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and that their numbers were greatly increased. In the beginning of April, general Berruyere was appointed to command against the insurgent army: nevertheless, the royalists had contrived to possess themselves of a large extent of country, and had defeated the republican army in two general engagements. But it was not within the actual territories of France alone, that discontents prevailed against the existing rulers. The popular society of Toulon denounced the Corsican general Paoli, as a supporter of despotism. They alleged that, in concert with the administrators of the departments, he not only persecuted the patriots,

but favoured the emigrants and refractory priests: they even went so far as to demand, that his head should pay the forfeit of his contumacy. The convention, therefore, decreed, that general Paoli and the procureur-general Syndic of the department of Corsica, should be ordered to the bar of the nation, to give an account of his conduct. The general, as may be supposed, refused to obey this citation; and the persons who were sent to arrest him, represented the commission as too dangerous to risque the execution of it. The conduct and character of that venerable/man, and gallant soldier, will heighten the interest of a future period. CHAP. VII.


Leading Parties in France. Proceedings of the National Convention. Establishment of a Revolutionary Tribunal for trying Offences against the State. Decree for the Protection of Property. Decree for inflicting Punishment on Publications in Favour of Monarchy. The Sentence of Outlawry decreed against all Persons attempting a Counter-Revolution. A Committee of Public Safety appointed. Its Powers specified. The Bourbon Family arrested. Decree respecting the Paper-Currency of France. Violent Contests between the Gironde and Jacobin Parties. Petition presented by one of the Sections of Paris against certain Deputies. The Commons of the forty-eight Sections of Paris demand, that certain Deputies should be impeached and expelled the Convention. Various Accusations brought against the Convention by a Deputation of the Fauxbourg of St. Antoine. Marat sent to the Abbey Prison is tried, and acquitted. The Convention enter upon a Consideration of the new Constitution. A Commission of twelve Members of the Convention appointed for inspecting the Commonalty of Paris. Distracted State of the Convention. Forced Loan proposed. The Proceedings of the Commission of Twelve irritate the People. Its Dissolution decreed. Decrees respecting Public Instruction, and the Regulations of the Army. Paris in a State of Insurrection. A Deputation from the revolutionary_Committees ap pear at the Bar of the Convention. New Commotions in Paris. The Convention compelled to arrest certain Deputies. The New Constitution. Declaration of the Rights of Man. Observations. Report respecting the imprisoned Deputies. The Southern Provinces in a State of Revolt. Marat assassinated. Decree against Foreigners. Decree for rising in a Occurrences in the West Indies. Capture of Pondicherry.


WE turn aside from the contests of domestic parties,

scenes of war to consider and describe the effects of those



commotions which agitated the convention of France. The leaders of this self-created body of rulers were certain literary men, whose talents in political discussion, whether as orators or writers, had, at this turbulent period, raised them to the distinction of legislators, and who employed, as subordinate ministers, a few individuals that had acted as clerks under the regal government. Of these Brissot is well known, and from his name the party with which he was connected has been frequently called the Brissotin faction. the head of the opposite party stood Robespierre and Marat, the former a stern unrelenting tyrant, and the latter a furious and determined incendiary, whose passions frequently assumed the appearance of insanity. Though zealously opposed by Robespierre, and the jacobins, the Brissotin party predominated in the convention; though the former being more disposed to gratify the rabble of Paris with blood and plunder, possessed a commanding ascendancy in the city. But before we enter on the history of those dissensions, whose violence and brutality it is our office to record, it may be necessary to state certain decrees and resolutions, which were produced by the convention to assist and strengthen the executive government.

In the month of March the revolutionary tribunal for trying offences against the state was established. Its construction and powers are as follow:

1. The revolutionary tribunal shall take cognizance of every enterprise, plot, and attempt against the liberty and sovereignty of the people, and the unity, indivisibi

lity, and external as well as internal safety of the republic, of every plan tending to establish royalty, and of every crime respecting the fabrication of forged assignate.

2. The tribunal shall consist of six judges, divided into two sections. Three members in each section shall be sufficient to examine facts denounced.

