The Morning Chronicle.
London, Monday, August 18, 1794.
Paris, July 28.
The transactions of yesterday will be forever memorable in the history of the Revolution. Roberspierre was openly declared a tyrant.–The Convention caused him to be arrested, and likewise his brother, Couthon, St. Just, Henriot, Commander of the Parisian Armed force, Dumas, President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, and several agents of Roberspierre. The circumstances preceding this event, deserve to be detailed at length.
In the late Sittings of the Jacobins, Roberspierre and his Confederates endeavoured by repeated speeches, to excite a movement of the Society in their favour, but the Jacobins testified upon the occasion a great deal of apathy, for which they were reproached by Roberspierre the younger.
7 thermidor, friday, july 25
The Jacobins presented an address, in which they denounced the party of strangers (whom Roberspierre had been endeavouring to drive from Paris) who attacked the Convention, and the Committee of Public Safety. Dubois Crance took advantage of the presence of the Jacobins to justify himself from the reproaches which had been uttered against him in the Society.–The Convention referred all to the Committee of Public Safety.
Barrere having then announced that the army of the Sambre and the Meuse was advancing to Liege, made a report in the name of the Committees, in which he said, "While liberty gives a fatal blow to the new conspiracies of traitors, it shall be my office to hold up to those misguided citizens, who demand a second 31st of May, the comparison of their present situation, with that into which they have been successively plunged by the different factions, which one after another, have endeavoured to destroy the labours of the Patriots."–He concluded by a long declamation on the artifices practised by those whom he stiled the enemies of the People, who left no disguise unassumed to enable them to carry their wicked designs into effect.
8 thermidor, Saturday, july 26
This Sitting was tumultuous.
Roberspierre mounted the Tribune.–He pronounced a long speech respecting the Revolutionary Government, and replied to the reproaches made against him of aspiring to the Dictatorship.–He said, that since the period of his having proclaimed the existence of a Supreme Being, the successors of Hebert and Danton had become more inveterate against him. He then endeavoured to shew the falsehood of the reports circulated in the Convention and in Paris, of his having proposed to cause thirty Members of the Convention to be arrested. He next touched on the situation of the Republic. "The Committees of Public and General Safety," said he, "contain the pillars of Liberty, but the greater number are oppressed. The decree against the English is not carried into execution. The system of Dumourier continues to be pursued in Belgium. They are replanting in that country the trees of liberty. They are driving to a distance the Cannoneers of Paris. They are wishing to produce a change in the situation of the Republic. It is necessary that the Committees should act, but it is likewise necessary to superintend their operations. It is incumbent on the Convention to assume the dignity which belongs to its character."
Bourdon–"I move that this speech be referred to the Committees of Public and General Safety, in order that they may examine its contents, previous to its being printed; on the ground that, in all probability, some errors have crept into the statements which have just now been made."
Barrere.–"And I also duly estimate the privileges of a French Citizen. In a free country, every thing ought to be known."
Couthon.–"It would be to degrade the Convention to apply to a Committee, in order to determine, whether or not a speech ought to be printed? I move not only that it be printed, but transmitted to all the Communes. For a considerable time, a system of calumny has subsisted against the ancient pillars of the Revolution. There are many immoral characters. The great body of the representation is a model of human perfection: but be distrustful of intriguers, and let the proper line of distinction be marked out on the present occasion."
Vadier.–"I complain, that Roberspierre in his speech, has attacked the report made respecting Catherine Theos."
Roberspierre.–"I had no intention to attack the Reporter."
Vadier.–"The affair of the Pretended Mother of God is more important than is imagined; and this woman kept up a correspondence with Pitt, the Duchess of Bourbon, Bergasse, and others. If several obscure intriguers have crept into the offices of the Committee, they have been punished as soon as recognized. The Committee of General Safety has constantly preserved a good understanding with that of Public Safety, and has never ceased to wage war against the Aristocrats."
Cambon.–"Roberspierre has brought a charge against the present system of finances, and has accused me of an endeavour to augment, by that system, the number of discontented persons."
Roberspierre.–"I spoke of the system alone, and, without being very profound in financial knowledge, one may readily perceive that a great number of indigent citizens are ruined by it."
The dispute now became extremely warm.
