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and the fact of his having no seat in the lion. I give it up to you; combine, all of you, Legislative Assembly.

to tear it to pieces; unite yourselves to that

innumerable crowd of all the enemies of liber“ You ask me," said he, “what I have done.ty; multiply your periodical libels: I desire Oh! a great thing, no doubt. I gave Brissot not reputation but for the good of my country: and Condorcet to France. I said one day 10 if to preserve it I must betray by a guilty the Constituent Assembly, that in order to silence the cause of truth and of the people, I impress an august character upon its work, give it up to you; I give it up to all the feeble it ought to set the people a grand example of and versatile spirits who are the dupes of imdisinterestedness and magnanimity,-ihat the posture, to all the wicked who practise that virtues of the legislators ought to be the first imposture. I shall still have the satisfaction lesson of the citizens; and I proposed to it to of preferring to their frivolous applauses the decree that none of its members should be approbation of my own conscience and the capable of being re-elected to the second esteem of all virtuous and enlightened men; legislature: this proposition was received with supported by it and by truth, I will wait for enthusiasm. Without it, perhaps, many the slow succor of time. This is my apology: among them would have remained in obscu- it is no doubt to say what I need not have said. rity; and who can say that the choice of the It would be easy for me now to prove to you people of Paris might not have called me to that I could make an offensive with as much the place which is now occupied by Brissot advantage as a defensive war. I only wishi and Condorcet ? This action cannot be to give you a proof of moderation. I offer counted for nothing by M. Brissot, who in the you peace on the sole conditions which the panegyric of his friend, referring to his con- friends of the country can accept. On these nexion with d'Alembert and his academical conditions I willingly pardon you glory, has reproached us with the temerily umnies." with which we passed judgment on men whom he called our masters in patriotism and His earnest disclaimer of all feelings of in liberty. I should have thought, for my part: personal animosity, of all desires but those that in that art we had no other masters but of the public good, was admirably adapted nature."

for his purpose.

It was not he that had The passage in which he refers to the made the present fierce dissension in the proposal of ostracism is singularly prophetic Jacobins; he indulged in no personal of his own fate :

malice; he had no personal resentments to

gratify; he could embrace Brissot and “But what,” he says, “is the species of Guadet and the whole Gironde, but only ostracism of which you speak ?, Is it to re-upon condition that they joined him and nounce every kind of public employment even the real friends of the Revolution, heart for the future? If you need securities against and hand, against the common enemy. me, speak: I undertake to deposit in hands the authentic and solemn engagenieut. Using a bold and singularly characteristic Is it an undertaking never to raise my voice figure, he says “Faites mouvoir horizonto defend the principles of the constitution talement le glaive des lois pour frapper and the rights of the people ? With what toutes les têtes des grands conspirateurs." face dare you propose it to me? Is it a vol Whether these offers were sincere or not, untary exile, as M. Guadet has in proper terms they were not accepted. announced it? Oh! it is ambitious men and

The Girondists tyrants whom there is need to banish. For widened the breach by renewed attacks, of me, whi:her would you that I should withdraw the unfairness of which Robespierre commyself? What is the people among whom 1 plained bitterly. The strife was soon reshould find liberty established? And what newed, and the result was again the defeat despot would grant me an asylum ? Ah! we of the Girondists. Then, indeed, when can abandon our country when happy and they began really to feel his power, they triumphant; but menaced, but torn to pieces, proceeded to make advances to him. On but oppressed! we cannot fly from it, we must save it or die for it. Heaven, which gave me

the 25th of August of this year (1792) a soul filled with a passion for liberty, and Madame Roland wrote him a letter, eviwhich ordained that I should be born under dently intended to conciliate him ; but is domination of tyrants, -heaven, which pro- was too late, and Robespierre was not the longed my existence to the reign of factions man to be flattered out of his revenge at and crimes, calls me perhaps to trace with my any time by either man or woman. blood the path which is to lead my country to those who represent him as of a capacity

Let happiness and liberty; I accept with transport that pleasant and glorious destiny. Do poor and low, and as altogether the creature you exact of me another sacrifice ?' Yes, of circumstances, recollect that nevertheless there is one which you may yet demand; i this man, with such “disproportion beoffer it to my country ; it is that of my reputa-tween his mischievous propensities and

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1844.]
MAXIMILIEN ROBESPIERRE.

