris as in the other large towns. Towards the end of winter in March and April some hunger-riots and pillagings of corn are mentioned in the reports of the Governors of the provinces at Orleans. Sens. as early as March. twelve. in the forests around Paris. Bray-sur-Seine. Jouy. or twenty were published every day. but often more 46 . and a hundred other less famous. Pont. Montlhery. Nangis. were exterminating all the rabbits and hares . Paris was devouring revolutionary pamphlets. even the woods belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Denis were cut down and carried away in the full view and knowledge of every one. Les droits des etats-generaux.Saint e-Maxence. and those who came in search of work could do nothing more UNDER than simply increase the multitude of the poor. In other places within the region. Viroflay. &c. especially in prospect of the great events which every one felt were on the way. from the hands of those who could afford to buy them into People were excitedly discussing the Sieye"s. as elsewhere. of which ten. Famine had set its grip upon the rural not districts in the neighbourhood of the great city.

Reveillon. the people. the Electoral Assemblies met in Paris. later as Revolution." between the insurrection itself. on April 28. now by skilful exploitation ployer of three hundred operatives. But evening came. Finally. formerly a work- man himself. an affair which seemed like one of the forerunners of the great days of the at royalty. they then . spreading terror among the rich by their cries. They have been " The working man can live on repeated many times since.RIOTS IN PARIS mordant. known " The Reveillon Affair " broke out. to stop on the morning of the 28th." &c. infuriated by the opposition of the rich manufacturer and his brutal speeches. and soon the middle-class revolutionaries went to the poorest suburbs and into the taverns on the outskirts to recruit the hands and the pikes that they needed to strike Meanwhile. the crowds went to Reveillon's work . come to be the emmade himself especially prominent by the brutality of his remarks. a paper-manufacturer and stainer. which resounded in the streets all through the night. and this fact mentioned by the toll-keepers. carried his effigy to enough in On the Place de la Greve for sentence and execution. after the inquiry into " The Reveillon Affair. vain conjectures after all. state of Paris. wheat is not for the likes of him. factory and compelled the workers. On April 27. the insurrection. who declared that an immense multitude : of suspicious-looking poor people clothed in rags had entered Paris just at that time ? On this point there can only be Given the prevalent conjectures. and it seems that during the preparation of the cahiers in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine there was a disagreement between the middle classes and the working-men. mind. and the crowds dispersed. with revolt simmering in the neighbourhood of was not Reveillon's attitude towards the workers quite itself to explain what happened the following day ? April 27. The workers stated their grievances and the middle-class men replied with insults. black bread and lentils Is there any truth in the connection which was made later on by the rich people. At the Place Royale a rumour spread that the Third Estate had just condemned Reveillon to death. All Paris was AND ITS ENVIRONS 47 becoming excited against the Court and the nobles.

therefore of reactionaries. slain men . a reactionary has remarked aptly that the money found on some of the may well have $een the proceeds of plunder. who added see the insults to their sufferings * ! From that time we growth all of the legend which its reduce the Revolution to on was to be used to parliamentary work. then." said the middle-class revolutionaries. Still later the historians revived the legend : Since the Court was able to use this riot as a pretext for rejecting the overtures of " the States-General. was the first conflict between the people of Paris and the rich. The workers took possession of their comrades' dead bodies themselves with great fury. On this slates and furniture from the windows and the roof." * it How often have in our must have been only the work we not heard the same methods of reasoning used own time ! Droz (Histoire du rtgne de Louis XVI. Several days after a riotous mob of five or six hundred men gathered at Villejuif. Needless to say that the gentlemen of the middle classes tried to prove that this outbreak was arranged beforehand by the enemies of France. Here. No one was willing to admit that the people revolted simply because they suffered. It was the first sight of the people driven to desperation. and the people forthwith defied them The result was that twelve soldiers and eighty wounded .48 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION The troops arrived.). a conflict which produced a deep impression. and tried to break open the doors of the Bicetre prison." . Why should the good people of Paris " It have risen against a manufacturer ? was English money " the said some that incited them to of the arisrevolt. killed were and carried them through the streets of the suburbs. historian. gold tocrats. and on the people's side there were two hundred killed and three hundred wounded. and to later ( the popular insurrections during the four years represent of the Revolution as accidents the work of brigands or of agents paid either by Pitt or by the party of reaction. by throwing stones. and had endured enough of the arrogance of the rich. fire and for several hours the people defended the troops opened attacked the warehouse and plundered it. a sight which exercised a powerful influence on the elections by keeping away the reactionaries.

were the faubourgs. support they needed in pressing their demands and in their struggles against the Court.RIOTS IN PARIS AND ITS ENVIRONS 49 In reality the days from April 24 to 28 were merely forerunners of the days of July II to July 14. the revolufocus of the middle classes. which were about to assemble at Versailles. revolutionary from spirit began to manifest itself among the people of Paris Close by the Palais Royal. the tionary centres of the popular risings. came to rely upon Paris for the A that time onwards. and the States-General. . Henceforth Paris became the focus of the Revolution.

needed reconstruction. repaired to the church of Saint Louis to hear Mass in connection with the opening ceremony. And already from this opening meeting the tragic inevitability of the Revolution began to unfold itself." the general ferment throughout the country.CHAPTER IX THE STATES-GENERAL Opening of States-General " King's distrust People not Establishment of National represented" Third Estate Assembly Oath in Tennis Court King annuls resolutions of Assembly Speech of Mirabeau People threaten force ON May 4. He had at last resigned himself to convoking them. too. but he complained before " the restlessness of the deputies themselves of spirit. and the next day the King opened the session in the presence of a crowd of spectators. The King felt nothing but distrust towards the representatives of the nation whom he had convoked. when everything. for which a little economy in expenditure would have sufficed. as in Russia to-day. a survival of the past. too long held back from reform. " the agreement of the Orders at a time when the provincial assemblies had already proved to men's minds that the existence of separate Orders was superannuated a dead He demanded " weight. feel France. the King expressed his fear above all things of " innovation " ! Thus. in the 50 . and not caused by the actual condition of France . as if that assemblage had been a useless and capri- cious violation of kingly rights. as if such restlessness was in itself factitious. 1789. the twelve hundred deputies of the States- General assembled at Versailles. had at last come to the necessity of a complete revision of all her institutions and the King only mentioned a few trifling reforms in finance. At a time.

They are to consider the taxes which they will be asked to vote. to check the liberties be all." The Keeper of the Seals. the life-and-death struggle about to begin between royal autocracy and representative power was already foreshadowed. The national representation. they are to vote on a law concerning the Press. All the struggles of the four succeeding years lay in these who followed the King and the Keeper of . disclosing the real intention of the King. The people were not represented at all. the legal position All of them. dwells upon the part to which the States-General should confine themselves. they did not even know what he required. you tions. and with regard to the peasantry. As to the nation's representatives. but as to the peasant. It was the middle classes who took it upon themselves to speak for the people in general .THE STATES-GENERAL 51 King's speech. he has indulgently deigned to ignore them . even then showed its chief defect. and that There were to be no dangerous reforms " All : will just demands have been granted . made up of lawyers. they are to discuss the reform of civil and criminal law. the peasants were absent. surrounded by nobles. Gentle- men. speaks as master to the Third Estate. where the King." will reject with indignation these dangerous innova- words. be has pardoned even the expression of those false and extravagant matters under cover of which it was intended to substitute harmful chimeras for the unalterable principles of the monarchy. being townsmen. they themselves in their were already displaying signs of the deep cleavage which was to manifest itself throughout the Revolution between those who would cling to their privileges and those who would strive to demolish them. in fact. notaries. much of the immense mass of the peasants. were well able to defend the townsman . Civil war already exists within these precincts. or what less would be injurious to him. which it had recently arrogated to itself. the King has not been stopped by indiscreet murmurs . and reminds them of his " benefits. in the whole of this assembly. attorneys. Barentain. there were perhaps five or six who knew divisions anything about the real position. and Necker.

faithful to the views he had already of expressed to Turgot. The adroit Comptroller of Finance knew how to make a three-hours' or speech without compromising himself either with the Court the people. but a political and social crisis of the utmost seriousness. infinitely more important to solve that of giving back the land to the peasant. and that under these circumstances a policy of manoeuvring between the Court and the Third Estate was bound to be fatal. the Jacquerie. in order that. possessing a land freed from heavy feudal exactions. The King. did not perceive that there was yet another problem. For if it was not already too late to prevent a Revolution. in his speech lasting three hours. the great land problems on which the misery or well-being^oi^a whole nation depended. and so put an end to the incessant periods of scarcity which were undermining the strength of the French nation. Could there be any way out of these conditions but by corfflict and struggle ? The revolt of the people the rising of the : peasants. it was at least necessary to make some attempt at an honest. And as to the representatives themselves. and the Third Estate. which were demanded But neither did Necker comprehend that it was a question of surmounting not merely a financial crisis. nor yet problem which was confronting France. and left to the Queen and princes the task of intriguing to prevent the concessions of him. did not understand the seriousness the moment. the insurrection of the workers in the . the time had come to bring forward. which absorbed the middle classes. he might double and treble the production of the soil. added nothing to advance either the great question of representative government. straightforward policy of concessions in the ma^eT^Tgorernmeiit. which interested the peasants." grasped the full extent privileged orders. or that of the land and the feudal exactions. in their most important^aspects. The nobilit dreamed of regaining their ascendency over the Crown . neither the twb " the Third.52 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the Seals. the clergy thought only of maintaining their privileges . although it knew quite well what steps to take of the for the conquest of power in favour of the middle classes.

. and Assembly sat. . The people should not be any longer bound to pay them when once the Assembly should " be dissolved. . threatenings of the coming Terror. were they not inevitable weeks the "deputies of *the Third'" tried by to induce the deputies of the other two Orders to sit parleying together." people Arthur Young. only for as long as the should be levied only provisionally. sixteen says yesterday and ninety-two last week. . the Palais Royal. " scrambled. Every hour produces something new. voiced the It rained pamphlets for which the general exasperation. and capitalists were reassured by the Assembly's consolidation of the National Debt an act of the prudence at that moment. and of the poor in general in a 53 with all its struggles. But as the days went by the people of Paris assumed a more and more menacing attitude. and its revenges. standing on a chair in front of a cafe. since the National representation had to maintain itself at any cost. . all its terrible conflicts ? word. upon " National By degrees they grew bolder. step with thunderous acclamations. the Assembly voted taxes." In this way the first step towards the abolition of the privileged classes was taken. and on June 17. Nineteen-twentieths of these productions are in favour of liberty. pp. they declared themselves at last a Assembly. . and to disarm a greatest * Arthur Young. a motion of Sieyes. Travels in France. turned into an open-air club to which every one was admitted. The ferment * The orators who harangued at Paris is beyond conception. and the people of Paris greeted this first Thus encouraged. 153. that the established being illegal. In Paris. while at Versailles the people collected at the doors of the Assembly to insult the aristocrats. already spoke of seizing upon the palaces and chateaux of the noble landlords. like the rumbling of a coming storm. its hatreds. . A Committee of Subsistence " was appointed to combat the famine. the Revolution. The negotiations led to nothing.THE STATES-GENERAL towns. " Thirteen came out to-day. The " Third " deputies of the felt that they were being supported. 176 (London. One heard already." openly in the streets. 1892). while the Royalist committees on their side worked For five to maintain the separation.

he would decree the separation of the Orders. that perfect representative separately. he took sides with the Court. There he would annul all the resolutions of the Assembly. On a given day the King was to go in great state to the Assembly. and in this session the King was to grant the capitative vote without distinction between the Three Orders in the matter of taxes . the hall of the Tennis Court in the Rue Saint-Fran c. excited and touched by a fine emotion. A ! coup d'etat is not risked for a half-measure. together with the Keeper of the Seals. and even at Versailles. they all but one took a solemn oath not to all sides separate before they had given France a Constitution. a Royal promise Session. and for that purpose to bind themselves together by solemn oath. Conde" and Conti. it is evident that this measure was still less possible to realise than that of the princes. A crowd Imarched with the procession their through the them. streets of Versailes. could not be maintained for more than a fortnight. too. they went in procession to a kind of private hall. mount guard for the crowds which surrounded them headed by on upheld the deputies. . Accordingly the princes. but for everything concerning the privileges of the nobility and clergy separate sittings of the Orders were to be maintained. of the middle classes of the period. oppose to this stroke of authority.ois. Seeing Assembly Hall closed on account of the preparations that were being made for the Royal Session. volunteer soldiers offered their services to The enthusiasm of Some Bailly. therefore. which should be passed by the Three Orders sitting And what did Necker. which. began to plan a coup tfetat. decided to resist the plans for dismissing the Assembly. and would himself fix the few reforms. How could taxation have been reformed without impinging on the privileges of the two superior Orders ? It was on June 20. that the deputies of " the Third. to the coup tfetat prepared by the Court ? ComHe." emboldened by the more and more threatening attitude of the people in Paris. wanted a display of authority. Now.54 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION who would be dangerous if power. moreover. Arrived at the hall of the Tennis Court. the power of the money-lender. d'Artois. But this meant revolt against the Royal authority.

this act of courage immediate fruit. Being here by the will of the people they would leave only by the force of the bayonet.THE STATES-GENERAL . As to the people of Paris. He annulled all on the part of the Assembly bore days later the Third Estate. we have seen in what kind of humour they were on April 27. in February. that they held their authority of the people. on the eve of the Royal Session. but its effect was already weakened by the oath in the Tennis Court and the sitting in the church of Saint Louis. found the clergy Two Estate the resolutions of the Assembly. and that very truly. Besides. And the oath taken in the hall of the Tennis Court No made the hearts of revolutionary youth vibrate throughout the length and breadth of France. the Abbe* Maury. or rather of the Third decreed the maintenance of the Orders. in which he said that the King was only their mandatory. it rising of the people against the rich was feared in Paris. they could not be sure even of the troops. and having taken the oath they could not separate without having framed a Constitution. but the " the Third " kept their places. and ordered all the deputies to separate for the time being. that obedience was nowhere to be found. was exactly this force which the Court no longer Necker had already told them. Then it was that Mirabeau uttered his beautiful and famous speech. The great blow of the Royal Session was struck the following day. . Every moment a general Now. X 55 doubt these were but words . obliged to sit coming to take part in their deliberations. being in the church of Saint Louis. Woe to the Assemblies that are incapable of such an attitude and such words. There' are moments when words are required to make hearts vibrate. June 23. The King appeared before the deputies. he the limits of the reforms to be accomplished. threatened the States-General with dissolution if they did not obey. Upon this the nobility deputies of and clergy obediently left the hall. determined . but that matters little. there was even something theatrical in this oath. and a few ardent revolutionaries had not hesitated to go into the gloomy faubourgs in search of reinforcements against the Court. Even at Versailles. the people had almost killed a clerical deputy. and possessed.

let " them ! stay As to the Assembly of the Third Estate itself." -On the 24th. Passeret. might never have this pressure Without succeeded in overcoming the resistance of the timorous who had ranged themselves with Malouet. The list of the three hundred deputies of " the Third " who were opposed to it went the round of Paris. they made open preparations for the revolt. who accom" died of the shock the same panied the minister. was it not deliberating under the watchful eyes and menaces of the people who filled the galleries ? As early as June 17. And when the oath was being taken in the Tennis Court. The people's attitude was too menacing for the Court to resort to bayonets. which was their reply to the military coup d'etat prepared by the Court against Paris for July 16. that the brave deputies of " the Third. On June 25. and Martin president of the Assembly.. and there was even some talk of burning their houses. uttered this exclamation.56 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION " the Third. " The in the palace of the Archbishop of Paris. "After all ." that the King's secretary. a back it is Dauch opposed it. . On the day of the Royal Session the Keeper of the Seals and the Archbishop of Paris were so " hooted. prudently made him Bailly." who had deputy of as well as d'Espre*m6nil. the Bishop of Beauvais was nearly killed by a blow on the head from a stone. that memorable decision was arrived at amidst the acclamations of the galleries and of the two or three thousand persons who surrounded the Hall of Assembly. a come over from the nobility. the put upon the Assembly by the people. As to the people of Paris. so overwhelmed with shame and rage.." quite possible whose names are remembered in history. day." says Arthur Young bluntly. and for several days people gathered he had to remain in hiding. door to avoid facing the escape by at the front of the hall. troops refused to fire on the people. the crowd hissed the depuAll the windows were broken ties of the nobility and clergy. and this is why Louis XVI. The King's threat was therefore meaningless. abused and scoffed at. when the Third Estate declared itself a National Assembly.

57 . which presently lowered its drawbridge and surrendered. July n. Necker was dismissed and exiled.000 pikes were forged in thirty-six hours . they were to The power was disperse the Assembly and bring Paris to its senses. and the citizens formed a procession. which passed through the streets carrying a statue of the dismissed At the Palais Royal. which festivals. the Court decided to act. It is true so far as the dry statement of facts is concerned . which began. Paris heard On of this on the I2th. but it does not tell what should be told about the part played by the people It is. Such is the usual account. The faubourgs rose and 50. to prepare a coup d'etat. only a half-truth. Camille Desmoulins made his minister. on the 1 4th the people marched upon the Bastille. the accepted version goes on to say. Troops were summoned and massed round Versailles .CHAPTER X PREPARATIONS FOR THE COUP D'ETAT The 1 4th of July Middle classes distrust people Royalists prepare coup d'Stat Middle classes urge people to arm People seize Bastille Middle classes restore order King and feudal Effect of Royal Session Atmosphere of rights conspiracy at Court Foundation of Breton Club Mirabeau and people Necker tries to avert famine Incompetence of National Assembly Royalist plotting continues Petition of Assembly THE accepted account of July 14 runs as follows : The National Assembly was sitting. therefore. is repeated at the Republic's however. slipping from the grasp of the Court. famous speech ending with an appeal to arms. after two months of parleying and hesitations. the Three Orders were at last united. At the end of June. The Revolution had gained its first victory.

so that they could " control the popular outbreak and prevent its going too far. moments during the great days of the Revolution. and then they gained their great victories over the old regime. decided to strike a great blow. ^J Ever since the ReVeillon affair. (For in the Paris insurrection leading to July 14. was concluded unwillingly by the middle classes . and allowed them to arm themselves. suffering from scarcity. even by those of the middle classes who had become prominent in the struggle with royal In the meantime. the two movements joined hands in a temporary alliance. in order that they might be able to bridle the revolted people. there were two separate currents of different origin : the political movement of the middle At certain classes and the popular movement of the masses. . seeing bread grow dearer day by day. the people of Paris. the and gave clear proof of this in July 1789. Then the Assembly. and on the morrow of the I4th. The alliance people. feeling themselves threatened. But not feeling themselves supported. they made haste to organise themselves. At the same time they took care to be armed. Taking advantage of this the middle classes urged the people to open insurrection. authority. the appeal for a popular rising. contrary . They concentrated troops whose attachment to the King and Queen they stimulated by every means. and even on June 27. led by the Queen and the princes.'! But as the insurrection gathered force. and deceived by empty promises. desiring nothing better.58 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION in the rising nor yet about the true connection between . ^They did not wait for the dismissal of Necker. which would put an end to the Assembly and to the popular agitation in Paris. the two elements of the movement. but began to rise as early as July 8. the people and the middle classes. as all through the Revolution. And the people of the faubourgs. gave free rein to those of their members and the appeal to the people that is to say. they could only chafe the bit. and openly prepared a coup d'etat against the Assembly and against Paris. the people. had been trying to revolt. and even during the insurrection itself. But the middle classes always distrusted their temporary ally. too. responded to the friends in Paris * who wanted " " appeal. the Court party.

of mortmain and of franc-fief. restriction of the game laws. . But to make a promise qf this extent was to circumscribe the Revolution in advance. rents of all He declared that the kinds and seigneurial and feudal were property rights absolutely and for ever inviolable. That is the twofold movement which has to be described. redemptions. that the absolute power of the King remained unimpaired . p. in such a way as to render it powerless to * Necker's original project allowed the Assembly a right to push the Revolution as far as the establishment of a charter. the suppression of the word tattle drawing lots for and the organisa- tion of the provincial authorities. tithes. was the King's declaration concerning the inviolability of the feudal rights. for all that these reforms implied. for the States-General to change in it that there was nothing * and that the two . seized 59 the Bastille. 4vo. or indeed was but the mere naming of reform. in great part already accomplished. and those benefits would be the abolition of statute labour. i. We have seen that the purpose for holding the Royal Session of June 23 was to declare to the States-General that they were not the power they wished to be . the subfor a stitution of a regular enlistment instead of the militia.PREPARATIONS FOR THE COUP D'ETAT to the will of the middle classes. the nobility and the clergy. having meanwhile organised their militia. the emblem and support of the royal power . and how could it be provided without laying the axe to the But the most important privileges of the two superior orders ? point in the royal speech. privileged orders. All this. had still to be provided . 120). whereupon the middle classes. rights By such a pronouncement the King was evidently placing the nobility on his side against the Third Estate. they took care to exclude from all joint deliberations the form of constitution to be given by the next States-General (Histoire dc la Revolution franpaise. would of themselves enact whatever concessions they should deem useful more just distribution of the taxes. says Louis Blanc . in imitation of the English. belonged to the realm of empty promises. The benefits which were to be granted to the people would come therefore from the King in person. lost no time in suppressing the men with pikes and re-establishing order. since the whole revolution was soon to turn upon the matter. however. vol. all the substance for making these changes.

who adhered to the two other Orders. were ties. and the next day there remained only forty-seven nobles a few days later. Only when the rumour spread that a hundred thousand Parisians were marching on Versailles. were quickly made known to the revolutionaries. But even then they scarcely concealed their hope of soon seeing those rebels dispersed by force. Everything reached Paris by a thousand secret ways of communication carefully established. royalty and the maintenance of feudal rights the old political form and the old economic form came to be associated in the mind It of the nation. some middle-class revolutionaries were founding at Versailles itself a club. and especially the Queen. among the founders of this Breton Club.60 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION accomplish any substantial reform in the finances of the It State and in the entire internal organisation of France. even those of the King and Queen. To this club the servants. the old regime. meant maintaining we shall see later intact the old France. Some Breton deputhem Le Chapelier. while the nobility were rejoicing over the little success gained by the Royal Session. an ovation at the palace. Thus. and even all conversations of such-and-such a prince or noble. all its conspiracies. After the Royal Session the nobility accorded the King. which soon became a great rallying centre and was later on the famous club of the Jacobins. Meanwhile. and how. the Breton Club. The moment always arrives when those in power can no longer depend even upon their servants. Glezen and Lanjuinais. the Duke said . and on an order from the King. confirmed by the weeping Queen for the nobility no longer relied upon the King most of the nobles rejoined the representatives of the clergy and the Third Estate. all manosuvrings of the Court. and such a moment had come at Versailles. in the course of the Revolution. and the rumours coming from Versailles helped to increase the ferment in the capital. went to report what was behind closed doors at the Court. the people at the palace were in a state of general consternation at hearing this news. must be admitted that this manoeuvre of the Court succeeded up to a certain point. and Mirabeau.

But. continually failed. and if sometimes on the way fiction was added to fact. the Duchess de Polignac. greatest excitement prevailed in Paris. 61 and Since the States-General had been sitting at Versailles the The Palais Royal.PREPARATIONS FOR THE COUP D'ETAT d'Aiguillon. and revealing under the itself. reserved for the poor. the Abbe* Gre"goire Robespierre were members of it. Thence the rumours and news spread to the faubourgs. to discuss the pamphlets of the hour. Potion. to renew among the crowd their ardour for future action. Sieye's. All the rumours. truer than the truth since it was only forestalling. had had For the famished people. and insurrection represented in their eyes the means of procuring the bread they needed. Who better than the obscure masses of the faubourgs knew Marie-Antoinette. as the murmurs of the people in their dark quarters classes grew louder. the secret springs of action. had become an open-air club. the popular triumph was a gleam of hope. as is often the case with popular legends. yellow and burnt. were immediately communicated to this open-air club of the Parisians. and the poor said to one another that without an insurrection the monopolists would never leave off starving the people. the people knew that in Paris and the vicinity there was enough food to feed everybody. with its gardens and c afh. the great The Hotel de Ville city was simmering with revolt. the Paris middle and the representatives . sent congratulations to the Assembly. Here flocked together the lower middle classes and the intellectuals. it was. and even the supply of bad flour. all the news collected at Versailles by the Breton Club. guise of legend. and intuitively judging men and things often more correctly than do the wise. whither ten thousand persons of all classes went every day to exchange news. despised and rejected until then. At the time when the famine was growing more and more severe. to know and to understand one another. The Palais Royal forwarded an address couched in militant language. Barnave. the perfidious King and the treacherous princes ? Who has understood them better than the people did ? Ever since the day following the Royal Session.

". saying that the King meant well .*^ Orders were united. * On September 7. He wanted the deputies to rally round the King. wishing overturn the throne. and modern research only confirms this point of view. after the first victory of the Third who until then was appealing to the people.This primordial defect in the Revolution weighed it down. he had suspended show the Those who make speeches on the anniversaries of the Revolution on this delicate subject. But Louis Blanc has already pointed out the fears of the middle classes as the i4th of July drew near." He went even further.day. Deserted by the nobility. and advocated the separated separation of the representatives from them. to the authority of the laws and their ministers. it was only because he happened was deceived and badly advised " The truth ( The Assembly loudly applauded this speech. 1788. if it that he did any wrong. prefer to keep silent 1 also that the insurrection of the people of Paris followed up to its own line of conduct. increased from day to Necker had taken measures to avert the dangers of a famine.62 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION ^ i of the people at Versailles became more and more alarmed about a possible rising in the provinces/ Better the King and Court than the people in The very day the three revolt. " that far from Louis Blanc to ! the members to be on their guard against " seditious auxiliaries. all see. the middle classes were already trying to shelter themselves behind it. himself completely from them. He even warned Estate. as we shall got the upper hand. 2th . the time. at one time so obstinate. he was becoming the King of the property-owners. however. concerning the days from the 2nd to the I2th of July. The additional facts which I give here. independent of the middle-class members of the Third Estate. would have found his most alarmed servitors. to the public tranquillity. June 27. He faithful and most was ceasing to be the King of gentle- men. that Louis XVI. Mirabeau. i Gironde " evolving in the Assembly. Mirabeau wished the " Assembly to contribute to the maintenance of order." says j very aptly. it was in the ranks of his commons. distress in the It is true that city." In this we can already see the future programme of " the is. up to the moment when reaction The . and speak of the touching unanimity which they pretend to have existed between the people and their representatives.

but the imported wheat was secretly re-exported. . and that a formal accusation would be culprits made the next day. In the provinces. . so much did the Assembly fear the popular outbreak. At the same time he gave widespread publicity to the decree of the King's Council of April 23. when the report of the " Committee " of Subsistence was presented. when it measures to be taken for guaranteeing food and work to the people. The affair was suppressed in the interim. that on the occasion of a riot in Paris. Why ? For fear as subsequent events go to prove of compromising revelations. in the Courrier de Versailles et de Paris. and in case of necessity to send the grain to market. he had the entire Assembly against him. Bouche announced that the were known. nothing undertaken. which empowered judges and officers of the police to visit private granaries to make an inventory of the grain. others proposed authoristhe provincial assemblies to take the necessary measures. 1789.but nothing was decided. on June 30. one of the members raised the question of the speculators and denounced some of them. " A general panic took possession of the Two Assembly. In any case. which he had just started. On July 4. when proposition.PREPARATIONS FOR THE COUP D'ETAT 63 the exportation of corn. took the oath in the Tennis Court. July 6. days later. ing . They talked for hours and made proposition after Petion proposed a loan. but above all things it still maintained towards the people a middle-class attitude." says Gorsas. they bought up even the standing crops. bounty a second time. and he was protecting the importation by bounties . so that it could be brought in again and ! Now ' . But the next day came and not a word more was uttered on this subject. no doubt. seventy million livres were expended in the purchase of foreign wheat. monowere buying up the corn with a view to these speculapolists tions. And. But the carrying out of these orders was confided to the old authorities and no more need be said in July the Government was giving bounties to those who brought wheat to Paris. the Assembly discussed the was revealed.It was then that the true character of the National Assembly so obtain the It had been worthy of admiration.

Duke of Orleans. by those self-same persons. not only the principal leaders I * * f The National Assembly deplores the troubles which are now It will send a deputation to the King to beg agitating Paris. the Assembly voted an address to the King. In Paris itself they took possession of the most important points in the direction of Versailles. was logically destined to fight them. and even of institutions. with the confidence which his good people will always deserve. were planning to dissolve the Assembly. who frequented the Breton Club. to arrest and kill. and once the battle began had to succumb and yield its place to representative government the form which was best suited to the rule of the middle classes. which is beyond any one's power to change. who used to meet at Montrouge. the other hand. and it did its best to defend the nobles and their privileges.'" ' . Thirtyfive thousand men were said to be distributed within this compass.. But and let this after the arrest of the eleven to load their muskets to in the life of the serve as a warning in future revolutions of parties. conceived in the most servile terms and " * profound attachment to the royal authority. as well as to the revolutionaries. privileged from their plots of the Court both to the partisans of the quarters. and twenty thousand more were to be added to them in a few days.. him of his grace to employ for the re-establishment of order the infallible means of the clemency and kindness that are so native to his heart. . It it their share in the Government. there is a logic individual. to crush Paris in case of a rising.64 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION fire French Guards who had refused on the people. it was rumoured. to see itself later on betrayed in return birth. On natural supporters. the nobility. The princes and the Queen. the people's party. and on the road from Meanwhile information concerning the all was coming from Versailles to Paris. The royal who demanded from it despotism could not come to terms with the middle classes. Troops were concentrating at Versailles. without betraying its it could not make terms with democracy." protesting its However grudgingly the King might have consented to give the middle classes the smallest share in the Government. they would have rallied to him and helped with all their power of organisation to keep the people down.

of the Duchess de Polignac. Dumouriez. Mounier and Lally-Tollendal. f Dumouriez. p. do you not know the great news ? Your friend Necker is turned out. should suffice to prove it : " " Well. who wished to transform Louis XVI. and in which all the persons implicated were mentioned under assumed names.PREPARATIONS FOR THE COUP D'ETAT 65 and the Duke of Orleans. and for certain Marshal de Broglie is in Paris with thirty a moment thousand men. Paris be burnt. ii. Histoire de la Revolution franpaise. If there could still be any doubt on this matter. is sufficient proof of the plot hatched by the Court for July 16.' are at this very dispersed. the words addressed to Dumouriez at Caen on July 10 by the Duchess de Beuvron. in place of the republican nobles. and hundred or so of those insolent fellows of the Third Estate. in the Bastille. as some reactionary historians have asserted."f The Duchess was mistaken. he had written to the Prince de Conde that a whiff of grape" shot would soon disperse these argufiers and restore the absolute power which is * spirit which is coming in. and the result is that the King reascends the throne and the Assembly is Your friends. Necker was not dismissed until the nth. were to be immolated.. M&moires. in the presence of sixty exulting going out. perhaps." said the former. which was found later on. and Broglie took care not to enter Paris. addressed on July 12 to Flesselles. that Louis Blanc. vol." said the Duchess. Twelve members. The Baron de Breteuil and Marshal de Broglie had been summoned will quite ready to do to put this project into execution both of them " If it is it." It must not be believed that those rumours were only idle The letter tales. necessary to burn Paris. and always will do. the Provost of the Merchants. E . but also those members of the Assembly. As to Marshal de Broglie. What could it decide ? The very day that the people of Paris began to * rise.said La Fayette later on. with Mirabeau. 35. It decided on nothing. But what was the Assembly doing then ? It was doing what Assemblies have always done. Turgot. such as Mirabeau. ' the forty-seven. into a constitutional monarch.

in 1793. within the Convention. \ on the part of the propertied classes to . the Assembly charged no other than Mirabeau. signed but a few days before July 14. and while praying the King to withdraw the /love. thanked Heaven for the gift bestowed upon them in his many times similar words and flatteries will be i addressed to the King by the representatives of the people during the progress of the Revolution ? The fact is that the Revolution cannot be understood at efforts all if these repeated win over Royalty the people are passed by .66 is. All the dramas which will be enacted later on. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION on July 8. adulation. were already contained in germ in this petition from the National Assembly. with the drawing up of a humble petition to the King. Jand ('How - troops the Assembly filled their petition with the grossest It spoke of a people who dearly loved their King. the people's tribune.to their side as a buckler against unnoticed.

but without a people ready to rise. The their last words or acts are chronicled with pious devotion. and THE attention of the historians National Assembly. No doubt the deputies would have protested no doubt they would have uttered some fine speeches. and some of them perhaps might have tried to raise the provinces . without a preliminary revolutionary work accomplished among the masses. Nevertheless. the fear of Paris in revolt had not restrained the Court. 67 . on the iSthBrumaire and December 2 Hungary and in Russia.CHAPTER XI PARIS to rise ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH Revolution centred in Paris. not in Assembly Paris ready Arrest of soldiers of Gardes Districts organise people franpaises Scarcity of bread Fury of people increases Dismissal of Necker Camille Desmoulins appeals to arms Struggle begins Tocsin rung People procure food and arms Permanent National Guard Committee instituted Formation Middle classes try to disarm people of is generally absorbed by the of the representatives people assembled at Versailles seem to personify the Revolution. without her people. the Assembly was naught. Fortunately Paris was awake. it was not there that the passionate heart of the Revolution was throbbing during those July days : it was throbbing in Paris. without an appeal to the people for revolt made direct from man to man and not by manifestoes. Paris. a representative Assembly can do little when it has to face an established government backed by its legions of functionaries and its army. the Assembly would have been most certainly dispersed. Whilst the National Assembly many times since and also recently in . as has been If Without seen so in France.

they were sold at half-price. it was only because. some one would begin to harangue the people tell them news of the Court plots. p. Everything was known. according to Arthur Young. Squibs and fireworks were. la grande fournaise. prepared for inDetails of the military trap which the Court was preparing for the i6th were repeated in the faubourgs. the people of Paris. Travels in France. did everything to keep up the ferment and to draw the people into the streets. 1892). and on July 10 tranquilly resumed the discussion on the scheme for a Constitution. In fact. bands were formed " prepared to proceed to the direst extremities. in the discussed the gloomy wineshops of the suburbs the Paris proletarians means of " saving the country. Hundreds of patriotic agitators. " Lately a company of Swiss would have crushed all this . But since the 25th. the people were always hoping that the Assembly would do something. . the English bookseller ." They armed as best themselves " unknown persons. and if Paris remained calm until the 25th. and surrection." said Arthur Young on the eve of July 14. The seditious auxiliaries with which Mirabeau had threatened the Court had been appealed to indeed. one of the means used . until the Royal Session. the fireworks let off at a street corner. writes Hardy. . already that no other hope remained but One party of Parisians marched that day towards Versailles. to whom the boldest and most clear-sighted of the middle classes had at last appealed. 184 (London. and whenever a crowd collected to see they could." as we read * Young.68 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION slumbered in fancied security. At the beginning of the month there had already been riots on account of the dearness of corn. Paris understood insurrection. In Paris itself. even the King's threat to retire to Soissons and deliver up Paris to the army and Paris. by the end of June the people of Paris were in full ferment and preparing for insurrection. but let it last * a fortnight." of course. organised itself in its various sections to answer force " " by force. a regiment would do it now if led with firmness . and an army will be wanting. ready to fight the troops.

453- Chassin. 460. ' " live the Duke of Orleans ! They were * shouting. . the representatives of the transferred themselves to the Hotel de Ville. the 25th. 439-444. Rue " districts " at last Dauphine. they have made bonfires and let off a prodigious number of rockets in front of the Palais Royal and the General Comptroller's Office. riding full gallop to cut down the people. which were published by Chassin. shouting " " the streets as they passed las la calotte ! through " " of Paris. carried them off to various quarters. The " districts " were kept in touch with each other. men went immediately to the Abbaye and set the arrested soldiers at liberty. after having met first in the Museum. next day. Les flections et les cahiers de Pans (Paris. especially those of the workmen's quarters. realised that resistance was useless. vol. ) On June 30. and handed over the prisoners . the arrest of eleven soldiers of the Gardes jrangaises. editor of the 'Revolutions de Paris . a simple incident. and the dragoons. Long The same day. and proposed that they should form themselves into a Commune. a verbatim report of which is given by Chassin. and their representatives made repeated efforts to constitute an independent municipal body. mounted a chair in front of the Cafe Foy in the Palais and harangued the crowd on this matter. prison for refusing to load their muskets. 1889). and on July I The they were already in their second session.* " The people have been in commotion all night. t Chassin.PARIS ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH 69 in the secret Notes addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs." which we shall see acting on the day of July 14.f Thus they constituted the " Permanent Committee. pp. soldiers of the French Guards deserted their barracks. the primary districts ^ Meanwhile the : who A bodies of electors. * p. The jailers. quoting historical precedent to give weight to his proposal. who had been sent to the Abbaye serious riot in Paris. 458. seeing the crowd arrive. sufficed to cause a When Loustalot. fraternising and drinking with the people. iii. four thousand Royal. iii. vol. that is. Even on the 25th Bonneville appealed to arms at an Assembly of the electors. assembled regularly and took measures for organising resistance in Paris.

There was talk also upon all the cannon distributed through Paris. " a raging multitude was on the in the streets point of setting out from the Palais Royal to rescue the deputies of the Third Estate. and when they heard the next day that Broglie had taken command of the army. so great was the scarcity. on June 30." * The Mercure de France (July 27) even mentions some attempts made in several places. " Wise much stronger than that were said. and as there was a scarcity of bread (only two bushels of wheat were sold to each buyer) and the people were in an uproar. say the secret reports." The people now began to talk of seizing on the arms at the Hotel des Invalides." men dare not show themselves. the bookseller. ceivable. the patriots were already enrolling themselves at the Cafe du Caveau for insurrection. There was talk them and sacking their palaces. In Paris.70 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION A halted. the market was surrounded by dragoons. " Are we to be the tribunes of a people in " ? But revolt these gentlemen asked one another. thrust back their sabres into their sheaths. . The people quarrel with the " and then run bakers. openly declared and posted up everywhere that " should the troops fire a single " shot they would put everything to fire and sword. especially at Saint-Quentin. and fraternised with the crowd. was already growing in the outskirts of Paris." said Hardy. say very day." Many other things official. shudder ran through the Assembly when they revolt learned next day of this fraternisation of the troops and the rioters." says Young. to cut the green crops. p. At Nangis the people had refused to pay the taxes. 189. in his journal. who it was said were exposed to the danger of being assassinated by the nobles. away with the bread and wheat for nothing." adds the On July 2 the fury of the populace broke out against the of killing of seizing Count d'Artois and the Polignacs. The crowds were larger and the fury of the people incon" This the same reports. * Arthur Young. so long as they were not fixed by the Assembly. the people. But notwithstanding the presence of the troops there were several riots at Nangis and in other " little towns on the outskirts.

pretending to know nothing about it. Sunday. Would Camille Desmoulins ever have made his appeal to arms on the I2th if he had not been sure that the people would listen to him. if he had not known that Paris was already in revolt. On July 8. fearing an attack on the bakers. at the camp of twenty thousand unemployed workmen engaged by the Government in road-making at Montmartre. * Vide the Letters of Salmour. which was to be the beginning of the coup d'etat. and the people took advantage of this by letting in provisions and wine free of duty.PARIS The ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH 71 fury inspired by hunger kept pace with the fury against the Court. although he had already signed the dismissal. 1892). and on the same day they began to set fire to the toll-gates. cited by Flammermont La iourn&e du 14 Juillet 1789. on July 4 and 6. Every one had been expecting this dismissal. and that Paris and the faubourgs were even then merely waiting for the signal for some one to begin and it would flame into insurrection ? impetuosity of the princes. He even fell in with his and arranged for his departure for Brussels in such a plans. The one in the Chaussee d'Antin was burnt. precipitated the coup d'etat planned for the i6th. and the King. Necker submitted to his master's orders without a word. Paris only learned about it towards noon the next day. on July 19 and August 20 (Archives of Dresden). with his usual duplicity. the Count d'Artois shaking his fist in the minister's face as he passed into the council chamber of the ministers. a prelude to the insurrection broke out in Paris itself. that only twelve days before Loustalot had stirred up the crowd over a matter of less importance. . and the The King was compelled troops had arrived at to act before reinforcements for the Versailles. parties of Gardes fran^aises had to be sent out to patrol the streets and superintend the distribution of bread. who were certain of success. the I2th.* Necker was dismissed on the nth. to Stutterhelm. on the loth. blood was already flowing. way that it passed unnoticed at Versailles. by Pitra (Publications de la Societe de 1'Histoire de la Revolution francaise. Two days after. the Envoy from Saxony. The people were already repeating the saying of the Duke de Broglie. . Consequently.

revolutionary Paris rushed in a body to the Palais Royal. Just then the courier had arrived bringing news of Necker's exile. a chair a tree. French Infantry." wrote Simolin. Royal German and that the Swiss refused to fire on the people. moulins. Lettres de Louis XVI. . coming out of one of the cafes in the Palais Royal. they even fired upon them. and turned towards the Place Louis XV. From other sources we learn that the French Guards fired a few shots at " " the regiment. and made his appeal to arms. the soldiers were forced to retire. which was occupied by troops Swiss. (now Place de la Concorde). Plenipotentiary of Catherine II. before an overwhelming torrent of the people and went to camp on the Champ-de-Mars. pressing in and breaking through their ranks on every side. They tried to keep them back with sabre-thrusts .72 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION who." and as sinister rumours were circulating all the morning concerning the " " all massacres prepared by the Court. Besenval. ! In the afternoon an immense procession. &c. on July 13. mounted upon a branch from badge. along the Rue Richelieu. Breaking he took. a green leaf as a And his cry. Whereupon Camille Des. the Cafe Foy. Two men and two horses were killed. was " answerable for Paris... " haste to arms spread through the faubourgs. therefore. with a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other. with his thirty thousand soldiers massed between Paris and Versailles. as is known. under my windows. but before an innumerable crowd that pushed and jostled. And he added Yesterday and the day before they burned the barritre blanche and that of the Faubourg " Poissonniere (Conches. p. 223). to the Chancellor " Osterman. But what would be the final * " The French Guards. carrying the busts of the Duke of Orleans and Necker.* Thus the struggle began. having sided with the populace. who seems not to have had much confidence in the Court. passed through the Palais Royal. The Court had decided to open hostilities. in Paris. fired upon a detachment of the Royal German regiment. Hussars and under the command of the Marquis de Besenval. a to lose. troops soon found themselves surrounded by the people. " There is not a moment rallying-sign. . posted on the boulevard. veiled in crape (it was said that the Duke of Orleans also had been banished). which adhered to the King. Dragoons The withdrew. : .

1889. with reluctance. as well as those at Saint-Marcel et Saint. Monin. known to be enemies of the people. It was to the Halles that the people also sent the provisions let into Paris without paying ! duty. instead of being emptied then and there. . " L'oeuvre de sept jours.Antoine to that of Saint-Honore." saysDusaulx ("L'oeuvre de sept jours. which. The toll-gates were in flames. bread Fifty-two carts were laden with flour.000 were made. as well as at the expense of the town. minute. Paris. the orders to march on In middle decided to accept. from the Faubourg Saint. where debtors were imprisoned. with cries of Bread. All the gates on the right bank. and loaded with . 50. Paris ? still faithful to the King.PARIS outcome classes ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH if 73 of it the troops. stopped at the gates of the town. were dragged to the Halles. The tocsin was rung throughout Paris." It was July 1 3 (Dusaulx. the people went first of all to the places where there was food. All night the tocsin rang and the middle classes trembled for their possessions. came to us in crowds and became more insistent every nition. the supreme measure." p. and the liberated prisoners went about the of city thanking the people . furniture. who only clamoured for arms and ammu. but an outbreak prisoners in the Chatelet was quelled. food-stuffs. " From all parts there came to the Hotel de Ville an infinite t number of carriages. 397). .f At the same time the people seized the prison of La Force. all sorts of supplies. All night long men of the people compelled the passers-by to give them money to buy powder. and the faubourgs began to forge pikes. the I3th. were burnt. They attacked the monastery " " of Saint-Lazare.Jacques. so that the food might be used by every one. plates and dishes. p. the appeal to the people." in M6moires sur la Bastille. published by H. and provisions and wine entered Paris freely. and knocking at the doors of the rich they demanded money and arms. The next day. The people. 203). because men armed with pikes and cudgels spread themselves through every quarter and plundered the houses of some monopolists. &c.* By degrees armed men began to appear in the streets. received this eventuality. apparently by some of the middle classes who had armed in hot haste and were already " * Of these all kinds of small arms. chariots and carts.

and clxxxii. were already formed and marching towards the Hotel de Ville. p. between the I3th and I5th. clxxxiii. for attempts of that kind. on the nights between the 1 2th and I4th. and there were also. and for the more " serious offences they were hanged on the spot (Letter of the Count . reading these pages we admit there is some truth in the testimony of Morellet. saved Paris again this night. according to which.74 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION By six o'clock the middle-class militia patrolling the streets. Jules Flammermont. as elsewhere. . try to make us believe that. Paris was in the hands of thieves. Taine and his followers. in a note in his work on the Fourteenth (Lajournte du i^Juillet 1789). Rigby's Letters. had refused to give up their arms. began to disarm all the vagabonds. by their vigilance. ' . or for arms and money. already formed. "on the night between the I3th and i4th some excesses were committed against persons and property. says Chassin. since two credible witnesses mention persons executed at night. which M. But this allegation is contra- contemporary evidence. had been executed On (Dr. for they began to but it was too late to do it then with impunity. faithful echoes of the fears of the middle class. 1789. and at ten o'clock that evening. There were. 56-57).. are conclusive on this subject more conclusive than his text. Whether the modern middle-class Republicans like it or not. which seems to us up to a " certain point to contradict itself on pages clxxxi. and proved in the course of the night how just were the suspicions of the inhabitants concerning them. dated July 10. ." says the Count de Salmour. . it is " certain that the revolutionaries of 1789 did appeal to the " compromising auxiliaries of whom Mirabeau spoke. who demanded money to procure arms . Taine exaggerates.* But here. in the Archives of Dresden). It is also averred that there were attempts at pillage. The night passed quietly and with much order thieves and vagabonds were arrested./" In the afternoon. " the guard of the middle It is classes. however. And they * The citations given by M. Some. says the same thing on very few of the persons who had armed themselves the preceding evening were to be seen. they were on duty.! The following passage from a letter of Dr. pp. FlammCTmont "As night came gives as a note. : de Salmour. no doubt. armed men who knocked at the doors of dicted by all the well-to-do to ask for food and drink. who had been taken " in the act. wayfarers stopped by men with pikes. Rigby. They were plunder soon discovered and apprehended. they and the armed middle-class men who." : . on the I3th. and we were told the following morning that several of these unhappy wretches. They went to the hovels on the outskirts to find them.

most of these auxilliaries. ! kind were being forged from any iron that came to hand. 13 and 14 haunted them." understanding the seriousness of the situation. ) What is quite true is the fear felt by the middle classes at the sight of these men and women. On very serious f the contrary. The men with the pikes evidently looked upon themselves as the defenders of the town. pinched with hunger and armed with clubs and pikes " of all shapes." The terror inspired by these spectres of famine thronging the streets was such that the middle classes could not get over it. They sought everywhere for them. At the Lazarite Monastery the people refused money and took only the flour. nevertheless notices this interesting feature. much more than they used them to gratify their personal hatreds or to alleviate their own misery. a declared whom a heavy responsibility of enemy the Revolution.PARIS ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH 75 were quite right to do so. " Arms " was the cry of the people after they had found a little bread. open. de Ville. because even if there were a few " cases of pillaging." he says in his Memoires. themselves. upon rested. which were all con" Nothing was touched that veyed to the Place de la Greve. put their arms at the service of the general cause. the spirit of the armed crowds became when they learned about the engagement that . ragged. " The thieves committed no The armourers' shops were the only ones broken and only arms were stolen. they sent back the trunk and all the effects found in the carriage to the Hotel depredations. Ambassador in his account. famished people swarming in the streets of whom they had caught a glimpse on July 12. either at the Treasury or at the Bank. without while night and day in the faubourgs pikes of every finding any. It is at any rate certain that cases of pillage were extremely rare. arms and wine. Later on." remarks the English day. in 1791 and 1792. seized with the general terror [?].had been entered into by the troops and the middle classes. Marmontel. . And when the people brought the carriage of the Prince de Lambesc to the Place de la Greve to burn it. even those among them who wanted to put an end to Royalty preferred reaction rather than make a The memory of the fresh appeal to the popular revolution.

000 men. obtained for themselves a Pretorian Guard of 12. He would not accept the post. the Provost of the Merchants. presided by Flesselles. the middle classes . were constituting their executive power in the municipality at the Hotel de Ville. meanwhile. and they . with the authorisation of the Town Council and the " Ministers for Paris. who had been nominated second in command. Louis Blanc says very truly. since June 27. the Duke d'Aumont. i . This militia was to be increased in four days to a total of 48. The general commandant of this National Guard had been nominated by the Permanent Committee on the night of July 13 and 14 he was a noble. without losing a moment. without having been registered in one of the districts. while the people were forging pikes and arming .000 men meanwhile the same Committee was trying to disarm the people.76 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION The middle classes. /^On N AT fever July 12 they instituted a Permanent Committee. and the Permanent to prevent the people. the electors of the Third Estate. In short. In this way. took his place. and another nobleman. Instead of the green badge of the earlier days. We know electors took the lead in organising the middle-class militia. Committee took measures . decided that each of the sixty districts should choose two hundred well-known citizens. who were from invading the ranks of this militia. capable of bearing arms.000 men and at the risk of supporting the Court they wanted to disarm the mass of the people. should be brought for judgment before the Committee. the Marquis de la Salle. that the elections for the National Assembly took two degrees but the elections over. this militia had now to wear the red and blue cockade. to whom were added some of the electors of the clergy and of the nobility. which should form a body of jmilitig numbering 1 2." Now these place in . to watch over the public safety. and their militia. had continued to meet at the Hotel de Ville. arming themselves. We July f have already seen them holding their second sitting on I. It was decreed that any one with arms and wearing the red and blue cockade.

classes for keeping the were mainly preoccupied in taking measures newly acquired power entirely in their own They constituted the middle-class Commune of Paris. the middle hands. which tried to restrain the popular movement. barricades to prevent the troops entering Paris. as developed so much during the next few years. and had seized the Place de la the arms at the Hotel des Invalides and were marching in a body towards the Bastille to compel it to capitulate. who was corresponding with the Duchess de Polignac about checking the insurrection in Paris. ^ .PARIS ON THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH 77 themselves. Thus began on the side of the adroit middle-class leaders the system ^fbetrayingjdifi^R^ohition. indeed. when the people went to ask Flesselles for arms. that on the I3th. while they were taking measures to prevent the ammunition from being sent out of Paris. he sent them boxes containing old linen instead of muskets. while they were seizing the bread-stuffs and sending them to the Halles or to while on the I4th they were constructing Greve. -which. ' ( " ^ l we shall see. and at the head of this Commune they placed Flesselles. the Provost of the Merchants. and the next day he used all his influence to prevent the people from taking the Bastille. We know.

only too evident. understood that in the plans of the Court to crush the people of There Paris the Bastille would play an important part. however. 7* . the attention of the Paris insurrecthe Bastille. therefore. as well as on that other great artery. which. the Rue Saint. with their cannon trained on the revolutionary Faubourg Saint. whilst It is more probable that several important facts contradict it. indeed. that in the west the Court had Besenval We his thirty thousand men in the Champ-de-Mars. is nothing. that gloomy fortress with its upon solid towers of formidable height which reared itself among the houses of a quarter at the entrance of the Faubourg populous Saint. the popular instinct. the Palais Royal and the Tuileries. The importance of the Bastille was.CHAPTER XII THE TAKING OF THE BASTILLE " A la Bastille ! "Importance of Bastille Popular hatred Guns taken from Hotel des Invalides Deputaof prisons tions sent to de Launey Attack on Bastille begins Defenders fire on people Another deputation sent Firing continues Cannon arrives for people Garrison capitulates Deaths of de Launey and Flesselles First victory of people FROM the dawn tion was directed of July 14. and that in the east it relied for support upon the towers of the Bastille. which leads camped with to the Hotel de Ville. decided in to get possession of it.Antoine. ever since the I2th or I3th. of the people Historians are still inquiring how the thoughts came to be turned in this direction. and some of them suggest that it was the Permanent Committee at the Hotel de Ville.Antoine and its principal thoroughfare. consequence know.Antoine. to confirm this supposition. who wanted to furnish an objective for the insurrection in directing it against this emblem of royalty.

Cordeliers. The people. but this proves only that the possibility of a serious attack on the fortress had been regarded as absurd. p. according to the Deux amis " flew de la liberte^ the words " A la Bastille ! from mouth to mouth from one end of the town to the other. it is certain that on the evening of the I3th some of musket shots were being exchanged between the detachments armed Parisians. after the Reveillon affair. ii. . and to conciliate public opinion Breteuil permitted visitors to inspect the terrible oubliettes. p. so that the people could be fired on if they massed themselves in the direction of the Hotel de Ville. Therefore. This famous donjon was then transformed into a granary. by Chassin.* It is true that the garrison of the Bastille numbered only one hundred and fourteen men. of whom eighty-four were pensioners and thirty Swiss. and they learned from inhabitants of the quarter that ammunition had been transferred from the arsenal to the Bastille on the night between the 1 2th and I3th. . about the horrors that were to be seen there. There was much talk. 41?. prisons. the minister Breteuil decided to abolish incarceration at Vincennes. the donjon of Vincennes and the During the riots of 1783. already on the night of June 30 there was some talk of seizing this fortress (Recit de des gardes franchises.. cited by Chassin (Les elections et les cahiers de Paris. They perceived. Sepulcre. . who passed close to the fortress and its " * In several of the cahiers the electors had that already demanded / the Bastille be pulled down and destroyed " Cahiers des Halles . > \ Droz.THE TAKING OF THE BASTILLE 79 and from the morning of the I4th. &c. however. 452 .. also. as. vol. the Marquis de Launey. Histoire de Lewis XVI. such as the Bicetre. and that the Governor had done nothing towards victualling the place . The electors had cause for their demand. also those of Les Mathurins.). cited I'elargissement note). vol. and of course it was also said that in the Bastille there were even worse things to be seen. the order had been given to fortify the Bastille. that the Governor. It must also be said that the people had always detested Bastille. 449 et seq.f In any case. says Droz. knew that the Royalist plotters counted on the fortress. i. had already placed his cannon in position on the morning of the I4th. p. when the nobility pro- tested against arbitrary imprisonments.

the crowds. and Baron de Besenval. where they discovered muskets concealed.Antoine. and that on the I4th. cannon. . 24. who commanded the royal troops in Paris. spreading everywhere. saying that their houses were in danger of being plundered by the thieves. more or less armed. promised to obtain authorisation for this from Marshal de Broglie. The authorisation had not yet arrived when. The " infected with a seditious spirit. Helping one another. Since the previous day middle-class men. crossed the fosse. eight feet in depth and twelve feet wide. on the Hotel des Invalides gave the people an opportunity of arming themselves and provided them with some cannon. had been calling at the Hotel des Invalides to ask for arms. on the I4th. and one mortar. began to assemble in the thoroughfares which led to the Bastille. Hotel de and all to the people. both quoted by M. in the Faubourg Saint.* These muskets and cannon were used the same day into the in the taking of the Bastille. who were arming night long powder had been distributed themselves. soon found their defence. As to the powder. Flammermont. commanded by Sombreuil.-. on the previous the people had already stopped thirty-six barrels which day were being sent to Rouen . * I here follow the letter of the Count de Salmour. who had been moving about the streets all through the preceding night.000 powder.80 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION defenders. which surrounded the esplanade of the Hotel des Invalides. as well as a certain quantity of 32. swarmed over the esplanade and took possession of twelve pieces of and lo-pounders. 18- way cellars and the church. already and the mob. as well as Malhieu Dumas. being at their guns with match in hand ready to fire a mob of seven or eight thousand streets north-east of the A successful attack men suddenly poured cut of the three neighbouring streets at a " " in less than no time they quick pace. delegated by their districts. from the earliest hours of the morning. happening to be at the Invalides. Already during the night the rumour ran that the King's troops were advancing from the side of the Barriere du Trone. by seven o'clock in the morning the pensioners. and the crowds moved off eastwards and barricaded the Hotel de Ville. these had been carried off to the Ville." made no garrison.

and even artillery were stationed close by at the Military School and in the Champ-deMars. armed with a few muskets. " promised that the people would not set on foot any vexatious proceedings against the place. There would therefore have been quite enough time to bring up troops and disperse the people." The delegates were received very affably by the Governor. and even stayed to breakfast with him until nearly midday. (now the Place de la Concorde) surrounding the Hotel de Ville and the Bastille. axes. and not to commit any act hostile to the people . as they had been intercepted in Like all the other military chiefs. cavalry. they must themselves have hesitated when were confronted with this innumerable multitude. especially as infantry. De Launey was probably trying to gain time while waiting for definite orders from Versailles. it de Launey must have streets. the Governor of the fortress. sent on the morning of the 1 4th some persons to parley with de Launey.000 had flooded the streets for the last two days. to beg him to withdraw the cannon levelled on the streets. realised that would be difficult for him to stand against the whole people of Paris assembled in the and so he temporised. Hearing that the approaches to the Bastille were invaded by the people. But the officers of these troops did not trust their soldiers and besides. thronging in crowds to the Place Louis XV. and filling the thoroughfares between. pikes. of which mention has been made. . hammers. return. of which more than 200. comthey posed of persons of every age and every condition. or even with simple cudgels. At two o'clock in the afternoon it was not yet completed. usurping powers they did not possess. were moving about in the streets. which did not come.THE TAKING OF THE BASTILLE The removal Invalides was 81 of the guns by the mob from the Hotel des done very slowly. so that the people should not see through them. in . For the time being he ordered the cannon to be drawn back four feet and closed the embrasures with wooden planks. The people of the faubourgs. the Permanent Committee at the Hotel de Ville. the morning by the people. the Committee. The middle classes of Paris were themselves seized with terror on seeing these masses of armed men in the street.

Pannetier. a grocer. with the help of a tall. It appears even that he was on the point of surrendering the fortress immediately to the Committee of Militia. the advocate Thuriot de la Rosiere. cost what it might. but that the Swiss opposed it. strong fellow.* The first which was called the Forecourt (fAvancee) drawbridges of that exterior part of the Bastille were soon battered down. obtained from the Marquis de Launey the promise that he would not give the order to fire if he was not attacked. Both of them demanded of the Governor the . quoted by Flammer- mont. German text. Being in possession of the muskets and the cannon from the Hotel des Invalides. that the Bastille must be captured. as well the different courtyards which surrounded the fortress itself. shouting " rushed towards the fortress. one of them. the streets adjacent to the Bastille. Presently a fusillade began between the people and the soldiers as The mob thronged posted on the ramparts. It is said Down with the bridges ! ! that on seeing from the top of the walls the whole Faubourg Saint-Antoine and the street leading to it quite black with people marching against the Bastille. . which would guard it jointly with the soldiers and the Swiss. their enthusiasm was steadily increasing. surrender of the fortress to a body of the middle-class militia. p. note. almost swooned. the crowds.82 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION About midday the district of Saint-Louis-la-Culture on its sent two delegates to speak in its name to the own account Governor . Luckily. Eight or ten men. the Governor. all who understood these compromises were baffled by the people. cxcviii. thanks to one of those audacious deeds of some few persons who are always forthcoming at such moments. Two more deputations were sent to the Governor by the Permanent Committee at one and three o'clock but they were not received. took advantage of a house that was built against the * Letter of De Hue to his brothers. Whilst the Permanent Committee were striving to allay the ardour of the assailants and making arrangements for proclaiming at the Place de la Greve that de Launey had promised not to fire if they refrained from " We want the Bastille attacking him. who had ascended thither with Thuriot.

Besides. Here took place the incident which wrought the fury of the people of Paris to its full pitch. More than three hundred men then rushed into the Government Court. Court. the Government Court was being swept by the musketry of the soldiers posted upon the ramparts. having dropped into this courtyard. and ran to the other two drawbridges. Court in which was the Governor's house. The eight or ten men. had been raised. whom preted the people accused of having lowered the two first drawbridges morning. what would have been the good of imprisoning the crowd if it was not intended to use the prisoners as hostages against the people ? . when lowered. this as * This attempt was made. of course. not by order of de Launey. isolated as they were. at the very moment when Thuriot and Corny were announcing to the of the Forecourt. it seems to visions and were returning. which. who had gone out to buy proA highly improbable thing. These two bridges. the Government This court was the soldiers having retreated with de Launey unoccupied. and afterwards the larger one.THE TAKING OF THE BASTILLE they moved along little 83 exterior wall of the Forecourt to climb this wall. and thence they leaped first into the court of the Bastille proper. me. in the midst of that crowd. the greater and the lesser. into the fortress itself. but spontaneously by some soldiers.* Thus. and there was even an attempt to raise the great drawbridge served to cross the wide fosse of the actual fortress. After all the parleying which had taken place that opening fire upon the people was evidently interan act of treason on the part of De Launay. so as to prevent the people in the Place de la Greve that the Governor had promised not to fire. for three or four soldiers to attempt. it is now said. with a few blows of an axe lowered first the little drawbridge of the Forecourt and opened its gate. astride of which as far as a guard-house standing close to the drawbridge of the Forecourt. crowd from leaving the Government Court and obviously with the intention of either imprisoning or massacring them. after the departure of Thuriot. and the guns of the Bastille began to hurl cannon-balls into the adjoining streets. and afterwards cost de Launey When the crowd thronged into the Government his life. the defenders of the Bastille began to fire upon them.

it is the " destruction of this horrible prison . Besides.* It was then about one o'clock. for the purpose of drawing the mob under from the ramparts. crouched along some of the walls. supposed that de Launey had hostilities. which does not prove that no other was delivered.84 the THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION fire of the Forecourt. which gave the people access to the drawbridges of the fortress and even to the gates. This did not prevent the Committee at the Hotel de Ville from sending cureur of the a third deputation. was quite But it is also possible that the order to defend the sufficient reason. It is. it is Governor for which they are loudly clamouring the death of the " reported the deputies when they returned. the firing at the soldiers serving the guns. Thuriot de la Roziere and to M. for the purpose of persuading him to receive a guard from the Committee into the fortress. to ask him if he would receive there a detachment of militia who would guard the Bastille jointly with the troops. But deputation never reached the Commandant. The news that the cannon of the Bastille were firing on the people spread through Paris and produced a two-fold effect. " to They were charged to induce all withdraw to their respective districts .f Various explanations have been given of this sudden opening of As the people who had thronged into the Court de 1'Orme and the Government Court began to plunder the Commandant's house and those of the soldiers' quarters. and their were who. it is the siege of the Bastille . Ethis de Corny. the taking of the Forecourt by assault. The Permanent Committee of the Paris militia hastened to send another deputation to the Commandant. and several citizens were King charged once more to allay the people's ardour. for a close fusillade was going on all the time between the soldiers this assailants. M. however. * persons found near the Bastille in order that they might there be at once admitted into the Paris militia . knew that the deputations from the Committee would people It is no longer a depuonly throw cold water on the attack. it was said that this had decided the defenders of the Bastille to open fire. Bellon . tation they want ." promises he had made to M. . For the military. The intention of preventing the people taking possession of the Bastille was evident . Bastille to the last was at that moment transmitted to de Launey. f received this order. Proand of the town. and to parley with de Launey. to check the assault. in fact. We know that one order was intercepted. to remind de Launey of the .



As to the people, as soon as the news of the firing spread through the town, they acted without any one's orders, guided by their revolutionary instinct. They dragged the cannon which they had taken from the Hotel des Invalides to the Hotel de Ville, and about three o'clock, when Corny's deputation was returning to report their failure, they met about three hundred French Guards, and a number of armed men belonging to the middle class under the command of an old

named Hulin, marching to the Bastille, followed by The firing by this time had been going on for more than three hours. The people, not in the least dismayed by the great number killed and wounded,* were maintaining the siege by resorting to various expedients. One
five pieces of artillery.

of these was the bringing
set fire,




cartloads of straw, to


using the smoke as a screen to facilitate their they attack on the two entrances, the greater and lesser drawbridges. The buildings of the Government Court were already in flames.
arrived just at the moment they were wanted. were drawn into the Government Court and planted in They front of the drawbridges and gates at a distance of only 90 feet. It is easy to imagine the effect that these cannon in the hands It was of the people must have produced on the besieged.

The cannon

evident that the drawbridges must soon go down, and that the The mob became still more gates would be burst open.
threatening and was continually increasing in numbers. The moment soon came when the defenders realised that to

any longer was to doom themselves to certain destruction, de Launey decided to capitulate. The soldiers, seeing that

(Flammermont, loc. cit., p. clviii.). Having entered the Forecouit, which was full of people armed with muskets, axes, &c., the deputation spoke to the soldiers on the walls. These latter demanded that the people should first withdraw from the Government Court, whereupon the deputation tried to induce the people to do so (cf. Boucheron, cited by Flammermont, p. ccxiv. note). Fortunately the people were wise enough not to comply with their wishes. They continued the assault. They understood so well that it was no longer any time for parleying, that they treated the gentlemen of the deputation rather badly, and even talked of killing them as traitors (loc. cit. p. ccxvi. note, and

Proems-verbal des electeurs).

Eighty-three killed on the spot, fifteen dead of their wounds,

thirteen disabled

and sixty injured.



they would never get the better of the whole of Paris which was coming to besiege them, had some time before advised capitulation, and so about four o'clock, or between four and five, the

Governor ordered the white

flag to

be hoisted and the drums

to beat the chamade (the order to cease the battlements.

and descend from
right of


garrison capitulated and

demanded the


ing out with their arms. It may be that Hulin and Elie, standing close to the great drawbridge, would have agreed to these terms in the name of the people ; but the people would have

none of them. A furious cry of " Down with the bridges " was raised. At five o'clock, therefore, the Commandant passed out through one of the loopholes near the lesser drawbridge a note in which it was said, " We have twenty-thousand-weight of gunpowder ; we shall blow up the whole quarter, with the garrison, if you do not accept the terms of capitulation." However, even if de Launey thought of so doing, the garrison would never have permitted him to put this threat into effect. At any rate, the fact is that de Launey himself gave up the key
that opened the entrance of the lesser drawbridge. Immediately, the mass of the besiegers took possession of the

seized de Launey,

They disarmed the Swiss and the Invalides, and who was dragged towards the Hotel de Ville.


kind of insult on him

furious at his treachery, heaped every twenty times he was nearly killed, despite the heroic efforts of Cholat and another.* These two men protected him with their own bodies, but, when only a hundred steps from the Hotel de Ville, he was dragged out of their hands and decapitated. De Hue, the Commandant of the Swiss, saved his life by declaring that he was devoted to the Town and the Nation, and by drinking to them, but three officers of the As to Flesselles, Bastille staff and three soldiers were slain. the Provost of the Merchants, who was in correspondence with Besenval and the Duchess de Polignac, and who had, as


way the mob,

appears by a passage in one of his letters, many other secrets to hide that were very compromising for the Queen, the people
* Was not this other Maillard arrested de Launey.

We know



was he who



were about to execute him when an unknown man shot him Did this unknown man think that dead men tell no

As soon as the bridges of the Bastille had been lowered the crowd rushed into the courtyards and began to search the fortress and free the prisoners entombed in the oubliettes. There was great emotion, and tears were shed at the sight of the phantoms who issued from their cells, bewildered by the light of the sun and by the sound of the many voices that welcomed them. These poor martyrs of royal despotism were

triumph by the people through the streets of Paris. soon delirious with joy on hearing that the Bastille was in the hands of the people, and their determination to keep their conquest was redoubled. The coup d etat of the Court had failed. In this way the Revolution began. The people had won their first victory. A material victory of this kind was essential. It was necessary that the Revolution should endure a struggle and come out from it triumphant. Some proof of the strength of the people had to be given, so as to impress their enemies, to arouse courage throughout France, and to push forward
carried in

The whole town was


everywhere towards revolt, towards the conquest of liberty.





Ftte at Versailles State of Court Conduct of people Middle classes King visits Paris His plans of armed resistance come to nothing Insurrection in Paris spreads Emigration of nobles Foulon and others put to death

a revolution has once begun, each event in it not merely it also contains sums up the events hitherto accomplished so that the contemthe chief elements of what is to come poraries of the French Revolution, if they could only have freed themselves from the momentary impressions, and separated the essential from the accidental, might have been able, on the morrow of July 14, to foresee whither events as a whole were


thenceforth trending. But even on the evening of the I3th, the Court attached no importance to the movement in Paris.

That evening there was
dancing in the Orangery,

a fete at Versailles.

There was




to drink to the

and the Queen, coming victory over the rebellious capital her friend the Duchess de Polignac and the rest of the Court beauties, with the princes and princesses, were lavishing favours on the foreign soldiers in their barracks to stimulate them for the coming fight.* In their madness and terrible frivolity, no one in that world of shams and conventional lies, which constitute every Court, perceived that it was too late to
attack Paris, that the opportunity for doing so was lost.


Mirabeau, in his speech before the Assembly, which resumed its sitting on the i$th at eight o'clock in the morning, spoke as if this He was alluding, however, to f&te had taken place the day before. the ftte of the I3th.



Louis XVI. was no better informed on the matter than the Queen and the princes. When the Assembly, alarmed by the
to beg people's rising, hurried to him on the evening of the I4th, him in servile language to recall the ministers and send away the troops, he replied to them in the language of a master certain


He believed in the plan that had been suggested of victory. him of putting some reliable officers at the head of the middle-class militia and crushing the people with their help,

which he would content himself with sending some Such was equivocal orders about the retirement of the troops. that world of shams, of dreams more than of reality, in which

both King and Court lived, and in which, in spite of brief intervals of awakening, they continued to live up to the moment of ascending the steps of the scaffold. clearly they were revealing their characters even then !


The King hypnotised by
on account of

his absolute power, and always ready to take exactly the step which was to lead him to the catastrophe. Then he would oppose to events inertia

nothing but



at finally yield, for form's sake, just


moment when he was

expected to resist obstinately. The Queen, too, corrupt, depraved to the very heart as absolute

by her petulant resistance, and then suddenly yielding the next moment, only to resume,
sovereign, hastening the catastrophe

an instant

after, the childish tricks of a courtesan.



Instigators of all the most fatal resolutions taken princes the King, and cowards at the very first failures of them, by



Bastille to

the country, flying immediately after the taking of the resume their plottings in Germany or Italy. How

clearly all these traits of character days between July 8 and 15.

were revealed in those few
with ardour,


the opposite side


see the people, filled

enthusiasm and generosity, ready to let themselves be massacred that Liberty might triumph, but at the same time asking to

ready to allow themselves to be governed by the new masters, just installed themselves in the Hotel de Ville. so well the Court schemes, and seeing with the Understanding

be led


who had

utmost clearness through the plot which had been growing into shape ever since the end of June, they allowed themselves to be



entangled in the new plot the plot of the propertied classes, who were soon to thrust back into their slums the hungry " the men with the pikes " to whom they had appealed people, for a few hours, when it was necessary to set the force of popular
insurrection against that of the army. And finally, when we consider the conduct of the middle
classes during these early days, we see already foreshadowed the great dramas of the Revolution which were to come. On the I4th, in proportion as Royalty gradually lost its menacing

character, it was the people who, in a corresponding degree, inspired terror in the representatives of the Third Estate assembled at Versailles. In spite of the vehement words

uttered by Mirabeau concerning the jete at the Orangery, the King had only to present himself before the Assembly, recognise the authority of the delegates, and promise them inviolability, for the whole of the representatives to burst into
applause and transports of joy. They even ran out to form a guard of honour round him in the streets, and made the streets " And this at of Versailles resound with cries of " Vive le Roi I the very moment when the people were being massacred in
Paris in the

name of this same King, and while at Versailles the crowd was insulting the Queen and the Duchess de Polignac, and the people were asking themselves if the King was not at

one of his old tricks. In Paris the people were not deceived by the promise to withdraw the troops. They did not believe a word of it.

They preferred to organise themselves in a huge insurgent commune, and this commune, like a commune of the Middle Ages,



the necessary measures of defence against the King. were torn up in trenches and barricades, and the

people's patrols marched through the town, ready to sound the tocsin at the first alarm.

Nor did the King's visit to Paris greatly reassure the people. Seeing himself defeated and abandoned, he decided to go to Paris, and to the Hotel de Ville, to be reconciled with his capital,
and the middle
classes tried to

turn this

visit into a striking act


between themselves and the King.


middle-class revolutionaries, of



many belonged

" "


the Freemasons, made an arch of steel with their swords for the King on his arrival at the Hotel de Ville ; and Bailly,



There was

of Paris, fastened in the King's hat the tricolour talk even of erecting a statue to Louis XVI.

the demolished Bastille, but the mass of the people an attitude of reserve and mistrust, which were not preserved dispelled even after the visit to the Hotel de Ville. King of
site of

on the

the middle

classes as



they liked, but not a King of the


Court, for

its part,

surrection of July 14 there

knew very well that after the inwould never be peace between

royalty and the people. They induced the Duchess de Polignac to leave for Switzerland, despite the tears of Marie-Antoinette,

and the following day the princes began to emigrate. Those who had been the life and soul of the defeated coup d'etat


haste to leave France.

the night, and so

The Count d'Artois much was he in fear for his life

escaped in
that, after

stealing secretly through the town, he took a regiment and two cannon for escort the rest of the way. The King promised to

rejoin his dear emigrants at the first opportunity, and began to make plans of escaping abroad, in order to re-enter France at

the head of an army. In fact, on July 16, all was ready for his departure. He was to go to Metz, place himself at the head of the troops, and

The horses were already put to the carriage Paris. which were to convey Louis XVI. to the army, then concentrated between Versailles and the frontier. But de Broglie refused to escort the King to Metz, and the princes were in too great a hurry to be off, so that the King, as he said himself afterwards, seeing himself abandoned by the princes and the nobles, relinquished his project of an armed resistance, which the history of Charles I. had suggested to him, and went to Paris to make his submission instead.
march on
Royalist historians have tried to cast a doubt on the preparation by the Court of a coup d'etat against the Assembly and Paris. But there are plenty of documents to prove the
reality of the plot.


Mignet, whose moderation is well known, and who had the advantage of writing soon after the events, had



not the slightest doubt on this point, and later researches have confirmed his position. On July 13, the King was to have revived the declaration of June 23, and the Assembly was to have

Forty thousand copies of this declaration were already printed for sending throughout France. The commander of the army massed between Versailles and Paris

been dissolved.

had been given unlimited powers for the massacre of the people of Paris and for extreme measures against the Assembly in case
of resistance.

A hundred

million of State notes had been manufactured to

provide for the needs of the Court. Everything was ready, and when they heard that Paris had risen, the Court considered

an outbreak which aided their plans. A little it was known that the insurrection was spreadlater on, was still on the point of setting out and leaving ing, the King to his ministers the task of dispersing the Assembly with the
this rising as


help of foreign troops. It was the ministers who dared not put This this plan into execution when they saw the tide rising. so great a panic seized the Court after July 14, when is why

they heard of the taking of the Bastille and the execution of de Launey, and why the Duchess de Polignac, the princes,

and so many other nobles, who had been the leading spirits of the plot, afraid of being denounced, had to emigrate in a

But the people were on the alert. They vaguely understood what the emigrants were going to seek on the other side of the frontier, and the peasants arrested the fugitives, among whom were Foulon and Berthier. We have already made mention of the misery which reigned in Paris and the environs, and of the monopolists, into whose
crimes the Assembly refused to inquire too closely. The chief of these speculators in the people's misery was said to be Foulon, who had made an immense fortune as financier and in his posi-

army and navy. His detestation of and the revolution was also well known. the people Broglie wanted him to be minister when he was preparing the coup d'etat for July 1 6, and if the crafty financier refused this post, he had not been sparing of his counsel. His advice was to get
tion as contractor for the

rid, at


one blow, of



who had

acquired influence in the

revolutionary camp. After the taking of the Bastille,

when he

how de

Launey's head had been carried through the streets, he knew that it was best for him to follow the princes and emigrate ;

was not an easy thing to do, owing to the watchfulness Commune, he took advantage of the death of one of his servants to pretend that he was dead and buried, while he quitted Paris and took refuge in a friend's house at Fontainebut
as this

of the District


There he was discovered and arrested by the peasants, who avenged their long endurance of misery upon him. With a bundle of grass tied on his shoulders, in allusion to the grass he had promised to make the people of Paris eat, the wretched
monopolist was dragged to Paris by an infuriated crowd. At the Hotel de Ville Lafayette tried to save him, but the angry
people hanged him on a lamp-iron. His son-in-law, Berthier, equally guilty in the coup d'etat, and contractor for the Duke de Broglie's army, was arrested at

Compiegne and also dragged to Paris, where they were going to hang him likewise, but, struggling to save himself, he was overpowered and trampled to death. Other guilty individuals who were on the way to foreign lands were arrested in the north and north-east and brought
back to Paris.


terror excited in the breasts of the Court's familiar

by these executions on the people's side can easily be imagined. Their pride and their resistance to the Revolution were shattered they wished only to be forgotten.

Necessity of popular risings outside Paris Effect of taking Difference between French and of Bastille over-estimated English peasant risings Importance of peasant insurrection


by frustrating the plans of the Court, had struck


Besides this, the appearance in the streets of people in rags, as an active force in the Revolution, was giving a new character, a new tendency of equality

mortal blow at royal authority.

movement. The rich and powerful understood the meaning of what had been going on in Paris perfectly during those days, and the emigration, first of the princes,
to the whole

then of the favourites and the monopolists, accentuated the The Court was already seeking the aid of the foreigner victory.
against revolutionary France. / If, however, the insurrection

had been confined to the

capital, the Revolution could never have developed to the extent of resulting in the demolition of ancient privileges.


insurrection at the centre

at the central


had been necessary to strike to shake it down, to demoralise Government, But to destroy the power of the Government

through its governmental prerogatives and its economic privileges, a widespread rising of the people was necessary in cities, towns and villages. This is exactly what came about in the course of July throughout
the length and breadth of France.

in the provinces, to strike at the old regime





whether consciously or not, have

followed very closely the
represented this

Deux amis de la liberte, have generally movement of the towns and rural districts as a

result of the taking of the Bastille.

The news

of this success



supposed to have roused the country parts. The chateaux were burned, and this rising of the peasants diffused so much terror that the nobles and clergy abdicated their feudal rights

on August


This version
are concerned,

however, only half true.


far as the


correct that a great number of urban risings took place under the influence of the taking of the Bastille. Some of them, as at Troyes on July 18, at Strasbourg on the
it is

2ist, at Rouen on the 24th, and at 27th, followed close upon the Paris insurrection, whilst the others went on during the next three or four months, until the National Assembly had voted the

I9th, at

Cherbourg on the

Maubeuge on the

municipal law of December 14, 1789, which legalised the constitution of a democratic middle-class municipal govern-




considerable extent independent of the Central
to the peasants,
it is


With regard

clear that

with the then

communications, the space of twenty days which passed between July 14 and August 4 are absolutely insufficient to account for the effect of the taking of the

on the rural districts and the subsequent effect of the peasants' insurrection on the decisions of the National Assembly. In fact, to picture events in such a fashion is to
belittle the

profound importance of the movement in the

country. ^The insurrection of the peasants for the abolition of the feudal rights and the recovery of the communal lands which

had been taken away from the village communes, since the seventeenth century, by the lords, lay and ecclesiastical, is the

very essence, the foundation of the great Revolution. Upon the struggle of the middle classes for their political rights was developed. Without it the Revolution would never have
rural districts

been so thorough as it was in France. The great rising of the which began after the January of 1789, even in
1788, and lasted five years, was what enabled the Revolution to accomplish the immense work of demolition which we owe to it.
It was this that impelled the Revolution to set up the first landmarks of a system of equality, to develop in France the




which since then nothing has been able to

munism, is what gives the true character to the French Revolution, and distinguishes it radically from the Revolution of 16481657 in England.) There, too, in the course of those nine years, the middle classes broke down the absolute power of royalty and the

to proclaim the great principles of agrarian comthat we shall see emerging in 1793. This rising, in fact,


of the

Court party.

But beyond


the distinctive features of the English revolution was the struggle for the right of each individual to profess whatever
religion he pleased, to interpret the Bible according to his personal conception of it, to choose his own pastors in a word, the right of the individual to the intellectual and religious

development best suited to him.



claimed the

right of each parish, and, as a consequence, of the townships, to autonomy. But the peasant risings in England did not aim so generally, as in France, at the abolishing of feudal


dues and tithes, or the recovery of the communal lands. Cromwell's hosts demolished a certain number of


which represented true strongholds

feudalism, these hosts

unfortunately did not attack either the feudal pretensions of the lords over the land, or even the right of feudal justice,

which the lords exercised over their tenants. What the English revolution did was to conquer some precious rights for the individual, but it did not destroy the feudal power of
the lord, it merely modified it whilst preserving his rights over the land, rights which persist to this day. The English revolution undoubtedly established the

middle classes, but this power was only political power of the obtained by sharing it with the landed aristocracy. And if the revolution gave the English middle classes a prosperous era for their trade and commerce, this prosperity was obtained

on the condition that the middle


should not profit by

to attack the landed privileges of the nobility. On the these privileges, contrary, the middle classes helped to increase
at least in


possession of the

They helped the nobility to take legal communal lands by means of the Enclosure

which reduced the agricultural population to misery. not only of revenue often fabulous. . which hamper the sale of estates. It was above all a peasant insurrection.) This is why it would be a strange reduction of the importance of the agrarian insurrection in the summer of 1789 to represent it as an episode of brief duration brought about by enthusiasm over the taking of the Bastille. the right of the whole nation to the land a right which we shall see proclaimed loudly by the poorer classes in 1793. the need of which was making itself felt more and more among a population whose trade and commerce were steadily increasing. They helped also to increase their revenues tenfold by allowing them through the land and local juridical laws. In France the movement was not merely an insurrection to win religious liberty. as were delivered over to the mercy of the middle-class manufacturers. They. especially the upper middle classes engaged in manufactures and commerce. wished to imitate the English middle classes in their revolution. But they did not succeed in this. and forced a great number of them to migrate to the towns. placed them at the mercy of the landowners.THE POPULAR RISINGS 97 Acts. and while there was all through it a powerful individualist element the desire to possess land individually there was also the communist element. or even commercial and industrial liberty for the individual. to monopolise the land. where. The English middle classes also helped the nobility to make of their immense landed estates sources. but also of political proletarians. because the basis of the French Revolution was fortunately much broader than that of the revolution in England. they power. by re-establishing under new forms the right of manorial justice. a movement of the people to regain possession of the land and to free it from the feudal obligations which burdened it. or yet to constitute municipal authority in the hands of a few middleclass men. / We now know that the French middle classes. too. would have willingly entered into a compact with both royalty and nobility in order to attain to power.