Freron.–"The moment when liberty is revived, is that when the freedom of opinions is re-established. I move that the Convention rescind the decree which grants to the Committees the power of apprehending the Members of the Convention.–Applauses.–Where is the man who can speak with freedom when he dreads an arrest?"
Billaud Varennes–"Should the proposition now made be adopted, the Convention will undergo a shocking degradation. He who is prevented, by dread, from speaking his sentiments, is not worthy of the title of a Representative of the People."
Freron's proposition was supported by Panis, who maintained that liberty could not exist, unless it should be adopted.
After a debate of a considerable length, each of the propositions was got rid of by the order of the day; and the Convention decreed that Roberspierre's speech should be printed and distributed.
9 thermidor, sunday, july 27
After some Petitioners had been heard, St. Just appeared at the Tribune–
Saint Just.–"I am of no faction, I will contend against them all. Your Committees of General and Public Safety, have charged me to make a report on the causes of the evident perversion of opinion; but I mean to address myself to you, only in my own name"––
Saint Just, who had come prepared to support the sentiments which had the day before been delivered from the Tribune by Roberspierre, was here interrupted by shouts of disapprobation from all quarters of the Convention.
After a considerable degree of tumult, Tallien at last spoke to order–
Tallien.–"The Orator has set out with telling you that he is of no party: I likewise espouse only the side of truth. Yesterday, a Member of the Government (Roberspierre) presented you a report upon his own authority. To-day, another Member comes to speak to you in his own name. No good Citizen can refrain from lamenting, with tears, the abject and calamitous state to which the Republic is reduced, when individuals thus pretend to dictate to you in their own name, and upon their own authority.
Billaud Varennes–"You will shudder with horror when you are apprized that the armed force of Paris is entrusted into parricidal hands. Henriot was denounced by the Revolutionary Tribunal as an accomplice of Hebert. What was the consequence? One man alone had the audacity to support him. Need I name who that individual was?–Roberspierre. Lavalette, one of the Chiefs of the armed force, the only Noble who has been retained in a military trust, sharpens the poignards intended to inflict a fatal blow on the Representatives of the People: under whose auspices has he been protected?–Roberspierre's. I might quote many more proofs of the same audacity on the part of Roberspierre, and of his infamous designs against liberty–among others, I need only mention that he has been the author of the imprisonment of the Members of the Revolutionary Committee of the Section of Indivisibility–men of the most unsullied integrity, and of the most distinguished patriotism. I accuse him of having withdrawn himself from the Committee for these four last decades, since the decree with respect to the Revolutionaay [sic] Tribunal passed on the 22d Prairial (June 10), which he alone devised–and which was badly received. Thus he intended to drive from the Convention every impure man; that is to say, every person who did not please himself, or whom he might suspect to be possessed of sufficient discernment to detect, and integrity to oppose, his ambitious views; and as a preparatory step to the establishing himself in that Dictatorship, which has so long been the object of his wishes, he would have left none in the Convention but his creatures and dependants, men as vile as himself, and ready to forward all his detestable views. But his designs were discovered by the very means which he took to carry them into execution. From the facts which I have briefly stated, his intentions to corrupt the military, to enslave and to degrade the Representation, appear plain and incontrovertible. Are more facts still necessary to substantiate the charges against him? I accuse him of having skreened from justice, a Secretary who had robbed the public of 40,000 livres.–Such is the foundation on which stands his pretensions to disinterestedness, which were only assumed to conceal the deep-laid projects of his ambition, and to deceive those whom he afterwards meant to enslave. I accuse him of being surrounded by a band of ruffians, among whom it is only necessary to mention the infamous name of Daubigny. With all his affectation of probity, such were the associates whom alone he could admit into his confidence, or trust for the completion of his designs. I proclaim–I proclaim the tyranny of Roberspierre!"–(Loud and repeated bursts of applause resounded from all parts of the Hall).–Roberspierre attempted to speak, but after different efforts, found himself obliged to desist, in consequence of the most vociferous exclamations from every quarter, of Down with the Tyrant! Down with the Tyrant!"