3. The judges shall be chosen by the national convention, by the nominal appeal, and by a relative majority.

4. To this tribunal shall belong a public accuser, and two assistants, named by the convention in the same manner as judges. A commission of the six members shall also be appointed to draw up the decrees of accusation, which may be passed by the convention.

5. The jurors shall be in number twelve, and their substitutes three. They shall be taken from the department of Paris, until the first of May next, an epoch, when the electoral bodies must renew their jurors.

6. Crimes against general safety, assigned heretofore to the cognizance of municipalities, shall in future be judged by the revolutionary tribunal.

7. There shall be no appeal from the sentence.

8. Sentence passed in the absence of the accused shall have the same effect as if they were present.

9. Persons accused, who shall not appear within three months, shall be considered as emigrants, and treated as such.

To flatter the passions, and play on the weakness of those classes of people, who are the general engines of ambition, must be a very leading principle in all revolutions.

This was practised with great success in France, and the promise of liberty and equality won the populace to throw aside their prejudices, and to assist in the robbery of wealth in every form, whether ecclesiastical, hereditary, or commercial; as the possessions of religion, the inheritance from ancestors, or the gains of industry. That these deluded people should suppose that liberty signified a state of licentiousness, and that by equality must be understood an equal possession of property was a very natural consequence. Nay, these opinions were actually encouraged by the demagogues of France, till the revolutionary frenzy had done its office. But as this levelling system is equally hostile to power and to property, those who have obtained the possession of them, and have assumed withal the character of rulers, will think it nenessary to restrain and regulate those principles, which would now be as destructive to themselves, as it had been to those with whose spoils they are enriched. Hence it was that the convention formed a decree, denouncing punishment of death against any one who should propose an Agrarian law, or should attempt to injure territorial, commercial, or personal property.

On the 29th of March a decree was passed, by which it was declared, that all persons convicted of composing or printing writings for the restoration of monarchy in France, or the dissolution of the national representation, should be punished with death. All persons guilty of attempting a counter-revolution were, at the same time, declared outlaws and on the first of April a decree was passed to

abolish the inviolability of the deputies of the convention, when accused of crimes against the state.

On the 7th of April a committee of public safety was appointed, with powers adequate to prevent or punish all insurrection and conspiracy but as the authority delegated to it was of a more extensive nature than had hitherto been granted, its duration was limited to the short period of a month. This decree was the subject of much debate, and contained the following articles :

1. A committee of public safety, consisting of nine members, taken from the convention, shall be formed by open vote.

2. This committee shall deliberate in secret, and shall be charged to watch over and accelerate the actions of the administration entrusted to the executive council, whose decrees it may suspend, when it thinks them contrary to the public interest, being bound at the same time to give information to the convention.

3. It is authorised to pursue, in urgent circumstances, external and internal measures of general defence, and its decrees signed by the majority of its deliberating members, which shall never be less than two thirds, shall be executed by the provisional executive council; and it cannot in any case issue mandates of arrest but against executive agents, and are bound, at the same time, to give immediate information to the convention.

4. The particular agents, whom the committee shall think proper to employ, shall be paid from the public treasury.

5. The national treasury shall, for this purpose, keep in readiness,

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at the disposal of the committee, the sum of 100,000 livres.

6. It may divide itself into sections to exercise its operations with safety.

7. It shall make a general report of its operations, and of the situation of the republic.

8. It shall keep a journal of its deliberations, which shall be signed by all the members present.

9. This committee shall be established only for one month.

On the 7th of April it was decreed, that all the branches of the Bourbon family, as well as such officers of the Austrian army as had been taken prisoners should be considered as hostages, and be answerable for the safety of the commissioners sent by Dumourier to the Imperial army; and that all the Bourbons should be removed to Marseilles, except those who were confined in the temple: and who is there that will lament; nay, who is there that will not rather rejoice, when they are informed that the duke of Orleans, though a member of the convention, was not excepted in the decree. The paper currency of France being in a very depreciated state, a decree passed on the 9th of the same month, enacting that all bargains and contracts should be paid in assignats, and not in specie. The contest between the two parties, who had for some time been contending for power, was now approaching to a very serious issue. The Brissotin or Gironde party had seriously wished to save the life of Louis XVI. and had they acted with that firm and determined spirit which such an object required, he would have been preserved, at least from the horrors of the guillotine. The spirit of VOL. XXXV.