213 his power to injure," defeated the Gironde, could you conclude from that in your favor? with all their ministerial power and in- Will you say that I lavished treasures, which Auence, ---defeated them when their power I had not, to secure the triumph of principles was the greatest; when they had, or ap- engraven upon all hearts ?” peared to have, the mass of the regular army and even the majority of the national

After answering the question "why he guards on their side.

had resigned the place of public accuser It has been afirmed that the September and accepted the title of municipal officer," massacres were perpetrated for the purpose

he comes to the subject of the arrests made of securing the election of Robespierre and by the commune of Paris towards the end of bis partisans for the city of Paris.

For August, and he admits that they were illegal, this assertion there is no satisfactory evi

as illegal as the Revolution, as the fall dence. Robespierre's popularity was quite of the throne and of the Bastille.” He asks sufficient to have ensured his election if if they would have “a revolution without there had been no massacres. At the same

revolution," and he tells them that the men time, though it does not appear that he bore of the Revolution would have a right to a direct part in the instigation of them, the say S line which he took in discussing them, the “If you disavow the means which we have manner in which he defended the commune employed to conquer, leave us the fruits of vicof Paris in connexion with these massacres, tory; take back your constitution and all your fully attest his approval of them,-fully es- ancient laws, but restore to us the price of our tablish the fact, that from this time he had sacrifices and our combats ; give us back our passed the Rubicon, had determined on have died for the common cause."

fellow-citizens, our brothers, our children, who the course which was thenceforth to stamp the Revolution emphatically with the characiers of terror and blood.

But he exclaimsOn the 20th of September, 1792, the “L'univers, la postérité, ne verra dans ces National Convention met: on the 21st it événemens que leur cause sacrée et leur subopened its deliberations. On the 25th the lime résultat; vous devez les voir comme elles; struggle between the Girondists and Ro- vous devez les juger, non en juges de paix, mais bespierre was commenced in the Conven- en hommes d'état et en législateurs du monde ; tion, by a charge made against him of aim- et ne pensez pas que j'aie invoqué ces princi

pes éternels parceque nous avons besoin de couing at the dictatorship; to this he replied vrir d'un voile quelques actions répréhensibles; at considerable length.

non, nous n'avons point failli; j'en jure par On the 29th of October, Robespierre le trône renversé, el par la République qui having said that there was no one in the s'élève !" Assembly who dared to accuse him face to face, Louvet ran to the foot of the tribune, Ile then refers to the events of the 2nd and demanded “la parole pour accuser of September, in which he denies all partiRobespierre;" he then made a long speech, cipation, asserting that the massacres were · in the course of which he mentioned a cir- the spontaneous act of the people themcumstance which would appear to show selves, going to meet the enemy on the fronthat Robespierre had even then assumed tier, and unwilling to leave their families at some of the insignia of dictatorship. “In the mercy of conspirators. But it is not leaving the Electoral Assembly,” said Lou- very easy to see how conspirators in strong vet, “I was insulted by Robespierre's places of custody could be dangerous; and gardes-du-corps, those men armed with it is not pretended that it was the people large bludgeons and sabres, who accompany that put so many of them

into the prisons him almost everywhere."' On the 5th of only a few days before. This defence is a November Robespierre replied in a speech lame one, but it is not the principal posidouble the length of Louvet's; it was upon tion which Robespierre takes up in defence the whole a performance of great ability of the commune. He argues that the blow and contained some striking passages. In only struck the guilty, and he then indulges regard to the old grievance of his populari- in a burst of pathos on the supposition that {y and his influence in the Jacobin Club, a single innocent person has perished. To

wards the conclusion he refers to an allu" The majority of the Jacobins rejected your

sion in Roland's report on the situation of opinions ; they were wrong, no doubt. The Paris since the 10th of August, a report public was not more favorable to you." What which he characterizes

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eux;" and he breaks out into that memora On the 3rd of December Robespierre ble apostrophe to Roland :

delivered his opinion in the Convention on

the question of the King's trial. He was “O virtuous man, man exclusively, eternally virtuous, whither would you go by these

the only one, we believe, except Saint-Just, dark paths! You have tried public opinion; who got out of the lawyer-like quibble about you have stopped short, terrified at the step the Assembly's having a legal power to try you yourself have taken: you have done well: the King. nature has not moulded you either for great actions or great attempts | murmurs). I stop been led far away from the true question.