Under these conditions the affairs of the city fell more and fail to make those interested in it attorneys and advocates. the revenues among themselves. and still more into the hands deal of of five or six families. . IN the eighteenth century the municipal institutions had owing to the numerous measures taken by royal authority against them for two hundred years. and. Since the abolition of the plenary assembly of the townspeople. in some towns about once in six months. continually autonomy. The posts of " town councillors " introduced in the eighteenth century had to be bought from the commune. 153 98 el seq.* The councils met seldom. who shared a good The patrimonial revenues which some towns had retained. Amiens and other cities Significance of popular action during Revolution fallen to utter decay. * Babeau. the patent so purchased was for life. which formerly had the control of urban justice and administration. the city's trade and the taxes all went to enrich them. the affairs of the large cities were going from bad to worse. and even then the attendance was not regular. The registrar managed the whole business. p. often enough. La ville sous I'ancien regime. and as a rule did not pay him handsomely.CHAPTER XV THE TOWNS Condition of municipal institutions Feudal rights still exist Need of municipal reform Townspeople revolt New muniImportance of communalist movement cipality voted Paris Commune Other cities follow Troubles at Strasbourg New corporation constituted Middle classes freed from feudalism Riots in Troyes. The more the governor of the interfered to obstruct all municipal province. the proceeds of the octrois.

also. La Sainte-Chapelle. the poll tax. especially on those of the working classes." feudal system in full swing. the twentieths. the chapter. &c. as in the country. but tribunals. Third Estate. maintained not for instance. gives the cahier of the Strasbourg in this connection. pp. Dijon had preserved. And the contributions from the town towards the governor's lodging. 323. Troyes had nine of these tribunals. both lay and ecclesiastical such." So that the police did not always belong to the towns." All of these were waxing fat in the midst of the half-starved people. They were attached to property. besides the municipal nomination of aldermen. councillors " Monsieur Plntendant " and aldermen towards (the Governor) was such that his whim became law. very interesting * . the working population hated them. for the honour of holding his children at the baptismal font. in some towns. 331. As a rule. as in the country. beside " two royal mayoral courts. it was the those who administered justice. often the and the "voluntary gifts" (imposed in 1758 and abolished in 1789). the feudal rights still existed. and soon became monopolists. La Chartreuse and the commandery of La Madeleine. to towards increasing his make him presents. The servility of the officials. i. and so not to mention the presents forth. to all the other urban taxes.THE TOWNS 99 Besides this. tribunals. In the towns. and the lords. six ecclesiastical courts" the bishopric. vassals). as the fifty canons of Brioude or even the right of intervening in the only honorary rights. salary. La Ville.* But what chiefly excited the anger of the citizens was that all kinds of feudal taxes. L''Alsace pendant la Revolution. went on growing larger which had to be sent every year to various personages in Paris. and Not so heavily. but still very eavily when added perhaps. as well as the lods et ventes (which were the dues only levied by the lord on all sales and purchases made by his taille weighed heavily upon the homes of the citizens.. The bishop was still a feudal lord. the monks of Saint-Benigne. Rodolphel Reuss. but to " In short. Vide Babeau. mayors and officials began to trade in corn and meat. vol. the right of At Angers there were sixteen manorial administering justice.

they destroyed the houses of the principal monopolists. or by proclaiming a fixed price. and the hungry people formed in classes long queues outside the bakers' doors. to flatter their own titles vanity and to escape from the taxes. they took possession of the Town Hall and nominated on the popular vote a new municipality. An indication of their inscribed over the door was enough to excuse their paying One can readily imagine the hatred that these privileged persons inspired in the people^ The entire municipal system had. bread was always scarce. tell how many it years it would have left lasted yet. if the task of reforming had been to the Constituent Happily enough." and others honorary equerries. and speculated themselves in the dearth. First. anything to the town. often of the municipal officials . But who can Assembly. The clergy. or yet the offices purchased by the by election movement of the highest revolutionary importance was thus set on foot.^ But in many of the towns the mayor and the aldermen followed the example of the Court and the princes. had spread into the provinces. as well as of the executions of Foulon and Berthier." A .ioo THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION these dues ^What made town was more detestable was that when the making the assessment hundreds of privileged persons claimed exemption. they exacted a fixed price on bread and meat . therefore. This is why. Even in poorer those places where the municipality did its best to lower the price of it by purchasing corn. the people undertook to do it themselves. ( This cause was the famine exorbitant price of bread. but also its determination to take an active part in cillors. without the limitations fixed by law or the legal rights of the heeding " counold municipal body." who paid for those offices without service. to be reformed. the more so that during the summer of 1789 a fresh cause of discontent was added to all those which have the just been enumerated. for lack of which bread the were suffering in most of the towns. after the news of the taking of the Bastille. not only its autonomy. the nobles and " officers officers in the army were exempt by law. for the town affirmed. as well as the " of the King's household. the townspeople began to revolt more or less everywhere.

her Mayor (Bailly). aptly remarked." is everything. 1 903 . to the will of the electorate in the local assemblies. * Aulard. at the outset. far from being general." declare with regret the friends of the rule and compass. number of cities But everywhere the old municipality of the ancient regime had to submit to the will of the people. It displayed itself clearly only in a certain and small towns. were organised " sixty republics. as we shall see." said Bailly. \ Thus was accomplished. where. chiefly in the east of France. the Commune had evident that this movement was been established on July 13. at least. they at the concerning the reorganisation of the Courts of Justice I It hardly got as far as that at the end of ten months of its existence. The whole strength of the Revolution concentrated. as we have It is seen. " Each district is an independent power." as Montjoie : happily terms them for if these districts did delegate authority to the assembled representatives of the Commune and to the same time retained some of it. the great Communalist Revolution. " Authority " and there is none at the centre. in the municipalities of the towns and villages. 1790. The signal Paris. which some day would be voted by the Assembly. or. 1789. in July and August. 2 nd edition. Paris gave herself a Commune. Histoire politique de la Revolution franeaise.* in which the province imitated Paris. and the Commander of her National Guard sixty districts Better still. as 101 Aulard has the general government of the nation. when could it have been able to enter on the discussion of a law Mayor. her (Lafayette) were elected. and had its hands full of so many things. without understanding that this is how revolutions are made.THE TOWNS It was. of which the revolutionary for this reconstruction Commune came from of Paris was the prototype. in 1792 and 1793. and June 21. a communalist movement of the very greatest importance. the Revolution a powerful access of life and vigour. While the National Assembly had to struggle against its own dissolution. . Without waiting for the municipal law. Her Municipal Council. which the Constituent Assembly legalised later on by the municipal laws of December Obviously this movement gave 14.

did the same. Let us therefore glance tions. but it is in this way human institutions develop when they are not the product of bureaucracy. nine days after the great rising in Strasbourg and the taking of the Town Hall at Besanc. Here a group of houses and a few shops beside them . In this way all the great cities were built up . even when it came in the form of legend.on and by the insurgents. . The Constituent Assembly had thus nothing else to do but incorporate the accomplished fact in the Constitution of 1791. justices of the peace should be established. This is the " anarchic great evolution. Strasbourg especially. at some communal revolu- In 1789 news spread with what would seem to us almost inconceivable slowness. there a track. on the 27th. Arthur Young did not find a or a single newspaper. Other districts and other cities." And the district proceeded then and there to elect them. could not but stimulate the people to rise. in his Memoires. Taine and all the admirers of the administrative order of the somnolent ministers are shocked no doubt at the thought of these districts forestalling the Assembly by their votes and pointing out to it the will of the people by their decisions . as its only way pertaining to free Nature. It is the same even with institutions when they are the organic product of life." says Bailly. they had lost it already in several towns. At Dijon. They allow men to start with the organic re- constructive work without being hampered by an authority of these which. this will be an important point in the future city . and when the night of August 4 arrived and the nobility had to abdicate their rights of seigneurial justice. The news that was being single cafe talked about was a fortnight old. yet scarcely discernible. where new judges had been appointed by the people. perforce. and this is why revolutions have such immense importance in the life of societies. we can see them still being thus built.loz THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION " But the district of the Petits. Thus at Chateau-Thierry on July 12.August ins decided on its own " that account. Still the news that was coming from Paris. and that one day will be one of " the streets. no one knew anything about it. always represents the past ages.

as soon as the news of the taking of the Bastille and the execution of de Launey spread through the town. At Strasbourg the troubles began on July 19." xxvi). they asked his permission for the respectable citizens to carry arms. or Municipal " and Government. Paris." * " the " I fpr quote from the text equality of the citizens. . it was said. and a storm of stones began to gathered to besiege the fall in the apartment where negotiations were taking place between the Magistracy and the revolutionary representatives.Antoinette. the the results of their deliberations over the " writ of grievances. 1789 (R." un- hesitatingly refused. seeing poor and starving persons assembling in the streets. and to form themselves into a police. well as all the judges. communicating to the people's representatives to the electors cahier de doleances. the Through people demanded measures (or Ammeister). July 28. jointly with the troops. "Documents. and their influence They insisted upon no notice being taken of the existing law. and as to the " atrocities " committed by Marie. with aristocratic ideas.THE TOWNS 103 All the deputies. and upon electing by universal suffrage a new town council. the governor of the province. The people had already a grudge against the municipal council for their slowness in " " that is. The Magistracy. the well-to-do middle classes armed themselves against the people. and going to the house of Count Rochambeau. Reuss. * Lettre des representants de la bourgeoisie aux deputes de Strasbourg a Versailles. a request which the " imbued officer in command. attacked the house of "Lemp. and destroyed it. opposed the obse/vance of several centuries to the proposed as change. had been put in the Bastille . as de Launey had done at the Bastille. on its side had no great wish to do this. Meanwhile. and to this argument the Magistracy at once yielded. 1881. every one was discussing them with perfect assurance. The people." Whereupon the people Town Hall. therefore. the organ of its " Assembly of Burgesses Mayor assuring the political in the elections of the administrators of the public property and of the freely elected judges freely eligible." drawn up by the poorer classes. L'Alsace pendant la Revolution franeaise.

as rioting went on in Strasbourg and in the neighbouring districts." said the Magistracy in the letter dated August 5. They smashed open the doors with their hatchets. The double doors of all the archives were forced open in order to : burn the old documents. the people went again to attack the The town-dues and subsidies this had been done in demanding the abolition of the Since (octrois and bureaux des aides). it could very well be done in " Strasbourg. They had to hurry. broke into the vaults. a rumour having spread in the town that the Magistracy had revoked their concessions. Town Town Hall. top of this the news of the night of August 4 in the Assembly arrived at Strasbourg on the nth. hurriedly lowered the and bread : prices of meat twelve sous. The Record Office. and the disturbance * Wheat was then The prices rose at the end of 19 livres the sack." wrote the new Magistracy. where the people were turning out the " established " provosts of the communes. seized with terror. They have wreaked a blind rage upon the papers they have been all thrown out of the windows and destroyed. so that the bakers were forbidden to bake On cakes or fancy bread." advanced from three streets towards the Hall. and were nominating others at will. moment when every one believed himself in a fair way to new municipal " obtain the restoration of pretended rights. About six o'clock masses of workmen. Paris. while formulating claims to the forests and claiming other rights a It is a directly opposed to legally established property. and in their fury destroyed all the old " papers accumulated in the offices. .* they fixed the six-pound loaf at negotiations with Then they opened amicable the twenty tribus (or guilds) of the city for the elaboration of still constitution. met with the same doors were broken fate. Magistracy. " the depot of estates in litigation. armed with axes and hammers. and in their hatred of the Magistracy the people even broke the furniture of the Town Hall and threw it out into the streets. August to 28 and 30 livres. the people did as they liked. At the open and the Town The The troops stationed in front of the Hall could do nothing ." tax-collector's office the receipts carried off.104 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION next day.

They had given But they had no intention of giving up the feudal (patrimonial) rights which belonged to them over certain surrounding lands. . urged the matter before the Strasbourg middle classes. August 12. : Dietrich congratulated the new aldermen Gentlemen. . . p. And when later on one of these two deputies. during the night of August 4. proposed to decree that August 14. When the two deputies from Strasbourg in the National Assembly were pressed by their fellows to abdicate their rights. the revolution which has just taken place in our town will mark the epoch of the return of the confidence that should unite the citizens of the same " commune. Schwendt. the three hundred aldermen in their turn resigned their " offices. cause with the rebels. 147. The first use that . the day of the revolution in Strasbourg. The old regime was thus breaking up at Strasbourg. Thus. . on August 14. a provisional Senate. August 17 these terms M. . * Reuss. should be an annual civic 1*. his constituents Thus persisted nevertheless in claiming their feudal rights. . a new Corporation was constituted. The classes of Strasbourg were freed from the feudal system. { An middle important fact stands out in this revolution. ! Dietrich. they refused to do so." or rather their privileges. Strasbourg had in this Without waiting for this constitution way given herself a Commune and and on in judges to her liking. begging them not to oppose the current of the Revolution. New aldermen were elected. moreover.THE TOWNS became still 105 common more threatening. V Alsace. This august assembly has just been freely elected by their fellow citizens to be their representatives. you have made of your powers has been to appoint your What strength may grow from this union " judges. and they appointed the judges. all the more as the army made Whereupon the old Corpora- tion resolved to resign. which was to direct the affairs of the > city until the Assembly at Versailles should establish a new municipal constitution.* The next day. themselves a democratic municipal government.

Turckheim. 8. The municipality hesitated. On August likewise. five . sent in his resignation after escaping from Versailles on October 5." with the purpose of preserving their rights over " the rich seignories. Strasbourg give's us a clear enough idea For instance. is a document of the highest interest in this connection . Whereupon the people deposed the members on August 19." " the most conciliatory of monarrhs. seized the arms and distributed them among salt-stores . a new municipality was elected. whom they " the called brigands. since 1789. spreading. " caused the salt to be served out at six sous.io6 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION see forming in this city." which belonged to the city under feudal law." they only * Published by Reuss. scythes and flails. They broke into the Government but here. the people demanded arms for all volunteers. we see the movement made up of the at What happened The people. after they had heard about peasants. themselves. of what was going on in the other large towns. a National already But the middle classes formed themselves into Guard and repulsed the peasants. entered the town. some peasants. " the best of kings. as had been done at Strasbourg. The letter * in which the other Strasbourg deputy. they did not plunder." During the ten or fifteen taking advantage of the panic which was hundred " brigands " were talked of as coming from Paris to ravage everything the middle classes organised their National Guard. On July 20. too. with the help of the neighbouring rebelled since July 18. a party which will rally round the King. and a maximum days following. and all the small towns armed themselves But the people were ill-pleased at this. and. one sees there already how and why the Gironde " defenders of will rally under its middle-class flag the " as well as the we property Royalists/. price for bread. the burning of the toll-gates at Paris. same elements. to seize the wheat they needed for food and seed. The people overran the Town Hall. probably which they expected to find there in the warehouses of the armed with monopolists. a town about which we have also sufficiently complete documents. probably on hearing news of the night of August 4. . at Troyes. pitchforks.

point. who a fortnight before had given the order to fire on the people. taking . After thiSj for about a fortnight. At Cherbourg on July 21. and had been directed solely against the nobility. who had caused a man to be hanged during the preceding riot as . which had never ceased since August 19. Thus at Amiens. or else they took possession of the monopolists' storehouses and carried off the grain classes . the insurgent people almost killed three merchants . would probably have never taken place if the popular rising had been confined to the country parts.Georges. almost the same thing happened. " lower advantage of the panic produced by the rising of the up a new municipality At the same time. and also a notary's. they sacked the houses of those price of this who were known bread-stuffs. and in many other towns of less importance. Bread ! people rose with cries of Death to the monopolists Down with the toll-gates 1 " ! The hungry " which meant free entrance of all supplies coming in from the country. and they threatened. whom they accused of having tried to defend the trading monopolists. Paris after July 14. which was even say that this carried out everywhere in August and September. as well as that of the lieutenant of the mounted police. the disturbance. whereupon the middle classes hastened to arm their militia. They compelled the municipality to reduce the price of bread. and killed him. terror reigned among the they had done in upper middle reorganise classes. and on September 26 they ended by getting the upper hand of the unarmed people. and the house of the old Commandant Saint. They sacked his house. on September 9. f As a rule the anger of the people was directed much more the representatives of the middle classes who monopolised against the food-stuffs than against the nobility who monopolised the land. The people seized upon the Mayor (Huez). reached its culminating. as at Troyes. to sack many others.THE TOWNS 107 Finally. We may formation of militias in the towns. But they managed during that time to their own National Guard. and to elected old municipal government set on a democratic basis. at Rouen on the 24th. The middle to have trafficked in the took advantage of movement to turn out the imbued with feudalism.

chiefly by studying this method of action among the and not by devoting oneself to the study of the Assembly's people. are at their last shift. the In Alsace. and of the " brigands " in the country. were making the Revolution on the spot ." executed the popular leaders. but conditions were " laid down for their payment." In this way the people. After that they "restored order. the town-dues.io8 classes THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION " in the towns. After the night of August 4. a new municipal administration. " was in revolt against the treasury clerks. they are not refused." compulsorily taxes. these urban insurrections spread still more. refused to pay anything until the exempts people generally and privileged persons had been added to the lists of tax- the collection of taxes " " An infinity of places payers. where they fought with the peasants and hanged the " leaders " of the revolted peasantry. and they prescribed the mode of equal division of the taxes that they agreed to pay to the State or to the It is Commune." said *' The price of salt has been Necker. of all revolutions. the levies and "The collectors of the taille is no longer made. for instance. Indications of them are seen everywhere. legislative^ work. as to the direct taxes. they armed themselves and organised their Municipal Guard. in his report of August 7. . The people would no longer pay the indirect tax . they gave themselves. by revolutionary means. that one grasps the genius of the Great Revolution the Genius. and very often went into the country to restore order there. past and to come. reduced one-half in two of the revolted localities. in the main. they made a distinction between the taxes that they accepted and those which they refused to pay." and so forth. long before the Assembly. The excise were no longer paid.

hanging. who think that good can come out of an excess of the people in 1789 had caught a glimpse of the light of approaching freedom. and this the people did. the Governors of the provinces were writing to the ministers that if they wished to put down all the riotings it was no longer possible to do so. But to hope was not enough. and for that reason they rose with good heart. It is clear. the first rebels who prepare a revolution must be ready to give their lives. none was of . were encouraged by the revolutionaries of is undoubtedly true . 1788. tended in the same direction. the people. and that the drawing up in the parishes of the cakiers.CHAPTER XVI THE PEASANT RISING Peasants begin to rise Causes of risings Chateaux destroyed Rising in Alsace Franche-Comte Castres Auvergne Characteristics of rising Middle classes and their fears France Terror throughout National Picardy revolts Assembly meets EVER since the winter of 1788. also. the peasants were already in revolt. 109 Taken separately. Whilst rioting was being punished by pillory. encouraged the rising. From November. as we have said. evil. and especially since March 1789. which were to serve as guides for the assemblies Revolutions are of electors. no longer paid rent to the lords. torture and On the contrary. to act was also necessary . wherein the abolition of the feudal rights was already spoken about. there were many the middle classes of 1789 who understood persons among that without a popular rising they would never have the upper in this they That the middle classes hand over the absolute power of the King. that the discussions in the Assembly of the Notables. as is often believed by young revolutionists. never the result of despair.

* we find in them a tendency to show that the whole movement was the work of the enemies of the Revolution of persons who took advantage of rustic ignorance. we know. especially in the east. the lands belonging to the nobles were seized and tilled." who had devastated the 3. they tend rather whole affair as the result of an unfortunate " the work of brigands. Moreover. As for the documents published by the heartless Committee chance * to represent the for Investigations in January 1790. . even that it was the English. were formed among them. only began to appear on November 24. ing. 1789. 1789. the numbers from November 24. to be sure. 1789. north-east and south-east of France. 1790. The movement. writs of plaints and grievances (the de doleances) were drawn up. It is wards first at the beginning of the harvest time. and of which the ninety-three numbers. By March the whole of the east of France was in revolt. from May 8 to November 23. and the greater part bear traces of a partisan spirit. But as soon as the harvests were gathered in." In some places the tax-collectors were received with cudgels . which. were compiled later on in the Year IV.i io THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION great importance . the lords. and in August. in others. Others go so far as to say that it was the nobles. during the second half of July 1789. together. the risings broke out with fresh force. indeed.. is An agrarian even very probable. to February were also retouched in the Year IV. and here and there a lord was exe" cuted by the Jacques Bonhommes. 1789. was neither continuous nor general. and from that time the peasants began to refuse to furnish In January c abiers Secret associations statute labour to the lords and the State. Documents bearing with exactitude on this rising are wantThose that have been published are very incomplete. From month to month these risings multiplied. If we take the Moniteur. the electors were elected. that there was a slackening n the outbreaks at the time of field work in April. and afternever that. who had incited the peasants to rise. they were undermining the very foundations of State. or. as is always the rising case in the peasant insurrections.

a work the more necessary as the risings of the peasants continued until the Convention abolished feudal rights. They appear only sporadically in the centre of France and in the south and west. after the elections which gave to France the Third Republic. Burgundy and the Auvergne. except in Brittany. 48. in August 1793.THE PEASANT RISING country parts. p. the Nivernais. of the land tithes. this work among the archives not being done. That the dearth of food counted for much in these risings is But their chief motive was the desire to get possession and the desire to get rid of the feudal dues and the besides. But they are very general in the east. Doniol has remarked very truly that the source of the risings * La Revolution franfaise." published in 1877. and from a few authors. The Dauphine. For the time being. north-east and south-east. they false this had taken and it is We know to-day how representation is. by them. As I have if we trace on a map the localities where these risings took place. and whom if whom the middle had exterminated. and until the village communes were granted the right of resuming the communal land which the documents would result from a historian took the trouble to study carefully in the archives. a work of the highest value had been taken from them during the two preceding centuries. certain. three out of every five were plundered in Dauphine. C There is. always explaining the rising of 1789 by the light which the better-known movements of the following year sheds on this first outbreak. and against m classes up arms. one characteristic trait in these risings. . the Beaujolais. says Doniol . this map will in a general way present a " of the three hundred and striking resemblance to the map sixty-three. It was chiefly the eastern part of France which espoused the cause of the Revolution. certain that it. the Franche-Comte and the Maconnais are especially affected In the Franche-Comte nearly all the chateaux were * burned. remarked elsewhere. we must confine ourselves to what can be gleaned from some local histories from certain memoirs. Next in proportion comes Alsace. and this same part is still the most advanced in our own day.

slightest encouragement given to them. sufficed to make the villages rise. When the States-General began to sit. and the rumours arriving to inspire hope. would come to their aid and redress their wrongs. and houses were burned months of down if the masters did not relinquish with a good grace the feudal rights recorded in the charters. Their firm belief that the King to whom they ad- dressed their complaints. In all their risings. they were sure that something would be done for them. in the provinces. as soon as people in the villages began to eat again after the long from Versailles scarcity. that they were obeying the wishes. or at least let them take it upon themselves to redress these wrongs this was what urged them to revolt as soon as the elections had taken place. the peasants have I shall even say always tried to decide the hesitating ones to persuade themselves by maintaining that there was some force ready to back them up. the rumours which came from Paris. coupled with the disquiet- The ing news which was coming from Paris and from the towns in There is no longer revolt. necessarily made the peasants believe that the of feudal rights moment had come and for obtaining the abolition for taking back the land. in France. their grievances. or the Assembly. They began turned upon the chateaux in order to destroy the charterrooms. and of the Assembly's. and the majority thought so sincerely. . the rolls and the rest. They had thought. in Russia and in Germany. part by no matter what kind of agitators. the slightest doubt that use was made more than once of the King's name. the peasants rose. Many documents. as soon as the first harvests were reaped in the summer of 1789. in case of defeat and of proceedings being taken against them. and afterwards. or some other power.ii2 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION set forth in was already the cahiers. This gave them cohesion. indeed. vague though they were. and before even the Assembly had met. if not the orders. whether on the of the revolutionaries or from the side of the Orleanists. of the King or of the Assembly. Therefore. the lists and the title-deeds . which were written for the Since the peasants had been asked to state elections of 1789. allude to the circulation among the villages of false decrees of the King and of the Assembly. there was always a safe excuse.

and then those of Luce. and straightway rising took place generally in this way a band was formed composed of the inhabitants of various villages. 22. towards the end of July. when the news of the preparations for the coup d'etat and Necker's dismissal reached that place. Soon all Loraine had risen. The neighbouring villages followed the example of the towns. 1846). The abbeys were sacked and plundered for the same . plundered.J Rioting soon began. which went in a body to attack the chateaux. statute-labours and dues of all sorts were also taken away and burnt. were especially excited against the lords. but the taking of the Bastille was still unknown. p." says the Courrier franfais. the a village rose.* At Saarlouis. Every- thing was destroyed at the offered resistance. According to Strobel (Vaterlandische Geschichte des Elsass). The % Histoire de la Revolution dans le Jura (Paris. It is stated that in eight days. as well as houses of rich merchants in the towns. Phalsbourg and Thionville the excise officers were driven away and their sous offices pillaged and burnt. were " The peasants. and at the same time the middle classes armed its militia (all wearing the tricolour cockade) to resist 242 et seq. and that the peasants had carried off and destroyed all the land records. ^ In Alsace the peasant rising was almost general. eleven chateaux sacked. Sarreguemines. says Sommier. others plundered.! Abbey of Miirbach. three abbeys were destroyed. registers of feudal taxes. Forbach. Cahier d'Aval. of peasants gathered from the villages they marched against the strongest chateaux. Bithaine and Molans. round about reason. seized all the old papers and made bonfires of them. In certain localities The flying columns were formed. H . which probably In the Franche-Comte the first riots took place at Lons-leSaulnier as early as July 19. bent of men's minds in the Jura is revealed in a song given in the f : * P. Salt was selling at three the pound. several hundred and sometimes several thousand strong. Sometimes these bands concealed themselves in the woods. believing that the Revolution was going to bring in equality of wealth and rank.THE PEASANT RISING 113 In the neighbourhood of Vesoul and Belfort the war on the country houses began on July 16. besieged them. the date when the chateau of Sancy.

All the title-deeds held by the Abbey of the Bernardins in the neighbouring communes were carried off . did not refrain from declaring openly that the provinces they * t Sommier. Roux 'himself this 'admission. : : . t In the Auvergne the peasants took the law on their side. they attained their end in a roundabout way.f At Castres the risings began after August 4. the people rose. J Anacnarsis Combes. A singularly bold plan was adopted and carried out over the whole province. the Carthusian Convent of Faix. the throne was to be attacked." But from village to in the village. and the chateaux of Gaix and Montldier. who had formed the National Guard. they compelled the lords to renounce their right over land which had belonged formerly to the communes. M. Beamong The sides this. demanding the abolition of this tax . granted by the King to private individuals. 1875). therefore. they retook possession of the forests which had once been communal. v. which. began to restore rural districts the insurrection spread hundred " order. the inquiries made have never led" to the disclosure of a single leader's name " (p. many precautions to put and when they went to the chateaux to burn the records." says this writer . who published in 1891. themselves the meadows and woods of the lords. 1870). and immediately the middle classes. 2nd edition (Besan9on. that all duction).ii 4 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION "the incursions of the brigands who infest the kingdom. The whole people were included in this conspiracy. could be destroyed" (p. we take from M. pp. Edouard Clerc. . the Abbey of Vielmur and other places were plundered and the records destroyed."* The peasants divided rising soon spread to the villages. without any formalities.). attributes the whole movement to a few leaders "To call upon the people to rise " against the King would have had no results. they did not hesitate to say to the lords that But in the eastern they were acting by order of the King. Or else. then being defenceless. of the introWell. As soon. Essai sur I'histoire de la Franche-Comte. the complete depositions of an inquiry made in 1879 on this subject. under the title Memoire sur la marche des brigandages dans le Dauphine en 1789. A tax of coupe was levied in kind (so much per setter) in this town on all wheats imported into the province. 24-25. Xavier Roux. six strong. It is summed up in these words to stir up the people against the lords in the name of the King the lords once crushed. Histoire de la ville de Castres et de ses environs pendant la Revolution francaise (Castres. as they heard in Castres the news of the night of August 4. It was a feudal tax. iv.

nine only in the Auvergne. They attacked. and 'Like the middle . and if there were cases where the persons of some lords were ill-treated. . p. and the moment had come for them to abdicate. if there had been any shooting then the chateau was completely pillaged. vol. sixty-two in the Maconnais and the Beaujolais. iv. They did them no harm . a final quittance of " rents Histoire politique du Midi de la France. residing in the country and perhaps loved by those round them. may have filtered through from that time . or if the lord or his steward had called in the police. classes of the towns. Thus.THE PEASANT RISING 115 time had come when the Third Estate would no longer permit the nobles and priesthood to rule over them. and often it was set on fire. : plundered or burnt in the Dauphine. For a large number of the poorer nobles. made no crats. that the peasants in the Viennois. and then danced round the tree. all the dues begotten by feudalism should be wiped out. after compelling the lord to swear that he would relinquish his rights. the revolted peasantry showed much personal regard. The power of these two classes had lasted too long. " " " aristoas well as those of therefore. the they the lands peasants also knew very well what they wanted stolen from the communes should be given back to them. hung on its boughs the feudal emblems. renunciation taken. and twelve monasteries and five chateaux We may note. They burned them. if there had been resistance. : 1845. all went ofE quietly the peasants burned the registers. 1842(Mary Lafon. by the way." distinctions for political opinions. The idea that the rich people as a whole should be wiped out. who knew well what wanted and what they expected from the Revolution. planted a May-tree in the village. they were and may generally be explained by the fact that men who had made money out of the If the land-registers were given up and the oath of scarcity. 377). but at the moment the jacquerie confined its attention to things. they were speculators.* Otherwise. the houses of patriots " * Sometimes in the south they hung up also this inscription By order of the King and of the National Assembly. too. but the registers and title-deeds of feudal landlordism they never spared. nearly forty in the FrancheComte. it is reckoned that thirty chateaux were isolated cases.

" might attack the rich. on a good many of tKe" towns in the region of the risings. poor " the brigands. the inhabitants had revolted in the second half of July. and. the capital of Picardy. and the middle classes took middle " the classes possession of the arms which they found at the at the armourers'. for example. brigands The same thing happened in many other towns. honest among the middle classes. cudgels and scythes. indeed. receipts . rising. 225. armed with pitchforks. but the mass of the middle classes in the provinces saw only a danger against which it was necessary to arm themselves. They burnt the toll-gates. and organised their National Town Hall or town. In reality. The who were were seized with panic.! who were. At and " Troyes. were overrunning the villages and burning the crops. some countrymen armed with scythes flails had entered the town. were compelling the lords to abdicate their * Moniteur. Flanders and all Picardy have taken up arms the tocsin is ringing in all the towns and villages. They were expecting Some one had seen " six thousand " on the brigands. as some one aptly remarked to " Arthur Young.ii6 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the middle classes doing while these riots were on ? going There must have been in the Assembly a certain number of What were men who understood that the rising of the peasants at that moment represented a revolutionary force . 378. the news from Paris on the night of the 28th. After receiving prisoners. f Travels in France. all these " brigands were nothing more than peasants. and would probably have pillaged the houses of the speculators. . What was called at the time la grande -peur (" the great fear ") seized." march to plunder everything. they said. threw the Custom House officers into the water. p. " Hainault. all when the middle classes." wrote the Mayor of Peronne. carried off the from the Government offices and set free all the " All this was done before July 28." that." Three hundred thousand middle-class men were formed into permanent patrols and all this to be ready for two thousand " brigands. fear lest the folk of the making common Guard." * armed " " the themselves against and drove them away. in fact. i. for cause with At Peronne.

" they are burning all the crops round about. But the important was that the peasants were thus being armed. Thanks to we can keep on foot an army of three millions of middle-class men and peasants all over France. a thousand." league off in such a forest . And by the time that the villages sinister rumour reached the towns. the jacquerie. then the townspeople. and were stopping passers-by to ask them if they were " for the nation. so that the people may " village Thereupon the tocsin would be rung and the would arm themselves. but on at a would announce that " the towns. in 1791. He had two or three " resolute but not well-known men." three thousand of them." well-known member of the Assembly and f'Adrien Duport. They had been seen about a starve. the numbers would have grown to six thousand brigands.THE PEASANT RISING " 117 feudal rights. . % can imagine the terror which these risings inspired all armed peasants : . of the Breton Club." said these emissaries. arriving There are five hundred." The Mayor of Peronne has also aptly said : We the sinister rumours. through France we can imagine and it the impression that they was under the domination of this terror that the National Assembly met on the evening of August 4 to discuss what measures should be taken to suppress at Versailles. he will King take care ! find the We made in his way." who avoided the agents. Let the point When he tries to escape. even boasted of having armed in this way the middle classes in a great many towns. brigands were coming. a are willing to be in the Terror. would arm themselves and send patrols into the forest to find nothing there. especially the middle classes.

wave of enthusiasm passed the Assembly . 1793. all were eager to make their sacrifice. Whereupon the clergy and nobility. 1789. 1791. the tribune an zi8 altar. and. and May 31. the Assembly . and the majority of historians. and provoked everywhere somewhat similar insurrections.CHAPTER XVII AUGUST 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES Night of August 4 Aristocracy pretends to relinquish feudal rights Assembly begs King to take action D'Aiguillon and de Noailles take up cause of peasants Their great speeches Le Guen de K6rangall Scene in Assembly Extent of actual concessions Effect of news in provinces Middle classes take up arms against peasants. copying the story as it has been given by a few contemporaries. the peasants attacked their lords and burnt the chateaux. the Revolution had gained its first victory. June 21. through richest and the A " The sitting was a holy feast. night of August 4 is one of the great dates of the RevoluLike July 14 and October 15. With the taking of the Bastille. the The nobles. The news spread to the provinces. clergy. represent it as a night full of enthusiasm and saintly abnegation. filled as with done nothing yet a patriotic impulse. August The historic legend is lovingly used to embellish this night. THE tion. began to relinquish their feudal rights during this memorable night. It penetrated to the villages. at the instigation of all kinds of vagabonds. the historians tell us. 10. it marked one of the great in the revolutionary movement. and it determined the stages character of the period which follows it. the of the poorest parish priest feudal lords. seeing that they had for the peasant. 1792. all renounced upon the altar of their country their secular prerogatives.

for justice and ecclesiastic. it threatened to become general. persons. who are usually calm " It was a Saint Bartholomew of enough. having made an auto-da-fe of all the others. and when two bishops the abolition of the tithes. Pleas were to be heard. and the news which . and that during this all-night sitting nobles and clergy followed one another to the tribune and disputed who should first give up their seignorial courts of justice. J ? This is also The evening sitting of August 4 had at first begun with panic. which the two nobles and the two bishops had introduced into their speeches a clause terrible even in its vagueness. since it might mean all or nothing. made by the privileged Lords. as well for the abolition of as of the various privileges of the those of Nancy and of Chartres nobility.AUGUST 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 119 Hall a temple. Beginning in the east. in fact. unbought. in this enthusiasm nobody remarked the clause for redeeming the feudal rights and tithes. In a few places the peasants had acted savagely towards their masters. put the demand feudal rights. the Viscount de Noailles is That and the Duke d'Aiguillon. has not been carried away by enthusiasm in his turn ? And who has not passed over those traitorous words. not with enthusiasm. the peasant insurrection spread towards the south. and equal for all. It is true that spoke demanding the enthusiasm went on ever increasing. as we shall see. property. were seen relinquishing their game laws. rights for four years the beautiful story of that night." says one of the historians. abuses of its privileged classes. "rachat au denier 30" (redemption at a thirty-years' purchase). the abolition of feudal But which of us in until August 1793. " France was a country born anew. the north and the centre . lay and (The Assembly was carried away by its enthusiasm." the legend. and f ^X did. without understanding their terrible import what happened in France in 1789. We have just seen that a number of chateaux had been burnt or plundered during the previous fortnight." say the And when the first beams of day broke over France on the morrow the old feudal system no longer existed. written by its conreading temporaries. It is true that a profound enthusiasm thrilled the Assembly when two nobles. postpone. free.

. it was the end of July. that as in all the past. the magistrates are without authority." It is who do that " exclaimed the Duke " in several provinces the whole of the people ! certainly not enthusiasm that speaks here : it is more like fear. nobles ascertained with alarm that there was not any force came The on the spot capable of checking the riots. . Besides. whether feudal or not. and farms given over to pillage. have entered into a league to destroy the chateaux to ravage the lands. no matter what nature. and the people.120 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION in from the provinces exaggerated what had happened. who had nothing to eat. until the customary dues and payments should be paid it should have been ordained otherwise by the Assembly. rioters of a scheme The Assembly was invited to pronounce an energetic condemnation of the and to command most emphatically respect for property. The taxes and seignorial dues all are done away with. This had already been spoken of the day before. But some days past a certain number of the nobility a few more advanced in their ideas than the rest of their class. cut the corn belonging to the lords. of prey of the On all sides chateaux are burnt. while waiting for the Assembly to legislate on the matter. therefore. . and above all to get possession of the record-rooms where the title-deeds of the feudal properties are deposited. is the most culpable brigandage.* The Assembly proceeded in consequence to beg the King to take stringent measures against the rebellious peasants. and who the Viscount de saw more clearly all that was happening for : the lands " would probably mean that in certain the peasants reaped the harvests belonging to the lords while places they were yet green." And the report demanded that the Assembly should censure severely the disturbances and " that the old declare laws (the feudal laws) were in existence until the authority of the nation had abrogated or modified " them." " They are not brigands d'Aiguillon . with the reading for issuing a proclamation against the risings. August 3. The sitting opened." said the Committee of " It appears that property. The laws are powerless. * " To ravage . the corn was nearly ripe. convents destroyed Inquiry.

other kinds of personal servitude. said the two spokesmen of the liberal nobility." " All the feudal rights were to be redeemable by the communes. Whereupon both nobles and clergy rise at the same time to follow his example." said the Viscount de Noailles." said Lafare. without any distinction. all the State charges " I * " made (subsides). and the choice now lies " between the destruction of society and certain concessions. f " either by money or exchange. scarcely left time for coming to some agreement over the prudential measures thought advisable for carrying into effect those beneficent projects. and lastly." The Bishop of Chartres demanded the abolition of the game laws. dissatisfied that nothing has been done for them during these three months.AUGUST Noailles. the feudal dues attached f Ever since the Revolution began the country folk had demanded the abolition of the feudal rights. Bishop of " and I demand that the redemption be not turned to the Nancy. profit of the ecclesiastical lord. of mortmain and all . the rural districts. which had been voted in so many memorials of both provincial and parochial assemblies wherever the citizens had been able to meet for the last eighteen months amid touching expressions of opinion and ardent protestations. are in a state of revolt . demand the redemption for the ecclesiastical funds. and to demand the redemption by the peasants of to the land and having a real value. but that it may be invested usefully for the poor. Every one will be subject to all the public charges. the Duke de La Rochefoucauld. ing together had understood that the only means of saving the feudal They rights was to sacrifice the honorary rights and prerogatives of little value." said d'Aiguillon.* At the present time. they are no longer under control. and renounced those rights for his own part. commissioned the Duke d'Aiguillon with the developThey ment of these ideas. which should be paid in proportion to the income " all public expenses to be contributed to by all . the abolition without redemption of the seignorial statute-labours. De Richer demanded not only the abolition of the manorial courts of ." t It must also be said that ) The marks of transport and effusion of generous sentiment which the picture presented by the Assembly more lively and spirited from hour to hour." These concessions : were formulated by the Viscount de Noailles thus Equality of all persons under taxation. the feudal rights to be redeemed by the (village) communes " " by means of a yearly rent . the 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 121 Duke as d'Aiguillon. were secretly consult- Alexandre de Lamotte and some others to the attitude to be taken towards the jacquerie. and this is how it was done by the Viscount de Noailles and the Duke d'Aiguillon.

" in proporhe demanded that the personal rights as well as the others " might be redeemed by the vassals if they so desired. he excused their insurrection. or even seventeen. These two speeches were received by the gentlemen of the Third Estate with enthusiasm. The few peasants in this Assembly did not speak. and nobody called but also that justice should be dispensed gratuitously. of whom a great number possessed landed property comprising feudal rights. were. which followed the programme laid down by the Duke d'Aiguillon. and whom the above- mentioned nobles had chosen as their spokesman. on steeped the Revolution in blood. After the revolt of July it was plain that they would never be paid again. This was to make redemption a sham. and they have come down to posterity as sublime acts of abnegation on the part of the nobility." the com" au denier 30" that is. forbids us to exact the renunciation of any He property without granting a just indemnity to the owner. whether the lord renounced them or not. both by the nobles and by the middleclass deputies. but that a tax in money should take the place of the tithe. Several priests asked that they might be allowed to sacrifice their perquisites (casuel). cut down. because for all these rights land rents it business transactions rent was heavy enough at twenty-five years. proposed by the Viscount de Noailles. however. . who followed de Noailles in the tribune. and all property is sacred" " said he. thirty times the annual pensation being payment. created thereby the very conditions of the terrible struggles which later who were justice. The Duke d'Aiguillon. while in reality the National Assembly. These concessions. spoke of the peasants with sympathy .122 for THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION some time past the personal services had been no longer paid by the peasants." also softened down the Viscount de Noailles' phrase about the by saying that tion to their means." taxes. all citizens should contribute And as to the feudal rights. and in is generally reckoned at twenty. but " his conclusion was that the barbarous remnants of the feudal laws which still exist in France are there is no need for dissimulation " Equity" a species of property. We have very clear evidence on that head from the governors of the provinces.

" then uttered some beautiful and moving words. When the nobility accepted in principle the redemption of the feudal rights. hearts throb." the injustice of which he so eloquently denounced. These words. But he. and the privileges of the towns. attention to the small value of the A I did not speak against a redemption of all the feudal rights. as well as about the significance of the peasant rising. had been such a whole provinces renouncing privileges winch had created for them an exceptional position in the kingdom.AUGUST 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 123 . survivals of serfdom. /* It was fine to see. when he spoke of the " infamous parchments " which registered the obligations of personal servitude. As to the mass of the deputies of the Third Estate. " dressed as a peasant. which plague to the peasants. were abolished. several of which held feudal rights over the neighbouring country. too. was to make a sublime sacrifice to the Revolution. asking for the suppression of the pigeon-houses. made. in their eyes. and therefore probably had only a very vague idea about the feudal rights as a whole. It is certain that the spectacle presented by the Assembly during that night must have been fine representatives of the and clergy coming forward to relinquish the privileges had exercised without question for centuries. also. " renunciations " of the nobles. who were city men for the most part. The category of pays d'etats endowed with special rights was thus suppressed. as we have seen. The action they and the word were magnificent when the nobles rose to renounce their privileges in the matter of taxes.} All the eye-witnesses of this memorable sitting have given glowing descriptions of it.. the rising had been strong and widespread) having led the way for the abolition of provincial distinctions. even on terms of redemption. the others followed them.. the poorest curates among them giving up nobility the casuely justice. to renounce the feudal rights. a Breton deputy. The representatives of the Dauphine (where. " " " in times infamous services. and the greatest lords giving up their courts of manorial all of them relinquishing the hunting rights. and still make. . and the priests to renounce their tithes. the clergy were . Le Guen de Kerangall. imposed including those same of darkness and ignorance.

gave the inspiration that ordinary times. would not be fair to try to diminish the importance of that night. and when the Assembly separated at two o'clock in the morning. It was all the greater as the renunciation was done in the how many times had that same light merely provoked in the privileged classes an obstinate That night in resistance. and this spirit. the historian must also consider calmly how far all this enthusiasm did actually go. . Ever since July 14. it gave . and immediately the nobility gave their assent by a loud and impassioned shout. but that the whole should be employed in works of general utility. was hovering over everything that lived and felt. and led to hatred and massacre It is true that it was made with enthusiasm. They accepted fully the redemption of the ecclesiastical feudalities on the condition that the price of redemption should not create personal fortunes amongst the clergy. every one felt that the foundations of society had been laid. the clergy and the privileged persons of every kind had recognised during that night's sitting the progress of the a It new Revolution. and what was the limit it dared not pass he must point out what the people and what it refused to grant them. and words which make hearts vibrate must be pronounced. but ! August those distant flames inspired other words words of sympathy for the rebels . In a revolution enthusiasm must be provoked. Enthusiasm of this kind is needed to push on events.i2 4 called THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION upon to declare themselves. A bishop then spoke about the injuries done in the peasants' fields by the packs of hounds kept by the lords. that they decided to submit to it instead of taking up arms against it this fact by itself was already a conquest of the human mind. and demanded the abolition of the hunting privileges. The enthusiasm reached a very high pitch during the sitting. The fact that the nobility. It will be needed again when a Social Revolution comes. born of the ferment which was working through the whole of France. the spirit of the Revolution. we lack in But having pointed out the effects of the enthusiasm which only a revolution could inspire. and other acts acts of conciliation. light of the burning chateaux. created by millions of wills.

What struggles. The people had abolished all honorary offices. certainly. in 1792. what bloodshed had been spared if they had given up the tithes and had left the payment of their As to the feudal salaries to the nation or their parishioners. a general principle of a fact already accomplished in a of the kingdom. what hatreds. and redemp- be redeemed but let us also say that done infinitely better : tion for the rents attaching to land.AUGUST 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 125 Well. it had to resort to threats of execution to compel the peasants to obey. and had citizens. It went no further. \ We have seen what the people had already done in Strasbourg many other towns. proclaimed the necessity of an income tax and the National and in so Assembly accepted that. But. The Assembly only sanctioned in principle and extended to France altogether what the people had accomplished themselves in certain localities. which after all was a very modest proposal the abolition without indemnity of the personal dues. had simply adopted on August 4. to share the taxation. The so doing. the people had abolished the it was of the towns and the provincial toll-gates privileges done in the eastern provinces and now the Assembly actually accepted this in its turn. rights. not to mention the savage struggles which had to / . that of the Viscount de Noailles. they again accepted a revolutionary people had also abolished the manorial courts of by justice and appointed judges by election . Let us rejoice. the Assembly Finally. part For the rural districts the clergy admitted in principle that the tithes should be redeemable . but in how many places made were the people paying them to ! And when the Assembly tried afterwards exact payment up to 1791. instead of accepting the motion of the Duke d'Aiguillon. They had compelled all the noble and middle-class. how much strife would have been avoided if the Assembly. and the nobility agreed to renounce those offices on August 4 act. . how much blood had to flow during three years. 1789. that limit can be indicated in very few words. that the clergy yielded to the abolition of the tithes under the condition that they should the clergy would have had they not insisted on redemption. to arrive at this latter measure.

They did not care to submit to the decrees of August and distinguish between redeemable rights and abolished rights. which proves how important it is during a revolution to recogCouriers were nise. vol. In the villages the peasants ate their fill therefore. * Histoire de la Revolution dans les dSpartements de I'ancienne Bretagne. despatched from Paris. labours.126 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION be gone through to attain in 1793 the total abolition of feudal rights without redemption ? But let us for the moment do as the men of 1789 did. before the line of demarcation between what should be redeemed and what should disappear since that At least this tions day had been marked out long before those acts and renunciahad been formulated into paragraphs of law. whether he was shot down or not. the pigeon-houses and game were destroyed. ( peasant insurrection took. And if the landowners demanded The payment of any kind of dues. messengers had already brought the good news to the peasant. nor statutelaws are gone Done with henceforth free to everybody ! was how the night of August 4 was understood And before the resolutions of August 5 and in the provinces. i. he would no longer pay anything. Henceforth. nor subsidies : no more payments The game the pigeon-houses all game is There were to be no more nobles. It spread through the provinces. 1 1 had been published.*J Everywhere. . one was filled with joy after that sitting. 422. such as Brittany. which until then had remained quiet. therefore. 8 vols. says Du ChateUier. the peasants went to their chateaux and burnt all the records and land-registers. or at least to proclaim. Every Every one congratu- upon that Saint Bartholomew of feudal abuses. All the feudal rights are abolished quit-rents ! ! No more tithes ! No more ! No more dues ! on the sales of inheritance. carrying the great news to every corner " For it " All the feudal of France rights are abolished was so that the decisions of the Assembly were understood by the people. and it was so stated in the first article of the resolated themselves : ! lution of August 5. a new principle. p. no privileged persons of any sort every one was equal before the judge elected by all : ! in kind. a new force. all over France..

who refused to pay the tithe. while fighting the peasants. burning the chateaux.) a fact of the highest importance for the comprehension of the history of the next few years. and they hanged twenty of them. vol. says the Deux amis de la liberte^ was defeated at Cormatin on July 27. Histoire parlementaire. 254. r We passportslto the richest inhabitants Switzerland was inundated with them. the town of Milhaud appealed **Buchez and^Roux. At Cluny there were a hundred killed and one hundred and sixty prisoners. one of which threatened to attack the chateaux of Cormatin. at Lyons the middle classes. (It was then that in the east of France one could see what has happened later on more or less all over France namely. Twelve peasants were hanged at Douai . The middle classes of the Dauphine* profited largely by these laws. interposing against the peasants in favour of the Liberal historians have passed this by in silence. The rich people and the lords fled. had been seized by the lords. When bands of peasants in revolt passed through Burgundy. t After the defeat of two large bands of peasants. but have seen that the peasant rising attained its greatest vigour in the Dauphine and in eastern France generally. One of these bands. though formerly belonging to the village communities.AUGUST and they also 4 AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 127 took possession of those lands which. to disarm domicile. ii. and after punishments of a frightful severity had been inflicted. . who remained armed themselves and and the National Assembly soon voted a ^ draconian measure against the peasants (August 10). Necker complaining that he had to furnish*six thousand in a fortnight.! sixty prisoners. p. the middle it is classes landlords. But the middle-class people organised their militia. The municipality of Macon made war in due form upon the peasants. the other the town of Cluny. to disperse the bands and to deal with them summarily. the middle-class men in the towns and villages leagued themselves against them. them and took Marshal went peasants. when twenty were killed and sixty taken prisoners.* Under the pretext that the insurrection was the work of brigands. it authorised the municipalities to all call men without profession and without out the troops. killed eighty of In the Dauphin6 the Provost- all over the country hanging the rebellious In the Rouergue.

The peasants were unwilling to submit to the distinction made by the Assembly between the dues attached to the land and the personal services. and in one chateau. say that the parlement (the Court) of Douai ordered twelve leaders of bands to be executed . which Buchez and Roux consulted. 1729. p. . that the peasant insurrection had begun again with renewed vigour. One contemporary pamphlet states that this little army in a single engagement killed eighty of the so-called brigands. probably because of the claims for payment.* In short. " However the Permanent Committee of Macon illegally constituted itself into a tribunal. Everywhere the rising was acts of minor importance. sitting of August 19. 1789. and they rose in order that they should pay to do it if . The Provost-Marshal of the Dauphine. we see by these several acts. but in a scattered way. ii.128 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION to the neighbouring towns. several vassals were hanged for marauding offences. say Buchez and Roux. August 4 The peasant rising apparently slackened only in September or October. and took sixty prisoners. of which it would be easy to increase the list. at the head of a body of middle-class militia. marched through the country and executed as he went (Buchez and Roux. from the account of the Feudalism January 1790 Committee. The pamphlets of the time. and they would have undoubtedly helped considerably the news which came from Paris after the night of had not given a new impetus to the insurrection. inviting them to arm themselves against the brigands and those who refused to pay the taxes. vol. there the middle classes undertook to crush it . that wherever the rising of the peasants was the most violent. by disputes with the clearly provoked by lord or the chapter about a meadow or a fountain. We shall return to this very important subject in one of the succeeding chapters. 244). to which the rights of plenary jurisdiction belonged. &c. perhaps on account of the ploughing but in we learn. the war went on. by order of which twenty of these unhappy peasants were executed for the crime of hunger and for having rebelled against " the tithe and feudal laws (p. the Committee of Electors (middle-class men) at Lyons sent out a flying column of volunteer National Guards. * Courrier parisien. 245). nothing at all. p.

except to those of their children . f The fact of being attached to the land is what constitutes the essence of serfdom. which it had made a show of abandoning a few hours before. for example.f How many They remained therefore attached to they were we do not exactly know. There were still peasants subject to mortmain in the Franche-Comte. a few survivals of the ancient serfdom. belonging to the lord. the lords have also obtained from the State rights over the person of the serf. which made serfdom (in Russia. at the 129 I . There were still in France. under the form of resolutions. 1789. not to be taken Peasants refuse to pay King the rallying-point of literally feudalism Tactics of Assembly Its resolutions finally published by the King WHEN the Assembly met again on August 5 to draw up. who the lived with them. They were serfs in the true sense of the word they could not sell their goods. for the use of which the peasants had to pay. the list of renunciations which had been made during the historic night of the ^th. but * The common oven. grain and wine. mill. &c. nor transmit them by inheritance. and how it was going to defend every one of the pecuniary advantages attached to those same feudal privileges. under the name of mainmortes. banalites* &c. soil. one could see up to what point the Assembly was on the side of property..CHAPTER XVIII THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN Assembly and feudal privileges Survivals of serfdom Obligations to feudal lord Lords try to back out of their promises Church tithes abolished in theory but not in practice Disappointment of peasants Game laws Feudal rights Personal servitude alone abolished Other dues remain Redemption of land rendered impossible Effect of vagueness of Assembly Article of August 4.. press. the Nivernais and the Bourbonnais. besides suffering much loss of food. Wherever serfdom has existed for several centuries.

silence des grenouilles.! the quit-rent. 59. soule. 319. . right of freehold. gelinage. chansons . and in the current language of the day allowed serfdom to be confounded with slavery. which they call chevanehes. ban d'aout. humiliating money. couponage . in kind or in work. pp. trousses." quit-rent. certain town-dues. ban de vendanges . p. London. taillabilite . these were the mortmain and the real serfdom personal obligations. La legislation civile de la Revolution francaise. quintaines. who did not owe at least a or some other due. held under personal obligations either to their former lords or else to the lords of the lands they had bought or of peasants and also of free townsmen. marechausse. they still retained various feudal rights over the lands owned by the \ numerous peasants. * f Sagnac. either in money or in a portion of the crops. to who " held by some or other lord. the lords levied certain customs-revenues. (3) various payments resulting from the lords' monopolies . writing of these vexatious and ruinous dues. Sagnac. sterlage . which were due for a real or supposed concession of land .vingtain . to the possession of the land. still held on It is lease. but there were very few of them. and consequently The very terms ? . . that is to say. leide . bordelage .130 it is THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION thought that the number given by Boncerf as three hundred thousand mainmortables is the most probable. beginning of the eighteenth century) a state closely akin to slavery. estimated that as a rule the privileged classes village. the nobility and clergy held half the lands of every but that besides these lands. corvee a misericorde . milode . which were their property. saut de poisson. the field-rent. bauvin. adds M. . 1892). . often t (2) payments of all sorts in statute-labours. that is to say. forage . . in recognition of the seigniory. " untranslatable (Travels in France.} (These obligations varied very much. says " What are these tortures of the peasantry in Bretagne. nevertheless. cartilage . but they may be five classes relics of : divided into (i) The . 60. or certain rents from those who used their markets or their measures. . the land-tax. civerage. minage . Nearly all lands paid something. barrage . : Arthur Young. the fines on sales and on inheritance . baiser de mariees. droit d'accapt are unknown in England.* Besides these mainmortables there were a very large number who were. transporte d'ceuf sur un charette . " " " Real " opposed to personal means here an obligation attached J to things. ^ Small proprietors were even then very in France.

There was the same shuffling over the question of the * P. and especially their stewards. / All these rights were vexatious to the last degree. they had to put their renunciation into the form of a decree. wine-presses. began to squeeze the farmers. a condition which should be abolished without indemnity. (4) the fees by the lord wherever the court belonged to and (5) the lord possessed him. They tried to establish a distinction between the personal mortmainable serfdom. des droits feodaux that ever since 1776 the impoverished lords. of all therefore. Les inconvenient. 131 common ovens and the rest . there : pertained to mortmain. and the real mortmainable serfdom attached to the land and transmitted with the leasing or purchase of it serfs of the latter class might redeem themselves." they managed so as to cast a doubt even on this especially in every case where it was difficult to separate the rights of mortmain from feudal rights in general. feudal as well as manorial. the taxes. . And if the decided in the end to abolish without indemnity Assembly all the rights and dues. (And it is a fact. "which it Thus mortis. the tenants and the peasants generally. 52. upon which Boncerf lays stress * in his remarkable work. which conferred a much-coveted honour with the privilege. the land-registers for the purpose of augmenting the feudal dues. fines and so on the exclusive right of hunting over his land and those of the of justice levied . neighbouring peasantry. *J The Assembly. and to personal services. after pronouncing the abolition the survivals of the feudal system. real or personal. as well as the right of keeping pigeonhouses and rabbit-warrens. seemed as if the lords having sacrificed their mainwas nothing more to be said about it .THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN mills. But only even on this question they raised discussions. halted when it became a question of wording these renunciations and putting them into the written law. and they cost the peasant dear. even when they mattered little or nothing to the lord. in order to get out of them as much as In 1786 there was even a pretty wide revision of possible.

and then several priests. . But as they did not indicate the conditions of redemption. These tithes weighed very heavily upon the peasants. declared that they relinquished the tithes to the country. a difficulty presented itself. known that the tithes very often amounted to a fifth or even a quarter of all harvests. the renunciation in reality was reduced to a simple declaration of principle. that the tithes paid to the clergy but while means were being found for . . and that the clergy claimed a share of the very grasses and nuts which the peasants gathered. There were tithes which the clergy had sold in the course of the centuries to private individuals. and left themselves to the justice and generosity of the nation. Worse than that : the tithes paid by the peasants to the clergy themselves were represented to the Assembly by certain speakers. But. the especially upon the poorer ones. The clergy they permitted the peasants to accepted the redemption redeem the tithes if they wished to do so. backed by the archbishops.\ It can be imagined what a terrible disappointment this was for the rural populations. But then. It they were to be paid until they were redeemed. and these tithes were For such as these redemption was called lay or enfeoffed. until the nth. when it was proposed to draw up the resolutions concerning the tithes. This discussion lasted five days. nor the rules of procedure under which the redemption should be made. the opinion prevailed that there might during be a question of redeeming the tithes if the nation undertook to give a regular salary to the clergy. should be abolished was decided. providing from some other source the expenses for religion.132 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION It is Church tithes. and what a cause of disturbance. on clergy condition that these tithes should be redeemed by those who paid them. the tithes should be paid as formerly. considered absolutely necessary. on August 6. had declared their renunciation of all tithes in kind. As to the enfeoffed tithes. price with the holders of the tithes. therefore. on August 4. and by degrees. the discussion. as a tax which the nation paid in support of its clergy . and to debate the . in order to maintain the right of property for the last purchaser.

Immediately after August The 4 they began everywhere to destroy the game belonging to the lords. did not wait for. but they said that every proprietor had the right to destroy and to cause to be destroyed. this authorisation apply to the farmers ? It is doubt- peasants. the great of question which so deeply interested more than twenty millions Frenchmen the feudal rights the Assembly. with time that a nation in revolution is able to pay the cost of its reforms. Finally as to what concerned the essential thing. August 4 But when it came to the formulation of what had been said. defaulters. and up to 179! they were exacted from him in a very harsh way. and as he did not want to pay. " Until we find some other means of " And as the finances of the paying the clergy kingdom were going from bad to worse. and only extended the right of hunting to all proprietors. but in reality they were " "Until when ? " asked the to be collected as usual. After having seen for many years their crops devoured by the game. the permission of tricky lawyers. law upon law and penalty upon penalty were decreed by the Assembly against the ! In theory the tithes were suppressed. peasants . But here again they left rather vague the formula at which they finally The Assembly abolished the exclusive right of hunting and that of the unenclosed warrens. when it was . . the nobles had renounced their hunting rights. only upon his inherited land. however. The stoppage of work and the revolutionary agitation manifestly prevented the collection of the taxes. all kinds of game. they themselves destroyed the depredators without waiting for any authorisation. J of On the night applies to the game laws. or rather to the owners of real estate upon their own lands. The same remark it was perceived that this would give the right of hunting to every one. the peasant was justified in asking if the tithes would ever be abolished.THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN 133 and the answer was. stopped. Whereupon the Assembly retracted. Did ful. /Meanwhile the peasant had to pay the tithes. whilst the cost of the new law and the new administration tended necessarily to increase the Democratic reforms are expensive and it is only difficulty. nor require.

legal Not the procedure by be made." said the first article of the resolutions of August 5. as we shall see. remained. personal and real v M. a made though they were since August 5. as before. the peasant had to pay everything.134 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION August formulating in resolutions the renunciations of the night of 4. No limit was imposed. and he glosses over the restrictions. . Nothing nothing but the principle. They opened the door to a measure by which redemption would be made impossible. seems to hesitate at destroying the beautiful legend. or * Book II.* the ideas necessary for the appreciation of the tenor of the from August resolutions passed in August. in the same lot. after which it became impossible to redeem the dues upon the land without redeeming at the same time. chap. but there was nothing in the resolutions of August to indicate either when or under what conditions that could be done. whatsoever their origin or nature. entirely. f In February 1790 they made redemption absolutely impossible for the peasant to accept. slightest suggestion was made as to the means of which the redemption would There was something worse in these resolutions of August 1789. 5 to II. And. on page 90 of his excellent work. confined itself simply to the enunciation of a principle. meanwhile. Sagnac has remarked. ^" The National Assembly destroys entirely the feudal system. the desideratum. however.*) They might be redeemed one day. law in February 1790. 1789. Carried away by the enthusiasm with which Paris and France received the news of that all-night sitting of August 4. by imposing the joint redemption of all land rents. that Demeunier had already proposed on August 6 or 7 And the Assembly. who furnishes. in his chapter La frofriete devant la Revolution. and this was passed by the Assembly seven months later. abolished a measure of this kind. the personal services. But the following articles of August 5 to 1 1 explain that only the personal servitude degrading to honour should disappear All the other dues. i. the historians have not given sufficient prominence to the extent of the restrictions which the Assembly put against the first clause of its decree by means of clauses voted in the sittings Even Louis Blanc.

a further But it is very important step. Madame de Mombelles " with an enthusiasm worthy of the French heart. Buchez and Roux (Histoire parlementaire de la Revolution francaise. The resistance to these resolutions was immense. have she writes. several benefices. p. to the nobles." The majority being in favour of this declaration. Indeed. I believe. these doubts.THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN else tries 135 " the even to excuse them in saying that logical sequence of facts in history is not so rapid. the feudal rights and their hunting rights.* lKMft." of August 4 to her friend. these hesitations.1 It is no use now. It is also interesting to note how Madame Elisabeth announced the night " The nobility. ii. and by so doing it invited. which the Assembly flung to the peasants when they asked for measures. so to say. p. clear and precise. to declaim against the National Assembly. their vote would have infallibly carried with it the abolition of privileges. 243) see in the abdications of August 4 only concessions ren" Declaration of the Rights of dered necessary by the debates on the Man. loc. cit. and at a distance of a hundred years. renounced the tithes and perquisites and the possibility of holding This decree has been sent into all the provinces. years of fail to understand completely the four the Revolution which follow.) vol. to abolish the old abuses. They have burned seventy." (Conches.) It was not until after the expulsion of the Girondins that the question of the feudal rights came up again boldly and in its entirety." ( But the fact remains that this vagueness. / hope this will put an end to the burning of the chateaux. renounced everything. and still more the struggles which broke out in the very midst of the Convention we cannot in 1793. to take into account these restrictions. perhaps did even more. for if the article which declared the total destruction of the feudal system is taken literally. the Assembly did all that could have been hoped for from an assembly of it property owners and well-to-do middle-class men .struggles which were evolved during the four following years. It gave forth a principle. became the cause of the terrible . as that of the ideas in the head of a thinker. The clergy have likewise Fishing will also be comprised. in the sense of Article i of the resolution of August T 4. : * . 238. indeed far from it. If they could not satisfy the peasants and if they became the signal for a powerful recrudescence of the peasant risings.

created in that way the equivocal conditions civil war throughout France. But in the villages people understood that the night of August 4 had dealt a tremendous blow at all feudal rights. that the Revolution had only to go on in order to abolish the feudal rights without redemption. The Assembly believed it could safeguard the rights of landed property. henceforth nothing could rehabilitate those rights in the of justice. probably by the advice of^his counsellors. They contained the condemnation. robbed from the village communes. the rights of hunting and other privileges. which included the abolition of the tithes. under various pretexts. had . On the other hand. having neither the courage The to abolish the feudal rights altogether. and in ordinary times a law of that kind might have attained this end. They just simply ceased to pay. and that the resolutions of August 5 to II had stripped the landlords of them. nor pay anything . even though redemption of these rights was imposed upon the peasants. But the Assembly. so that. and to the King resolutions of as its representative. On the one hand.136 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the higher clergy and the King these resolutions signified the From that day began spoliation of . all in the name And mind the hereditary privileges of feudalism. nor the inclination to work out a method of redemption that would be acceptable to which were to bring forth the peasants. The general spirit of these resolutions. by rallying themselves to the counter-revolution. the rich people understood that the August had as yet abolished nothing except the mortmain and the sacrificed hunting rights . of of the peasant. they would perhaps succeed in maintain- ing their feudal rights and in keeping the land that they and their ancestors had. King.Church and nobility. clearly indi- cated to the people that the interests of the people are superior to the rights which property-owners may have acquired in the course of history. peasants understood that those rights were condemned and they rightly declined to buy them out. which was fomented unceasingly and with an ever-growing ardour against the Revolution. the peasants understood that they need not buy anything. the hidden agitation.

but it did not think for a moment was necessary to obtain a permission from the King to state that the privileged persons had renounced their privileges. two first orders of the State is fine. as a constituent power. immediately ajter the constitution." And he continued to refuse his assent until he was led a prisoner to Paris by the people." and ordered that a Te of the palace. The character of these resolutions it in the plural and sometimes which says : or of this resolution.THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN 137 thoroughly understood the part assigned to him in the counterrevolution as a rallying-point for the defence of feudal privileges. National Assembly will occupy with drawing up the laws necessary for the development of the principles which it has determined by the present resolution. The that it acts of August 4 were of a constituent nature : the Assembly had worded them as resolutions (arretes). were independent of the royal authority . has : made a reproduce in entirety The Assembly power : at the time exercised both constituent and legislative and it had several times declared that its enactments. tell his I will never consent to the spoliation of my I will not give my sanction to decrees clergy and my nobility. My read friend. he did everything. to couch his sanction in such a form as to render the resolutions of the Assembly dead letters. James Guillaume. " but I can only admire it . at the same " time the Assembly accorded to the King the title of Restorer of French Liberty. for sometimes they speak of is indicated in the I9th in the singular and last Article. which will be forthwith sent by Messieurs the Deputies into all the provinces. and he hastened to write to the Archbishop of Aries to that he would never give. which would despoil them. which I here manuscript. law after it). It was on August II that the publication of the resolutions was definitely adopted . " The itself. nobles and middle classes." he said . in conjunction with the property-owning clergy. And even when he gave it. except under compulsion." &c. only the laws had need of the King's sanction (they were called decree before the sanction. who has been so kind as to note on the question of the my sanction of the resolutions (arrttes) of August 4. Deum should be sung in the chapel . him " The sacrifice of the sanction to the resolutions of August.

he did not in the least ask for sanction . as by the solemn acts of grace and the Te Deum that it is useless sung in the King's Chapel. Therefore there was not the least public opposition from the King. his confidence It mattered little that the King had written secretly to the arch- bishop to express a different sentiment: just then only public actions mattered. " sanction " in all indeed. . proposed to replace the word concerning these resolutions : " I maintain " by the word promulgation. therefore. However. of the resolutions of it August was necessary to make a solemn proclamation decided 4. the party of the patriots judged that. to put an end to them. the president made a speech . and announced to him the title that had been accorded to him : Louis XVI." he " said. (when president)." It was proposed. who would have preferred not to mention them further. as much by the letter. to decree that the Assembly should suspend its order of the day (the question of the veto) until the promulgation of the resolutions of August 4 had been made by the King. Mirabeau spoke to the same effect." and added to receive royal sanction for what his Majesty has already given authentic approbation to.138 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION On the 1 2th the president (Le Chapelier) went to ask the King when he would receive the Assembly for the 1e Deum. But on Saturday. since when they cannot be subjected to sanction. the King replied that it would be on the I3th at noon. against the resolutions of August 4. it was for promulgation only that you should have forwarded them. Consequently. September 12. and to this end the majority that the resolutions should be presented for the King's sanction^ in spite of the opposition made to this decision by the counter-revolutionists. he explained to the King what the Assembly had done. this word " sanction" " resolutions of August 4. The resolutions of August 4 are not laws. were enacted by the constituent power. suspensive and Barnave remarked that the veto could not be applied to the reso" The lutions of August 4. concerned at the disturbances which " " were agitating all France. which he sent me when I had the honour to be the spokesman of the Assembly. when you sent for sanction the acts of August 4. during the early days." Le Chapelier. but principles and constitutional bases. replied that he accepted the title with gratitude in it. . Then he congratulated the Assembly and expressed the ^e Deum was sung in the chapel. on Monday the I4th the patriots perceived that there might be some misunderstanding over Just at " of the veto that point the Assembly discussed the King. On the I3th the whole of the Assembly went to the palace .

I have communicated to you the which they seem to me to be susceptible You ask me now to promulgate these same decrees -promulgation belongs to laws. On that the Assembly would make the laws. on the i8th. because such resolutions.. and in no way broke its word by not making the laws immediately. I do not doubt but that I shall be able to invest with my sanction all the laws which you will decree upon the various these resolutions. Louis XVI. matters contained in these resolutions. we seek in them vainly for practicable measures. 19. He approved the general spirit of the articles of August 4. which he could not refuse to do. was completed. or theories. and he concluded in " these terms : Therefore. At last. but while yielding he cavilled over the words : he sent back to the president (Clermont Tonnerre) on the evening of September " You 20 a reply saying have asked me to invest with my sanction : the resolutions of August 4 criticisms to . . It was decided that the president should go to the King to beg him to order the promulgation at once.THE FEUDAL RIGHTS REMAIN (Great noise 139 and disorder. if We may reproach the Assembly for this method but we must acknowledge that it deceived no one. the destruction of the feudal system . and it was added must be the character of these Assembly in Article in principle. Confronted by the threatening language of the speakers in the Assembly. . On 1 6th the 1 5th there was a fresh discussion. the King's reply arrived. . the Assembly had to dissolve and bequeath the Legislative Assembly* its work to f This note by James Guillaume throws a new light upon the . so clearly marked by the August 4 the Assembly had proclaimed. the succession to the Throne occupying attention.. &c. I approve the greater number of these articles. knew that he must yield . without results... since it had promised to make them after the Constitution. I am going to order their 'publication throughout the kingdom. On the and i/th other things were discussed.. But. . . it was repeated that the King had been asked only to -promulgate. for the application of the principle.. once the Constitution we wish . and that they would make these laws when the Constitution should be completed. . ." ^ if If the resolutions of August 4 contained only principles. . but there were some of them to which he could only give a conditional assent . But I have already said that I approved of the general spirit of . it is so..) The sitting was ended without arriving at any decision. and I will sanction them when they shall be worded as laws" This dilatory reply produced great discontent .

after all. or rather years. Either it could elaborate some scheme of laws upon feudal rights. preferable to the first. seeing the diversity of opinions held by the representatives on this subject. . four years after. Or else the Assembly might have confined itself to proposing only some principles. Whether this was foreseen or not we do not know.140 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION When the war against tactics of the Constituent Assembly. which should serve as bases for the enactment of future laws. to discuss. It was this It Assembly. but this alternative was. would have ended only in dividing the Assembly. in the provinces these declarations of the Assembly had the effect of so shaking the feudal system that. and. schemes which would have taken months. resolutions second alternative which was ordained by the hastened to compile in several sittings the And which the King was finally obliged to publish. the chateaux had raised the question of feudal rights the Assembly had two courses before it. the Convention was able to vote for the complete aboliton of the feudal rights without redemption.

" The idea of issuing such a declaration. made by an would not be people. the world. it would be a brief of the future that it was proposed to conquer . significance of a national oath. was perfectly right. at the time when they were intending to conquer their independence. entire the principles that they were going to put into practice would It is always ideas that govern kindle the people's courage. and great ideas presented in a virile form have always taken hold of the minds of men. this summary would be invested with the Proclaimed in a few words. It new principles they were calling fine phrases merely . it was well to state its general principles before this change was expressed in the form of a Constitution. the Declaration of Independence .CHAPTER XIX DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN Meaning and claration of " Preamble Modelled on Designificance of Declaration Independence Its defects Its influence " Defiance of feudalism to the Constitution A FEW days Committee of the after the taking of the Bastille the Constitution National Assembly met to discuss the " Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. had issued just such declarations. complete change in the relations between the various ranks of society would result from it. By this means the mass of the people would be shown how the revolutionary minorities conceived the revolution. and for what on the people to struggle. and ever since. In fact the young North American republicans. and summary under the solemn form of a declaration of rights. and a Since a revolution was in course of accomplishment. suggested by the famous Declaration of Independence of the United States.

a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. the French Declaration took care to affirm its "inviolable and " character and it added that " sacred nobody could be deprived * " " it becomes necessary for one Independence of the United States.i 42 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION United States had become the charter. and organising its powers in such form. f James Guillaume has recalled this fact in his work. Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness that to secure these rights. since 1776. Guillaume's book. to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with people another. This declaration certainly does not correspond to the com1776). of the as a statement it of also democratic . Governments are instituted among men. The Reporter of the Constitutional Committee had indeed mentioned this fact. and the work was begun after July 14. To be assured of this one has only to compare the texts of the French drafts with those of the American declaration given in J. Paris. belief . and the constitutional liberties of the individual. it confined itself to affirming the equality of all before the law. and it inspired the Americans with a proud spirit of independence. it was found necessary to draw up a Declaration of the Rights of Man.* as soon as the Assembly nominated (on July 9) Consequently. one might almost young North American nation. of the say the Decalogue. deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. that all men are created equal.f is jT Unfortunately the to say. which had already become famous. the right of the nation to give itself whatever government it wisheci. 9. as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness" (Declaration made in Philadelphia." said the Declaration of ment. the National Assembly kept out of its declaration all allusions defects in were that to the economic relations between citizens . The committee took for their model the Declaration of Independence of the United States. that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. and to assume among the Powers of the Earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. But it expresses and indicates exactly their ideas concerning the political form which they wished to obtain. As to property. and to institute new govern- When in the course of human events. like the American copied Constitutionalists assembled in the Congress of Philadelphia. July 4. laying its foundation on such principles. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. . La declaration desdroitsde I'homme et du citoyen. p. that among these are Life. " We hold these Truths to be self-evident. 1900. munist aspirations proclaimed by numerous groups of citizens. a committee for the preparatory work of the Constitution.

But they must have been set aside. legally of his property established. intellect. so modest in its claim. and strength. it does not follow that they may not be " equal in rights f even this idea. Instead and live and equal under the laws. clearly exacted it. In any case we find no trace of them that " if men are not equal in means. It is evident that Article I. and. opens the door to all inequalities. the " Declaration of the when free of the foregoing words of Sieyes. Social distinctions may be " established only on grounds of common utility which . And./ It is probable that during the discussions raised by the drawing-up of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. &c. . pi 30). but' this idea. Article * In America the people of certain States demanded the proclamation of the common right of the whole nation to the whole of the land. allows that social distinctions might be established by law in the interest of the community. Rights of Man and of the Citizen. detestable from the middle-class point of view. was excluded from the Declaration of Indepndence.. that in the Declaration of 1789. it must not touch upon the rights of property established by feudalism and despotic royalty." we are tempted to ask if this declaration had really the influence over the minds of the period which historians attribute to it. some ideas of a social and equalising character were brought forward. which affirms the equality of rights for all men. f Article 16 of Sieyes' ^proposal (La declaration des droits de I'homme et du citoyen.* Sieyes* proposal is in riches." of the peasants to the land and to the abolition of the right it ( exactions of feudal origin. by James Guillaume. by means of that fiction. as in all minimum programmes. and under the condition of a This was to repudiate the just and previous indemnity.DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN if 143 were not that public necessity. j The middle classes put forth in this way their liberal pro- of equality before the law in judicial matters and of government controlled by the nation and existing only by its gramme will. the tion was conceived in these terms : first article of the Declara- " Men are born reading to-day Altogether. is not to be found in the Declaration of the Assembly. this signified implicitly that the nation must not go further .

either person." and says that the law should be all the citizens have a right to co-operate. But it is also certain that the Declaration of 1789 would have never had the influence it exercised later on in the course of the nineteenth century if the Revolution had stopped short at the limits of this profession of middle-class liberalism. And when.144 6. or hereditary distinctions. worked a complete revolution in the minds of men. nobility for entering them. in the Constitution. nor corporations of professions. in its formation " no one should be molested for his virtue of which 10. nor any other superiority except that of There the public functionaries in the exercise of their functions. two years September 1791. the National Assembly drew up it added to the Declaration of the Rights " of Man a Preamble to the Constitution. . denominations and pre- which were derived from them. provided that their manifestation does not disturb " the public order established by law . There no longer later. nor any order of nor any such corporations which required proofs of chivalry. : . and finally. exists either nobility. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the same for all." And further. and while the Royal family still considered itself the owner of France." which contained " The National abolishes Assembly already these words the institutions that are hurtful to liberty and irrevocably " the equality of rights. Article 12. are no longer any and any guilds. which " " that ally or " Article through their representatives. Luckily the Revolution went much further. or 'patrimonial courts of justice. or feudal system. by opinions. nor are there any titles. or distinctions of orders. or decorations which supposed rogatives distinctions of birth. arts crafts [the middle-class ideal of the State Omnipotent appears in these two paragraphs]. made in the midst of a still society wherein feudal subjection existed. or peerage. . longer either religious The law does not recognise vows or any other pledge which would be contrary to natural laws and to the Constitution" When we still think that this defiance was flung to a Europe plunged in the gloom of all-powerful royalty and feudal . which declares that the public force was "instituted advantage of it is all for the entrusted " not for the special use of those to whom these affirmations.

nor even the middle classes of 1789 who expressed their desires in this Preamble. often confounded with the Preamble it. .DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN subjection. It was the popular revolution which was forcing them bit by bit to recognise the rights of the people and to break with feudalism sacrifices at the cost of what we shall see presently. 145 of of the Rights the Constitution which followed we understand why the French Declaration of Man. But it must not be forgotten that it was not the Assembly. inspired the people during the wars of the Republic and became later on the watchword of progress for every nation in Europe during the nineteenth century.

human and divine. and did not need the royal sanction. suitable for guiding your labours. bluntly refused to give it his sanction. he wrote again to the Assembly to say that he wished to see how the maxims of the Declaration would be applied before giving it his Now this is On October 5 sanction. His terror of Revolution Plotting continues Preparations for march on Versailles Precautions of King Outbreak of insurrection March on Versailles Queen chief object of people's animosity Entry of women into Versailles King sanctions Declaration of Rights of Man Lafayette sets out for Versailles Terror at Court End of Monarchy of Versailles the Rights of Man and of the Citizen " must have seemed a criminal attempt upon all the laws. a " as such it stituent character (un caractere constituant). " The King had but to promulgate it. on Louis XVI. It is true that. it had.CHAPTER XX THE FIFTH AND SIXTH OF OCTOBER 1789 King refuses to sanction Declaration Middle classes and people in opposition to royalty Influence of people on upper classes Power of King's veto during Revolution Assembly refuse King the veto. therefore. and are even !46 . what he refused to do under various pretexts. The EVIDENTLY to the King and the Court the " Declaration of King. but grant him the suspensive veto Weakness of Assembly Scarcity of food in Paris Accusations against royal family and people at Court Danger of national bankruptcy Plans for King's escape Influence of history of Charles I. But contains some principles that require explanations.* : it it * " I do not quite understand the Declaration of the Rights of Man contains very good maxims. therefore. the Declaration of Rights represented only an affirmation conof principles . like the " resolutions " passed between August 4 and II. as they said then.

and it can be imagined what a weapon the the Assembly Assembly made of these two refusals. he came to fraternise with the people of Paris after July 14 . the whole the Lamballes and all ! especially the princes. it was proclaiming the equality of all before the law and see how the King. and now the Court party are going to prevent these laws coming ! into force The King would have accepted them . including the nobles and the bishops. What was abolishing the feudal system. the latter thus had got the people on their side. the Queen. the Queen. whose labours they began to follow with interest. In the great duel between royalty and the middle classes. understood instinctively what learned jurists have since They so well explained that in revolution a second Chamber was it could only act when the revolution was exhausted impossible and a period of reaction had begun. by a similar refusal. If the rest of them. the " were who do not pay much heed as to good as " laws "). At the same time the people themselves were influencing those labours in a democratic sense. the Polignacs. the August 4 to n. but it is the Court. it was also the people of Paris who were more vehemently opposed to the royal veto than those who sat in : liable to different interpretations. the Court. which cannot be fully appreciated until the time when their true meaning will be fixed by the laws to which the Declaration will serve as the basis. the ! Assembly. Similarly. and the upper classes on account of the Assembly. 1789 we have seen. concerning the abolition of the feudal rights. personal subjection and the pernicious prerogatives of the lords." But the people would not have it." . Thus the Assembly have accepted the scheme of two Chambers might perhaps " in the English fashion. are opposing it it were only a matter of speeches in favour of equality. but ! Queen.OCTOBER He had opposed. who are opposed to the attempt of the Assembly to secure the happiness of the people. as resolutions of 5 AND 6. Signed : Louis. the circulation of which had been prevented But no. were all agreed to make a law favourable to the people and to do away with all privileges (for the people " resolutions legal terms. the princes. At this moment public opinion was really inflamed against the princes.