comparative moderation which they had manifested on that occasion, was, however, attributed by their opponents to bribes from foreign powers; and this opinion, with many others, which the jacobins artfully propagated hastened the downfall of Brissot and his adherents. In particular, the report that they had confederated with Dumourier in his counter-revolutionary designs, had made such a strong and general impression on the people, that, on the 9th of April, a petition had been presented to the convention by one of the sections of Paris, accusing Guadet, Vergniaux, Gensonné, and other deputies, as his accomplices, in which it was requested that they might be punished. On the 15th a petition was also presented by the commons of the forty-eight sections of Paris, demanding that Brissot, Guadet, Vergniaux, Gensonné, and several other deputies, should be impeached and expelled the convention. A deputation of the Fauxbourg of Saint Antoine encreased the public discontent, by appearing before the convention, to accuse them of neglecting their duty, of betraying their country, and, in no one instance, fulfilling their engagements with the public. Eight thousand persons, but without arms, attended on this occasion. They also declared that their Fauxbourg was in a state of insurrection. The Gironde party, however, who felt the tottering condition of their power did not fail to exert themselves on this very critical occasion. As the inflammatory journal, conducted by Marat, was generally believed to have fomented the spirit of discontentwhich prevailed, that deputy had been [S]


already denounced in the month of February: but the convention, who were apprehensive of the power of the jacobins, hesitated in proceeding against him; he therefore continued his attendance in the convention, where, on the 5th of April, he recriminated the Gironde party, and denounced three hundred of the deputies; at the head of whom were Brissot, Vergniaux, &c. On the 12th he resumed his accusation, which was supported by Robespierre; and so violent was the tumult which ensued, that the deputies drew their swords, and approached each other with hostile menace: but the president, who expected to see the hall a scene of bloodshed, exerted himself with such address and resolution as to restore the appearance of tranquillity and good order. In the evening sitting of the same day, the spirit of accusation changed its object, and Marat was denounced in his turn for putting his signature to a violent blood-thirsty paper, as president of the jacobin club, and was committed to the Abbey pri- ́ son, by a majority of 233 votes against 82. From this decided and commanding superiority, which the Gironde party were seen to possess in the convention, it might naturally be expected, that there was but a small space between Marat and the scaffold but the people at large were his friends; and the jury, by whom he was tried, acquitted him without a dissenting



On the 10th of May the national convention took possession of their new hall of assembly in the palace of the Tuilleries; and on that day they laid the first stone of the new Edifice of their constitution. The

transactions of this day very fully explain and unfold the temper and sentiments of the French rulers respecting government. On* the one hand, it was proposed, that a social compact should be decreed previous to the constitution. On the contrary, it was determined, that a nation, which had proclaimed the rights of man, could have no other social compact than a constitution. The leaders of the jacobin party contended, that modern legislators ought to act in direct contradiction to former precedent: hitherto, they said, the art of government had been the art of pillaging, and of subjecting the many for the benefit of the few; while legislation had been the art of reducing these crimes into a system, They next observed, that politicians, hitherto less anxious to defend liberty than to modify tyranny, have thought by two modes to limit the power of the magistrate. One has been the equilibrium of power, the other the tribunitian authority. The equili

brium of power was termed a chimera: it was argued, that we must suppose the absolute nullity and suspension of government if the rival powers did not necessarily coalesce against the people; and that the influence of gold, and the influence of the crown utterly destroyed this boasted balance. Such were the positions, says an anonymous writer, on the revolution in France, on which the French republicans founded the new fabric of their constitution, which will shortly become the subject of our consideration. We must, however, give some previous attention to the revolution, as it has been called, of the 31st of May, when the Gironde


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