“The Assembly,” said Robespierre, "has here out of regard for you; but another time, There is here no trial to make. Louis is not examine better the instruments that are put into your hands: you do not know the abom- an accused citizen, you are not his judges; you inable history of the man of the enigmatical are, you can only be, statesmen and represenmissive; seek it, if you have the courage,

tatives of the nation. You have no sentence

in the records of the police. You will one day

to deliver for or against an individual, but a know what value you ought to attach to the measure of public security to adopt, an act of moderation of the enemy whom you sought

national providence to exercise. What is the

measure which sound policy recommends to to destroy."*

cement the rising republic? It is to engrave Whatever the effect of this speech, the deeply on the people's hearts a contempt for result was a complete triumph for Robes- royalty, and to strike with terror all the King's

partisans......... The question has been decided pierre, the order of the day having been by these words:-Louis has been dethroned voted by a very large majority, and his de- for his crimes. Louis denounced the French fence ordered to be printed. The result people as rebels, and called in the arms of bis had been looked for with the greatest impa- brother tyrants to punish them: victory and tience throughout the capital ; numerous

the people have decided that he alone was a patrols traversed the streets; all the posts | already judged; he is condemned, or the Re

rebel. Louis then cannot be judged: he is had been reinforced. On the terrace of the public is not acquitted..........If Louis can be Feuillans there were more national guards tried he may be acquitted, he may be innothan people. “ It is strange enough,” re- cent: what do I say! he is presumed to be so marked the ‘Patriote Français,' " that the till judgment is passed on him. But if Louis general who all at once has found so many is acquitted, if Louis can be presumed inuopatrols to protect Robespierre, whom no-cent, what becomes of the Revolution ? If body threatens, did not find one on the 2nd become calumniators; all the rebels were the

Louis is innocent, all the defenders of liberty of September and the following days to save friends of truth and the defenders of oppressed the prisoners whom they were massacreing, innocence; all the manifestoes of the foreign and who were under the safeguard of the courts are only legitimate remonstrances laws."

aganst a dominant faction; even the detention Robespierre was received at the Jacobins of Louis up to this time is an unjust vexation; like a hero returning from a great victory riots of the French empire, are guilty."

the federates, the people of Paris, all the patThey praised “his virtue, his integrity, his profound wisdom, his masculine and natu After showing that they were confoundral eloquence, also that greatness, that gen- ing the rules of civil law with the princierosity, that forgetfulness of self, which ples of the law of nations, and that Louis were the marks of his character.” But he was to be regarded as a prisoner of war, himself was silent amid all this babble, de- he proceeds to the question how that prisclining all invitations to give his worship- oner of war should be dealt with. ers any further specimen of that “élo

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“ To what punishment shall we condemn quence mâle et naïve;" probably not includ- Louis ?

The punishment of death is too ing among the thoughts that succeeded cruel.—No, says another, life is more cruel each other in his brain, the contemplation still ; let him live. Advocates of the King, of the change which might within the space is it from pity or from cruelty that you wish of a few months come over this wild dream to withdraw him from the penalty of his of popular idolatry and unclouded success. crimes ? For my part, 1 abhor the punish

ment of death, inflicted so unsparingly by in the Choix de Rapports ;' it differs very slightly for the abolition of the punishment of death * We have followed the report of this speech your laws, and I have for Louis neither love

nor hatred ; I hate only his crimes. I asked from the report in the Histoire Parlementaire, in the Assembly which you still call Constituwhich is from the · Lettres à mes Commettans. In the passage relating to Roland, we think the ent, and it is not my fault if the first principles former the clearer from the division of the para- of reason appeared to it moral and political graphs.