Therefore. it contained. In spite of this. if he has the right and the strength to use it. the suspensive veto. the power of the King to check a decision of the parliament loses much its importance. with the Assembly's " resolutions " of August. more than oneready to come to terms with royalty. against the will of the people. may often tend towards the destruction of ancient privileges. It must have been conscious of its own impotence. in the long run . and. without altogether annulling it. The fact is that even in its most advanced representatives the National Assembly remained far below the requirements of the moment. influenced as they are by the popular spirit of the moment. In reality it was not. it is quite another thing in a revolutionary Not that the royal power becomes less dangerous period. in fact. that is to say. without speaking of those members who were pledged to the revolution Court. He will use his veto. too. which permitted the King to suspend a decree for a certain time. for if. in the normal course of affairs. quite clearly . but they accepted. consequently. there was in the Assembly a numerous party who desired the absolute veto that is to say. they wished to give the King the possibility of legally preventing any measure he might choose to prevent and it took lengthy . but in ordinary times a parliament being the organ of privileged persons will seldom pass anything of that the King would have to veto in the interest of the privileged classes . and there were several of them. more than three hundred deputies four hundred third. At a distance of a hundred years the historian inclined to idealise the Assembly and to represent is naturally it as a body that was ready to fight for the Revolution. while during a revolutionary period the decisions of a parliament. This is. on the contrary. what happened and even with the Declaration of Rights. according to other estimates .148 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Here. how many feared the But the much more than the royal power ! . they will encounter opposition from the King. debates to arrive at a compromise. The Assembly refused the absolute veto. the masses understood the situation the Assembly. Far from being homogeneous.

Interest on State debts had to be paid immediately. and what was done was paralysed by fraud. and there was the direct pressure of the people and the fear of their rage . Moreover the people maintained their menacing attitude. In the faubourgs of Paris there was even talk of those members of the Assembly whom the people massacring suspected of having connections with the Court. later on. when everything in the peasant's home was seized by . the harvest had been gathered in. became apparent in this question of bread. They had re-established. Meanwhile the It scarcity of food in Paris was always terrible. was September. 1789 149 revolution had begun. taken for revictualling were insufficient. spite of the purchase of grain that the of the centralised State which was growing up since the sixteenth century. In the upper circles the refinement of luxury had attained its limits . In Government had made and the premium paid to those who imported wheat abroad. Long files of men and women stood every night at the bakers' doors. there was also that intellectual forces the atmosphere which dominates the timorous and prudent to follow the more advanced ones. but still there was a lack of bread. as well as in all the The measures large towns. ^All the vices of the ancien regime. and in the small towns near Paris. and the Treasury was empty.OCTOBER 5 AND 6. rumours. bread was scarce in the capital. " the famine compact. flayed without mercy. the danger of national bankruptcy was imminent. and the memory of de Launey. to Paris. No one dared now to resort to the abominable means which were habitual under the old regime for levying the taxes. but the mass of the people. had come to the point of not being able to produce its own food on the rich soil and in the productive climate of France F^ Besides. and after long hours of waiting the poor often went away without any bread. but the expenses were increasing." and were speculating on the rise of And these prices of the bread-stuffs. it was said. as it appeared To complete all. the most terrible accusations were being circulated against the princes of the royal family and personages in the highest positions at Court. were not quite unfounded. Foulon and Bertier was still fresh in their minds.

Necker. and now it was reduced to impotence. but the King. preferred not to pay. and thence he would threaten Versailles and Paris. the Court. be prevented without either resorting to a forced loan from the rich. The middle classes understood it. that of Monsieur. or to Orleans. had tried various again ingenious expedients for avoiding bankruptcy but without In fact. The King would shortly be carried off to : Rambouillet. to infinity the provisional unsettled state of More than that these ghosts were preparing a great coup. It could make decrees to avoid bankruptcy. Here was a National Assembly which held in its hands the legislative power. All sorts of influences that of the Duke of were thus intermingling at the palace Orleans. the princes would refuse to sanction them. one cannot well see how bankruptcy could success. the tax collector expectation of a more whilst the peasants.ISO THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION . reforming spirit . Or else he might fly towards the eastern frontier and there await the arrival of the German and Austrian armies which the emigres had promised him. would they ever agree to this seizure of by the State ? feeling must have taken possession of men's minds the months of August and September 1789." the brother of Louis XVI. to their properties A strange prolong affairs. in the just assessment of the taxes. they had the power to strangle the representation of the French people. since they had lent their money to the State and did not wish to lose it. in the Ministry since July 17. At last during the desire of so many years was realised. on their side. where he would put himself at the head of the armies. the Court and the higher ecclesiastics. Like so many ghosts of the past. with from paying anything whatever. or seizing the wealth of the clergy. An Assembly which had already proved itself not quite hostile to a democratic. who dreamed of seizing the throne after the departure " of Louis .. 1789. to paralyse its will. : . and to the ridicule attendant on impotency. secret joy refrained who hated the Revolution. and became resigned to such drastic measures. and the rich. In the King's household they were making plans for his escape from Versailles. But the King.

they dared not carry out any one of them. there awaiting trial : it " was necessary to plot . but they read it.OCTOBER 5 AND if 6. Paris. but if only with better success.. and of waging^ a regular war against the parliament escape of the King . had to throw in their lot moderately with the advanced sections. which neither they nor their courtiers had the courage to put into execution. and they dared neither resist. whom he hated personally. Since the month of September the Court meditated the his brother. and his wife dreamed of repeating the history of Charles I. nor the privileged classes as a whole could understand that the time for compromise was far away . The Revolution held them spell-bound . It is very likely that Louis XVI. falters at the submit nor moment. there again daring was required And so they made plans. as well as Marie- they discussed many plans. as prisoners : read police stories. ? And yet they plotted. they saw the ! monster that was going to devour them. they plotted. This is why Mirabeau and a who would have willingly worked at the establishing of constitutional monarchy. as so many of them have done already ? What would be left to do then if not to share the " fate of Charles I. revolutionary action." which allowed . nothing Instead of that. And this is why moderates. filled them with terror and paralysed " What if the their efforts. into counter-plots : they drove them towards others. The history of the English King obsessed them it fascinated them . when the battle has army begun supreme ? What if the com- manders betray the King. 1789 151 who would have been delighted Antoinette. " constituted the confederation of the clubs. that now the only way was frankly to submit to the new force and to place the its protection for the Assembly asked better than to grant its protection to the King. like Duport. had disappeared. after all. Neither the King nor his courtiers. very royal power under moderate. which was already preparing to march upon Versailles. They drew from it no instruction as to the necessity of yielding in time : they only " Here said to themselves they ought to have resisted . and by so doing they impelled those members of the Assembly who were.

but the idea of a march upon Versailles was thrown out. went to threaten the deputies. who were defending the suspensive veto of the King. and Mirabeau spoke of women who would march on Versailles a fortnight before the event. . The gathering was dispersed. 368 et seq. since the first speaking already at the Palais and " M.152 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION to keep the people in a state of ferment. On five deputations. had wanted to march on Versailles The march upon as it spontaneous hundred men to demand the dismissal of the " corrupt and suspected deputies. Some of those who took part in these deputations implore them. for they felt them they would soon have need of the masses. there was open Royal about bringing the King on October Mtmoires. and the Buchez and Roux. p. 326. justly remarking that if the King had this right he would no longer have need of the Assembly. August 31 the Palais Royal sent to the Hotel de Ville one oi which was headed by Loustalot. the idea began to grow that it would be well to have the Assembly and the King at hand in Paris. t^The banquet given to the Guards * days of September. and this one had its forerunners. others to Versailles the crowd. warned them that two thousand letters had been sent into the provinces to that effect. and for this purpose all good citizens were exhorted to march on Versailles. in tears. 1789. one of the popular orators of the Palais Royal. ii. Meanwhile they threatened to set fire to the chateaux of those deputies. Versailles on October 5. le Dauphin " to Paris. 341. and it continued to be discussed. and with " fifteen ignorant. Already on August 30 the Marquis of Saint-Huruge. Bailly. the most sympathetic of republican writers. asking the municipality of Paris to exercise pressure upon the Assembly to prevent its acceptance of the royal veto. was not as was supposed to be.* From this time. 3. The Mercure de France made mention of it on September 5 (page 84). Even in a Revolution every popular movement requires to be prepared by men of the people. begged Mirabeau to abandon the defence of the absolute veto. At In fact.

and on October I a great banquet was given by the body-guard to the regiment of Flanders. Versailles would march upon Paris. as well as de Breteuil and de Mercy were in the plot.OCTOBER 5 AND 6. Two another ( These banquets precipitated events. and the officers of the dragoons and of the Swiss in garrison at Versailles were invited to this banquet. Reaction was raising its head . trodden underfoot. became bold in reactionary ways. J The royalists were organising their forces without troubling much to conceal the fact. 1789 153 Every one had a foreplots of the Court. The King would set out that day for Metz. where he would place himself in the midst of the army commanded by the Marquis de Bouille. who commanded the troops in the East. The news of them soon reached Paris exaggerated perhaps on the way and the people of the capital understood that if they did not march immediately upon Versailles. The road from Paris to of the Metz having been lined with troops. days later. hastened events. the Municipal Council of Paris. There he would summon to him the nobility and the troops which still held faithful. essentially middle class. With this movement in view they had doubled at the palace the number of the body-guards (young members of the aristocracy charged with the guarding of the palace). During the dinner Marie-Antoinette and the Court as well as ladies. distributed white and the National cockade was 3. the King. The ladies themselves cockades. and October 5 was spoken of as the possible date of the flight. on October banquet of the same kind took place. The regiment came. and would declare the Assembly rebellious. the carrying off King and his going to Metz were discussed openly. For this end the Court collected as much money as possible. and the regiment of Flanders had been summoned to Versailles. of the blow which the party of reaction was preparing boding to strike. The Marquis de Bouille. } . of which de Breteuil had taken the direction. as well as the dragoons. did all they could to bring the royalist enthusiasm of the officers to a white heat.

To rouse the people this . Versailles demanding bread and arms. the hundreds of thousands of men. masses of the people of Paris undertook to do on October 4 is the gloomy. forced girl the doors of the and. Soon a troop of was formed . howsoever determined they may be. was safe somewhere in the midst of his troops. 'people had to be roused nothing less than that would do ! And therein lies . known in Paris since July 14 for the . the whole people. The fruits of lost. having left Versailles. the cry To Versailles ! attracted crowds of women.154 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION The Court was evidently preparing a great blow. To an army must be opposed an army. far from the revolutionary people of Paris. as a march Communal upon " Hall. A handful of conspirators cannot fight an army . being the most ardent in the task. too. Maillard. or else compel it to return to the Three Orders that is to say. then all the hitherto obtained results would be upset. nothing would be easier than to dissolve the Assembly. the leaders of whom had already held confabulations with Malouet for the transference of the Assembly to Tours. to the position before the Royal Session of In the Assembly itself there was a strong party some four hundred members. women and children of a city. What was to be done to prevent such a disaster ? The June 23. the results of the rising of July 14 would be lost the peasants and of the panic of August 4. miserable what the revolutionists On of a October 5 the insurrection broke out in Paris to the cry " Bread " Bread The sound of the drum beaten by ! ! young women served to rally the women. had already been talked of " for several days. it marched to the Hotel de Ville. Marat and Loustalot. and accepted though usually the middle classes recoil before such a measure. of . reaction cannot be vanquished by a band of men. failing an army the people. Once the King. by paralysing their brute force. they alone have conquered armies by demoralising them. If this plot of the Court succeeded. Danton. moment the glory of the prominent revolutionists of that they understood the necessity of a popular rising it. They alone can be victorious. whose names we have already mentioned. and.

. and the women was declared set out. But even in 1789 they hated the were terrible. whore I Queen. in order to prevent all the plottings of the Court. wearing the tricolour cockade. might is struck by the ardour. it was necessary that the King and his family. with which these remarks were written down in the inquiry at the Chatelet. on learning about the fiasco " After all. thousand diverse ideas no doubt crossed their minds. The words uttered about her " Where is that Look at her. and that." said the women. was regarded as a good enough creature. Marie-Antoinette was wounded to the heart by it. on entering Versailles. It was at Versailles that the conspiracies against the happiness of the it was there that the famine people were hatched compact had been made. The royal prestige deeply rooted in the minds of men. Here again the people judged soundly. . there that the abolition of the feudal rights was being prevented so the women marched on Versailles. partly through the palace servants and the crowd. let these wretches of the Royal Session on June 23. like all Kings. " She received with supreme disdain the " plebeian King when he came on his return from his visit to Paris on July 17. 1789 Bastille. At first. the collective mind of the people of Paris. A who wished was then still the welfare of his people. . the Queen received Fersen in her bedchamber. The correspondence which later she carried on with Count Fersen about bringing the foreign armies to Paris originated from that moment. when the women invaded the palace stay ! " very night. should be kept in Paris under the eye of the people. says the extremely reactionary Madame Campan. the pleasure. and the Assembly as well. and one say. this The people knew all this. but that of bread must have dominated all others. 155 part he had taken in the siege of the leader of the column.OCTOBER 5 AND 6. Even this night of October 5. understood what individuals were slow to comprehend that Marie-Antoinette would go far in her hatred of the Revolution. If the King had said. and since then she had become the centre of all the intrigues. the dirty rip ? we must catch hold of that bitch and cut her throat. It is more than probable that among the mass of the people the King. crushed by . the women.

Lafayette (The obtained from the crowds some cheering for the King when he appeared upon a balcony. to prevent any mishap at the palace. also After the women had started from Paris. is Terror seized upon the Court. but all that was only a bit of theatricality.. and by kissing respectfully the hand of her whom the people called it " the Medicis ". and they used Paris. who had barely time to escape to the King's apartment . In a few moments they had found out the bedchamber of the Queen. who sent The arrival of the middle-class National Guards. The The people had to compel the King to set out for middle classes then tried to make all sorts of realised their .156 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION downpour of fatigue and hunger. but they were discovered by them back a picket of National Guards. to the stables. contented themselves with demanding bread. Lafayette set out for Versailles at the head of the National Guards. The Assembly march upon Versailles to obtain from the King . caused the streets of Versailles. But about five or six in the morning some men and women found at last a little gate open which enabled them to enter the palace. soaked through with the When rain. He even extracted from the crowd some cheers for the Queen by making her appear on the balcony with her son. men had begun to march. perhaps. and then. The bodyguard were in similar danger when Lafayette rode up. strength. otherwise she might have been hacked to pieces. the Assembly and the purlieus of the palace. Carriages had already been ordered out to send off the King and his family. then. but without arriving at any decision.. " marching against the palace ? " It is all Paris. a heavy rain. just in time to save them. all. the efforts and above crowd which choked the of Lafayette. invasion of the palace by the crowd was one of those defeats of royalty from which it never recovered. about seven o'clock in the evening. invaded the Assembly they sank exhausted on the benches they of the deputies these women had by this profited but nevertheless. that The Court held a council. to diminish by degrees. his sanction for the Declaration of the Rights of Man. by their presence alone already gained a first victory.

. The Revolution was making a leap forward. give orders. to be brought to him The great monarchy of Versailles had come to an end. Kings by the Grace of God Once more. but the people understood that henceforth the King would be their prisoner. as on July 14. } " Let every one put himself where he " was his and when he was asked to pleases ! reply he asked for the history of Charles from his library. and Louis XVI. had paralysed the plots of the Court and dealt a heavy blow at the old regime. the 'people. I. by solidarity and by their action. .OCTOBER royalist 5 AND 6. 1789 157 demonstrations on the occasion of the entrance of the King into his capital. For the future there would be " Citizen Kings " or emperors who attained the throne by fraud . on entering the Tuileries. abandoned since the reign of Louis XIV. had no illusions about it. but the reign of the " " was gone.

Robespierre and Buzot alone protest Intrigues of Duke of Orl6ans and Count de Provence Mirabeau Aims of educated middle class Duport. It I I organised its powers. and apply the great principles it had proclaimed in the Declarause tion of the Rights of Man. afraid of people. Charles de Lameth and Barnavo Bailly and Lafayette Alarm of middle classes at insurrection Proposal of Sieyes accepted Ancient feudal divisions abolished France divided into departments Electoral Assemblies Difference between passive and active citizens General assemblies of village communes forbidden Importance to Revolution of municipal centres Parliaments abolished Formidable opposition to new organisation ONCE more one might have thought that the Revolution would now freely develop of itself. its task. Monsieur and Madame Veto . Royal reaction was vanquished " . the made all hearts throb. and were held and the National Assembly would surely " the axe in the forest of abuses. hew down feudalism. it expectations. as prisoners in Paris had given in.CHAPTER XXI FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES THE NEW MUNICIPAL ORGANISATION Unexpected reaction sets in Exultation of revolutionists Their misconception of the situation Reaction versus Revolution Aims of middle classes Assembly. growing in strength until the month of June 1792. the people of Paris the middle classes disbanded them and made them leave the streets. nothing of the sort. Against was reaction that began after October 5. strengthens its position Council of Three Hundred establishes its authority Importance of Bailly and Lafayette Martial law voted Marat. and went on. however. I* I now mere reading of which had all ^There was. 158 And had it not been for .^ ^ After having accomplished retreated to their hovels .

believing that the Revolution was almost accomplished. it was the Assembly. the National exchequer is being " The King replenished. While the revolutionaries exulted. saw that the middle who until then something more. the mills are turning. to disarm them and to drive them back into subjection. the aristocracy is expiring. This fear of the people made after itself felt in the Assembly.FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES 159 the peasant insurrection. great and small. the National Assembly at the the channels of circulation are cleared. there was in the Assembly a strong nucleus of middk-class representatives who knew how to profit by the . the traitors are flying. The reactionaries understood classes." thus Camille Desmoulins wrote in the first number of his journal (November But in reality reaction was everywhere raising its head. had it not been for the numerous insurrections in the provincial towns which prevented the government of the middle classes from firmly establishing itself.) is at the Louvre. the shavelings are down. the marketTuileries. in order to obtain constitutional laws and to dominate the higher nobility. which triumphed in 1794. between the past and the future. as there had been after July 14. place is full of sacks of corn. was only to begin in every provincial town. were going. immediately October 5. the reactionaries knew that the great struggle. returning to their homes. deputies refused to go to Paris. to do all they could to dominate the people. the real one. met with a refusal. They had sought the support of the people. 28). now that they had seen and felt the strength of the people. might have been already triumphant in 1791 or even in 1790. which followed its course until the feudal rights were actually abolished in July 1793. However. the final reaction. But this time it was not the Court which gave the signal. that now was the time for them to act in order to get the upper hand in the revolution. and but a certain number of them sent : in their resignations ! all the same they were not thinking of There was now a new series of emigrations. They More than two hundred and demanded passports for were treated going so far as traitors. in every little village .

the Mayor of Paris. and divided between hospitals.e. advantage of the the Council of the Three Hundred. of all taxes before the National representation. which was voted at once. went to the Assembly to beg for martial law. land departments food. and thus to become a respectable power. which had set itself up after July 14. 9 the Council of the Three Hundred. on October 19. chosen from among the Three Hundred. and the assessment by the Assembly. taking murder of a baker on October 21. also took advantage of events to establish its authority. and the troops. the chief com- mander classes personages. : of the National Guard. could disperse after three fire upon the people if they did not summonses had been made. education. were newspapers. the middle assumed the right of supervision in everything meetings. the middle-class municipality of Paris. as well as of administrative class foundation. These two first conditions of a Constitutional Government were thus of France established. after that e/ery crowd had to municipal disperse. Sixty directors.' ) / Whilst the Assembly^ was thus profiting by the movement of October 5 to establish itself as the sovereign power. the Paris. The King title of the " King 5 " was also changed into " of the French. responsibility of the ministers. and Lafayette. the selling of literature in the streets. becoming important As to the municipal police functions. so as to be able to suppress all that might be hostile to their interests. the advertisement posters. If the people dispersed peaceably without resistance. And finally.160 first THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION moments a of success-^to establish the solid power of their own upon moving to officials Consequently. police. Henceforth it was sufficient for a municipal official to unfurl the red flag for martial law to be proclaimed .000 men. eight Guard especially as the municipality had under its orders a National of 60. and revenues. and so on . public works. before the last summons. taxes and the National Guard were going to take over all these important branches of administration. i. even before the Assembly voted. drawn solely from well-to-do citizens? Bailly. only the ringleaders of the disturbance were arrested and sent . when required by the official.

martial law had no right to exist. But then it was " Monsieur. also in the Assembly. and made profit out of the necessitous and ambitious. if 161 the crowd was unarmed in case of . In the Assembly. the middle classes began. as ambassador to England. When of France. It was not advisable. to organise their without some collisions new power not. when a nation had any violence committed concerned in the riot. who began intriguing to send away the King " " the Once the King log (soliveau). had acquired a formidable power over the Assembly." the Count of Provence. The Duke of Orleans. as Louis Blanc has aptly remarked. Robespierre and Buzot were the only ones to protest. otherwise But by the people. always in want. they said. It and to say that still to break its chains and to fight to the bitter end against its enemies. as in the municipality. and who. between the personal ambitions which clashed and conspired against each other. by enrolling them in its service. having been compromised in the movement of October 5. his plots were thwarted by the Assembly. was sent in disgrace. it is true. as he wrote to a friend. it was death for all was death. too. Profiting by the slackening of the people's ardour. which he had secretly supported. to protest against this atrocious law. such as Mirabeau. in a time of revolution. had gone. the King's brother. and. was intriguing on his side to get into the Ministry. ever since June 23. A murder committed in the street was thus sufficient excuse for this law to be passed. which voted that its none of members should accept a place in the Ministry. to proclaim martial law before having established a court which could try the criminals for felony against the nation. that of Marat. it conspired and struggled also. for any soldier or officer of the National Guard who should stir up any rioting. by the Court. The Court on its side saw no reason for abdicating . t . and these not on a point of principle. which necessarily followed after the movement of October 5 and 6. in the whole press of Paris there was but one voice. Orleans could pose as a candidate for the throne Mirabeau.FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES to prison for three years the sentence was death.

these ! are but incidents of small value. Historians will never unravel the tissue of intrigues which was then being woven round the Louvre and in the palaces of the princes. people. in the hope of getting into power by his intervention. Lafayette." All this. de Mirabeau " to aid the pledged himself King with his knowledge. but they could change nothing in the progress of events. and at Paris there were the Mayor Lameth. from the hands of the Court. Charles de and Barnave. in 1792. and the great And it contained in its midst a number of men marching straight towards this end with intelligence and a certain audacity.] This was the work which the Assembly resumed with ardour. only of the Tuileries. their The Assembly represented the educated middle classes on way to conquer and organise the power which was falling clergy. how many ambitions were struggling to grasp the power But after all. the higher nobles. he sold himself to the King and accepted from him a pension of fifty thousand francs a month for four months. marked out by the very logic of the situation and the forces in the conflict. and in the various German principalities. and the promise of an embassy in return for which M.162 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION he threw himself into the arms of the Count of Provence. Finally. in whatever Monsieur will judge power useful to the State and in the interest of the King. as well as round the Courts of London. Bailly and the commander of the National Guard. Quite a world fermented round the royalty which was perishing. And even in the midst of the Assembly. became known later on. his reputation as a champion of the . after the taking however. They help to explain certain facts. meanwhile. Vienna and Madrid. 1791. upon whom all eyes were turned. . bis and his eloquence. / There was in the " " triumvirate Assembly a composed of Duport. until his death on April 2. Mirabeau kept. and. which increased every time that the people gained a fresh victory over the old regime. But the real power of the mement was represented by the compact forces of the Assembly which were elaborating the laws to constitute the government of the middle classes.

.e. > citizens. This work was begun. the Assembly abolished the ancient feudal division into provinces. and all the while showing as much hostility to the rich middle classes as towards the " red heels " (talons rouges). and suspended the ancient <parlements. had been elected under which] the old regime under a system of elections in two degrees. they passed without delay the law about rioting. which also possessed certain judicial privileges and it went on to the organisation of an entirely new and uniform administration. burning the toll-gates. The middle classes were seized with alarm when they saw the people arming themselves with pikes in a few days.FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES as 163 its soon as it was installed in Paris and could go on with work with a certain amount of tranquillity. . had already proposed to the Assembly to divide the French into two classes. on resuming the work of political organisation for France. as the basis for the Constitution. i. whilst other. always maintaining the principle of excluding the poorer classes from theXjOvernment. They made haste to arm themto array the selves and to organise their National Guard " " ** the " woollen caps and the pikes. The National Assembly. seizing the breadstuffs wherever they found them. of which the first principle was Equality of Rights for all was thus flagrantly violated as soon as proclaimed. the famous advocate of the Third Estate. of which each one preserved certain priviIt divided France leges for the nobility and the parlements. Now. Sieve's. should be deprived of all political active citizens. as we have seen. of which one only. Five weeks later the Assembly accepted this division The Declaration of Rights. rights. comprising the great mass of the people under the name of the passive citizens. eight days after July 14. the ancient tribunals. the very day after the taking of the Bastille. Thus. the trie should take part in the government. into departments. after the insurrection on October 5. I At the same time they made haste to legislate in such a way that the political power which was slipping out of the hand of the Court should not fall into the hands of the people. of which we have just spoken. beaver hats against And so that the popular insurrections could be kept in hand.

in its turn." They could only meet by quarters. that is. but it also forbade the electoral assemblies trades. or any of the local authorities. they could no longer form part of the National Guard. the value of ten days' work. They gave them thus a great power. possess of the people in the National Assembly. in money. by confiding to them the election of the councils (the directoires of each department). the judges and certain other functionaries. it was representative of silver necessary to pay in direct taxation the value of a marc landed to And be (eight ounces). the middle classes did two local They extended the prerogatives of the electoral assemblies. or the municipality. attained power.). the f The municipal law of December 14. 6. and this. it was necessary to pay. at the same time. and it was agreed to take for a basis the day of a journeyman. Later on. of the day. and accordingly had no right to the electors. whom by this primary means they deprived of all political rights. nominated the electors. professions or guilds. electoral assembly. who made up in each division one ' . in direct taxes. That is to say. those who paid The rest in direct contributions at least three days' work. fifty livres. fit is well to note that after the elections the electoral assemblies continued to meet. the Assembly made an additional restriction : electors nominated a property. that the primary assemblies. to be eligible as an elector. when must reaction was emboldened by the massacre on the Champ- de-Mars.J ^ fixed the value. were composed of nearly These primary assemblies had all the citizens of the locality. into them only the active citizens. . receiving letters from their deputies and keeping watch over their votes^f ( Having now things. which made these assemblies entirely middle class. They admitted But. who could no longer take part in the nominate primary assemblies. Besides. or Each municipality districts. J The livre had the value of about one franc. they excluded from the assemblies the mass of the people. chose its representative in the National Assembly. that * is to say. 8. 1789.164 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION was nevertheless the outcome of an almost universal suffrage.* became passive citizens. &c. not only excluded passive citizens from all the elections of municipal officers (paragraphs " to meet by 5. in 1791. which had been convoked in every electoral division.t Furthermore.

and also the waste lands. under ! Once the elections were meet again. Once the the permanence of the electoral assemblies was over. village. were not to middle-class governors were appointed. the legislative power in municipal matters and the executive power to whom was entrusted the administration of the commune's police and the command of the National Guard. and capable of revolutionary action. in nearly the whole of France. Soon the right even of petitioning and of passing resolutions was taken away " Vote and hold your tongue " As to the villages.\ It is true that the middle classes surrounded themselves with every precaution in order to keep the municipal power in the . these assemblies the old regime. authorised nothing movement was sanctioned by the municipal and administrative law of December 22 to 24. where the active citizens met to nominate the general council of the town and the municipality. once a year. at when the revolutionaries succeeded in seizing upon them. as we have seen. such as the re-division and the use of the communal lands cultivated fields. had the right to meet. meadows and forests. an immense power was conferred on the Revoits very outset. (And. they must not be controlled too strictly. To this general assembly belonged the administra- tion of the commune. of the kind this still in full force. independent in a thousand matters of the municipal central government. 165 interdicted. to nominate the mayor and the municipality. 1789. composed of three or four middle-class men of the A similar municipal organisation was given to the towns. up to the Revolution. as we shall see. the active citizens. of these thirty thousand centres.FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES And finally. the general assembly of the inhabitants. But now these general assemblies of the village communes were forbidden by the municipal law of December 22 to 24. Henceforth only affairs of the the well-to-do peasants. and which consisted in obtaining by revolutionary means an elective municipal administration at a time when the laws of the old regime. 1/89. lution by the creation. like the mir in Russia. they had preserved. that is to say. Thus the movement described as taking place in the towns in July 1789.

for instance at Toulouse. the people came to get hold of the municipalities. the municipalities were not dependent upon the royal power. and in the large towns this right was given to the The old 'parlements naturally strove to electoral assemblies. and they . thus represented the wealthier section of the middle classes and were the support and the right hand of the counter-revolutionists during the Revolution. also represented the middle classes others it the feudal lords. composed of its active citizens. In the south./ But with many all that. which. appointed. On of the people." useful At Paris. its five or six parishes.'J During the insurrection against by more than the masses and so the other hand. and the municipalities themselves were placed under the supervision of the councils of the department. But in proportion as the Revolution developed. Another very important step was made by the National Assembly when it abolished the old courts of justice the parlements and introduced judges elected by the people. and in 1793 and 1794 the municipalities in several parts of France became the real centres of action for the popular revolutionaries. in August 1789. and in towns like Lyons became a centre of reaction. each canton.'^ and in Brittany the farlements would not submit to the levelling power of the Assembly. own magis- maintain their prerogatives. being chosen by electors in the second degree. and they headed conspiracies in favour of the old regime^ monarch " its But they found no support among the people. Rouen and Metz. the municipality itself. and we saw how the municipalities of the Dauphine took the field against the peasants and hanged the rebels without mercy. and it must be recognised that the municipal law of December 1789 contributed to the success of the Revolution more than any other law. influence. through trates . even started a movement to restore " and the his to to religion legitimate authority and liberty. many municipalities were hostile to the revolted peasants. eighty members of the 'parlements. supported by eighty-nine gentlemen.i66 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION hands of the well-to-do members of the community. which was elected the active citizens only. In the rural districts.

meant to make its new administrative organisation for France respected. having sent in their request to the legislative body. But this new organisation encountered on the part of the higher clergy. by which it was declared that the resistance to the law by the magistrates of Rennes " disqualified them from fulfilling any functions of the active citizen. and it took years of a nobility revolution. 1790. to break down the old organisation for the admission of the new. on January n. decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by the King. until. by which they were sent on vacation until a new order was given. the and the upper middle classes. it can be seen. 1789. The attempts to resist led only to a new decree.FEARS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES 167 were compelled to yield to the decree of November 3. ." decisions concerning the a formidable opposition The National Assembly. they had been as admitted to take the oath of fidelity to the Constitution. much more far-reaching than the middle classes had intended.

as the State loans were not international in those times. France had suspended money-lenders to be considered. it would have been the ruin 1 of so many middle-class 68 . and(if payment. to seize upon her provinces. State bankruptcy was still hanging threateningly over the heads of those who had undertaken to govern France. France had not the fear of foreign nations coming down upon her in the guise of creditors. successively It is all through the Revolution upon those who were pushed into power. true that.CHAPTER XXII FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES SALE OF CHURCH PROPERTY Necessity of avoiding bankruptcy Assembly determine to Church property Value of Church revenue Its unequal distribution Proposals of Bishop of Autun Alarm of wealthy clergy Delight of middle classes Expropriation voted Suppression of monastic orders Paper currency Administration of Church property transferred to municiClergy henceforward deadly enemies of Revolution palities Organisation of French Church Effects of new organisation Constituent Assembly works essentially for middle class " Need of " wind from the street seize THE make greatest difficulty for the Revolution was that it had to its way in the midst of frightful economic circumstances. and if this bankruptcy came indeed. like a nightmare. as would be done to-day if a European State But there were the home in revolution was declared bankrupt. and gave the middle classes courage to demand seriously their share in the Government. If whole of the upper middle classes against the the deficit had been one of the causes which forced royalty to make the first constitutional concessions. it would bring with it the revolt of the Revolution. this same deficit weighed.

and in return paying the clergy by fixed salaries. and to sixty millions in rents filled in. which had mounted to fifty millions in lifeinterests. This measure salt enabled the deficit to be the remainder of the tax (gabelle) to be abolished. for ever. after October 10. The solution arrived at by the Assembly at the close of 1789 was that of seizing the property of the Church. both upper and lower in fact every one except the workers and the poorest of the peasantry. This scheme. and rivalled in their bishops expenditure the richest lords and princes. which used to be sold to contractors by the State. and with the rest to cover part of the public debt. by Talleyrand. by giving 1200 livres a year to each priest. to endow the clergy adequately. the Directory. the nation " will go back with which meant recognising that the you " ! . plus his lodging. later on. of Autun. of course. the Convention. to sell it. It was proposed. Every time you go back to the origin of property. of which the value was estimated at a little more than two thousand millions). let us say. the Legislative Assembly. unjust different members of the clergy. from the subsidy that was added every year by the State a of about two hundred and thirty millions a year." lived in poverty. therefore. eighty millions in other revenues brought in by various properties (houses and landed property. to take possession of all Bishop Church property in the name of the State. " You are leading us ! on to an agrarian law " they told the Assembly. So it was that the Constituent Assembly. and. whilst the priests way among the in the towns and " "villages reduced to a suitable portion. did not fail to evoke great alarm on the part of those who were landed proprietors. The Church revenues were valued in 1789 at a hundred and twenty million livres for the tithes. and thirty millions or thereabout total. and a stop put to the selling of the charges or posts of officials and functionaries. had to make unheard-of efforts during a succession of years to avoid bankruptcy.FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES 169 fortunes that the Revolution would have had against it all the middle class. putting it up for sale. The lived in the most refined luxury. These revenues were evidently shared in a most .

as well as of those We they were very numerous upon whom the clergy had a hold. which would be considered in such Treasury was empty. These were not abolished until August Tuileries. taught by the Encyclopedists on the one hand. the Assembly voted. henceforth. and haunted on the other hand by the ineluctability of the bankruptcy. And these opposers became. this date when . The hostility. means were found to avoid it. the bitter against it. the taxes were not coming in. after the taking of the can understand the hatred these decrees excited in the and in the provinces breasts of the clergy." and it was decided to put it up for public sale to the value of four November 2. 1790. 1789. 1792. was the memorable immense expropriation was voted in the Assembly by five hundred and sixty-eight voices against three hundred and forty-six. that they But this state of affairs could not last. for the suppression of perpetual vows and of the monastic orders of both sexesJ> Only it did not dare to touch for the time being the religious bodies entrusted with public education and the care of the sick. fraud ^-"or theft.170 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION all foundation of landed property lay in injustice. 18. ! CjBut the middle classes who did not own land were delighted with this scheme. case merely as guarantees did not at first display all their for the State loans. however. But the middle classes. on February 12. enemies of the Revolution. usury. Three hundred and forty-six were hundred millions. and the bourgeois would be enabled to buy property. So much. always agitating to do the greatest possible and imaginable harm to the constitutional regime and later on to the Republic. It was said that the Church property was " put at the disposal of the nation. did the clergy and the religious orders hope to retain the administration of their enormous properties. A loan . did not allow themselves to be daunted. When the enormous majority of the clergy and especially of the monastic orders began to intrigue against the expropriation of the Church property. Bankruptcy was avoided by it. ) But as the word " expropriation " frightened the pious souls of the landowners.

\On December guaranteed by the national property. can imagine the colossal speculations to which these measures for the sale of the national property upon a large scale gave rise. but would have turned against all attempts at enfranchisement if the capital they had invested in the loans was endangered. although pursuing their own ends. and starting with this enormous burden of debt. even now the economists and the historians ask whether there was any other method for meeting the pressing demands of the State. voted on August 9. bequeathed to it by the had to bear the consequences. on the proposition of the districts the administration of the Church property was transferred to the municipalities. But was immediately swallowed up in the gulf of interests on old loans. was not successful . an extra- ordinary tax of a fourth of the revenue had been voted on September 26 after one of Mirabeau's famous speeches. it of a civil war. Nevertheless. their backs upon it the classes which.* to put hundred millions' worth of this property. (les assignats). of eighty millions. 21. j And henceforth the clergy. another. the extravagance. One can easily guess the element which they One introduced into the Revolution. the Revolution adopted the scheme for a paper currency old regime. and which should be redeemed according as the sale of the lands brought this tax in money. . voted on the 27th of the same month. the thefts and the wars of the old regime weighed heavily upon the Revolution . 1789.FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES 171 of thirty millions. i > The crimes. and then followed the idea of a forced paper currency. blow was struck. had brought in even much less. set between these two dangers. vowed a deadly hatred to the Revolution a * Vide chap. Finally. xxiv. with great the exception of some village priests who were real friends up for sale four The of the people. were nevertheless allowing the people to free themselves from their lords. Under menace still more terrible than that which was already under the threat of the middle classes turning breaking out. which were commissioned of Paris. 1789. of which the value would be guaranteed by the national property confiscated from the clergy.

^ The clergy being now paid by the State. which -the abolition of monastic vows helped further to envenom. the judges and the officers of the State. f Henceforward all over France we see the clergy becoming "the centres of conspiracies made to restore the old regime and feudalism. But the middle classes resisted it. They were the heart and soul of the reaction. the question put province. became identical. in each town.) This was to despoil the bishop of his sacerdotal character and to make a State functionary of him. to the Assemblies of electors to those same Assemblies which were electing the deputies. to the new laws and took the oath to two great : the Constitution. the ancient assemblies of the people of the believers. altogether under the bishoprics were identified with the new their number was thus reduced.172 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION clerical hatred. therefore. and did not allow themselves to be disarmed. to the inhabitants was or against it ? whether they were for the Revolution The most terrible struggles sprang. Consequently the believers saw in it an attempt made upon the ancient dogmas of the Church. It is true that in the Early Churches the bishops and priests were nominated but the electoral Assemblies which met for by the people the elections of political representatives and officials were not . and the unsworn clergy who refused the oath and openly placed themselves at the head of a counterSo it came about that in every revolutionary movement. at parties least for form's sake. threatening to put an end to the Revolution it had realised anything substantial. the constitutional clergy who submitted.. village and hamlet. This might have been allowed to pass but the election of the bishops was by the new law entrusted : The . and putting them Constitution. the legislators conceived the idea of freeing them from Rome. that of the diocese and that of the department. and the two departments boundaries. . and the priests took every The clergy divided into possible advantage of this discontent. which we shall see bursting forth in 1790 and in 1791. In June and July 1790 the Assembly before opened the discussion upon a great question the internal organisation of the Church of France.

or one at least that forced itself upon monarchy in a revolutionary way.. to awaken the sentiment of equality and the spirit of revolt against inequalities. to decide which of the parties 173 should get the upper hand. " Even wind that was blowing from the street was necessaryy" " in those rioting. as Louis Blanc has remarked. as the Constituent Assembly did. Only must be remembered. . was nevertheless an it immense work. and if they had not crushed. the so full of thoughts ! ! man in the street.SALE OF CHURCH PROPERTY into existence in every locality. the anti -revolutionary resistance." he adds. that to " the maintain and to kindle that fiery spirit in the Assembly. it was the street. would have done nothing if the masses of the people had not impelled it to march forward. to abolish the relics of the rights of one man over the person of another. Even a revolutionary Assembly. the nation the principle of political equality. by their insurrections. produced from its tumult many wise inspirations Every rising was " In other words. unparalleled days.) The work done by the Constituent Assembly was undoubtedly But to introduce into the customs of middle-class work. it two fThe Revolution was : transported from Paris into every village liamentary from being parbecame popular. that each its time forced the Assembly to go forward with work of reconstruction.

and finally the march of the women on Versailles . France had now. a period hidden. the Royal Session of June 23. of which he did not wish to admit any diminution. he saw in it only a usurpation. in every town and village. so to speak. and their triumphal return with the King the period. the revolt of the cities and villages in July and August. The meeting of the States-General. the Oath of the Tennis Court. Even to the last moment he never abandoned the hope of 174 . if he recognised it officially. J as prisoner these were the chief stages of " Now. the taking of the Bastille. So he was always on the alert to find a thousand petty means of belittling the Assembly.CHAPTER XXIII THE FETE OF THE FEDERATION of first period of Revolution Duel between King and King bribes Mirabeau He finds tools among middle class Enemies of Revolution among all classes Period of plots and counter-plots The Ftte of the Federation Meaning of the f&te Joy of the people End Assembly / ( WITH the removal of the King and the Assembly from Versailles to Paris the first Great Revolution period the heroic period. power which the King had been forced to recognise. and for disputing with it the smallest fragment of authority. in the National Assembly. an insult to his royal authority. of the ended. the night of August 4. continuous struggle began between moribund royalty and the new Constitutional power which was being slowly consolidated by the legislative labours of the Assembly and by the constructive work done on the spot. a constitutional But. when both the " legislative and the " executive " power x\ of the Assembly and the King settled at Paris.

the great number were outside it. so as to be able to buy the He leaders of the parties in the Assembly and elsewhere. money became the those of the in the Revolution had deprived of their privileges. whom their influence perishing . Nantes. succeeded only too well with one of those who stood in the with Mirabeau. Strasbourg. which he reproached himself for having allowed to grow by the side of his own. plenty a high price of money. borrowing it in London. like the great seaports. with their feudal rights. . the nobles and the privileged members of the upper middle class. both large and small. the enemies of the Revolution* They included all those who formerly had lived on the higher ecclesiastics. their privileged position . Saint-Malo. Rouen and many other towns. indeed. commerce and State loans among those self-same middle classes who were now enriching themselves during and by means of the Revolution. They were found among forefront. More than one-half of that active and its thinking portion of the nation which contains the makers historic life stood in the ranks of these enemies. and spent his last days in an absurd luxury. the Revolution found ardent champions how many towns there were. And oij if among the people of Paris. He knew. handsome pensions which had been allotted to them former days. /They were numerous. among the middle classes who were alarmed for clergy who saw the capital they had invested in manufactures.THE FETE OF THE FEDERATION 175 one day reducing to obedience this new power. others demanding easily sold themselves and he exerted himself to obtain money. and of their colossal incomes among the . like Lyons. where the centuries-old influence of the clergy and the economic servitude of the workers were such that the poor themselves supported the priests against the Revolutiony How many towns. In this struggle every means seemed good to the King. among the nobles who were losing. that the men of his own surroundings some for a trifle. by experience. it was not only in the Assembly that royalty found its tools . who in return for heavy sums of counsellor of the Court and the defender But of the King. Bordeaux.

developed by the Revolution and experience in business were not wanting either the provincial nobility or the wealthy merchants and among to royalty a formidable clergy. and later on in the Legislative this concealed struggle lasted nearly three years. And the result was that in the Vendee. telligence. For.176 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION where the great merchants and all the folk depending on them were already bound up with reaction. understanding the multiple forms of landed property recognised by the customary law . of partial and parliamentary contests in the Constituent Assembly. not to mention those peasants . incapable. whose name was legion. whose interests should have lain with the Revolution how many lower middle-class men there were in the villages who dreaded it. in Brittany and in the south-east. and that required revolutionists took advantage of that time to win over to their cause all the discontented among the well-to-do classes.^ relentless struggle of plots month of June 1792. ( There were too many theorists amongst the leaders of the Revolution. too many worshippers of uniformity and regularity. too many Voltaireans. (And the counterplished. whom the mistakes of the revolutionists themselves were to alienate from the great cause. when the Revo- . of too many politicians to comprehend the importance all. from the month of October 1789 to the resistance. the peasants themselves turned against the Revolution. A Fourteenth of July or a Fifth of October could certainly displace the centre of gravity but it was in the thirty-six thousand of the ruling power communes of France that the Revolution had to be accomsome time. who showed no toleration towards the and above prejudices of the masses steeped in poverty .) The counter-revolutionists knew how to attract partisans from each and all of these elements. the Revolution a prodigious amount of extraordinary initself intelligence. therefore. Even among the peasants. on the other hand. who all joined hands for lending subtleness power This of risings in the provinces \ and counter-plots. if the radical middle classes put into . which the peasants attached to the land question.

comprehending how irresistible was the change. was one of the most beautiful popular festivals ever recorded in history. But after the events of 1789. and after the axe had been laid at the roots of the survivals of feudalism. v It was a period poor in events of historic import the only ones deserving mention in that interval being the recrudescence of the peasants' rising in January and February 1790. and the massacre of the people of Paris on the Champ-de-Mars on July 17.THE FETE OF THE FEDERATION 177 lution at last took a fresh start. Revolution. displayed in if Its it It sums up the first part of the overflowing enthusiasm and the harmony show what the Revolution might have been the privileged classes and royalty. the massacre at Nancy on August 31. ( All Europe was moved to enthusiasm over the words and deeds of the Revolution j how could the provinces resist this unification ? in the forward march towards a better future This is what the Fete of the Federation symbolised. but its various parts knew little of each other and cared for each other even less. on July 14. But that of July 14. It Previous to 1789 France was not unified. after several glorious together by the representatives of moments had been all lived parts of France. was an historic entity. the Fete of the Federation. the building of a triumphal arch. and as it became evident. but it is necessary to say something here about the Fete of the Federation. 1790. 1790. had yielded with a good grace to what they were powerless to prevent. 1790. not by the people. the making of terraces. 1791. there was born a sentiment of union and solidarity between the provinces that had been linked together by history. that the fifteen finish it in thousand workmen engaged in this work could never time what did Paris do ? Some unknown person . the flight of the King on June 20. the levelling of the soil. 1791^ Of the peasants' insurrections we shall speak in a later chapter.X It had also another striking feature. As a certain amount of work was necessary for this festival. They were got up for the people. Taine disparages the festivals of the Revolution. eight days before the jtte. and it is true that those of 1793 and 1794 were often too theatrical.

represented by the thousands of delegates arrived from the provinces. and everything had been done. swear to use all decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by me. found her national unity in digging the earth a symbol of what equality and fraternity among men should one day lead to. He was calculating the means of buying the influential members and discounting the help that should come from the foreigners to check the Revolution which he himself had let loose through his opposition to the necessary changes and the trickery in his dealings with the National Assembly. went to work there with a light heart. to prevent the real abolition of the feudal abuses. suggested that every one should go to work in the de-Mars and all Paris. " this unbridled for Marat had every reason ? joy Why ! these writing Why evidences of foolish liveliness : ? The Revolution. note in this jete beyond the proclamation of a new nation having a common ideal is the remarkable good humour of the Revolution. : the power reserved to me by the constitutional Act of the State to maintain the Constitution French. has been merely a sorrowful dream for the " But although nothing had yet been done to satisfy people the wants of the working people.i/8 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Champ. France. King of the . Every one took his oath with some mental " it certain conditions. rich and poor. at the very moment the King was taking the oath he was thinking only of how he was to get out of Paris under the pretence of going to review the army." the oath taken by the King and spontaneously confirmed by the Queen for her son. The oaths were worth little. are of " little importance. but the important thing to of the Assembly. but that it would be violated. as decreed by the National Assembly The and accepted by the King. although the people had everywhere paid . One year after the taking of the Bastille. reservations every one attached to " The King took his oath in these words I. oath that the scores of thousands of persons present " to the took Constitution. as yet. artists and labourers. monks and soldiers. and that he would not be able to prevent it." Which meant that he would indeed maintain the Constitution. as we shall see presently. In reality.

If then. Just as fifty-eight years in February 1848. and in a month or two it was to show itself in full force. has been only a sorrowful dream for the people. some part of the Revolution by resorting to extreme means. the people's hearts all armed. it was because they hoped to save. the people in the political Revolution burst into transports of joy at the spectacle of the new demo- and by cratic regime confirmed at this fete. it was already strong enough to shoot down the people of Paris on this same Champ-de- Mars." has not that fulfilled is its promises. on July 17. so ready to wait. " three years of suffering at the service of the Republic. . enough" with life. the same people. 1791. so ready at first to be content with little. provided that held in it for them a little goodwill. the people of Paris were to place later. In July 1790 there was nothing to " The forecast this dark and savage character. And were filled But reaction. three years later. After the next anniversary of July 14. was watchful. No matter. Revolution.THE FETE OF THE FEDERATION with their lives 179 terrible sufferings every progress made in spite of all that." so the people showed themselves ready to endure anything. now provided that the new Constitution promised it to bring them some alleviation. became savage and began the extermination of the enemies of the Revolution. as " It yet. at least. It was because they saw the Revolution foundering before any substantial economic change had been accomplished for the benefit of the mass of the people. And everywhere It is moving.

people seem to have understood this need wonderfully well. To make a revolution that there should be such risings not. in fact. but the Revolution began by creating the a very great degree as { Commune autonomous to we shall see. and legalised the to pay them it was the Commune which took back .CHAPTER XXIV THE " DISTRICTS " AND THE PARIS Creation of Communes Their power Village Communes Municipal Communes Commune of Paris Soul of Revolution Erroneous conceptions of Communes Electoral divisions of Paris Districts useful for organisation of Revolution Varied constitution of districts Germ of Commune Lacroix on districts Independence of districts Link between Paris and provincial towns Sections become instruments of federation " SECTIONS " OF WE it is have seen how first the Revolution began with popular risings ever since the of 1789. which was introduced into the life The French Commune. enough more or less successful. of France. resisted the nobles. It is necessary that after the risings months there should be left something new in the institutions. however. \ this institution it gained. since the first risings. In the villages it was. arrested the returning emigres. was the popular f Governmental centralisation came later. struggled against the priests. tile peasants' Commune which insisted refusal upon the abolition of feudal dues. protected the patriots and later on the sans-c ulottes. which would permit new forms of life to be elaborated and established. and the something new. and stopped the runaway king/1 180 from the lords J . the lands that were formerly communal. and through immense power.

it remained of the people. became the weapon of sans-culottism in its struggle against royalty and against the royalist conspirators and the German invaders. without taking The foolish confidence in characterises government. changed on own initiative the apportioning of the taxes. to Communes citizens. * " " sections after the municipal . the more so learn to of the Paris sections we of the thousands of provincial From the very beginning of the Revolution. however. Since the organisation and the life of the " is districts " and life life the "sections" Paris that is best known " for Paris. to repel the German invasion. according as the Revolution developed.^? And it was the Commune of Paris. it was the Communes that undertook to work out the equalisation of wealth. 1 * tion never and without these centres. " " in studying the well the and especially The districts were described as law of June 1790 was passed. The Commune which sprang from the popular movement was not separated from the people. 181 re- arrogated to its itself the the judges. in the Year II. elections. and after August 10 became the real centre and the real power of the Revolution. know pretty Communes. which maintained its vigour so long only as that Commune existed. of that after a time as modern municipal all which the few days of excitement during the it. that dethroned the King. and this is what made the revolutionary power of these organisations. Later still. By the intervention of its " " " " as so districts. and further on. the Revoluwould have had the power to overthrow the old regime. The soul of the Revolution was therefore in the Communes. as we know. be erroneous to represent the bodies. innocently confide the administration of themselves any further part in representative their business. of the Republic. which our own epoch." sections or tribes.* it as of the City of we " shall speak." DISTRICTS " AND " (.In the towns it was the constructed the entire aspect of right of appointing SECTIONS " OF PARIS municipal Commune which life. did not exist during the Great Revolution. and to regenerate France^ It would." constituted many mediums of popular administration. scattered all over the land.

or to the law courts. and of which they at once felt the import. The the municipal administration. However. and especially in enabling the capital to repulse an attack upon it. f Vo1 - * Paris l8 94. \ After the taking of the Bastille. . of from sixteen to twenty-four members. which was formed at the Hotel de Ville by the influential middle classes. or even to different government departat a ments under the old regime. we see the districts already acting as accepted organs of the municipal administration. had been divided for electoral purposes into sixty districts. xii.* had to convoke the districts to come to an understanding with them. p. on their own initiative. which were to nominate the electors of the second degree. with their marvellous gift for revolutionary organisation. and when all Paris was effervescing at the approach time of July 14 they began to arm the people and to act as independent authorities. as permanent organs of City of Paris . Each district was appointing its Civil Committee. " they formed a central corresponding bureau where special delegates met and exchanged communications.vii. One district." There lution^ was even a great variety in their organisation. The districts proved their usefulness and displayed a great activity in arming the people.1 82 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION had roused Paris to take the initiative of rebellion first since events in the days of July 1789.''! * $& chap. Thus they rendered themselves necessary. the districts ought to have disappeared but they remained and organised themselves. Once these were nominated. for the carrying out of its affairs." (JBut to create a common understanding between them. in organising the National Guard. so much so that the Permanent Committee. the people. in view of the struggle which they were already organising would have to maintain. appointed its justices of peace and arbitration. as Sigismond Lacroix has said in the first of his Actes de la Commune de Paris pendant la Revo" each district constituted itself how it liked. " anticipating the resolutions of the National Assembly volume concerning judicial organisation. by appropriating various functions and attributes which formerly belonged to the police.

districts It was by means of the and Marat and so many others were able to inspire the masses of the people in Paris with the breath of revolt. ii. Actes de la Commune. Most of the " sections " held their general assemblies in churches. which should be afterwards submitted to the districts themselves. The state of mind of the districts Lacroix says : . were practising what was described later on as Direct Self-Government. but in a federative union. the National Assembly began law. on behalf of part of the population of Paris and the official Council of its Commune. they did so with painful slowness. it sprang up in a revolutionary way. Ernest I Sigismond Lacroix. and from this time began to develop a certain hostility. * and their Mellie. Lacroix. J Les Sections de Paris pendant la Revolution. 625. by the federation of the district organisms . not in subjection to a Central Committee. p. and the masses. 1898.DISTRICTS The first " at AND attempt SECTIONS " OF PARIS 183 constituting a Commune was thus made " from below upward. of August 10 was thus appearing in germ when the especially since December 1789. . p. in consultation with Mayor of Paris. committees and schools were often lodged in buildings which formerly belonged to the clergy or to monastic orders.t Immediately after the taking of the Bastille. 9. xiv. Bailly. The Commune from this time. pality scheme had still to be written. " the first article months. The Bishopric became a central place for the meetings of delegates from the sections. the districts went on widening the sphere of their functions as it became necessary. vol. Actes. from popular initiative. iii. . of the districts tried to form a Central Committee delegates at the Bishop's palace. the districts had ordered the their delegates to prepare. which became more and more apparent. It is also important to note that while trying to give a legal form to the Municipal Government. p." t rally When to discuss municipal " At the end of two of the new Munici- /vThese delays natu- seemed suspicious to the districts. \ " ." says Lacroix. a plan of municipal organisation. the districts strove to maintain their own independence.* " " that henceforth Danton. vol. accustoming themselves to act without receiving orders from the national representatives. But while waiting for this scheme. Paris. They sought for unity of action.

already dated We from 1789. Lacroix. as . Actes. acting under directly. who come together in the general assemblies of the districts. There is still another striking fact pointed out by Lacroix. with which . Nothing was to be done without the direct sanction of the districts themselves. ' r much as possible. founded on July 12. the Commune less is a unity composed of its united districts. which shows up to what point the districts knew how to distinguish themselves from the Municipality and how to prevent it from encroaching upon their rights. but in the deeds of the Great French Revolution. without any delegation. expressed some years later in England by W.* and Brissot's scheme had to be abandoned. . or else it may be done by delegates reduced to the role of special commissioners. it had to choose between two that of an assembly free and illegal. the districts at once opposed it. and that they had their origin. 1789. that the Commune must legislate and administer for itself." thus see that the principles of anarchism. Government by representation must be reduced to a minimum everything that the Commune can do directly must be done by it. when the National Assembly began to discuss the municipal law. who met iii. another principle is disclosed is. . Godwin. the uninterrupted control of those who have commissioned the final right of legislating and administrating them for the Commune belongs to the districts to the citizens. . . . iv. . Paris did not want to be a federation of sixty republics cut off haphazard each in its territory . 1789). not in theoretic speculations. concocted between the National Assembly and a committee elected by the Assembly of Representatives (the Permanent Committee of the Paris Commune. after all proposals : of delegates from the * districts. without any intermediary. . with a scheme of municipal constitution for Paris. vol. Later on. . But side by side . at the Bishop's palace. . undisputed principle. . there found a single example of a district setting Nowhere itself is up to this live apart from the others .1 84 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION both by a very strong displays itself sentiment of communal unity and by a no strong tendency towards direct selfgovernment. When Brissot came forward on November 30. .. p. in April 1790.

was the Paris districts that proposed to serve as intermediaries all for the purchase of the property. ind. pp." " and ignoring the official representatives of the says Lacroix. they are going themselves on February 8 (1790) to present to the National Assembly the first Address of the Paris Commune in its sections. Needless to say that the districts did not limit themselves to municipal affairs. xii." they themselves took the initiative for the in the matter. made independently of any official representa- tion. As " marc of silver. The National Assembly decided in favour of the first. * Vide chap. poor-relief. The National Assembly had ordained on paper the seizing of the Church property and the putting it up for sale. . | Lacroix. and proved their capacity for organisation. and that of the legal Council of the Commune. Commune. From this I there developed a tendency to establish a direct link between the towns and villages of France. It is a personal deonstration of the districts. They always took part in the great The royal veto. which later became even more manifest. outside the National Parliament.DISTRICTS " a proposal AND " SECTIONS " OF PARIS 185 which was adopted by the majority of the districts and signed by Bailly. by convoking each other for discussion and " appointing committees. the Jewish question. They vote their own resolutions. It ] was especially in an affair of capital importance the liquidation of the Church property that the districts made their influence felt. and invited and the munici- iii. vol. that of the marc " * of silver all of these were discussed by the districts. to support Robespierre's motion in the National " marc of silver. for the but it had not indicated any practical means for carrying this law into effect. which was supported by some of the districts only." t against the Assembly /What is still more interesting is that from this time the provincial towns began to put themselves in communication with the Commune of Paris concerning all things. Actes. gave irresistible force to the Revolution. " mandate. xiii. the imperative political questions of the day. and this direct and spontaneous action. At this juncture it benefit of the nation .

f S. relative to the acquisition to be made. having approved it. f The districts. have negotiated treated directly with the State.1 86 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION France to do the same. and a small executive council of twelve members chosen by these By acting in this sixty representatives. free. and who. in his Introduction to the fourth volume of the Actes de la Commune. with the National Assembly. the Commune of Paris ? " demands Lacroix. and at last effected the proposed purchase and with the consent directly. is once taken over also that the districts. social organisation. which was already too old for serious action. but of the Sovereign Assembly. and afterwards the districts. p."*^ way and the libertarians would no doubt do the same to-day the districts of Paris laid the foundations of a new. . that is to say. polities of They thus found Commune a practical method managed to induce the Assembly to entrust them with this important business : " Who speaks and acts in " the name of that great personality. of national * When the members of the Town Council wanted to act in this affair of the purchases. a special deliberate assembly. have got hold of the matter in lieu of the Town Council. Actes.. instead of the sections.. But I cannot resist " Address to the National reproducing here the following lines of the Assembly by the deputies of the sixty sections of Paris.f Lacroix. specially appointed ad hoc. Are you no longer recognisingl the principle that tkt functions of the deputy cease in the presence tion consummated by the Commune ' . all contrarily to a formal decree. with a view to this special object. through the medium of its commissioners.IUv . and also they twice dismissed " the Town Council that wanted to interfere." What is even more interesting this business. Lacroix." : How itself. for carrying it out.' to be less legal than if it were made by the general representatives." " Lacroix says. having took no heed of the old Assembly of Representatives of the Commune. editor of the Actes de la has fully described (Town Council) in the first place. in the name of the Commune. from whom this idea emanated. iv. the sections protested and they expressed the following very just idea concerning the " would it be possible for the acquisirepresentatives of a people domains. composed of sixty delegates. gives a full account of this affair. who have approved it. And he replies The Bureau de Ville districts : The how the of applying the law. xix. prefer to constitute.

* It has often been said that the National Assembly represented the national unity of France. whom the districts have given a special mandate." It is official assemblies. of " is made outside by means : the life. . While the Assembly was sapping by degrees the royal power. i. the national federation is prepared by a meeting the exclusive and direct of delegates to . iv. pp. and they soldered at the same time the link between Paris and the provinces. it j born first (as the need of important to note that the movement was Buchez and Roux had already remarked) from assuring the food-supply to Paris. unfortunately buried nowadays under governmental fictions. " history." their intermediary in this case being of delegates from the sections for concluding a federative compact. and to take is I J measures against the fears of a foreign invasion . districts that the most important acts in the communal both political and the acquisition and selling administrative. this movement was partly the outcome of an act of local ojjhe defuter $" Proud and true words." DISTRICTS " AND " SECTIONS " OF PARIS 187 thus see that while reaction was gaining more and more ground in 1790. are accomplished of the national estates (biens nationaux) goes on. were terrified as they saw men surging from all parts of France towards Paris for the festival. that is to say. through the intermediary of their special commissioners . note. ^Besides. the question of the Fete of the Federation came up. Municipal says Lacroix. the Assembly had to consent. They thus prepared the ground for the revolutionary Commune of August 10. . the politicians. as the districts had wished. Michelet has observed. on the other side the districts of Paris were We acquiring more and more influence upon the progress of the Revolution. and 729. vol. is . ii. the districts and afterwards the "sections" of Paris were widening by degrees the sphere of their functions in the midst of the people. * Lacroix. however. as and the Commune of Paris had to burst in the door of the " National Assembly to obtain its consent to the fete. Whether it liked or not. The federation of July 14 also work of the an assembly districts." Michelet adds. When.

Lacroix. which were created the individualisation of the various quarters of Paris.. \ * S. in the sections of Paris. Les Actes de la pp. vi. wherein all the cantons of the departments of France and all the regiments of the army were for represented.1 88 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION administration. .* the character of a national confederation. vol. became thus the instrument for the federate union of the whole nation. and yet it took. The sections. Commune. 273 et seq. 1897. ist edition.

February 14." Year XIV. 189 .CHAPTER XXV THE SECTIONS OF PARIS UNDER THE NEW MUNICIPAL LAW Commune of Paris Permanence of sectional assemblies Distrust of executive power Local power necessary to carry out Revolution National Assembly tries to lessen power of districts Municipal law of May. seems OUR strange nowadays. 1789. No. Like Proudhon. Foubert.June 1790 Impotence of attacks of Assembly Municipal law ignored Sections the centre of revolutionary initiative Civic committees In- creasing power of sections Charity-bureaux and charityworkshops administered by sections Cultivation of waste land contemporaries have allowed themselves to be so won over to ideas of subjection to the centralised State that the " " very idea of communal independence to call it autonomy would not be enough which was current in 1789. 1895.. who said "The Commune will * L'idee autonovniste dans les districts de Paris en 1789 et en 1790. so much importance is attached to-day. p. since July " districts. 8. and even to the legislators in the National Assembly. L.* when speaking of the scheme of municipal organisation decreed by the National Assembly on " the application of this scheme would seem to-day a revoke " tionary act. 141 et seq. was quite right in saying that and he adds that insufficient 14. in the review La Revolution fran^aise. to a at the time this by the Parisians who were very great independence of their municipal law was considered accustomed. May 1790. 21. a question not worth discussing and an encroachment on liberty. M. seemed at to the Parisians." to which that time The exact delimitation of powers in the State. even anarchic so much the ideas have changed .

they maintained that the Commune of Paris. And if the sections decided to submit to the decision of possible ' majority amongst themselves in general questions. a society of joint-owners citizen. of real liberty for a Commune. they said. and fellow inhabitants enclosed by a circumscribed and limited boundary. has its consequently every power to dispose of that of guaranteeing the administration the military force all. The Commune. as well as resist oppression. exercises them always itself directly as much as possible." the districts of Paris did not understand be all that the " is Commune was not all." they said. they did not for all that abdicate either their right to federate by means of freely contracted alliances. and not the elected Communal Council. the possibility of calling the general assembly whenever was wanted by the members of the section and of discussing The " " permanence it everything in the general assembly this. and it has collectively the same rights as a citizen. a principle which is scarcely understood to-day. deals may add. but was much appreciated at that time. without masters. (" A Commune. must be territory : the only condition. and thus trying by every means to arrive at unanimity. starting from this definition. without inter" so " says this preamble mediaries\ The Commune of Paris " in of its freedom. or that of passing from one section to another for the purpose of influencing their neighbours' decisions. of the general assemblies of the sections that is. but a people governing itself directly when lt J without intermediaries. will . was the General Assembly of the section. j The third part of the preamble to the with the direct exercise of powers." sovereign within its own of this property. moreover. being possessed of all its rights consequence and powers. property. I May It municipal law of 1790 established. the security of the individuals. like every other " having liberty. which was to be the supreme authority for all that concerned the inhabitants of Paris. the police.190 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION or nothing. and as little as possible by delegation"^ In other words. the Commune of Paris was not to be a governed State. in fact. security and the right to property." And.

" adds Foubert it is also mine \ ! of view gave to the Revolution the more so as it was combined easily understood. he will have remarked. must necessarily abuse " it. and whose intelligence he will have educate every citizen " * the forum always open is the only way. it had to be done by the local powers. when it is to elect. as Foubert also says. 155. suppressed the districts. It was intended to put an end to those hotbeds of Revolution. just as much against The strength which this point can be centralisation as against despotism. distrust inspired : distrust of all executive 'power. those whose zeal necessary. they maintained. ." The section in permanence >^ the sections ' r Finally. taken good care to limit the duties quoted by Foubert. appreciated. Perhaps they also thought that enfranchisement. with another one. * Section des Mathurins. and for that purpose the new law introduced a new subdivision of Paris into forty-eight sections active citizens only being allowed to take part in the electoral and administrative assemblies of the new " sections." This is the opinion of Montesquieu and Rousseau. and allow him. and to put them under the tutelage of a communal government. The limitation of the royal power would thus be rendered only the more easy.PARIS UNDER THE NEW MUNICIPAL LAW 191 politically. being the depository of force. and to carry it out they must be free. p. moreover. " He who has the executive power. "The " is revolutionary movement. also pointed out by Foubert. Thus the municipal law of May 27 to June 27. The National Assembly evidently tried all it could to lessen the power of the districts. with full knowledge." he writes. 1790. which the national representatives might be able to control. must begin in each village and each town." The law had. the conquest of liberty." The French people thus seem to have comprehended from the outset of the Revolution that the immense work of transformation laid upon them could not be accomplished either constitutionally or by a central power. to assure an honest and intelligent administration.

2nd series. installation of the and the citizens did not fail to take For instance. to which he gave all the rights (Lacroix. Article 12. if the " " that permanence Constituent is Assembly to say. That was with none of their sovereign power. and adopted on April 7. in fact. the municipal law was the (* obliged to this itself grant to the sections the therefore. scarcely a month after the new municipality. It left all decisions to the citizens assembled in their sections. vol. Condorcet. abolished the General Council of the Commune. personified the Commune in its elected General Council. it. f Division IV. 1790. ] \ \ Danton understood thoroughly the necessity of guarding for the sections all the rights which they had attributed to themselves during the first year of the Revolution. and proudly displayed it. i." remaining true to the idea of representative government. sections parted * Division I I. the permanent it right of the sections to meet without a special convocation was compelled nevertheless to recognise their right of holding general assemblies. to demand the instant dismissal of the ministers and their arraignment before a national tribunal. Actes.192 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION of the sections by declaring that in their assemblies they should " with no other business than that of the themselves occupy * But elections and the administration of the civic oath. they retained Although they Their petition had. We find. partly under the influence of Danton. Danton and Bailly went to the National Assembly. by forty districts. and this is why the General Ruling for the Commune of Pans. at the citizens. administrative attributes that the districts selves. had been deprived of it by law.! demand of fifty active ^ sufficient." was not obeyed. After all. and the " districts " had acted. which was elaborated by the deputies of the sections at the Bishopric. on behalf of forty-three out of the forty-eight sections. On the contrary. but also trusted by the administration of the department " with the reassessment of the taxes in their respective sections. p.. in his "municipality scheme. xii. and the sections retained the right of permanence. The furrow had been ploughed more " " went on to act as sections than a year before.. advantage of it." f abolished the Furthermore.). . had already arrogated to themunder the new law the same sixteen commissioners whom we saw in the districts elected and charged not only with police and even judicial functions. The Article 2.

sections until it was abolished by the revolutionary Jacobin government. after a severe struggle. Besides. in September 1790. They simply ignored Generally speaking. 1793. as well as the prud'bommes j . and if their activity relaxed during the reactionary period which France lived through in 1790 and 1791. which old enabled them to replace the charity workshops of the N . it was still. in obtaining the power of administering the affairs of the charity-bureaux. towards the end of 1790. j And this right was retained by the (conciliation judges). became of such importance that the National Assembly listened to them and replied graciously. on account of the various functions they had assumed. of relief. which entirely subjected the municipalities "to the administration of the department and the district for all j t that concerned the functions they should have to exercise * by delegation from the general administration. the sections which roused Paris in 1792 and prepared the revolutionary Commune of August 10. but they took action. which was instituted on December 4. as we shall see by the sequel." ) Neither the sections nor the Commune of Paris nor the provincial Communes would accept this clause. the sections. namely. the sections gradually took upon themselves the part of being centres of revolutionary initiative. (it was the same with the clause of the municipal law of 1790.PARIS UNDER THE NEW MUNICIPAL LAW 193 nothing municipal about it. and these committees entrusted at first with police functions only. and that was all. " " which had belonged to the districts . the Assembly was forced to grant to the sections the right which the Strasbourg sections had assumed in August 1789. never ceased. the right to appoint the justices of the peace and their assistants. extending their functions in every direction^ Thus. appoint sixteen commissioners to constitute their civic committees. these same civic committees of the sections succeeded. By virtue of the law of May 21. during the whole time of the Revolution. On the other hand. it and maintained their independence. as well as the very important right of inspecting and organising the distribution * Article 55. 1790. each section had to .

so as to increase agricultural produce by market gardening.or her-self at the sectional workshop to be given work.^ The " Right to Work. Let us resume the current of events. but it was precisely by entering into the petty details of the toilers' daily life that the sections of Paris developed their political power and their revolutionary initiative." which the people of the large towns demanded in 1848. so that in the Year II. had existed during the Great Revolution in Paris. under the direction of the sections In this way they obtained a great deal. Not only did the sections throughout the Revolution supervise the supply and the sale of bread. But then it was organised from below. undertook by degrees to supply clothes and boots to the army. They themselves. Meille. Vidal and other authoritarians who sat in the Luxembourg from March till June 1848 intended it to be. the price of objects of prime necessity. but they also set on foot the cultivation of the waste lands of Paris. and the application of the maximum when fixed by law. had only to present him. t We 1848 nothing was done . was therefore only a reminiscence of what in 1792-93. ' j (They organised milling and other industries so well that in I 793 an X citizen. not from above." because besides talk and discussion.* vast powerful organisation sprang up later on from these attempts. p 289. domiciled in a section.f There was something even better than this. as Louis Blanc. This may seem paltry to those who think only of bullets and barricades in time of revolution . But we must not of anticipate.194 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION regime by relief-works. We shall return again to the sections of Paris when we * speak of the Commune August in 10. must say " intended. (1793-1794) the sections tried to take over completely the manufacture as well as first A the supply of clothing for the army.

1790 Feudalism still oppresses peasants classes Difficulties of peasants The people of ACCORDING as the Revolution progressed. even in their struggle against the King and the priests. ( They revolted when they were compelled to pay the tithes. and they they logical strove to make the return of the landlords. for that reason they And of France filched wished at least in very many parts to regain possession of the lands that had been village from the communities and demanded agrarian laws which would allow every one to work on the land if he wanted. \ In 195 . and they made themselves masters of the municipalities. so that they could strike at the priests and the landlords. the popular current and the middle-class current. They foresaw that the revolutionary enthusiasm would be exhausted at no far distant day. its lost patience and tried to bring the Revolution to development. the royal despotism. became more clearly defined especially in economic affairs. Seeing delays. and laws which would place the rich and the poor on equal terms as regarded their rights as citizens. 1789 -Reactionary party gains ground Honorary rights and profitable rights Decrees of February 27. therefore. The people strove to put an end to the feudal system. and the reign of the rich and the priests impossible for all time.CHAPTER XXVI DELAYS IN THE ABOLITION OF THE FEUDAL RIGHTS desire to abolish feudal system Aims of middle Gradual estrangement of middle classes and people " " " " Anarchists Girondins Importance of feudal question in Revolution August 4. the two currents which we have spoken in the beginning of this book. and they ardently desired equality as well as liberty.

1792. whilst all sorts of financial speculations were laying the foundations of many a large fortune among the Third Estate. \ who had wanted so long as they (It can be understood. the middle classes. 1789. justice. whilst in Paris Finally. might to complete as is seen. and the reorganisation of public instruction. therefore. worked with all their " the conquest of power " the phrase. * Izvestia (Bulletin) of the University of Kieff. They took up a firm position in the provinces. 3 and 8 (Russian). the people into it. on July 14. and all the rest.196 short. If in certain regions the greater portion of the property confiscated from the emigres and the priests passed in small lots into the hands of the poor (at least this is what may be gathered from the researches of Lout chit zky. and that the class which would govern would have the wealth the more so as the sphere of action of the State was about to increase enormously through the formation of a large standing army. that an abyss Was ever widening between the middle classes and the people in France . when it became necessary to strike a heavy blow at royalty. the revolution and urged had not felt that " the Year XXXVII. and in their clubs and meetings of the part of France. the levying of taxes. and at the same time hastened to establish their present and future wealth. This had been clearly seen to follow the revolution in England. According as the power of the King and the Court crumbled and fell into contempt. The middle classes. the middle classes developed their own. and on August 10." Assembly. the people organised the insurrection and fought arms in hand. ( But what the educated middle classes had especially borne in mind model as a the Revolution of 1648 in England serving them was that now was the time for them to seize the government of France. dates from that time. on their side. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION they maintained revolutionary conditions in the greater they kept close watch over the law-makers from the vantage-points of the galleries in the " sections.. .*) in other regions an immense portion of these properties served to enrich the middle classes. Nos.

" as they were then called. Over this question the main contests were fought. it was the abolition of these rights which best survived. in full who became known later expression in the political party of those on as " the Girondins " that is to : the politicians who.^ " ( Those who were described at that time by the men of " " " " order and the statesmen as the anarchists. The abolition of the feudal rights certainly did not enter the thoughts of those who called for social renovation before All they intended to do was to amend the abuses of 1789. both in rural France and in the Assembly. these rights. in spite of the vicissitudes through political which France passed during the nineteenth century. This is most regrettable confusion continues to prevail about this subject." helped by a certain number of the middle class some members of the Club of the Cordeliers and a few from the Club of the " statesJacobins found themselves on one side.) We have told in chap." would be possible . sum up once more the of August 1789. But as this question of feudal rights of the Revolution. it It was even asked by certain reformers whether " to diminish the seigniorial prerogative. although the abolition of the feudal rights was the principal work of the Great Revolution. As for the " men. and the people. and we now see what further developments were given to this legislation in the years 1790 and 1791. gathered round Brissot and the minister Roland. at the risk of a little legislation of the month a repetition. before touching upon what was done the more necessary as in the two following years. and as it y I shall. after the Girondin chiefs had been expelled from the Convention. they found their say.DELAYS IN ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS 197 conquest of power" was already accomplished to their advantage. who had seen in the Revolution the means of freeing themselves from the double yoke of poverty and political disability. to what the pretended abolition of the feudal rights during the night of August 4 was reduced by the decrees voted by the Assembly from August 5 to 1 1. and out of all the work of the Revolution. xv. dominates the whole remained unsolved until 1793." the defenders of property. in 1792.

and the archives and the places where the records of feudal dues were and in a great many localities the kept were destroyed landlords gave their signatures to documents renouncing their . 8. article Fiodalisme. . " All property. or rather of resolutions passed on August 5. generally speaking. in the dismal blaze of the burning chateaux and the peasant insurrection which threatened to assume still greater proportions. And it was added say at the opening of the " that his Majesty expressly understands by the word property the feudal and seigniorial tithes. the Dalloz. all rights the estates and to the and prerogatives profitable or honorary. they re-established and placed under the protection of the Constitution all that was essential in the feudal rights. By a series of decrees. As we have seen. Necker It was the Revolution that put the question shall of abolition pure and simple of these rights. rents. They shook all France and Europe. 1789. 6. without any exception." protested then against None of the future revolutionists this interpretation of the rights of the lords and the landed proprietors altogether." Then. be always respected" they made the King States-General. The sitting of that night due to them." was described as a " Saint Bartholomew of property. rights and dues and. levies. * rights. with certain exceptions." But the very next day. lutionary not thus interpret the liberties promised to the well-known author of the Repertoire certainly no one will tax with revo" the agricultural populations did exaggeration whom them everywhere up." says Dalloz de jurisprudence. the chateaux were burned. as we saw already. the National Assembly voted during that memorable night a decree. Renouncing. took place the sitting of August 4. 10 and n. attached to fiefs belonging to any person. the villages rose . the personal services that were * The impression produced by those words was immense. the Assembly changed its mind. " But. or rather a declaration of principles. " of which the first article was The National Assembly destroys completely the feudal system.198 as THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION said.

which could in the slightest way be made to represent rents due for the possession or the use guarded with all the real rights. 1898) has since confirmed this 1804 point of view. everything which concerned dues reputed to be attached to the use of the land remained just as it was. neither to fix a term for the redemption nor to determine its rate. but also a great number of of the land res in payments and dues. After all. The peasants the agriers But the Assembly took good care price of the redemption. maintained. I first published in an article on the anniversary of the Great Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. as the law-makers said (rights over Latin signifying things). All these exactions had been entered in the terriers or landedestate records. often quite as monstrous. in money and in kind. convinced of this. June 1889. 1893.! produce of the land. in full. Paris. The elaborate work of M. if some day they would come to an agreement with the landlord about the comptants and so in short. the terriers. and afterwards in a series of articles in La Revolte for 1892 and 1893. Essai d'histoire sociale. : . established at the time of the abolition of serfdom and attached thenceforth to the possession of the land. and republished in pamphlet form under the title La Grande Revolution. all the laws concerning landed property. and the tithes too pecuniary value were obtained only the right to redeem these dues. except that the idea of feudal property was shaken by Article i of the resolutions of August 5 to n. it was not a question of a more correct interAnd to be pretation of facts. which are in complete contradiction to the unmeasured praise lavished on the National Assembly by many historians. for instance. In reality. There we have. it was a question of the facts themselves. 1789f * Shares of the These facts.DELAYS IN ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS lords 199 the more care those of their rights. in the wellknown Repertoire de jurisprudence. &c. taxes on it. either in full or in a faithful summary. These were not only things the rents for landed property. court rolls. and the municipalities were ordered to bring the peasants to reason if they did not pay. Paris. one has only to consult any collection of the laws of the French State such as is contained. The on * champarts. Sagnac (La legislation civile de la Revolution francaise. We have seen how ferociously certain of them carried out these instructions. that had a everything. varying with the province. Ph. and since then these rights had often been sold or conceded to third parties. by Dalloz.