Tallien.–"In the house of that guilty individual, who now stands humbled with the consciousness of detected guilt, and overwhelmed with that disapprobation which his infamous designs against liberty have so justly merited, were formed those lists of proscription which have stained with so much blood the altars of rising liberty: imitating the example of the detestable Sylla, his proscriptions were intended only to pave the way for his own power and the establishment of a perpetual Dictatorship: happily, however, his designs have been discovered before he had time to execute them, or to add to that stream of blood which has already deluged France. His long success in villainy made him at last lay aside his wonted caution. He had advanced with such rapidity in the career of lawless ambition, that he had already conceived himself arrived at the accomplishments of his wishes, and that, like Caesar, the name of King was only wanting to him, for the full establishment of his power. Was it to subject ourselves to so degrading, and so abject a tyranny, that we brought to the scaffold the last of the Capets, and lavished so much blood of French Citizens? Was it to acknowledge so petty a despot, that we declared eternal war against Kings, and swore to establish liberty at the price of life? No–the spirit of freedom has not sunk so low: the sense of that duty which virtuous men owe to their country is not yet extinguished. I invoke the shade of the virtuous Brutus, [fixing his eyes upon the bust.]–Like him, I have a poignard to rid my country of the tyrant, if the Convention do not deliver him to the sword of justice. The French people, always just, are attached neither to Roberspierre, nor to any other individual–Liberty is alone the object of their affections, and whoever forms any designs against it, becomes that moment their enemy. That liberty they will ever pursue amidst the intrigues of domestic traitors, and the opposition of foreign despots. The Republic is to be established not only by the victories of our armies, by the vigilance of our councils, and the justice of our punishments. After this enumeration of facts which you have heard from the last speaker, is it necessary for me to remind you of the proceedings of that sitting of the Jacobins, where Dumas, President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, the creature and confederate of Roberspierre, had the audacity to insult the Representatives of the People? Need I recal to you that expression addressed to the Journalists in one of the last sittings of the Jacobins? "I prohibit you from inserting my discourses in your papers till you have previously communicated them to me." Here already we find the tone of the Dictator–the people shall know nothing except through my organ, and in the manner in which I shall be pleased to communicate it to them. Well indeed might he court the aid of silence and deception, whose designs were too infamous to be revealed, and whose conduct required to be glossed over with all the artifice of hypocrisy. But the French people were not to be so enslaved, after having shaken off the tyranny of force. The guilt of the traitors now stands revealed, and it now remains only to think of their punishment. For this purpose, I move, that we declare the Sitting Permanent."
The proposition was immediately decreed.
Billaud Varennes–"I denounce, as accomplices of the conspiracy, which was ready to burst forth, and annihilate the National Convention, a person named Boulanger, who, in making out a list of proscribed names, said to Hebert, 'write and we will strike,' Dufresne, who was engaged in the conspiracy with Dumourier; Dumas, who yesterday excited the Jacobins to the assassination of the people; and Lavalette, Ex-Noble, one of the Commanders of the Parisian armed force, who was protected by Roberspierre. I move that these individuals be immediately arrested."–Decreed.
Delmas moved that the Adjutant-Generals and Aids-de-Camp of Henriot, should be arrested.–Decreed.
The Convention likewise decreed the arrest of Daubigny and Sijas.
Barrere made a Report, and presented the plan of an Address to the People, which were loudly applauded.
The Convention adopted the Address, ordered it to be published and sent to the Departments, and decreed, that in the Parisian armed force, every rank, superior to that of the Chief of a Legion, be suppressed. That armed force is to be restored to its democratic organization. It is to be commanded every month successively by one of the Chiefs of a Legion. The Mayor and National Agent of Paris are to be responsible for the security of the Commune.
Vadier then presented a very interesting detail of the different circumstances of tyranny, which so strongly characterised the conduct of Roberspierre, and of that system of spies by which he had contrived to surround the Representatives of the People, and fetter their operations. At the conclusion of this detail, he was loaded with such marks of approbation as strongly marked the concurrence of all present, the suspicions entertained of the designs of Roberspierre, and the detestation in which his character was held.
Tallien, Billaud-Varennes, Freron, Elie-Lacoite, Delmas, and several other Members, then spoke, after which the Convention unanimously, and by successive deliberation on each question, decreed the arrest of–Roberspierre, the elder, Roberspierre, junr. Saint Just, Couthon, and Lebas, all Deputies.
They also decreed that the Juror Nicholas should be arrested.
All the arrested Members, excepting Couthon, went out by the Bar.
Collot d'Herbois then pronounced a speech of some length on the measures necessary to be pursued in the present moment, and was listened to with the greatest applause.
seven in the evening.