heresies; but if you never thought of renounc

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ing them in favor of so many unfortunate French and English, are lavish of their men whose offences are less theirs than those scorn as well as hatred for the Girondists; of the government, by what fatality do you but it is not so with Cromwell and Robesremember them only to plead the cause of i the greatest of all criminals? You demand pierre,—there may be hatred, but “those an exception to the punishment of death for

u ho hate them dare not to despise.” him alone who can render it legitimate! Yes, Notwithstanding the majority which the the punishment of death in general is a crime, Girondists still had in the Convention, the and for this reason alone, that, according to Mountain the indestructible principles of nature, it can connection with the communes and its

more powerful, from its be justified only in the cases where it is neces- influence over the populace. On the 10th sary for the security of individuals or of society; now the public security never calls for it

of March, 1793, the Revolutionary Tribuagainst ordinary offences, because society nal, at first called the Tribunal Criminel can always prevent them by other means, Extraordinaire, was established. The deand put it out of the power of the guilty to be fection of Dumouriez early in April gave dangerous: but a dethroned king in the Robespierre an opportunity of attacking the bosom of a Revolution, which is nothing less Girondists, by charging them with being the than cemented by laws, a king whose name alone brings down the plague of war upon the general's accomplices,--a charge which, agitated nation,-neither imprisonment nor

whether it be considered as proved or not, exile can render his existence a matter of indit: he managed with such art as to render it erence to the public welfare, and this cruel ex a most effective instrument for their deception to ordinary laws, which justice avows, struction. In the course of bis speech, can only be imputed to the nature of his delivered in the Convention on the 18th of crimes. I pronounce with regret this fatal April, 1793, against the members of the truth ; but Louis must die, because the coun; Orleans farnily, and against Vergniaud, try must live. A people at peace, free and respected within and without, might listen to Guadet, Gensonné, Brissot, etc., he gave the advice which is given you to be generous; the following powerful summary of the but a people whose liberty is still disputed intrigues which he imputes to the Girondists after so many sacrifices and combats, cannot while they were in office,-we can hardly afford to do so."

say in power—for, as these events showed,

power and office were not then equivalent Robespierre's speeches on the King's terms:trial have been sometimes mentioned as his highest efforts. They perhaps exhibit country agitators, anarchists ; they have

“ They have called all the friends of the more vigor of mind than any of his other sometimes even raised up real ones to subspeeches, though his fame either for elo- stantiate this calumny. They have shown quence or rhetorical strategy will not rest themselves adepts in the art of' covering their upon them. But we think some of his own crimes by imputing them to the people: letters to his constituents show a higher they have betimes alarmed the citizens with and more comprehensive reach of thought separated the interests of the rich from those

phantoms of an agrarian law; they have than any other of his compositions.

of the poor ; they have offered themselves to In Robespierre's conduct hitherto there the former as their protectors against the had appeared few of those darker shades sans-culottes ; they bave drawn to their party of his character which afterwards became all the enemies of equality. Masters of the so prominent; the insatiable spirit of government and of the disposal of all places, jealousy and suspicion, which was soon to predominant in the tribunals, and in the adhurry to the guillotine so many men who ministrative bodies, depositaries of the public had been his friends, had as yet only mani- to arrest the progress of public spirit, to

treasure, they have employed all their power fested itself towards those with whom he awaken royalism and 10 resuscitate aristoccertainly had never acted in any degree. racy; they have oppressed the energetic His defence of the September massacres patriots, protected the hypocritical moderates ; was on the ground of urgent and inevita- they have corrupted the people's defenders,

one after another; attached to their cause ble state necessity. His conduct in re

those who showed some talent, and persecutgard to the King's fate was only that of a ed those whom they could not seduce." man of sound sense and force of character. Those who, having a conquered enemy in In this speech he said that Lafayette their power, do not take effective measures had run almost precisely the same course to prevent his being dangerous, bring upon of perfidy and intrigue as Dumouriez : themselves the scorn even of those who “ He had only forgotten one thing, -to profit by their weakness. Royalists, both begin like Dumouriez with a success."