1790. * Set above. : legally. From this source I have drawn. so that in reality the resolutions of August 5 to II were never actually promulgated. so as not to have them promulgated. chap. they legislated in a reactionary spirit. But in Paris the party of reaction had already gained much ground since October 6. Therefore. and on September 18 he was still asking on their promulgation on October 6. when they sent them out for promulgation to the provincial parlements (courts of justice) . stated. in fact. the decrees which they passed from February 28 to reality March 5 and on June 18. by specifying " in one of its acts of August 1789 that these were only resolutions.200 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION have seen. the acts were thus deprived of the character of law. so long as their provisions had not been put into the shape of constitutional decrees. made by Abbe Gregoire in February 1790. after the women had brought him back to Paris and placed him under the super- them to addressing remonstrances to the National Assembly reconsider their resolutions. to the landlords and to the King. that the peasant insurrection was still going on and that It it had gained in strength since the month of January. 1789. " " even these resolutions seemed too advanced However. furthermore. No obligatory character was attached to We them nothing had been done. by this. the advantage of not having to require the King's sanction. and that is what happened. . But at the same time. In such conditions the peasants' revolt had necessarily to go on. was spreading from the East to the West. in the note written by my friend James Guillaume * that the Assembly." gave themselves. The latter tried to gain time. made up their minds to promulgate the They resolutions only on November 3. had as consequence the re- both private and communal. He only decided vision of the people. But then it was the Assembly that turned a deaf ear. xviii. The report of the Feudal Committee. which are not to be found in the histories of the Revolution. and it was by studying the texts of these laws that I have come to understand the real meaning of the Great French Revolution and its inner struggles. when the National Assembly undertook the discussion of the feudal rights after In Gregoire's report.

that "if the mortmain. shall be subject. following the opinion of Merlin. several personal feudal rights. abolished without redemption. not being representative of the mortmain. even though he had lost the right of " feudal seizure " t could exercise The all kinds. was the opinion of those who wished for the abolition of feudalism. was maintained completely. j Article 6. rents and rights that are redeemable by their nature. they are completely assimi" lated to the simple rents and charges on the land (Law of February 24. They described the decrees of 1790 as re-establishing feudalism. and the 'profitable rights which the peasants had to redeem. were now put upon the same footing as obligations resulting from the land. mere vestiges of personal servitude and should have been condemned on account of their origin. should be preserved. until their redemption. the distinction between the honorary rights. to the rules that the various laws and (droits customs of the kingdom have established. together with all sales. Article I of chap.). . sitting of In their February 27. that were mere usurpations. as can be seen by the documents of the period. superiority and power resulting from which the feudal system are abolished. and confirmed . in a great number of cases. therefore." Some rights. location of the For non-payment of these dues. That. " having been classed as 'profitable rights. they confirmed. They decreed that the landed rights of which the tenure in mortmain had been converted into tenure by- annual rent." The Constituent Assembly went still further. has been converted * " All honorary distinctions. according to the common law." So much did the middle classes hold to this heritage of serfdom that Article 4 of chap. i. iii.DELAYS IN ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS establishing of the feudal 201 system in all that was of im- portance. As for those profitable rights will continue to exist until they are redeemed. what was worse. were now completely * assimilated with the simple rents and charges on the land. real or mixed. " The feudal dues and taxes following article confirms this constraint of : feodaux ft censuels). the lord. the right of serfdom in " mortmain. To begin with. and. of the new law declared.

chap. of the new feudal laws. left still crushing down the peasant. They were abolished. and do not try to gain time. true enough. certain rights chiennage (kennels). But it was nothing of the kind. the reading of the discussion in the Assembly whether it was really in March 1790. And are presumed redeemable. or were they still on the feudal rights suggests the question the beginning of the reign of Louis XVI. but so it was. in the year 1775. . on March I." at . that these rights had been abolished. or into owed. or the wine-press. in were abolished. It is rather long. 1790. However. in money. the peasants. but us see what deserves to be reproduced. Here is the text of Article 2.202 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION on the land. peasant always pay for there would be an immediate distraint. as well as certain rights o\er the sales and purchases by the vassals thought. iii. these dues shall continue to be Altogether. . still dared not buy a cow. the mill. Thus. without redemption. on the common the dues levied by the But oven. after the taking of the Bastille. slavery it 1790. as well as all we must not jump to conclusions. " Article 2. Pay. nor even sell their wheat. but with the exception of those cases where they had formerly been the subject of a written agreement between the lord and the peasant commune. and on August 4 that these discussions took place. except there is to the contrary (which means 'shall be paid by the proof peasant until he has redeemed them ' ) : " (i) All the seigniorial annual dues." since the enfranchisement into dues rights of mutation. Legally. This seems hard to believe. during the night of August 4. one might think that abolished on lords at last these rights were March I. without paying dues to the lord.. however. in 1790. or were considered payable in exchange for ! ! as some concession or other. grain. . " of fire. of watch and ward. and then you could only save yourself by winning your case before a law-court. One would have many parts of France. moneage (coining). because it lets the feudal law of February 24 to March 15. They could not even sell their corn before the lord had sold his and had profited by the high prices that prevailed before much of the corn had been threshed.

denomination of quit-rents. tasque. or on the tenant's labour). the others. therefore. " It But immediately afterwards they took add the following clause : &c. lods et ventes. it would have meant a loss to some members of noble or middle-class families. the canals. or any other denomination whatsoever. in cases of inheritance. . treizains (thirteenth). the eldest son having succeeded the estate or the chateaux. the Assembly. feudal y manorial or emphyteutic. although recognised as being unjust. In these cases. soete.. paid over-rents.DELAYS IN ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS poultry. as regards the present. relevoisons. more especially the to daughters. and has the right of continuing in possession. and fruits of under the rents. requint (twenty-fifth). under the name of quint (fifth). may have else. are due on account of supervening mutations in the property or the possession of of land. champerty. all Cases like these recurred through the new feudal law. suppressed on the high roads. the authorised toll-gates . otherwise. so long as he is proprietor or holder. lods (dues on v sales of inheritance). the earth." This meant that many of the lords had sold or mortgaged certain of their rights . because. and the duties mentioned in the article aforesaid which been acquired as compensation. and any other denominations whatsoever. which are payable or due only by the proprietor or holder of a piece of land. terrage. or the bridges. care to the other hand. in the suppression declared by the preceding article. " (2) All the occasional fees (casuels) which. however. which were not to be understood. redemptions venterolles. &c.acapts) and other similar rights due on the mutation of the former lords. a piece " (3) The arrears rights of acapts (rights on succession). canals. mi-lods.. pleas. reliefs. After each suppression of feudal right some subterfuge was . actual forced labour. is ." On various rights of toll levied by the lords. on March 9. acapts in (arriere. that the National Assembly includes. received as compensation certain rights of toll over or the highways. food-stuffs of all 203 kinds. agrier (rights on the produce of lands and fields. all the rights remained.

to claim reimbursement later on from the lord. body and soul with the lords and the middle-class landowners. of which payment shall be asked under the pretext that they have department been implicitly or explicitly suppressed without compensation. " and in full. to prohibit the collection of any of the seigniorial dues. Sagnac has well said a terrible clause. be paid. they need not tricts or . if he could not make was nearly always the case he had to pay! it as . rested with the peasant. ecclesiastical and enfeoffed (which means sold to the laity). if the lords claimed them. may have emigrated to Coblentz. They did not forget to impose penalties on those who might disobey this decree.Jespecially the latter. by that time. If he did not make it. the Assembly No municipality or administration of district or shall be able. and that. This was introducing as M. There was only one single point where the breath of the Revolution really made itself felt. and they must distrain upon him. the municipal councillors of a village will not dare to say anything." There was nothing to fear from the officials of either the disthe departments they were. especially in the East of France. The 'proof that the peasant no longer owed certain feudal dues. It was decided that all tithes. under penalty of being themselves prosecuted or distrained upon.204 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION it. should cease from January 1791. of which the revolutionists had taken possession. and this was on the question of the tithes. of the feudal law." This is not all. inserted to evade So that the result would have been lawsuits without end. so difficult to make. But there were municipalities. who. as prosecuted such. and these would tell the peasants that such and such feudal dues had been suppressed. iii. on pain of nullity and of being as a guilty 'party and having to 'pay the damages. if the payment was not due. and not attached to the land this proof. He will only be at liberty. and the peasant will have to pay. that they were personal. But here again the Assembly decreed that for the year 1790 they were to be paid to whom they were due. and on opening the discussion of enacted " : chap. Now.

it in reality gave a new legal basis passed. " weighs. or to what Dalloz says about them. Sagnac estimates the laws of March 1790. But here is what is Ph. impossible to accuse of since he considers the abolition without resans-culottism. " The ancient law. that is being worked out. It is for the peasant if he does not wish to pay a tribute of forced labour. accomplished later on by the M. Lest it should be believed that this is our own interpretation of the legislation of the Assembly. demption of the feudal rights. or to leave his field in order to go and work in his lord's bring proof that his lord's demand is has possessed its it is for the peasant to some right for forty years this ao 5 origin under the old system But if the lord no matter what was right becomes legal under illegal.CHAPTER XXVII FEUDAL LEGISLATION IN New Attempts to 1790 laws support feudal system Sagnac's opinion of them Insurrection spreads collect feudal dues resisted Spurious decrees excite further risings Peasants demand " " Maximum and restoration of communal lands Revolution Middle-class suppressions Draconian fixes price of bread laws against peasants (June 1790) Tithes to be paid one year longer Summary of laws to protect property Articles of peasants' demands THUS was that the National Assembly. how M. in the work of the Constituent Assembly. upon the new law Convention. profiting by the temporary lull in the peasant insurrections during the winter. then. in 1790. said about it is them by a modern writer. it should be enough to refer the reader to the laws themselves. or to carry part of his harvest to the landlord's barn. ." he writes. with all its force. whom Let as an "iniquitous and useless spoliation. Sagnac. laws which to the feudal system." us see.

in fact. Sagnac. dues were redeemed retained by the law. is Possession is enough. Assembly does not This Assembly of landlords and lawyers. . It matters what this possession. . he had to acquit and redeem even the usurped rights. p. the legality of which he will have to pay all the same. to destroy completely the seigniorial and domanial system. or if they have the tenant denies burned his title-deeds. the imredemption The tiller of the soil had of that redemption. Furthermore. to pay only the legal dues. . first of all." ." f In other words. we read what follows in the same author. otherwise so moderate in his estimations " framework of the Constituent : The hold together. pp. it will suffice for him now to produce proof of possession during thirty years for these rights to be re-established. by no means eager. by their revolt in August 1789. while now. after having taken care to preserve the more considerable rights [all those which had any real value]. * Ph." \ " Never did legislation unchain a greater indignation. 1898). And if the peasants. 120. undoubtedly who owed the payment of real dues (droits " because reels\ were turned now against him. He felt that once more the lords had got the upper hand. 120. but the men of law gave him only words." says M. La legislation civile de la Revolution franfaise (Paris. Sagnac. . or rather begged upon the registration in law of a revolution already made in his mind and inscribed so at least he thought in deeds . pushed their generosity so far as to permit but immediately it decrees. favourable to one these arrangements. the important thing for him was. despite their promises. f Sagnac." It is * true that the new laws allowed the cultivator to purchase But " all the lease of the land. 105-106. Sagnac . p.206 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION March precisely : the law of little 15. possibility lor reforms and insisted upon having them. nothing could be redeemed unless all the the dues for the possession of the land. and the personal dues which the law : had abolished. have compelled the lord to renounce certain of his rights. if he could not show proof to the contrary.

Thus. twenty years report. wanted recover communes had been robbed by the everywhere. and at that very time they were " were also Great " excesses investing the town of Decize. mention was made of risings in Bourbon-Lancy and the Charolais. At the session of June 2. The insurrection spread also westward.FEUDAL LEGISLATION IN continues Sagnac. on their side. " The project for recovering the lands granted to the lords for the last hundred and . 121. the bailiffs and the recorders were pillaged or burnt. angrily to exact all the feudal The peasants. Several municipalities had proclaimed martial law " " there had been some killed and wounded. and it spread to regions which had the preceding summer. therefore. while elsewhere the title-deeds were destroyed and the offices of the fiscal officials. dues which the peasants had believed to be dead and buried. " On both it. is one of the articles of their demand" to says the the The communal Spurious peasants evidently lands of which the village lords. decrees of the National Assembly were seen In March and April 1790. at the sitting Assembly on June 5. the war against the lords became of the still more rise not dared to bitter. several were circulated * Sagnac. Asssembly. where the peasants were asking reported to have the maximum price of grain fixed. and in Brittany thirty-seven chateaux were burnt in the course of February 1790. decided to have no respect for 1790 207 M. seeing that nothing was to be got from the Assembly. feeling themselves supported by the National began. p. But when the decrees of February to March 1790 became known in the country districts. writs and summonses rained in thousands on the villages. . and an agrarian law was demanded. Many chateaux were sacked or burned. continued in certain districts to carry on the war against the lords. The brigands had spread over the Campine. from the Limousin. where false decrees of the Assembly had been spread." sides * people apparently The lords. reports were read about the insurrections in the Bourbonnais. the Nivernais and the province of Berry. They claimed the payment of all arrears .

laws against the peasants. It deserves quotation. getting ahead of the Convention. the Assembly adopted a decree even still harsher.208 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION one sou of the in the provinces. This is a picture of what was happening more or less everywhere not to mention the greater struggles at Lyons and in the South of France. or the life and safety of the citizens. but pality which was compelled the middle classes armed themselves. possessions and enclosures." A fortnight later. which did not pass the law " Maximum " until 1793. are committed. the free sale and circulation of food-stuffs. . that they under constraint ? ! no longer paid them except The Assembly only voted new Draconian Certainly not " the Assembly. of Nature. the people one of the monopolists. Martial law * be proclaimed against them. But what did the Assembly do ? Did they do justice to the peasants' demands ? Did they hasten to abolish without redemption those feudal rights. informed and greatly concerned about the excesses which have been committed by troops of brigands and robbers" " read peasants "] in the departments of the Cher. On June 2. For instance." and render the communes jointly responsible for the violences who stir up the those. so hateful to those who cultivated the land. the popular risings were still going on. Juije 6. In August. and are spreading almost into the " Correze. ordering the people not to pay more than The Revolution was thus for a pound of bread. enact measures against these promoters of disorder. whether ecclesiastical * Moniteur. " All " declared enemies of the Constitution. and arrested thereupon twenty-two rebels." says Article i of this law. of the towns and the country to accomplish acts of people violence and outrages against the properties. of the work of the National Assembly. and appointed a new municito lower the price of bread . will Its first article declares that all tithes. in the killed town of Saint-Etienne-en-Forez. [for which the Nievre and the Allier. and of the King. 1790. the collection of the taxes. on June 18.

by virtue of the decree of February 20-23. Above all. " According to Article 2. not going to be passed by-and-by for yet another year or two and so they did not pay." Each citizen shall be empowered to demand the application of martial law. left to the municipalities. and in such case " royal dicta" ture had to be proclaimed in the locality. The middle classes took umbrage at this clause. If they neglect to do this. Furthermore. . and then only shall he his responsibility. . in cash. under pretext of litigation. they wanted to introduce a clause which empowered the calling out of the soldiers or militia. which have not been suppressed without indemnity. those who owe payments in field- and land-produce (champart. " to give any trouble during and dues. it was forbidden of the tithes " the collecting In the case of disorderly assemblies being formed.. and in other dues payable in kind." Article 3 declares that no one can. without any declaration in the King's name. the village communes were o to . the municipality. refuse to pay either the tithes or the dues on fieldproduce. and after long discussions was the task of proclaiming martial law." Whereupon the peasants. I 79> was Vei7 characteristic.) be relieved of This decree would have been still worse if its supporters had not made a tactical error. the the whole community shall be responsible for two-thirds of damage done. but being able to take part in the re-establishment of public order. the municipal officials were to be held responsible for all injury suffered by the owners of the " all the citizens property.. terriers). no doubt. And not only the officials. ordained that the municipality should intervene and pro- claim martial law whenever a disorderly assembly takes place. will be held to pay them during the present year and the years following in the usual way . must proceed to take severe measures. ^ It This decree of February 20-23. in conformity with the decrees passed on March 3 and on May 4 last. Copying an English law. hold good for payment during the present year only to those to whom the right belongs and in the usual manner.FEUDAL LEGISLATION IN " 1790 209 or lay. in support of one another. asked if a new decree was . &c.

bear these dates well in mind. j Law of June 15 to 19. To speak against the payment of the feudal dues was held to be a crime. or to decrees of February 1790 were all that the Constituent Assembly did for the abolition of the odious feudal system. . From August 5 to II. indeed. that the people of Paris compelled the Convention. I bear witness. End of 1789 and 1790. Abolition in principle of the feudal abolition of personal mortmain. And every one who refused was compelled by the musket or the gallows to accept these obligations. 1790. and 4. Partial reconstruction of this system redemption for all the feudal dues Expeditions of the urban munici- * During this discussion Robespierre uttered a very just saying "As for which the revolutionists of all countries should remember " that no revolution has ever cost so me. which called forth the death if martial law was proclaimed. therefore. to pronounce the actual abolition of the feudal rights. and Let us. peasants be held responsible for any damages which might accrue to if they had not shot or hanged in good time the who refused to pay the feudal dues." : the counter-revolution. f Law of May 3 to 9. real value in the feudal rights. The it was not until June 1793. The bloodshed. 1789.* Such was the bequest of the Constituent Assembly." he cried. after the insurrection of May 31. by of acts which imposed any value whatsoever.t of the feudal dues. 1790. The law of June 18. confirmed all this. of which we have been told so many fine things for everything remained in that state until 1/92. patrimonial justice. through little blood and cruelty.f or else to reiterate the threats against the peasants who were not paying. the game laws. came later. . of legal chicanery as could be represented attached to the possession was to be paid as before. ail that All that had any by any kind of the land. 1790.210 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the lord. complain that the peasants were not willing to redeem anything. On system August . The feudal laws were only touched to make clear certain rules for the redemption penalty. in its "purified" form.

after the expulsion of the Girondins.. without redemption. Lastly. composed exclusively of the middle-class Decree of 1669. The Assemblies of the village communes were at that time. after the downfall of royalty. stating that the peasant revolt was spreading. So the Legislative Assembly hastened to make a law. and the middle classes looked on them with greedy eyes. it was only in August 1793. in the east. State. other question.* monks and the middle-class men of both towns and villages had had their share of them. insurrections still spreading. which authorised the sale of communal lands to private persons. with the help of the Lords.FEUDAL LEGISLATION IN polities against 1790 an the insurgent peasantry. as invasion of the Tuileries by the people. . ajl \There remained. did the Assembly take the first The peasant insurrections continuing. that the definite abolition. and hangings of the ^ same. 1791. on August I. of which the greater part had been taken away from them by fraud. action all These laws were confirmed once more. a good deal of these lands still communal possession. wherever the peasants felt themselves strong enough to do it. This was to give a free hand for pilfering these lands'. chiefly since the reign of Louis XIV. June 1791. Re- along the Only in July 1792. . of immense importance for the peasants. on the very eve of the decisive steps against the feudal rights. in in virtue of the municipal law passed by the National Assembly in December 1789. they tried to regain possession of the communal lands. north-east and south-east of France. or were preaching their abolition. of the feudal rights was enacted. This is the true picture of the Revolution. clergy. and in August 1792. however. Report of the Feudal Committee. March and June 1790. was clearly that of the communal lands. February 1790. Draconian laws against the peasants who were not paying their feudal dues. One Everywhere. or under the pretext of debt. The line. we shall see.

The King had to be imprisoned and executed. as they are to-day opposing it in Russia. both the rich and the poor. France. opposed up to June 1793. and even the National Convention. /As to the mass of the poor peasants. this Assemblies. the wealthier ones in the hope of securing some part for themselves. of which a large part could be acquired at a low price by the better-off peasants and farmers. to the exclusion of the poor householders. All this. that the Constituent and the Legislative It was. and the poor in the hope of keeping these lands for the commune. the peasants. On the other hand. of the wealthier And peasants. offering an infinite variety of detail in different parts of re-taking by the communes of the communal lands of which they had been robbed in the course of two centuries. and the Girondin leaders had to be driven out of the Con- vention before it could be accomplished.212 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION of the village of active citizens men that is. they opposed with all tneir might the destruction of the collective possession of the land. these village assemblies were evidently eager to put up the communal lands for sale.) nowever. let it be well under- stood. did all they could to regain possession of the communal lands for the villages . .

All the historians undoubtedly still they do not show all its mention this reaction depth and all its extent. freed in their persons. . would have remained econo- mically under the yoke of the feudal system as happened in Russia. where feudalism was abolished. and to re-establish the Court and the nobility in their rights. the Court. but it actually suffered a complete As soon as the first panic.CHAPTER XXVIII ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN 1790 Insurrections necessary Extent of reaction Work of Constituent and Legislative Assemblies New Constitution Local government opposed to centralisation Difficulties in apply"Disorder ing new laws Directoires on side of reaction wanted " Active and passive citizens The gains of insurrection Equality and agrarian law Disappearance of manorial answered by bullets Middle courts Workers' demands " " Intellectuals turn classes' love of order and prosperity Success of counter-revolution Plutocracy against people Opposition to republican form of government Danton and Marat persecuted and exiled Discontent and dishonesty in " " army Massacres at Nancy Bouille's splendid behaviour WE have seen what the economic conditions in the villages were during the year 1790. and not by a revolution. the rich men and the clergy promptly joined together for the reorganisation of the forces of reaction. expected breaking-out of the people. They were such that if the peasant insurrections had not gone on. the peasants. by law. but The 213 . produced by the unset-back. had passed. in 1861. all the political work of the Revolution not only remained unfinished in 1790. And soon they felt themselves so well supported and so powerful that they began to see whether it would not be possible to crush the Revolution. the nobles. Besides. in spite of all.

They avoided also the formation of an Upper Chamber. And it of opinion was in utter despair that the revolutionist "leaders " decided at last.214 reality THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION was that for two years. did something which helped on the Revolution 1789. they nevertheless accomplished an immense work for the destruction of the powers of the King and the Court. They worked out a local self-government which was capable of checking the governmental centralisation. they took away from the Church her rich possessions. opposed the revolutionary abolition of the feudal rights and popular revolution altogether. Third Estate. which for that time was a very great thing . Lastly. they enormously they abolished every representative of the central : authority in the provinces. the whole work of the Revolution was suspended. and after it the Legislative. once more to appeal to popular insurrection. Of course it must be recognised that while the Constituent Assembly. which would have been a stronghold for And by the departmental law of December the aristocracy. the new Constitution of the Third Estate. They destroyed for ever the political distinctions between " " orders the various clergy. and they laid the foundations of a more equal basis for taxation. we have only to remember slowly this is being done in Germany and Russia. it must be confessed that they went to work with a certain energy and sagacity. in the form of laws. in June 1792. They abolished all the titles of the nobility and the countless privileges how which then existed. and for the creation of the political power of the middle classes. which was going to get the upper hand or the counter-revoThe beam of the balance wavered between the two. . People were asking if it was the Revolution lution. And when the legislators in both these Assemblies undertook to express. from the summer of 1790 to the summer of 1792. \ They knew how to undermine the power of the nobility and how to express the rights of the citizen in a middle-class Constitution. and they modified the laws of inheritance so as to democratise property and to divide it up among a greater number of persons. nobility.

helped by all the pious folk in the neighbouring villages. energetic men. that if the " sections " of Paris had not taken the sale of the Church lands into their hands. However. to the Abbey of Saint Bernard at Clairvaux. was ready to come back to life at any moment in the days of Thiers and MacMahon. The clergyj the nobility." put into effect ? Who will go. 1791. nothing was yet done. in all much these reforms the middle-class legislators avoided too In short. for example. the old officialism. } The property of the religious bodies easy to say : But how is that to be shall pass into the hands of the State. and tell the abbot and the monks Who is to drive them out if they do that they have to go ? not go ? Who is to prevent them from coming back to-morrow. who will turn the fine abbey buildings into a hospital for old men. for the simple reason that there lies always an abyss between a law which has just been 'promulgated and its practical carrying out a reason which is usually overlooked by those who in life do not thoroughly understand from working It is their own experience the of the machinery " of State. in spite of The reality was not on all these laws. the law concerning these sales would never have begun to take effect. judged from ihe legislative centralisation. as was actually done later on by the revolutionary government ? We know. been clever. And justice. the same level as the theory. 1792. The election of judges was left to the people. the old regime was still there. ^ and ready to be reconstituted in its entirety with but sligKt modifications just as the Second Empire of Napoleon III. were all ready to lift . In 1790. and from chanting the mass in the abbey ? Who is to organise an effective sale of their vast estates ? And finally. they appear to have and we find in their work certain elements of republican democratism. intact.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN . point of view. and a tendency towards local autonomy. which the advanced parties of the present day do not sufficiently appreciate. and above all the old spirit. indeed. 1790 215 and they made the members of the clergy simple functionaries The army was reorganised so were the -courts of of the State.

established by the Revolution. takes years before law. trifling it we see that every it again. They were the citadels of the counter-revolution.) CJBoth the Constituent and the Legislative Assembly had certainly drawn up a number of laws. over France^ Yet such was the blindness of the middle-class revolutionists all the people selves with on the one hand. it becomes completely mutilated in its But at the time of the Great Revolution this application it took more than bureaucratic mechanism did not exist ! may how often be. in every village. with all its usually required have only to think of the small results consequences. always ready for the re-establishment of the old regime. to put on the tri-colour sash. vested interest. in spite of the present bureaucratic concentration and the armies of officials who converge towards their centre at Paris. And passes new . however into life. It nearly always. to create the mechanism for and as soon as the new law strikes at any We produced by the laws of the Convention concerning education. its some sort of revolutionary organisation is in order to apply this law to life. To-day even. but drawn from the wealthy class. to put it is them into execution. application . must not be forgotten that for more than two-thirds of the Fundamental laws made between 1789 and 1793 no attempt was even made is. but nevertheless. of which people admire the lucidity and style to this day. then could the laws of the Assembly enter into everyday life without a revolution by deed being accomplished in every fifty years for its How town. were the up their heads again. opportunity j they ^Moreover Directories (directoires) of the departments. J: framework. the It greater majority of these laws remained a dead letter. J The is fact that necessary also. not enough to make a new law. which all remained a dead letter. in each of the thirty-six thousand communes that. who alone were throwing themfrom having all their heart into the Revolution . they took every precaution to prevent the poor people.2i6 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Vj \ and to clap into gaol those who had dared They were watching for the the new were preparing for it. actual development.

and under the name of -passive citizens excluded from it all the poor peasants and nearly all the not only did they hand over all the to the middle classes provincial authority they also armed these middle classes with the most terrifying powers to prevent the poor folk from continuing their insurrections. concerning the law of October 14. disorder was wanted. prohibiting the assembling of the citizens of the communes to discuss their affairs more than once a year for the elections. which placed the administrative power in the hands of the active citizens only. they opposed with all their might the breakingout and the successful carrying-through of the Revolution in every town and village. Not only had they eliminated the people from the administration. that the whole order of life should be turned upside down. are very true. by means of the municipal law of December 1789. It was necessary for the peasant to take the land and begin to plough it without waiting for the orders of some authority. 1903) the pages 55 to 60. that a revolution should be made in that hamlet .* yet it And later * It is interesting to read in M.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN too 1790 217 much share in the direction of communal affairs. the patriots who hated the old regime. which orders evidently would never have been given. falling into the hands of the people. It was necessary that in every hamlet. this could not be done. Before any vital work could result from the decrees of the little Assembly. Aulard's Histoire politique de la Revolution franpaise (2nd edition. : And which was only these insurrections of the poor people on permitted them to deal mortal blows at the old regime in 1792 and 1793. men of action. in which he shows how the Assembly laboured to prevent the power The remarks of this writer. Paris. But without disorder. if they ignored . It was necessary for an entirely new life to begin in the village. without a great deal of social disorder. . 1790. that all authority should be that the revolution should be a social one. "\ workers in towns. Now it was precisely this disorder the legislators wanted < prevent. wished to bring about the -political revolution. and on the other hand. should seize upon the municipality .

they wanted to regain possession of their communal lands. in the towns as in the country. later on. abolition of the personal services had only their hopes." Because if disorder be tolerated. They had taken advantage of the revolts against feudalism to begin their first attack on the power of the King. But these two wants of the people the middle classes opposed with all their might.218 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION : Altogether the Revolution appeared at this period under the following aspect The peasants realised that nothing was yet done. still The survivals of the feudal system existed. the same thing was going on as in the villages. terrified at the rapid conquests of the people. But as soon as a first outline of a middle-class Constitution had been worked out and accepted by the King with every scope for the their gains sanctioned violation of it the middle classes halted. and to have by the National Assembly. in 1789. and they wanted nobility to have that property intact. here and there. who knows where the people would stop ? Were they not already talking of " " of of of " fortunes. and then it would be done legally. " methodically." agrarian law. with all the additional revenues They knew. made by the spirit of revolution in the hearts that the landed property of the was going to pass into their hands . day. by they wanted to keep. and without redemption. they wanted to have they without falling under the thunders of the martial law. And what had not yet succeeded to obtain. awakened Besides. The guilds and corporations of which royalty had contrived to make so many instruments of oppression had been abolished. moreover. and the entire working Some population of the cities. they would see if would not be advantageous to abolish the rest of these dues. the nobles and the clergy. they had already gained." equalisation " " ? of farms not exceeding a hundred and twenty acres As to the towns and the artisans. and they claimed now the abolition of The their economic servitude. for good. What means of their insurrections." equality." and " in order. that stood for the ancient in feudal services transformed into it payments money. which had been sup- .

should take charge of the victualling so as to sell They demanded that maximum the wheat and the rye at cost price. and having experienced a first defeat. Nancy and Lyons. Equality and Fraternity being established. in spite of all the crimes of the Court. prices for the sale of the bread-stuffs should be established. and that sumptuary laws should be made. The workers began to demand that the Commune of Paris. were elected by the people and taken from the propertied middle class. as it was very nearly everywhere else France. came forth. But as that was not being done. and bidding the people disperse. the counter-revolution had every reason to believe that it would soon be victorious. and if. Turin and Mitau rubbed their hands. themselves since 1789. . But after all this did not really mean much. while the passive citizens had been disarmed. like the municipalities of Rouen. they could It revolution not but try to reconstitute themselves. The emigrant nobles at Coblentz. of the workers would indeed have waited patiently if only there was a chance of the reign of Liberty. unfurled the red flag. They plucked up courage and indulged in wild speculation. The forces at the disposal of the old regime were immense. after all. in order to set up a barrier in opposition to the new spirit. so that the rich might be taxed by a forced and But then the middle classes. and elsewhere. who had armed progressive tax. was quite natural. From the summer of 1790 until June 1792. they shot those who did not obey at once. Work was The great mass slack and bread was selling at famine prices.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN pressed since the 1790 219 popular insurrections of the summer of The manorial courts had disappeared and the judges 1789. Royalty This was done in began to revive. that such an important as that which had been accomplished between and 1793 should have its periods of check and even of 1789 recoil. Paris. they lost patience. throughout The progress of the Revolution was thus stopped. There was therefore nothing unforeseen in the wave of reaction which appeared in 1790. But if this reaction was so strong that it could last until June 1792.

as soon as they perceived the first glimmer of a rising. detailed analysis of what had been done by the Assembly against the spirit of democracy will be found in Aulard. on seeing the foreigners invading France. while in 1789 the revolutionists had of acted as if they wished to get rid of royalty altogether. plutocracy is already established shamelessly. } Reinforced in this fashion. that their risings in the provinces. p. In his great work upon the political history of the Great Revolution. hatred of popular tumult to lend support to the forces of the set back. this became was because the middle classes in Moreover. them in keeping down the people and in opposing the popular tendencies towards equality. without anything been effected. the counter-revolutionists to join the peasants had not continued and if the people in the towns. would have been stopped. the majority of the "intellectuals." the people had put their trust.f The new force constituted by the Revolution itself the middle classes brought their business " " their love of order and of property. M. had not risen again during the summer of 1792." wrote Loustallot "A on November 28. 72. Who knows if it is not already a treasonable crime to say. whom masses. turned their backs on the and hurried into the ranks of the defenders of " order " old regime. in the Revolution de Paris. the situation was very gloomy in 1790. Aulard has described at some length the opposition that the idea of a republican form of government " encountered the middle classes and the " among intellectuals the period even when the abolition of monarchy was Tendered unavoidable by the treacheries of the Court and the monarchists. " The nation is the sovereign. A . lasting having Altogether. In fact. and their ability." * But since then reaction had gained a good deal of ground. a * Aulard. Histoire politique de la Revolution franpaise. 1789.220 it THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION so powerful that in 1791 the whole Revolution was had joined hands with the nobility and the clergy who had rallied round the banner of royalty. the progress of the Revolution if succeeded so well. and it was still visibly progressing.

my . Journal d'une bourgeoise pendant la Revolution. the middle classes and " " of the Revolution became more the leaders of opinion and more monarchical. sacred Ark of the Constitution. and later permitted on. however. 32. One is somewhat of a Huron . a very interesting instance of this may be found in the letters of Madame Jullien (de la Drome) : "I am cured. this question of the /We < maintenance of 'property running like a black thread all through the Revolution up to the fall of the Girondins. . the Assembly put obstacles * also in the way of the men of the people coming Among others. of Roman fever. 1789. especially after the flight of the 1791. and even the ardent Jacobins (while the masses Cordeliers accepted it willingly). 2nd edition. in July 1791. After October had passed the famous martial law which the shooting of the peasants in revolt. t Marat alone had dared to put in his newspaper the following " Ut redeat miser-is abeat fortuna superbis." as they used to say in those days. 35. in reality. every time that the people displayed King themselves as a revolutionary force. That is a very important fact .f It is also certain that if the idea of a Republic so greatly frightened the middle classes. 1881. among very revolutionists. the Communists. and this meant for them equality of fortune and the agrarian law that is.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN decidedly monarchical 1790 221 these movement began now." (May fortune epigraph desert the rich and come back to the poor. the massacre of the people of Paris. 31.) woman squaw (North American Indian) when playing the Spartan or Roman " : : . therefore. They 1789. which did not.^ was therefore chiefly to prevent the people from attacking the sacrosanct principle of property that the middle classes were anxious to put a check on the Revolution. but neither must it be for- gotten that the essential thing for both middle class and intellectuals was the "preservation of ^property. of the Assembly was asserted. see. the ideal of the Levellers." Elsewhere she asks her son " (the Club of the Feuillants was Jacobins have become Feuillants the monarchist club). the Expropriators. pp. published by Edouard Lockroy. Tell me if the in Paris.* After October 5 and in June 6. Paris. go as far as republicanism I am shut up with animals of all sorts in the for fear of civil war. it was because the popular linked it with that of equality. " the " Anarchists of the It period. in proportion as the constitutional power Even more may be said.

his printing infantry press was smashed. they despatched both and cavalry to arrest the people's tribune . the authority of the King was seen to recover its youthful vigour. without .j j Therefore the middle classes eagerly applied themselves to the task of crushing. it was not only the numerous Jacobin of the parent society at Paris it was societies. . and Marat. It which came into existence spontaneously and often the least formality it was the thousands of committees and local powers almost independent substituting themselves for the royal authority. he had to remain hidden all the returned. time. the middle classes and the "intellectuals. of their own power. paralysing.222 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION to Paris for the Fete of the Federation. which gave strength to the popular revolution. four months after." both Presently they resorted to m defenders of property. judicial prosecutions. did so as middle-class much to crush the popular itself. on July 14. and in December 1791 he had to cross the Channel once more. was forced to take refuge in England. And they took a series of measures against the local revolutionary societies at the risk of killing. and they succeeded so well that the monarchists. Fearing a popular outbreak. at the high-tide of the RevoWhen he lution. move- ment that they stopped the Revolution According authority constituted itself. the poorest classes. and Necker obtained an order of arrest against Marat. branches the sections chiefly. 179x5. in so doing. January 1790. the Popular Societies and the Fraternal of political associations France. spread among the people the of a idea of social equality by means revolution. or at least demoralising these thousands of local centres. even what had been the germ first Vfiince the outbreaks of the Revolution some thousands had sprung into being throughout was not only the primary or electoral assemblies continuing to meet . the clergy. which all helped to Societies. In short. who had openly espoused the cause of the people. and the nobles began once more to get the upper hand in the towns and boroughs of more than half of France.

on August 6. and from 100. in June Three months later. but especially in the eastern garrisons. the counter1790. but at the same time . as it then was. the revolutionary spirit had touched the army but little. grows stronger every day. commanded by Bouille. from the soldiers had been invited to take part helped in this. and in the course of the month of August. a law. National Assembly." wrote the monarchist. Nancy At first. at Lille. but. and the counter-revolutionists took advantage of this to provoke conflicts and sanguinary quarrels between the soldiers themselves.000 even to two millions in other garrisons. the royalist plots having redoubled in activity since the end of 1789. revolution felt streets of The already so powerful that it strewed the with corpses. and to make restitution of what had been withheld from the soldiers. part of them remained faithful to the officers. Mallet du Pan. as might be expected of men brutalised by long service. four regiments fought among themselves royalists against patriots and left fifty dead and wounded on the spot. series of movements wanted to compel their officers to among They give an account of the sums which had passed through their hands. The ferment went on growing.000 livres. 1790. a spirit of discontent began to show itself a little everywhere. Thus. which diminished the effectives in the army and forbade the " deliberate asso" ciations of the soldiers in the service. in a the soldiers. passed. The \yhe occasion was soon found at Nancy. thus the royalist regiments to remain faithful to their helping commanders. especially among the officers of the Army of the East. of mercenaries. on hearing of the agitation among the soldiers. either Germans or Fete of The But it penetrated by Swiss. to which delegates as citizens. composed. partly itself foreign degrees. an enemy to licence. In the regiment of Beauce they amounted to more than 240. And so it was. the Federation. It is highly probable that.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN " 1790 223 true Revolution. it fell in with the plans of the conspirators to take advantage of the first outbreak of the soldiers by drowning it in blood. These sums were enormous.

327. and while everything could yet be arranged the garrison quite impossible peacefully. 1790) . however.224 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION money accounts to be rendered without delay the officers to their respective / by regiments?) As soon as this decree became known at Nancy on the 9th. ordered also the made up mainly of men from the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. 328. (Paris.* At Nancy Bouille set out from Metz on the 28th. Le sens commun du bonhomme Richard sur I'affaire de Nancy (Philadelphia (?)). and immediately attacked * Vide it. at the head of three soldiers. the soldiers. pp." But apparently that was not what the royalists wanted. Bouille offered conditions. . itself. They carried the pay-chest of their regiment and placed it in the safe keeping of their own sentinels . they threatened their officers off with violence. Van second de la liberti francaise. meanwhile. on his part. vii. The Assembly. and Lafayette. and ordering the garrisons of the National Guard of the Meurthe department to " repress the authors Their delegates were arrested. chiefly the Swiss of the Chateauvieux regiment. acting on false reports sent up from Nancy. voted on the i6th a decree condemning the soldiers for their breach of discipline. 1790) 1790 ." garrison in that town. . vol. 326. 962. in whom the middle class had full confidence. Lafayette. and other pamphlets in the rich collection at the British Museum. . ssued a circular summoning the National Guards from the towns nearest Nancy to take arms against the revolted of the rebellion. and incited by the Commandant of the National Guard. and sent eight delegates to Paris to plead their cause before the National Assembly. The massing of Austrian troops on the frontier helped to increase the disturbance. His soldiers com- Grands details par pieces authentiques de I'affaire de Nancy a Nancy . The double-dealing of the Directory of the department thousand faithful helped Bouille. Detail tr&s exact des ravages commis Relation exacte de ce qui s'est passt a Nancy le 31 ao&t (Paris. . the majority of the men who going had rebelled having even signed " a deed of repentance. with the firm intention of dealing the rebels the crushing blow desired by the Court. demanded the accounts from their officers. everything seemed as if it were to pass off peaceably.

they killed the citizens as well as the rebellious soldiers. and the municipality of Paris held a funeral service in honour of the conquerors who had fallen in the battle.ARREST OF THE REVOLUTION IN 1790 225 mitted the most frightful carnage. " . Thus ended the year 1790. No one dared to protest. and after that came the legal Thirty-two rebels were executed by being broken reprisals. Bouille M. and plundered the houses. splendid behaviour of thanked the assassins . Armed reaction was uppermost. and forty-one were sent to penal servitude. The King at once expressed his approval by letter of " the the National Assembly . Robespierre no more than the others. on the wheel. Three thousand corpses strewed the streets of Nancy as " " the outcome of the fight.

the most sigthe moment that most nificant moment of the Revolution clearly sums up its first part and gives. thrusting the politicians into the background) The episode is well known. but have an equally great significance. Marat and Feron go into hiding Electoral rights of people further restricted King takes oath to Constitution Constituent Assembly dissolved Legislative Assembly obtains power Views of Marat and Desmoulins Reaction continues Treason in the air is full of events. wrecked in France. and its further progress. Thus. have resounded all over the world we were taught the dates of them in our childhood. the attack on the Tuileries. as they sum up the meaning of the Revolution . Paris to enable the King plot had been formed in to escape. 1791 Royalist plot Flight to Varennes Drouet pursues King Decision of people Effect of this decision France without a King Middle classes recant Causes of their reaction King declared re-established Massacre of republicans Danton escapes to England Robert. moreover. tragic in the highest of the Bastille. the march of the women taking degree. And from that night the people entered upon the scene. 1791 : that memorable night when some obscure men of the people arrested the fugitive King and his family at Varennes. just as they were about to cross the frontier and to throw themselves On that night royalty was into the arms of the foreigner. there are also other dates. regards the downfall of monarchy. the execution of the THE Great Revolution The King. on Versailles. and to get him across the 226 A . to all its further progress a certain popular character is June 21. However. aj a given as moment.CHAPTER XXIX THE FLIGHT OF THE KING REACTION END OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY June 21. which are often forgotten.

" " "I should think so " ? a are You are Very Then. Drouet and The An unknown man. : THE FLIGHT OF THE KING risings. found afterwards. however. iii. Drouet. 101-104. 1792. they knew. was published in the Histoire de la Revolution. But the royal carriage was already off at full speed. set off at once. let us arrest the King. I75. was but natural. * In the letter of " good patriot. but did not overtake the royal carriage until Varennes. There. one of his friends. and it appears that Lafayette was aware of it. by placing across the bridge over the Aire a cart laden with furniture. Losing no time.* That the royalists should have seen in this escape the means of placing the King in safety. pp. had just time to run to the house of a friendly innkeeper. Drouet.1 ? 6 * .227 where he was to put himself at the head of the emigres and the German armies. Also is Blanc. The Court had been concocting this plot since September 1789. would be put on the throne and he could be made to grant a middle-class Constitution. pp. 1832. vol. the road for the heavy royal carriage. by the Deux amis de la liberte. getting a little ahead. followed by four or five the Count d'Estaing to the Queen. into the woods. people frustrated this plot. ex-postmaster. first of all. you ! well then. which they found there by chance. but not seeing the carriage and fearing the hostility of the people had retreated Drouet and Guillaume managed. of which the rough draft. Duke of Orleans. vol. in the dark. without having any need of assistance from the always dangerous popular frontier. without making any noise. in hot pursuit after the carriage. they thought." After that. and of crushing the Revolution But many of the revoat the same time. scoured by hussars who had come to meet the royal fugitives at Pont-de-Somme-Vesle. to avoid these patrols by following paths known to themselves. lutionists among the middle classes also favoured the plan once the Bourbons were out of France. iii. Guillaume. they blocked. recognised the King as he passed through a village. where an unexpected delay had detained it the relay of horses and the hussars not having been met at the exact place which had been appointed. The forests along the road were. Philippe.

The tocsin was rung. where he certainly did not keep the secret. a residing at Varennes. They guarded to Paris. one of the volunteers who were sent from Paris in pursuit of the King. J. two in hand. 893. They understood at once the King's stratagems. had been already recognised at Chantrix by Gabriel Vallet. B. and the alarm rapidly spread in the night from Varennes. made them go into the back-parlour There. Lenotre (Le Drame de Varennes. to excuse his flight.228 citizens THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION armed with muskets. This boy of thirteen. according to authentic documents collected and analysed by M. 151 et seq. Bayon having covered thirtyfive leagues in six hours. Juin 1791. was passing under the archway of the church of Saint Gencoult. Rapport sommaire et exact de I'arrestation du roi b Varennes. 1905.). and halting for a moment at Chantrix. Lagny. all round to the country villages. was probably quite exhausted. peasants. just as their carriage. It is also highly probable that Louis XVI. that Drouet had at first only suspicions concerning the travellers.* Drouet and his friends made the travellers alight despite their protestations and. 13). This Vallet drove the royal carriage as far as Chalons. while waiting for the municipality to verify their passports. coming down from the upper town towards the bridge. F. who had just married one of J. signed by Bayon. having ridden full speed. arrived at Sainte-Menehould. . that he had hesitated and only dashed through the woods in pursuit after his suspicions had been confirmed by Jean de Lagny. and who had been in Paris during the Fete of the Federation. that name) and with his usual duplicity began to plead the dangers to which his family was exposed in Paris from the Duke of Orleans. Lagny's daughters. pres Clermont. pp. hay-fork Thousands upon thousands of peasants from the neighbouring villages flocked now on the road leading from Varennes and sticks. bringing the order for the arrest of the royal carriage. and these crowds entirely paralysed the hussars and * It seems most probable. B. and a pamphlet. being openly recognised was compelled to abandon judge by " Madame Korif " (the passport his character of servant to obtained for the Queen from the Russian ambassador bore of Sauce. who was the son of the postmaster at Chantrix. they stopped the fugitives. he hurried off a courier before him. acting as sentinels. the King. by Bayon (Collection of the British Museum. But the people of Varennes were in no wise deceived. G. the grocer. Paris. by changing horses ten times. whence there came flocking on every side peasants armed with hay-forks the King until day broke.

while the whole town. but it had retained its moral force. and the men. and after having destroyed the compromising papers which they carried with them in the carriage. And as soon as day " To the cry of the crowd was Paris To Paris " dawned. who had come to form an escort at for the King. The approaches to Varennes were barricaded to prevent Bouille's uhlans from entering the town. Let them set out. 1789. Three months later. whom At Sainte-Menehould the people Clermont-en-Argonne. Louis XVI. royalty had lost its fortress. trying peasants. when. The King and his family had to obey. officer disappeared without any one ever knowing what had become of him. All was with royalty. they saw that there was nothing left to do but begin their return to Paris. o'clock in the morning. roused by the tocsin. and it was the same after the departure of the royal carriage . scarcely showed themselves. At Varennes the sixty German hussars. The people took them back to Paris as prisoners. Their was crowding into the neighbourhood of Sauce's shop. the on the morning of the 2ist. about ten ! ! two commissioners despatched one by Lafayette and the other by the Assembly. in 229 the King had put his trust for At Sainte-Menehould the tocsin was rung immediatelyescape. ! Or . It was covered with opprobrium. even disarmed the dragoons. and then fraternised with them. the King became the hostage of the Revolution. but the monarchical principle was still firm. but won them over to their cause in a brotherly way.THE FLIGHT OF THE KING dragoons of Bouille. They must set out.. growing to gain time in expectation of the arrival of Bouille and his uhlans. on October 6. under the command of sub-lieutenant Rohrig. to stop the King and his family arrived " at Varennes. who had come to escort the King until he would be met by Bouille. Vive la Nation ! " They were soon shouting as they drank. its prestige. These cries became even more menacing. C-On July 14.. who did not abuse them. We " shall drag them into the carriage by force shouted the furious when they saw Louis XVI. after drinking all day with the inhabitants. and who had posted themselves in the lower town on the other side of the Aire. took no further interest " in the King.

1792. as a historic necessity. stopped the King and thus frustrated the deep-laid plots of politicians . to force the hand of the political leaders. lost now his right to be so regarded King. was to be re-established . royalists " were already drawn up. when the King. passed the night in the back-parlour of a village grocer. the people entered the political Moreover./ The King's intention.^ around I powerful. 1792. the mailed fist would have been re-introduced. " the They were going lists to arrest all the for the establishment of the Constitution or . and to march on Paris. and the others Some of them would have deported or imprisoned. this villager. All the decrees voted by the Assembly : intended to do. with its orders and its classes. But on that night. who. was still Jacobins themselves dared not attack him. The ex- postmaster Drouet. elbowed " " and lighted by a candle stuck in a lantern by patriots that night when the tocsin was rung to prevent the King from betraying the nation. urged his horse and made him gallop over hills and dales in pursuit of the secular traitor the King is a symbol of the people who from that day. when he tried to escape.230 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION whom The the propertied classes had rallied. at every critical juncture of the Revolution. on that same night. the symbol of who had been in olden times national unity. arena. who. was to put a army commanded by Bouille. against the clergy were going to be abolished the ancient regime. (The invasion of the march the Tuileries by the people on June 20. obeying his own impulse at dead of night. August its of the faubourgs of Paris against the Tuileries on 10. patriots proscription been executed. by means of summary . Once the supported by should be reconquered. on his own initiative. with all consequences all these great events were to follow each other now. disguised as a servant. took the lead and dominated the politician. of The ^ by becoming the symbol an international union of tyrants All the thrones of Europe felt the shock^l against the peoples. we know exactly what the capital himself at the head of the German army. the dethronement of Louis XVI. and the peasant crowds brought him back 1 as prisoner to the people of Paris that night royalty was wrecked for ever. and.

had grasped at once the situation. On the contrary. Reinstated in his palace. believing . frustrated this plan. the people of Paris and a large part of the* understood the situation. and the middle classes handed over patent of immunity. he would doubtless the more zealously hasten the foreign invasion.REACTION 231 executions. the more so as he had to royalty a new The learned nothing by his Varennes adventure. and all the feudal rights of the old regime jvould have been reinstituted. placed under the guardianship of the patriots of the faubourgs." Just wait. Such was the plan to conceal it. provinces the day after June 21. the feudal laws. to demolish the busts of Louis XVI. as we have said. of the royalists . He continued to refuse his signature to the decrees directed against the and the prerogatives of the nobles. /This is how and to efface the royal inscriptions. The One might to pursue its think that logical now was the time for the Revolution development with giant strides. with a smile on his lips. This was obvious. "soon you will pay for your crimes. overthrow the old feudal institutions and inaugurate the democratic republic ? But nothing of the sort happened. " they did not trouble people. openly inveighing against royalty and demanding the dethronement/) When the Duke of Orleans took his drive through the streets of Paris. It was people evident that the King could not be left on the throne. Evidently the only possible solution was to declare his dethronement without clergy. to whoever would listen to them. further delay. would he not resume all the more actively the web of his conspiracies and plots with Austria and Prussia ? Since he had been prevented from leaving France. were they not going to proclaim his dethronement. The arrested at Varennes. The King's treachery having been proved. the tithes. it was reaction that triumphed definitely a few weeks after the King's flight to Varennes." said they. The crowd rushed into the Tuileries. the game laws. you gentlemen patriots. was brought back to Paris and King. At Paris they began.

themselves in open opposition to the The attitude of the Assembly changed '* same way. on the throne ? : . and therefore against the republic.) permanence The a movement. Thenceforth. including Robespierre. similar declaration. What had happened during those twenty days that the leaders should have tacked so suddenly and formed the resoHad he shown lution of keeping Louis XVI. were afraid of compromising themselves they did not dare to declare for dethronement. ready of another July 14. the Jacobin Club. repudiated the 4 idea of a republic. and on July 15 they published in great haste a decree which declared the King to be blameless and pronounced against his dethronement . to rise for the definite overthrow of royalty. now suddenly reversed their decisions. and declared for the maintenance of a " The word republic frightened constitutional monarchy." The municipal body of Paris issued a . National Assembly. republican movement. But then the middle they recanted. in fact. gave orders to the ministers and took over the diplomatic correspondence. every one felt that it was the eve The people of Paris were. club. went ahead King. in effect. The Assembly which were so decidedly anti-royalist on June 22. abdicated by his flight ? They seized the executive power. and in the set classes For about a suddenly changed their mind . under the pressure of the popular they acted as if there was no longer : Had he not. the haughty Jacobins. people turned backs on him they did not want any King. The sections of Paris proclaimed their the woollen caps and the men with pikes reappeared in the streets . fortnight France existed without any King. composed of the middle-class statists. /The Cordeliers openly demanded the republic and signed an acMress all in which they declared themselves to be all against the King " tyrannicides.232 as THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION : their \J \ \ he did that he would pick up a crown there. While all the popular and fraternal societies declared themselves in favour of dethronement." said Real from the platform of their The most advanced among them. they said it was calumny when they were called republicans. to demand a republic became a crime.

on July 17. nothing of the kind ! the fact that the middle-class leaders had again seen the spectre which had haunted them since the rising of the 'people The July 14 and October 6. in the Champ-deMars. re-established him on the throne. Thousands of peasants were hastening from their villages. sure of their position. which went on increasing until. unarmed. at the sound of the tocsin. those pretended leaders of the Revolution. The agrarian law. the invasion of the foreigner. and the people. And now they saw the people of Paris ready to rise. and declared all those who wished to push forward ttye Revolution to be criminals. : No. abandoned the republicans. ([Whereupon the Jacobins. And then. authors of the Champ-de-Mars petition fiercely which demanded the dethronement of the King.') men with the pikes were out in the streets and the provinces seemed ready to rise. in hurrying through. assembled their National Guard commanded by Lafayette. the middle-class counter-revolutionists. on July 15. for the abolition of the feudal laws. than the success of the popular Revolution This is why the Assembly hastened to make an end of all ! republican agitation. the republicans. were massacred^ From that time began a period of open reaction. the tax upon the rich. arming themselves and demanding that the Revolution should go on asking for the republic. martial law proclaimed. after one day of hesitation.REACTION any signs of repentance ? 233 Had he ? mission to the Constitution f The explanation lies in given any pledges of subNo. rather the traitor King. who were proposing to get up a huge popular demonstration against royalty. and brought them up against the masses as they " assembled. for equality pure and simple. round the altar of the fatherland. and bringing the mere sight of this had given the King back to the capital them a shock. were . The republicans. as in the month of August 1789. the decree which exculpated the King. the spring of 1792. 1789 . the bread tax. were they not going to become realities ? : ." to sign a republican petition. in the Champ-de-Mars. on the road to Paris. The red flag was unfurled.

and clearly even Assembly. Robert. and they will prove themselves as they did that day . a forth. who had " nothing to lose and everything to gain from as disorder and anarchy. were deprived absolutely of all political rights." he " said in his journal.]) After July 17. before the Assembly to accept and solemnly swear fealty to the Constitution which he betrayed the same day. property as a farmer property valued at 400 days' labour. and it was in the middle of a pronounced royalist movement. The peasants. this period of terror. or to hold usufruct. . they ask nothing . that the King came on September 14. 1791. Only set them first to work. a declared republican and editor of the Revolutions de Paris. and above all Marat. Marat believed in his all Ami du feu-pie. . Towards the end of 1791 the The Government then best revolutionists completely despaired of the Revolution. on July 21. 1791. who knocked down the walls of the Bastille.234 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Danton had to cross over to persecuted. By degrees the middle classes became still bolder. to be we see. " The was lost. or in valued at 150 to 200 days' work. had to go into hiding. Hence- an elector. it became dangerous to call oneself or to be called a republican. and this was made another occasion for the constitutionalists to renew their manifestations of loyalty in honour of Louis XVI. the Constituent Assembly dissolved. to the accompaniment of enthusiastic cheers for the King and Queen from the Paris middle classes. the middle classes took (^Profiting by care to limit further the electoral rights of the people. either as owner. that an appeal should be made to the people. more middle class than the Constituent Assembly had been^ And still the reaction grew." He demanded has failed. . and soon some of the revolutionists. Revolution. Freron. \v Fifteen days later. besides paying in direct contributions man had to possess. but the politicians did not listen to him. ten days' labour. " It was a handful of poor folk." themselves began to treat as " depraved men " those who asked for a republic instead of a king. passed into the hands of the Legislative elected on a restricted suffrage. England (August 1791)." he wrote " .

jree to act. The Queen herself. bore " The change in Paris. to their advantage. The patriots dare not 15. had gone to London." people. and they parade in the uniform of the National Guard to or even seize buy the posts of leaders. not knowing sometimes where to find a shelter for the night. for bread was they might scarce already in October And the decrees against the and the emigres. But Prudhomme and Desmoulins could selves. Around them gather the tools of the throne. in her correspondence with Fersen. and are seen everywhere. now they are chained" be it understood." Similar words of despair were uttered by Camille Desmoulins The " reactionaries at the Jacobin Club. so that and carry on the Revolution. such as Marat.END OF ASSEMBLY " 235 better than to fight against their tyrants . to deceive the people. at least show them- while a popular revolutionist. longer They in the dearness of bread and the decrees. " the popular movement of July and have turned. of the Senate-house. Danton." are only interested said. but then they were Chained by the leaders." she wrote on German October and the decrees Bread. August 1789. dearness of bread live ! sanction ! Treason was everywhere." says of liberty Marat again on October fill the galleries " and the enemies 1791. of equality among the citizens. 1791. on the point of being arrested. The aristocratic devils have displayed an infernal cleverness." he said. was betrayed by representatives the army by its chiefs. had to hide himself for several months. It has been well said of him that he pleaded the cause of the people with his head upon the block. The Court favourites talk to-day about the sovereignty of the people and the rights of man. by whose intermediary she arranged for the entry of the " a marked witness to for invasion and prepared armies into the capital. 1791. which the King refused to priests ! The 31. show themselves. and we know now that at that ." Prudhomme its said openly that the nation ." she " no " read the papers. on October 24.

. the Girondist General who commanded the armies in the East of France. This memorandum was found after the taking of the Tuileries in the iron safe of Louis XVI. He was drawing up for Louis a secret memorandum on the means for checking the Revolution.236 ' THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION very time-^-at the close of 1791. Dumouriez. was already plotting with the King.

he was received with the most servile marks of respect and the liveliest marks of enthusiasm.clergy. just as in the early days of the StatesGeneral. the King. spoke of an enduring harmony and an inalienable confidence between the legislative body and " the King. which took the name of National Legislative Assembly. met on October I. Now began. elected by active citizens only.CHAPTER XXX THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLYREACTION IN 1791-1792 King and Assembly Fear of foreign invasion Feuillants and Girondins Count d'Artois and Count de Provence Emigration of nobles Assembly summon Count de Provence and 6migr&s to return Declaration of war against Austria Fall of royalist Ministry Girondins in power Was war necesEqualisation of wealth Socialistic ideas of people Etampes killed by peasants Robespierre and agrarian law Middle classes rally round royalty Royalist coup d'etat imminent Lafayette's letter to Assembly sary ? Mayor of National Assembly. as soon as the King of the representatives. a series of malicious petty annoyances on the side of the Court. with feeble attempts at resistance on the part In spite of this. and from the first moment. THE new entered the Assembly." he would say time he would be arranging the foreign invasion which very was to overawe the constitutionalists and re-establish representation by Three Orders and the privileges of the nobility and . On such occasions Louis XVI. encouraged by the manifestations of the temper of the middle classes who thronged round him. 237 . assumed an arrogant attitude towards it. 1791. May the love of country unite us. and public and at that interest render us inseparable.

which. that the it ^ VThe priests else on two great questions of the moment concerned the and the emigrated nobles. and had suc- Both of them had protested the King's acceptance of the Constitution. since October 1791 in reality. and because they were intimately connected with the foreign war. such as who passions of the revolutionists and anti-revolutionists came into Collision. . immediately after July 14. was close at hand. and the royalists threatened those who not do the same that they would be relegated to the middle The class when the nobility returned victorious. it is true. : in the Legislative Assembly two parties the royalist Right. his act was null. had escaped at the same time as The Louis XVI. the fear of a foreign invasion obsessed all the chief object of consideration. minds and had become There were. and that. Neither the establishing of a republic nor the abolition of the excited the Legislative Assembly. and even the Cordeliers seemed The feudal privileges Jacobins themselves mention the republic. since wie flight of the King and his arrest at Varennes in June./ youngest brother of the King.238 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Generally speaking.. consequently. Their protestation was published by the royalist agents all over France and produced a great effect. They against declared that the King could not alienate the rights of the ceeded in getting to Brussels. every one felt. 1789. the Count de Provence. ancient monarchy. the Count d'Artois. serving as a half-way house between those of the middle classes who were partly constitutional and those who were partly republican. They dominated everything account of the attempts at anti-revolutionary risings organised by the priests and the emigres. . had emigrated. But neither one nor the other of them took any interest in the great problems bequeathed to them by the Constituent Assembly. in June 1791. The nobles left their regiments or their chateaux and Jdid emigrated en masse. represented by the represented by Girondins. and the Left. as we know. The other brother. the Feuillants. and importance. ' to have agreed not to was about questions of secondary should be mayor of Paris.

if they should be treated as conspirators.) The King sanctioned the decree concerning his brother. the Assembly ordered . not. if the Girondins had not pressed for war. King should be arrested. and their revenues should be seized " for the profit of the nation without prejudice. the Legislative Assembly decided to proceed against the King's younger brother.. one of its members. a decree conferring in case the upon him the title of regent. in case of religious disturbances in the communes to which they ministered. who had received from Louis XVI. summoned the Count de Provence to return to France within two months if not. in order to re-establish Louis XVI. 1791. for it was impossible not to see that everything done by the emigrant nobles had his assent. sentenced in default. he was to lose his right of regency. He vetoed also a decree which ordered the priests to take the oath to the Constitution. On October 30. and their more urgent after their flight had been Lack of cohesion in the royalist Ministry. perhaps until the following spring. Louis-StanislasXavier. also all emigres to return before the end of the year .THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 239 assembled at Coblentz. however. had held before 1789. " but opposed his " veto to the second. became But it still upon the Emperor of Austria. which was openly in those rights he entreaties preparing for an invasion.". on November 9. at the time of his flight. Worms and Brussels were openly preparing a counter-revolution which was to be supported by the foreign invasion and it became more and more evident that the King was playing a double game. The King and Marie- Antoinette urged stopped. The Assembly. The most important act of the Legislative Assembly was the declaration of war against Austria. concerning the emigres. . their children and their lawful creditors. condemned. it is extremely probable that the warlike preparations of Austria would have been prolonged. A few days later. under pain of arrest as suspects. therefore. ! to the rights of their wives.

against the war necessary ? Jaure's * has put the question. or as they said the King of Bohemia and Hungary. called into power a Girondist Ministry. was far enough they were very far from eager about entering upon a war of that kind. with Dumouriez for foreign affairs. would lead to the downfall of ." he said. The foreign sovereigns no doubt feared the development of rebut from that to their rushing to publican ideas in France the help of Louis XVI. at the War Office. War was declared against Austria. and is deduced from them by Jaures himself. against the advice of Marat and Robespierre.240 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION stitutional regime. Claviere for Finance. . that far from hastening the Revolution. 1792. and Lacoste for the Marine. Duranthon for Justice. which. whereupon." " then. whilst Bertrand de Moleville. had led to its fall . you do not want to appeal to the people for the giving of a decisive blow to royalty. " because want the war. And the conclusion that Was must be drawn from these documents. for the Interior." The Girondins and a mass of the Jacobins preferred indeed a foreign invasion. Louis XVI. Madame It need not be said. La Legislative. p. " the King had accepted what the Court called the Ministere sans-culotu. is the same as that which was defended by Marat and Robespierre. that is to say. since scales for reaction. by arousing patriotism and laying bare the treachery of the King. and on April 20. and in the answering of it has placed before the reader's eyes many documents of that time. * Histoire socialiste. the Girondins triumphed. The war was not necessary. . because they saw in it the means of combating the royal power. Roland. Grave. soon to be replaced by Servan. Roland. the coming of the Girondins into power was on the contrary a weight in the Henceforth all was for moderation. It was the Girondins who wanted the war. " You Marat told the plain truth concerning the matter. being strongly opposed to the conNarbonne wanted to make it one of the props to the throne. in March 1792. as Robespierre quickly made it appear." It was only in the affair of the war that this Ministry showed any ardour. 815 et seq.

The spectre of the people. the objections raised against these decrees had been numerous. and it raged for twenty-three years with all its fatal consequences. acquired an influence upon the course of events. the revolutionary education of the people was being accomplished by the Revolution itself. fatal to the Revolution and to European " You do not want to appeal to the people . municipal purchasing A * After the decrees of March 15. must be said also that. began to affirm their right to the land. thrown out of work. and their attacks upon property. through the clubs and newsIt papers. you progress. laws against monopolists. The peasants who possessed only miserable little plots. 489 et seq. was very much spoken of among Equalisation of wealth the people. or who had. pp. and the Girondists on the other. and by Professor N. demanding from the middle classes their share of the national wealth." said Brissot.royalty THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY " We want without any popular rising. and perhaps the general break-up has this truth been verified since. They have been pointed out by Doniol (La Revolution. &c. never ceased to haunt those members of the Third Estate who had attained power. by degrees. " " In the villages. Under such conditions war was inevitable. which to some extent would have contributed to efface the economic in! equalities. Thus the Court on one side. pp. and Appendix XV No. and in the towns that of it more than a was said that any one who wished to cultivate the land should have a right to a certain quantity. you shall have " How many times war. Kareiev (Les paysans et la question paysanne en France dans le dernier quart du IIP Siecle (Paris: Giard. 33. their disorderly risings. found themselves in agreement in encouraging the invasion It of France. to prevent speculation in objects of prime necessity. the peasants demanded no one should possess a farm hundred and twenty acres.. Q . 104 et seq. 1899). and the town-workers. 241 some great treachery.. do not want the popular revolution very well.}. who hated the people. and that the masses were by degrees emboldened to demand measures imbued with a communist spirit. armed and insurgent.* tax upon food-stuffs. blazed out.

Every the brigands. The very instantaneousness with which they manifested themselves each time the people gained a victory. " that the French Revolution. as a citizen. Simonneau."*) It is easy to guess the horror with which these ideas inspirea the middle classes. was raised among the Parisian middle of all classes " The day has come when the landowners must length that they are falling under the scythe of anarchy. /" You do not then perceive." said Robert in his Revolutions deFaris. and they will re-enter upon their possessions . in May 1791. proved that these ideas were widely circulating among the disinherited. their position in the State. as well as their new. They are re-entering on their rights. Robespierre as well The priest Dolivier was alone in raising his as the others." " which could the peasant from eating when justly prevent * " Quoted by Aulard. 91* . and at their ease. really the owner of its land. mayor with their pikes." groaned Mallet du Pan in his Mercure de France . who were eager to enjoy now. " the of the masses and to declare that a voice in favour is nation There is no law. But when the hungry peasants. had shot down the peasants who had revolted without any legal formalities and no one had said a word. a progressive tax on the rich. killed this a chorus of indignation classes.. kindled among them in Paris that the killed class acquired wealth. even though the revolutionary writers ] did not dare to express them too openly. is a veritable agrarian law put in execution by the people. had just been by the peasants. He. as you say. and he feel at demanded " coalition of the landowners " against the people." against one began to perorate against the people." he said.. " the preachers of agrarian law. One step more. a forced loan and heavy taxes on all inheritances.242 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION which should be delivered to the inhabitants at of food-stuffs cost price. when the news came to Mayor of Etampes. for which you are fighting. as well as so many other middlemayors. p. who asked only that the price of bread should be fixed. these ideas were discussed by the people and found their way into the press. either in Paris or in the provinces. privileged We can imagine the fury which was March 1792.

represented an infinitesimal minority among the educated members of the middle classes. such as Thomas Paine and Condorcet. with those who marched with the people but knew that it was the ideas of equalisation and communism which alone could give the Revolution the force that was necessary for the final demolition of the feudal system. 1792. the towards constitutional royalty." rich have all they As for Robespierre. Robespierre was still inveighing " It is in he cried on that date. while the sincere republicans. at least. for any one to wish to seduce ardent of a freer by the people. This fear of popular risings and of their economic consequences impelled the middle classes also to rally closer and round royalty and to accept whatever kind of Constitution came from the hands of the Constituent Assembly. after all . moment can only which and to despotism." fear the establishing of a sort of aristocratic republic. these same men became the defenders closer of royalty .THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY as 243 he declared that " the agrarian law was only an absurd bogey displayed to stupid men by wicked ones. On " June 13." Always careful the opinion of those who represented the never to go beyond dominant power at a given moment. Such is. As the " " intellectuals retrograded people became republican. according as the people manifested communistic and equalising tendencies. so long need. with all its defects and its compliance with the King's wishes. and uninstructed minds a republic : by the lure government under the name of will lead to anarchy the overthrow of the Constitution at this kindle civil war. Instead of progressing in the way of republican ideas. direction. the supposition of as in the Netherlands ? Did he Louis Blanc." And he rejected beforehand every attempt that was made in " the direction of the equalisation of wealth. but to us it seems . and it is possible." against the republic. the middle " intellectuals " classes and the developed in a contrary If in 1789. a decidedly republican and democratic spirit was to be seen. he took care not to side the servants and even the beasts of the he is hungry. now. scarcely eight days before the invasion of the Tuileries vain. in all the actions of the Third Estate.

long preparing. repeat itself." as we its He feared to see the Revolution wrecked in attempts at Communism. Robespierre feared at that moment. and property sacred Paris. when Russia." and he added that in the army " the of liberty and equality are cherished. down " fortunes. which by was to be supported by widespread insurrections in the south this and west. Just as the Italian and Spanish republicans of our own times royalty by a popular rising. and nothing could save it except the overthrow of all the Jacobins. like prefer to retain monarchy rather than risk a popular revolution which they foresee would surely be inspired with communistic tendencies. He Jacobins. checked iji its onrush. July 1792. the Revolution found itself menaced a formidable royalist coup d'etat. History thus repeats itself. that even up to the eve of August 10. and invasion. the three Girondist ministers. Robespierre. Lafayette. as nearly all the Jacobins did. preferred to maintain the King and his Court rather than risk a fresh appeal to the revolutionary fire of the people. dated June i$ which he offered to make a coup d'etat against the revo- lutionists. English. for purged of the " openly demanded that France should be . at once wrote his in famous letter to the Legislative Assembly. Claviere and Servan.244 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION till more probable that having remained up then a fierce defender of property. unfinished as it was. at a time when the whole Revolution. expropriation. the principles " not as in laws respected. and assailed by a thousand conspiracies. also by a German. chief of the Feuillants and royalist at heart. The fact is. Sardinian and Spanish Thus in June 1792. was almost on the point of being defeated. their attempts at levelling say to-day. after the King had dismissed l^pland. the fury of the people. great revolution ! and how many times it may Germany and Austria begin again their striking thing in the condition of mind of the of the period is shown by the fact that exactly at politicians The most moment.

and all were for the Court. " The semi-military household of the King." and treating the Assembly with more or less contempt. that it could not have come from Lafayette of August 10. where attacks were openly made upon it in the Commune and at the Club of the Cordeliers. a of the Peace.THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 245 example. in his Notes." He desired " and this after the to Varennes . Chaumette accused even the Directory of the department of having gathered together sixty thousand counterIf there seems to be any exaggeration revolutionists and lodged them. Aulard (Paris. ! All this within two months Paris was inundated The emigres Tuileries." wrote Chaumette. at the King flight the King was keeping up an active correwith Austria and Prussia. the fact that a great number of counterrevolutionists were assembled in Paris is certain. with preface by F. And to think that the Assembly was upon the point of sending out this letter of Lafayette's to the eighty-three departments. at this time by royalist conspirators. Lafayette demanded and this already gives the measure of the progress of reaction that the royal power should "a revered remain " intact and independent. returned emigres. and that only a stratagem of the Girondins prevented it Gaudet pretending that the letter was a forgery. thousand houses of ill-fame were open to the conspirators. in the number of sixty thousand. belonged entirely to great many of the Justices of Paris which General Staff. and some of largely * Mtmoires sur la Revolution du 10 aodt. serving it as an escort and as watch-dogs in the frequent excursions that royalty were making in the streets and in the theatres. composed very of old body-guards. the majority of the National Guard. this. The municipality. 1893). A. then Public Prosecutor of the Commune of Paris. expecting from them his spondence u liberation. 1792. its " had Talleymidst. came and went freely between Coblentz and the whence they returned after receiving the caresses of the Court and plenty of money. .* " A The departmental administration rand and La Rochefoucauld in its the Court. according to the tenor of the news he received very moment when concerning the progress of the German invasion." June 21 was then apparently forgotten.

insulted the National Repreand loudly declared their liberticide intentions. without respect. enrolling paring for the levy of a powerful army." continues Chaumette. 203. through the west and the south-east of committees were at work. and pre- up to the very gates of the revolutionary towns." In fact. secret royalist arms in the chateaux. lowering itself in the eyes of Europe by petty and vexatious debates. "in ending in itself. without force.000 livres pality of the place. under the command of chiefs who would be sent from Coblentz. and replying to insult only by redoubling its servility . " The Superior of the Grey Sisters as related by Madame Jullien of Rueil lost her portfolio. all . known under the name of " " knights of the dagger (chevaliers du poignard). These movements in the south are is so characteristic that it necessary to give at least a general view of them. without power. to the tmigrts since January I. and whether one or doors should be open for as all them two wings of the foldingwhich really spent its time. collecting officers and men. which was to march upon Paris. listening to declamatory speeches. "A divided against National Assembly.) : . 1791. irritated sentatives the people by their insolence.246 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION those heroes of February 28. which used to discuss for hours in succession how many members should compose such and such a deputation to the King. * Here is a piece of news of which all Paris was talking at the time. " addressing some new message to the King such an Assembly could inspire nothing but contempt in the Court France. such as Marseilles. without any stability of purpose. Meanwhile..* priests As to the Assembly. which was found and opened by the municiIt is estimated that they have sent 48.. humiliated by an insolent Court. p. the nuns and an immense majority of the stood on the counter-revolutionary side. this is how Chaumette characterised it : The monks." (Journal d'une bourgeoise. this Assembly. Chaumette wrote. itself.

reorganise themselves to stop the revolution it is only the impulse of the revolutionists It on the spot which can overcome that powerful resistance. is to be found the only real hotbed of the counter247 . This power. after a moment of stupor. in the midst of a half-savage population. however. and help from other Powers Risings and counter-risings in provinces studying the Great Revolution. however. that one is tempted to neglect the condition of the provinces. A the doings of the royalists during the Great will. even if its members could all be inspired with the very best intentions only. Revolution.CHAPTER XXXI THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION SOUTH OF FRANCE IN THE Condition of provinces Coblentz centre of royalist plots Counter . and to study it in order to understand how small necessary the power of a representative assembly during a revolution past centuries. allow us to gain The we insurrection in the Vendee is more or less known. would take years and years of study in the local archives all to trace out few episodes some idea of them. and to overlook the power which the counterrevolution possessed there all the time. was enormous. When it comes to a struggle. in every town and in every little village. which. The counter-revolution had for it the support of the it is is WHEN and the interests of the present . against the forces of the old regime. one is so much attracted the magnitude of the struggles which unfolded themselves by in Paris.revolutionary federation Loyalist activity Royalists receive money from Pitt. But are only too much inclined to believe that there. inspired by religious fanaticism.

and the European sovereigns recognised this Court. even in Paris. almost openly sent to Metz where the Editor of the Gazette de Paris publicly offered For some time these men were and afterwards to Coblentz. the more dangerous as there the country districts and cities had furnished some of the best contingents to the Revolution. Thence came the emissaries who were organising throughout the of whole soldiers France anti-revolutionary risings. Finally it : for poverty or for fear. and later. young woman who was met in a diligence by a secret agent of the Government. revolution. rousing Lyons and other large towns on the way. Sardinian and Spanish invasions. it had become the head centre of the royalist plots. arrive and set himself at the head of the troops formed by the emigres. sixty livres for each recruit. Les Conspirations royalistes dans le Midi . by his brother. He was expected in June 1791. its chamberlains and its official receptions. and treated and plotted with it. they were expecting to see Louis XVI. supported by English. and questioned . were to march on Paris. German. when the Count Coblentz." says Ernest Daudet. Everywhere were being recruited for Coblentz. the Count de Provence. and. when he fled to Varennes. had settled in this town. later. and in January 1792. Since the summer d'Artois. when the royalist armies of western and southern France. " Society followed them. imitated the princes. with its ministers. so I have turned emigre tte in order to go and find them. in his monothe nobility graph. was evolved round the King's brothers. and many of the middle class and common " people imitated the nobility. in November 1791. whilst the royalists of Paris would strike their great . all The direction of these various little movements emanated from situated in the Electorate chief centre of the royalist of 1791. German town which had become the emigration. followed by the ex-minister Calonne. the of Treves. " I am a dressmaker by him." A complete Court. and also its intrigues and its infamies. Meanwhile. replied my customers are all gone off to Germany . A was decided to prepare for a great stroke in July 1792.248 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Southern France represented a similar hotbed. They emigrated for fashion.

. It is needless to single ! add that all the cabals. quoted by E. and returned to the mountainous regions of the Cevennes or to the shores of the Vendde. to kindle the religious fanaticism of the peasants and to organise royalist risings. DaucUt. Around this centre gravitated. and as they found support among the big men of the middle classes. asked them justice. too rapidly over these counter-revolutionary resistances. in the great commercial cities and.THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION blow. They went to Coblentz. disperse 249 the Assembly and punish the hot-headed Jacobins." they replied. To replace the King on the throne. obtained the prince's sanction for their plots. and reintroducing the old regime as it had existed at the time of the Convocation of the States-General that was their intention. his circle. which characterised Versailles were reproduced at Coblentz. quite openly now. in certain regions. all the jealousies. The two brothers had each his Court. in the religious hatred between Protestants and Catholics as in the south the revolutionists had to carry on a terrible struggle for life been easily * Document in the Archives des affaires ttt angires. all the tale-bearings. to make the nation the sacrifice of certain abuses " " " not a of the old government ? Sire. who sympathise with the Revolution pass. those fanatical priests who preferred civil war to the constitutional submission proposed by the new decrees. But in reality. " * not a favour : " single change. And when the King of Prussia. or as the work of but a few fanatics who could have historians The subdued by the Revolution. so that many readers may consider them as unimportant events. as well as prudence. acknowledged mistress. more intelligent than those phantoms " Would it not be of Versailles." which really meant making him again an absolute monarch. as well as those noble adventurers who chose to risk a conspiracy rather than resign themselves to the loss of their privileged position. while the his nobles indulged in Court gossip which grew more and more malicious according as they grew poorer and poorer. his receptions. as a rule. the royalist plots extended over whole regions.

a widely spread conspiracy. while the people of Paris were preparing for July 14. The Jales confederation existed in of 1791. In this way the counter-revolution was being organised in the south. at that time a town in the kingdom of Sardinia. the great Fete of the Federation. Chambery. was another centre of the emigres. Charrier. notary and ex-deputy to the National Assembly. they formed that day the nucleus of the royalist federation of the south. and supported by Sardinia. with the help of Claude Allier.250 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION commune to save the Revo- in every town and in every little lution from defeat. marching under the folds of the white flag. and the nobility in their honours. same wearing the white cross on their hats. in which all France took part. keeping up regular correspondence with both the Tuileries and Coblentz. was invested with the supreme command by the Count d'Artoi*. the prior of Chambonnaz.000 representatives of 185 of the Vivarais assembled on the plain of Jales. which was to bring out more than fifty thousand men. all year. this army would have gone to Paris " to free " the King. and which was expected to give the finishing blow to the Revolution. In the Lozere. the a series of insurrections for and afterwards the great insurrection which was to break out in July 1792. and to chastise the patriots. of the On August communes nearly 20. the clergy in their possessions. Led by the nobles." And when their first attempts failed. whose wife belonged to the nobility. He openly organised a counter-revolutionary militia. Bussy had even formed there a royalist legion which exercised in open day. this way for two years. and even got together some artillery. Led by a large number of priests. instate the . they organised. to dissolve the Assembly. 1790. This federation prepared. February following. simultaneously with the foreign invasion. Its oath was " to re- summer King in all his glory. which was solemnly constituted in the month of first. and which was to give to the Revolution a firm communal 18 basis the royalists were preparing the federation of the counter-revolutionists in the south-east. Spain and Austria. Thus.

too. and reorganised the their town. with the help of England. of reaction continued without intermission. " that the Marseillais were organising an expedition against them. the France were not very numerous. the were victorious." These few characteristic. lines borrowed from They Daudet give a picture of Daudet * are what was taking place la Revolution * Histoire des Conspirations royalistes (Paris. But this much is certain. ready to take arms. that they had even pillaged the arsenal of Marseilles the better to be able to make the campaign. the men of action have been an insignificant minority. in the local struggle between the monnetiers and the chiffonistes. they prepared for latter resistance. either. to money and to religion. that in every town in the south. those at least who were determined to act. really amounted to sixty thousand men. but bis documentary. and it was this which explains the fury of the power Revolution in 1793 and 1794. At Aries. But thanks to inertia. between the patriots and the counter. 1881). as he stated when he visited Coblentz in January 1792. or rather a reactionary. built up the gates of deepened the fosses along the enclosure. It may perhaps be said that. . when it had to make a supreme effort to escape from the clutches that were strangling it. They fortified themselves. that is.revolutionists. is du Midi sous history is a moderate. But the revolutionists. Whether the adherents of Claude Allier. to acquired interests. the struggle between the revolutionists and the counter-revolutionists the counter-revolution held entire provinces terrible . even all taken together. National Guard in such a way as to reduce the patriots to Ernest impotence. made safe their communications with the sea. were not numerous conspirators and the confederations of south-eastern Everywhere and in all times. to prejudice. the military royalists were ready to open the frontier to the Spanish army. At Perpignan. may be doubted. " Warned." says one writer. making the balance sway sometimes to one side and sometimes to the other. and he has consulted the local archives.THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION 251 while in the west the priests and nobles were preparing for the rising of the Vendee.