Bourdon of Oise.–"It is reported that the Commune of Paris, in concert with the Jacobins, is attempting to excite an insurrection. Although we have little to fear from such an attempt, for the Convention and the People are one, I move, that the Commune be ordered to the Bar."
Merlin of Thionville.–"As I was coming out of my own house, to repair to my post, Hanriot, at the head of 40 deluded wretches, took me prisoner, and carried me to the guard house. There, resuming my character of Representative of the People, I harangued the armed citizens; they, faithful to their principles, and full of respect for the National Representation, released me. Hanriot, in the mean time, was carrying terror and confusion through various parts of the city. Five Gens d'Armes took the generous resolution of apprehending him. They set out, met him, and took him and his myrmidons prisoners. (Loud applauses.) I move that the Department of Paris be also called to the bar to receive the orders of the Convention."
Both these propositions were decreed.
Legendre.–"The People, as they have always done since the commencement of the Revolution, will rise only against tyrants. I move that the President reply to all persons who come to the bar to congratulate the Mountain–that the Convention is one entire Mountain; that every honest man in it is a Mountaineer; and as a proof that there are none in it but honest men, the decree against the Traitors was carried unanimously." (New applauses.)
Poultier.–"A municipal officer attempted to arrest me. I have carried him to the Committee of General Safety."
Rovere.–"There is one Payan in the Commune, the Agent of Roberspierre."–Several members–"He is apprehended." (Applauses.)
Brival gave an account of his having been questioned in the Jacobin Club respecting the decree against the Traitors, and expelled for approving of that decree. The Club had since rescinded the expulsion and sent him back his card of admission, which he would not take till the Club should be regenerated.
Goupilleau the Elder–"On coming from the Committee of General Safety, I found the Antichamber filled with Citizens bearing a three coloured cord. I asked what they did there. One of them enquired who I was. I said a Representative of the People. Then, said he, "I despise you." This is Louvet, who acts as President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, in the absence of Dumas. I move that Louvet be arrested, as well as Fleuriot Lescot, Mayor of Paris, who must necessarily be concerned in the Conspiracy.
Freron–"I am informed that Payan and Fleuriot, are not yet arrested. I move that the decree be instantly passed."
Billaud Varennes–"Payan was arrested four hours ago. The Mayor is not yet: but in a few minutes the Council General of the Commune, which has reared the Standard of Rebellion, will be invested. Would you believe, that in contempt of the Convention, men covered with the mantle of the law, have been taken into custody? Would you believe that, in contempt of the will of the people, Sijas, that infernal conspirator, although a Decree of arrest be passed against him, is now at the Jacobin Club, attempting to stir up the people? but the people are calm, and their will is Liberty (Loud Applauses). A company of cannoneers, misled by the wretch Hanriot, wanted to direct their cannon against the Convention, but the armed force opposed them. We must take vigorous measures, and, if necessary, die at our posts (Yes, exclaimed all the Members, we will die at our posts; and the Galleries loudly applauded.)–The Committees of Public and General Safety will speedily propose measures to save Liberty. They must be prompt. The determined and artful Conspirators, who for six months have worn the mask of patriotism, to destroy the Republic, are now at the Commune."
Collot d'Herbois, the President.–"Armed men have surrounded and taken possession of the Committee of General Safety" (the Citizens who filled the Galleries and a part of the Hall, cried out, Let us go thither! and immediately set out amid the applauses of the Members).
The Department of Paris came to the Bar, and was referred for orders to the Committees of General and Public Safety.
Thuriot.–"Can we now doubt of a Conspiracy? Virtuous men have no alternative but to perish or lead the traitors to the scaffold."
Goupilleau announced that Hanriot had escaped, and was parading the streets in triumph.
Elie-Lacoste.–"Several of the Conspirators are set at liberty. Roberspierre, who, contrary to the intention of the Committee of General Safety, had been sent to the Luxembourg, was, by the Administrator of Police there, conducted to the Commune. The Municipal Officers received him as a brother, and said they would protect him. I move that they be outlawed" (Decreed with Applause).
A Citizen at the Bar announced the arrival of the Citizens of the Faubourg Antoine, who had all turned out to fight for the Convention.
A Member announced that Hanriot was in the square of the National Palace, giving orders.–Outlawed by acclamation.