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When Robespierre left the tribune, soupçonnera certainement pas, si toutefois Vergniaud immediately took his place il est quelqu'un que Robespierre puisse ne there, and began in a calm tone to defend pas soupçonner.” The royalist journals himself against his accuser. " J'oserai ré- had represented Robespierre as saying, pondre à Monsieur Robespierre,” he be- “La cour conspire, les généraux conspigan, but he was interrupted by the “mur- rent, les directoires conspirent, les tribumures" of the “tribunes publiques.' aux conspirent, tout con Again and again he attempted to speak, Lord Brougham bestows very high praise but in vain : the noise continued. But upon the conclusion of Robespierre's adVergniaud remained at the tribune, and dress on the 31st of May against the Gironat last his perseverance and the efforts of dists. While he was proceeding thusthe president obtained for him a hearing. “Non! il faut purger l'armée! Il faut-" He soon fixed the general attention : the Vergniaud impatiently interrupted him with facility, the order, the charm of his extem-“Concluez donc !" whereupon Robespore address, excited the admiration even pierre instantly turned on him and continof his adversaries. He characterized Ro- ued : bespierre's speech as "un roman perfide, artificieusement écrit dans le silence du

“Oui! je vais conclure, et contre vous !cabinet,” adding, "j'oserai lui répondre Août, avez vovlu conduire à l'échafaud ceux

contre vous, qui, après la Révolution du 10 sans méditation; je n'ai pas comme lui

qui l'ont faite -contre vous, qui n'avez cessé besoin d'art; il suffit de mon âme.” Alas de provoquer la destruction de Paris ! contre poor Vergniaud!

vous, qui avez voulu sauver le ty ran !-contre Vergniaud's eloquence has been much vous, qui avez conspiré avec Dumouriez!praised. As far as we can judge, we contre vous, qui avez poursuivi avec acharneshould say that, although he probably pos

ment les mêmes patriotes dont Dumouriez de

mandait la tête !--contre vous, dont les vensessed much greater facility in extempore

geances reply than Robespierre, he was immea-cris d'indignation dont vous voulez faire un

criminelles ont provoqué les mêmes surably inferior to him in the higher quali- crime à ceux qui sont vos victimes! Eh bien! ties of an orator. His reply on this ma conclusion c'est le décret d'accusation conoccasion, viewed merely as a piece of com- tre tous les complices de Dumouriez et contre position, seems to us very inferior to his tous ceux qui ont été désignés par les pétition

neaires !" rival's speech.

On the 12th of April Guadet replied to Robespierre, and he also, like Vergniaud, Lord Brougham then adds, “The Gispoke extempore. It was in the course of ronde party were undone," as if their undohis speech, that at the words “votre Dan- ing were the immediate effect of Robeston" Danton exclaimed, Ah! tu pierre's oratory; whereas that effect was m'accuses moi! tu ne connais pas ma produced by the armed mob of Paris, not an force,' On which Guadet thus continued, hundredth part of whom could possibly “Votre Danton . . . . si toutefois on peut hear this last pealof the Jacobin thunder, but appeler vôtre celui qui dans le nombre de who had unlimited faith in the “ Incorses agens vous place au troisième rang." ruptible" being their friend, and in the Who shall say what effect this observation, Gironde being their enemies. In fact, the thus publicly made, may have had on Dan- fall of the Girondists was as much producton's own fate? Certainly a man like ed by pike and artillery as the expulsion of Robespierre was not likely easily to forgive the Five Hundred was by artillery and bayDanton or any body else for classing him onet. The course of Robespierre's life, in the third rank of his agents. In the which had earned for him the appellation course of his speech Guadet pointed at the of “incorruptible," joined to the power of leading feature of Robespierre's character mind which could produce such passages —suspicion, alluding to a fact as being as the above, had given him a command of attested by men whom “Robespierre ne pikes and artillery nearly as effective for

the time as the arms which Napoleon's vic* The extraordinary license in expressing their tories afterwards gave him. A man devoid opinions and consequent influence which the both of judgment and force of character strangers' galleries had upon the deliberations of might make as striking a conclusion as that tbe National Assemblies during this Revolution seem almost to afford a ground for the word tri- quoted above, but then such a man must bune being used in this double and sometimes not expect to have some twenty heads for misleading sense.

his pains.

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