Four years of revolution. at Mende in the Lozere. in the streets. and that the Revolution was seriously supported only in thirty out of the eighty-three departments. through France. for the most part. With the help of this money far from that. phantom. began to defy the royalists only by degrees and in proportion as their own revolutionary education was by events. Very the royalists passed quite freely from their centre and depot . and of accumulating arms in them. It might be truly said that in every town in that region similar " Feuillants " struggles took place between the royalists. The rich people had a thousand means. it was the same. or the " of the place. and the patriots. patriots had founded a league of defence against the royalists. the who attended mass when the There was frequent fighting constitutional priests officiated. The patriots corresponded undoubtedly with the Popular Societies and the Paris Fraternities. and incessant fighting on the part of the revolutionists were necessary to paralyse to some extent the reaction. People remained in arms. the revolutionists themselves. with the Society of the Indigent. those who were : against the Revolution were sup- ported from without. which the generality effected In all of the patriots did not possess. the reactionaries got the upper hand.252 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION less all more or that is. these towns the anti-revolutionists joined hands. the absence of a strong government for four years. Besides." We may even add that in the vast majority of the towns of the centre and of the west. at Yssingeaux in the Haute-Loire. of moving about. of corresponding by means of special messengers. More than that ." and later on between the Girondins and the " anarchists. but they were very poor ! Arms and means of moving about both failed them. she pursues to this day England has always followed the policy that of weakening her rivals and " " was no Pitt's money creating partisans among them. in order to protect the priests who had taken the oath to the Constitution. as well as with the mother society of the Jacobins . as well as those parishioners At Montpellier. At Lunel in the Herault. of hiding in their chateaux.

a little town hidden away in the mountains of the Vivarais. in the Vendee. scythes and pitch-forks. . Jersey. as well as on the Spanish army which was to land at Aigues-Mortes. all the did. It is against the Revolution. and in the south upon the armed help promised by Sardinia. Mende. Their emissaries went through the villages of the province. and to inaugurate the reign of terror which. the English money gained adherents and supported " commercialists " the (Us commergantistes) who took sides European monarchs took part in this. and at Toulon the royalists counted upon England. of which the centre was Mende. were successful. were covered with a network of royalist conspiracies. There was even a moment when it was necessary that armed bands of the Marseillais should come to hunt out the counterrevolutionists in that region. both rendezvous of the refractory priests. Malo and Nantes. and where the rich and the nobles held the municipality in their hands. to take possession of Aries and Aigues-Mortes. In reality. especially those of 253 all and in the great St. and to be ready to turn out at the first call. In the beginning of 1792. Nantes. Catherine II. at Bordeaux. to St. There were moments when the whole country was a prey to civil war. of Russia did as Pitt true that none of the royalist insurrections which took place in 1791 and 1792. the department of the Loze"re and that of the Ardeche. If in Brittany. Bordeaux. Malo. at Perpignan. they hoped. and the patriots promptly dispersed the royalist bands. would raise the Gevaudan and the Velay. enjoining on the peasants to arm themselves with guns. in Alsace and Lorraine they counted on Germany. Aries. seaports of France. Yssingeaux and in the Vivarais. and the tocsin rang without intermission in the villages.THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION of arms. But during those two years the struggle was incessant. Even the Knights of Malta were going to help with two frigates in this expedition. and compel the Vivarais to follow suit. where the population was very backward. In this way they were preparing for the insurrection which. It was not enough to shout " Down with the " patriots ! to rally a sufficient number of insurgents.

As to the rising organised by the Count de Saillans. on her side.254 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION such vast proportions in the South of Lyons. which broke out in July 1792. while Paris. and in the Ardeche. the centre of all royalist conspiracies . attained preparations to seize. at the same time as that of the Vendee. made later on. Fortunately. it would certainly have had a fatal influence on the progress of the Revolution if the people had not promptly suppressed it. at the Tuileries. the people took this upon themselves. last. and at the moment when the German armies were marching on Paris.

If the middle-class revolutionists could feel satisfied with having . and hunger became permanent in the poorer nothing to speak quarters of the great cities. The merchants and monopolists were making huge fortunes as Government contractors and stockjobbers. by what has just been said. the people saw that nothing had yet been done for them. and in the towns the great mass of the proletarians had gained of.CHAPTER XXXII THE TWENTIETH OF JUNE State of 1792 Revolution at beginning of 1792 Constitution lacks power Legislative Assembly Preparations of counterrevolutionists People recognise dangers of Revolution Jacobin fears Great republican demonstration Effect of demonstration Assembly Republican leaders imprisoned and Revolution " The Lamourette kiss " People decide to do away with royalty Critical point of Revolution Girondins warn King Their fears of popular revolution Despair of Marat and patriots Royalist hopes Petty disputes of revolutionists WE see. Every day they expected the news of a German invasion. advancing triumphantly on Paris to restore the old regime in *55 all iti . Feudalism still stood erect. The aristocracy meanwhile became bolder and bolder.conquered a share in the government and laid the foundations of the fortunes they were going soon to acquire with the help of the State. The nobility. lifted up their heads and boasted that they would soon bring the sans-culottes to reason. but the price of bread and of all things of prime necessity went up steadily. in what a deplorable condition the Revolution was in the early months of 1792. and by means of speculating in the bonds upon the sale of the Church property and buying up the communal lands. the rich.

classes and even the intellectual revolutionaries spoke of preserving at every cost. had been limited. and when the royalists. the military command. infinitely better than the politicians. under a system which offered no stability and could be overthrown at any moment in favour . of the old regime. it existed only for passing measures of minor importance. Vienna. armed and organised. No one certainly would suspect the Legislative Assembly of radicalism. Madrid and Petersburg. Every one felt that the nation was King living simply from day to day. the Commune of August 10 into existence understood perfectly well the dangers by which the Revolution was The people had always had a true inkling of the situation. Meanwhile the plot which was concocting in the Tuileries spread further into France itself. and it is evident that its decrees concerning the feudal dues and the priests were sufficiently imbued with and yet even these decrees the middle-class moderation refused to sign. the plots which were being hatched in the . and those of the revolutionists who.256 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION In the provinces. and drew in the Courts of Berlin. as we have seen. The people. the choice of ministers and the rest while all but above all the interior organisation of the local government. which placed everything in the hands of the rich. its splendour. the people could do nothing. the mass of the French people guessed. Stockholm. nor support their premonitions by learned arguments . With authority the powers left him by the Constitution the civil list. held by the people those who brought . like Marat and the Cordeliers. even though they could not express it exactly. which the middle partisans for a general rising. would receive them with open arms. The King and Queen urged the German armies to march upon Paris they even named the day when they should enter the capital. The hour was near when the counter-revolutionists were to strike the great blow they had prepared for the summer of 1792. Turin. reaction was openly organising As to the Constitution. but in a very modest way. The King's serious reforms remained suspended. and surrounded.

R . to pass the night. the Popular Societies.* assembled at the Club of the Cordeliers and there they used was. lest should become masters of the situation. and to exercise pressure on the " leaders of opinion. and the Fraternal is. ^Events new insurrection. The which was to allow the people to dethrone the sections. even by the leaders in whom they had put their trust. says Chaumette. constitutional monarchy. 1792) and the German invasion were necessary to change the situation. they did not they dare to avow their dread of revolutionary equality.JUNE Tuileries 20. But they were disarmed. 13. King. Just like the parliamentary Radicals of our in the own times. Societies that the " unknown ones. those who were among them honest men held as the spokesmen of the Revolution like Robespierre had not the less necessary confidence in the Revolution. set themselves this task. p." the crowd. seconded keenest by the Club of the Cordeliers. at least. Most historians. of such an importance as the declaration of war a (on April 21. paying a tribute to their authoritarian training. those who had to avenge a friend. Then only. 1791. 1792 257 and in the chateaux of the nobility. Martial Law of the People against bearing the inscription : the Rebellion of the Court. represent the Jacobin Club as the initiator head of all the revolutionary movements in Paris * and the and the Mtmoires. while the middle classes had organised their National and what was worse. a son or some relative assassinated in the Champ-de- Mars on July 17. preparing the popular insurrection. and still people. The and most enlightened patriots.^There among others." Under this flag were to rally all " free men the true republicans. To the in- determinate chances of a they said. . the few liberties acquired by the Constitution." Paris began to prepare for a great insurrection. They who dread explained their attitude as one of care to preserve. to see the people come out into the streets. one committee which got up a red flag. seeing themselves betrayed on all sides. they preferred. those of the " inGuard battalions " whom the Revolution had tellectuals pushed to the front. the people began to act for themselves.

It was quite natural that under these circumstances the " " movement of June 20 could not have either the spirit or the unity that was necessary to make of it a successful insurrection against the Tuileries. ordered permanence the general armament. for a whole year they were opposed. and for two generations every one believed this. we see so much hesitation on the part of the prominent June This is why the Jacobins were so reluctant revolutionists. They acted as if they wanted to find out first how far they . who saw in the Revolution nothing but a means of enriching themselves ? If the people should sweep away the Legislative Assembly. combating the royalists . uncertain as to the attitude of the middle classes. What if the people were not with overthrowing the royal power ? If popular wrath should turn against the rich. at the very last moment. On the contrary. in all the conferences which took place before 20. but they dared satisfied not wish for the consequences. the extremists. when the people. even the most revolutionary of them. but. setting aside the constitutional laws. the powerful. and forced the Assembly to declare " it " the was only then that the Robescountry in danger the Dantons and. to appealing again to the Only when they saw themselves outflanked by the movement. The people came out into the streets. proclaimed the of the sections. to follow it. and again only a section popular people. the masses did not dare to compromise themselves too much. what if This is to approve the necessity of another popular rising.258 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION provinces. 1 But with what timidity They wished to see the people out in the street. decided to follow the people's lead and declare themselves more or less at one with the insurrection. they decided. The initiative of June 20 and August 10 did not come from the Jacobins. But now we know that such was not the case. after the Tuileries ? If the Commune " anarchists " those whom of Paris. of them. the cunning ones. It was only in July. the Girondins pierres. the Robespierre himself freely loaded with his invectives those " " the equality of conditions republicans who preached they should get the upper hand ? why.

when Louis XVI. should be recalled that the rebel should be driven out of France and his choice be priests made between Coblentz and Paris. the great courtyard of the All the gates of the Tuileries and the outskirts of the palace. The demonstration was of petitioning the perfectly peaceful. and a conflict However.j Bastille to the herents the Place Assembly. the . himself ordered it to be opened. The King took off his hat. cannon were trained on the people . between the two bodies seemed inevitable. 1792 259 could go in their attack of the palace leaving the rest to the chances of all great popular demonstrations. a hatchet. and allowed a woollen cap to be put on his head . and the Place du Carrousel as also with pikes and selected the the courtyards were inundated with people. cartridges were distributed to the soldiers.JUNE 20. crowd were beginning to break in one of the doors of men who were the palace with the blows of an axe. . The King a being discovered in another room. Immediately thousands of men burst into the inner courtyards and the palace itself. The outer gates were soon either opened or forced. if not. QThey demanded that he should " sanction the decrees which he had vetoed that the patriot " that ministers whom he had is. the sight of the ever-increasing multitudes paralysed the defenders of the Court. to celebrate the anniversary of the Oath in the Assembly Tennis Court. it was filled in few minutes by the crowd. * . If anything comes of this one all the better . part of which was barricaded with a large table. or a saw was fixed. Tuileries were closed. and to plant a tree of Liberty at the door of Under the pretence the National Assembly. Many were armed sabres. in fact. what happened. The Queen. an immense multitude of people came It soon filled all the streets leading from the out on this day. while the Court filled with its addu Carrousel. (This is. with her son. . they will at least have seen the Tuileries at close quarters and estimated its strength. but the section had carefully The to take part in the demonstration. or with sticks at the end of which a knife. had been hurried away by her friends into a hall. the Girondist Ministry dismissed on June 13.

Jacobins and Girondins were unanimous in thus disowning any share in the demonstration^ Encouraged undoubtedly by this manifestation of support. Again it became dangerous to call oneself a republican. the Court had a tribunal set up in the palace of the Tuileries before itself. and had. and the Wardroberoyalty. Revolutions. as servile as the plaudits of members broke out into the courtiers 1789. they fell upon them with all the hatred that can be crowd made him the nation. we must remember. They were thus resuscitating. . The Directories of the departments and a large number of municipalities joined in the servile protestations of the Assembly faction. * Journal de Perlet of June 27. and after July 17. Since the masses had not dared to attack the palace. repeating that he should abide by the Constitution. thirty-three departments that is. says Chaumette in his Memoir es. quoted by Aulard in a note added to the M&moires of Chaumette.260 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION also drink a glass of wine to the health of But for two hours he withstood the crowd.. of the Crown had orders to provide for all their wants.} As an attack on royalty. by that. VfcVhen a letter from Louis XVI. Several presidents and secretaries of the sections shared the same fate. This tribunal was composed of justices of the peace in the pay of The Court sent them their food." In of indignation against the out of the eighty-three Directories of reality. the movement had failed. 1789. for the punishing of those guilty of the movement. >^| ^ inspired only by fear. Nothing came of it. the applause.* Keeper The most vigorous of the writers were prosecuted and sent to prison. complaining of the invasion of his palace. was read at the sitting of the Assembly. and a part minorities. the whole west of France were and sent letters " openly royalist and counter-revolutionary. But the rage of the well-to-do classes against the people was only the greater on that account. shown their weakness. the odious methods of procedure which had been resorted to after October 5 and 6. are always made by and even when a revolution has begun. 1791.

Petion. July 7 that is. and who have the courage of action. Mayor of Paris. They had been discussing for several days what measures should be taken for the general safety. members embraced each other. let us annihilate both the Republic and the Two Chambers. he suggested a very simple means " : One party in the Assembly attributes to the other the seditious design of wishing to destroy the monarchy. let us annihilate by a common execration. so that six days later. for his negligence on June 20.JUNE 20. four days before the country had to be declared in danger in consequence of the German invasion. Lamourette. and a deputation was sent at once to the King. 1792 261 of the nation accepts its consequences. the people of Paris took up the cause of their mayor passionately. Bishop of Lyons. a general reconciliation of the parties. or rather something below the average. and to bring it about. Well. and it ! ) was decided to send his speech out to the affiliated societies/* The Court on its side had no intention of disarming. when. the Right fraternised with the Left. This is why an Assembly." Fortunately public opinion was not captured by such scenes. has always been. a check upon revolution . proposed. on a motion of order. there is always only a very small minority who understands what still remains to be done to assure the triumph of what has been obtained. Legislative Assembly gives us a striking case in point. day by the . at the instigation of the Court. The On and one month only before the downfall of royalty the following occurrence took place in the Assembly. gentlemen. always representing the average of the country. This scene is known in history as " the Lamourette kiss. it can never be an instrument of revolution. \The same evening Billaud-Varennes protested at the Jacobin Club against this hypocritical attempt at reconciliation. had been suspended from his office that very royalist Directory of the Seine department. who came to join in the general gaiety. The others attribute to their colleagues the design of wishing the destruction of constitutional equality and the aristocratic government known under the name of the Two Chambers. and by an irrevocable oath. and will always be. But then." Hats were thrown into the air.

It was felt on all sides that the Revolution was approaching a decisive moment. the Federation was celebrated. The word Republic." as Louis The foreigner was at the gates of Paris." and selves. On the I4th. are of the highest importance. it produced nevertheless a great awakening all over France. was not yet mentioned . as it had demanded the abolition of royalty since June 27. The revolt ran from town to town. and had sent five hundred volunteers who arrived in Paris singing the Hymn. Blanc says. For all those who seek instruction from history. in case the counter-revolution should be victorious. ^ Although the demonstration on June 20 had had no immediate result. Since the King had betrayed his country they demanded his dethronement or. on July the Assembly thought fit to rescind the suspension. and on " July ii the country was proclaimed in danger. there was rather an inclination towards a regency. the seven weeks which elapsed between the demonstration of June 20 and the taking of the Tuileries on August 10. and the result their desire of securing for themselves pardon in case of defeat there lies the danger for every revolution. at least. volunteers. armed themselves and organised their popular battalions. " tell what would be the result of a rising ? they asked themthat the legislators of the moment had come when was that with but a few exceptions the Assembly were already arranging for a way out." Brest and other towns also sent some and the sections of Paris. " Who could politicians in the Assembly judged otherwise. The people had made up their minds. and that. They understood they must get rid of royalty. and on this occasion the people made a formidable demonstration against From royalty. his suspension. The fears of those who intend to become " statesmen. however. sitting in permanence. Marseilles was an exception.*^ every side the revolutionary municipalities sent addresses to the Assembly calling on it to take action. all would be over with the Revolution. if June 20 were not quickly followed by a popular But the rising. 1792. " Marseillaise .262 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION 13.

that the patriots were frightened and wanted to negotiate is . It was their fear of a popular revolution a revolution which would touch property their fear and their contempt for the people upon the mob of ragged wretches. they admitted them to their* It was evident deliberations. / felt that they were on the eve of some great event. as well as several of the municipalities. a letter telling him that a formidable insurrection was preparing." would lose the privileges of a system in . and armed them with pikes. on July 7. Marie-Antoinette certainly was not mistaken when she wrote. Taking no notice of the law concerning the passive citizens. on July 27. Those who were with the people. no doubt. as Louis Blanc wrote. and that was to recall the Ministry v of Roland. and that only one way remained to prevent this catastrophe. Servan and Claviere within eight days at latest. through his valet de cbambre. that the dethronement and something yet more just terrible might result from it. the party of " the statesmen. his proposition was received with howls.JUNE class 20. Thierry. Neither was it. who guided them : their fear which property and more than that. I But the Girondins. 1792 ? 263 those middle- What." were then sending to the King. did the Assembly do And what When republicans the Girondins ? the strongly worded address from Marseilles was read in the Assembly. which what really came to pass a few days later. demanding that measures in consonance with the seriousness of events should be taken. The sections of Paris had declared themselves permanent. then. authoritarian " training and the managing capacity. nearly the whole of the Assembly protested. Certainly and Brissot's pamphlet A ses commettants discloses clearly what the Girondins thought at this moment. 1 that a great insurrection was on the way. in the sections. demanded that the dethronement should be discussed. J " the twelve millions it was not promised to " Brissot which impelled the Girondins to take this step. their ambition to regrasp the power. The cause was much deeper than that. to her intimate correspondents abroad. And when Duhem.

" continues Marat." he writes further on. but we are so legally. an occasion for prevarication and and trickery. nothing but ." he wrote. those who are well off. and we are now as far off from it as ever. and the numberless poor are placed between the fear of perishing Let from hunger and the necessity of selling themselves. themselves up in the place of the privileged orders whom they have proscribed. scenery only who are full of cunning. : " The same actors. frauds and spoliations. since one might say they were written to-day. after they had wormed themselves into the people's confidence and had made use of the people's forces to set and artifice. therefore. in the twentieth . had at first taken sides against the despot . the same motives have remained. they will end by succumbing to the they may gain machinations of the superior craft classes. but that was only to turn against the people. For the Court its supporters it is an eternal motive for intrigue and corruption . At the moment of an insurrection the people will break down but whatever advantage all before them by their weight . Educated men. for the legislators. more Governmental. the changed. stage State." continues Marat and his words are of gold. we are further from liberty than us not be afraid to repeat ever . Already it is for the rich and the avaricious an opportunity for illicit gains. The : We Revolution has turned against the people." This fear paralysed the Girondins all the parties or less who occupy as to-day it paralyses in Parliaments the same position. for.264 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION they had conferred until then the fear of seeing themselves reduced to the level of " the Great Unwashed. monopolies." " Thus. ." " On the the of the has been . . " It same intrigues. our liberty. while the people are ruined. . and the crafty ones of the superior classes. which the Girondins occupied at that timeo can comprehend. the despair which seized the true patriots and expressed by Marat in these words upon " we have " For three striven to regain years." " for the lower classes of the was fatal. not only are we slaves. at first. . nation to be left alone to struggle against the highest class.

from patriotic societies and a deluge of writings speeches the people are further from feeling what they ought to do in order to be able to resist their oppressors. themselves citizens to to have suspended easy for the representatives of the people from their offices the despot and his agents.JUNE 20. that Louis XVI. And instead of attacking the enemies of the Revolucitizens). the only supporters of fraud. than they were on the very first day of 'the Revolution. as on July 13 and 14 and on October 5 part and 6." But who would The day after the taking of the Bastille." As to the 'people. Now." wrote Marat " universally. and he " " could see only one exit on the some fit of civic fury of the people. This filled him with : new hope." says Marat. they permitted one part only of the arm (meaning the National Guard composed of active " after three years of everlasting To-day. . yet it is taken from No. the little tradesmen. by those luckless ones whom the shameless rich call canaille. ever have imagined that it would be made in favour of the small landowners. 657 of the Ami du peuple. At that time they followed their natural instincts. instead of arming perspicacity further on. . the men of law. the people gave up the advantages of their victory by remaining merely in a state of defence. . " made them find the true way for subduing their implacable foes. they ought to have had and virtue. 1789. the artisans. behold them chained in the name of the law. it would have been " But for doing that. A profound discouragement took hold of Marat. The chances of the counter-revolution were so great at the end of July 1792. by the plebs. and whom Roman insolence called proletarians. Despair was devouring him. their simple good sense which . . slaves " ! This might have been written yesterday. until the federates came from the departments to Paris. tion without further delay. the agriculturists. 1792 265 " thus it is that the revolution has been made and century maintained only by the lowest classes of society by the workers. tyrannised over in the name of justice they are constitutional . curtly refused the . .

slightly rejuvenated. were they not ready to turn their armies against the Jacobins. They sent him another message As to the Girondins. however. the King had refused their with him. France was chafing the bit. for shelter at their doors. had. who enjoyed great power in the North. and to organise the great plot which was to deliver Paris to the Germans ? Who knows how many years longer royalty. RevoFifteen days only separated Paris from August 10. marching upon And Lafayette and Luckner too. every one turned his back on him. depended. It knew that the lutionary supreme moment had come. on July 18. They refused even to give him an asylum when he was hunted down for arrest and knocked Jacobins upon whom he. And when Marat. the King had many reasons to expect a victory. Jacobins dared not act. and treated him he had none but the sans-culottes in the hovels as a madman to approve him. even by those few patriotic who is represented as so suspicious. Boze.266 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Were not the Prussians already Paris ? proposition of the Girondins. would have continued to rule France ? supreme moment. after on July 25. Marat was abandoned by every one. Because he had dared to say at that moment what to-day we know to be the truth. the whole care of the was to dispute among themselves as to whose hands politicians the power should fall into if it should drop from the hands yet. How could they allow royalty to surround itself with troops. against Paris? Lafayette. and to him in the midst of their armies when Marat proposed to take the King : as a hostage for the nation against the foreign invasion. through the interproposal. they again parleyed mediary of the painter. Either the finishing blow must be struck at royalty. at this And of the King ! . because he had dared to denounce the plottings of the King with the foreigner. after the treachery of Lafayette and Luckner became known set they had wanted to carry off the King on July 16. or else the Revolution would remain unaccomplished. and was the idol of the middle-class National Guards in Paris ! The In fact. but still very nearly absolute.

Founder. Carra. nobody thought of that except the people : the Jacobins thought of Assembly a Convention. tutor. at that time a simple law-clerk who came it as little as all " together at the Soleil d'Or to plan the siege of the palace and the general rising." the favourites of the people Santerre. under the whip of their masters. Republican As to acting. without cessation. the American. F. in his notes * J. demanded fresh elections a renovated to which should give France a new Constitution. and a few in the department and in Marseilles . Twelve. the Pole. with the red flag at its head. . here and there in the north of France enlisted in the cause of the insurrection. over trifling matters. on August 10. as to preparing the dethronement. ." " Here (in the Assembly of the Sections) the very foundations of the Republic were being laid. It was once more unknown men.JUNE The Girondins wanted it 20. the volunteers from Marseilles and Brest." as Chaumette expressed it The " people : ! There . Simon. and finally. Robespierre. . It was the sections the majority of the Paris sections. Simon was a German an old collaborator of Basedow in the Philantropium at Dessau. always the people the National Assembly) they were like lawyers (in crazily disputing. the other politicians. 1792 267 go to their Committee of which should then become the Executive Power.* Westermann. for his part. whom the people of Paris had of Maine-et-Loire. Lazowski.

Who had any respect now for the or for the Marshals' Courts and the judges of the old farlement ? The new municipality. .CHAPTER XXXIII THE TENTH OF AUGUST ITS IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES : Peasants ignore feudal system Change in state of France Royalist plans Administration Army Lafayette Feudal laws King and Germans Revolutionists fear popular risings Robespierre Revolutionary leaders at length join hands " Commune " springs up People prepare to strike New August 10 Royalists anticipate victory Indecision of Assembly Abolition of royalty Triumph of popular revolution Decrees passed under compulsion by Assembly Feudal laws Lands of 6migr6s Proposal of Mailhe Legislative Assembly dissolves Commune of Paris \ have seen what was the condition of France during the of 1792. no more emigrant they got hold of the lands of the clergy and the nobles and in certain places they. ex-governor of the province. if the feudal system existed according to law. In their village municipalities. The whole of the administrative structure. considered themselves the masters of their own The State institutions were equally upset. closely watched over by the local sans -culottes. themselves. they affairs. which seemed so formidable under the old regime. was crumbling away under the breath of the popular revolution. still For. the Popular 268 . They paid the feudal dues . For three years the country had been in revolution and a return to the old state of affairs had open WE summer been made absolutely impossible. retook from the landlord the lands which formerly belonged to the village communities. in actuality it was no longer acknowledged by the peasants.

the liberated peasants." proposed to do as soon as the Court party should have crushed those whom they called the " Jacobins. so long as they had not freed themselves from . the men with the pikes these represented the new powers of France. This was." As to the Administration in two-thirds of the departments.AUGUST 10 : ITS CONSEQUENCES 269 Society of the place. But still the old regime was left standing. round which the counter-revolutionists were ready to rally. if. against the Revolution. But the powers of royalty for evil were still immense. against the people. by the Revolution. the whole spirit of the had been changed and in its political and social conceptions it completely differed from what had been scarce twelve months before. In fact. If it could not restore the feudal system. commanded by men like Lafayette and Luckner. army. Royalty continued to exist and represented an enormous force. The nation was living under provisional conditions.^ And If to crown all. in fact. its language. the departmental administration and that of the districts were against the people. after June 20. what evil might it not do. and even in Paris. the " Feuillants. A new nation was born. the Primary Assembly. its ideas. Lafayette left his camp and " his " to Paris to offer the King the support of army and to force. after having got the upper hand. its manners. all the same. what the its King and a good many of the Constitutional Monarchists. the feudal laws still remained in the peasants had ceased to pay the feudal dues this was a breach of the law . seen how. they were ready to adapt themselves to any simulacrum of a constitution that would have permitted the middle classes to share the power of governing with the King and the Court. and the moment the King recovered his authority the peasants would have been compelled to pay everything. To give back to royalty its former power was clearly a dream in which no one but some Court fanatics believed any longer. could be used at any we have came moment against the nation. supporters should dispute in every village the land and the liberties the peasants had won. to break up the patriotic societies make a coup ffetat in favour of the Court. The whole aspect of the country. to people.

Tuileries. thus delivering up France to the invaders. A nation cannot go on living with a sword suspended head. was yet known. But is not easily hidden. rather vaguely. and it was not known how these two traitors were urging the Austrians and the Prussians to hasten their march on Paris that they were them informed as to all the movements of the French keeping over . And. it is true. when after the taking of the certain papers of the King's were seized in a cupboard made for him by locksmith Gamain. what the middle most. knew perfectly well that the King was conniving with the Germans. guided by their unfailing instincts. and by a thousand indications. moreover. no written proof of his treachery Paris. All this was only learned . later. and inviting them to march on At that time.2. they were convinced that the Court had made an agreement with the Germans and that France was going to be delivered up to them. remained on the And in order to strike that blow. classes refused to do had to be made with the pikes And this was what they dreaded We of terror find. the people. an appeal for a rising of the people of Paris to the men as had been done in 1789 before July 14. secret treason idea gradually spread then.o THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the clutches of the feudal past by redeeming their servitude they would have had to restore all the land they had taken from the landlord and even what they had bought from the State." Were they going to reappear. in the writings of the period a kind " the of men with the pikes. and even then. that it was necessary to strike a great blow against The the Tuileries : menace to France throne. which the men and women of the people were quick to upon seize. that the old regime would remain a perpetual so long as Louis XVI. through Paris and the provinces. The correspondence of the King and MarieAntoinette had not been discovered. indeed. troops transmitting to them all the military secrets. It was clear that its this provisional state of things could not last long. these men so terrible to the rich ? The worst was that this fear was felt not only by the pro- .

the men of the Paris sections of the as to Commune. 10 : ITS CONSEQUENCES 271 but also by the advanced politicians. and understand the necessity of the rising. the active military preparations made by the Court for attacking Paris. which will lead to anarchy and despotism.\ To convince the revolutionary necessity of striking a blow leaders of opinion at the Tuileries and of rising. Only then did they make up their minds. " an appeal. to come to an understanding with them the means of rousing the . Robespierre. Robespierre detested everything about Marat his military fervour. Robert and ( a few others came to a preliminary understanding. therefore. This was how he spoke as late as June." He meant of the " This is the aim of all the Girondins. " can only kindle civil war. he said. many fatal dissensions that the arbitrary will of the few." he exclaimed. Marat. his hatred of the rich. for a popular required than that they should have nothing less making was visible testimony of the and " to punish the Jacobins. as well as Danton. approached Marat and his followers. republic. his absolute distrust of politicians everything even to the poor and dirty clothing of the man. and had entirely devoted himself to the people's cause.AUGUST classes." And to baffle these intrigues agitated he preferred to retain the King and the intrigues of the Court ! without a Constitution would be " " ! they want to leave us suddenly The republic. which he called exaggeration. And yet the elegant and punctilious Robespierre." rising./ Robespertied to June 1792 also opposed the appeal for a "popular pierre up " The overthrow of the Constitution at this moment. in his opinion. two months before " of the August io." He did not believe in the possibility of a " is it " in the midst of so What." and finally. approached reaction which began after June 20 the coming of Lafayette " " to Paris to offer his army for a royalist coup d?etaty the Germans making ready to march on Paris " to deliver the King " . the people undertook to do the rest. bread and water. But once this was decided upon. who since the Revolution had broken out had eaten nothing but the food of the people. It is certain that Danton. intrigues which have us this long while.

they were left to the organising spirit of the people of the faubourgs. now began to prepare for the rising and they created. who understood. and then full liberty would have to be left to the poor to strike their enemies as it seemed best to them. popular insurrection. and to levy what they could upon the property of the rich. therefore. no one except those who had been working the preceding days and nights in the red-hot furnace of the faubourgs could say whether the faubourgs would rise in a body or not. Either an appeal should be made to the people. spontaneously. As to the details. and their followers promised to oppose no longer a it. numbered only about a thousand men. where were they and what " There is nothing to were they doing ? " asks Louis Blanc. and those of the people who wanted to strike a decisive blow at the Tuileries. the kind of sectional organisation which was judged the fittest to give the necessary cohesion to the movement. from " " the the moment when the leaders of opinion Robespierres. the necessity for common action when the Revolution was on the point of striking such a decisive blow. as on July 14. ordinary leaders. well organised and armed. the destruction of the little that had been obtained in the direction of equality Terror of 1794 would have begun in 1792. for the needs of the moment. The people. The two battalions of federals from Marseilles and Brest. arrived at between a of the more advanced Jacobins. the White An small number understanding was.272 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION people again. " And the . and when the sun rose over Paris no one could have predicted how that great day would end. or else the royal power would win in the struggle and this would mean the triumph of the counter-revolution. much better than the leaders of the parties. But the moment they had come to this understanding. and declared their readiness to support the rest was left to the people. the Dantons. They at last understood that if the provisional state of things lasted much longer the Revolution would die out without having accomplished anything ] durable. the Great Unknown.

"unknown ones. but we find neither Marat nor Danton among them. extremist. as we know from Lucile Desmoulin'a journal. the people had no need of the politicians. Robespierre took on this supreme night. and the men of the people told them to go to bed while the movement was being definitely organised on the night of August 9 and 10. from the moment that the movement was decided. to organise the nucleus of each battalion. Council. the politicians would only have been in the way. And we srjall see this it was that a new " Commune " Commune exercising a powerful influence over the progress of subsequent events . with its paltry passions. dominating the Convention and urging " the Mountain " to revolutionary action so as to secure. to form a column in each street of the faubourgs. so the historians tell us. its petty measures. useless to narrate here on August * " The dramatic side of the Revolution " ! what p. or whether he did anything at all. the Revolutionary Com- was appointed by the sections. mune August fell. and he slept peacefully. to distribute weapons among those who knew how to use them. in comparison " with the Assembly of the Commissioners from the Paris sections ? S " How great that Assembly was What sublime outbursts ! I . I say. the whole day's doings is It would be 10." Hebert. what was that Assembly. Taking the law into their own hands." he replies. was one of them. It is quite clear that. at first. says Chaumette in his M&moires." and the people's choice commissioners.* / " upon obscure men. That is what Danton did. New days." Nor 10 : AUGUST does Danton seem to have taken any active part in the preparations for the rising or in the fight itself on August 10. each section nominated three " to save the country. men. that was a matter of course ." came to the front in those a when of new General 10. witnessed during the discussion on the King's dethronement What was the National Assembly. For this work. its decrees stifled at birth. at least.ITS CONSEQUENCES 273 " what action indicate. 44. The Thus upon Commune the insurrectionary in the midst of the people and took sprang up itself the direction of the rising. What was necessary was to arm the people. the conquests already won by the Revolution. then crushed by the veto.

At this moment the horizon is heavy with vapours which must : . P6tion had even gone on August 4 to bring forward this resolution of the sections at the bar of the Assembly." would. and kept when the appeal to arms could be made. the ruins of the Bastille. With the aid of the courtiers. . apparently. the sense not to fix any date for the rising beforehand. to after a popular in which the banquet among whole faubourg their tables provoke a rising on June 26. 1 30. therefore. did their best to brace moment Thus. petitions and addresses for the dethronement 'had come in great numbers to the Assembly. such passages "A these terrible storm is coming up on the horizon. confine ourselves to recalling the chief features of that day. if the plots of the Court had not helped to precipitate matters. Mortimer Ternaux. who had sworn to die of the National * Guard that had remained for the King. . along with some battalions faithful to the Court vol. They merely sounded watch for the of Paris. . " the produce a terrible explosion Assembly in its sitting of the 8th calmly voted the absolution of Lafayette for his letter as if no such thing as a movement of hatred against royalty existed. Ever since Marseilles of the had declared for the dethronement King. they tried. had taken part people and provisions.* And they tried but again the attempt did not Altogether the preparations for the rising. perhaps. it another rising on July 30. the varying moods of the population up their minds. As to the gravity of the situation as politicians they did not realise in the least the and though we find in letters written . p. from Paris by Madame Jullien on August 7 and 8. and excellent descriptions and Louis Blanc. badly seconded " the leaders of by opinion.274 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION We of its events will be found in Michelet shall. bringing to succeed. All the while the people of Paris were preparing for a decisive battle. good The insurrectionary committee had. In Paris forty- two sections had pronounced in favour of it. have dragged out to some length. La Ttrreur. however. has been told best by the historians. ii.

its call midnight. Compact masses of the people then thronged into the . and the King was informed that " Paris was marching on the Tuileries. They " That was fixed August 10 for their coup d'etat. however. it appears that the people of Paris. But as soon the King had gone. the royalists felt sure of victory. with their admirable instinct for revolution. just about longer. the National Guards from the workers' and supported by was indeed artisans' quarters. the King." be postponed any The insurrection. of the kingdom " the following day was to see all the Jacobins drowned in their own blood. and went to take refuge with the Assembly. It " all all Paris. so as not to as have to face the people in revolt. and the legal council of the Commune had abdicated in the presence of this new revolutionary power. entire battalions of National Guards from the rich middle-class quarters dispersed.In the meantime the Insurrectionary Commune had taken possession of the H6tel de Ville during the night. At seven o'clock in the morning certain quarters were still tranquil. half -past eight. haunted by the recent memory of ing what had happened on June 20." we read in one of the letters of the period . however. quitted the Tuileries. led the Place o'clock in the morning only some men with the Federates from Marseilles. At first. In reality.AUGUST and the 10 : ITS CONSEQUENCES 275 Swiss. therefore. leaving his faithful servitors to defend the palace and to massacre its assailants. that is. the had day fixed for the counter-revolution. did not want to enter into conflict with the royal troops in the dark. because such fight might easily have ended in their being routed. which immediately gave an impetus to the insurrection^ About seven pikes. . the tocsin rang in Paris. . but an hour later large masses of the people began to move. and it was asked at the Com- On mune whether the rising should not be countermanded. all the Paris of the poor. and fearing to be killed this About time by the people. debouched upon by du Carrousel . as these masses were already approachthe palace. could not the night of the 9th and loth. seemed not to be well attended.

Henceforth the Revolution was able to develop for awhile without fear of being suddenly checked in its progress by a royalist coup " White tfetat or by a massacre of the revolutionists by the Terror. hesitated to face any decisive action. assault of the people. . penetrated into one of the courtyards of the Tuileries. to the as tower of the Temple. The cries of Death to the King Death to the Austrian Treachery woman " rapidly spread all over the town. not knowing what to do ? They acted only when the armed people burst into the hall where they were sitting threatening to kill the King and his family. whence they might have escaped. under the furious were either disarmed or massacred. and his family from the easily Luxembourg. should be installed int he Palace of the Luxembourg. who formerly had loved to orate about the Republic. encouraged by the Swiss Guards." For the politicians the chief interests of the revolution of . Royalty was thus abolished de facto. and the people " ! ! ! of Paris ran towards the Tuileries from all sides the Faubourgs a Saint-Antoine and Saint-Marceau rushed there in body and soon the Swiss. and undertook to hold them there the people's prisoners. who flung their cartridges out of the palace windows. the Girondins. and in a few minutes four hundred of the assailants lay dead in heaps at the foot of the stairs. This shooting decided the issue of the day. fired upon the crowd. Need we recall the fact that even at the supreme moment the Assembly remained undecided. still the dethronement. henceforth. officers of But here. commanded by the the Court and posted on the great staircase of the chief entrance.276 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION approaches to the Tuileries. \ It Commune was only two or three days later that the Revolutionary transferred Louis XVI. and their vanguard. as well as the deputies who did not dare to pronounce Even after the Tuileries had been taken and when royalty no longer existed in fact. others of the Swiss. All that Vergniaud "a dared demand was provisional suspension of the head of " the executive power who.

1792. confounding the the outcome of rent. which it lay especially people was opposing the carrying out of the decrees against the feudal rights. Consequently. had to pass. As to the feudal laws. had made a decree. By the decree of March 15. false the feudal dues had to be paid so long as they were not redeemed by the tenant. This decree. But on June 14. which had declared the former to be abolished. 1790. within the next fortnight. and who. read before the Assembly on February 29. against the emigrant nobles and against the at the same time had appealed to a German priests. we have seen how the Constituent Assembly. Every priest who had not yet taken the oath (so ran these decrees). in a triumph of the masses. 1792. and was eligible for election at twenty-five. did not swear to obey the Constitution. should be transported to Cayenne. when June 20 was . of a popular revolution. wiped out. according to which the feudal dues were supposed to represent the price of a certain concession of land. reactionary as it was.AUGUST 10 : ITS it CONSEQUENCES at royalty. all which was. triumph had struck who could now push on the Revolution towards Equality that dream and aim of the poor. these decrees represented This is came up again under the fiction which them as payment for the possession of the land. 277 August 10 lay in the blow For the in the abolition of that force. that is to say. in France colonies. 1790. made once upon a time by the landowner to the tenant and. and which It lay in the invasion to re-establish the feudal monarchy. de jactQ y the decree of August 4. Every one became an elector on attaining his twenty-first year. as such. what Couthon had made quite evident in his report. the Legislative Assembly. under pressure from without. All distinctions between passive citizens (the poor) and active citizens (the propertied classes) were abolished. of course. on the very day after August 10. and put up small lots. 1789. on March 15. and yet was found after that time upon French territory. and in the for sale in were to be sequestrated. All the lands of the emigrant nobles. by thus 'personal dues. some decrees which were to send the Revolution a step forward.

or the annual rights. which were paid in addition to the rent and represented relics of the ancient servitude. and the The people had taken possession King was dethroned and imprisoned. all prosecution for non-payment dues was suspended. seeing itself compelled to take some 1792. such as the quit-rents. villages. the Left. when the attitude of the people of Paris was not altogether reassuring for the Legislative Assembly. In virtue of these decrees of feudal the decree of August 20. The . As to the annual feudal levies. The feudal and seigniorial rights of all kinds. only in case title of the concession of land. either the casuel rights. still had to be redeemed . and the Assembly. which were not the price of an original concession of land. the legitimacy of which could be proved by presenting the original All this. peasants abolition of the feudal rights.278 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION close at hand. a great step in advance. After three years of revolution a parliamentary trick was thus necessary to obtain from the Assembly the abolition of In reality even this decree did not finally these odious dues. it was permitted to redeem separately. of a And by new purchase by a new owner. the and so on. however. abolition of the prosecutions represented. abolished without indemnity some of the personal feudal dues. the mill and other communal necessaries. But now came August i 10. of the Tuileries. abolish them : but let us pass in certain cases they over that. on sales and on the wine-press. and it was necessary to conciliate the people. on marriages. But the feudal rights still remained. steps forward. issued the decrees of August 16 to 25. These were the days before September flooded demanding the 2. petitions And the as soon as this news spread to the the from total Assembly. that is. they remained field-tax in full force. the right of the lord to levy dues in cases of legacies left by his tenants. were suppressed without indemnity. undoubtedly. taking advantage of the accidental absence of certain members of the Right. the most noteworthy being the tasufl. which was accused of plotting with royalty.

would have involved such difficulties that it remained a dead letter . 279 to be redeemed. And this was what the peasants did while waiting for some new victory for the people and some new concession on the part of the ruling classes. of course. had been applied. were suppressed without indemnity.'* .* and accepting the motion of Francois de Neufchateau. which he might. that this and in very vague terms. " responsibility all round. on condition of paying a perpetual rent. at least. besides. " on money rent. henceforth. At the same time all tithes and prestations. Its application. the confusion the result only added the peasants could pay nothing and redeem nothing. some day. This was a substantial gain. the Assembly ordered the communal lands to be divided among the citizens. or not acres. and decree. It appears. he who had not the money could purchase the same. if it But at the same time the Assembly took a measure which. which had been retained from the days of serfdom or mortmain. people preferred to buy the estates of the emigrant nobles * It was the same thing evidently as that which exists in Russia under the name of krougovai* porouha." always redeemable. to the advantage of the poor peasant. the Legislative Assembly. This was. If the Assembly protected the lands and the middle-class monopolists. or obligatory unpaid labour for the clergy. to put term again. It abolished the joint responsibility for payments which existed in the peasant communes. however. expressed in a few lines when the question came having finished its to any decision. at a And this sale was to be made. but all sorts of difficulties were evidently Well-to-do middle-class put in the way of small purchasers.AUGUST They had to still 10 : ITS CONSEQUENCES The new law being that. dissolved without coming up Concerning the lands of the emigrant nobles it was decided them up for sale in small lots of two. was never taken seriously. of office. three. would have stirred up the whole of the French peasantry against the Republic. since the King was no longer there to defend them. delivered up the priests. more than four lease. they. That all is to say. be able to redeem.

280 in bulk THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION and to speculate in the and this. ^ These then were the results of August 10 : Royalty was overthrown. in 1793. sale of them broken up into lots later on. and that the lords should be commight pelled to restore to the village communes the land which they had taken away from them in virtue of that ordinance. His proposal. and against the emigrant nobles. Finally this too. Mailhe. ^ But the great question "what was to be done with the traitor King " and that other great question. Orders were given to put up for sale the lands of the emigres which had been sequestrated in accordance with the decree of March 30. Some measures were taken against the priests who refused to recognise the Constitution. provided the Assembly and the governing classes in general did not it. oppose his family were in prison. after doing all they could to prevent the Revolution from developing normally. after the fall of the Giron- that the effects of the royal ordinance be broken. And the new law concerning the partition of the communal lands threw was the villages into alarm7\ It was over this that the Legislative Assembly dissolved. new Assembly. which was so the question of the feudal vital for fifteen million peasants remained in suspense. was not accepted . and now it was possible for the Revolution to turn over a new page in the direction of equality. and from putting an end to those two . The elections were universal suffrage. a new revolution was of 1669 He demanded required for that. to be made by but still in two The King and A degrees. 1792. however. The war against the invaders was to be pushed on vigorously by the sans-culotte volunteers. to propose a measure which was really revolutionary later on. was convoked. a National Convention. was typical one of the members. took advantage of the condition of men's minds at moment and was accepted dins. It rights still necessary to redeem those rights in order to do away with them.

the Commune of Paris. 10 : : ITS CONSEQUENCES 281 the absolute authority of the King But by the side of the Legislative Assembly there had grown up. managed to retain it for nearly two years. as we shall see presently. a new power. since August 10. which took into its hands the revolutionary initiative and. .AUGUST heritages of the past and the feudal laws.

thereby inviting the crowd to enter the Palace ? Were not a8a . says Michelet. folk of the faubourgs who had suffered.CHAPTER XXXIV THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS Royalists and Germans Despair of people Popularity of Lafayette Position of middle-class landowners Royalist plots for King's escape Activity of Commune Revolutionary army organised Character of Revolution changes Struggle between Assembly and Commune Surrender of Longwy Exultation of Royalists Royalist conspirators acquitted Royalist houses searched Nearly two thousand arrests Assembly orders Great Council of Commune to dissolve Commune refuses to obey Royalist plan disclosed Siege of Verdun Indignation of People demand German invasion justice Suspension of King Danger of Heroism of people revolutionists of Paris wept for their dead . had been slain by the defenders of the It was chiefly the men with the pikes. the evening of August 10 and the following day the popular fury was turned chiefly on the Swiss. and the men's cries for vengeance mingled with the them. and loudly demanded and punishment on those who had provoked the masjustice sacre round the Tuileries. and there they laid out the dead. sobs of the women. says Michelet. the extremely Palace. and had fallen under the bullets of THE people the Swiss and the nobles protected by the strong walls of the Palace. The crowd gathered round so that they might be identified. They had rushed poor in crowds on the Tuileries. Had not some of the On Swiss thrown their cartridges out of the windows. Eleven hundred men. Tumbrils laden with corpses wended their way to the faubourgs. three thousand according to public rumour.

who were posted on the great staircase at the entrance. But nothing was done to punish the guilty. to declare Every day new proofs were brought into the tribune of the Assembly. or to prevent them from resuming the weaving of their plots. to restore the King and his absolute power. they against the King and the royal power. in reality there was nothing done. the Queen. when at close quarters they opened a steady and murderous fire on the crowd ? But the people soon came to know. It is easy to understand the state of mind which must have prevailed in Paris under these conditions . Austrian Committee Now. and they were careful to nominate a governor for the Dauphin. which had been hatched at the Tuileries before August 10 and was still going on in Paris and in the provinces. On August 10 the Assembly had refused even to proclaim the dethronement of Louis XVI." who hesitated. so dearly bought. if they wanted to reach the insti" the gators of the massacre . the Queen. And now the Germans. to annul " all the decrees of the two Assemblies. an uneasy gloom held the faubourgs. that it was necessary to strike higher. at the King. also. who had entered France on the 1 9th. Under the inspiration of the Girondins they had only declared the suspension of the King. . the Queen. was done until Nothing September 4. were marching upon Paris to abolish the Constitution. and by the revolutionary "leaders of opinion. and " in the Tuileries.THE INTERREGNUMTHE BETRAYALS 283 the people trying to fraternise with the Swiss. and to put the Jaco" bins to death. by declining But all responsibility if they remained in the Luxembourg. of the plot. which after their victory over the Tuileries. their children and the familiar friends of Marie-Antoinette were shut up in the tower of the Temple. to the meetings of the Commune and to the press. and their faithful adherents whom the Assembly protected with their authority. it was just the King. beneath a calm exterior. however. It is true that the King. The Commune had obtained their transference to this Tower from the Assembly. felt themselves betrayed by the Assembly. which meant all the revolutionists.

she said In fact. when every day brought news of some fresh treachery. on July " * " If there men who are working now to establish exist. when the invading armies would knock at the gates of Paris. as well as the active partisans of the two Chambers and the counter-revolutionists at Coblentz. the Republic upon the ruins of the Constitution. jewellery. could never stop the German armies. A 10. and when workmen went to put bars on the windows of the " What is the use In a week we shall ? Temple. the meeting-place for the well-to-do middle classes. the arm of the law should punish them. who. siasm became heroic." he said. defence . keep silent. The enthustrong. still continued to direct the plots ? In spite of the close watch kept by the Commune. the hour. The royalists calculated the day. All republican hastened to enrol themselves for frontier service. What is when the the use of arming and hastening to the frontier." that the royalists expected the entrance of eighty thousand Prussians into Paris. It was evident that the weak French contingents. who were young. which was now. Legislative Assembly and the party that is in power are the declared enemies of the Republic ? They are doing fortnight before August everything to maintain royalty. and all sorts of gifts of the patriots flowed into the enrolment offices. had not Brissot actually spoken against the Cordeliers who wanted the Republic ? Had he not demanded * And that they should be punished by the arm of the law ? after August 10. and when all these treacheries were to be traced to the King and Queen. did not Marie-Antoinette know exactly all that went on outside She was informed of every movement of the German armies : ? . But what was the good of all this devotion. and under generals who were trusted by their soldiers. shut up in the Temple. commanded by untrustworthy officers. enthusiastic in Paris.284 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION more Every day the news from the frontier became more and The fortresses were not prepared for disquieting. The mass of the people comprehended the danger. accustomed to warfare. nothing had been done to prevent the advance of the enemy." . twice as strong in numbers. 24. it was between September 5 and 6 not be here. did not the Jacobin Club. Money.

and that Chabot spoke of them in the Assembly at the beginning of June 1792. Admirably organised by the " No excesses.THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS until : 285 August 27." it invaded the Tuileries. and on June 20 the people rose. the memoirs. which depends for support upon people German bayonets. he went to the Assembly. This letter arriving a few days after the King had dismissed the Girondist Ministry the Jacobin Ministry. the agitation went on increasing. But the Assembly treated Chabot as an agitator. could not but bring the people to despair. Lafayette was still skies. the cowardice of " in this hour of danger. on June 18. At the moment when war was being lauded to the They that declared. This is why I shall briefly recapi- tulate the chief events. In spite of all this. and denounced the " Jacobins " with still more . took place . in which he denounced the Jacobins and demanded the suppression of all the clubs. Thereupon Lafayette arrived. Then. as we have sections. to see him at the head of an army. the Assembly received from Lafayette his famous letter. it was then called the coincidence Nevertheless. seen. the Assembly condoned it by casting a doubt on the authenticity of the letter. on the 23rd . and the private letters. but the middle classes were seized with terror. where he acknowledged and stood by his letter of June 1 8. And the depth of this despair can only be gauged if one reads the newspapers of those days. It is true rejoiced since the massacre in the Champ-de-Mars (July 1791) some doubts about him had been expressed. and tries to live through the various emotions that Paris lived through after the declaration of war. as a traitor. whereupon people naturally wondered if the Assembly were not in league with Lafayette. as caused people to reflect. and the Assembly flung themselves into the arms of reaction by passing a riot act against public gatherings in the streets. and silenced him. especially in middle-class circles. be maintained yes or no ? " The the " leaders of thought powerlessness of the governing classes. He disapproved of the doings of June 20 in violent terms. on the question which was agitating the " Shall royalty.

Lally-Tollendal. but Lafayette's conduct was at the time already becoming susA communication was even then laid before the picious. dated July 8. ." Their " plan was to unite all the landowners who were dissatisfied. 170). on his conscience His [Lafayette's] proclamations to the army. he proposed to organise the King's escape. . : . the principal leaders in the Constituent Assembly met to decide whether the King should not be tried and the Republic established. In this letter. and in the beginning of July 1792. Lafayette drove through fidelity to the King. nothing was done without my participation." * We know now why he had to be carried was to persuade the King to allow himself and be placed under the protection of the off. in a letter which he addressed to the King of Prussia in 1793. his unexpected appearance at the bar after the terrible day of June 20 nothing of this was unknown to me. and pull down their house. " Paris with six or eight hundred officers of the Parisian garrison surrounding his carriage. Madame Jullien may be incorrect in some small details. Luckner. to Madame de Tonnerre. when speaking of Lafayette . After the King had been brought back to Paris from Varennes in June 1791. and all the No Jacobins. Lafayette said to them "If you kill the King.286 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION acrimony. What must the people have thought of this matter ? f It * If come to Paris. p. a royalist in virtue of a sort of religion that was hereditary in his family. as he said himself. f Lally-Tollendal. Lafayett* wrote to the King. who replied to him." said Madame Elisabeth (the sister of Louis XVIi) in June 1792. " to arrest their leaders. with fifteen squadrons and eight pieces of horse artillery. joined with Lafayette in disapproving of June 20 and in testifying his After this. Madame still the letters of they are Jullien to her son (Journal d'une bourgeois* . " We must destroy the strongly desired this Jacobins physically and morally. seize their papers. The day after his arrival in Paris. his famous letter to the Legislative body. ." M. It is only now that we know this with certainty. " confirmed what follows. army. and oppressed who were numerous. but the majority voted for his exculpation. to receive the King at Compiegne. He was to come on the 1 5th. Assembly. we must forget everything. de Lafayette he had said to the King. claiming the liberation of Lafayette. I spent part of the night with him we were discussing whether war should be declared against the Jacobins in Paris itself war." " He belongs to us. His timid friends were opposed to : : . . I warn you that the next day I and the National Guard will proclaim the Prince Royal. most valuable for this period. asking that he should be prosecuted ." and to proclaim no Coblentz : to lead the people to the Jacobin Club. enumerated th services that the cunning general had rendered to the Court. who commanded the other army. because they tell exactly what revolutionary Paris was saying and thinking on such and such days. . in the full meaning of the word.

164. how badly everything wrote Madame Jullien to her husband on June " For mark how the conduct of the Assembly . the Assembly must have seemed like a cannon-ball attached to the feet of the Revolution. they to give unity to the rising. and we shall be able to understand that to the revolutionary element of the population of Paris. and rejected by the minority who dominate the Assembly. 213). there will be hurrahs on all sides." This letter of Lally-Tollendal's is given in full by Buchez and Roux. 227 et seq.THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS Mon Dieu. " At this moment the horizon is charged with vapours which must " The produce an explosion. The aristocratic provided they fall in with their plans middle class are wild with joy. to Louis XIV. He swore to me that he would. And further on " The dethronement of the King demanded by the : majority. 287 " is going. and the people will not have the baseness to endure the contempt which is shown to public opinion. p. vol. t made themselves masters of the Palace after a this. and the people in the depths of despair . will bring about the frightful conflict which is preparing. it is true . : . at least." And when the Assembly acquitted Lafayette. Madame Jullien made " But all that is leading us towards a catastrophe this prophecy which will cause the friends of humanity to shudder for. consequently the storm brews. Proceeding revolutionaryhad elected their own Council of the Commune wise. my friend. to turn out this flabby parlia- ment. on returning to his army. came. The Senate will not have the audacity to pronounce it. They drove out the King from sections took over the the Tuileries. " the commissioners sent to Lafayette after August 10 by the leaders of the Assembly had instructions to offer him the * f first place in the new order of things. I .! August 10. something must come : either liberty or slavery for twenty-five millions of men" (p. however." wrote Madame Jullien on August 8. p. Out of this conflict. with very different meanings. but what does it matter to tyrants. Journal d'une bourgeoise." The treachery in the Assembly among the Girondins was thus much deeper than one would have thought. And yet in spite of all. immediately set to work to find means for the King's deliverance. and the people appear to me too strong to allow itself to be overmastered by them. and the people of Paris in their movement. it will rain " I do not exaggerate blood. irritates the people take so much so that of up the whip when it will please Louis XVI. xvii. (p. 211). 30." 1793. this struggle. .* ! Let us compare these words with those of Chaumette quoted above. Assembly appears to me too weak to back up the will of the people.

were forthcoming . It inclined rather towards royalty and tried to condone the past crimes of Louis XVI. representatives of the section. The middle-class landowners saw at once the new popular and equalising turn taken by the insurrection they clung on all the more to A thousand plans were set on foot royalty. definite. and soon it became the rallying-point for the royalist elements. composed of eight judges and eight jurors. and the * talk of a massacre of all the before royalists the Assembly decided to give in. were many compro- every day they became more Among mising documents. responsible . was opposed to their being brought to light by any serious prosecutions of his accomplices. Keeper of the Civil List. the formation of a criminal tribunal. * " There was. either French or foreign. a letter from You appear said the spokesman to be in the dark as to what is happening in Paris. the Assembly. the powers of the tribunal. But the Legislative Assembly still existed. for the transference of the Crown. as after the flight to Varennes. either to the Dauphin which would have been done if the regency of Marie-Antoinette had not been generally regarded with so much disgust or to some other candidate. and when the people loudly demanded that they should pronounce plainly against royalty. There was. It who were But to be elected by the still. ." of one of the deputations of the Commune to the Assembly. like all assemblies of parliamentarian politicians. however. It The Commune had sections had to to threaten to ring the tocsin. the papers found after the taking of the Tuileries in the desk belonging to Montmorin. being uncertain which side should get the upper hand. on August 17. Proofs of the conspiracy. At last it ordered. among others. and their Commune imprisoned the King in the tower of the Temple. they tried to limit was not to try and fathom the which had been planned in the Tuileries before conspiracy it was to confine itself to August 10 inquiring who was for what took place on the roth. a recrudescence of sentiment in favour of royalty . took good care not to compromise itself.288 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION sharp fight.

We must make the middle classes feel that the King alone can save them. . which shows how the Austrians intended to treat every revolutionist who should have had the misfortune to fall into their power. .* And finally. when they sent out the Austrian and Prussian armies against France and organised a corps of cavalry from among the emigres. . There were very many other things besides. and inciting the National Guard to slaughter them. . he had to cross the frontier. On betrayals. lest the popular fury might be directed on the prisoners in the Temple. without.THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS 289 the princes. including those which were meant to There was provoke a riot on the arrival of the Marseillais federates." There is not a moment clergy. They executed on the spot those the arrest of three commissioners from Switzerland. and the old fox Luckner approved of his action. Austrians and was clapped into prison by them and treated very rigorously. there was proof that the " constitutional " minority of the Assembly had promised to follow the King in the case of his leaving Paris. Fortunately. exceeding the distance prescribed by the Constitution. will begin." T discussed. to lose. the punishing the Jacobins was they shall be a terrible War upon the paper money that is where bankruptcy example. we may add. * : . proving they were acting in agreement with Louis XVI. The clergy and the parlements will be reinstated. broke out in the August 22 the treason of Lafayette became known. months before when he had come to see how the land lay in Now he threw off the mask. so long foreseen. In reality. * In one letter " We shall execute justice on them . . hoping But he fell into the hands of the to make his way to Holland. his plan army to follow him and to had been arranged two who were sent to him by the Assembly to announce the revolution of August 10. Probably also on the Assembly. So much the worse for those who have bought the property of the " In another letter we read . libels paid against for out of the Civil List. . also found a long list of pamphlets and libels directed the National Assembly and the Jacobins . At length the army. accompanied by his staff. but they were concealed. He ordered Paris after June 20. and on the 1 9th. however. Lafayette's army did not follow its general. who were marching with those armies on Paris. He had tried to force his march on Paris.

it was full of Noirs. And when Kersaint read the report upon August 10.2 9o THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION " patriots. All kinds of plots. a letter was found containing offers of betrayal on behalf of Louis XVI. The seven hundred Swiss remaining in Paris were to serve as the military framework for the rising. next day after Lafayette's treason. when the Prussians would be on the outskirts of Paris. The royalists intended to free the King and Queen. As to Paris. set the at liberty. either by an escape or by a sudden attack on the prison. were woven round the Temple. at least. so well and so " round the revolutionists.* A crowd of emigres had returned. . t The prisoners shut up in La Force prison had already tried to set it on fire. no further dependence can be placed on the army. there was only the activity of the Commune and its sections that responded to the gravity of the situation. confusion. during which Paris was to be set on fire. which had been invested on the 2Oth. and the Duke of Brunswick." was now the general opinion. And thickly were the nets spread yet the whole truth was not told.. were quick to seize upon. and among th epapers of the commandant. and some of them had their ears cut off and nailed to their foreheads by the Uhlans. had yielded at once. The " Unless a miracle happen. seconded by the Cordeliers' * So they then called those who later were termed the Blancs. In the midst of all these difficulties. and so add to the King ment. In the words of a contemporary. the indications of which the people. Lavergne. and the prisoners were to be sent out to plunder the city. They were to march upon the Temple. ran public rumour. that report confirmed the rumour. either September 5 or 6. They made no attempt to conceal it. They alone. says Michelet.. according to the inquiry that was made concerning the September days. and they were getting up a general rising for the day. and the military man was often recognised disguised in a priest's soutane.t So. spread by the royalists themselves. who anxiously watched the royal prison. "it made one tremble . and place him at the head of the moveAll the prisons were to be opened." and whom they sucmunicipal officers who were ceeded in capturing . the news came to Paris that Longwy.

acting in harmony with the sections themselves. they also had perfectly divined this character which was appearing in the Revolution and of which the Commune of Paris was making itself the organ. Supported by Danton. neither was it a simple question of preventing the restoration of royal despotism. the Commune of Paris spoke then to all France. first 30. was already evolving. which represented chiefly the middle classes. a new revolution a revolution aiming at Equality taken by the people into their own hands. a new .000 volunteers. worked with ardour to counteract the influence new of the Commune. For. Already on August while the smoke of its burning still . For. through its immense work make made bullets. the cause of both being at that moment identical. The sections a step towards Equality. Accordingly the Assembly. worked with enthusiastic ardour to arm and equip. and obtaining from them a supreme effort to save the Revolution and the country. benefit of the mass of the people. then 60. revolutionarily elected by the sections on August 9. casting its municipal attributes behind it. they found for their vigorous appeals the words which electrified France. in fact. It was a question of consolidating the of bringing it to some practical conclusion for the Revolution. by inaugurating a revolution as social as it was political in effort supreme opening. and the Commune ordered the leaden coffins to be dug up and melted down to volunteers. and. to the from the churches to be became the burnfurnace whereat they furbished up the weapons by which ing the Revolution was about to vanquish its enemies and make vessels and the holy into bronze for cannon. And it was the glory of the people of Paris another step forward to understand that in preparing to repel the invasion they were not acting merely under an impulse of national pride . The General Council of the Commune. acted with a view to rousing the people. a and that meant character on the part of the masses. who were to set out for the frontiers. But the middle classes. army also. 1 1.000. The sections organised the of equipping the volunteers.THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS 291 Club. by page in the history of civilisation.

and the Assembly had to capitulate . . or else to Southern France. Contemptible intrigues in the face of an enemy that drew nearer to Paris each day. even prepared lodging for them. won at all costs. and they were already announcing German allies would arrive within a week they . was only the revolutionary sections and the Commune that victory must be who understood to win it. in which the Girondins of the Assembly tried at times to detach the sections from the Commune. fell into consternation. and that the enemy must be struck on the frontiers. and the corpses still lay in the court" yards of the Palace. and leave the revolutionary people of Paris to the fury of the Austrians. Etudes et lepons sur la Revolution frtnfaise. that those who were charged with the government oi France had not the courage to take any measure to prevent Paris from being forced to capitulate like Longwy. and at times to obtain the dissolution of the General Council elected revolutionarily on August 9. counter-revolutionists in Paris * Anlard." The other towns They chanted as would do that their Longwy did. of the Duke of Brunswick. and the insolence of the royalists grew " Victory. deputies were already flying one by * and the Commune openly came to complain of it to one. but the struggle went on an inexorable struggle. and the both at the same time. Crowds of royalists gathered round the Temple and the royal family joined them in wishing But the most terrible thing was." the Assembly. the Assembly had commanded the election of a new Directory of the department which they wished to hung over the oppose to the Commune. the news that Longwy had surrendered without a fight accordingly. 49. which represented the pivot of action in the Assembly. Danton alone was opposed to it absolutely. And the Girondin Ministry Roland. and series. and of and the all It the ministers. On the 24th. The Commune refused this. success to the Germans. plundering shamelessly as it went. 1898. Servan and the others were of the opinion that it was necessary to fly and withdraw to Blois.292 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Tuileries. reached Paris. Claviere. The Commission of Twelve. p. " The emigres. This was adding baseness to treachery.

After the criminal court. had been installed with much solemnity. and hesitated about punishing Bachmann.these con- spirators presented in view of the German invasion. Royalty's strength lay in the Assembly. the ex-minister Montmorin. After that. but immediately after it acquitted one of the most important of the conspirators. appointed to try those who were guilty of the measures on August 10. seeing that it was absolutely impossible to establish the responsibilities of each one of the monarchist conspirators. which had become to use Brissot's the safeguard of the conspirators. the sections compelled the . Thereupon the people. stood by these acquittals was. and because these conspiracies were still going on. and realising the danger whicL. that the governing class did not wish to bring to light the conspiracies that had been hatched in the Tuileries. was right in saying that the Assembly was afraid of the people. would be implicated. decided to strike indiscriminately at all those who had occupied posts of trust at the Court.. An who became This is furious from them. as well as Dessonexpression ficed at first " ville. because they knew how many of themselves." It sacritwo or three scapegoats for Louis XVI.THE INTERREGNUM THE BETRAYALS 293 This was just what the governing classes did not want to admit. Marat. who was well informed. it soon became apparent that this tribunal did not care to punish the guilty any more than the High Court of Orleans. The discoveries made three months later. To do this. attempt has been made by some writers to represent the population of Paris as composed of cannibals. there was nothing further to be expected from it. as well as those at whose houses arms might be found concealed. the general in command of the Swiss.. greedy for blood. when they saw a victim escaping What the people underabsolutely false. and who were considered dangerous by the sections. and that it would not have been displeased if Lafayette had come with his army to restore royalty. have in fact proved this. it who was implicated in d'Angremont's conspiracy. when Gamain informed about the existence of the iron cupboard containing the secret papers of Louis XVI.

nearly two thousand muskets were seized. a prey to the afternoon of searchings began throughout Paris. The patrols entered every apartment. and to arrest those who were most suspected of connivance with the invading enemy. but no one could complain about the disappearance of any article of value. in the night. As to those who were kept in prison. and the Commune displayed in it a vigour which struck terror into the gloomy terror. Sometimes the search lasted for hours.294 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the Commune and filled Commune compelled Danton. looking for arms and taking found in the houses of royalists. by nightfall. citizens. it is highly probable that a sorting of these would have been made and that summary courts would have been formed to try them if events had not been precipitated at the seat of war and in Paris itself. The Assembly had to submit and The search for arms took place on the night of the 29th and 3Oth. the arming itself at the vigorous appeal of " altars to the while on every public place " were erected. On conspirators. The next day the greater number of the persons arrested were released by order of the Commune or on the demand of the sections. Commune enrolled. Towards one o'clock. It one to go out after six o'clock any in the evening. issue the search-warrants. in order to seize the arms concealed in the houses of the royalists and priests. all the streets. Paris seemed dead. before which the youth of Paris was country all While Paris was . who had the post of Minister of Justice since August 10. sixty strong. and upon which . the August having been forbidden for 29. were in the possession of the patrols. away those which they Nearly three thousand men were arrested. laid their offerings to the country while the Commune and the sections were displaying an energy truly astounding in the equipment . rich and poor. to order a general search to be made throughout Paris. each man armed with a sabre or an improvised pike. whilst at the Eudistes' priests who had refused to take the Oath of the Constitution all the silver vessels which had disappeared from the Sainte-Chapelle were found hidden in the fountains.

It is evident that the only reply which could be given to this by the Revolution was to refuse to obey. the inhabitants would be divided into two sections the revolutionists and the royalists. while the Duke of Brunswick was righting the patriot armies. so they said.000 volunteers for the frontier. that in case a town could " Deserts are not be taken." the leagued kings had already said in their manifesto. there came a new revelaofficial paper of the Girondist Ministry. divided the provinces. teersthe only chance there was and to declare the instigators of this measure to be traitors. were only awaiting the signal to appear in the streets and attack the patriots in Paris and in every town of rolled. Guadet. it would be set on fire preferable to people in revolt. Upon the report of the Girondin. it issued on August 30 of the General Council of the a decree ordering the instant dissolution Commune and new elections. well paid. the Moni" Uur y published a " Plan of the forces joined against France Two The received. tion. to Marat. that after he had made himself master of the city. as if to confirm this plan. and the Criminal Court acquitted Montmorin having learned a few days before. on September I. that the royalist conspirators. and although everything and all things were lacking for this purpose. he frankly demanded the extermination of those This traitorous legislators. into brigades and subject to a central committee.THE INTERREGNUMTHE BETRAYALS 295 and arming of 60. If the Commune had obeyed. en- The same day this. the organisation and the despatch of the volun- for repelling the invasion and for vanquishing royalty. And. days later. and in this plan it was stated that. is what the Commune did a few days later by ordering As a search to be made at the houses of Roland and Brissot. and all the revolutionists would be put to death . nevertheless they had succeeded in despatching two thousand every day the Assembly chose this very moment to attack the Commune. Guadet discoursed . by the trial of d'Angremont. the King of Prussia was to march straight upon Paris . from a trustworthy source in Germany . it would have meant disorganising at a blow. to the advantage of both the royalists and the Austrians.

The same day. The country districts of the Deux-Sevres and those of the Morbihan had begun an insurrection as soon they had heard of the surrender of Longwy : that was actually included in the plan of the royalists and of Rome. or would treat for the restoration of the King to the throne and give him full powers to satisfy his as vengeance by the extermination of the patriots. des massacres de . news came that Verdun was besieged. In 4 strongly worded proclamation. and every one understood that this town was going to surrender. on this very day. and in which he spoke of a vast con- spiracy of the royalists to prevent the free circulation of foodstuffs. Finally.296 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION to the Assembly about the great conspiracy discovered in the town of Grenoble and its environs. an agent of the emigres. In the house of a certain Monnier. 1860). it requested all the volunteers who were prepared " to start to sleep that night upon the Champso as to be ready to march early the next day. There who were only waiting for the coming lay the conspirators of the Germans to put of the sections. leaving it to the enemy. local leaders a list of more than a hundred of the conspiracy had been seized. voted that these conspirators should be Postes. " We must finish with them " and put to death. Histoire des Girondins Septembre (Paris. September I. and ordered the tocsin to be rung and the alarm-gun to be fired. to-day Paris to fire ! and sword. tt * Granier de Cassagnac. the minister Roland issued an address to the administrative bodies. and these leaders reckoned on the support of twenty-five to thirty thousand men. that then nothing more would remain to check a rapid march of the Prussians on Paris . in the afternoon. Luxembourg. de-Mars. like Longwy . and that the Assembly would indeed either quit Paris. which was stuck up on the walls of Paris.* Thereupon the Commune closed the barriers. Nevers and Lyons were already suffering from it. Poissonnire. And at the same time a furious cry of " Let us rush the prisons ! rang throughout Paris. Some push on the Revolution in a new path.

CHAPTER XXXV THE SEPTEMBER DAYS People roused to fury Massacres at Abbaye prison Comtries to put an end to massacres Massacres continue Attitude of Girondins Explanation of massacres Address of Assembly to people End of massacres mune THE the sounding all over Paris. the songs of the volunteers setting tocsin out for the frontier. armed with pikes. at the gate. all contributed that Sunday. 397 . the drums beating in the alarum-gun. Meh6e fiis Sixteen. 1794). every quarter of an hour. to the number of twentyin closed carriages. Soon after midday. I maintain the exact orthography of the printed the anagram of " . swords and sabres. were assailed in the streets by the priests Some who were Hall to the killed before Federates from Marseilles or Avignon. a multitude. says (Felhemesi. This was how which had Stood. Two were massacred . Town five. et sur plusieurs journtes des tnciens comiUs de gouvernement. September 2. La viriti toute entiere. sur les et truis acteurs de la journtc nuits secretes is du 2 septembre. head of the Deaf and Dumb Institution. * a specially the massacres began at the Abbaye a prison bad reputation in the quarter where it The crowd. forced the door of the prison and killed all the priests with the exception of Abbe* Picard. which had formed around this prison. Felhemesi " Mehee fils. The others were admitted but just as they were being put through some simple form of interrogation. Paris. crowds began to gather around the prisons. and his assistant. to rouse the anger of the people to fury. on arriving there.* being transferred from the Abbaye prison. title. Four priests were they reached the prison. the reports of which rang out streets.

of arms introduced. more than two thousand were released. see the careful study of A." by which they were trying to ruin the public illuminations credit. It was known in the quarter that gold was plentiful among them. gathered Soon these crowds forced the doors and began killing the All this was said officers of who were the Swiss regiments. . and the royalist conspirators. as the royalist historians are to declare. and it was widely known that the prisons had become actual manufac" Maison tories of false paper-money and false drafts on the de Secours. Aulard. to prove this. and sang songs of victory after the taking of Longwy. The whole of Paris was talking of the plots concocted in the prisons. and to save those who were imprisoned for debt or for arrears of payments. and repeated among the crowds that round the Abbaye. 1893-1897. between August 30 and September 2. The spontaneity of this attack seems to have struck every Far from having been arranged Danton. demanded that all the royalists arrested since August 10 should be put to death. arrested after August 10. It was sufficient that any patriot of the For the part played by prisoners' section should claim his release. to say that out of the three thousand persons arrested on the 3Oth.* the massacres were so little foreseen that pleased the Commune had to take measures in the greatest haste to its one by by the unexpectedness. the King's guards. Danton in the September days. Commune and protect the Temple. These ladies could only be saved under cover of the night by the commissioners of the * Com- They quote. and say You see very well : how they saved however.298 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION chiefly of small tradespeople living in that part of the town. the priests to have been deported because of their refusal to take the Oath to the Constitution. in his Etudes et lefons sur la Revolution franpaise. their friends ! " They forget. that they feasted and received their wives and friends quite freely. The prisoners had made composed after the defeat of the French army at Mons. that persons were liberated. They insulted the passers-by from behind the bars and promised the immediate arrival of the Prussians and the slaughter of the revolutionists. jwl series. La Force. as well as the ladies attending on Marie-Antoinette. thanks to the intervention of Danton " and other revolutionary personages. and the Conciergerie.

' . which appointed Commissioners to speak to the people J and at the sitting of the . these Commissioners. by the narrative of Pauline de Tourzel. the Dauphin's governess.f the immediately took measures to prevent them. his own. Madame de Lamballe. came to render an account of their At the prison of La Force and that of Sainteefforts to the Assembly. These words of Truchot are absolutely trustworthy. Isnard. who carried out their tasks with 299 difficulty much and at the risk of perishing themselves that surrounded the prisons. p. For our Mademoiselle de Tourzel and Madame Sainte-Brice. was about to be saved by Emissaries Petion. and spoke of him as a stranger) succeeded in getting her through the streets near the prison. ii. was already." he said. It immediately notified them to the Assembly.woman.M. and it is known that they began at about half -past two A. 353). too. since the Diamond Necklace affair. . . except Madame de Lamballe. " We have placed especially under our protection four. had been transferred from the Temple to La Force. We have conducted those ladies to the section of the Rights of Man. and her young daughter Pauline. Tallien and Guiraud. but some forces unknown opposed it.past two in the night of September 2 and 3. by Jourgniac de Saint-Meard. Truchot. the attorney. to join them (Louis Blanc. own safety we withdrew. one thing only is certain many influential persons who. to take out all the women. which opened in the after- noon. At half. the famous Girondin Bazire invited Chabot. quarto . Dussaulx.women.' to stay " there until they are tried (Buchez and Roux. who desired her death. and Laquinio were among the number. with what difficulty the commissioner of the Commune (she did not know who he was. of the Duke of Orl6ans are mentioned. were interested in the silence of this confidante of the Queen's. reporting to the Commune. Commune General Council of the Commune. Francois de Neufchateau. giving an " He account of his fruitless efforts to stop the massacres. three of the Queen's waiting. about midnight. Manuel. edition. they had taken out all the persons detained for debt. by the hands of the crowds or were stationed in the neigh- bouring streets. stated that the efforts of the National Assembly's twelve commissioners. 19). for they were threatening us too. the mayor.THE SEPTEMBER DAYS mune. Truchot returned to La " I was able to take out twentyForce. who was beloved in the faubourgs. Madame de Lamballe and her waiting.* As soon as the massacres began at the Abbaye. and names there were so even are given. that the impossibility of saving her need not surprise us. I Bazire. by six o'clock. and those of his colleagues from the * Madame de Tourzel. p. . and from this prison they were all saved. because as we know. I Mon agonie de trente-huit heures. by the Commissioners of the Commune. full of people watching to see that none of the prisoners were removed.. However. xvii. After Pelagie.

Tallien. the Commune had even ordered Santerre. commandant of the National Guard.* During the night of the 2nd and 3rd. and saw several victims killed at his He himself was in danger of his life." said the Assembly in its proclamation of September it called on the people to stand united. At force him away for fear that he should fall a victim to his zeal. La veriti toute wife and children.300 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION death. Citizen. He could not make any impression. I put no one to sleep. who were trying to stop the massacres. I am strike right and left. confirms the words of Manuel : went first to the Abbaye and Commune. which was given 368. rascals of Prussians and Austrians entered Paris. and I tell you I am a father of a family ." midnight." municipality." said he. in which But to the exhortations of the Commune's envoys. but I don't intend that these scoundrels who are in prison. opinion was evidently forming in Paris that for the National Guard to march upon the crowds would have been to kindle war. or in ^later minutes of the Commune. they want to kindle civil civil 3. They divide you . quoted by Buchez and Roux. it is clear that the An battalions of the moderate sections would have gone. f " " came . in his report to the Assembly. as the Swiss did on August 10 ? no orator." f And another." " our commissioners. a man of the people aptly replied " If those at the Abbaye by asking Manuel. &c. had been ineffectual to save the criminals from At the evening sitting the Commune received the report of its commissioners sent to La Force . I have a wife and five children whom I want to leave here in the keeping of the section. so that I can go and fight the enemy. and when we left to come here. would they try to distinguish between * See the xvii. another deputation was then going thither. Under the circumstances there was no other weapon but persuasion." entiere. war." curator of the Tell me. to send detachments to stop the massacres. " The produring the night. used every means suggested to him by his zeal and humanity. Mr. at the very moment when the enemy was but a few " days distant. says Tallien. if those rascals of Prussians and Austrians to Paris. p. when the people went over to La Force. " followed them Som there. would they too seek out the guilty ? Would they not As for me. they disseminate hatred . shall be able to go and slaughter my I quote from Felhemesi (Mehee fils). deputations came after them. But the National Guard did not wish to interfere . and decided that they should be sent there again to calm the minds of the people. and they were obliged to feet. otherwise. but could not gain anything. the innocent and guilty. and when union was most necessary. for whom the other scoundrels are coming to open the doors.

t as as they learned the result of Manuel's mission on the afternoon of September 2. had been reorganised by a it was decree of the General Council of the Commune on August 30 then formed of four members. was at once set up.THE SEPTEMBER DAYS perhaps the same. ch. we * This is what the people of Paris and should not be here. Lenfant. vol. ch.) A provisional tribunal. pp. Deforgues. f The Watch Committee of the Commune. the revolutionists understood thoroughly that day. September 2. (Signed : a secure place. xvii. and Usher Maillard. Sergent. Sergent. Comrades. 187). to be a declared enemy of the Revolution. speaks only of he does not mention Durfort six Robespierre was sitting on the " " as journalist the Commune General Council. added his 301 " : This is Montmorin's blood and are at our post. with the Ministry of which he was a member. who was gravely compromised. " who. in his journal. and seeing the critical state of circumstances and the divers and important works to which it was necessary to devote themselves. : : . Cailly and Guermeur (Buchez and Roux. composed of twelve jurors chosen by the people. 405. 1789. the Commune with the executive of the Assembly that is to say. . 1 86. Panis.). any case the Watch Committee of the Commune. published the following appeal " In the Name of the It is enjoined upon People. xviii. Mademoiselle * Pnidhomme. known and Sombreuil. . v. without distinction. Administrators. vii. whom you shall put in At the Hotel de Ville. on the first visit to the Abbaye by a deputation from the Legislative Assembly and from the municipality. Duplain and Sourdeuil. with the exception of the Abbe Lenfant. which had taken the place of the preceding administration. Marat took part in it decreed that a gallery should be erected in the Council Chamber having Danton tried to reconcile for a journalist (Michelet. vol. 433 vol. go back to yours ." added on September 2 seven other members Marat. gives in these words the reply made by a man of the people. iv. and these two tribunals set themselves to save as many of the Thus Maillard succeeded in saving prisoners as was possible. . i J Michelet. " Panis. so well known in Paris since July 14 and October 5. with the authorisation of the Council. and was composed at first of fifteen members of the municipal police. Michelet. vii. vol. ." companions ! We all those whom we set all In. soon : you to try all the prisoners in the Abbaye. was apsimilar tribunal was improvised at pointed president of it. Durfort. Leclerc. Cazotte. who saw the original document. pp. A La Force by two or three members of the Commune. if up to do justice had done their duty. Taking advantage of the presence of their daughters.

in a document which Granier de Cassagnac in facsimile." said to have been drunk by glass Sombreuil to save her father. 2 vols. priests began to be imprisoned from August II among them being the famous Archbishop of Aries. Several. Weber. obtained leave the advanced to share their fathers' imprisonment. killed the archto bishop. to the houses of their relations or friends. as is shown in the narrative of the Abbe Berthelet de Barbot. after a summary trial. according to Tallien. and they conducted them back in triumph. others were saved. from either the man but his escort refused absolutely to accept set at liberty or his family. All of them would who was have been deported but for what happened on September 2. 1872. accused of having been the cause of the massacre of the patriots in that town. and age of Sombreuil. money Thus they acquitted the royalists against whom there were no established facts. and even a bitter enemy of the Revolution. ii. and. et * Histoire des Girondins | Vide Louis Blanc. is one of the infamous inventions of the royalist writers. there was only one woman who perished.302 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION who had also Cazotte and Mademoiselle Sombreuil. he succeeded in having them acquitted. Madame of " Vive de Lamballe. of blood. Episodes et euriosites rtvolutionnaires. the Austrian. Maillard could say with pride that reproduced in this way he saved the lives " the to say that Mademoiselle Needless of forty-three persons. Combes. and by some pikemen who were on duty in the prison. ch. viii. . the brother of the minister Bertrand de Molleville. by members of the Luxembourg section. as. * has Later on. however. with transports of joy. Every acquittal was hailed with cries " la Nation / and the acquitted person was escorted to his residence by men of the crowd with every mark of sympathy . as well as a great many of the priests who refused take the civic oath. L..! At La Force prison there were also many acquittals. Book des massacres de Septembre. saved themselves by climbing over a wall . . At the Carmelite Convent. who was foster-brother to the queen . 1860. A certain number of men armed with sabres broke into the convent that day and. for example.

in which the Assembly was attacked. even at the " at Bicetre. 419-460. et qui ont opere let chute du trdne royal (Paris. t Histoire particuliere t pp. were fabricating during their detention false paper-money. With those who had attacked the prison on principle. they said. on the 4th. not the fury of purification only of royalist conspirators. about eight o'clock. but also of coiners. he heard Mercy. twenty-six of the Royal Guards. only a few political prisoners were left But then there happened what must needs in the prisons. were a few more isolated massacres on the 5th. makes a total of 1086. there began to mingle other elements the dubious elements. swindlers. which the people ought to have of Correction out to respected as a place of suffering for the poor. plus * Histoire particuliere des evenements qui . the forgers of of exchange. and even the prostitutes. however. Maton de la Varenne. some of whom. On the 3rd the thieves in the Grand Chatelet and the convicts at the Bernardins had bills already been massacred. subsided. M . who were. in envelopes of the Ministry of Justice. de la Varenne. about thirty of the Swiss belonging to the Staff. At last the Commune succeeded in especially the children. drawn up by Marat. putting an end to these massacres. and more than three hundred prisoners under the common law. and the departments recommended to imitate Paris.THE SEPTEMBER DAYS the 303 The Watch Committee massacres continued of also on the 3rd. i . all royalists. and in the evening the Commune sent out to the departments. and at Bicetre. who has given t an alphabetical list of persons killed during those September days. and on the the people. And finally there appeared what Michelet has aptly called " ** the desire to purge Paris. a circular. d'aotit et de There septembre. Saint3rd. like themselves. 1806). de juillet. The tumult among Meard several says. ont eu lieu en France pendant les moi de j uin. the events recounted.* More than a thousand persons in all perished. voices calling out : " remain " ! happen. mercy for those who Moreover. of whom two hundred and two were priests. imprisoned in the Conciergerie. and on the 4th a band of men went " House kill at the Salpetriere. according to Maton de la Varenne.







which the

royalist historians

embroidered their romances, and

wrote about 8000 and even 12,852 killed.* All the historians of the Great Revolution, beginning with Buchez and Roux, have given the opinions of various wellconcerning these massacres, and one stands out in the numerous quotations which they have published. This is, that the Girondins, who later on made use of the September days to attack violently and
striking trait


persistently the


Mountain," in no wise departed during

those days from this very attitude of laisser faire with which later on they reproached Danton, Robespierre and the Com-


The Commune alone, in its General Council and in Watch Committee, took measures, more or less efficacious,

them, when they saw that

to stop the massacres, or, at least, to circumscribe and legalise it was impossible to prevent them.


others acted feebly, or thought that they ought not to

and the majority approved after the thing was done. This proves up to what point, in spite of the cry of outraged humanity necessarily raised by these massacres, it was generally

understood that they were the inevitable consequence of August 10, and of the political equivocations of the governing classes themselves during the twenty days which followed
the taking of the Tuileries.