Amar. "I come from the very spot. Hanriot was endeavouring to mislead the Citizens, especially the Cannoneers. I said to them–"Will you now disgrace your Country of which you have hitherto deserved so well?" Instantly they declared on my side, and protected me against one of Hanriot's aids-de-camp, who menaced me with his sabre. Let us enlighten the People, and we may brave every danger."
Vouland. "The National Guard must have a Chief, and he must be one of your own Members. The two Committees propose Citizen Barras, who has the courage to accept the office."
The Convention nominated Barras to direct the armed force; and on his demand, gave him six Members to assist him, with the same powers as the Commissioners with the armies have. These were Ferrand, Freron, Rouvere, Delmas, Leonard, Bourdon, and Bourdon of Oise.
Barrere, after a Report from the Committee of Public Safety, in which he detailed all the attempts of the Conspirators, proposed the following Decree, which was adopted.
"The National Convention, after hearing the Report of the Committees of General and Public Safety, forbids shutting the barriers, or convoking the Sections, without orders from the said Committees;
"Outlaws all Public Functionaries who shall give orders for advancing an armed force against the Convention, or for opposing the execution of any of the Decrees it has passed;
"Out laws also all individuals who shall not obey, or shall withdraw themselves from Decrees of Arrest or Accusation issued against them."
Barrere then presented a Proclamation to the French People, which was ordered to be printed, and sent immediately to the Sections of Paris, to all the Communes of the Republic, and to the Armies.
Cannoneers filed through the Hall with Representatives of the People at their head.
A Member of the Commune came to the bar, and disavowed the proceedings of that body.
A Member of the Committee of the Section of Unity, announced that the Section having received orders to join the Commune, refused to obey, and would acknowledge no authority, but that of the Convention.
An officer of the Invalids on duty at the Convention, requested orders in their name to march against the Traitors.
Vouland.–"Hanriot is not the only Conspirator who has escaped from arrest. Roberspierre and all the rest have done the same. I move that they be outlawed." Decreed.
Elie-Lacoste.–"Bertheche, a creature of Dumourier, Bournonville, and Custine, commands the Camp des Sablons. This wretch was in Calvados, where he sold himself to Wimpfen."
Billaud-Varennes.–"Bertheche was arrested four hours ago. There can be no doubt but that the festival intended for to-morrow, was meant as a pretext for surrounding the Committees and the Convention, by making the young men of this Camp exercise before them. For this purpose they were to be armed and have fifteen pieces of Cannon delivered to them. I will throw no suspicion upon the patriotism of those young men, or upon the virtue of the people; but let us adjourn the festival till we exterminate the traitors."–Decreed.
On the motion of Tallien, Brival and Bentabole were sent to the Camp des Sablons to assist Peyssard, who was there before.
A Deputation from the Revolutionary Committee of Mutius Scaevola, announced that the Commune had invited all the Constituted Authorities to come and take an Oath before it, and that the toc-sin was ringing at the Commune.
All the Sections of Paris came in succession to the Bar, and took an oath to acknowledge no authority, but that of the Convention, and to make a rampart of their bodies around it.
The President returned thanks in the name of the Convention, and announced to each of them the Decree which outlaws the Conspirators.
Barras entered the Hall–"I have traversed a great part of the city. Every where the People are at the height of Liberty, every where they cry Vive la Republique! Vive la Convention Nationale. The Cannoneers of the Section of the Fountain of Grenelle accompanied us. The military dispositions are every where executed. The Convention is surrounded by all the Republicans of Paris. I have caused a Gens d'Arme who was sent by the Commune to Labtreche to be arrested; and I am going to deliver the letter taken upon him to the two Committees."
Ferrand–"I have visited all the neighbouring posts. I have found none but Republicans, who all swear to die for us–("Yes, so will we all," exclaimed the Galleries.) I have apprehended a Gens d'Arme, who came from Hanriot with orders to the armed force, that surrounds the National Palace, to withdraw."
Freron–"The traitors sent Lebas to the Camp des Sablons, but he is anticipated. As soon as the Cannoneers who surround the Commune, were told that the Conspirators within were outlawed, they declared that they waited only for orders to fire upon it. While Barras is concerting measures with the Committee of Public Safety, we, his assistants, will summon the misguided men in the Hall of the Commune, to deliver up the traitors. If they refuse, we will reduce the Building to a heap of rubbish–(Loud Applauses) I must not forget to tell you that we found 1500 men with cannon on the Pont Neuf, to guard that important post."