Roland, in his letter of September
of the massacres in terms

3, so

often quoted, spoke
their necessity.!

which recognised

* Peltier, arch-royalist writer and liar, giving every detail, put the figure at 1005, but he added that there had been some killed at the Bicetre and in the streets, which permitted him to bring the total up to 8000 (Dernier tableau de Paris, ou recit historique de la Revolution du

10 aout, 2 vols., London, 1792-1793). On this Buchez and Roux havo " Peltier is the only one to say that people wer justly remarked that killed in other places besides the prisons," in contradiction to all his contemporaries. " I know that revolutions are not to be judged by ordinary rules ; f but I know, also, that the power which makes them must soon take its place under the aegis of the law, if total annihilation is not desired. The anger of the people and the beginning of the insurrection are comparable to the action of a torrent that overthrows the obstacles that no other power could have annihilated, and the ravage and devastation which the flood will carry far onward if it does not soon return to its channel. Yesterday was a day of events over which perhaps we
. . .

essential thing for


him was

to develop the theory which

was to become the favourite theory of the Girondins namely, that if disorder was necessary before August 10, all must now return again to order. In general, the Girondins, as Buchez and Roux * have well said, " were chiefly preoccupied with themselves. They saw with regret the power passing



. but found no motive for condemning the movement that they had been made . they did not deny that it alone could save the national independence, and guard themselves from the vengeance of the army directed by the emigres" The chief newspapers, such as the Moniteur and Prud.

out of their hands into those of their adversaries




Revolutions de Paris, approved, whilst the others, the Annales patriotiques and the Chronique de Paris, and even Brissot in the Patriots ]ran$aisy limited themselves



to a few cold and indifferent words concerning those days. As to the royalist press, it is evident that they seized upon
these facts to put in circulation for a whole century the most fantastic tales. We shall not take upon ourselves to contradict


But there is an error of appreciation deserving of reference, which is to be found among the republican historians.

true that the


of those


did the killing in

the prisons did not exceed more than three hundred men, wherefore all the republicans have been accused by some
writers of cowardice for not having put a stop to


veil ; I know that the people, terrible in their vengeance, had in it some kind of justice they did not take as their victims every one who came in the way of their fury, they directed it upon those whom they believed to have been too long spared by the sword of justice, and who, the peril of circumstances persuaded them, must be immolated without delay. But the safety of Paris demands that all the powers shall return at once to their respective limits." * P. There is no doubt that the Girondist ministers knew 397. know that Servan, very well what was going on in the prisons. the Minister of War, on the afternoon of the 2nd, went to the Commune, where he had made an appointment for eight o'clock with Santerre, P6tion, Hebert, Billaud-Varenne andothers, to discuss military measures^ It is obvious that the massacres must have been mentioned at the Commune, and that Roland was informed about them, but that Servan, as well as the others, thought that they should attend to the most pressing business the -war on the frontiers and on no account provoke

ought to draw a





in Paris,



however, more erroneous than this reckoning.

of three or four


it is

The number enough to read

the narratives of Weber, Mademoiselle de Tourzel, Maton de la Varenne and others, to see that if the murders were the

work of a limited number of men, there were around each person and in the neighbouring streets crowds of people who approved of the massacres, and who would have taken arms Beagainst any one who might have tried to prevent them.

the bulletins of the sections, the attitude of the National Guard, and the attitude even of the best-known revolutionists,

proved that every one understood that military intervention would have been the signal for a civil war, and, no matter to

which side the victory went, this would have led to massacres still more widespread and still more terrible than those in the

On the other hand, Michelet has said, and his words have been repeated since, that it was fear, groundless fear, always A few hundreds ferocious, which had inspired these massacres. of royalists more or less in Paris did not mean danger for the

But to reason



to underrate,


seems to me,

the strength of the reaction. These few hundred royalists had on their side the majority, the immense majority of the well-

to-do middle



the aristocracy, the Legislative As-

sembly, the Directory of the department, the greater number of the justices of peace, and the enormous majority of the
It was this compact mass of elements opposed to the Revolution which was merely awaiting the approach of the Germans to receive them with open arms, and to inaugurate with their aid the counter-revolutionary Terror, the Black


We have only to remember the White Terror under

when they returned in 1814 under the powerful protection of armed foreigners. Besides, there is one fact which is not sufficiently appreciated by the historians, but which sums up the whole situation, and
the Bourbons,
gives the true reason for the movement of September 2. It was on the morning of September 4, while the massacres
still going on, that the Assembly decided at last, on the motion of Chabot, to utter the word so long awaited from the




by the people. In an address to the French people, declared that respect for the decisions of the future Conits

vention prevented

members " from forestalling by their what they must expect from the French nation " ;

but that they took now, as individuals, the oath which they " to combat could not take as representatives of the people : with all their might both kings and royalty ! No king ; capitu" shouted the members. lation, never ; a foreign king, never /




as this address

was voted, despite the restriction

mentioned, certain commissioners of the Assembly went immediately with it to the Sections, where these Commissioners

were promptly welcomed, and the sections took upon

themselves to put an end at once to the massacres. But this address was not voted in the Assembly before Marat

had advised the people to massacre the royalist knaves of the nor before Robespierre had denounced Legislative Assembly Carra and the Girondins in general as ready to accept a foreign king, and the Commune had ordered the searching of Roland's and Brissot's dwellings. It was on September 4 only on the 4th that the Girondin Guadet invited the representatives to swear their readiness to combat with all their might both If a frank declaration of this kind had kings and royalties. been voted immediately after August 10, and if Louis XVI. had been brought to trial there and then, the massacres would The people would have certainly not have taken place. realised the powerlessness of the royalist conspiracy from the moment the Assembly and the Government declared their readiness to combat the supporters of the throne. Furthermore, Robespierre's suspicions were not pure fancy.

Condorcet, the old republican, the only representative in the
Legislative Assembly who since 1791 had openly pronounced but for the Republic while repudiating on his own account

only on his




idea of desiring the



Brunswick on the throne of France, admitted, however, in the Chronique de Paris that the Duke had been mentioned to him

The fact is that

during those days of interregnum

* Carra, the editor of the Annales patriotiques, one of the chief organs ol the Girondist party, mentioned Brunswick in these terms, in the


candidates for the throne of France




York, the Duke of Orleans, the Duke of Chartres (who was the candidate of Dumouriez) and the Duke of Brunswick

Were undoubtedly discussed, not only by those politicians who, the Feuillants, did not want to have a republic, but also

by those who,

the Girondins, did not believe in the chances

of victory for France. In these hesitations, in this


want of

honesty among the statesmen in power, lies the true cause of the despair which seized upon the people of Paris on Sep-



He is the greatest warrior and the 19, 1792 : cleverest statesman in Europe, this Duke of Brunswick ; he is very learned, very enlightened, very amiable ; he wants but one thing, perhaps a crown to be, I do not say the greatest king on earth, but to be the true restorer of the liberty of Europe. If he comes to Paris, I wager that his first step will be to come to the Jacobins and put on
number dated July
the bonnet rouge."


" " " " Plain or " Marsh tain Activity of sections their formation Revolutionary Commune Jacobin " " "










Jacobins support

Club Mountain," but oppose


ON September 21, 1792, the Convention, that Assembly which has been so often represented as the true type, the ideal of a
revolutionary Assembly, was at last opened.



had been made by all the citizens, both active and passive, but still in two degrees, which means that all the citizens had first elected the electoral assemblies, and these had nominated the Such a mode of election was deputies to the Convention.
wealthy ; but as the elections took place in September, in the midst of the general agitation resulting from the triumph of the people on August 10, and
clearly in favour of the

many who Were opposed to the Revolution, being terrorised by the events on September 2, preferred not to show themselves at all during the elections, things were not so bad as might
have been feared.


In Paris, Marat's list, containing all the at the Cordeliers' and Jacobin Clubs,

was accepted in




hundred and twenty-

together on September 2, in the Club of the Jacobins, elected Collot d'Herbois and Robespierre as president and vice-president, excluded from the lists all
five electors of Paris,

who met


who had

signed the


royalist petitions




Petitions of the Eight Thousand and Toted for Marat's list.

and the Twenty Thousand,



The " moderantist " element dominated, however, all the same in the new Assembly, and Marat wrote, after the
first sitting,

that, seeing the character of the majority of the

delegates, he despaired of the salvation of France.



that their opposition to the revolutionary spirit was going to " plunge the country into endless struggles : They will end by


bringing everything to destruction," he said, "if the small of the defenders of the people, who will have to

contend with them, do not get the upper hand and crush them." We shall see presently how right were his forebodings. But the events were impelling France towards the Republic, and the inclinations of the people were such that the moderantists of the Convention did not dare to resist the current which was sweeping away royalty. At its very first sitting the Convention declared unanimously that royalty was abolished in France. Marseilles, as we have seen, and several other provincial

towns were already before August 10 demanding a Republic ; and Paris had done so with all solemnity since the first day of the elections. The Jacobin Club had also decided

at last, in

its sitting of August 27, to declare itself republican, after the publication of the papers found in the Tuileries. The Convention followed the lead of Paris. It abolished

royalty at

day, by

its first sitting on September 21, 1792. The next a second decree, it ordained that from this day all

public acts should be dated from the

year of the Republic.

Three very distinct parties met in the Convention the the Gironde and the Plain, or rather the Marsh. Mountain, The Girondins, although less than two hundred, dominated. They had already, in the Legislative Assembly, furnished the King with the Roland Ministry, and they liked to pose as "statesmen." Composed of well-educated, refined and keen
the Girondist party represented the interests of the commercial, mercantile, and propertied middle classes, who were coming to the front very rapidly under the new

With the support of the Moderates of the Marsh, regime. the Girondins were at first the strongest, and it was from

among them the


alone, of the Ministry that

republican Ministry was chosen. Danton had come into power on August 10,



but he sent in his had represented the popular revolution on September 21, when the Convention met, and resignation the power rested in the hands of the Girondins. The " Mountain," composed of Jacobins, such as Robespierre, Saint-Just and Couthon, of Cordeliers, such as Danton and Marat, and supported by popular revolutionists like Chaumette and Hebert, was not yet constituted into a political that was done later through the course of events. party For the time being, there rallied round them those who wanted to press on ahead and make the Revolution end in some tangible results that is to say, to destroy royalty and royalism, to crush the power of the aristocracy and the clergy, to abolish

feudalism to establish the Republic. " Plain " or " Marsh " consisted of those Lastly, the


were undecided men without settled convictions, always " " and conservatives by instinct remaining property-owners those who form the majority in all representative assemblies. They numbered about five hundred in the Convention. At first they supported the Girondins, but then deserted them
in the


of danger.

Fear made them support for a
Saint-Just and Robespierre,
sent Robespierre

certain time the

Red Terror, with

but afterwards they became partisans of the White Terror,

when the

coup d'etat

Thermidor had

his friends to the scaffold.

One might have thought


the Revolution was

going to develop without further hindrances and follow the natural path dictated by the logic of events. The trial and

condemnation of the King, a Republican Constitution in place of that of 1791, war to the death against the invaders ; and at the same time the abolition of all that constituted the power
the feudal laws, the authority of the clergy, organisation of provincial administrations all these ought to have been considered as the necessary outcome of the situation.
of the old regime

the royalist

But the middle classes which had come into power and were represented in the Convention by the " Statesmen " of the Gironde, did not hold this opinion. The people had dethroned Louis XVI. But as to getting


who had brought
the Germans almost to the

rid of the traitor

gates of Paris, as to executing Louis XVI., the Gironde was very strongly in opposition. Rather civil war than this decisive step

Not from fear of the vengeance of the foreigner was the Girondins themselves who had undertaken to wage war against all Europe ; but from fear of the Revolution, of the French people, and especially of the Paris revolutionists who saw in the execution of the King the beginning

gince it

of the real revolution.

However, the people of

Paris, in their sections

and their

by side with the National Assembly, a veritable power, which gave body to the revolutionary tendencies of the Parisian population, and in the end even dominated the Convention. Let us, therefore, pause a moment before touching upon the struggles which rent the National Representation, to cast a retrospective glance, on the methods by which this authority, the Commune of Paris, had been constituted. We have seen in chaps, xxiv. and xxv. how the sections of Paris had assumed importance, as organs of the municipal
able to form, side

Commune, had been

by taking upon themselves, in addition to the police functions and the election of the judges which belonged to them by law, various economic functions of the highest importance



the distribution of food-stuffs, public aid, the

sale of national lands,


functions enabled


so on, and we saw how these very to exercise a serious influence in the

discussion of the great political questions of a general character. Having become important organs of the public life, the
sections necessarily tried to establish a federal link between themselves, and several times already, in 1790 and 1791, they

appointed special commissioners with the object of coming to an understanding with each other for common action, outside the regular Municipal Council. However, nothing

permanent resulted from these attempts. In April 1792, when war was declared, the labours of the lections Were suddenly augmented by a great many new functions. They had to take upon themselves the enrolment and the choice of the volunteers, the collecting of patriotic



donations, the equipment and provisioning of the battalions sent to the frontiers, the administrative and political corre-

spondence with these battalions, the looking after the needs of the volunteers' families, &c., not to mention the perpetual

which they had to maintain from day to day against the royalist conspirators who tried to hamper their work. With these new functions, the necessity for a direct union
between the sections made
itself felt

more than


Nowadays, looking over the correspondence of the sections and their vast accounts, one cannot but admire the spirit of
spontaneous organisation shown by the people of Paris, and the devotion of the men who willingly carried out the whole
of this task

usually after finishing their daily labour.


where we may appreciate the devotion, more than religious, which was created in the French people by the Revolution. For we must not forget that if each section appointed its military committee and its civil committee, it was to the
General Assemblies, held in the evening, that questions were generally referred.



on the horrors

can understand, too, how these men, who were looking of war not theoretically, but in reality, and were

in daily touch with the sufferings imposed

upon the people the invasion, must have hated the instigators of the invasion by the King, the Queen, the Court, the ex-nobles and the rich,

the rich,

who made common

cause with the Court.


people of Paris thus joined with the peasants of the frontier departments in their hatred of the supporters of the throne

who had

called the foreigners into France.



the idea of a pacific demonstration for June 20 was suggested, it was the sections that took upon themselves the organisation
of this demonstration
it was they who afterwards arranged the attack on the Tuileries on August 10, taking the opportunity, meanwhile, to form at last the much desired direct union for revolutionary action among the sections.

When it became evident that the demonstration on June 20 had resulted in nothing that the Court had not learned anything, and did not wish to learn anything the sections themselves took the initiative in demanding from the Assembly

the dethronement of Louis XVI.


July 23 the section of

Mauconseil passed a resolution to this effect, of which they gave notice to the Assembly ; and then they set to work to prepare for a rising on August 5. Other sections hastened to
pass a similar resolution, and when the Assembly, in its sitting of August 5, denounced the resolution of the citizens of Mauconseil as illegal, it

had already received the approbation of
of the Gravil-

fourteen sections.
liers section

The same day some members

went to the Assembly to declare that they were " the honour of saving the still leaving to the legislators but they added "If you refuse, however, to do country,"


upon ourselves." The Quinzeannounced " the morning of August part, 10 as the extreme limit of the people's patience," and that of Mauconseil declared that "it would wait peaceably and keeping watch until eleven o'clock on the evening of the follow-



have to take


Vingts section,



ing Thursday (August 9) in expectation of the decision of the National Assembly ; but that, if justice and right was not done
to the people by the legislative body, one hour after, at midnight, the fire-drum would be beaten, and every one would *


on August


the same section requested



others to appoint in each of them "six commissioners, less orators than good citizens, who by their meeting together would

form a central point at the H6tel de Ville," which was done on the 9th.f When twenty-eight or thirty out of the fortysix sections had joined the movement, their commissioners met at the H6tel de Ville, in a hall adjoining the one where the Municipal Council met regularly it was small in numbers that night and they took action in a revolutionary manner,


new Commune.





Municipal Council, shut up in a hall the mayor, Petion, dismissed the staff of the National Guards' battalions, and took
* Mortimer Ternaux,


Terreur, vol.

and Roux,

vol. xvi.



ii. pp. 178, 216, 393 ; Buchez Ernest Mellie, Les Sections de Paris,

" " had already been established for corresponding committee communicating with the different sections, and a meeting of the commissioners of several sections had taken place on July 23.



et seq.

the authority of the Commune, direction of the insurrection.*

the general

as well as of

Thus the new





was constituted, and installed in the H6tel de Ville, The Tuileries Palace was taken, the King dethroned, and
immediately the new Commune made it felt that August 10 was not the culmination of the Revolution inaugurated on July 14, 1789, but the beginning of a new popular revolution,

marching in the sense of Equality. Henceforth it dated it3 documents from " the Year IV. of Liberty and the Year I. of Equality." A whole mass of new duties began to devolve

upon the new Commune. During the last twenty days

of August, while the Legisla-

Assembly was hesitating between the various currents, royalist, constitutionalist, and republican, which drew its members hither and thither, and was proving itself absolutely
incapable of rising to the height of events, the sections of Paris and the Commune became the true heart of the French

nation for the awakening of Republican France, for flinging her against the coalition of kings, and for organising in cooperation with the other Communes the great movement
of the volunteers in 1792.

And when

the hesitations of the

Assembly, the hankering of the majority of the members after royalty, and their hatred of the insurrectional Commune

had brought the people of Paris to a pitch of mad fury in those September days, it was still the sections and the Commune that tried to appease them. As soon as the Legislative Assembly decided at last to declare, on September 4, against royalty and
* Ernest Melli6 has found the minute-book of the PoissonniSre section* met on August 9, at eight o'clock in the evening, in permanent committee in the church of Saint-Lazare ; there it dismissed all the officers of the Saint-Lazare battalion, not appointed by the National Guards themselves, and appointed " on the spot other officers under whose orders the section intended to march." It entered into agreement with the other sections as to the order of marching, and at four o'clock in the morning, having appointed its permanent committee " to keep watch over the preparations for arming and to give the orders for security that they should judge to be necessary," the section joined " the brethren of the Saint- Antoine faubourg," and began to march upon the Tuileries/ By means of this minute we get a lively impression of the way in which the people of Paris acted on that memorable


they had flattered themselves with being the wiseacres and political lights of the Revolution. Michelet says. The very persons composing the mother-society in Paris were chiefly well-to-do middleclass men. these joined together put an end to the massacres which threatened to extend from the prisons to the streets. who held the balance of it all. moderately democratic middle * classes . the party called the " Mountain. besides. It is true that this club had none of the power and revolutionary initiative with which modern political writers endow it. of the Convention. The tone of the club changed with every fresh crisis. it supported this tendency by cultivating Aulard.' " and " seemed to be waiting for some en* this encouragement came couragement from without" . from the people of Paris. saying that they would be " " only too happy to pay with their blood for the Republic which was not yet proclaimed. and which was only on the next day officially The Commune and the ally of recognised by the Convention. 2nd edition. to compel it to take a step further. The if not the rival. They did not lead the Revolution . at once. with the numerous societies in the provinces which were affiliated to it. Histoire politique de la Revolution. p. They acclaimed the decree in the " Vive la " and the street with cries of citizens Republique ! of the Quatre-Nations section went to the Convention. But the club made itself immediately the expression of the tendency which had come to the front at a certain moment among the educated.316 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the various pretenders to the throne of France. and as soon as it signified its decision to the sections. another power on its side which had been formed in the current of the Revolution the Jacobin Club. ." " Mountain " had. when the Convention met. of Paris thus became a power which took upon itself to be the inspirer. and to guarantee the safety of all the inhabitants. in Paris. they followed it. "it did not dare to pronounce the decisive word ' Republic. and though it had decreed the abolition of royalty in France on the morning of September 21. How could they guide the Revolution ? At every epoch. to Likewise. 272 et seq.

" But he understood that the initiative should come from the Street. By their correspondence with the affiliated clubs in the provinces. and then the club revived and became the rallying-point for the whole of the moderate party among the republican democrats. . fought against them. and to consolidate it. but not so " the extrem" which in modern " the Comists parlance would mean munists. the club being nearly deserted at that time. was the golden mean of the Mountain. Robespierre. but also of the concealed behind them. and it furnished the most important officials under each new regime. and helped them to check- mate the influence not only of the Girondins. the mothersociety of Paris was reinforced by many Cordeliers. to use Michelet's happy phrase. the struggle entered on by the Girondins against the Commune of Paris reached its critical point." wanted the Jacobins "to serve at an intermediary between the Assembly and the Street. in the Convention. later on. to frighten and reassure the Convention alternately. This left the Jacobins free royalists to turn later on against the popular revolutionists of the Commune. and it so remained until September 1792. the Jacobins supported the advanced revolutionists there. When. Marat became very popular there. " who.THE JACOBINS 317 opinion in Paris in the directions desired. in the course of the autumn. and helped them to gain the victory over the Girondins. from the 'People. We have already said that the influence of the Jacobins on the events of August 10 was nil. But by degrees. the Jacobins supported the Commune and the Mountain. in the spring of 1793." These the club opposed and. and so make way for middle-class reaction to accom- plish the coup d'etat of the 9th Thermidor.

and so on. Monge. Whereupon there broke out those conflicts which for eight months hindered the regular development of the Revolution and. and Le being Brun with the addition of Danton. until June 1793. but to determine which party should profit by the people's victory over the Tuileries who should rule the Revolution. and Robespierre Conflict between Convention and Commune Provinces become hostile to Commune and people of Paris Girondins attack Paris sections Revolution and war Girondins desire war Peasants of frontier enthusiastic Western France not eager Country unprepared Plan of Dumouriez and Lafayette Germans advance Battle of Valmy Danton negotiates with Duke of Brunswick Further republican successes Battle of Jemmapes England Consequences of war The Vend6e forced to resign New Ministerial Council THE first care of the Convention was not to decide what should be done with the dethroned King. to indifference. later Roland succeeds him Council inactive Real power in hands of Danton.CHAPTER XXXVII THE GOVERNMENT CONFLICTS WITH THE CONVENTION THE WAR Danton. Commune. whom the Revolution had ministers placed in the position of Minister of Justice. witnessed it to bleed. as Michelet has so well " " of the pronouncing the suspension King. Claviere. Marat. after tions of central executive power to a council composed of six chosen from without the Assembly. Sections and Jacobins Council attacks Danton. Servan. 318 This council . to that lassitude which made the hearts of those expressed who it. at first its leader. the Legislative Assembly had handed over all the func- On August 10. held in suspense the great questions. and led to the exhaustion of the people's energy. the majority Girondins Roland. such as that of the land. the feudal dues.

After this. in April 1793. He quitted the Ministry on October 9. Roland. 315-317. Marat. As Michelet it did nothing. and in the hands of the Commune of Paris. council. the popular societies. and Although in power and dominating the Convention. Consequently. the definite abolition of the feu- some steps towards an equalisation of conditions. the Minister of the Interior. 2nd edition. became the most influential man of the Ministerial Council. and Robespierre." but initiative upon and for action. an excellent rtsumt of these various changes. There were times when it was asked whether these attacks should come to a head whether Danton was to be ostracised and Marat sent to the guillotine. * Aulard gives in his Histoire politique. Danton. and when the Committee of Public Safety was instituted. both for truly says.* dal system. neither had it enough for open reaction. chiefly against Danton. Not having courage for revolutionary measures.THE GOVERNMENT had no president turn. Powerless to act itself. was forced to resign by the attacks of the Girondins. whom they violently accused of dictatorial tendencies. however. and partly with the Jacobin Club with regard to revolutionary measures in the interior. . "it perorated. 319 in each minister presiding for a week The Convention confirmed this arrangement but Danton. the Gironde directed furious attacks " the triumvirate " of those who did act. and who exercised a preponderating influence on the . was still the inspirer of diplomacy. he became the real Minister of Foreign Affairs on this committee. who had become the soul of the national defence and diplomacy. In this he exercised all his influence. . the sections. the Gironde did not know actually what to do. when he resigned after the execution of the King. and kept his post until January 1793. rested in Danton's hands in the war and diplomacy. and permitted the Girondins grouped round him and his wife to employ all their energy to prevent the Revolution from developing along the broad lines which had been marked out for it since 1789 : the position establishment of a democracy. the real authority. and his place was filled by the insignificant Garat. pp. 1792.

several thousand volunteers for the frontier. which equipped and sent every day. without too much exactitude of accounts. It is also very plain that it was not easy for the Watch Committee off of the Commune. money had to be expended by Danton. especially in the faubourgs of Saint-Antoine and Saint-Marceau . It will be enough to mention some of them. and they raised Danton still higher in the eyes of all those who loved to see Republican France defying the Bangs. The first was over the auditing of the accounts . the Revolution had not yet exhausted its vitality. whether for the diplomatic negotiations which led to the retreat of the Prussians. under the extraordinary circumstances created by the movement of August 10 and the foreign invasion. the only active man in the Ministry. even at the off To them Danton risk of his life and his political reputation. they augmented the influence of Robespierre in the eyes of the Jacobins and of the democratic middle class.320 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION as However. which they had been leading in the Legislative Assembly since August n. It is evident that during those disturbed months of August and September 1792. formed by the Girondins. They owed their power to the insurrection. They only made the people more ardently in favour of Marat. of frustrating the royalist plots at heading home. organised by the Commune. The Execu- . or for getting hold of the threads of the plot of the Marquis de Rouerie in Brittany. demanding that a complete account from September 30 should be rendered. it was aimed at the Commune and its Watch Committee. had renewed the shameful conflict with the Commune of Paris. It would be wearisome to narrate here in full all these attacks of the Gironde upon the Commune. to keep very exact accounts. and yet they attacked it with a hatred which they had never displayed for the Court conspirators. was the man of action capable of the invasion. as well at Danton. But it was just upon this weak point that the Girondins directed their first attack and their insinuations. all these attacks failed. and that of the princes la[ in England and elsewhere. its Right. and of establishing the Republic securely. in haste. Ever since the first sittings of the Convention.

commissioners to resist the passing of this and to prevent the formation in Paris of a reactionary guard. in accordance with law. Robespierre. who in those days acted hand in hand with the Commune and the " After sections. doubts as to their honesty remained hanging over Danton and the Commune . whose corpses were thrown into the depths of the Tour de la Glaciere. drawing the veil. in the hope that the reputation of Danton.J they now manoeuvred so well in the Convention that on January 20. and an extremely clear statement of its accounts. that is. they obtained from it an order of prosecution against the authors of the September massacres. But in the provinces.885 livres received it had expended only 85. a Girondist deputy. and Marat would be blackened by By * this inquiry. 62 ]< Giraut. to guard the Convention against the And possible attacks of the people of Paris and the Commune a powerful agitation was necessary among the sections. reactionary to send to Paris four foot -soldiers and two mounted men.* justified its political action. there was an insurrection of the revolutionary working population. for having wanted to put up the church's property for sale. as we know. constitutionalist and of 713. and after the murder in a church of the patriot Lescuyer. Barbaroux. xxxv.THE GOVERNMENT tive of the 321 sent in Commune. But it was chiefly the September massacres that the Girondins never ceased exploiting in order to attack Danton.529 livres. which ended in the murder of sixty royalists. which ! appointed special vote. and the Girondins in their letters to their friends and agents made as much as possible out of these doubts. At the same time the Girondins tried to give the Convention an anti-revolutionary guard. making in all 4470 men. its Watch Committee. justified these massacres. on the accusation of the Terror. Girondins had been as modest after Thermidor ! If only the f Vide ch. They wanted the Directory of each department the Directories were." and almost justifying those days by the mouth of Roland f as they had justified previously the massacres of La Glaciere at Lyons by the mouth of Barbaroux. j After Lyons andithe adherents X . ii. long struggles between the revolutionary population of of the priests. of which there was a clear account rendered (Louis Blanc. proved later on that in four Out months the committee had arrested only 320 persons. 1793. taking advantage of the degrees.

sections frustrated these manoeuvres. who marched through the streets of Paris. took his place . was not re-elected. which asserted itself among the middle classes after August 10. . 1793. became his deputy (December 2. Potion.322 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION royalist current. the Girondist mayor. in October 1792. and they succeeded in getting new elections for the General Council of the Paris municipality. Potion. however. and Hebert. Hebert. Marseilles this time sent up to Paris. Marat. which was the rival of the Convention and played so powerful a part in the movement of May 3i-June 2. a battalion of federates. but. who was no longer in sympathy with the revolutionary sentiments of the people of Paris. the people of Paris provinces a feeling of hostility towards Paris and its Commune. he was replaced by of 1793 was Chaumette. They wanted at any cost to destroy the insurrectional Commune of August 10. and Chambon. and pushed forward with ardour the popular revolution of the Pache. and the editor of the Pere Duchesne. resigned at the same time. the Girondins succeeded in creating in the " the defend the Convention against agitators who wanted to " become tribunes and dictators Danton. Meanwhile the Girondins did not fail to make a direct attack on the federal organisation of the Paris sections. formerly Minister of War. composed of rich young men from the merchant city. 1793. 1792). fortunately. and Robesand against the people of Paris. demanding the heads of Robespierre and Marat. but a revolutionary as advanced and as popular as Chaumette was apof the pointed procurator of the Commune. This was how the revolutionary constituted Commune the Commune of Pache. Here again. At the appeal of pierre " " commercialist Marseilles Barbaroux. a moderate. which ended in the expulsion of the Girondin leaders from the Convention. " Mountain. They were the precursors of the Thermidor reaction . the Not only had the party Mountain the majority in the elections. but he remained there only two months. and on February 14." as well as towards the party of the Several departments even sent detachments of federates to defeated the plot by winning over these federates to the cause of the Revolution.

had not wanted the war. staffs. was ready for the war.000 men. On the successes of the armies depended the future development of the Revolution. an astounding enthusiasm was displayed by the inhabitants of the departments close to the Eastern frontier. the peasants of the frontier departments." said Marat. and from France some provinces and The he was right. case in the regions of western and south-western France there the people did not want the war at all. hoping to regain through it their ancient privileges . The forces of : France. 1792. they understood that it was a question for them of taking up arms to defend their rights over the lands they had retaken from the nobles and clergy. for one year. were made with enthusiasm. on the other hand. when the war with Austria was declared on April 20. finally. The levies for the volunteers. as well as a good opportunity colonies. desired the war. of 323 the Republic which stood up for Equality and. like Marat and Robespierre.THE WAR Year II. The great question of the moment was the war. Therefore. for Communism. moreover. you do not wish to appeal to the people that you wish for war. to the singing of Ca ira ! and the But this was not the patriotic gifts flowed in from all sides. But the Court called in the German invaders to save royal despotism : the priests and nobles furiously wanted the war. spread out from the North Sea to Switzerland. Nothing. when they saw the German armies headed by the emigrant nobles massing themselves on the Rhine and in the Low Countries. not numbering more than 1 30. because they saw in it the only way to succeed in limiting the authority of the King without " It is because appealing to a popular rising. We have seen that the advanced revolutionaries. As to the people. for wresting Girondins. were not in a condition to resist . badly equipped and commanded by royalist officers and an invasion. and the neighbouring governments saw in a war upon France the means of combating the spirit of revolution which was beginning to show itself in their own dominions.

the city would be subjected to an exemplary dragooning that would never be forgotten. Hessians and emigres. the German the more so because Prussia had joined with Austria and princes to invade France. publishing as he went a manifesto which roused the indignation of all France. The inhabitants of the towns and the peasants of the Eastern departments understood very well that the enemy had come to take away the fruits of all their conquests. the Duke of Brunswick. singing. Three German armies were to enter France and march upon and on April 19. Petersburg and London. We have seen the enthusiasm that the Commune succeeded in rousing in Paris when this news arrived. Paris. and moreover. the Prussian army crossed the frontier and took Longwy and Verdun without a struggle. and secretly by the Courts of St. to be turned into cannon. as they sewed. . and to exterminate their inhabitants as rebels. this was strongly and openly supported by the Court of Turin. and it had been chiefly in the regions to the East that the risings of the town and country parts. But the openly hostile attitude of the peasants and the September allied kings believe that The emigres had made the days in Paris made the invaders pause. as well as the other church furniture in bronze. where thousands of people worked making the volunteers' outfits. had best succeeded in destroying feudalism. 1792. they would find France ready to receive them with open arms.. whilst the churches were used as vast worksheds.000 Austrians.324 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Dumouriez and Lafayette at first conceived the bold plan of rapidly invading Belgium. who commanded one of the invading armies. composed of 70. but the attempt failed. coalition July 26. but had been vanquished. the Ca ira and the Marseillaise^ the stirring hymn of Rouget de 1'Isle. in 1789 and 1790. which had already in 1790 tried to detach herself from Austria. began to march upon On Coblentz. and thenceforth the French generals kept on the defensive. and the bells.000 Prussians and 68. He threatened to set fire to the towns that dared to defend themselves. and how it replied by causing the leaden coffins of the rich to be melted down for balls. If Paris dared to break into the palace of Louis XVI. The Belgian Liberals had appealed to the French.

accompanied by the curses of the emigres. after giving Westermann orders to . The Prussian army was advancing. on October II. who accompanied the army of the Duke The Prussian army was compelled to make a halt under torrential rains in the forest of the Argonne. taken in return by the invaders. the Duke of Brunsbegan his retreat by Grand-Pre and Verdun. It succeeded only in at the exit occupying just in time an advantageous position at Valmy. as it has been later maintained. and as everything was lacking in the arid plains stretching in front. which extended over a length of eleven leagues.THE WAR 325 But enthusiasm was not sufficient to conquer. which made frightful ravages among the men. parties were divided and to determine his own line of conduct. Dumouriez thereupon. ? It is But if this promise was made. on October I. on 20. the peasants on the watch every- thing foreboded a disastrous campaign. and here the Prussians. It was then that Danton negotiated with the Duke of Brunswick for the retreat of the Prussians. evidently to see how the much. Towards we the end of the month he recrossed the Rhine at Coblentz. to save the life of Louis XVI. it had already entered the forest of the Argonne. and now with the Austrian army. Dumouriez' army tried vainly by forced marches to stop the invasion. beyond the immediate retreat possible. wick really know is that. spoken We are only able to make conjectures." without hurrying them too went to Paris. What the conditions were is not known to this day. it became a prey to dysentery. possession Under the circumstances. it must have been and we do not know what engagements were underconditional. met with their first check. Was ? the simultaneous retreat of the Austrians promised All ? Was of a formal renunciation of the throne by Louis XVI. the battle of Valmy was an important September victory as the it first victory of the peoples over the kings and such was hailed by Goethe of Brunswick. Did Danton promise him. separating the valley of the Meuse from the barren Champagne. of the Prussians. The roads were liquid mud. from the great forest. while trying to gain of the hills occupied by the soldiers of Dumouriez. " escort the Prussians back politely.

and from that time he undoubtedly began to press keenly the candidature of the Duke de Chartres for the throne of France. At the end of the of the Republic. was given to Danton. la the Marquis de which had been arranged in Brittany by Rouerie to break out at the time when the Paris. Mons was occupied on the 8th. also Germans would be marching on Information about it came to nothing. Towards the end of October. entered Savoy the very day the Convention opened. It took ChambeVy four days later and introduced into Savoy the peasant revolution against feudal landlords. The insurrection.326 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION he did not take the oath to the He so arranged it that. one of the armies commanded by Lauzun and Custine. who was able to grasp the threads of it. the army under Dumouriez entered Bel- gium. and on the I4th Dumouriez made his people received the soldiers of the Republic with open arms. there was another series of successes. it Austrians at Jemmapes. The intention was to land a small army somewhere coast of Brittany. They were expecting them to initiate a series of revolutionary measures. the French army of the South. In the North. But London remained the centre of the conspiracies of the princes. . and to hand over this port of great military and on the commercial importance to the English. chiefly concerning entry into Brussels. he was nevertheless very well received by the Jacobins. gained a great victory over the a victory in the environs of Mons This victory opened up Belgium to the French. which Dumouriez had arranged in such a way as to bring glory to the son of the Duke de Chartres and to sacrifice two battalions of Parisian volunteers. and the island of Jersey was made the centre for royalist stores of arms. to seize Saint-Malo with the aid of the local royalists. passed Worms the Rhine and took Spires by assault on the 3Oth. commanded by Montesquiou. The . in Brittany as well as in London. and on October 23. although Republic. At the same time. Mayence and Frankyielded fort-on-the-Maine were occupied by the armies of the sansculottes. same month of September. four days later. and on November 6.

* But industrial and mercantile British Isles. set gloomy. courage. want of respect for property. and the work of Albert Sorel..2 4 8 et seq. howexpelled from the territory of the Republic. least of 327 " Snch was Cambon Mountain " at the man who had organised the immense also the idea of the business of selling the lands of the clergy as a guarantee for the asstgnats. especially DanEnglish. But whether " Mountain " lacked attacked as it was it Was that the estates of the emigrant royalists. and the Girondins triumphed. and the very the seal upon the union The invasion of Belgium decided England as to her role. it remains a fact that the Revolution combined the Belgians with the French. the situation within looked rather victories of the all between Republic only the monarchies. the Convention issued a decree in which it defied all the monarchies and declared that peace should not be concluded with any of the Powers until their armies had been In reality. * And when day in the republican France invaded Belgium interests carried the The tenor of the negotiations of Brissot in England during January 1793. by Godwin. V 'Europe et la Revolution franfaise (Paris). where only the proletarians were on the side of the Revolution. The dawn of republican and communist ideas -among the which was manifested by the foundation of republican societies. Justice. Concerning those of Danton. see Georges Avenel's article.THE WAR property. With all these successes and victories there was enough to intoxicate the lovers of the war. who was at that moment organising the sale of the and who asked nothing better than to introduce the same system into Belgium. with the hope of finding support in an English revolu- tionary movement. and found its literary expression in 1793 through the " On Political remarkable work on free communism. while all the well-to-do middle classes and the formidable power of the priests were opposed to it. before the King's execution. was not accomplished. in his Lundis revolutionnaires. by the Girondins for its ever." had inspired the French republicans. ton. Danton et les positivistes rettgieux. is still unknown. 1875. PP. or that the aims of the Revolution had not found the necessary support in Belgium. On December 15. At any which might have rate. .

and yet barley. upon the frontier : it helped to arouse the fanaticism of the Vend6ans and to make them revolt. at the very time when the Germans were entering France. they knew not where. to destroy her power on the to check her industrial development and her colonial sea. it was also the war which gave the first impulse to the rising in the Vendee. without the certainty of getting one scrap of bread in the morning even at an exorbitant . We shall see later how much evil was wrought for the Revolution by this rising. Thenceforth England. strong in her fleet and still stronger in her money with which she subsidised the continental powers Russia. was transported by a sublime enthusiasm and its best elements hastened to join the volunteers from the departments of Eastern France. Long files of men and women besieged the bakers and the butchers. In the towns. And this war forcibly brought France to a military dictatorship. It was a war of complete exhaustion between the two nations. threatened by the invasion. to take possession of Holland. if Paris. and Austria among them became and remained. for a long time nothing so terrible had been seen. for a quarter of a century. spending the whole night in the snow and rain. take away France's colonies. England's policy was threatening decided. The party of Fox was crushed and Pitt's was in the ascendant. the head of a European coalition. Besides. how did the Republic succeed in passing safely through such a formidable crisis ? harvest of 1792 was a good one for wheat . for all that there was a famine. but on account of the rains it was only fairly good for the oats and The The exportation of cereals was forbidden. It furnished the priests with a pretext for exploiting the reluctance of the population to leave their shady groves and go fighting. Prussia. ! But if it had been only the Vende*e the war created such a terrible condition All through France of things for the great mass of the poor folk that one cannot but ask.328 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION fortified herself in the valley of and the Scheldt and Rhine. expansion this was the policy to which the greatest number To adhered in England.

Some examples will be found in JaureV Histoire socialists." who never neglected this means of filling his privy purse. La Convention* The speculations in which they indulged can also be imagined from the fact that the commissariat officers purchased immense quantities of wheat precisely in those departments where the harvest had been bad.* Questions concerning all these vital facts were being launched thunderbolts into the very midst of each popular society in the provinces and into each section of the great towns. 329 And this. were now being made by the middle classes^ .. Speculations in the rise of wheat " the good formerly made by Septeuil for the profit of Louis XVI.THE WAR price. Neither can the food-stuffs of a nation be subjected to the inevitable wastage of war without making still blacker the misery of the poor at without the same time that a horde of exploiters enrich themselves at the expense of the public treasury. all And above every- thing rose the greatest question of " : was to be depended What upon which all the others done with the King ? " * The robberies committed by a certain number of officers in the commissariat of the armies of the Republic were scandalous. being felt in agricultural labour. to like find their way thence to the Convention. King. had work. and the prices were very high. and perhaps its half a million of beasts of burden. at a time when quite a number of industries almost completely. been stopped fact is that which meant no The one cannot with impunity take away from a nation of twenty-five millions nearly a million of their men in the flower manhood.

in our opinion. Such a situation could not continue. having martyrs. How could the Republic be established. was impossible. and sans-culottes pitied as whom the middle classes and even the they mounted guard over them at the Temple. consequence of August 10 the fate of the King. so long as it held the King and his legitimate heir in prison.CHAPTER XXXVIII THE TRIAL OF THE KING of delay Trial determined Obstacles in way of trial Girondins Justification of trial Marie. Louis XVI. during which the Convention was very much interested in all manner of things without ever broaching the months first delay.Antoinette and Fersen " Mountain " King appears try to prevent trial by attacking before Convention Death sentence pronounced Execution Fate of King undecided Reason on Gamain betrays the King of King elapsed between the opening of the the King remain up till now an THE two months which Convention and the trial of enigma for history.. and we can 330 . who. And yet. first question which confronted the Convention after had met was naturally that of deciding what was to be done with the King and his family. This must have been intentional. nearly two passed. taken from the palace. without daring to do anything with them ? become simple individuals. were dwelling en famille in prison. Marie-Antoinette and their children became interesting Besides. To it The keep them there for an indefinite time. imprisoned in the Temple. to whom the royalists were devoted. until the invasion should be repelled and a republican constitution voted and accepted by the people.

nor to the King of England. Louis XVI. on the other hand. however. too. and his family was not of sufficient clear to us that parleyings of this The fate interest to the King of Prussia. nor to the brother of Marie-Antoinette. the Commune . Similar negotiations were very likely being carried on with England. We know already that Danton and Dumouriez had had commander of the Prussian army. But the people became impatient. they found the " intellectuals " of the middle classes very much inclined to accept either the Duke of Orleans (Grand Master of the Brotherhood of Freemasons. the Duke de Chartres the future Louis-Philippe or even the Dauphin. it is come to nothing. for them of the prisoners in the to sacrifice national political interests to the personal interests Temple. Kings did not find in France the unity of republican sentiment which should have made their hope of re-establishing royalty vanish.THE TRIAL OF THE KING it 331 only explain by supposing that during this time they were on secret conferences with the European Courts carrying conferences which have not yet been divulged. The popular societies throughout France demanded that the trial of the King should be deferred no longer. the Emperor of Austria. concerning the setting at liberty of Marie-Antoinette and Madame Elisabeth. And. that one of the conditions imposed by the Duke of Brunswick although very probably it was not accepted was that Louis XVI. to which all the revolutionaries of renown belonged) or his son. without suppos" " ing that there was an understanding between the Mountain and the Gironde kind could of ? To-day. should not be harmed. That was plainly seen through the negotiations. and on October 19. and for two reasons. the allied among the educated class. And we know. On the contrary. him to separate from the Austrian and effect his retreat. and which were certainly connected with the invasion and the issue of which depended on the turn that would be taken by the war. which took place later. And how can the silence of the Convention and the patience of the sections be explained. But there must have been more than parleyings with the chief which in the end decided that.

an iron door which he had constructed himself. or worked upon. the locksmith Gamain. when we have in our hands so ma'ny documents . and who were then marching with the Austrians upon France. glass He fell on the road.332 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION A attended at the bar of the Convention to signify that this was the wish of Paris also. which Gamain had helped the King to put in one of the walls. 20. still had in his pay those disbanded members of his guards who had placed themselves at the service of his brothers at Coblentz. after drinking a of wine and eating a biscuit given to him by the Queen. carried them off to his house and examined them together with his wife. who. set out again in the night for Versailles. Gamain from day. and having affixed his seal to each of them he brought them to the Convention. At last. and had been ill ever since. The affair. immediately took possession of the papers in it. It is only now. The profound sensation produced by this discovery can be understood. the first step was taken. sent for is well known. may be. to serve to shut in a kind When the work was finished. This bit of history Louis XVI. communication was read demanding that Louis XVI. The discussion on this subject was opened on the 1 3th. without letting any one know. that his agents had proposed to him to buy eleven influential members of the Legislative Assembly (it was already known that Barnave and Lameth had been won over to his cause). by the fear of being prosecuted some day by the republicans. in August 1792. on November 3. should be put upon his trial. especially when it became known through these papers that the King had bought the services of Mirabeau. who had formerly Louis lock-making. Gamain of secret cupboard. he gave information concerning the cupboard to Roland. Believing himself to have been poisoned. however. under a panel. would have still dragged out to a great length if. for keeping on November his papers. and that Louis XVI. and the principal heads of accusation were formulated the next day. seized with violent colic. had not revealed to Roland the taught existence in the Tuileries of a secret cupboard. Versailles in order that he One might help him to fix in a wall.

to see that the condemnation should not be to death. and to it alone belonged the right of judging the sovereign whom the people had dethroned. those of Calvados in " Mountain " wanted the particular. all of them defenders " State reasons. among the modern historians.THE TRIAL OF THE KING 333 that confirm the treacheries of Louis XVI. were joined together to hinder the trial. and not to defer the execution. had been convicted of having done what Louis XVI. no matter which. And yet up to the present day what maudlin speeches are uttered. nevertheless. failing this. wrote to their constituents that the Kinglto be put to death only to set the Duke of Orleans upon the no throne. The Gironde. did all that was possible to prevent the trial from taking place. was to use their own language tried by his them of And they. that we comprehend how very difficult it was for the Revolu- tion to bring a King to judgment and to execute him. peers. and afterwards to prevent ending in a condemnation. and can see the forces which were. had done that is.. the open and latent servility in society. what tears are shed by the historians when they mention this trial And what about ? If any general. the fear for the property of the rich. as to it alone belonged the right of legislation which had fallen from his hands. and the distrust of the people. During the trial. had his treason having ascertained the moral certitude of choice. They had to pronounce the *. Louis XVI." the Convention was the sovereign at that moment. All the prejudice. faithfully reflecting all these fears." would have hesitated a single moment to the death of that general ? Why then so much lamendemand tation when high treason was committed by the commander of all the armies of France ? According to all traditions and all fictions to which our historians and jurists resort for establishing the rights of " the head of the State. opposed to his condemnation. and finally. or. that the sentence should not be carried out. some Girondist deputies.* Paris had to threaten the Convention with an insurrection to force it to pronounce its judgment when the trial opened. - . Tried by the members of the Convention. To it. of calling in the foreign invaders and of supporting its ! who.

this treason began by the letter which Louis XVI. according to which the Republic had the right to kill Louis XVI. In the matter of the act of high treason on the part of Louis XVI. . sentence of death. the two traitors. Marat was quite right to protest against it. as its enemy. although amnestied by the Constitution of 1791. at a time allied perfectly. who have in our hands the correspondence of Marie-Antoinette with Fersen and the letters of Fersen to various personages. The triumphal entry of the German allies into Paris and the wholesale massacre of all hand the revolutionists were planned out by the fair and skilful The people had estimated truly of Marie-Antoinette. which. we. Nothing is more odious than this correspondence. there was nothing left to do but to try Louis with all the publicity possible. Now. the enthusiastic acclamations of the Parisian middle classes. asked for the invasion. even though it had not the overwhelming proofs that we possess to-day. must admit that the Convention judged rightly. amid certain of his treason. In fact. so many avowals had been let drop by royalists and by the Queen. That might have been done during or immediately after the conflict of August 10. written with the King's knowledge. planned it. the Queen and the King. sent information Then came concerning the forces and the military plans. when blood was flowing on the frontiers. but not three months after the fight. pointed out the road for it. Ensconced in the Tuileries. The Kings knew this themselves they comprehended it . As to the theory developed by Robespierre and Saint-Just. and his wife. But so many facts had accumulated in the course of the last three years. so that the peoples and posterity might themselves judge as to his knavery and his deceit. the correspondence of Marie-Antoinette with Fersen. served none the less to explain his ulterior acts that every one was morally Neither had the people of Paris any doubts on the subject. wrote to the Emperor of Austria the very day on which he took the oath to the Constitution in September 1791. so many acts of the King since his flight to Varennes.334 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Clemency even was outside the question.

360 et seq. and of their having shown too much clemency* As to the Count de Mercy. " On the contrary. the friend of Marie. Fersen wrote to the Baron de Breteuil that. and the popular revolution took a fresh start. On January 21. the Revolution succeeded in killing a principle. will be chastised one of these days. pp. its which was crushing the people centre was broken. dead or alive. M. 1877). The demolition of that powerful organisation was begun . by sending Louis to the scaffold. going about as a knight -errant among his fellow Kings. he said to Fersen that great severity was needful. de Klinckowstrom (Paris. in prison or by the propertied those who beheaded and canonised. there is consequently nothing wherewith to reproach the Convention. and that Paris ought to be set on fire at the four cornerst On September n. and this is the moment." Vide Le Comte de Fersen et la Cour de France. has entered in his private diary what these conspirators were preparing for the French patriots. 1793. which for centuries had oppressed and exploited the masses. The Minister of Prussia. free. as the territory conquered by the German armies yields only to force.THE TRIAL OF THE KING the 335 woman they called the " Medicis. But the duke is too mild. there is only the royal power was considered class as the best means of holding in check wish to dispossess the rich and diminish the power of the priests so long the King. the revolutionary portion of the French people knew well that the pivot of all the power. ii. * Fersen. : . The King of Prussia appears to be better : " Varennes. would have always been the hero of a pathetic legend invented by the clergy and all interested persons." To exterminate the leaders in every place through which the allies should pass. This is the moment to destroy the Jacobins. thtey means must be exterminated. for example." she whom the historians wish to represent to us now as a poor madcap. Baron de Beck Fersen wrote disapproved loudly of their not exterminating the Jacobins in the towns through which they passed. Extrait de papiers s publie par son petit-neveu. which the peasants had begun to kill at Varennes. le Baron R. " mercy in such case appears to me extremely pernicious.* From the legal point of view. As to the often- debated question whether the execution of the King did not do more harm than would have been caused by his presence in the midst of the German So long one remark to make." And Breteuil replies to him that he has spoken of it to the Duke of Brunswick. was broken at last. vol.Antoinette. seems to him to be the best " We must not hope to win them over by kindness . as or English armies. .

As if the democratic Republic was not sufficiently odious to them. At first. as if the allurement of the great commercial ports of France. the Girondins A wanted to have the sentence submitted to the ratification of the thirty-six thousand communes and all the primary assemblies by a roll-call of each citizen. however. like Napoleon III. the Girondins. to which it was triumphantly replied that this inviolability no longer existed since the King had betrayed the Constitution and his country. Austria and Sardinia had waited for the death of Louis XVI. They invoked every judicial argument. When the impossibility of thus laying the trial upon the shoulders of the primary Assemblies was demonstrated. were not so that they against France. The logic of the situation carried the day over the quibbles of parliamentary tactics. who had themselves most eagerly clamoured for the war and advocated war to the bitter end and against all Europe. This was to call in question again the results of August 10 and the Republic. enough to bring the Kings in coalition might profit by the moment when . As if England. have not succeeded The very principle either. established by the Constitution. formed of representatives of the eightythree departments. began now to plead the effect which would be produced on Europe by the King's execution. special tribunal." But nothing availed. and when it became evident that this proposal would be set aside. Everything was done. and her colonies and provinces in the East. as we have seen in 1848 and 1870.336 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Since then the right divine of Kings has never been able to re-establish itself in France. the Girondins put forward the pretext of the King's inviolability. There were even moments when the King's trial was nearly " changed into a trial of the Mountain. by the Girondins to prevent the condemnation of Louis XVI. of royalty was slain in France. even with the support of Europe " White Terror " in coalition. they had recourse to every parliamentary wile. And royalties issuing from the barricades or from a coup d?etat. was next demanded .. even with the aid of the frightful of the Restoration. Prussia. to make their coalition.

and the attention of the Convention was turned in another direction. the Repulsed again on territory. Louis XVI. and decreed the expulsion. had inspired him with the idea that State reasons permitted a King to do anything. but the next day the decision was revoked after it had been disapproved by the Jacobin Club." the pierre. . Malesherbes. demanding that several members of this party should be brought to trial as " the aiders and abettors of the September massacres. comprehending it would be impossible to save the King. The trial." dictators. At Convention.THE TRIAL OF THE KING the birth of a 337 new society had weakened his powers of military- resistance outside his own the "Mountain. The impression produced by this interrogation was so dislast." by whom were meant Danton. Michelet asks how was it possible for a man to lie as Louis lied ? And he can only explain his deceit by the fact that every kingly tradition and all the influence of the Jesuits to which Louis XVI. appeared a second time before the Convention on December 26. followed its due course. a trial of the " Mountain on December II. The Convention allowed a vote to be taken on it. By demanding the penalty of death for " any person who shall propose to restore Kings or royalty in France. Tronchet y ." the Girondins flung at the " Mountain " " an insinuation that the " Mountain was trying to bring the Duke of Orleans to the throne. with his advocates and his counsellors. Louis XVI. made a fresh diversion demanding the expulsion of the Duke of Orleans. They sought to substitute " for the trial of the King. no matter under what denomination. appeared before the He was subjected to an interrogation. and his must have killed any lingering sympathy which may replies have existed in his favour. however. had been subjected. this point by In the midst of all these discussions the Convention decided on December 3 that it would itself try Louis XVI. that advantageous to Louis that the Girondins. but scarcely was this declared than everything was again called in question by one of the Girondins. Ducos." the Girondins then made a diversion by attacking the " Mountain " itself. Marat and Robes" " triumvirate.

and Petion. deliberate and crafty. and it was evident that he would be condemned. last. namely. however. Gensonne. There was no longer any possibility of interpreting his acts as an error of judgment.* 14.338 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION . and of criminal " whether . Just If. Out of 749 * Jaurds has pointed out here an important error in Michelet. to the feeble and the cowardly. all of them men born to thrive and to oppress under a King. 1793. F. Returning to Paris on January 15. Dumouriez hastened to Paris and stayed there until the 2oth. It was Daunou who. British Museum Collection. occupied in clandestine conference with the various parties. It would be important to verify the accusation against Brissot." We is shall on foot at that never disentangle all the intrigues which were set time in Paris between the " statesmen. Guadet. to know whether Louis XVI. by name. as Robespierre said. formulated by Billaud-Varennes in his speech on January 1 J 793 (Pamphlet of 32 pages. 5. both as man and king it is to be understood that such was not the case with the provincial towns and villages. with on the I4th. made a powerful jpeech demanding the condemnation of Louis XVI. the Convention and the people of Paris could thus form a clear opinion concerning Louis XVI. published by order of the Convention. was guilty of " conspiring against the liberty of the nation. the Convention decided to vote. the next day showed it to be. on January 14. the natural friend of monarchy.. Danton." It enough to say that on January I. as Saintof foolishness. after an extremely stormy discussion. on the contrary. attempts against the general safety of the State At the sentence should be submitted to the sanction of the people . and what should be the penalty. 1097). pronounced the speech in favour of the King that Michelet has attributed by mistake to Danton. The roll-call began the next day. while Danton remained until January the army of Dumouriez. and Deseze his defence was heard. or as an act It was treason. And we can the unloosing of passions which would have resulted. the 1 5th. upon three questions. it would. to the selfish. . vol. imagine had the pronouncing of the penalty been referred to the Primary Assemblies. have left " to the the decision rich. The majority of the revolutionists having gone to the frontiers. to all the haughty and aristocratic upper middle class.

to deliver up a large part of France to the foreigners. One of the chief obstacles to Republic existed no longer. when containing conditions of reprieve. Paris. had in fact been arranged. when on the way to execution." abstained from voting. 716 declared Louis XVI. through the influence of the Spanish ambassador. and his example was Sentence of death. died upon the all scaffold. if we exclude the votes fifty-three voices followed by twenty-six members. during which nothing durable had been effected. who during all this time. and perhaps with the help of his piastres.THE TRIAL OF THE KING " 339 members of the Convention. No one said to the people was rejected by 423 votes out of the appeal voted. And this was at a moment all the evidence went to prove that the King had plotted treason . and an attempt to carry him off. guilty. an opportunity at last presented itself of broaching the great questions which were of such when. one deputy. regeneration within the There is evidence that up to social . was in a state of profound agitation. On January 21. The voting by name on the third question the penalty Here again. and. The sentence was therefore pronounced only by a majority of by twenty-six only. being five who abstained from voting and twelve absent. tried to stir up confusion by voting for a reprieve.1 voters. especially in the faubourgs. and five The 709 not guilty. apparently lasted twenty-five consecutive hours. Mailhe. the last moment Louis hoped to be liberated by a rising. there any proviso. to stop the Revolution at the time after three years of hesitation. Louis XVI. But the fears of the middle classes went so far that on the day of the King's execution they expected a general massacre. without was pronounced by 387 out of 72. The vigilance of the Commune caused this to fail. and that to let him live was to arm one-half of France against the other. Twelve members were absent through illness or official business. intense interest to the country. finally.

and these two ideas were represented in the Convention. and print its name upon the headings of official papers . On the one side were those who understood that for the destruction of the ancient feudal system. it was not enough to register a beginning of its abolition in the laws . and that. set up the emblem of the Republic on the public buildings." And in this little deta 1 already appeared two ideas confronting one another. nothing but the creation of certain conditions which would perhaps permit 340 . ing one new revolution grafted upon the precedOr would France confine herself to establishing and legalising the political liberties won since 1789 ? Would there to be a ? Was she be content with consolidating the middle-class government.CHAPTER XXXIX THE MOUNTAIN " AND THE GIRONDE and Mountain and Robespierre " Mountain " Royalist tendencies of Girondins Policy of They reject agrarian law. to bring the reign of absolutism to an end. that this was only a beginning. one by the " Mountain. it was not enough to dethrone a King." and the other by the Gironde. slightly democratised." The Convention dated its acts from Year of Liberty and the First Year of the French Republic. without calling upon the mass of the people to take advantage of the immense readjustment of wealth accomplished by the Revolution ? Two totally different ideas. and swear to respect property " " Continuous Gironde conflict between aims of Montagnards Order versus Revolution Socialistic Brissot SINCE August 10 the Commune of Paris had dated its documents from " the Fourth Year of Liberty and the First of " the Fourth Equality.

ready to support them. because the essential thing for them was the of government by the middle classes. on the ruins of feudalism." ." the preservation of " was for them the main property point. And those who thus understood the Revolution were supported by all who wished the great mass of the people to come forth at last from the hideous poverty." but also three-fourths of the Girondins were royalists as much as the Feuillants. into which the old regime had plunged them all who sought. as all those whom the well as for their educational privileges Revolution had deprived of their old privileges. who were then rapidly growing in trade and commerce. we see quite clearly that not only the "Plain. In fact. They were an immense portion of the French nation .THE MOUNTAIN " AND THE GIRONDE 341 the remodelling of the institutions. for re-establish- ing royalty. the Republic because they feared the domination of And behind them. while waiting for the moment all to crush them too. For. if some of their leaders a king. them were great numbers of the poor. whom the Revolution had taught to think. as Brissot used to say. who feared the masses. but able in its : And opposed . so degrading and brutalising. all things royalists after the coup d'etat of Thermidor. Hence their hatred of the people and their love of order. to them were the Girondins a party formidnumbers for the Girondins were not only the two hundred members grouped around Vergniaud. Brissot and Roland. this attitude of mind of the Girondins is quite establishment comprehensible. both physically and morally. were for their wealth. and. the greater number would have very willingly accepted a king. dreamed of a kind of antique republic. but with a people obedient to the laws made by the rich and the learned. without They gave ample proof of this by their good fellowship with the And. who strove to discover in the lessons of the Revolution the true means of With elevating these masses. considered. all the constitutionalists almost all the well-to-do middle class whom the force of circumstances had made republicans. and who were those who trembled sighing for the return of the old regime.

" and swearing to respect property. over each of these questions the " Mountain had to carry on a bitter struggle against the Girondins so much so. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION prevent a rising of the people. in favour of the lords and of the recent middle-class buyers of land. to constitute a strong To government. and to expel the Girondins from the Convention. it. that they have sought for so many other secondary circumstances to explain the conflict that broke f " out between the " Mountain and the Gironde." refusing to recognise equality as a principle of republican " legislation. as we see. that was forced to appeal to the people. it was to combat any attempt at levying upon the rich commercial class and the stock-jobbers a progressive tax . the " To " which had been taken from them abolition of the feudal rights without redemption.342 / . that every citizen had a right to the land and that it was necessary to seize the property of the emigres and the clergy. to approve of insurrection. " In fact. it was to oppose. that no landed property no farm should be of more than 120 argents (about 180 acres) . the Girondins at this failed / most historians was what was and it is because . abstract formula had thus. Finally. take the oath to respect property was to deny to the rural communities the right of resuming possession of the lands for two centuries. When we see the Girondins " repudiating the agrarian " law. Those formulas had. as well as the large estates of the rich. a very tangible meaning. it was to keep the heavy charges of the war and the Revolution upon the poor The only. by virtue of the royal ordinance of 1669 . to comprehend this fundamental chathis moment / j racter of Girondism. essential for and to protect property. so popular among the revolutionists sprung from the people. and to divide them between the poor labourers who possessed nothing. It . a very exact reject the agrarian law meant at that time to reject the attempts to place the land in the hands of those who cultivated To meant rejecting the idea. meaning." we may think all that a little too abstract in a hundred years' perhaps time. however. . in it . in the time of the Revolu- tion.

to fight " that is. even in the inscribing this of the words Liberty." which the " the right to work. Equality. to abolish the last vestiges of feudalism. on the base of the statues which they carried at a festival . and give the land to all. and. to destroy the great landed estates. saying repent of : : having called you was as much as to class sedition-monger this morning. The Montagnards wanted. even to the poorest labourers. Property. represented after her revolution by Robespierre sketched the broad outlines of what would have been the basis for a socialist society meaning no offence to those of our contemporaries who wrongfully claim to be the first to have done so. At the same time." which " Since you promise to respect middlesay. who were rapidly multiplying and accumulating large fortunes. by was asserted respect for property the Girondins in the smallest things. first. when he said at the first sitting of the Convention " Let us declare that all properties. in the embracing of Danton. which for a short time took the lead over the moderate section. territorial. they had proclaimed." " I Girondin Kersaint fell upon his neck." This socialists later on turned into right had been already mentioned in 1789 (on August 27). and again in the Constitution of 1791. shall be for ever respected. the whole tribe of rich stock-jobbers. "the universal right of well-being well-being for all. individual and At these words the industrial. mercialism bankers. the advanced group among them. " comby means of a properly handled taxation. and then to equalise property. or rather. MOUNTAIN " AND THE GIRONDE " " 343 order to be able to make even a few steps in the direction just For the time being. and to lay the foundations for the enrichment of the middle classes on the model set by England " the members of the " Mountain of ! " 1646. But even the most .THE mentioned. a property. let us pass over your responsibility for the September massacres While the Girondins were thus endeavouring to organise the middle-class republic. merchants and captains of industry. They intended at the same time to organise the national distribution of the products of prime necessity. estimated at their just value. since 1793.

they were j them. Memoires sur la Revolution franpaise. 32. 1828}. 1792. by M. talkative. It is The more convenient for conversation. the separated the Girondins from the Montagnards was not yet understood. pp. We constantly " Paris is made up of September meet phrases of this kind " " " here one wallows in the filth of this corrupt city . which implied the right of all to the land and a complete reorganisation." said " " They " but a tenderdisplayed much tenderness. the two heroes in whom the people personified the briefer.344 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION advanced of the Girondins were too fettered by their middleeducation to comprehend this right of universal wellbeing. published in the Revolt tions de Paris. intriguing and. vol. the party of order and the party of the people. from which Aulard has given extracts. and. but in the " manner of barristers. ' ' ." This is why the struggle romantic. See also Petion's letter to Buzot of February 6. But it had already become : a struggle between two opposite principles Revolution." Couthon. As is always the case. 263." They afraid of felt a kind of aversion towards the masses . murderers one must have the vice of the people of Paris to please them. &c. also " but they want the aristocracy. xi. The Girondins were generally described by their contemporaries as all. a true " and a true democrat in friend of the " Mountain sentiment. ness which sighed almost exclusively for the enemies of liberty. always like to personify every conflict in two rivals. p. the historians. They want the Republic. and it is also more " dramatic." more between these two parties was so often represented as the clashing of two ambitions. Madame Jullien. Gaudet (Paris. " * It is necessary to read the Memoires of Buzot to understand the hatred and contempt of the Girondins for the people. above ambitious people. in a period of strife." said Robespierre. in her letters. for instance. precedes d'un precis de sa vie. 141. a party of refined. Vide Buzot. freed from speculation in the distribution of class the products necessary for existence." &c. later on.* gulf that At the time when the Convention assembled. subtle. called upon the two rivals to cease their fratricidal struggle. Many saw only a personal rivalry between Brissot and Robespierre. combative." fickle. : . 45. Brissot's and Robespierre's.

the Girondins. the land in other hands. In 1793. already watered with the sweat of its new owners . as soon took the helm. the emigres would return . But. if he wanted the Revolution to triumph. having come into power. would have gone back into their cabins and hovels . the priests fore it was and the nobles would again get the upper hand. was not always a supporter of Brissot. the Hebertists." they wanted the Revolu- tion to accomplish such changes as would really modify the whole of the conditions prevailing in France : especially for the peasants. the Revolution would calm the people. he understood that. in reality. He March and May those belonged to the group of moderates. a year or two later. Girondist party. wanted that everything should now be restored to order . Thereall the more urgent that they should find everything changed in France . men represented the two parties very well. but as having the right to plough . who represented more than two-thirds of the population. inevitable between the middle-class party of order and that of the popular revolution.THE conflict MOUNTAIN " AND THE GIRONDE They were 345 But. typical. appointed by a docile parliament. and the poverty-stricken it folk in the towns . and he acted order he admitted " disorder " up to the moment when his party had come to power. he must not separate himself from who demanded expropriatory measures. the two . changes which would make the royal and feudal past. A struggle to the bitter end was. they everything was henceforth to be under the orders of the The i \ ministers. all things considered." Left wing. and these owners regarding themselves not as intruders. impossible ever to go back to Some itself . No more disturbance in the street . therefore. did not accept the principle of equality to the Robespierre extent it was accepted by the Montagnards after the fall of were well chosen. accordingly leaving himself free to guillotine later the " extremists. day. being exhausted. that the Revolution with as its revolutionary proceedings should cease. and to crush the on the other hand. As to the party of the " Mountain.

P. " Robes| Louvet made no concealment of the true meaning of his When he saw that the shot directed by him and his friends pierride. depute a la Convention Nationale. the first . Pamphlet dated October 24. in which " the disorganisers.346 this land THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION and to reap its it." he wrote. nevertheless considered the revolutionary tribunal and the guillotine as the most efficacious But it could not be avoided. Of course such a struggle would be a struggle to the death. 74. A tons les republicains de France. Both Brissot' s pamphlets were reprinted in London. For it must not be forgotten that these men of order and government. 1793." who had had the audacity to take revolutionary efforts to sides with the people of Paris and their Commune. the " anarchists and the " Tarpeian Rock " for Robespierre . 1792. They must its find the whole of France a transformed in manners. sur la Societe des Jacobins de Paris. . when Brissot published his Already he demanded a coup d'etat against first pamphlet.* already from October 29. on October 24." had missed fire." He tells this in his Memoires. Ever since that day the Girondins had not ceased in their Neerwinden became known * " at Paris. the anarchists. . Lodo'iska for the scaffold or exile. when the defeat of Dumouriez at Thus. that the Revolution should continue even though it had to sacrifice a number of those whom the people had appointed to be their representatives. on March 21. prepared He felt that the weapon he had aimed at the " Mountain " was p. Brissot. or the tool. when Louvet made in the Convention his speech of accusation in which he demanded the head of Robespierre. ! : turning against himself. " were necessary to save France the second to destroy royalty to overthrow despotism the And to this last Revolution I have third to beat down anarchy " consecrated my pen and all my efforts since August n (J.f " Mountain " despatch the party to the guillotine. the Girondins were holding wheels of government. its language land where every man would consider himself the equal of his fellow men from the moment he handled the plough. 1792). on going home he said to his wife. and Marat rose to accuse : Three Revolutions. the abettors of disorder. the But for this it was of absolute necessity spade. the Girondins. by sending them to the Convention. the knife of the guillotine suspended over the heads of the " levellers. habits. and that the Convention had not put Robespierre on " We must be his trial.

and tried to stimulate the ardour of the them people by applying measures of equality. it was a regular campaign for turning the members of the " Mountain " out of the Convention. the vice-procureur of the Commune . and demanded far as to nay. they ended by getting the Convention to send Marat before the revolutionary tribunal. altogether the Girondins the dissolution of the revolutionary election Commune of Paris and they went even so demand the dissolution of the Convention and the of a new Assembly in which none of the present of the members a " Commission Convention could be re-elected.THE "MOUNTAIN" AND THE GIRONDE him tion 347 of treason." and especially to repel the invasion. they caused to be arrested in In short. And finally. of Varlet. in all directions. it was the turn of later. Hebert. by means of the despatches they sent to their electors. commissioners of the Convention made superhuman efforts calumnies." At the same time the Girondins were organising counterto the scaffold. of the Twelve. whom " and other " anarchists the hope of sending them revolutionary committees everywhere . to their friends in the against the "Mountain. on May 24. the Girondins nearly killed him in the Convenhe was saved merely by his cool audacity . the working-man preacher of socialism. Brissot conducted a bitter campaign against the revolutionists." which lay in wait for the moment when chief members a coup d'etat should enable them to send the " of the " Mountain to the scaffold . exciting them And while the against the revolutionary population of Paris. the Girondins opposed at every point. for " throwing them down the Tarpeian Rock. returning to the charge. full of provinces. they insisted on . and they kept up an uninterrupted stream of petitions. on April 12. In his Patriote jran$aise. and three weeks . Six weeks later. They endeavoured even to prevent the collection of necessary information concerning the estates of the emigres which had to be confiscated and put up for sale. directed against the Montagnards coming to the Convention from persons who styled " " friends of themselves law and liberty we know to-day what that means vention wrote while those of them who were in the Con- letters.

sending forth armies to carry Liberty into the four quarters of the earth. and they were on their way to Paris. vote at elections. for the people. They saw themselves already in power. did they ever think about that ? that they never realised the force of resistance possessed by the old regime. but oppose Equality Views of Brissot Girondins and " " anarchists So long as it was a question of overthrowing the old regime of absolute monarchy. forms of government. Therefore. As to bread it is Certain The soldiers to the State people must pay the taxes. while the people were demolishing the relics of feudal servitude. of the statesmen. when the King had summoned the Germans to his aid. High-spirited. masters of the destiny of France. and that they never thought that to conquer this force they would have to appeal to the people. fearless poets imbued with admiration for the republics of antiquity. while the peasants were burning the chateaux and their tax-registers. that must be the work of the thinkers. of the governing class. and desirous of power at the same time how could they adapt themselves to the old regime? of the landlords Therefore. the Girondins. the Girondins were busy chiefly with establishing the new political forms of government.CHAPTER XL ATTEMPTS OF THE GIRONDINS TO STOP THE REVOLUTION Girondins represent middle classes They support Liberty. who had wished for the war to rid them of the Court. the Girondins were in the front rank. furnish but as to making or unmaking political . refused to appeal to the people in revolt to repel the invasion and 348 .

pamphlets of Brissot are especially instructive. 1792). that Roland convoked the leading men. and equal chances all . in striving to set up its own political organisation within the sections of the large cities. The efforts of the people. on entering the Convention." says Brissot wins * Brissot d ses commettants (May 23. and the popular societies throughout France. tion henceforth the Girondins resolved to stop the Revoluto establish a strong government and to reduce the people to submission by means of the guillotine if need be. these middle-class revolutionaries. and con- stituting a little republic somewhere in the Gironde. exist The people. 349 Even after August the idea of repelling the foreigner by the Revolution seemed so hateful to them. They were Altogether the Girondins were the faithful representatives According as the people grew bolder. thus of France to the invaders. separated themselves from the people. This was to to Blois flee. one must read what the purification and in this respect the two Girondins said themselves . the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people for which saved France. When they came into power. and constituted a crime. and A tous Us rtyubli* ." people and to reduce the popular masses to The Girondins followed this current. who until then had given themselves heart and soul to the Revolution. de France (October 24. including Danton and his friends. of the middle classes. their desire to march forward on the road of Equality were in their eyes a danger for the whole of the propertied classes. In order to comprehend the great drama of the Revolution : And which ended in the insurrection of Paris on May 31.* "I thought. as soon as they demanded equality the necessary condition of liberty the middle classes began to say it was time to draw the line between themselves and the of wealth be given to as " order.ATTEMPTS TO STOP THE REVOLUTION drive out the traitors from the Tuileries. 10. and the " " of the Convention. to speak to them about his plan. did not merely bureaucrats. them. and claimed that the rich should be taxed. prisoner delivering King up the North to transport the Assembly and the first. and thence to the South. 1793].

. 7. 8. pp. the exciters of sedition." on the other hand are men constantly occupied in keeping the people agitated. that order consisted of a religious respect for the laws. the preachers of agrarian law." 350 " THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION way of proceeding thought that the insurrectionary movement must cease. * | Supra. "f have usurped anarchists. /. there ought to be no longer any force in insurrection. in discrediting by calumny the constituted authorities. and they tried to establish national unity. They knew that the Convention would do nothing without being forced by the people. . but by direct relations established of Paris. p. I " could produce tranquillity . the magistrates and the safety of the individual. 13."! kj true that those whom Brissot called " anarchists " trait in comprised very diverse elements. and alone." Brissot that order alone says further on. I thought. and since nearly all power was concentrated in the hands of the people or of their representatives. in protecting the impunity of crime. the patriots must change their since their position had changed. 9. . But they all had this one common they did not believe the Revolution had : ended. and in loosening all It is the bonds of society. was a truly revolutionary measure. I thought therefore that the real enemies of the people and of the Republic were the anarchists. because.. not by means of a central government. % Supra. And for that reason they organised the popular rising. and the is Now this between the municipality and the sections thirty-six thousand communes of France. . when there was no longer a tyranny to be struck down. also. an influence in the Convention which should belong to reason " Twenty " Follow the debates and you shall see on one side men constantly occupied with the care of causing the laws..." Brissot goes on to say. P. that order. Brissot a ses commettants. precisely what the Girondins would not allow."* " " I thought. In Paris they proclaimed the sovereign power of the Commune.that since royalty was annihilated. and they acted accordingly. p. the constituted authorities and property to be respected . consequently.

the Convention that there was in France a party of disorganisers. . authorities without : " attacked. " ought to have stopped.ATTEMPTS TO STOP THE REVOLUTION " I 351 " since the beginning of have declared." For any one who knows the character of the epoch. property corrupted. it he tells us. therefore. to define this anarchy." says the representative Girondin. even while it was in its cradle. force. the morality of the people safety force and despised.. no government. by wanting to go on with the Revolution and to finish the abolition of the feudal system." practised it before attaining 1789 to August 10. Brissot was simply demanding the guillotine for those whom he called anarchists and who. these are the features of anarchy " ! But. that the Republic can only be saved by taking rigorous measures to wrest the representatives of the nation from the despotism of this faction. no justice. were preventing the middle classes. It is necessary." says Brissot. crime unpunished. 1792. which was tending towards the dissolution of the Republic. that this party has been and still is the sole cause of all the . from May had been necessary to despise " the authority of the King and to have an authority without in order to be able to overthrow it on August 10. are is made ? not this precisely the way by which all revolutions As if Brissot himself did not know it." . that this party of anarchists has dominated and to-day : still dominates nearly all the deliberations of the Convention and the workings of the Executive Council . " all insurrectionary movement. that once that point had been reached.. this language is quite plain. Since royalty was overthrown and the Convention had become the supreme power. evils. internal as well as the external. secondly. no constitution. the of the individual violated." Only what Brissot wanted was. and here is his definition " Laws that are not carried into effect. and had not ! power For three years. I can prove first. the Revolution might cease the same day. which afflict France and thirdly. and the authority of the King was overthrown. from manipulating the Convention to their own advantage. and the Girondins in particular.

Paris. Pamphlet dated October 24. p. the various services rendered to the State. &c. Brissot."J * L'ceuvrc sociale de la Revolution franpaise. undated. the virtues. supra. the price of commodities." but especially of Equality chists ! for having inspired petitions in the camp at Paris who styled themselves " " Friends of " Liberty and Equality " And he could not pardon the anar" of those the workers the nation. because they have none of these things.352 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION distasteful to the What was most of the Revolution towards Equality this Girondins was the tendency the most dominant tendency in the Revolution at moment." he says that of the deputies ! "f " are those who elsewhere. ? 1900. with introducby Emile Faguet. as M. j tion. Faguet has clearly demonstrated. 1792. Brissot could not forgive the Jacobin Club for having taken the name not " Friends of the Republic.. comforts. . who want to level even talents. 29. want to level everything property. edited. f Brissot. who want the workmen in the camp to receive the salary of the legislator . knowledge.* Thus. and who wished to fix their salary by " The disorganisers.

and whose extermination he demanded with First of much In the all. and they worked for it. the Street. above it they dominated it. the Plain. In the Convention. the anarchists did not form a -party. where they guided the debates by their approbation or disapproval. and. Ventre\ but there were no and even Robespierre. one might almost say." the " " " Gironde. The " anarchists " were the revolutionists scattered all over France. they were still more so." or rather the Marsh (sometimes called " anarchists. They had given themselves to the Revolution body and soul . some of them belonged to But their true domain was the Section. members of the Cordeliers' Club . . they loved it. real weapon 353 public opinion was the insurrection." le Danton. to be seen in the galleries. or some other Jacobin of the same stamp. they understood the necessity for it . Their effective means of " the " of the was the not action : opinion of the middle classes. Their people. Convention there were the parties of the " Mountain. the Jacobin Club. Marat. They were.CHAPTER XLI THE Anarchists " ANARCHISTS " aims and policy Brissot Gironde and anarchists not a party quoted He Their attacks anarchists Girondist programme those anarchists of BUT who were rancour ? whom Brissot spoke so so much. because a certain number of them were it was still revolutionary . could work at times with the anarchists . Many of them gathered round the Paris Commune. but they always remained outside the Convention.

" themselves in a state of up the price of wheat was not fixed. under the name of sections. But let us hear what Brissot has to say about them " They " who have divided society into two are the men. the property-owners and who have stirred up the one against the other. who insurrection stirring if have incited " the petition of those declared demanding a maximum for corn. men who They ten thousand men. it was they who prepared the attack and fought in the ranks. to have demanded bread above all. and They were unquestionably great criminals. who are These." and revolts all over France.culottes). leaving us only the rancorous pamphlets of their adversaries by which we are enabled to discover the immense revolutionary work they have accomplished. have never ceased from wearying the Convention with are the petitions. they wanted the thing itself. The Repubof course lic They believed in it. bread for those who worked. as had been recommended to them by the middle classes ! To They knew that this could not be done. to have stirred up the one against the other . The Land for All which was " and Economic Equality. those who have and and those who have not the unbreeched ones (sans. When it became necessary to make a fresh attempt to inflame the people and to march with them against the Tuileries.354 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION this and with weapon they influenced the deputies and the executive power. then. But who of the . " " They are the men. Equality before the ! law was another of their canons. the Haves and the Have-Nots . Therefore. And when cooled the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people had they returned to the obscurity from whence they had sprung. what they called " the agrarian law the levelling of wealth." Brissot goes on to say." or to use the language of that period. But that was not all : far use political liberty as the means for gaining economic liberty. As to their ideas. they were clear and decided." he says. from it. : " classes. were the crimes of those who were described " anarchists " to have divided the nation by Brissot as the : into two classes . who.

." superb when he is It is a passage that must be read enumerating the benefits of if one wishes to comprehend what the Girondist middle class would have given " anarchists " had not the French people. that from this department the citizens have expelled the preachers of the agrarian law. produced by impunity . Order has take for example. and their private emissaries. . he ment. if when the the people * The Jacobin Club. * And this 10. " multiplicity of crimes." And becomes odious with cause. . " when a man takes office." of the hatred the anarchists feel towards every State official. say we. and the anarchists stand up for this impunity. who are unceasingly branded as robbers. that they have nailed up the reason is doors of that club where they teach . and here they are " The help to paralyse the courts. the department of the Gironde. if the given a further " " the deConsider. partments where the fury of these men has been restrained ." &c. constantly reigned there . " From the mo- to the anarchists. he becomes guilty. . : ! As is for their : methods of putting their ideas into execution. But Brissot is " order." Brissot tells us. are preaching man everywhere. the people there submit to the law.THE "ANARCHISTS" 355 learned socialists of the nineteenth century has been able to invent anything better than this demand of our ancestors " " in 1793 Bread for all ? Many more words there are but less action to-day. impulse to the Revolution. . whom they designate by ' " ' he speaks of " property-owners the name of monopolists ." he says. The although they are paying ten sols a pound for bread. was written two months after August blindest person could not fail to understand that . either by terrorism or by denouncing and accusing the aristocracy. impunity by the paralysis of the law courts . as well as those the title whom they distinguish by of commissioners of the Convention." he says." " the anarchists' eternal denunciations this violation of the rights of Brissot then mentions of property-owners and merchants." " Of repeated outrages on property and individual safety the anarchists of Paris give examples every day .

troubles in the Eure . after having had the audacity to outstrip it. although grain was one of the staple commo- And of Orleans. although they were " pound for bread there would have been no " Revolution at all. for whom dities of .* must read Brissot to understand what the middle classes " " Brissotins were then preparing for France. by preachings against the rich. After having written in his youth that " property was theft. as in Russia. the Orne and elsewhere. . ." the only aim. and what the of the twentieth century are still preparing wherever a revo- We going to break out. and revolutionaries behind the time to-morrow who have not the strength to follow the century. by seditious sermons on the necessity against lution is " The of fixing stuffs." says " have been caused Brissot. which Brissot feigned to be fighting. disturbance mony by owners. he blamed the Assembly for the precipitaand tion with which it had published its decrees against feudalism that at a moment when citizens were embracing each other in the . rushed in to break this happy harexciting the sans-culotUs against the propertyis anarchy. just as the other * is its support ? Anarchic doctrine was one Louis Blanc has defined Brissot extremely well in saying that he " of those men who are republicans in advance of the time " people to-day.356 all THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION sols a over France had paying ten submitted to the law." exclaims Brissot. street in congratulation of these decrees. . this harmony between the and the rich was not according to the principles of anarchy . the monopolists. he says the town. as well as still feudalism. . However." his respect for property became so great that on the morrow of August 4." by force a maximum : price for grains and all food- " This town enjoyed since the beof the Revolution a tranquillity that has not even been ginning touched by the disturbances arising elsewhere through the scarcity of grain. might perhaps have reigned for another century. poor and so one of these men to whom order brings despair. and royalty. " created a revolutionary influence in the army "Again it is this "which " : has Who now can doubt the terrible which has been caused in our armies by this anarchist doctrine that would establish under cover of equality in law equality both universal and in fact the scourge evil of society.

the people of Paris." guess the revolutionary results which were to be from these representatives who always kept their eyes expected fixed on the law the royal and feudal law fortunately. In this fashion. they understood that if they ever set foot inside the Convention. fixed upon the law. the friends of principles." said he. or through an invasion of the Convention. but it must never in fact. but " in " fact it ! Miserable wretches ! happen that the anarchists exercised such a great power even to the dominating of the terrible Convention " the " It is. to exact something. been angered already by the navvies engaged in the camp at Paris. who one day asked that their wages might be made equal to the salary of the deputies ? The idea of such a not in Brissot and a navvy put upon the same level thing ! law." This is what the Brissotins will never pardon in the anarchists : become equality sufficiently equality in law may be forgiven." They welcomed with their eyes always " " almost unanimously " the abettors every proposal which tended to humble and crush of disorder. with the people at either their back. the " anarchists " had to say in the matter. " the majority of the Convention. virtue and vice. sincere. sane. Brissot tells us. it must not be to debate with the " members of the Right. " You would see. from the top of the galleries where the public sat. Had not Brissot." he says. pamphlets. salaries. From being the accused. little by little the brigands " (Brissot is " " anarchists ") have audaciously lifted up speaking of the their heads. among the representatives their place was in the street . But these something " " anarchists knew that their place was not in the Convention." At the outset. moreover. offices. and the Commune who dominate the position and force the hand of the ConvenBrissot tells us But how did and the dictating of its decisions ? how in his tion every time some revolutionary measure is taken. One can Frogs . they have transformed " .THE ANARCHISTS " 357 which would bring down to one level learning and ignorance." or " " the of the Marsh it must be . galleries of the Convention. services. the Convention was very wise.

those whom Brissot called anarchists saw further and were giving proofs of a political wisdom far exceeding that shown by those who were pretending to govern France. is to do the work of the leveller. he may perhaps have said how the Girondins proposed to satisfy. " " In fact. the disorganisers were real revolutionists." * when the Brissot did not even understand that at that time of scarcity.358 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION instead of being silent spectators have become the arbiters. and to all the enjoyment of liberty. to the worker his work. they the midst of a revolution. " writes Brissot. whether it be feudal or " aider " class. without having abolished the feudal system. p. price of bread had gone up to six or seven sous the pound. The party of the Gironde cut short the whole of this question middle by repeating that to touch property." was their reply. the Revolution ! was terminated since the movement of August 10 had placed * Pamphlet dated October 24. they are enemies of the people." of the " anarchist. themselves into the accusers at our debates. If the Revolution had ended in the triumph of the Brissotins." and abettor of disorder. when the people of Paris were demanding the supreme expulsion of the Girondins from the Convention. f Ibid." of the People of that sort should be simply exterminated. But the tionists disorganisers of to-day are the real counter-revolu' ' . 1792. What is left for them to desire ? Interior tranquillity. since this tranquillity alone assures to the owner his property. absolutely not a word of the sort. the people might well demand an edict to fix the price " " of bread. Only anarchists could make such a demand t For him and for the whole of the Gironde. because the people are master now. and without having given back the land to the Communes where should we be to-day ? But perhaps Brissot has formulated somewhere a programme in which he explains how the Girondins proposed to put an end to the feudal system and the struggles it provoked ? At the moment. 19. were it only in part." " because a republican had to be a disorganiser. . to the poor their daily bread. the most pressing of the popular needs ? He never says anything." " We are in . Before August 10.

Dissolve the Commune anarchy. for the revolutionists to do if not to take Pamphlet dated October 24. ! and Marat. the papers ' ' for the triumvirate of Robespierre. since things concerning the land question there was merely a provisional arrangement." * to exist. and preach disorder and equality ! ! coup d'etat. man in of the people. since the feudal laws remained. carried them into then. a new Convention f levellers ' all the * anar- will be elected. party of the Gironde could not even comprehend this.' seal up its guillotine. There was nothing more to be done but to accept the situation and obey whatever political laws the Convention should make. as well as for all the chists. Brissot's conclusion. accepted by a all follows We must make which must c beat down of Paris. a certainty of triumph for the counter-revolution).THE "ANARCHISTS" 359 their party in power. we can but ask how such an attitude of mind could be possible ? did these men In what sort of unreal world of political intrigue live ? We should not be able to understand it them our at all. and only revolutionary action could bring it to an end. a third revolution. The comforts. but not one of the present members shall sit again (which meant. p.' Then. 1792. were not that we know too many like them among the Girondins. They did not even understand the who said that. The ' Tarpeian Rock. 12/4 . admitted only one class of discontented that of the They " either for their citizens who feared their riches. and Order restored " A ! programme ever since the fall of the King had " power and made the disorganisers useless. or their lives. since the land all had not been given back to the Communes. strong Such was the Girondins' Government. was as own " : contemporaries. since the poor had still to bear the whole burden of the war the Revolution was not ended. seeing the immense resistance offered by the old regime to every attempt at decisive measures." WTiat was * left. and destroy its sections Dissolve the clubs which Close the Jacobin Club. of course.' that is. Any other kind of discontented had no right And when we know in what a state of uncertainty the Legislative Assembly had left all questions pertaining to the land. Danton.

" No of exclaimed in the famous . and that with a heavy hand . doubt. at the priests.360 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION up the fight. It was impossible to ignore these services. were in revolutionary departments. Once they had gained it. the throes of an agitation which culminated in the movement could not be if The Revolution left unfinished." sitting Robespierre. Paris of May 31. How quickly they changed the " their hatred ! had to go on and the And. notwithstanding all the services they had rendered to the Revolution. at the emigres. so long as royalty had to be fought. ever since February 1793. . ardour soon abated. before the abolition of the feudal rights had been accomplished or else the Girondins had to be expelled from the Convention. It over their bodies. therefore. " April 10 they have struck at the Court. in the spring of 1793. but at what time ? When their objects of they had still to gain power. and fight for life or death ? Either the Revolution must have stopped short unfinished as it was and then the counter-revolution of Thermidor would have begun fifteen months sooner. necessary.

those who were of . burning question which meant so much Secondly : Were the villages to retain possession of the com- munal lands which they had retaken from the lords ? Would the right of resuming possession be recognised for those Communes that had not already done so ? Would the right of every citizen to the land be admitted ? And thirdly : Was the maximum going to be introduced. including those who had the greater part of the national lands taken from the bought clergy and the emigrant nobles. on the other. On one side were those who possessed property . the " Mountain " and the " Gironde " grew according to France.CHAPTER XLII CAUSES OF THE RISING ON MAY 31 " Gironde " Momentous Struggle between "Mountain" and questions Inactivity of Convention Montagnards RobesCounter-revolution gains ground Directories of depierre partments and Federalism districts New Commune Societies. First : between the daily more envenomed as these three great questions presented themselves all Were the feudal dues to be abolished without redemption. those who possessed nothing the rich and the poor . or were these survivals of feudalism to continue to starve the farmer and paralyse agriculture ? This was the population of nearly to an agricultural twenty millions. Fraternal Societies Centralisation Growth of Popular and Revolutionary Committees Gironde and "Mountain" struggle DURING the early part of 1793. which meant the fixing of the price of bread and other commodities prime necessity ? These three great questions were exciting the whole of France and had divided it into two hostile camps.

362 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION enriching themselves in spite of misery." What vail a pity that this frankly communistic idea did not presocialists among the nineteenth-century instead of the . he had spoken in favour of restoring the communal lands to the Communes. All that is life is is property only what necessary to the whole of society. and were divided into " the one known as the " the much the the two. while no agreement. to which Robespierre belonged. ever since sufferings of the people. and may be given up to the industrial activities of the traders. to preserve It is " The food necessary for the people. no compromise was possible between those who defended property and those who wished to attack it. and those who were supporting the whole burden of the war and yet had to stand for hours. and the other defended the poor. It is true that clear Enrages being other group. But little as we may sympathise with Robespierre. " The ing the three great questions just mentioned. of which one stood for the rich. was inclined to take views almost as much in defence of property as were those of the Girondins concernof two groups more advanced " Montagnards themselves had no very ideas about economic questions. and sometimes for entire nights at the baker's door. Time was spent in endless discussions in the Convention and hatred was increasing between the two parties. 1791." he declared in the " is as sacred as life itself. And yet months five to eight months passed without the Convention having done anything to change the situation or to solve the great social problems evolved by the development of the Revolution itself. scarcity and war. without being able in the end to carry home a morsel of food. in excess of this that may become private common property. it must be admitted that he developed with the Revolution and he always felt deeply for the In the National Assembly." Convention. The more he saw of the property-owning and commercial selfishness of the middle classes the more openly he sided with the people and the revolutionary Commune of Paris with those who were then called the " anarchists.

is always much more powerful than the people. had it recognised as of its " principle that " all things necessary for life are as sacred as life itself and represent the common property of the whole " " The Commune nation if it had taken as its watchword organising consumption and guaranteeing well-being for all. This was the case in France in 1793. the confessional. on its side. Bordeaux all The Church. the centre of trade and Whole regions industry. : Even among those deeply only a also interested in the Revolution itself entirely it is minority that devotes to it. " " Gironde served as the rallying-point for party of the this mass of reaction. for the royalists knew perfectly well that emissaries The the Girondins. Spain. the " What scoundrawing-room. " every Court of Europe. and Russia. where there were many rich merchants. As soon as royalty was overthrown a gigantic movement was set on foot throughout the provinces against the revolutionists who had dared to fling down the head of a King as a defiance to the reactionaries of Europe. corruption for organising the counter-revolution." Everywhere and always a revolution is made by minorities. which was preached in 1848 and is now being dished up again under the name of " scientific socialism. became powerful centres of reaction. The maritime towns. or else guillotine us And so the plots of the counter-revolutionists redoubled in vigour. which the party label. propaganda and classes. In the manor-house. were influenced by priests and emigres who had returned under false names." What might not the trend of the Communist movement in 1871 have been. the English middle took part in the work of intrigue. and also by English and Orleanist gold. Lyons. And situation perfectly. were really their allies. in spite of their apparent republicansim. especially such as Nantes.CAUSES OF THE RISING ON " collectivism MAY 31 363 Pecqueur and Vidal. Rouen. as well as by from Italy. the manufacturer of luxury. and that they were compelled to be so by the logic of their party. and Marseilles. the cry was all : drels to have dared to do that ! Now they will stop at nothing ! : they are going to rob us of our wealth. understood the It knew that so long as the Girondins .

whose Committee of Public Welfare and . But the people of Paris had. a new revolutionary Commune was elected by the forty-eight sections. and although the Convention. gradually became more revolutionary. the municipalities. the new Commune elected on December 2. the instance of the Girondins. as the necessity for " purifying the Convention " by the elimination of the Girondins became more and more evident. the council of the Commune had been composed of middle-class democrats. Accordingly. Pache (who was appointed somewhat later). elected by the people often in the midst of insurrectionary disturbances and under the supervision of the Popular Societies. in the sections. as repressed the peasant revolts. the appointing of volunteers to fight in La Vendee. such as the right of distributing cards of citizenship to show that the recipient was not a royalist conspirator. was a frankly revolutionary body. An elected body of officials invested with powers so extensive and so diverse as those entrusted to the council of the Paris Commune would have certainly inclined by degrees towards a moderate policy. Hebert. when they were first constituted in the summer of 1789. and that the war carried on so feebly by these sybarites of the Revolution would be prolonged indefinitely to the utter exhaustion of France. have already remarked that the Directories of the departments were mostly counter-revolutionary. at with its procurator. the Revolution developed. and so on these very sections. In Paris. established It is We true that by the law of 1789. 1792. equally so. previous to August 10. therefore. its deputy-procurator. These sections. and its mayor. But during the night of August 10. the people on its side tried to organise itself for the local struggles which were imminent in every large city and every small town and village. they mercilessly But. however. The Directories of the districts were But the municipalities. were much more democratic. Chaumette. had dissolved this Commune. centres for revolutionary action.364 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION remained in the Convention no real revolutionary measure would be possible. according as they arrogated to themselves various political powers.

after the expulsion of the Girondins in the Year II. Jaures (La Convention. 1254) has also a very well written page on this and Aulard refers to it at some length in his Histoire politique subject . But this word had become a mere catch-word. In 1795. a party badge. to the tragic struggle which was fought out " " between the " Mountain and the " Gironde in 1793. was constituted and the sections to become. the word embodied in contemporary documents the chief " Mountain " article of accusation used by the party against the Girondins. in fact. All these groups federated with each other. vol. as well as Revolutionary side by side with the Commune and Fraternal Committees. This is why a network of Popular Societies Societies. they became. a rabid reactionary. of the Republic. either for momentary purposes or for continuous action. it majority of historians in sympathy with the Revolution. and was in reality only a battle-cry good enough broke out in " federalism " * Mortimer-Ternaux. de la Revolution. vii. when the Girondist and royalist They insurrections several departments. It is true that after May 31. in their turn conservatism. struggle. the rallying- points for the middle-class reaction. For this purpose they organised a special correspondencefreely constituted organisation thus bureau. on the secondary aspects of this attach too much importance to the so-called federalism of the Girondins. a real power for action. ii. p. dwell The seems to me. vol. part ii. A new. and they endeavoured to put themselves in touch with the thirty-six thousand communes of France. has pointed out this double organisation in his Histoire de la Terreur. ch." realisation of we should say now we see before us the what the modern anarchist groups in France are advocating without even knowing that their grandfathers had already put it into practice during so tragic a moment of the Revolution as was the early part of 1/93.* when they come too much. v. came into these exist- And when we study these groupings " free understandings. ence. .CAUSES OF THE RISING ON MAY 31 365 the Committee of General Safety were working to make them soon inclined to officialism and political organs.

the " federalism of the Girondins consisted chiefly in their hatred of Paris and their desire to oppose the reactionary provinces to the revotionary capital. Middle Ages when it preferred a growing town. It was merely to place the legislative and the executive authority in the midst of a less revobody lutionary population than that of Paris among people less This was how royalty acted in the active in the public cause. for the latter relied at least upon the Popular Societies when they went on commission into the provinces and not upon organs of bureaucracy the councils of the departments and the districts.t Instead of federalising. 42. they proved. They were afraid of Paris. When the Girondins appealed to the provinces against Paris." says Thibaudeau in his M&moires : "It was their intention to form a second Convention.366 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION well. the reactionaries were victorious and the Girondins as returned to power after the 9th Thermidor. aptly remarks that before the establishment Louis Blanc. to use against one's adversaries." They detested and feared the ascendency gained in the Revolution by the Commune of Paris. ii. the Paris revolutionary committees and the people of Paris." f * When . When they talked of transferring the seat of the Legislative Assembly. 4to. vol. it was to incite the counter-revolutionary forces of the middle classes in the manufacturing towns and the fanaticism of the peasants in Normandy and When befits a Brittany against the revolutionists of Paris. Thiers wanted to do the same in iS/l. and later of the Convention itself. it was not for love of autonomy. and this was all * their federalism meant." to the older cities accustomed to the forum. who wrote at some length about the federalism of the Girondins. as Louis Blanc has remarked. p. and as such it served its purpose In reality. everything done by the Girondins showed them to be as centralising and authoritarian as the provincial Montagnards. Aulard. party of order. M. that they were centralisers much more than the Montagnards. perhaps more so . to some provincial town. the Girondins talked of assembling the commissioners of the departments at Bourges " they would not have stopped at this transference. a " royal town.

p. later on. 396. one general cause of strife than all the personal conflicts put to- This cause Louis Blanc had already clearly indicated " " Gironde by quoting from Garat the language used by the " " " Mountain " to to the and the of gether. when speaking of the federalism of the Girondins. however. Histoire politique." said the Gironde. find any serious attempt at federative organisation in the scheme for a traliser. should have claimed the honour of it. As to Marat. p. it " " stress on the of the Girondins. in fact. was an unmistakable cen- and declared before the Bouches-du-Rhone Assembly Government is not suitable for a great people. in his M&moires sur la Convention et la Directoire. " They have for a long time been accusing the leaders of this infernal I confess that I have never held this opinion faction with federalism of them. so well impetuosity described by Louis Blanc. . " to govern France. under the date of May 24. to have been thorough centralists. fiery impetuosity Brissot's ambition clashing with Robespierre's. f which. Jaures expresses similar ideas. as infinitely we have serious more already said. that a Federative Constitution that the Girondins it They show themselves by On much the other hand. does not prevent him. pp. seems to me that Louis Blanc lays too ing of for Robespierre's self-esteem by the reckless Girondins which Robespierre never pardoned them. and " the egoism " of the Girondins. | La Convention. and the wound- brought forward in 1793." Thibaudeau wrote. 1824). " I * do not know that any one Aulard. although I also have sometimes reiterated the charge. 388. and they certainly helped to envenom the strife. for example. and 1458. from indicating other causes when he begins to explain the struggle between the people of Paris and the bourgeoisie causes much more of power." serious than wounded self-esteem. Mountain : " Gironde " " It is not reply the the for you. 394.CAUSES OF THE RISING ON MAY 31 367 of the Republic none of the Girondins expressed federalist tendencies." . Barbaroux.* We do not." fiery Of course the " there was. 38 (Paris. because of the slowness of its working and the multiplicity and complexity of its machinery. 264. i. at least in the first part of his volume on the Convention. 1793. he was very explicit on this point in his paper. and the conflict of ambition were present. but in " Gironde " and the " the struggle between the Mountain. vol.

" You want " Mountain." liberty without equality. we summon you the honest folk of Paris. so long did he seem honest enough for you. ." Here we see two absolutely different conceptions of society . under a state of universal wellbeing.. but we. lators of a rich of the most sacred bases of social order and the mission of legislating for France cannot be fulfilled by you who preach anarchy. You who call their misery and turn all men. Your secret desire has never been to raise France to the glorious destiny of a Republic. into happy citizens and ardent defenders of a universally adored republic.* * following Numerous quotations could be given to prove this. : v you to govern through the ministers you gave him. and not So long as the King permitted in the interests of Equality. and it was so that the struggle was understood by its contemporaries. The two " The Girondins wanted the Revolumay serve as examples : .368 you. . . The legisand industrial empire must regard property as one -. You protect plunder and terrify the owners of property. but to keep her under a King whose Mayors of the Palace you would yourselves have been." the language of the propertied party le parti des bonnetes gens those who massacred the people of Paris in June ^ 1848 and in 1871. and who are now ready to do it all over again. are striving for laws which will lift the poor out of without it. after . supported the coup d'etat of Napoleon III. But let as continue the quotation." said the '* and we desire equality because we cannot conceive liberty yourselves statesmen. and when so many of the Girondins entered into an agreement with les blancs. not pretending to be organise statesmen. they came back to power through the reaction of Thermidor." We shall see how just this accusation was when we find Barbaroux in the South and Louvet in Brittany both of them hand in glove with the royalists. you want to the Republic for the rich . To it the " Mountain " replied " We accuse you of wanting to use your talents for your own advancement only. . . summon against It is against us all all the hired assassins of Paris . THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION who are covered with the blood of September.

Aulard edition.) Everything else is of . Italian. an effort towards " as they then called it towards Communism. v. without delay. the work of nationalising the soil. English. and it would try. on May 31. King. not absolute " dition of well-being for " all." said Bourdon de 1'Oise at the Jacobin Club." says Baudot. supported from within by the partisans of royalty. against German. the work of restoring the land to the communes. 220. vol. but a conAnd it universal welfare. to raise the poor out of their wretchedness. as best she could. without even trying to secure its work by a complete it change of the ideas of the nation in a republican direction . by forcibly taking the power of Government from and transferring it to the Communes and the Popular this These alternatives suffice to explain the sanguinary struggle which rent asunder the Convention. if possible. with the people's help. secondary importance. the Revolution. tion to stop short of the middle classes." It must try to create. They wanted " quietly to establish a middle-class aristocracy. Spanish." as we should It must complete the work of abolishing say now. had to stop after its first victory. had to make " the feudal rights. and leave France to struggle. (La Socttti des Jacobins." would do the rich. Societies. and Savoyard invaders. after getting rid of the at once. Or else. which should take the place of the nobility and clergy. equality of riches." Equality.CAUSES OF THE RISING ON The MAY 31 369 Revolution had hitherto confined itself to overthrowing the King. and with it the whole of France after the downfall of royalty. It must consolidate the work so far carried out by the revolted peasantry during already those four years. while it would recognise the right of all to the land. p.

the intelligent portion of the population saw on the contrary the dawn of a new era the nearing " " of that had for classes the middle well-being promised to the poor. in the ranks of the counter-revolutionists. and as such they had to succumb. .CHAPTER SOCIAL XLIII DEMANDSSTATE OF FEELING IN PARISLYONS Effect of execution of King Changed aspect of Revolution Rise of counter-revolution Paris Commune tries to keep down price of bread Varlet Jacques Roux Movement against owners of large fortunes Petition to Convention Marat tries to stop agitation Effect of riot Necessity of crushing "Gironde" becomes evident NOTWITHSTANDING the violence that the Mountain " and the " Gironde " struggle displayed at times. Opposed as they were to the natural course of development which the Revolution was following. together with the Feuillants and Royalists. the Girondins soon found themselves. it would have dragged on had it been But since the execution strictly confined to the Convention. and trembled for their property and their lives. between the " Parliamentary The Revolution was still in its ascendant phase. If impres- were stricken with terror at the daring of the Montagnards. and the gulf between the revolutionists and the counter-revolutionists was becoming so wide that there was no longer any possibility of a vague. The execution of the King had produced a profound sion in France. half-way between the two others. of Louis XVI. all which the revolutionists The greater was their deception 37o ! The King had perished. events were moving faster. indetermined party.

Their insolence sunned itself in the wealthy quarters. and they did not see that such a step.SOCIAL DEMANDS royalty had disappeared 371 but the insolence of the rich was . the sans. of course. which had come to a standstill. They came in great numbers to the evening meetings. no longer came to the sections in sufficient numbers. that now existed only by fresh issues of paper-money (les assignats) . In Paris. the poor workers. They did not understand what power of resistance was yet in the old regime. in the meantime. and was exhausting its like . And. 1793. the help of the English was being prepared forces in stormy internal struggles. when one section was invaded by the sans-culotte functionaries. growing. taken at this . finally. from Lyons. passed reactionary votes by using their sticks in case of need displaced the and had themselves nominated in were even forced to reorganise their forces. two livres per day. a rise in prices. All this was helping to paralyse the revolutionary spirit. and the depreciation of paper-money. where the troops had : with from La Vendee. where a hundred thousand revolted peasants were murdering the patriots with the benediction of the clergy . it even announced itself impudently in the public galleries of the Convention. from the Treasury. The revolutionists counter-revolutionists. and. a payment of Whereupon the Girondins did not fail. Popular Societies and Federations of Departments. bad news came in from everywhere from the frontier. their stead. melted snow from Brittany. where a general rising . while in the poor districts misery grew blacker and blacker.culottes. In Paris and in the provinces some sections were even compelled to ask the municipal council to guarantee to the poor men of the people who assisted at the sittings. so as to be able to come to the rescue from the neighbouring sections. which had become the stronghold of the counter-revolutionists . the culottes dbrees invaded the sections. bringing a lack of bread. unemployment. to ask the Convention to dissolve all these organisations of Sections. as the sad winter of 1793 crept on. and the middle-class In February counter-revolutionists took advantage of it. and accepted duties on the committees. from the Convention.

ftc." and a revolutionary tribunal which was in reality merely a return to Maillard's tribunal. nameless ones. However. would have secured the immediate triumph of the " counter-revolution and the " Tarpeian Rock for themselves. fortunes grew from nothing with an extraordinary rapidity in the sight and hearing of all. It meant moving for ever in a circle. however. induced speculation. Not only did the caterers for the armies the " rice-bread" and-salt (les jobbers. copper. oil. were ripening in many minds. But to obtain bread at this price. but certainly not a solution of the problem. candles. In the faubourgs. of the people The that new ideas The Paris Commune. The bourgeoisie rapidly became rich by this means. to say nothing of the enormous speculations on the sale of national estates. was not yet discouraged. Jacques Roux. make ill-gotten fortunes. evils is always "the punishment of the guilty. newly formed riz-pain-sel) flour. the reorganisation of the police system of " public safety." could only propose the death penalty for the stock-jobbers. and of a former priest. Varlet. These men under- " . the mass fact is." who in history go by supported by all the the name of Les Enrages (the extremists). for the profit of the stockStock-jobbing had already grown alarmingly. but. without its openness. The question " What is to be done ? " was then asked with : all the tragic meaning which it acquires in times of Those to whom the supreme remedy for all social crisis. waiting in a queue on the pavement.372 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION moment. soap. and this current found expression in the predictions of a workman of the faubourgs. And then the people understood that the Commune in buying wheat at the price the monopolists extorted only enriched the speculators at the expense of the State. as everything wheat. new currents were coming to the surface. having obtained large grants from the Convention for the purchase of flour. and seeking the form which would best express them. also forming. the people had to spend the night at the bakers' doors. succeeded more or less in keeping the price of bread to three-halfpence a pound. zinc. a deeper current of opinion was one which sought constructive solutions.

iv. and and we their subse- quent socialist followers. Jaures (Histoire socialiste. or even a right to the land was not enough to guarantee to each man the right to . pp. and he had already drawn attention to its essential points.* This movement against the monopolists and the stockjobbers was bound to produce also a movement against speculathe paper-money y and on February 3. especially a period such as the Revolution was now traversing. due to stock-jobbery. commerce would have At the same time." the rapidly amassed fortune of the The best minds of the time were struck by the impossibility of establishing a democratic Republic. were not true : that those commodities which are scarce in the easily to be seized upon by speculators. delegates from Commune. demanding that a limit should be put to the depreciation of paper-money. which was already asserting itself. this. vol. .SOCIAL DEMANDS 373 stood that the theories on freedom of commerce. Robert Owen. during And they set themselves to spread ideas on the necessity of market are communalising and nationalising commerce. they saw that so long as exploitation existed. tion in They demanded the repeal of the decree of the Constituent * Micheletjs genius has led him to see very clearly the importance of this communist movement of the masses. 1792. nothing could be done . where L'Ange was a pre cursor of Fourier. Proudhon. The that it Enrages had understood will see later how a beginning of practical application was given to their ideas work. so long as there was no protection against the monstrous inequality of incomes. among the masses against the owners of great fortunes a movement similar to that of to-day in the United States against and threatened to grow even worse. a pronounced movement was growing " trusts. from the forty-eight sections and from the " United Defenders " of the eighty-four departments came before the Convention. 1003 et seqj has now given more ample and very interesting information on this movement in Paris and Lyons. and organising the exchange of goods at cost -price those ideas which later on inspired Fourier. Godwin. defended in the Convention by men like Condorcet and Sieves. commercial to they maintained that to prevent be communalised.

1023." he preached " " capitalists. iv. some thirty years ago. they spoke of them as of not understand the poor. or to fluctuations in supply and demand. they said." fury of an enraged mob is felt in this article. of wheat on the international markets. or of Russian notes on the Berlin Exchange. tried to calm the agitation. "t Marat. but he knew misery well. were now opposed to its benefiting the poor. the present facilities of transport and exchanges. monopolists. it always exaggerates nevertheless the natural rise. due to the too great quantity of tokens of exchange which were put This is true into circulation. In a very violent article. despairing of seeing the ' who do whom legislators the take any effectual measures. p. stock. were opposed to their petition. with proportion the effects of supply and demand at a given moment. And this is why. complete destruction of this accursed brood stock-jobbers. f Taurus. for fear " those of alarming the middle classes. Saint-Just included. but those who have followed closely the fluctuations in the price. begging the deputies protection of the legislators against the speculators. Even to-day.374 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Assembly which had recognised that money is merchandise. whom these wretched representa- " tives of The the nation encouraged. in the harvests). because they themselves dine well every night. as we may see.* This was. responsible for the depreciation of the paper-money. . will not hesitate to recognise that our grandfathers were right in holding stock-jobbers largely . when the petitioners learned that the Jacobins. in " the issue of his paper of the 25th. and swells quite out of proportion the temporary fluctuations in price which are due either to the varying productivity of labour (for instance. He disapproved of the petition and defended the Montagnards and the Paris the petitioners attacked . when financial operations cover an infinitely wider area than they did in 1793. who having got all possible advantages out of the Revolution. and when he heard the pleadings of the working women who came to the Convention on February 24. or in the value of given shares. a revolt of the poor against the wealthy classes. and the death penalty for stock-jobbers. only to reply in the negative.jobbing has always the effect of exaggerating out of all If. by not attacking them. too. let us say. in which * Could stock-jobbing influence the fluctuations in the value of paper-money ? Several historians have put to themselves this quesThe depreciation. of cotton on the Liverpool Exchange. stock-jobbing cannot create a permanent rise in the price of a commodity. was tion. )ie at once took up the cause of the poor.

The Convention raised." On pillage the same day. even more.STATE OF FEELING IN PARIS the 375 Marat demands. saving that "the looting of a few shops. at the doors of which the monopolists should be hanged. the advance it was making to the Commune to enable it to keep bread at three-halfpence the pound. first. which reduce twenty-five million people to despair. said he. for the Revolution. should be accessible to the people. One can imagine what was made of this movement. soap. The whole life of the rich has changed. he alone (the poor " man) has remained in the same position. he did not lose the opportunity of attributing the whole move- among the monopolists and ment to the The riot influence of foreign money. and cause thousands to perish of want. &c. developed later before the Convention the idea which was introduced into the " law of maximum " that the question was not solely to obtain bread at a reasonable " that It was also necessary. the procureur of the Commune. As to Robespierre. would soon put an end to these malpractices. the people did indeed some shops. There secondary necessity no longer exists " any just ratio between the pay of a day's manual labour and these commodities of secondary necessity.. which after all was nothing but a small riot. and then advocates revolutionary acts. and all he . and Chaumette. Happy at having found in Marat's article the sentence about pillage which we have just quoted. they made enough out of it to " Mountain " and the accuse the people of Paris en masse of intending to murder the rich. in which no one was safe any longer. by the Girondins who wished to convince the provinces that Paris was a raging furnace of terror. commodities of price. from four to seven millions. that principal monopolists be handed over to a State tribunal." " The poor have done as much as the rich. taking sugar. The Commune did not dare to approve the riot. produced nevertheless the desired effect. in the morning. and there was talk in the faubourgs of recommencing the September massacres jobbers of the Stock Exchange. and the rich altogether. and even Marat had to contradict himself by saying that it was fomented by royalists.

no progress of any sort would be made in matters of economics. and that this new aristocracy was so strong in the Convention that if the coalition of the Kings had not counted on its support. of the great merchants and financiers." by the war and the repeated issues of paper-money. the Enrages understood that so long as this party ruled in the Assembly. The poor man had indeed done all for the Revolution. the fact that the quantities of notes issued no longer correspond with the needs of the commercial transactions these are a few of the causes of this considerable rise which we lament. But how great is their influence. was still hoping by legal means to paralyse the party pierre " Gironde " in the of the Convention. of the question. how terrible and disastrous is their result.376 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION is has gained through the Revolution of his poverty. It is even very probable that from that time on Robespierre and his faithful Jacobins told themselves that they ought to make sure of the Enrages to crush the Girondins. when among us there exist evilly disposed men. the poor must have made similar reflections among themselves. and while the bourgeoisie got rich. " said he. monopolists." this * A much keener economist than many most sympathetic man pointed to the root . It is certain that ideas such as those advocated by Chaumette were bound to simmer in the people's minds in all large towns. the disasters in our colonies. was rising from the ruins of the old aristocracy. according to the turn events might take. and above all. showing how monopolists exaggerated the results of conditions created " War at sea. They had the courage to say aloud that the aristocracy of money."* the right of complaining to a great extent to the This movement in Paris at the end of February contributed While Robesfall of the Girondins. Even in those cities where no popular movements similar to those of Paris and Lyons had taken place. the question whether to follow the Enrages or to fight them. And everywhere professional economists. leaving till later. the poor man alone got nothing. the losses on the market value of the paper currency. when the national distress is used as a base for the selfish speculations of a crowd of capitalists who do not know what to do with the immense sums of money they have gained in the recent transactions. they would neWr have dared to attack France.

was the man of the middle-class party. and wished for the establishment of a wages. coffee. represented by Chalier. the rich. wood. the people had but the Commune.). &c. Altogether Lyons was a centre for conspirators coming from Jales. Niviere-Chol. They demanded the for grain. whether notes. and the Commune of sacring tariff of * Ch. oil. which unavoidably had suffered from the Revolution.* Avignon. as everywhere. and Laussel. It is who never ceased to preach against difficult to disentangle the events which took place in We only know that Lyons during the first days of March. which rallied round the Girondins. and the party of the merchant middle class. the destitution was terrible. Against all these. and also for those commodities which Chaumette called " commodities of secondary necessity " (wine. in which the two most popular men were Chalier an ex-priest and mystic communist. : the and still more by popular party.STATE OF FEELING IN LYONS 377 they must have noticed that the Girondins were a centre. The poor discussed the expediency of masor guillotining the monopolists. where the workmen lived by an industry of luxury. three- | pence a pound. At Lyons. a Girondist merchant. xxxi. two parties Laussel. gold or silver. The poor worshipped Chalier. There was no work. where the population had always had a leaning towards mysticism. sugar. soap. round which could rally those who wished to prevent at all costs the Revolution from benefiting the poor. the struggle took just the same course. The mayor. Many priests who had refused to take the oath of obedience to the Constitution were in hiding in this town. . It is clear that in this great manufacturing town. another ex-priest. and bread was at a famine price. as an intermediate step before going over to the Feuillants. the unemployment and want were terrible. They also called for the prohibition of the traffic in tokens of exchange. and agents of the emigres also were there in great numbers. There were in Lyons. and that there maximum was great unrest among the workmen. Chambery and Turin.




Lyons, going no doubt by the decree of the Legislative Assembly August 29, 1792, ordered searches to be made all over Lyons,

similar to those

in order to lay hands sojourning in the city.

which took place on August 29, 1792, in Paris, on the numerous royalist conspirators But the royalists and the Girondins,

round the mayor, Niviere-Chol, succeeded in seizing the municipality, and proposed to deal severely with the people. The Convention, however, interfered to prevent the slaughter of the " patriots," and for this purpose sent three

commissioners to Lyons. Supported by these commissioners, the revolutionists again took possession of the sections which had been invaded by reactionaries. The Girondin mayor

was forced to


and on March

9, a friend of

Chalier was

elected in the place of Niviere-Chol.

But the struggle did not end with that, and we shall see on how, the Girondins again gaining the upper hand at the end of May, the people, the " patriots," were massacred. For the present let us only note that in Lyons, as in Paris,
the Girondins served

who were opposed

as a rallying-point, not only for those to the people's Revolution, but also for all those absolute Royalists and constitutional Feuillants who did

not want a Republic.*

" Ginecessity of crushing the political power of the " ronde became, however, still more evident when the betrayal of Dumouriez revealed whither their policy was leading.


* On April 15, the bourgeoisie of Lyons sent to the Convention a delegation of those sections where they held the upper hand, to report that their city groaned beneath the tyranny of a Jacobin municipal council, which was laying hands on the property of rich merchants. They also asked the bourgeoisie of Paris to get hold of the sections. At the end of February the Mayor of Paris, Petion, published his " Letter to the Parisians," in which he called the bourgeoisie to arms " Your property is threatened, and you against the people, saying close your eyes to the danger. You are subjected to all manner of requisitions and yet you suffer patiently." This was a direct appeal to the middle classes against the people.
: . .

Need Lack



Dumouriez His connection with Girondins and Montagnards France and England War declared Treachery of Dumouriez Counter-revolutionary movement in Brittany Rising in La Vendee Danton Volunteers enlist Terrible situation recalled from Belgium
Revolutionary tribune Savage hunt for republicans Dumouriez in Belgium Danton tries to check Dumouriez Dumouriez outlawed Committee of Public Welfare created Danton becomes leading spirit Fall of Girondins inevitable
Peasants urge clergy to
tries to allay rise

of volunteers Forces of trustworthy generals





IN the early part of 1793, the war began under very unfavourable circumstances, and the advantages obtained during the

autumn were not maintained. Great reinforcements were necessary in order to enable the army to take the offensive and the free enlistments were far from giving the necessary


was estimated in February 1793, that


would take


300,000 up the gaps in the army and to bring its effective force to half a million, but volunteers were no up longer to be counted on. Certain departments (the Var and



the Gironde) willingly sent their battalions nearly whole but other departments did nothing of the sort. Then, on February 24, the Convention was compelled to
* The people knew, of course, how the volunteers of 1792 had been received in the army by the staff of officers and the generals all " None of them wanted to have them," says Avenel, who royalists. has consulted the archives of the War Office. The volunteers were " " treated as and cowards disorganisers they were shot on the slightest provocation, and the troops were incited against them (Lundis

rtvolutionnaires, p. 8).



order a forced levy of 300,000 men, to be raised among all the departments, and in each department by the districts and

These latter had first to call upon was not answered by the required number of men, the communes had to recruit the remainder, in whichever way they considered best that is to say, either by lot or by personal nomination, with the r^ht, however, of finding a substitute in both cases. To induce men to enlist, the Convention not only promised them pensions, but it also undertook to enable the pensioners to buy portions of the national estates, by paying for them in instalments with their

communes between them.

this appeal

pensions, a tenth part of the total cost of the land or estate purchased to be paid every year. Government lands to the

value of 400 million francs were assigned for this purpose.*

Meanwhile money was badly wanted, and Cambon, an absolutely honest man, who held an almost absolute power over the finances, was forced to make a new issue of 800 millions in paper-money. But the best estates of the clergy (which were the guarantee for these notes) had already been sold, and the estates of the emigres did not sell so easily. People
hesitated to

buy them, fearing that the purchased estates be confiscated when the emigres would return to France. might Therefore the Treasury, under Cambon, found it increasingly
difficult to

meet the ever-growing needs of the armies.t However, the greatest difficulty of the war was not


the fact that nearly all the generals belonged to the counter-revolution, and the system of the election of officers
It lay in

by the

soldiers themselves,

which the Convention had


introduced, could furnish superior officers only after the lapse of a certain time. For the present, the generals did not
inspire confidence,

and in fact the treachery of Lafayette was soon followed by that of Dumouriez. Michelet was perfectly justified in saying that when Du* Everything remained, however, so far as it can be ascertained, as promises (Avenel, Biens nationaux, in Lundis rtvolutionnaires). | A few revolutionary sections of Paris offered thereupon to mortgage all their properties to serve as a guarantee for the notes. This offer was refused, but there was a profound idea in it. When a nation makes war, property owners must bear the weight of it, as much and even more than those whose only incomes are their wages.




to rejoin his


few days

after the

execution of Louis XVI., he was already meditating his treachery. He had seen the triumph of the " Mountain," and he probably

understood that the execution of the King was the beginning of a new phase in the Revolution. For the revolutionists he felt nothing but hatred, and he no doubt foresaw that his

dream of

re-establishing the Constitution of 1791 in France,

with a Duke of Orleans on the throne, could only be realised w th the help of Austria. From that day he must have decided on his treachery.
closely connected with the and even on intimate terms with Gensonne, with Girondins, whom he remained in communication till April. However, he did not break with the " Montagnards " either, who already mistrusted him Marat treated him frankly as a traitor, but did not feel strong enough to attack him. The victories of Valmy and Jemmapes had been so much glorified, and the real facts concerning the retreat of the Prussians were so little known, that the soldiers, especially the rank and file, adored their general. To attack him in these circumstances would have been to risk rousing the army, which Dumouriez could have led against Paris and the Revolution. Consequently " to do but to there remained nothing for the " Mountain wait and watch. In the meantime France was entering into a war with England. As soon as the news of the execution of Louis XVI. had reached London, the English Government returned his passport and papers to the French Ambassador, ordering him to quit the United Kingdom. But it goes without saying that the execution of the King was only a pretext to break off relations with France. It is in fact now known, through the Count de Mercy, that the English Government felt no affection for the French royalists, and that it was not in the
least anxious to strengthen


moment Dumouriez was

them by




simply considered this the right time to get rid of a maritime rival that had helped the Americans to obtain their independence, to take from France her colonies, and perhaps even

some great mil tary port



rate, to

weaken her

sea power.


English Government simply


made the most

of the imprespress the

sion produced by the execution of the

King to





not see


inevitable from the English point of view was this war. Not only the Girondins especially Brissot, who plumed himself

on knowing England
Whigs, of

but Danton

also, still

hoped that the

a party were enthusiastic supporters of the ideas of liberty, would overthrow Pitt and prevent the war. In reality, the greater part of the British nation was soon united


on the question of war when its mercantile advantages were understood. It. must also be said that the English diplomatists managed to make very clever use of the ambitions of the French



They made Dumouriez believe that he was the them the only one with whom they could treat ;

and they promised to support him, to re-establish a constitutional monarchy. Danton they persuaded that the Whigs might, very possibly, return to power, and they would then make peace with Republican France.* On the whole they managed to put the onus on France when the Convention declared war with Great Britain on
February I. This declaration changed the whole of the military situation. To take possession of Holland, to prevent the English from
landing there, became an absolute necessity. But this was precisely what Dumouriez, either because he did not consider
himself strong enough, or because he had no

mind to, had not done during the autumn, although he had been urged by Danton to do it. He had taken up, in December, his winter quarters in Belgium, and this of course did not dispose the Belgians in favour of the French invaders. Liege was his chief
military depot. Up to the present

we do not




about Dumouriez'

Very probably,



he had already
to his

made up

mind to


when he returned


on January


His march at the end of February,

* Albert Sorel, L' Europe et la Revolution franfaise (Paris, I., ch. ii., pp. 373 et seq. Avenel, he. cit.



Holland, when he took Breda and Gertruydenberge,

seems to have been already a manoeuvre agreed upon with the Austrians. At any rate, this march served the Austrians

They took advantage of it to enter Belgium, on and took Liege, where the inhabitants had in vain r, begged Dumouriez for arms. The patriots of Liege were forced to fly, the French army was completely routed and disbanded ; the generals refused to help each other, and Dumouriez was far off in Holland. It was impossible to do the


Austrians a better turn.

as it

This news produced a tremendous effect in Paris, especially was followed by other news, equally grave. On March 3

became known that a counter-revolutionary movement was about to begin immediately in Brittany. At the same

time, at Lyons, the reactionary battalions of the fils de famille (wealthy young men) made a move against the revolutionary




the time

when the


who had

gathered in numbers at Turin, were crossing the frontier and entering France in battle array, backed up by the King
of Sardinia.

To crown all, the department of La Vendee on March 10. It was quite evident that these various movements were, as in 1792, parts of one great counterAnd
every one in Paris suspected that

revolutionary scheme.

Dumouriez was won over by the


was working for their advantage. Danton, who was at that time in Belgium, was recalled in all haste. He arrived in Paris on March 8 and pronounced one of his powerful calls to unity and patriotism an appeal
hoisted once

which made hearts thrill all over France. The Commune more the black flag. Again the fatherland was

declared in danger. Volunteers enlisted hurriedly, and on the evening of the 9th a civic feast, at which masses of people assisted, was organised in the streets, on the eve of their departure. But it was no
sinister energy longer the youthful enthusiasm of 1792. goaded them on. lowering anger gnawed at the hearts of the poor of the faubourgs at the sight of the political struggles



tearing France asunder.


A rising in Paris is






Danton is reported to have said, and ind >ed one was needed to rouse the people and the sections from the torpor into
which they were sinking. To ward off the difficulties, truly terrible, which beset the Revolution, to provide for the immense expenditure imposed on France by the counter-revolutionary leagues without and within, the Revolution had to find resources by levying taxes upon the fortunes which were then being amassed by the middle But this was exactly classes, owing to the Revolution itself. what the governing class refused to admit, partly on principle,
the accumulation of large private fortunes being considered the way to enrich the nation, and partly from the fear with which a more or less general rising in the big towns, of poor
against rich, inspired them. The horror of the September days especially the 4th and 5th at the Chatelet and the Salpetridre was yet fresh in their memories. What would happen then if a whole class rose against another

the poor against the rich, against



meant civil war in every town. And this, with wealthy La Vendee and Brittany rising in the West, supported by England, by the emigres in Jersey, by the Pope, and all the clergy with the Austrians in the North, and the army of Dumouriez ready to follow its general and march against the

people of Paris ! Therefore the leaders of opinion of the " Mountain " and the Commune did their utmost first of all to allay the panic, pretending that they considered Dumouriez a trustworthy
republican. Robespierre, Danton and Marat, constituting a sort of triumvirate of opinion, backed up by the Commune,

made speeches to this effect, and they all worked at the same time to rouse courage in the people's hearts, so as to be in a position to repel the invasion, which wore a far more serious
aspect than

had in 1792.


worked to

this end, save the

Girondins, who saw but one thing were to be crushed and exterminated

the anarchists,"


On March
in Paris.
friends of

10, a renewal of the September days was feared But the public anger was turned upon the journalist Dumouriez, and a band betook themselves to the

chief Girondin printing offices of Gorzas their presses.


and Fieve, and smashed

the people, inspired by Varlet, Jacques Roux, the American, Fournier, and other Enrages really desired was a But the more common purification of the Convention.





for this in


revolutionary tribunal had been substituted the sections. Pache and Chaumette came to

the Convention on the 9th, to demand such a tribunal. Where" " of the arch-counsellor upon Cambace*res, the future

Napoleonic Empire, proposed that the Convention should renounce the current ideas on the division of legislative and
judicial power and seize the latter as well, so as to be able to establish a special tribunal for the trial of traitors. Robert Lindet, a lawyer of the old monarchist school, pro-

posed later on to institute a tribunal consisting of judges nominated by the Convention, and bound to judge those whom the Convention would send before them. He insisted upon having no jury in this new tribunal, and it was only after long debates that it was decided to reinforce the five judges, nominated by the Convention, by twelve jurymen and six assistants, taken from Paris and the adjoining departments, and nominated

month by the Convention.


instead of measures calculated to reduce stocklife

jobbing and place the necessaries of

within reach of the

people, instead of a purification of the Convention, which would have eliminated the members always opposed to revolutionary measures, instead of taking military steps rendered


by the already almost confirmed treachery


Dumouriez, the insurrection of March 10 obtained nothing beyond a revolutionary tribunal. The creative, constructive feeling its way, spirit of a popular revolution, which was was now confronted by the spirit of police management, which was soon to crush it. After appointing this tribunal the Convention was going to adjourn, when Danton rushed to the tribune, and stopped the members as they were leaving the hall, to remind them that the enemy was on the frontiers of France, and that nothing had yet been done.


the peasants in

The same day

La Vendee, urged on by the

clergy, rose in insurrection and began to massacre the Republicans. The rising had long been prepared, chiefly by the priests, at the instigation of Rome, and there had already

been an attempt

at starting


in August


when the

Since then, Angers had become the political centre of the malcontent priests, the Sisters of the Sagesse Order and others serving as emissaries to distribute

had entered France.

the appeals to revolt, and to awaken fanaticism by spreading about supposed miracles.* The levy of men for the
war, promulgated on March 10, became the signal for a general The head council of the insurrection, dominated


by the

and having

at its

head the
of the

priest Bernier,


established at the
of his parish, of the bands.


of Cathelinau, a

mason and


who had become one

most audacious


and about 100,000 men

the loth the tocsin rang in several hundred parishes, left their work to begin the hunting
of the republicans

and those


who had sworn

It was an actual hunt, with allegiance to the Constitution. " a ringer who sounded the view halloo," says Michelet, a hunt

of extermination, during which the captives were subjected to the most terrible tortures : they were killed slowly, or else

were left to be tortured by the women's scissors and the weak hands of the children who prolonged their martyrdom. All this, under the leadership of the priests, with tales of miracles
to incite the peasants to

the wives also of the republicans.

The nobles, with their royalist amazons, only came after. And when these " honest folk " decided at last to appoint a
tribunal to try the republican prisoners, this tribunal, in six weeks, sent 542 patriots to be executed.f
* Michelet, Book X. ch. v. " Each day," wrote a royalist priest, Francois Chevalier (quoted f " by Chassin), each day was marked by bloody expeditions which cannot but horrify every decent soul, and seem justifiable only in the light of philosophy." (They were commanded by priests in the name of " Matters had come to a pass, when it was said openly that religion.) it was unavoidable and essential for peace, not to leave a single republican alive in France. Such was the popular fury that it was sufficient to have attended at a mass said by one of the constitutional clergy,

resist this


2000 men from Nantes to La Rochelle.
that the
to then

savage rising, the Republic had nothing but scattered all over the lower part of La Vendee,

was not


the end of


organised forces of the Republic arrived. the Convention had only been able to oppose decrees


death penalty and confiscation of property for the nobles and left La Vendee at the end of a week ! priests who had not

But who was there with the necessary force to carry out these

Matters were no better in Eastern France, where the army of Custine was retreating ; while in Belgium, Dumouriez

was in open rebellion against the Convention since March 12. He sent them from Louvain a letter, which he at once made public, and in which he reproached France with the crime of
having annexed Belgium, of wishing to ruin that country by introducing paper-money and the sale of national properties.
Six days later he attacked the superior forces of the Austrians at Neerwinden, allowed himself to be beaten by them, and on March 22, supported by the Duke de Chartres and some
Orleanist generals, he entered into direct negotiations with the

These two traitors promised to without resistance, and to march against evacuate Belgium In Paris to re-establish there the constitutional monarchy.

Colonel Mack.

case of need, they would call on the Austrians to support them, and in the meantime the Austrians occupied Conde, one of

the French fortresses near the frontier, as a guarantee. Danton, staking his head on it, rushed to Dumouriez' camp, to prevent this treason and to attempt to bring back Dumouriez
to the Republic. Having failed in persuading two Girondins, Gensonne, a friend of Dumouriez, and Gaudet, to go with

him, he

left alone,

on the i6th,

for Belgium,

running the


He found Dumouriez of being accused himself of treason. in full retreat after the Battle of Neerwinden, and understood
that the traitor had already

made up



He had indeed

to be imprisoned and then murdered, or shot, under the pretext that the prisons were too full, as they were on September 2." At Machecoul, 524 republican citizens had been shot, and there was talk of massacring the women, Charette was urging on his fanatical peasants

to do this.


word to Colonel Mack to evacuate Holland

already given his

without fighting. Paris was seized with fury when, Danton having returned on the 29th, Dumouriez' treason was established as a certainty. The republican army, which alone might have repulsed the
invasion, was perhaps already marching against Paris to reUnder such conditions, the Committee establish royalty !

which had then been meeting for some days under the leadership of the Enrages, won over the Commune. The sections began to arm and seized the artillery ; they probably would have marched against the Convention, had not other counsels prevailed to prevent On April 3, confirmatory news of Dumouriez' a panic. was received. He had arrested the commissioners treachery
of Insurrection,
at the Bishop's palace,

sent to

Happily, his army did not decree of the Convention, outlawing Dumouriez and ordering the arrest of the Duke de Chartres, had reached the regiments, and neither Dumouriez nor the
follow him.

him by the Convention.


Duke de Chartres succeeded in winning over the soldiers. Dumouriez was forced to cross the frontier, as Lafayette had
done, and to seek refuge among the Austrians. On the following day he and the Imperial generals issued a proclamation, in which the Duke of Coburg made known to

the French that he was coming to restore to France her constitutional King.

At the height

attitude of Dumouriez'


Republic itself, " Danton, Robespierre and Marat in agreement with the Commune led by Pache, Hebert and Chaumette, acted with complete unanimity, to prevent the panic and the sad
consequences it might have entailed. At the same time the Convention, in order to avoid the lack of unity which had hitherto hampered the general management
of the war, resolved to take the executive
as well as

uncertainty about the army jeopardised the security of the " Mounthe three most influential men of the
of this

when the

power into their

the legislative and judicial powers. They hands, created a Committee of Public Welfare (Comite de Salut public), with very extensive powers, almost dictatorial a measure



which was evidently of an immense importance for the subsequent development of the Revolution. We have seen that after August 10 the Legislative Assembly " had founded, under the name of Provisory Executive Council," a body of ministers invested with all the functions of the executive power. Besides, in January 1793, the Convention had created a "Committee of General Defence," and, war being at that moment the most important matter, this committee obtained control over the Provisory Executive Council, and
to give the

thus became the chief machinery of the administration. Now, Government more unity, the Convention created



of Public Welfare


(Comite de Salut public),

and renewable every twelve months. This by committee was to supplant both the Defence Committee and the Executive Council. In reality it was the Convention itself supplanting the Ministry, but little by little, as was to be expected, the Committee of Public Welfare overruled the Convention and acquired in all the branches of administration a power which it shared only with the Committee of Public Safety (Comite de Surete generale), entrusted with the control of the State

In the middle of the crisis which was developing in April 1793, Danton, who had until then taken a most active part in the war, became the leading spirit of the Committee of Public Welfare, and he retained this influence until July 10,

when he


Finally, the Convention, which had sent, since September 1792, several of its members to the provinces and to the armies,

with the

title of Commissioned Deputies (Representants en armed with very extensive powers, decided to send eighty more deputies to rouse enthusiasm in the provinces and to supervise the war. And, as the Girondins generally


refused to accept this function, they willingly agreed to appoint " of the Mountain " on these difficult missions,

perhaps with the idea of having a freer hand in the Convention
after their departure. the It was certainly not these measures of reorganisation of

On the contrary. democratic war. who presided that night. which it was not possible for a general to destroy at his will and pleasure.390 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Government which prevented the treachery of Dumouriez having the disastrous effect it might have had. signed by he did. this betrayal had the effect of giving a new character to the war that of a popular. Henceforth the fall of the Girondins and the removal of their leaders from the Convention became inevitable. final impetus to the insurrec- . The treachery of Dumouriez gave the tion which broke out on May 31. betrays. Marat. There was a higher force in action. and gave it a vigour. For the French nation the Revolution possessed a charm. if the army had followed its general." said the address of the Jacobin Club. It was " The Convention there that the root of the treachery lay. But every one understood that Dumouriez alone would never have dared what He obviously had strong support in Paris.

but against the child of the Revolution itself the National Convention in order to eliminate from it June 21. to bring this about. and will advance then to a point where the others will not be able to follow them without ceasing to be middle class . and then there will be no revolution. and quite July 14 and October 5. 1793. 391 the tragedy of the situation which On the . revolutions to come. June 21. it had to them stand up not against the King and the Court. On this day the people of Paris rose for the third time. the day of the brought one epoch to a close . King's arrest at Varennes. and. At the same Hence- forth. but.CHAPTER XLV A NEW RISING RENDERED INEVITABLE Rising of tion May 31 Significance of rising Summary of situa- Convention and Dumouriez Girondins vote arrest of Marat People take his part Character of Marat He is acquitted Famine in large towns Extraordinary tax levied Indigination of Girondins Commission of Twelve appointed Isnard's threat Hebert and Varlet arrested Sections demand expulsion of Girondins from Convention MAY as full of significance as one of the great dates of the Revolution. Even to presented this itself day we feel to the Republicans of that time. and August 10. 1789. making its last effort to impress upon the Revolution a really popular character . or this separation '' < will not take place. no revolution will be possible unless it culminates in its May 31. perhaps. had the fall of the Girondins on another epoch. the most tragic of 1791. May 31. Either there will be in the revolution a day when the proletarians will separate themselves from the middle-class revolutionists. 1791. 1792 31 is all. was the close of time it became a symbol for all the leaders of the Girondin party. for a long time to come.

After its appearance there remained but two " anarchists " should let themselves be issues either the guillotined by the Girondins. for his " part. which we perish. the reaction would have got the upper hand already in June 1793. it was against their comrades treacherous king to be set aside in the fight that the revolutionists had to proceed. rouse the people for the purpose of eliminating them. For more than six months they had been trying to come to some agreement. because it had become evident that unless this was done. It is evident that the members of the " Mountain " did not decide with a light heart to appeal to an insurrection in order to compel the Convention to thrust out from its midst the chief leaders of the Right. Danton especially laboured to negotiate a compromise. worked to render the Girondins powerless parliamenMarat himself stifled tarily. and proscribe the : ! passing over their dead bodies to try and accomplish the great work which the Revolution had begun." without resorting to force. his anger in order to avoid civil war. Brissot was evidently hazarding his head in publishing this pamphlet. in which he implacably demanded " anarchists " should be sent that those whom he called the to the scaffold. This tragic situation is pamphlet have already mentioned. and in that case it was they who must : "To his Constituents. it was no longer a question of a perjured." very clearly revealed in Brissot's dated May 26. but no farther . which would open the door to the royalists . read these pages without feeling that it is a question of life or death that is debated. The dilemma was this yet : Girondin republicans. In this way they managed to delay the separation for several months. nothing was . But at what a price ! The Revolution was entirely stopped . but were now saying fought " " Thus or else to to the people far. in fact. who had up till then so bravely against despotism. Robespierre. We cannot. or else the Girondins should be expelled from the Convention.392 eve of THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION : May 31. while the chief work of the Revolution the destruction of the " " had not the right divine of royalty feudal system and of either to been accomplished.

In the South. The first serious check of the armies would have brought about the victorious return of the old regime. the old regime had maintained much of strength. for having advocated murder and pillage. of the Convention who were acting as commissioners to the armies and in the departments at that time. was its In the provinces.West and the West of France. to restore royalty and the feudal rights that the law had not yet abolished. The privileged classes were lying in wait for the moment to recapture their wealth and position. the South. the Girondins redoubled the bitterness of their attacks against Mountain. which Marat had signed as the president of the club for that Taking advantage of the absence of a great many members members of the " Mountain " mostly week. should retreat to their poverty novels and leave a free hand to the old regime? Would it not be triumphant everywhere in a few months ? After Dumouriez' treachery the situation in the Convention became quite untenable. on hearing the news of Dumouriez' treachery. and famine. weary of the war. the mass of the people were with the priests. from hand to mouth. neither redeemed nor paid. The decree for his arrest was voted on April 13. in order to send him for trial before the criminal tribunal. an order of prosecution against Marat. implicated by this treason of their favourite general. exhausted by visional. and through them with royalty. on April 12. Feeling how deeply they were as to some extent to the peasants. could only reply by flinging down a demand for the they prosecution of Marat for the address the Jacobins had pubthe lished " on April 3. the Girondins demanded of the Convention. with the Pope. as well The feudal dues were But all that was merely proAnd what if to-morrow the people.A NEW RISING RENDERED INEVITABLE living 393 It being done to secure what had been already gained." Accused of conniving with the traitor. It is true that a great deal of the land taken from the nobles had already passed clergy and the dispossessed into the hands of the upper and lower middle classes. by 220 voices against 92. and then a warrant for his arrest. out of 367 voters seven .

Marat saw more clearly and more justly than the others. but he never thought of dictatorial powers for himself. If he had lived. in spite of the fever which racked him. and he only became its advocate and organiser when he saw that it was necessary to choose between the " Gironde " and the Revolution. Up to his death. he gave himself entirely to it. admirers of the middle-class Girondins. would never be capable of accomplishing first to avoid the elimination of the Girondin leaders by violence. He His door was thought that a would help the Revolution through its difficulties. even when they in their turn began to be an obstacle to the development of the movement. clearer and better even than the two other great leaders of revolutionary opinion Danton and Robespierre. Bloodthirsty as his language was with regard to the creatures if of the Court he said that especially at the outset of the Revolution. one discovers how unmerited was his reputation as a sinister exterminator which the historians. and especially in critical moments. The felt poor that Marat was one of the people and never would And the more one studies the Revolution the more one knows what Marat did and what he said. it is probable that the Terror would not have assumed the ferocity imprinted on it by the members of the Committee . and lived in absolute poverty. The people of the faubourgs much to allow him to be condemned. and forty-eight abstaining from voting. since the very first weeks of the Convocation of the States-General. when they did not strike off thousands of heads there would be nothing done and the Court would crush the Revolution he always respected those who were devoted to the Revolution. He saw from the outset that the Convention. From the day that Marat threw himself into the Revolution. have created for him. Marat never changed always open to the dictatorship his way of living. loved Marat too The blow however failed. having a strong Girondin party in its its mission. Nearly always.394 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION being for an adjournment. the more betray them. men of the people. driven continually into hiding while the others entered into power. but he tried at midst.

culottes. prudence. liberty. and they understood at once that they never would recover from that " "a blow. : I U\ As the winter of 1793 advanced. as one of their newspapers said. ii." including Robespierre and Marat himself. and from thence into the streets on the shoulders of the under a cascade of flowers. who did not let himself be arrested at once. tion. have broken out on April 14 if the " Mountain. decided to begin with him any other Montagnard. . Marat.* The more the people loved Marat. The attempt of the Girondins had thus failed. and was acquitted off-hand by the jury. and Brissot began to write his last pamphlet. * Marat was right in saying that the works he had published at the beginning of the Revolution. They would not have been allowed to use the Hebertists it to strike. the advanced party and. Legislation criminelle. on the other. especially in the fourth volume of his Histoire de fa Revolution. Offrande a la Patrie. Plan de Constitution. famine in the large towns grew worse and worse. had not preached calmness. the Convention. the conciliators. love of mankind. the more the middle-class members of the Convention detested him. lost the people's respect and the Commune of Paris took naturally the lead in the initiation of revolutionary measures. The municipalities found the greatest difficulty in the world in procuring bread. who wished to : break This is why the down the " Mountain. were full of tenderness. justice (Chevremont. and the first hundred numbers of the Ami du peuple." sans. Under these conditions. 215). vol. were it only a pound. such as Danton.A NEW RISING RENDERED INEVITABLE 395 of Public Safety. Girondins. JaurSs. moderation. who has read Marat carefully." less he would be defended than But as soon as Paris learned that a writ was out for Marat's The insurrection would arrest." in which he did his best to arouse the passions of the well-to-do middle classes against the " anarchists. He was then carried in triumph to the ConvenMarat. "To his Constituents. appeared before the tribunal on April 24. p. It was day of mourning for them. the excitement was immense. has done much towards showing him in a true light. whose sittings were becoming furious battles between the two parties. on the one side.

for the expenses of the war. the municipalities." and had to pay a progressive tax livres for a superfluity of two thousand livres . and assessed on nearly the same a loan to be reimbursed principles as the tax of the Commune later as on by the money sold. the young their turn. fifty thirty livres on a superfluity of from two to three thousand livres . had to run into the most frightful debt. up to this day. it is time for the rich to take I shall declare that the selfish people.396 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION or a quarter of a pound a day. The Commune of Paris then ordered a progressive income tax of twelve million livres to be levied on the rich. For sustaining the war in which France was engaged. they were raised on the emigres' lands. whether they like it or not. and idlers. supported by the France on the rich people. to all. thousand would have paid less But the rich protested loudly. some respite be procured for the useful and respectable worker. in the midst of a Revolution and a famine. Even with the knife at my neck I shall still declare. and so on. for each infour ounces habitant. and especially that of Paris." The Gironde redoubled its hatred for the Commune that had suggested the idea of such a taxation. But one can imagine the general explosion of hatred that broke forth among the public in the to the vote galleries. such an extraordinary from this taxation. up to twenty thousand livres on a superfluity of fifty thousand livres. the poor have done everything . and a thousand livres for every other " " member. whereas a family of livres who had an income than one hundred of ten livres. according In the difficult circumstances through . the promoter of this tax. " said justly : Nothing will make me change my principles. proposed in the Convention. after was only the large incomes which were touched by six persons it. was very modest. while Chaumette. and put be levied throughout a forced loan of a thousand millions to middle classes. whom the Girondins wanted to attack after Marat. It be levied this special year only. when Cambon. treated as " : tax. must be made useful. To do that even. An income of fifteen hundred livres for the head of each family. were considered as necessary and therefore freed But everything above this amount was superfluity.

not even hesitating before the necessity this involved of marching hand in hand with the royalists. they almost came to blows. became the driving-wheel of the appointed Government. it demanded that the register of the sections should be given up. it caused Hebert to be arrested. The Commission of Twelve proposed also to prosecute the sections . at the suggestion of Bar ere. the deputy-procurator of the Commune. the favourite of the Paris poor. Isnard. Better to inundate Paris with blood and to rase the accursed town to the ground. for whom the Convention was but a " law-shop. and the two parties continued to neutralise each other. But what exasperated the people of Paris most of all was If proofs that to stop the Revolution. defenders of property were ready to slay the Montagnards when the latter supported the project of a forced loan . meant to stop there. the Girondins did all they could to incite the departments against the capital. these debates upon the loan would have given a striking demonstration of it. who presided over the Convention . 19. the Girondins. so long as the Girondins remained in the Convention. beloved by the people for the frank republicanism of his Pere Duckesne. we see. decreed the formation of a Commission of Twelve to examine On May into the decisions passed by the Commune. of which Paris had up to that time been the chief forcing-bed. it 397 / out except a tax of this kind. The Girondin. on the 2ist. had no other possible way But in the Convention the were still necessary to show the impossibility of anything being done to save the Revolution.A NEW RISING RENDERED INEVITABLE which the Republic was passing. than to allow the people of Paris and their Commune to initiate a movement which would threaten the middle-class property-owners. and it procured the arrest of the president and secretary of the City section for having refused to give up their registers. Two days later. on the 23rd. and Varlet. Thiers and the Bordeaux Assembly of 1871 had. They preferred royalty rather than that any step should be made towards the Social Republic. and this commission." and who preached the But the arrests were not social revolution in the streets. their ancestors in 1793.

that Paris would be destroyed. brought the popular indignation to its full height. whose names were given. to see if Paris had ever existed." These stupid threats.398 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION during these days. On the 26th there was fighting in nearly every section. if they made any attack on the National representation. which recalled only too well those of the Court in 1791. an authoritarian in whom Thiers was foreshadowed on his part added to the ferment by his threats. . went to the Jacobins on the 26th to say that if need be he was ready to rise alone against the conspirators and traitors who sat in the Convention. and Robespierre. Thirty-five sections of Paris out of thirty-eight had already asked the Convention to expel from its midst twenty-two Girondin representatives. He threatened the Parisians. who until then had discouraged the rising. The insurrection became inevitable. " People would be searching soon on the banks of the Seine. The sections were now rising to compel the Convention to obey the will of the people of Paris.

and appointed a Commission of but still " that purpose. after the general's accomplices being prosecuted. for action. openly demanded the arrest of the " Brissotin " deputies. The had already. those of Mauconseil and Poissonniere. The itself section of the Quatre Nations sections took an active part in the preparations. and had authorised its Watch Committee to issue mandates of arrest against citizens suspected of anti-revolutionary opinions." who constituted an insurrectionary club at the " for " Six Bishop's Palace. the sections of Bonconseil and the Halle-aux-Bles insisted on 9. got ready for insurrection as on August 10. The following month. on April 8 and the treachery of Dumouriez. whilst other sections. unthey hesitated. thirty-five sections published a list of the twenty-two members of the Gironde. the beginning of April. the sections had also been to constitute their Own federation. that is to say. declared in a state of insurrection. Danton. whose expulsion from the Convention they demanded. Robespierre and Marat held frequent consultations with each other during those days . and again action came from the known ones. in March. in their sections.CHAPTER XL VI THE INSURRECTION OF MAY 31 AND JUNE z Preparations for rising Activity of sections Commission of Twelve Want of union among revolutionists Les Enrages New class of middle-class property-owners May 31 Failure of insurrection Preparations for fresh revolt June 2 News of rising at Lyons Fury against Gironde Letter to Convention Speech of Marat to Jacobin Club Girondins join counter-revolutionists Convention outlaws Girondins ONCE more the people. outside trying From . and on the I5th.

The council of the Commune with Pache. numerous gatherings of the people besieged /'the Convention. p. only for the moment. was never very great. and \ suppressed." reprovinces. 209.400 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the Council of the Commune. the mayor. that the One " Extremists " the party of the sections." in an intermittent way. how could they betray the trust of all France ? Danton. vol. also refused to agree to this scheme it either. the The insurrection established the Commission of Twelve. wanted a measure that would strike terror into the counter-revolutionists. * was Vide Aulard. inspired (les by those known as the Enrages). and on April 2 the Gravilliers in the vanguard. on the 27th. took the lead in the creation section. They wanted. f and those who entered the hall demanded. and the Popular Societies would not support It There was another thing to be taken into account. profiting by the majority they had in the Convention owing to the absence of a great many " of the Montagnards. but it was reconstituted on the approach of danger. and on the 2Qth it undertook the direction of the it movement. it at last yielded. and As to the influence of the Jacobin Club. of the galleries. with the support Commission of Twelve should be But the Convention resisted this demand. after rousing people. wearied out. however. . v. . to kill the principal Girondins : they of slaying the aristocrats in Paris. Jacobins. had thus had no effect." who were on commissions in the " " Gironde. always " General of a This committee acted only Committee. and the Commission was broken up. into which they speedily forced their way. What had rendered the insurrection powerless was that there was no agreement among the revolutionists themselves. on May 5.* On May 26. This concession was." supported by the Plain. The National Representation was a trust confided to the people of Paris . its members themselves admitted that the centre of action lay in the sections. The very next day. Hi was not until after midnight that. even spoke But this scheme met with strong opposition. Robespierre and Marat opposed it strenuously.

fact is. They were to confine themselves to a moral insurrection. This is why Hassenfratz." the sections doing likewise. so as to force it to the revolutionary tribunal. were spent in conferences. who declared that there was nothing in theory against the pillage of the scoundrels for so he called the rich nevertheless tried to prevent the " insurrection from being accompanied by pillage. revolutionary elements the the Council of the Departments. on leaving the Convention on the evening of the 3Oth. to putting pressure on the Conguilty deputies to vention. rather than allow attacks to be made on property. Three days. It is clear that it is an absolute impossibility to make an attack on property. 2 C .THE INSURRECTION OF MAY 31 AND JUNE 2 401 necessary to consider the middle classes who were at that time already very numerous in Paris. and whose battalions of National Guards would have put down the insurrection if it became Guarantees had thus a question of defending their property. and that property should be respected. in the " Commune. by the extrema Paris. and so compromise Paris in the eyes of the departments. There are hundred and sixty thousand men having their homes in who are armed and ready to repress pillage. so as not to be opposed by them. to be given that property should not be touched. hand over the Marat. and even at the Bishop's Palace. and he therefore called on " all the members of the club to pledge themselves to perish." A similar oath was taken on the night of the 3ist. On the eve of an insurrection one can never tell whether had already sprung up at this time a class the people will rise or not. This time there was also the fear that the Enrages would try to kill the Girondins in the Convention. The that a new class of middle-class property-owners which has increased so enormously during the nineteenth century and the revolutionists were compelled to take them into consideration. and the General Revolutionary Council at the Bishop's Palace . ists." said Hassenfratz to the Jacobins . until it was agreed that the insurrection should be directed by a union of the Council of the different Commune. therefore. that no personal violence should be committed. one of the Jacobins.

Hanriot. braving at the Commune. so that the Girondin put Vergniaud. and that night the revolutionists from the Bishop's Palace. constituting a General Revolutionary Council the movement. The tocsin was rung " " alarm and drums were beating the throughout Paris. that of the sans-culottes section. and afterwards And apparently it was he who. was on All Paris foot. but the majority of the people only wanted to some pressure on the Convention. " which undertook the direction of This council appointed Hanriot. the law which punished with death any one who rang the tocsin. the armed sectionaries. Two battalions. to be General Commander of the National Guard. But still indecision was the most noticeable thing in this rising. who sat at the Bishop's Palace. surrounded the Tuileries and the Assembly Hall. after first making them take an oath to join the insurrection. Then. They did the same with the council of the department. rang the first peal at midnight from the belfry of the Hotel de Ville. the commander of one of the battalions. Even after the alarm-gun on the Pont-Neuf had begun to fire. Commune . faithful to the Girondins. and who were first deposed. delegates representing the centre of the movement. He no doubt hoped by the " this to mitigate their hostility towards the day were lost. appointing another council.402 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION explained this decision at the Bishop's Palace. put a resolution to the effect that the sections had merited well of the country. The The insurrection thus began. seeing that they went no further. and the Commune met together. pouring into the streets. they reinstated both. the Depart" ment. Hours passed by without anything being done. as the mayor and the council of but instead of dismissing the mayor and had been done on August the 10. and they took up a position in front of the Tuileries. had been the first to hasten to the Convention. when new crowds of people came up in the evening and invaded the Hall of the Convention. with forty-eight cannon from the sections. about one o'clock in the afternoon. the Montagnards feeling Gironde." It looked almost as if . did not seem to have any fixed plan.

should be paid forty sous a day. Commune gave the order for the arrest of He had gone away. of the alarm-gun began again to resound. until public tranquillity was restored. Council of the Roland and his wife. and she was arrested It furthermore demanded very plainly that the Conalone. It was decided. should be expelled from the Convention. Robespierre demanded not only the suppression of the Commission of Twelve and the trial of its members. set to work to prepare for a fresh rising for the next day but one. the Convention approved of a resolution of the Commune which directed that the workmen who remained under arms. Upon this the Commune levied a tax on the rich. without tickets being required for workmen admission. This proposition was not discussed. failing this. For the rest. but also the trial of the principal members of the " " the Twenty-Two " and who Gironde. June 2. so as to be able to pay the for the first three days of the insurrection. All this was still " Gironde " meant. or. . and they asked that the Girondist leaders should hand in their resignations. They had with them one hundred and sixty-three pieces of artillery. and to have all its papers settled and sent to the Committee of Public Welfare. vention should have twenty-seven of its Girondist members That evening the tocsin was rung. the number being afterwards raised to twenty-seven. this time to finish matters. But then the people comprehending that nothing had been done. reports all Paris had risen.THE INSURRECTION OF MAY 31 AND JUNE 2 403 themselves reinforced. for a report to be made on them within three days. of Paris." whom they called did not include the Twelve. very little. and continued to have a majority in the Con- The insurrection had failed. hundred thousand armed men assembled round the Convention. that the galleries of the Convention should be thrown open to the people. however. The revolutionary committee formed within the General vention. and the measured arrested. The there. All that the Convention decided to do was to break up the Commission of Twelve once more. also. that On June 2 a More than twenty-two of them.

" The people who were besieging the Convention declared that they would let no one pass out so long as the expulsion of the principal Girondins. that the decree which you have just made is the salvation of the Republic . counter-revolutionists Girondins ! It is known that the Convention. The news roused the people to fury . It became known that on May 29 the famished people of Lyons had risen. " the " Plain and part of the " Mountain. and the share taken by the Girondins in the counter-revolution was only too evident. and proclaimed the right of well-being for all. " We have given a great impetus to the Revolution. hoping to overawe the people." he said. tried to get out. you only must make up your minds definitively. it was the doom of the " Gironde. wish that all the citizens " We . so as to answer their departments for their safety. or at least the Right. was not pronounced. It voted the exclusion of thirty-one of the Girondist members . Nothing is easier . drawing his sword. to your guns After a three days' resistance. we come to offer hostages from among us. gave the famous order " " Gunners. in which he summed up as follows the meaning of movement that had just been carried out. the Convention was thus : ! obliged to do as it was bidden. citizen legislators." On the other hand. in some fashion or other. speaking of the expulsion of the thirty-one Girondin the it is for the Convention now to confirm the bases deputies.404 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION horrible news that arrived that day from Lyons rein- The forced the popular insurrection. the Royalists supported by the had gained the upper hand and had restored order by murdering eight hundred patriots This was unfortunately only too true. and so make their way through the crowd. Marat gave an address to the Jacobins on June 3. Whereupon Hanriot. whereupon a deputation of the people brought to it the following letter : " The whole of the people of the departments of Paris have deputed us to tell you." declaring that their deliberations were no longer free. in numbers equalling those of whom the Assembly has ordered the arrest. but that the that is. of the public happiness.

are the in the provinces against anarchists. But what of existence. . . p. whom he had to If these deputies. allotted to each member of the Con- The vention. We Acknowledge that we are the great and if you do not help us to turn the wheel. tell you. disorganisers. we shall number. property. had withdrawn into private life. popular errors Declare cut at the roots of superstition .THE INSURRECTION OF MAY We 31 AND JUNE 2 405 spoken of as sans-culottes may enjoy happiness and comfort. we shall take possession of your these men property. wish that this useful class should be helped by the rich in proportion to their capacities. accompanied by a gendarme. We " the most sacred property ? It wish this property to be respected. " I have a truth to . . that the priests are your enemies."* openly At that moment Paris did not in the least desire the death ! of the Girondist deputies. . . 227. Dantonism. RobesDo not cherish any longer the pierrism. Their pay even.' And to this he added another idea which was soon to be put into execution : " " Jacobins. and divide it among the sans. of eighteen francs a day. As to those who have more than a hundred let thousand. they hurried off to their departments to stir * them up against the Convention. . it is certain that they would have been let alone. We do not wish to attack is . which they so much liked to vaunt. All that the people wanted was that the revolutionary members of the Convention should have a liberty of action for carrying the Revolution further on. v. Paris. drive you out of the Republic. . vol. Jacobins. shall tell them cry out as ' : much as they like. . was continued. You do not know your most deadly enemies they It is they who declaim most constitutional priests. Aulard. Jacobinism.culottes." he went on to say. is that . We wish that all men who have not a hundred thousand livres' worth of property should have an interest in the maintenance of our work. arrested deputies were not sent to the Abbaye prison . and every one of them could move about feed. acting in accordance with the principles of antique citizenship. they were guarded in their own homes. But instead of that.

rather than give up their plans. and only then lawed them as rebels.406 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION in order to excite the counter-revolu- and when they saw that tion and to rouse the departments against Paris. they allied themselves with the royalist traitors. they would have to march hand in hand with the royalists. They marched with these traitors against the Revolution. in July 1793 the Convention out- . Then.

wealth . the laws abolition. The great changes in the relations between citizens. after four years of resistance. which lasted from May 31. represents the most important period of the whole Revolution. And it was the people the sans407 . the establishment of a maximum price for all commodities . the democratic Constitution of 1793 all these measures came in rapid succession after the Right had been weakened by the expulsion of the Girondist leaders. The taxation of the rich to help towards the enormous expenses of the war . at last carried out by the purified Convention. of the lands which the nobility had taken from them the definite . 1789. 1794 (9th Thermidor of the Year II. 1793. to July 27. of the feudal rights intended to spread and equalise concerning inheritance. of expelling the chief men of the Convention. This period. the programme which the Assembly had sketched during the night of August 4. result of expulsion of Girondins Importance of May 1793 to July 1794 Famine continues War against coalition Difficulties of sans-culottes necessary Superfluous and necessary incomes of levying loan Forced loan Impossibility IF any one doubts the necessity under which the Revolution " Gironde " from the lay. were. he should cast a glance at the legislative work which the Convention set itself to accomplish. as soon as the opposition of the Right was broken. the restoration to the communes since 1669 . of the Republic).CHAPTER XL VII THE POPULAR REVOLUTION ARBITRARY TAXATION Immediate period. without redemption. under the pressure of the popular revolution.

beasts of burden. so as to conceive the actual penury and ruin to which King of Spain. after they had given it the power of doing so by the insurrection of May 31 . iron. or else create new ones hoped for themselves as soon as the monarchic regime was re-estab- who had lished by remained faithful to it had to struggle between the circle of foreign cannon and bayonets that was closing round them. the regenerate France : town-worker familiarised with equality and democracy. when all things were lacking bread. the aristocracy and the clergy despoiled of their riches which had been their true strength. and the war. formerly occupied privileged positions and all who either to regain those positions. the middle Revolution all conspired against classes it. the King of Sardinia and the still when they had on and financed by England. the nobility. saltpetre when nothing could enter by land through the armies of four hundred thousand men sea. Seeing this. it should find a new and the peasants in possession of the land. the sans-culottes made haste to act so that when the reaction gained the upper hand. and these riches already passed into . hurled against France by the allied Kings. Under these truly tragic circumstances. urged terrible The France was brought by the invasion. all who held by the old state of things. requirements of this war were enormous. and the conspirators in their midst who were trying to stab the the clergy. to create local executive power. and nothing by through the blockade maintained by English ships under these circumstances the sans-culottes were striving to save the Revolution which was on the point of collapsing. assumed proportions. shoes. reigned during this period.408 culottes THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION who not only forced the Convention to legislate in this way. enriched Those who them in the back. but it was also they who put these measures into execution locally. lead. by means of the popular societies to whom the Famine commissioned members of the Convention applied. and one can have no idea of them without noting the minute details that are to be found in the documents of the time. maintained by the Republic against the coalition of the King of Prussia. At the same all time. the Emperor of Austria.