Tallien took the Chair, and Collot d'Herbois, the President, invited his colleagues in the Committees of Public and General Safety to follow him, that the sun might not go down before the heads of the traitors should fall."
Lacoste announced, that sufficient guards had been set upon the Prisons, the Temple, and the Treasury.
The Gens d'Armes of various descriptions, sent to inform the Convention, that they were all at their posts.
The President said, he held in his hand the original order of the Commune, for assembling the Sections, and for appointing a General.
The Section of Marat announced, that the Motion makers of the Commune had been arrested in that Section.
Dubois-Crance–"I must do justice to the sagacity of Marat. During the trial of Capet, he said to me, pointing to Roberspierre, 'Do you see that Rascal?' 'How, Rascal?' said I–'Yes,' replied Marat, 'that man is more dangerous to Liberty than all the coalesced Despots."
Brival and Bentabole announced that they had found the young men in the Camp des Sablons, in the best disposition, and that they all cried out–"Perish the Traitors."
Billaud-Varennes.–"The inhabitants of Paris are flying to arms; but at this moment they are organizing a counter-revolution at the Commune, and several pieces of cannon are already prepared to be employed against the Convention. I move that the Representatives of the People whom we have entrusted with the direction of the armed force, be ordered to take measures for getting hold of the conspirators, so that their heads may fall within an hour."
The President invited the Members of the two Committees to follow him into an adjoining chamber; the other Members of the Convention to remain at their post; and the citizens in the galleries to fly to arms.–All the men in the galleries instantly went out, the women only remaining.
A Citizen announced that the Hall of the Commune was taken, and that they were bringing Roberspierre the elder on a litter.
Charlier took the Chair, and exclaimed–"The base Roberspierre is at the door. Is it your pleasure that he be brought in?" No! No! resounded from all parts.
Thuriot.–"The carcase of a Tyrant can bring with it only pestilence. The Square of the Revolution (place of execution) is the place for him and his accomplices. Let the Committees take measures for making the sword of the law strike without delay." Decreed.
Leonard-Bourdon ascended the Tribune, after leave given, with a Gens d'Arme by his side.–"This brave man has never quitted me, and has killed two Conspirators with his own hand. I went to assemble forces to attack the Hall of the Commune. We advanced upon it in several columns. At our approach the deluded citizens saw their error, and the cowards fled. We found Roberspierre, the elder, armed with a large knife, which this brave Gens d'Arme wrested from him, and struck Couthon, who was also armed with a knife. St. Just and Lebas are taken. Dumas, and 18 or 20 other Conspirators, are shut up and closely guarded in the Chamber of the Hall of the Commune. Hanriot seems to have escaped, for citizens told me that they had seen him fly, but not being informed of your Decree, they did not stop him. In fine, Citizens, Liberty is triumphant, and the Conspirators will soon appear at the Bar. (No! No! resounded from all parts)––Here is a quantity of papers found upon Roberspierre; here is also a letter found upon Couthon, signed by Roberspierre and St. Just, as follows: 'Couthon, all the Patriots are proscribed. The whole people are up; not to repair to the Hall of the Commune, where we are, would be to betray them.'–I move, that the President give the fraternal embrace to this brave Gens d'Arme."
The President gave him the fraternal embrace amid loud applauses; honourable mention was made of his conduct; and the Committee of Public Safety was ordered to promote him.
Legendre.–"As I went from this Tribune, I took with me ten resolute Patriots. My intention was to go and blow out the brains of the man who presided yesterday and to day in the Jacobin Club. With a double pistol in my hand I entered the Hall, but the wretch, whose name was Vivier, had mixed with the crowd. I said to the women in the galleries, "You are misled; begone, the Convention punishes guilt not error." I shut the gates of the hall; here are the keys. As the Convention in a mass has saved the country, to-morrow the Convention in a mass will be Jacobines. It will be Virtue that will go to open the gates of that Society."
On the motion of Thirion, Vivier was outlawed.
At Six in the morning the sitting was suspended.
10 thermidor, monday july 28.
Nine in the morning.
The department of Paris and the Revolutionary Tribunal came to the bar to congratulate the Convention on having saved their country. The members of the Tribunal were ordered to go and receive the orders of the Committee of Public Safety and return to their post.
Sijas, not being apprehended, was outlawed.
Delieca, formerly a Member of the Legislative Assembly, was appointed President of the Second Section of the Revolutionary Tribunal; and the Tribunal was ordered to proceed without delay against the Conspirators, who being outlawed, to identify their persons was all that was necessary for their condemnation.
A number of Addresses of Congratulation were received.
Santerre appeared at the Bar. He said he had been the victim of Roberspierre's oppression; that his fetters were now broken; and that his only ambition was to be useful to his Country; he cared not in what situation. He was admitted to the honours of the sitting.
Dubarrau announced that Hanriot was taken. The minutes of this day and yesterday's sitting were ordered to be printed, and sent to all the Communes of the Republic.
Decreed, that the Sections of Paris had never ceased to deserve well of their Country.
Barrere made a long report on all the circumstances of the Conspiracy, and concluded by proposing a Proclamation, which was adopted, ordered to be printed, and sent by extraordinary Couriers to all the Departments, and all the Armies of the Republic.
The Convention then proceeded with the ordinary business till Four o'Clock, when the sitting was suspended.
paris, july 30.
On the 28th, at three in the morning, the Representatives of the People charged with that Commission announced to the Convention, that they were masters of the Hall of the Commune and the Traitors it contained.
Le Bas killed himself. The two Roberspierres and Couthon had tried to escape the vengeance of the People by the same means; but they were only wounded, and met the punishment reserved for Traitors.
Their persons being identified before the Revolutionary Tribunal, which was all that was necessary for their condemnation as they had been previously out-lawed, sentence of death was pronounced upon them.
On the 28th in the evening, their heads fell on the scaffold, amid the acclamations of an immense concourse of people, who rent the air with shouts of Vive la Republique! Vive la Convention, a memorable example for all men, who may ever dream of attempting to usurp the National Sovereignty! glorious day, which saw disappear in an instant all the hopes of the Coalesced Despots! they reckoned on having to treat with a Dictator! the French People rather shall be a Dictator to them; and from the French People they have neither peace nor truce to expect. What a sublime spectacle was the energetic unanimity of the National Convention! how must the firm countenance of the people of Paris, and the spontaneous rallying of all the Citizens around the Convention, terrify the Agitators! this revolution, by giving a new force to the National Representation, pronounces sentence of death upon all those who shall attempt to divide or degrade it. In vain would the eternal calumniators of the People profit of these events to accuse the People of versatility. The People are always just in their judgments; their wish is Liberty, and they love none but those who defend it. The less they shall idolize individuals, the more constant will they be in their love for their country. The more precarious the reputations of individuals shall appear, the more firmly will public liberty be established. Whoever renders himself powerful enough to attempt to set himself above the law; ought, in every one of his fellow-citizens, to find a Brutus. The overbearing influence of a single man, is the most dangerous scourge of a Republic.
monday, august 18.
The fall of Roberspierre is at length confirmed. The particulars our readers will find under the Head France. The charge against him was that of aspiring to the Tyranny; and, as far as can be collected from the proceedings of the Convention, it was not without foundation.
He appears to have filled all the Municipal offices of Paris with his own creatures; to have secured a great majority in the Jacobine Club, by what he called the Purifying Scrutiny; to have tampered with the armed force of the capital, particularly the Cannoneers; and put an accomplice at the head of the whole.–Hence his rescue after being taken into custody under the decree of accusation, and his being able, for a whole night, to brave the Convention. Only two hours before he was retaken, the victory seemed doubtful. The people, however, soon declared against him; and with them his attempt to resist was held to be an infallible proof of his guilt.
The only members of the Convention who fell with him, were his brother, St. Just, Couthon, and Lebas. Barrere, with his wonted dexterity, contrived to be on the side of the victorious party; and seems to retain as much influence as he ever possessed in the Committee of Public Safety.
This contest, as important as any since the commencement of the Revolution, was decided without battle or massacre. How far the proscriptions may be extended under colour of law, remains to be seen.
The Convention appear to be placed in a more advantageous situation than they have ever enjoyed since their convocation. They have obtained a signal proof of the attachment of the People; they have triumphed over the Commune of Paris, which often arrogated co-ordinate, and sometimes exercised superior powers; and they have reduced the Jacobin Club to such a degree of humiliation and debasement, that it can never become formidable again, but by their own mismanagement.