We have found the traces of them and we have recovered some " fragments of the library of Pelarin. and they ought to be sought for soon as they are rapidly disappearing. divided into shares.* What the historians have chiefly studied of this period is the War and the Terror. unrecognisable impossible to reconstruct. * both reactionaries Papers of the highest value have been destroyed recently at Clairvaux." which had been sold to a grocer and a tobacconist in the village. first really revolutionary measure taken after May 31 was the forced loan from The subvent the expenses of the condition of the Treasury was. as we have seen. it The documents which exist in the provincial archives. in the minutes of the municipalities and of the one day be used for writing popular societies. had already deNew taxes on the poor could not produce anypreciated. if not to tax the rich ? And thing. When we read to-day what contemporaries. The paper-money.ARBITRARY TAXATION 409 thousands of other hands. in each town and hamlet of gave France. changed entirely in appearance. All that we relate this can do to-day is to recall some of the chief features of it. What else was left to do. which was accomplished during these thirteen months. And yet these are not the essentials. dethe rich to plorable. . will be the work of some future historian. The war was devouring huge sums of money. the idea of a forced loan. The true history of those thirteen months June 1793 to July 1794 h as not 7 et keen will written. But they have not yet been collected with the care that has been bestowed upon the documents concerning the legislation of the Revolution. in the reports and letters of the Convention's commissioners. The war. of a milliard levied on the rich an idea which had already been mooted under the Ministry of Necker at the outset of the Revolution germinated in the nation. no doubt. The essential factor was the immense work of distributing the landed property. the work of democratising and dechristianising France. To immense work with all the struggles to which it birth in the different places. This would. be the work of a life-time : but without this work the history of the Revolution will remain incomplete. issued in too great quantities.

As to the manner of carrying it into effect that was to be discussed later on or is This why all that could be done on perhaps never." The Convention lost no time in taking similar action. which should be made up by the : . Les finances de I'ancien regime et la Revolution." On the very night following the expulsion of the principal Girondins. but exclude " the ci-devants. on May 20. whatever his ideas might be concerning property. the ex-nobles. May 20 was to accept the idea of a forced loan in principle. . was to be free and fifteen from taxation. vol. it is and im- possible not to think that every republican. and twenty thousand for fathers of families. must have sided with the idea of a forced loan. on introducing the "I should like the Convention to question on May 20. 1793. The discussions in the Convention were very interesting. Cambon. who proposed the following principles for the forced loan. and on June 22. and requisiThis principle was adopted only the Convention by its decree of the same day fixed the ten necessary income at six thousand livres for bachelors and tioned in its entirety for the loan. There was no other this question possible way out of the was brought forward. thousand for the fathers of families. said of the condition of France.* * I here follow the work of Rene Stourm. it The was to be considered as superfluous. 1885. the Commune of Paris resolved that the decree fixing the maximum for the price of commodities should be carried into effect without further delay. and that the revolutionary army should be organised and should comprise all good citizens. The necessary income. the aristocrats. that is. ii. if the Girondins succeeded in sending the " " " Montagnards to the Tarpeian Rock. the tax was proposed by Cambon. 1793. pp. it discussed the report of Real. difficulty. three thousand livres for a father of a family hundred livres for a bachelor. If the income were above excessive this figure. that the arming of the citizens should be proceeded with at once . incomes were to contribute by progression. 369 et seq.410 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION revolutionists. up to the incomes of ten thousand livres for bachelors. but the Girondins fell upon the proposers of the loan with unexpected violence. stirring When up a shameful scene in the Convention. that the forced loan should be levied . a moderate . said open a civic loan of a milliard livres.

had already advised it on March 9. fact. The idea of superfluous and necessary rich and the indifferent. and set the example of a loan of this kind. You are rich. and so to make it another step forward. Thuriot. yet this law concerning the forced loan was never obeyed. ." Marat. was applied not as a permanent tax. The rich people did not pay it. but how was it to be levied upon rich people who would not pay. but as a forced loan. is that although there was certainly never any government that inspired more terror than that of the Convention in the Year II. which proves in a remarkable way the impotence of parliaments. that had taken the initiative. The excessive incomes were taxed on an ascending scale which went from ten to fifty per cent.* and on September 3. but there was a very strong opposition. in August.^ Jacques Roux. The levying of the loan entailed enormous expense . This. And as to the incomes above nine thousand livres. plus the mentioned. which causes us expense . I want to bind you to the Revolution whether you like or not . Cambon mentioned it in his speech.ARBITRARY TAXATION 411 They perceived. they were taxed so five as never to leave more than four thousand necessary income. that with these sums the loan would produce less than two hundred millions. 372. the Convention had to fall back on its decree of June 22. plus a thousand livres for each member of their family. of the income. you have an opinion. however. by sale ? For this a complicated political mechanism was required. It fixed for bachelors and fifteen the necessary income at a thousand livres hundred for married men. of the Republic. only made livres of hundred which we have just and under extraordinary circumstances. * Stourm. that of Herault. Later on even after the reaction of Thermidor. By seizure. note. p. however. at the Gravilliers. the Direc- tory also had recourse to two attempts in the same direction in 1795 and in 1799. in this respect they attained their end. and there was already so very for a time A striking much of the national property for sale . the loan but as the advanced Montagnards meant was not a success it to prepare men's minds for the idea of equalising all wealth. and Mathieu supported this proposal . ? Materially. I want you to lend your wealth to the Republic. It should be noted that it was a department. no matter what the amount of the rich man's revenue was.

It was even applied in several countries.412 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION incomes was making its way and we know that progressive taxation became part of the democratic programme during the century after the Revolution. so but the name. indeed. but in much more moderate left rate. that there was nothing proportions . mode- .

Formerly. and clearings meadows. in kind. the questions that dominated quest ons of immense importance in others in rural France . waste had belonged to the village communities. the peasants took back these lands 166*9. and yet so long as the Girondins. they remained in suspense. the peasants had expected to regain possession of the communal lands. or gifts. generally consisting of three days' various payments. the whole of the land lands. feudal lords held the right of administering justice over the inhabitants. the clergy and the upper middle classes had appropriated under the edict of Wherever they could. which two-thirds of France was intensely interested. as we have all seen. in spite of the tenible repression which very often followed their attempts at expropriation.CHAPTER XL VIII THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AND THE COMMUNAL LANDS History of communal lands Rise of middle-class peasants Opposition to poorer peasants Active and passive citizens Appropriation of communal land by well-to-do peasants Inaction of Assembly Proposal of Mailhe rejected Decree of Assembly Indignation produced by decree Difficulty of carrying decree into effect Assembly frames new law to " " grabbers advantage of THE restoration and the of the communal lands to the village communes definite abolition of the feudal laws were. in exchange for 413 The work and which the . Since the beginning of the Revolution. when a ray of hope had penetrated into the villages. and had even tried to take back what the nobility. woods. or rather since 1788. the " " defenders of property ruled the Convention. and most of them had also the right of levying various taxes.

and of the clergy. in for the appropriation of the 1669. chiefly the meadows. This appropriation was gradual . would obtain the right of building a farm on land belonging to the commune in the centre of uncultivated lands. and. being under the protection of both King and Church. but towards the end of the sixteenth century it was accom- The lords were. and the land acquired a greater value. if need were. the nobility and the Church continued to seize the communal lands under various pretexts. whether of other lords or of foreigners or of local brigands. was the customary thing in the sixteenth and seventeenth Then came the ordinance of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. tracts of arable land and pastures. began to covet the lands still in the possession of the communities. A monastery would be founded in the midst of virgin forests. with the result that he soon claimed the right of property over all. weapon This weapon was the triage. having become the King's peers. in possession of large plished. which permitted the lord to appropriate a third of the lands belonging to the village communities that had formerly been under his jurisdiction. As the population of Western Europe increased. did not hesitate to fabricate title-deeds. Soleil. But still they were not satisfied. by that time. Or else the lord. however. the lords appropriated considerable tracts of land as their private property. and the lords eagerly took advantage of the edict to seize upon the best land. as well as of the lawyers versed in Roman law. the lords. to furnish the lords with a new legal communal lands. . In other places they took advantage of the law of enclosures (bornage). and this possession soon became property. whom they maintained in their courts. it took centuries the whole of the Middle Ages to accomplish it.4H lords THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION were pledged to maintain armed bands for the defence of the territory against invasions and incursions. le Roi centuries. either by force or by legal village fraud. for a mere nothing. To take these lands by a thousand ways and under a thousand pretexts. who sided with them. with the help of the military power they possessed. and the peasants of their own accord would give the monks vast tracts of the forest. Gradually. Under Louis XIV..

should be declared illegal. the Constituent and the Legislative. the contrary. We know. or in proportion to the personal tax (la taille) paid by each houseSeveral cahiers of 1789 made a similar demand. Servians. Hindus. that raised in a country where communal property exists. tried to compel the village communes to divide their lands. as soon as the peasants became conscious of the approaching Revolution. who have grown rich by some small business. the theft of the communal lands. on holder. continued throughout the whole kingdom. Bulgarians. must be noted that the idea of dividing the communal lands between the inhabitants of each commune. no more than it is favoured in our own day by Russians. . but also by the Convention. it is raised in behalf of the village middle- whenever a voice is class people. while the lords had protectors at Court. lands. It the lands general was necessary.THE ASSEMBLY AND COMMUNAL LANDS and in 415 several provinces the lord who had put a fence round himself the owner of it part of the communal lands declared and received the royal sanction or the sanction of the parliaments to his rights of property over these enclosures. was not at all favoured by the great mass of the peasants. of 1789-1792. Kabyles. in fact. should be restored. they began to insist that all the appropriations made since 1669. which was often brought forward by the village bourgeoisie. so long It as it was under the domination of the Girondins. demanding the division of lands belonging to the village community. on a large and small scale. whether under the law of triage or otherwise. not only by the two Assemblies. which a but reaction might set in any day. to make the restoration of and to legalise it.* However. complained of the enclosures (bornage] which the King had authorised in certain provinces in 1769 and 1777. and that the induced by the village communes themselves had been thousand fraudulent means to give up to indiviIn certain places. and * Several provincial assemblies had. As the resistance of the communes to these appropriations was treated as rebellion. either in equal parts per head. a measure which was strenuously opposed. or any other peasantry among whom the village community still persists. and if successful the cidevants the dispossessed nobles would again seize upon them. the peasants had already taken back these lands. during the risings duals. Arabs. therefore. Others. prior to 1789.

in one way or another. " the inhabitants. and who were called These styled themselves the bourgeois. as is hope to appropriate the poor man's soon as the land is The bulk of the peasantry nearly always opposed to such a division. By the law of December 1789. which was composed. Alsace die Burger. but they were against this mass when they demanded the peremptory division of these lands. in " " the " families . being evolved. and were scarcely allowed to pasture a goat on the waste land. the forests. were often debarred all rights. and the judges. which was growing rich. Their situation became still worse after the National Assembly had established the fatal distinction between active and passive citizens. The opposition of the poorer peasants was the stronger. as in the Russian mir." les die and Switzerland. its tastes and its point of view. a peasant middle class was This was tion." or even simply but there were also those who had entered the on. also what happened in France during the RevoluIn the midst of the great mass always sinking deeper and deeper in their hideous poverty. of commune. because of the distinction which had been established during the course of the centuries between two classes of inhabitants. &c. middle class in its origin. and whose demands were the more readily heard by a revolutionary administration.4 i6 divided. Only and they alone in many cases shared the right of pasturage and Ansdssigen in Alsace the right over the woods. There were families. the former had rights over the communal arable lands. commune menants later . which till all the heads of families in the then had continued to meet under an elm . the waste lands. while the inhabitants. or said they were. the officials. descended from the first founders of each commune. the Constituent Assembly had municipal indeed abolished the popular village assembly. who were. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION acre. or to pick up the fallen wood and chestnuts. in both rural and urban communes. the manants. the Ansdssigen. more or less well-to-do. the citizens. These fowrgmV-peasants Were quite in agreement with the mass of the poor peasants in demanding the restoration of the communal lands taken by the lords since 1669. . not only for political rights but also for the election of the communal councils.

it would be accomplished to the advantage of the well-to-do peasants. heaths and pastures rights which the village bourgeoisie began to dispute when the ancient custom of communal assembly was abolished by the law of December 1789." and to the preservation of which had mainly been due the abundance of cattle and the prosperity of agriThese lands had been taken away by culture and the flax industry. therefore. as may be seen from the laws of 1793. for the " active " citizens to come to an understanding among themselves about that time the appropriation of communal lands by all sorts of middle-class people must purchases of the best pieces of ground. officials and to place them in the hands of the nobility. would be excluded. (Motion de Robespierre CM nom de la province d'4rtois et &$ provinces de Flandre. boroughs and villages of Artois possessed since time immemorial. They were. shadow From well-to-do peasants and have proceeded rapidly. enjoyed till then extensive rights over wide stretches of waste lands. and instead of the folk-mote. the passive commoners. d'Hainaut 2 D . no doubt. This must have been the case in the Vendee. It was easy.THE ASSEMBLY AND COMMUNAL LANDS or in the 417 of the belfry . it had introduced an elected municipality which could be elected by the active citizens alone. the States-General of Artois for the enrichment of the administrative He demanded. and thus to deprive the poor commoners of the use of the common lands which were perhaps the sole guarantee of their existence. indeed. They were both opposed to any solution of the land question that might be unfavourable to the nobility. and undoubtedly all through Brittany also.* * Robespierre had already demanded in the Constituent Assembly the abolition of the ordinance of 1669. and for that reason they took no action. the abolition of the ordinance of 1669. But neither the Constituent " " nor the Legislative Assembly did anything until 1792. and the restitution of the communal lands which " the towns. the little village bourgeoisie began to insist more and more that the lands appropriated under the law of triage the should be given back to the villages. and that the division of communal lands should be decreed at the same time. The poor. where the peasants. quite sure that if the division were decreed by the National Assembly. Under the influence of the laws made by the Constituent Assembly.

his decree was not accepted. When Mailhe bi ought forward. those who were called inhabitants. which. on August 25. was indeed a treacherous blow dealt to communal ownerHurriedly drawn up. these citizens shall enjoy complete of their respective portions. to this be equally fix the method of division the Committee of Agriculture shall in three days propose a plan to be decreed. was anything but an imperfect summary. British nationaux envahis par les Museum Pamphlets. on the motion of Francois (of Neuf chateau). 1792. or Ansdssigen.) . It carelessness. eleven days previously. . the Legislative Asssmbly. Thirdly. on the eve of dissolution. and compel the lords to restore the com- munal lands which had been taken from the village communes within the last two hundred years. this decree some time seemed to me so extravagant that for could not believe that the text. of all rights complete decree. the Legislative Assembly. on August 14. however. 1791. as given by Dalloz. with incredible vagueness and ship. felt itself obliged to do something. the comownership each commune." same decree the Legislative Assembly abolished also the joint liability of the commoners for the payment of dues and taxes. all the communal lands and usages other than " woods [which meant even the grazing lands still held by the communes. a well- thought-out proposal for a decree to annual the effects of the ordinance of 1669.418 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION After August 10. this year. But I and full text of this over communal lands. and I searched for the I found Dalloz had given the exact amazing law. over which rights of pasturage generally belonged to all the inhabitants] shall be divided among the citizens of Secondly. It was understood to be an order to divide the communal lands et We de Cambists pour la restitution des biens seigneurs. 1792. immediately already decreed as follows : after the harvest. had First. and what it did was for the benefit of the village bourgeoisie. Imprimerie Nationale. munal property known as nobody's and vacant shall divided between the inhabitants. with the stroke of a abolished communal property in France and deprived pen. And By fourthly. can quite understand the fury provoked by this decree throughout France among the poorer of the rural population. Instead.

Seeing the difficulty of carrying the decree into 1792. on the eve of its dissolution. "f So long as the Girondins dominated the Convention nothing shall But it is very probable that the peasants those of them. and those citizens only. 2261. and the citizens who have done the aforesaid ploughing and sowing shall enjoy the crops resulting from their labours. 1793. by the decrees of October 11-13. but if The decree was so interpreted indeed Dalloz. the Legislative Assembly had published another decree concerning the communal lands. as as theirs by the tribunals " lands or part of * them the lord had appropriated these . a report was read before the Assembly to state that the carrying out of this decree was so vigorously opposed by the people that it would be impossible to apply it. However. by the law-courts f (vide Ibid. would have been turned comIt declared. No. that if it had been upheld. earlier than within the last forty years. note). pended over the communes. x. p. true pletely to the advantage of the lords. which. ix.* and this decree. would in itself have sufficed to rouse the whole of the Breton peasantry against the Republic. did to the Revolution shall tell districts against sus- Who the amount of hatred stirred up by it in agricultural the revolutionists of the towns ? Nor was this all.THE ASSEMBLY AND COMMUNAL LANDS 419 " " among the active citizens. and it was not rescinded until October by the Convention. 265. But who still ? shall measure the harm that this threat of expropriation. the unoccupied and waste lands shall be considered belonging to the village communes. and shall be adjudged " enough. . nothing was done. the time of partition. Already on September 8. communal lands had failed for the time being. " the that communal lands under until cultivation shall. continue to be ploughed and sown as before in accordance with local customs. 186. to the " and the poor. The Legislative Assembly separated without having abrogated it. Between August 28 and September 14. with its third paragraph. the Convention decided first. It was a spoliaexclusion of the "inhabitants tion for the benefit of the village bourgeoisie. at least. effect. to whom the purport of these counterdecrees was explained realised that the attempt to divide the better could be done.

the law of August 1792 was. according to which the village commune could never regain possession of its lands once the lord had sold his acquired or supposed rights over them to a third person. vol. 36. as was shown later by Fabre (deputy for the Herault)." and so to nullify the clauses "of this decree which were favourable to the communes. " " of comturned to the advantage of the grabbers always munal property. shown clearly how difficult it was for the village communes to produce the positive and certain proofs which were demanded of them by the law-courts for reinstating them in possession of their lands. 247. It was only in the Convention.420 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION lords.. Dalloz has. and then only after the insurrection of May 31 and June 2. Revolution. p. "f and had held them since. therefore. was of a very great advantage " all the former lords were able to for to the Fabre also pointed out in this decree the injustice of Article 3. they remained his property. which ended in Such the expulsion of the Girondist leaders. nearly prove the necessary forty years' possession. . R. in a report by him to the Convention. * " These lauds shall be restored to the communes unless the former lords (ci-devant seigneurs} can prove by title-deeds or by exclusive and undisturbed possession for forty years that they have proprietary rights. that the question of the communal lands could again be considered in a light favourable to the mass of the peasants.* This law. as it was. F. furthermore." British Museum Pamphlets on the French f Rapport de Fabre.

declarations.* * "All the communal lands in general. montagne]. and by their nature belong to. and has been full of consequences more." said the law of June 10-11. vacants. communs. 1793. that had been taken from the village communes in one way or another by individuals. the generality of the inhabiajoncs. palus. of idle and waste lands. grass. hermes. By this law all the lands taken from the communes within the last two centuries. are the property of. " known throughout the Republic under the various names 1793. 1793 partition So long as communal the Girondins were the masters. " forty years' possesincluding also those that came under the sion " Act. heath. But immediately after June 2. still less did it accept Mailhe's proposal concerning the lands of which the communes had been robbed. &c. marais. marsh. &c. the Convention took up the question again. the question of the lands remained as it was. perhaps. it passed a law which has marked an epoch in the village life of France. bois tants. had to be restored. and waste lands..CHAPTER XLIX THE LANDS RESTORED TO THE COMMUNES Lands to be restored Difficulty of Details of decree Diverse opinions of peasants Majority of communes quickly take possession of lands Subsequent history of communal lands of Law June n." of Article 25 of the ordinance concerning the "waters and forests of communes 1669. bruyeres. The Clause 4 shall be authorised to demand their restitution. pacages. (gastes. landes. decrees of the council 421 and . garrigues. marecage. as well as all the edicts. or sections of the communes. decreed by the Legislative Assembly. pdtis. or members of the communes. than any other law in French legislation. as well as all those unoccupied. and under any other denomination whatsoever. by virtue of the triage ordinance of 1669. The Convention did nothing to minimise the harmful effects of the decrees of August 1792. and on June n.

partial distribution or concession of woods and forests." * Vide the speech of P. and the purified Convention. The idea which led the Convention astray was that no one in France which since that time have authorised the triage. many They knew that if before long to buy the lands were divided. the Convention the partition of these lands. declared by the decree of August 28. who had long coveted the communal lands. as we have " peasants found in the Convention energetic advocates. the division to be made between the to the exclusion of the "inhabitants. and acts done as resulting therefrom. are revoked and remain in this respect as null and void. These were the men who demanded compulsory division. and all the judgments given. poorer citizens the 'passive citizens of 1789. letters patent. made a false step On this point there concerning were two conflicting currents of ideas in the Convention as in every other place in France." or even of the alone. who always pleaded in the name of property. Lozeaji concerning the communal properties. " citizens said. were no longer there to support the advocates of division. however. division. printed by order of the Convention.422 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION However." " The forty years' possession. in passing this just and necessary measure. good thing. . wanted the partition. and the legitimate title shall not be that which emanates from feudal authority. but it believed at the same time that it was doing and acting in the interests of agriculture. . it would be easy for them up from the poorer peasants the plots of land which would be allotted to them. manorial and seigniorial. as sufficient to establish the ownership of an individual. The Girondist leaders. like Julian Souhait. dominated by the Montagnards. by authorising the a lands to be divided among the inhabitants individually. The well-to-do peasants. shall not in any case be allowed to take the place of the legitimate title. which was to efface the effects of the spoliations committed under the old regime. 1792. .* there being only a few. of which they in cases held portions in pledge. justice and equality when they pointed out the inequality in the properties held by the different communes which did not prevent them from defending the inequalities within the commune. to the prejudice of the communal rights and usages . would not agree to divide the communal lands among one part only of the inhabitants . These bourgeois They wanted also. who demanded that communal property should be maintained.

per head of the domiciled inhabitants. shall be made " so much all. * Section Article i. absent or present. domiciled for a year in the commune. regardless of age or sex. however. rather than permitted. The out. pretended debts. or only in part. the communes could go as 1669 to claim their former possessions from the and the crafty. and this assembly communal property should be If a third of divided.. wiped between citizen and inhabitant was one had a right to the land. And all the communal lands. Concerning the other part of the law that decreed the division. Article 2. either the whole of it. including the children of both sexes and aged relatives. of either sex one. shall have an equal share in this division. could now be taken back by the peasants. f Section iii. including the labourers and the domestics on the farms. An assembly of the inhabitants. Article I. had to be optional. composed of all individuals having an interest in the division. the division of the communal lands. was to be convened on a was to decide whether the and over the age of twentycertain Sunday. and its being carried into effect by the will of onethird over two-thirds of the inhabitants."* " Every citizen. It was a comEvery distinction plete revolution. now belonged to all those who had lived in the commune far back as for a year in proportion to the number of persons in each family. the assembly voted for the division. The between division. The forty years' possession was no longer a title to property. 1793. says the law of June n. and for ten years the communal portion assigned to each citizen shall not be seized for debt.LANDS RESTORED TO THE COMMUNES 423 should be refused a share of the Republic's land. and under the influence of this idea the Convention favoured.! It is easy to conceive the immense change brought about by this decree in the economic life of the villages. includpowerful ing the lands restored to the peasants by the law of June 1 1. the division should be decided upon and could not be revoked.. it was applied only . ii. and frauds. Ibid. All the lands taken from the communes for the past two centuries. by means of triage."f The partition.

made no attempt to equalise the benefits conferred on the communes by the law of June 1 1 Making speeches about the poor communes that got nothing served as an excellent pretext for doing nothing and for leaving the dishonestly . of them per head and 579 per family. their right of grazing. &c. rich . were in no hurry to vote for the partition. Paris.. 1793). as we know. divisions. which is a wine-growing 686 communes divided the communal property. and lease them in in large lots. highly reactionary bodies representing the interests of the rich. appropriated lands with those who had got them. all lands intact. They meant to hold. unfair to allow certain communes to possess a great deal of land while others have only a little. over the uncultivated In some parts of France there were numerous Thus. and consequently said Bridet. but when the opportunity came for proposing something to prevent this "injustice." * nothing was proposed.424 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION in certain parts of France." He proposed therefore that the State should take possession of all the communal lands. by the communes themselves. But in La Vendee and in Brittany they violently opposed the division being made by the will of a third of the inhabitants. the majority of the communes kept their lands intact. to the local peasants. 107 country. and would only in exceptional . the peasants willinglyNorth. divided the communal lands." it is " are national property. He proposed some" " The land nationalisation. but in other departments. in Central and Western France. only 119 communes remaining undivided . which were. Of course this scheme was not adopted. and then not generally. in the Moselle. the poorer families would soon become proletarians and poorer than ever.* An exception should be made in favour of Pierre Bridet (Observa tion sur le decret du 28 aout 1792. It class need hardly be said that the Convention. who knew very well that if the communal lands were divided. All this was to be done by the Directories of the departments. if leaseholders weie to be found if not thrown open to the enterprise of inhabitants from other districts in the neighbourhood. small lots. As a rule the peasants. whose middle- members loved so much to talk of the inequalities that would result if the communes simply retook possession of their lands. Since the lands belonging to each commune would have been leased (as they already were) in the first instance. In the where there was not much pasture." thing like what is to-day described as communal lands. and poor. of them.

and unable to examine that language more closely. The communes that of their ancient lands secured made no delay in retaking possession them then and there. the State was going to step in and take the place of the communes in the administration of their lands. (June 19. Year III. This is what the scheme meant.. * " Inasmuch as the effect of the law of June 10. most probably. moreover. . the scheme practically amounted to this In order to permit a few exceptional middle-class men to lease lands situated in other districts and communes than their own. and August 24. But the communes that hesitated got nothing as as soon at all. even worse than the old ones. and to establish numerous sinecures all in the name of State regulation. a new law forbade the village communes special to transfer or exchange their property by virtue of the laws of June legislation transference. Year IV. ix. who. should be checked. For. a decree was issued prohibiting the restitution of the communal lands to the communes. on May 21. for the time being. these matters under dispute would take a long time." since the examination of " and since it is. . Henceforth was required for each particular act of This law was clearly meant to check the too : n cases be rented by inhabitants from neighbouring districts. up till then. so that when reaction triumphed and the lords came back into power. and all the present holders of the said lands are. for the " time being. all actions and proceedings resulting from this law are. to be suspended. Of course. to be maintained in their possession (Dalloz. as soon the insurrection of the last of the Montagnards had been as reaction crushed on the 1st Prairial. But in reality the scheme tended only to create many new injustices.* A year later. its preamble contained lofty language about justice which might appeal to socialistically inclined town-people. has given rise to numberless actions for claims . would have favoured the better-off men in the province. 195). 1795). got the better of the revolutionists. ignorant of the land question. Prairial. 1796).LANDS RESTORED TO THE COMMUNES What 425 the communes. (May 20. by enabling them to enrich themselves at the expense of the village communes. had been doing themselves was going to be handed over now to paid officials. urgent that the unfortunate results of the too literal interpretation of the law of June 10. serious inconveniences from them having already been felt .. 1797. they could do nothing to regain what the law had taken away from them and the peasants were holding in actual possession. the first care of the reactionary Convention was to annul the revoluOn the 2ist tionary decrees of the Montagnard Convention. 1793. . 1793. 1793.

. scandalous plundering of the on after the Revolution. while those that failed to do so before June 1796 got nothing. went Later still. there were several attempts made M.426 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION communal property which. But. of the Convention failed miserably. to abolish the legislation of the Convention. as " the successive attempts against the laws Sagnac remarks. In revolution it is only the accomplished facts which count. On communes from them the whole. under the Empire." There were too many interests established on the part of the peasants for these attacks to have any effect. it may be said that the majority of the that had retaken possession of the lands filched since 1669 retained possession of them.

1793. the whole matter re- mained in suspense. but the Convention still hesitated to legislate about the feudal rights. in the hope of maintaining part of them. and again endure the horrors of famine as soon much more than the revolutionary period is over ? We have just seen that immediately after the Girondist leaders had been expelled from the Convention. 1793. decree of July 17 was quite explicit. and now. It was only on July 17. the Convention had to discuss the question of the feudal rights. the decree which restored the communal lands to the communes was as " passed. the all-absorbing : one-half of the population of " Is it France. and yet proposed no scheme of redemption which would be binding on the lords. The established 4*7 . on Royalty July 17. the law of France ceased to recognise the rights of the feudal lords the servitude of one man to another. However. that at last it decided to strike the great blow which was to set a seal upon the Revolution by legalising the attainment of one of its two chief objectives the complete abolition of the feudal rights. who asked themselves with anxiety possible that the peasant shall have to set his neck again under the feudal yoke. question for But this was the main. ceased to exist on January 24. the Girondins were opposed to the abolition of these rights its first sittings without indemnity. The distinctions by the two preceding Assemblies between the different feudal rights.CHAPTER L FINAL ABOLITION OF THE FEUDAL RIGHTS Girondins oppose abolition of feudal rights Decree of July 17 Feudal laws abolished en masse Reaction unable to prevent effect of decree Triumph of Revolution As soon in as as royalty was abolished. 1793.

such as these. for instance. added the law. But. if besides the ground rent the owner had imposed any due of a feudal character a fine. or a tribute out of the crops.428 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Every right based upon the feudal law simply were annulled. it was out. But the owner might reply. feudal rights. * Article of the decree of July 17. it is Or it due. . on all sales and inheritances. which had been established in 1789 and 1790. such as the obligation to use the mill or wine-press belonging to the lord." so ran the decree. but beside this rent you have imposed on him a pledge or a tax or some kind of feudal If so. had to be redeemed at the same time as the ground rent.f Thus the assimilation of feudal rents to ground rents. and were not of feudal origin. may which has nothing feudal about it. he could purchase it by paying a sum equivalent to twenty or twentyfive times the annual rent . suppressed without be the farmer pays a ground rent indemnity. or when the land changed owners all dues. Does your farmer hold his land under an obligation of a feudal character ? this It But blow. he I is therefore free and in full possession of the land | Article 2.* There " was no exception . and this condition was accepted by the peasants. whatever you call this obligation. 1793. In that case. there remained only those rents and labour dues that were paid purely for the land. So much the worse. You intended to make a vassal of your farmer . was completely blotted If any rent or obligation had a feudal origin. time the Convention struck a really revolutionary would have none of these subtleties. both fixed and casual. or a limitation on the right of sale of produce. abolished irrevocably and without indemnity. even those reserved by the decree of August 25 last. The law of 1790 had declared that if any one leased a piece of land. All dues formerly seigniorial. be becomes the owner of the land without owing you anything whatsoever. the obligation was merely nominal. are suppressed without indemnity. or even a payment to be made at the time of breaking the lease. ceased to exist. any kind of pledge or tax which represented a personal obligation on the farmer to the landlord.

too. the worse for them."f land-commissioners. But that did not matter. and in the leases they granted stipulated for some trifling "* fine or small tax on sales and purchases they wanted merely to FINAL ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS to play the lord. to numerous protests. So much customary of time. Year II. What the Constituent had done with the feudal titles prince. the dues attaching merely to the land Six 1 and the feudal dues. without owing " either you anything. the Convention consented to suspend * Ph. had all. Ordinary individuals. only to grow very oppressive in the course was as much tinged with feudalism those that had served in centuries past to enslave the peasants . notaries. to bring those title-deeds and charters which gave one class power over another to the record office of their acknowledged the Lords. Five years in irons for every depository convicted of having concealed. . without asking any indemnity for it. through vanity or by force of custom employed this proscribed form. What the peasants had done during their revolt in 1789. there to be thrown in a heap and burned.429 which the feudal obligation was attached. The feudal rights must and shall disappear. subtracted or kept back the originals or copies of such deeds. within three months. Sagnac. count. the Convention saw in it the mark of feudalism. and often on the same page. Assembly marquis the Convention was now doing with the pecuniary ' rights of feudalism. More than this : it ordered that " all the title-deeds which now abolished dues should be destroyed. was now to be done by law." Many deeds of that sort proved the right of feudal Stateits serfs. Sagnac says. Such a contract and therefore it gave the land to the peasant who rented it. (January 27. chiefly on the part 794)j' i n response of the notaries who had recorded in the same books. had formerly and later its vassals. at the risk " of being hanged. ownership over certain lands. The Convention did not whether they wanted to play the lord or to become inquire It knew that all the feudal dues had been trifling and one. municipality. for the State. loa ciU p< 147^ f Article 4. M. months later. on the 8th Pluviose. as at first.

under the leadership of the lords and the wherever their village municipalities remained in the there the decrees of June 1 1 priests and the rich In these regions the peasants and July 17 were not applied. the Empire. and the municipalities were permitted to keep the mixed title-deeds in their archives. 18. and with it began " blue " terror of the enriched middle classes. the. the Consulat. did not regain possession of their communal lands. the returning tide of reaction had no power over the economic revolution that was accomplished in deeds. wherever the peasants had not risen against their lords. the Restoration. as we have already said. they danced round it and burned all the feudal documents. But the law of July 17 remained Floreal. it resisted all attacks. after planting a May-tree. and. hands of the title-deeds from their ex-feudal lords. the Revolution remained plished by their communal lords and the : The reaction was able to destroy. from the written law to its carrying into actual effect. (May all and once more. . the local bourgeoisie and where this was done. Reaction set in on the 9th Thermidor. It is a long way. up to a certain point. But in many places in a good half of the departments the peasants did buy the national lands .430 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION the working of Article 6. wherever they had turned against the sans-culottes. for fear of the Church's curse. possession of the lands they leased from their former lords. here and there they even compelled the administration to sell them in small lots. on the 29th 1794). They retook. which swept away the greater part of the democratic instituBut this part of the work accomtions of the Revolution. They did not burn the feudal and they <|id not even buy the nationalised lands . Consequently. They took lands from the monks. It is most remarkable that the reaction which took the upper hand since 1794 was quite unable to abolish the effect of this the decree that feudalism rents revolutionary measure. in fact. They did not become the owners of the lands they held on feudal lease priests. intact. the Convention confirmed "tinged with the slightest trace of " were to be suppressed without indemnity. Year II. as in La Vende*e. Later on the came the Directory.

as accomplished bureaucratically by the feudal was done in Prussia in 1848.FINAL ABOLITION OF FEUDAL RIGHTS 431 but its economic work political work of the Revolution . as an economic and political caste. who at first resisted the reform. to the advantage of the great mass of the peasants. and the abolition accomplished by a popular revolution. or in Russia in 1861. at least in the fertile regions. drew from it. where the abolition of the feudal system was carried out by a revolution. To become free propertyowners. as it was accomplished in France. also remained and hard to work. transfigured nation. Another thing. unhoped-for advantages. When we study the economic results of the Great Revolution. And the new. the change has acted against the lords. which had been survived. In Prussia and Russia the peasants were freed from feudal dues and compulsory labour only by losing a considerable part of the lands they possessed and by consenting to pay a heavy indemnity which ruined them. In France alone. while the lords. they impoverished themselves . Nearly everywhere in Europe the reform that abolished the feudal servitude increased the power of the lords. formed during the revolutionary turmoil. we comprehend the vast difference there is between the abolition set itself of feudalism State itself. .

and an immense quantity of land went into them the hands of speculators. for sale. the artisans The who lived in the villages. the estates of the clergy. But in proportion as reaction grew stronger and stronger in 1790 and 1791. and later on those of the had been confiscated by the Revolution and put up emigres. Moreover. in certain regions the peasants combined into syndicates True. and the middle classes consolidated their power. the farm labourers. Consequently. it was found preferable not to break up the large estates and farms. 43* small farmers. effect the national estates. but the legislators did not favour such combinations. a certain part of these estates was divided at the outset into small lots. less and less facilities were offered to the poorer classes for buying the confiscated lands. and the poor in general . being short of funds. and the buyers were allowed twelve years to pay the purchase-money by instalments. but to sell When as they were to those who bought them for speculation. Until then these sales upon had the been profitable mainly to the middle Now Montagnards took measures for rendering the purchase of national estates accessible to the poor who wished to cultivate the land themselves. for buying the larger estates. the State.CHAPTER LI THE NATIONAL ESTATES National estates Previously benefited only middle classes Discontent among peasants Convention orders land to be subdivided Decree concerning heirs Effect of redistribution of land Changed aspect of France THE movement the sale of of May 31 had the same salutary classes. was in need of ready money.

peasants. p. G. nor in the decrees that were passed. as Avenel had already " neither in the pointed out. Thereupon came August 10. worth about 5000 francs each. which asked that one-half of the lands offered for sale should be divided into lots. Lundis rtvolutionnaires. in 1789. but the Legislative Assembly paid no attention to their complaints. 177. . word . or else by middle-class town-people the last circumstance producing a great deal of discontent in the villages of Brittany and La Vendee. the wish was expressed in several cabiers that the Crown lands and the mortmain estates should be divided into small farms of from four to five acres each. Kar6iev. to be paid for by a perpetual rent in money. "t that the lands that were put up for sale by number the nation were chiefly bought by such peasants who had already some property. so as to create a The result was of small peasant proprietors. P* 519' 9 E . 80."t But. the promise was made by the National Representation.* Already. do we find one single land. attention paid to the desire expressed by certain papers. Nor was any . distributing small allotments to the But it was only on the 2nd Frimaire. to give one acre of freehold land to each proletarian family in the villages . . 30-40 . of course. Under the menaces of the revolted poor. Sagnac. such as the Moniteur. However. and some commissioners of the Con- poorest vention actually did that. Prof. On June 3. The " three people of Artois would even have no farms larger than hundred measures of land. now under Montagnard influence. p. those buyers who could pay ready money had still the preference. t Ibid. immediately after the expulsion of the Girondist leaders from the Convention. speeches pronounced on this subject. Avenel. pp. * Ph. .THE NATIONAL ESTATES 433 complained. the Legislative Assembly tried to appease discontent by ordering that the lands confiscated from the emigres should be sold in small lots of from two to four acres. j La legislation civile de la Revolution franchise. Nobody advocated in favour of those poorer peasants who owned no in the Assembly the organisa- tion of popular credit for enabling these famishing peasants to buy on easy terms small lots of land. . 1793.

a real revolution was accomplished in the distribution of landed property. in certain portions of France. passed in small lots into the hands of the poorer peasants. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION (November 22. all that. and especially in the class East (as has been shown by Professor Luchitzky of Kieff). however. 1793). them. abolished until 1796. especially favourable payment were introduced for the buyers of the estates of the emigres. considerable quantities prevarications of land were sold in small lots. year (law of April 8 to 15. and notwithstanding and speculations. The It taxes were coming in very irregularly. considerable quantities of land. 1791) all legal inequalities of great landed proprietors. notwithstanding all people who suddenly made scandalous fortunes by the accumulation of national property. that the as possible Convention issued orders to subdivide as much the national estates were conditions of put up for sale. so as to be able to destroy a corresponding amount of paper-money from the previous as issues. when the reactionaries. While there were many middle- And yet. and these conditions were maintained returning to power. At the same time. the Legislative Assembly had abolished the feudal form of inheritance. and For this purpose large fortunes. Besides. In this region. Next among . The paper currency lost in value. Whoever paid in cash continued to have preference. This is why the Montagnards well as the Girondins cared less for the small agriculturist than for the means of realising as rapidly as possible the largest amounts of ready money. Already. on March 15. must. 1790. through the sale of the national estates. be remembered that the finances of the Republic remained all the time in a deplorable state. and in such conditions the essential thing was to get ready money as quickly as possible. and the war absorbed thousands and thousands of million francs. according to which the landlord transmitted his estates to one single heir generally his eldest son.434 Year that II. the idea a of the Revolution was to strike blow at the whole class completely to break up all the right of primogeniture in inheritance was abolished by the revolutionary legislature.

* With all that. considerable amounts of land passed into the hands of the peasants. the estates of the clergy were bought more by the middle classes than by the peasants. What was abolition of the effect of these three great measures the the feudal rights without compensation." said this decree. 1793. Next. In the Laonnais. 435 " All the inheri- which tants of equal degree shall inherit. p. the number of heirs was increased in all inheritances. And every- where black misery the gloomy misery of the old regime began to disappear. by means of agreed donation in a .THE NATIONAL ESTATES the different heirs were done away with. Landed In all those parts of France where property was subdivided. he. one fact dominates the others. 188). " All descendants will have an equal part of the 99 of their deceased relatives (ascendants). and the of the estates sequestrated How It may even be said opinions still remain contradictory. whether in case of death. was known no more in the nineteenth century. In the North. properties The parcelling out of the estates was thus rendered obligatory direct line. the return of the communal lands to the communes. in equal parts." collateral heirs and illegitimate children being put on the same footing as the direct heirs and finally. that they vary according to the portions of France which have been the main object of study by this or that investigator. But it was the reverse with the estates of the imigris. cit. while the estates of the emigrants were equally distributed between these two classes. the Convention abolished " of all rights disposing of one's property. the peasants joined the Revolution. . Chronic famine which formerly used to brood over nearly one-third of France every year. considerable areas of land were bought by small associations of peasants (Sagnac. or whilst still alive. the peasants have bought more estates of the clergy than the middle classes did. Previous to the Revolution some parts of France suffered every year from famine. The agricultural conditions were * In the Cote-d'Or. which were bought in the same region mainly by the peasants. on March 7. and the sale from the clergy and the emigres? did they affect the distribution of landed property ? This question continues to be discussed till now. the properties are assigned to them by law.

in France as elsepoverty is wealth in comparison with what fifty France was a hundred and still years ago. France was democratised by the Revolution to such an extent that those who know France cannot stay for a while in any other country of Europe " One sees here at to themselves without Whereupon superficial people triumphantly no use " however. two legacies of the Great Revolution ! : saying every step that the Great Revolution has not passed over this country. The storm is terrible. see But poverty in the villages. At certain moments one sees the abyss opening that will swallow France. and with what we torch. but he could never have enough even of bread from one crop to the next. His ploughing was bad. and with them comes the White Terror. been changed of by the the very aspect of France has Revolution. revolutions are of There are.436 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION exactly what they are now in Russia. ! Bourbons. in France. who are replaced upon the throne of France in 1814. After that comes the Directory. Terror itself was not capable of thrusting back the French Of course there still peasant under the old yoke of misery. remains too much this where. by the coalition of Kings and Emperors . Just as it is now in Russia is bound to exclaim while studying the documents continually. But then comes the Revolution. wherever the Revolution has not yet carried its . " say (*: : You see. has become a man. his seeds were bad. The sufferings inflicted by the Revolution and especially by the war are unparalleled . He is no longer " the wild animal " of whom La Bruyre spoke in his And Caracteres. they are truly tragical. followed by the wars of the And finally comes the reaction of the Napoleonic Empire. which no reaction could wipe out. From one year to another the crops " " one grew worse and worse. The peasant. The peasant might work himself to death. even more terrible than the Red Terror of the Revolution. France has become a Even the White country relatively wealthy peasants. and his meagre cattle could not give him the necessary manure. He is a thinking being. and the works that deal with the conditions of the French peasants under the old regime.

Never was labour so energetic as in that autumn of 1791. Nantes and Bordeaux lived. Lyons. that of 1793. France had entered upon this phase. and then only in half the departments. and the harvests of 1791. had been passing through a series of bad years very cold winters and sunless summers. worked hard. Michelet tells us . and the question then arises of how these great urban agglomerations are to be fed. all Europe. But since 1788. these two branches fail whenever any crisis occurs. and 1793 had been abundant. Emigration and war. especially the war with England which prevented exportation and all the foreign trade by which such towns as Marseilles. centres of various industries that are developed chiefly for the sake of the rich or for export trade . especially those who had obtained possession of their lands. and the tendency felt by rich people to avoid making any display of their wealth in time of revolution. so that there should have been no lack of bread. In those there had been even a 437 . The peasants.CHAPTER LII THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FAMINETHE MAXIMUM PAPER-MONEY towns Activity of speculators Lyons Demand for maximum Convention fixes price of wheat and food-stuffs Danger of fixing retail Fall in value prices Maximum abolished by reactionaries of paper currency Bankruptcy threatens State Necker Difficulty of feeding large Situation at tries to raise money Manufacture of false assignats ONE of the great difficulties in every Revolution is the feeding The large towns of modern times are of the large towns. combined to put a stop to the manufacture of luxuries and to commerce on a large scale. 1792. In reality there had been only one good harvest. and France in particular.

In the south it was famine price At Clermont in the bread cost sixteen to eighteen sous. as it then was. After the expulsion of the Girondins. an insurrection was inand in that case grape-shot alone could prevent the The Commune. for its part. as well as the means of transport. and even to eight sous in the small towns round Paris.000 livres a day to furnish the bakers with flour. burden had been requisitioned for the war. and to keep the price of bread at twelve sous for the four-pound loaf. Bread. " Our mountain districts are in the utmost misery. went up to 60 livres in February 1793 and to 100 and 150 livres in the month of May. and every one is obliged to wait two days for his turn. The prices of everything had gone up in proportion." we read in the MoniUur of June 15. now rose to six sous. sugar was ninety sous a pound. Puy-de-D6me in June 1793. therefore. pillaging of the rich men's houses. The trade of bladier (speculation in wheat) became at this time one of the most dangerous.000 persons had come life or death . there was a dearth in more than half France. and the Commissioners of the stuffs as Convention were forced to fix the price of bread- the people wished. fixed the quantity of that each department and each canton should send to grain But the roads were in bad repair and all the beasts of Paris. sack of wheat which before that had been valued at only 50 livres in Paris. which formerly cost three sous a pound. but specu- . The government is distributing the eighth of a setier ten and twelve sous a pound. into debt to the State. and a candle cost seven sous. Commune had succeeded in getting the Convention to close the Stock Exchange in Paris on June 27. and expended from plunged deeper 12.000 to 75. 1793. a pound of per individual. The Government. for if the price of bread remained at six sous a evitable pound. Speculators had been treated with much severity . to be one of In Paris the question of feeding 600. 1793.438 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION A surplus of wheat . had been requisitioned for the war. but when this surplus. As the Convention did nothing there were disorderly gatherings and riots in eight of the departments. A pound of meat which had formerly cost five or six sous now sold at twenty sous . but that the did not help matters.

1793. by all well-to-do citizens in this section were pledged not to use sugar and coffee until their more moderate price would allow the enjoyment of them to their less fortunate brethren. On April general measure became necessary. September 8. (February and March 1794). made an order in the Criminal Court On set seals for the the ground. We read." Saint-Just and Lebas. how Montmartre and L'Homme Arme decreed a civic fast of six weeks . . in spite of strong opposition. And it was the same in all the large towns. there are not provisions enough for three 7. this period of scarcity there were touching instances that the sections of of devotion. for the municipality being partly Girondist. the administration of the Paris department had addressed a petition to the Convention demanding that the maximum price at which corn could be sold should be fixed . house of any one convicted of jobbery to be razed to But speculation was only driven into other In Lyons the situation was worse than in Paris. . the Paris Commune in desperation " on the houses of the bankers and money-merchants. all the patriots of Paris decided not to eat any more of it. p. But such things could only have a moral effect in the midst of dearth.* and Meille has found in the Bibliothe"que Nationale the which decree of the Observatoire section dated February i. on the brink During of famine.THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FAMINE lation Palais still 439 at went on. 1793. and speculators were seen assembling the Royal wearing a special badge and marching in processions with girls to mock the misery of the people. note. 12* f Meill6. decided to fix a maximum price for all grains. 1793. the Convention on May 3. channels. regards .f Later on in the Year II.000 souls at least . The population of Lyons at present is 130. for instance. took no measures to relieve " the wants of the people. . 1 6. * Btichez A and Roux. when bread went up to a very high price." desperate. 302. days" wrote Collot d'Herbois to the Convention on November " Our situation as food is We are 1793. 1792. sent by the Convention on commission to the Lower Rhine. xxxvii. and after a serious discussion.

This was the maximum so much cried down. as far as possible. Those who sold or bought at prices above the maximum were to be fined. 1793. over instruction. 1793. an immense army. in weight. protect against those who it made attempts on that life by forming coalitions to deprive * It of what was absolutely is often thought that it would be easy for a revolution to economise in the administration by reducing the number of officialsj This was certainly not the case during the Revolution of 1789-1793. but also that of the baked bread. but the consumer might lay in provisions by the month directly from the merchants or landowners of his canton if furnished with a certificate from the municipality. These prices were to be slightly decreased by degrees until September I. judges paid by the State. bound public markets established for the purpose. For this purpose every merchant or owner of corn and flour was to send from his place of residence to the municipality a declaration as to the quantity and nature of the grain in his Corn and flour were no longer to be sold except in possession. The crime was all the more unpardonable because those who sympathised with the people demanded that not only should the price of wheat be a necessity of the fixed. as well as various objects of prime and secondary protect the life If society it had undertaken to also. which was done even during the scarcity. of the citizen. became the maximum price. so that they could dispense with the middle-men. .440 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION general intention of this decree was to place. justice. the Convention fixed for the month of September the price of the best quality wheat at 14 livres the quintal (50 kilos. necessity. which with each year extended the functions of the State. should it not they said with necessary. The lowest prices at which the different kinds of grain had stood between January I and May I. the administration paid out of the taxes. were to be put to death. 100 by measure). the consumer in direct touch with the farmer in the The markets. and on September 4. above which the grain could not be sold. Those who were convicted of maliciously or designedly spoiling or concealing the grain or flour. Four months of wheat all later it was found advisable to equalise the price over France. and so forth.* moment of which the royalists and Girondins made a crime to lay upon the Montagnards.

deduction being made of the fiscal and other duties to which they were then subject. vols. butter. fish. Certain towns. which had been fixed by the Assemblies plus one-third. however. as Grenoble. The result was a petition which. sur la fixation de maximum du prix des grains dans I' universality de la Republique franfaise)* . 1793. to purchase grain for itself and to deal severely with monopolists. such. the * Vide the collection in the British Museum. Many pamphlets to this effect were published. The maxiprice at which it was permitted to sell these wares was the stuffs. flax. unpractical and dangerous. and the raw materials used in factories were comprised in this category." But public opinion prevailed. sugar. . which contains the pamphlets on the Food Question. sabots.THE MAXIMUM The many contest over this of the 441 subject was. in the name of all the people in the department of Paris. candles. 475. the Convention decided to fix a maximum price for things of first and second necessity meat. white paper. had decided since September 1789. and the council of the department of Paris met the magistrates of the department to discuss this question. and of building granaries with this view and of fixing a maximum price for cereals and meat had already been discussed by both politicians and revolutionists since 1789. This solution was so natural that the question of forbidding the exportation of grain. soap. very keen Montagnards as well as the Girondins being absolutely opposed to the idea of fixing the price of food-stuffs. 474. lamp oil. honey. woollen and cotton tobacco. But at the same time the Convention legislated against the " It decreed that salaried classes and the poor in general. which they said was " impolitic. shoes. salt. 473. Combustibles. demanded that the Convention should fix a maximum The prices of articles of secondary necessity price for grain. cattle for the market. This was the decree of September 29. mum price each had fetched in 1790. lard. the demands for the fixing of a maximum price became pressing. 1793. brandy. hemp. and on September 29. in which he explains the communist principles (Opinion de Momoro . sweet oil. f Momoro has published a very interesting pamphlet on this subject. vinegar. metals.f When the Convention assembled. Bibliotheque historique de la Revolution. were fixed for a year. and beer.

the cost of production. and in value had sunk to fifteen sous. causes of this unavoidable clearness. by the General Councils of the commune at the same rate as in 1790. profit for the wholesale merchant. despite the resistance which such ideas must necessarily encounter. ch. Unfortunately. so much more for expenses of transport. with half that sum in addition." Adding to this five per the cent. A gigantic inquiry was begun. . after a stormy discussion. . when everything of that kind was abandoned. * Vide Avenel. opened by the Thermidorians. for retailer. piece work or by the day. This resulted in an alarming fall in the value of the paper currency : only nineteen francs were in exchange for a hundred francs in paper. on the nth Brumaire (November I. . six months given later November 1725 the six the exchange was two francs for a hundred. Meanwhile a pair of shoes cost a hundred livres and a drive in a carriage thousand livres. maximum wages. and the this factory-hand to the profit of the factory-owner. 1593).442 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION or highest figure respectively of salaries.. on the 9th Thermidor.* iii." Then the idea was conceived that to establish the price of merchandise included in the preceding decree. therefore. Lundis rtvolutionnaires. the decrees concerning the repealed. concerning the true . On the 3rd Nivose. owing to the triumph of reaction. it was never completed. Once France had shown that she did not wish to remain under a system of It is clear that this freedom in commerce and consequently in stock-jobbing and speculation which naturally followed she could not stop at these timid experiments. Year III. the Convention discovered through the report of Barere that to " to fix the price at which goods should be sold by retailers was injure the small trades to the profit of the greater ones. the fair price was fixed at which each kind of goods should be sold. on the 1 maximum were 8th Brumaire (November 8). it was necessary to know " the value of each on production. to establish one of the factors of value. shall be fixed up to the September following. The result of was that." system could not be limited. (December 23. She had to go further along the road to the communalism of commerce. 1794). and five per cent.

. the Treasury had not received anything from the tax on landed and personal property levied in 1792. 1795). 1794). so long as the money-lending no doubt tended continually : it could. . Tbese^g'flflgfo bore interest. ject. But this also produced very little. February 1793. so that from six thousand four hundred and twenty millions. had had recourse at first to two These loans. as we have seen. Constituent Assembly an extraordinary grant of a of quarter income payable once. and of that levied in 1791 only half had been received about 150 millions. But the is truth after the decree of the 3rd Nivose. be maximum prices of the principal commodities and objects of prime necessity were fixed But as soon as the maximum was by the municipalities. the sum had mounted nine months later. led by Mirabeau. At the same time. the idea was evolved of putting up the Church lands for sale and issuing assignats (papermoney). by the 25th Messidor. like so Reactionary historians are always ready to involve this submany others.PAPER-MONEY It has 443 been already mentioned how Necker. Jobbery and to depreciate the value of the assignats maintained more or less. the Convention under the Thermidorians began to issue vast quantities of assignats. Year III. not being successful. in vagueness and confusion. abolished by the Thermidorian reaction the depreciation of the The misery caused by this among those assignats was rapid. one for thirty. Bankruptcy was the State. threatening voted the grant demanded by Necker. that the great depreciation of the assignats was only felt Year III. Year III. he had obtained from the loans. during the whole Revolution no taxes were paid in.* Then. the other for eighty millions. however. which were in circulation on the 3rd Brumaire. every person's The quantity of paper-money issued was to be limited to the value of the lands each time put up for sale. and had an inflated value. to twelve milliards. The remainder was still to come. which abolished the maximum. and the Assembly. however. that is. to procure the means of existence for the State. (July 13. which were to be cancelled according as the sales brought iq th< ffl<myr tkus forming a source of national revenue. (November 3. * As a In rule. who lived from hand to mouth can be imagined.

the Count d'Artois. and Taylor declared that he had seen with his own eyes the false paper-money being made. iv. but was even still more active in the systematic monopolisation of food-stuffs by means of purchasing the crops in advance. by an ordinance of September 20.^ In addition. | Some letters from England. Considerable quantities of these assignats were offered afterwards two. 1794." There were soon seventy workmen employed in this manufacture. persuade Cott to buy up the tallow and candles at any price. My lord is well satisfied with the way which B. . as five francs a pound. Disguised priests and women are the best for this work.t. vol..z. . and this in the midst of terrible scarcity." on March 21. (Batz) has acted. and in all If the large towns of Europe in payment of bills of exchange. the abolition of the maximum was the signal for an increase in the price of everything. or were to be issued. resembling in all respects those which had been issued. countersigned by Count Joseph de Puisaye and the " Chevalier de Tinteniac.444 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Furthermore. . in which the famous Sheridan denounced the manufacture of the false assignats. We hope that the assassinats (sic) will be pushed carefully." (S. and the Count de Puisaye wrote to the committee of the Breton insurrection " : Before long you will have a million a day. reveal the methods by which the stock-jobbers worked. Thus we read in one of these letters " Run up the exchange to 200 livres for one pound sterling. which Pitt had allowed to be established in England. Book XIII. had by the so-called National Convention. iii. and refuse all those without the royal effigy. 1834* in much . there was a discussion in the Finally. addressed by royalists to their agents in France. I44-I4S.* only reaction had confined itself to these infamous secret it doings. the princes. set up in England. a manufactory of assignats. We must discredit the assignats as much as possible. Lundis revolutionnaires.. 1794. If you can. pp. Histoire de la Revolution francaise. ch. One can but ask how France managed to pass through such a frightful crisis without completely going under. Run up the Give orders to your merchants to buy prices of all kinds of commodities. and more later. and in speculating in assignats. Even the most revolutionary authors ask themselves this. Thiers. also Avenel. and above all. which gives an excellent du maximum . ti in all objects of prime necessity. make the public pay as Histoire : * Vide Louis Blanc. English House of Commons.

with the support of royalists and even of foreigners. which she had undertaken. to fan there. the Girondist leaders did not shrink after their exclusion from the Convention on June 2. leisured classes. the Convention placed them under home-arrest. in order to retain their privileges. remained in Paris. the flame of civil war. 1793. Gensonne. As to the others. in realising the sufferings which the people had to endure from day to day. It dist under the condition of being accompanied by a gendarme. Vergniaud. And it is in studying this crisis in its details. from going to the provinces.CHAPTER LIII COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN BRITTANYASSASSINATION OF MARAT Girondins stir up civil war Royalist plot discovered English prepare insurrection in Normandy and Brittany Insurrection falls through Weakness of republican forces Commissioners of Convention succeed in rousing towns Charlotte Corday Implication of Girondins in plot Assassination of Marat Execution of Chalier Character and work of Marat ASSAILED from in the midst of the tremendous work of reconstruction by the coalition of European monarchies. full of venom. to the Convention. The royalists could not desire anything better. leaving them the right of going about in Paris. France found herself in the throes of a terrible all sides crisis. Fonfrede. and from time to time Vergniaud addressed letters. fy ^ j^j may be remembered that after excluding thirty-one Gironmembers from its midst. Nevertheless. they did not hesitate to plunge France into the horrors of a civil war and a foreign invasion. that we realise the enormity of the crime committed by the when. they escaped and went to rouse the provinces. 443 .

with the support of the English. Gaudet. along the dark. Brest. walled country lanes. he died in La the chateaux of one of his friends. howemigrant princes at the head ever. however.* The march of the Girondist leaders through Brittany. who was in command of the gnards. and the Tufin. On reaching Caen. not daring to show themselves * " The civic hymn of the Bretons marching against Anarchy. but. Barbaroux.446 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION in sixty departments Anti-revolutionary risings broke out the most extreme Girondins and the royalists working hand in hand. and the insurrection. and in January 1793. The plot. and perhaps After the Convention had decreed the arrest of the most important Girondist members. Louvet. Brissot. Since 1791 a royalist plot was already hatching in Brittany its aim being to re-establish the old States-General of this the old administration by the three orders. Cherbourg. his secret Guyaumarais. they at once organised a United Counties. agents. standing this. notwitharrested. had been placed by of this conspiracy. with the intention of marching They had the delegates of the Convention and they excited popular feeling against the MontaGeneral Wimpffen. was denounced to Danton. where he who had The Marquis de la it watched by one of Rouerie-Reziere was The insurrection broke out. did not hide from them his royalist opinions and his intention to seek support in England . to take the leadership of the insurrection there. Petion. having been crushed at Vernon." . Marquis de la Rou^rie-Reziere. was buried secretly. and Lanjuinais went to Normandy and Brittany. forced to go into hiding. towns of Saint-Malo. the Girondist leaders did not break with him. themselves on the side of the Revolution. fell through. With the aid of smugglers and the emigres who lived in London. Buzot. province. Happily the people in Normandy and Brittany did not follow the lead of the royalists and the The towns ranged clergy. the English Government prepared a Jersey and tremendous insurrection which was to place in its hands the in fortified also Nantes and Bordeaux. and who took up the cause of the insurgents. Republican troops in Normandy. League against of the Paris.

pp. When Wimpffen intended to march against Paris. especially in the seaports of SaintMalo and Brest. * The review of which Charlotte Corday spoke before her judges and which was to have gathered thousands of men. at the same time they themselves were demanding and preparing the slaughter of the revolutionists. Here is one of the stanzas From a throne propped by his crimes. Its refrain was : War and death to the tyrants. Malo Everything had been prepared to give up the fortress of Saintto the English fleet. This Marseillaise of the Girondins demanded the death of Danton. and of Marat. and well stocked with cannon-ball.* In the whole of Normandy and Brittany only face with a small five to six hundred men were enlisted. Robespierre. even in this Breton country. and where the levying of recruits for the war on the Rhine was. : such was the title of the song of the Girondins. Caen only furnished him with a few dozen volunteers. armed as it was with 123 cannon.COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN BRITTANY 447 even in the smallest towns. bombs and powder. Death to the apostles of carnage 1 Of course. where the republicans would have arrested them. commissioner of the Committee of Public Welfare. however. and a tremendous effort was necessary for itself the republicans to prevent Saint-Malo from giving as Toulon had done. to the English. the royalists found staunch supporters amongst the merchant class. . commissioner of the National Convention. up. and how willing the well-to-do classes were to uphold the foreign invaders. One must. fiercely resented. 68-69. where the Convention had not won the favour of the peasants. indeed. In some towns. to understand how weak were the material forces of the Republic. all drunk with blood. Points out his victims with his finger To the roaring Anarchist. 25 mortars. and of Jeanbon Saint-Andre". read the letters of the young Jullien. shows how little sympathy they found. and they did not even fight when they found themselves face to army arrived from Paris. with which she expected no doubt to frighten the sans-culottes of Paris. which Gaudet gives in the Mtmoires of Buzot. of course. was a fiction. of Pache.

they roused the enthusiasm of the supported by population. with their aid they organised the defence. the commissioners of the Convention found men devoted to the Revolution . correspondence. to accomplish the same work elsewhere. and what it was at the present moment. But in each town. They directed the enlisting of volunteers members and and induced the patriots to make efforts. These commissioners did not rely upon the local adminis- trative bodies . Very often the war emigres and the approach Saint-Malo or The Thus the royalist insurrection failed both in Normandy and in . the society. Those who could not give satisfactory answers to these questions were excluded from the Republican Society. especially of the sans. republican fetes and introduced the organised republican calendar. for the defence of the coasts. troops.culottes.448 It THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION was only the arrival of the commissioners of the Convention which rekindled the zeal of the republicans and prevented this treachery. often heroic. whether small or large." They went straight to the Popular Society of each town. handed over to the new municipality the work of taking they necessary measures for the transport of ammunition. what he had done since then . After this the society became the recognised organ of the With its aid the commissioner proceeded to a similar purification in the municipality and had the royalist profit-mongers (profiteurs) excluded. Each member had to state " to this society to purify openly before the whole society what he had been before 1789 . they knew them to be worm-eaten with royalism and " commercialism. in Quimper. what fortune before 1789. whether he had signed the had been his royalist petitions of the 8000 or 20. They proposed " itself. Convention. British ships did not even dare to Brest. provisions.000 . Then. They And when all they left. in Saint-Malo itself. when asked to do so by the commissioners of the local Convention always under the supervision of the Popular Society with which they maintained a regular demanded extraordinary sacrifices.

* That a plot existed. the chief have made out that Charlotte Corday May 31. brought up in the convent of PAbbaye-aux-Dames at Caen. who all hated Marat. no doubt. and where she met Barbaroux. dazzled perhaps by the refined republican airs which the Girondins who had come to Caen gave themselves. seems clear enough. " of Mademoiselle " All the so-called Corday republicanism d'Armont lay in the fact that she refused once to drink the king's health. and that the Girondins were cognisant of it. organiser of The and her two brothers had emigrated. Thus. now lived with a relation. Everything leads us to believe that Charlotte Corday d'Aralone. Caen. was the centre of the Federation of the United Departments. " day from Barbaroux then at Caen and whom she advised to retire to Caen without delay.ASSASSINATION OF MARAT 449 Yet it was from Caen that Charlotte Corday came Brittany. a letter was read at the General Council of the Commune of Paris. Madame de Breteville. organised mont did not stand against the Montagnard Convention. She herself. on July 10." and that Her visit to the Girondin Charlotte Corday knew of this. determined to murder some one of the eminent revolutionists. Marat and Company. was a republican. in which were the following lines : 2F . as a royalist. she was a constitutionalist." General Wimpffen even described her simply family. and explained her refusal by saying that she would be a republican " if the French were worthy of a Republic." That is to say. to assassinate Marat. by all that she heard said against the Republic of the sans-culotte Montagnards. as we have just seen. and forwarded to JParis by the mayor of that city. probably a " Feuillante. and it is very probable that a plot had been prepared for July 14 or 15. This is absolutely untrue. Charlotte Corday arrived on July 1 1 in Paris. who was only prevented by fear from openly calling herself a royalist. to kill on that Danton. tend rather to represent Charlotte Corday as the tool of a plot hatched at Caen by the Girondins and the royalists. Robespierre. Mademoiselle Marie Charlotte Corday d'Armont belonged to an arch-royalist Girondist chroniclers. received at Strasbourg.* The original plan of Charlotte Corday had been. she said. to whom she handed over some leaflets and a letter Duperret. Influenced.

. anniversary jete of the Revolution. In Marat. 1 . after hesitating a allowed the young lady to enter the modest wife.450 to kill THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION Marat on the Champ-de-Mars. Corday d'Armont struck the Friend His death was instantaneous. of which she knew. the Jacobin Club and the whole . In this letter she said she was unhappy. who was ill. the Chvonique de Paris. during the or should he not be there. another friend Chalier. she went. the people lost their most devoted friend. and Marat. was seated in a closed bath. in the Girondist paper. The partisans of the Girondins have represented him as a bloodthirsty madman. she wrote to him. But we know to-day how such reputations are made. finally room of the people's friend. who did not even know what he wanted. of the People in the breast. With this note. when he saw that all the heroism of the people had not been able to break the royal power. On July 1 1 and 1 2. which he had led since 1789. Marat and Company will be shed (I quote from Louis Blanc). on July 14. on July 13. on the i6th. But the fete had been put at the sitting of the Convention. Robespierre. off. there were already allusions to the death of Marat. she wrote again. Marat began to despair. His Catherine Evrard. little. and a dagger hidden in her scarf. However. to Marat. wasted by fever for the past two or three months.' the Commune. or of which her friends cally had spoken to her. did not attend the Convention. correcting the proofs of his paper on It was here that Charlotte a board placed across the bath. rascally crew are a hair's-breadth from the grave. at seven o'clock in the evening. was executed by the Girondins at Lyons. both The ' Mountain. knowing Then mendation she would be received. in the depth of his heart. Between now and July 15 we will dance I hope that no other blood than that of " Dan ton. and on this time jesuitiobtaining no answer. The fact is. Three days later. He only loved the people. playing on his kindness. begging to be received. of the people. and he wrote that a few thousand aristocratic heads ought to be sacrificed to make the Revolution succeed. for certain that with such a recompersecuted. that in the dark years of 1790 and 1791. he was not at " all bloodthirsty. af^er the life of a tracked wild beast Marat. .

Marat took to bread and water.ASSASSINATION OF he and his heroic MARAT 451 mate. in their intricate bearings on one another . Catherine Evrard. But these are mere details. and had more and foresaw what was to come. about Catherine Evrard. Chalier. The distinctive fea- ture of his that at each given moment he understood what had to be done for the triumph of the people's cause mind was the triumph of the people's revolution." Thus Michelet quotes the words of Albertine. who. and fearing. who also older than most of his revolutionist comrades. divine woman. had to make one more step to when it had to take such measures as would solidify its work by giving to every one the certainty Marat did not fully grasp the truth in the ideas held by Jacques Roux. even in the greatest days of the Revolution.f That he had a certain amount of vanity is to be explained to some extent by the fact that he was always pursued. neglected till this day. touched by his position when he fled from took in and hid the Friend of the People. while each new phase of the Revolution only confirmed the accuracy of his predictions. Varlet. on the other hand. of which these precursors sought the practical forms. but in reality. not figuratively speaking. and many others. experience. contemporaries. of the revo- lutionary leaders who had a real understanding of events and power of grasping them as a whole. the day the Revolution began. this love of the people to guide him. Marat's sister. that benefit the lowest classes of work and life cellar to cellar. the entire fortune of the Friend of the People From was a note for 25 With was livres (francs). always tracked. it must be owned that when the Revolution. and to deeper this love he remained true. not of an abstract theoretical revolution. L'Ange. led Jaures to speak with respect of this quality of the popular tribunei j- * "A . far better than did any of his He was the only one. understood the various phases of the Revolution. And when he was murdered. after the abolition of feudal rights. Having been himself unable to formulate the leading ideas of the deep communist change.* with a love far than that of any other prominent revolutionist. It is a pleasure to note that a study of Marat's work. we may say. Marat. However. To him she devoted her fortune and sacrificed her peace.

. at times. yet he certainly was not an upholder of terrorism we may add " brother lived. would have been guillotined. and even considered them necessary. He did not make himself the mouth- France might lose the piece of the new movement. neither " nor the Hebertists either.452 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION liberties she had already won. nor Camille Desmoulins Danton." said the sister of Marat. he did not these communists the necessary support of his energy and give his immense influence. as it was practised after September 1793. " " Had my On the whole." although Marat understood the sudden accesses of fury in the people.

Ntmes and against Grenoble rose also against the Convention. but are forced to Vendeans exterminated Risings in Proretire at Nantes vence and at Lyons Chalier Marseilles and other southern towns join movement Royalists defeated Siege and capture of Lyons Action of republicans in Lyons Bordeaux surrenders to Convention IF the royalist rising failed in reactionaries met with more Normandy and Brittany. a trading town of great importance. where the industrial and merchant 453 bourgeoisie was supreme . where risings against the Convention began at Besancon. and Lyons. had acted with ferocity against the revolted peasants In the South. where royalist conspiracies had been going on for a long time. Vienne. revolts broke out in several places. and Toulouse. which royalists who elected a provisory to march Paris. In these parts of France the middle classes. Marseilles fell into the hands of the counter-revolutionists Girondins and intended government. Bordeaux. the departments of Deux-Sevres. Bordeaux. Limoges.CHAPTER LIV THE VENDEE LYONS THE RISINGS IN SOUTHERN FRANCE Royalist conspiracies in South Risings against Convention Toulon surrenders to English and Spanish fleet Causes of Disaffection of peasants Ill-feeling of rising in La Vendee Girondins help insurrection Plan of villages against towns Vendeans They take Saumur and Angers. took possession of this fortress in the name of Louis XVII. the success in the province of Poitou. and Vendee. and partly in Eastern France. seemed also to be ready to rise at the call of the Girondins . Dijon and in at Macon. in 1789. Toulon surrendered to an English and Spanish fleet. as we have seen.

profiting withstood a long siege as its base of by the disorder in the army. which had Lyons France. did much to foster their hatred against the Revolution. which had existed for December 1789. as also the fact that the peasants were divided into two classes active and and that passive the administration of communal affairs was given to those the folk-motes centuries until elected by the rich only these facts alone were sufficient to . the true causes of the rising in j La Vendee have not been made quite clear. and had been executed desired only " by the people of Paris . the poor King who had rouse the pity of the peasants for the good of the people. the Dauphin. This levy was regarded in human the most sacred right of every that of remaining in his native land. fact alone that the former had abolished with a stroke of the pen of the villages. and whilst the Piedmontese. the ex-slave-traders of Nantes. crossed the frontier of operations. whilst studying various documents one comes across such causes as must certainly have produced a feeling of resentment among the peasants The against the Constituent and the Legislative Assemblies. had a clear field under such condiroyal tions. England showered promises of aid against the sans- And finally. cleverly made use of by Rome. The emissaries who came from Rome. of the period. Of course the devo- tion of the peasants to their clergy. of La Vendee a vague Certainly there was also in the villages and it was easy for the royalists to attachment to the King. revolted . bringing with them papal bulls. Continually. above all when they were protected by the middle classes. many tears also were then shed by the shut " women up over the fate of the poor child. decrees and gold. in itself sufficient to bring whole provinces to arms the levy of three hundred thousand men ordered by the Convention. in a prison. there was this reason. and the merchants on Coblentz and whom culottes. Up to the present day. openly against the Convention. England.454 since THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION May 29. being It is nevertheless permissible to believe that there were yet other causes to rouse the peasants of La Vendee against the as a violation of La Vendee Revolution.

but no longer existed in the West. villages new burdens on the peasants tions and requisi- had given nothing to the except when the nobles or the estates of the clergy. On the other hand and this was of great importance to the the sale of the State lands.* It thus happened that the Revolution. and feudal were only abolished on paper . under the guidance of the clergy. . recruiting. the peasants themselves had taken the lands of up a war declared by the vention could only send out against commanded by it some insignificant troops. wild and bloody. the insurrection broke out. villages all now the Church lands. while the Girondist deputies did by the letters they addressed f Certain indications of a social character in the Vendean rising are to be found. and as the risings of the rights villages were not widespread in the western provinces. p. a deeply seated hatred was growing in the villages against the towns.THE VENDEE 455 awake discontent in the villages against the Revolution. and against the towns in general and their middle classes. In consequence. And the Con- to August 1793. It is true that on August 4 the Revolution had proclaimed in principle the abolition of feudal rights and mortmain. which was increased by the decrees of the Legislative Assembly. the peasants of these provinces saw that they would have to continue the latter. either incapable or else interested in generals . especially the middle classes of the towns. and we see indeed that the rising in La Vendee was villages against the towns. were being bought by wealthy people in the towns. of which the greater part. 284). paying feudal dues as before. It was a war of the peasants against the the peasants sending their delegates to the bourgeois creditors bourgeois " " to (Lundis revolutionnaires get the title-deeds and burn them . and this tended to strengthen the general ill-feeling of the villages against the towns. while imposing fresh taxes. To this must also be added the pilfering of the communal lands for the benefit of the middle class. says Avenel. f against With the help of Rome. xxvi. making the war drag on their best to help the insurrection * See ch. should have reverted to the poor. it appears. in the work of Antonin Proust (La Justice revolutionnaire d Niort).

to " exterminate the republican patriots. and went northwards. But England had no desire to receive such immigrants.456 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION made it to Nantes and the other towns. the same direction. They lost Cathelineau. All these forces. received them therefore all women and these starving and ragged people.000 men. were animated at the outset of their revolt. and they were forced to abandon Saumur and retire to the left bank of the Loire. crossing the Loire. acting in possible for the rising to spread and finally to The plan of the Vendeans was to take all the towns. Loire. their armies. the real and democratic leader of the rising. for their part. Cathelineau. June 1793. and dexterously disguising their 17). attacked Nantes. " become so menacing that the Mountain. On June 29 and 30. rapidly massed. they immediately marched on Nantes. But in this enterprise they were routed by the republicans. with their children." On September 20. the war was one becoming In October 1793 it is Madame de la Roche-Jacquelein who writes thus their watchword was " No quarter. and La Roche-Jacquelein. and finally twenty to thirty thousand Vendeans. A supreme effort was made now by the Republic to attack the Vendeans in their own country. . The war became a war of extermination. We have mentioned already the savage ardour with which the Vendeans. the Vendeans of mutual extermination. coldly. Lescure. and the Bretons. the Vendean leaders. the seaport of the Loire. and then to march against Paris. Now. movements. at the head of 40. decided to emigrate to England after crossing Brittany. the possession of which would have put them into direct communication with the English fleet." to carry the insurrection into the neighbouring provinces. took the town of Saumur. the more so as the Breton patriots were gaining the upper hand in the towns and villages . had recourse to the most abominable measures. encouraged by their clergy. them command over the they took Angers (June followed by their families. which gave At the beginning of Then. Stoflet." in order to crush it. 1793. They consequently crossed the Loire from south to north. were driven back towards the Loire.

swarming with human beings. provided they had time for that. so the Vendeans imprisoned at Nantes likewise threatened to exterminate all the republicans as soon as the " " of Vendeans should approach Nantes. A panic. Then the cry of " Drown them all. but should the massacres of Charette be passed over in silence ? Old Vendean veterans have told their doctor. when all this mass of men. It Royal Army must be noted that the patriots numbered but a few hundreds Besides. and their captors amused themselves by inflicting all kinds of tortures on the unburied heads. and slave labour in Saint which had gained its wealth in the Domingo. in April 1793. Vendeans in the Loire by Carrier is spoken of endlessly. Their had been so great that the men of the republican patrols were quite worn out. they saw nailed to a door something which resembled a great bat this was a republican soldier who for several hours had been nailed there. . * See Michelet. Charette. on October 15. who retold it to me." and the republicans from being massacred. the prisons of this town began to be dangerously overcrowded." he says. Living men were buried up to the neck. of the why . became more and more menacing. Book XI.j.LYONS filled 457 the wells at Montaigne with the bodies of republican soldiers. and was losing slave trade it now that slavery Consequently. on taking Noirmoutiers. and when the men from Nantes arrived. v.* On the other hand. that never had they taken a soldier (especially one of the army that came from Mayencej without killing him under torture. driven back to the Loire. and which of the two sides went furthest in such crimes. poured into Nantes. and soon spread into the town which was already exhausted by the siege. suffering terrible agonies and unable to die " (Michelet's History of the Revolution. the patriots had to display an extraordinary vigilance and energy to prevent Nantes from being taken by a sudden attack of the " Royal had been abolished. just as in Paris. who studied the Vendean war from local documents on the spot. J in this town. In these dens. " The sad question." which had already been heard in 1792. the imprisoned threatened to set fire to the city and to murder all royalists the Jacobins. typhoid fever and various other infectious diseases raged. " has often been discussed as to who had taken the initiative in these barbarous acts. The wholesale drowning efforts Army. many of them still alive and only stunned or disabled by blows. ch. at Challans. had all those who surrendered shot. women and children. after August 10.

Carrier. or who found work the connected with heartedly for the Revolution. \nd weaving. It is easy to conceive what a harvest such a system gavel La Vendee became a bleeding wound of the Republic. higher and middle. were wholewere already kindling the .workmen worked in their homes at weaving fine silks and also at making gold and silver embroideries. let them have The incarcerated in the prisons of Nantes. influence Provence and at Lyons had an equally fatal on the progress of the Revolution. and the leisured classes. seized on the poorest among the population of Nantes. were risings in The against the Revolution . and one which bled for two years.458 THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION which Michelet compares to the panic which takes hold of men in a plague-stricken town. the Committee of Public Welfare (Comite de Salut public). As to La Vend6e. and twelve columns " were sent into the country to ravage it. women and children. the whole of this industry came to a standstill during the Revolution. and the commissioner of the Convention. An immense region was lost entirely to the Republic. the small employers. the arrested priests. those in who worked industries for the small employers. whereas the ordinary workmen. and the population of Lyons became divided into two hostile camps. The master-workers. Now. without going deeper into the scrutiny of the causes which might have brought a whole province to revolt. and people began by drowning ended