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/793. RESISTANCE OF THE COMMUNE. 35
not unlike the king of the forest in character. A little violence and blood had satisfied their appetites; nor were they prepared, like the Jacobin tigers, to destroy for mere destruction's sake. Their forbearance, however, proved but weakness; and they soon found that, having failed to crush, they must inevitably themselves be crushed.
After the execution of Louis the discord thickened. Such beings as Marat, Robespierre, and Danton, could not exist save in the fearful atmosphere of sedition that they had created for themselves. Indeed, their personal security demanded this; for a return to order such as the Girondists sought to establish would inevitably bring them to punishment for their crimes. Already the Gironde had succeeded in proving them to be implicated in the horrors of September, and a judgment was about to be passed on several of the inferior leaders, when the Mountain persuaded the convention to quash the proceedings.
In partial exculpation of Robespierre and the Jacobins, however, (if the word exculpation can be applied to such men,) it must be allowed that at this epoch an insurrectionary spirit broke out in the capital independent of their intrigues. Its cause lay in the general distress, in the dearness of bread and of all necessaries, aggravated by the recent declaration of war against England and Holland. A revolution such as the present, which had swept the rich from the face of the land, and converted even the moderately wealthy into trembling misers, necessarily threw all the population hitherto dependent on the expenses of these classes into indigence. Up to this moment the commune had paid them the produce of its plunders as the price of insurrection. This fund was now exhausted. Universal war made such a large demand, that the commune could no longer obtain funds from the convention, somewhat jealous of it, whilst the depreciation of assignats or republican paper rendered aid illusory, and left the people utterly without the means of procuring even bread. They were numerous and armed. They crowded to the convention, and demanded that corn should nowhere be sold for more than twenty-five livres the sack under penalty to the vendor of being sent to the galleys. Marat himself exclaimed in the convention against the maximum, as this measure was called. Robespierre made similar efforts in the Jacobins. Danton alone held back, and still kept his club of Cordeliers true to the prevailing spirit of the populace. His brother anarchists soon acknowledged his wisdom, and shuffled round once more to head the popular cry. Marat in some ten days after having opposed the maximum, recommended the mob IF. —3
in his journal to pillage a few magazines, and hang the monopolizer He was accused of this by the Gironde, and new tumults arose in the assembly. The Parisian populace adopted the advice of Marat. After the dearness of bread, that of sugar, candles, and such necessaries, was most felt since the war with England. Crowds of women accordingly proceeded to the grocers' shops, demanded these articles at the old prices, and soon at no price at all. A scene of plunder ensued, which was at length put a stop to by the federals of Brest, and some national guards.
When each difficulty of these dreadful times approached its crisis, evil tidings from the armies were wont to arrive, superadd a panic fear to all the evil passions of the hour, and thus precipitate' the catastrophe. Now came the news of reverses in Belgium, the advance of the Austrians, their having defeated the French near Aix 3a Chapelle, the utter failure of Dumouriez's invasion of Holland, and dire suspicions at the same time of the fidelity of that general. His conduct gave full scope for this. He openly spoke in contempt of the convention, and insulted its emissaries, who, he observed with truth, had spoiled his conquest by anarchy and spoliation.
The Jacobins instantly exclaimed that Dumouriez was leagued with the Gironde; that all were royalists and traitors. Accounts of troubles at Lyons, indicative of resentment against the regicide majority of the convention, came to swell the rising rage of the party; and thus was reawakened the old cry against the counter-revolution. The Mountain obtained the dismissal of some of the federals summoned by the Gironde from the provinces to protect them, Danton, exaggerating the fears of invasion, proposed to ask the city of Paris to furnish 30,000 volunteers; the same demand that was made previous to the 2d of September, and with the self-same view. Now, as then, the Parisian moo declared itself willing to march against the enemy; but, as a preliminary, they demanded to be allowed plunder and massacre at home ere they set forth. "Would you have us leave the aristocrats behind, to murder our wives and children in our absence?" This had been the language of September; then uttered, perhaps, in some sincerity, atrocious as it was. But now the demand was buta trick °f Party> suggested by Danton. "If you find another massacre inconvenient," continued the mob, speaking through their organs in the sections, "give us a revolutionary tribunal, to pass summary judgment on all traitors." This was precisely Marat's idea of a dictator, except that several persons, in lieu of one, were to exercise the power. This
1793. REVOLU1 3NARY TRIBUNAL. 37
demand was made in the usual imperative form to the convention, by a petition from the sections. Garnot at the same time proposed to send new commissaries, two to each department. Each agitator added his nostrum, and Danton produced a list of them: the last being a sweeping war-tax to be levied on the rich,. Amongst the most furious was Cambaceres, who demanded the instant formation not only of a revolutionary tribunal, but a ministry in harmony with the idea.
This scene took place on the tenth of March. Lindet at length proposed the plan of the redoubtable tribunal. It was to consist of nine members, and to be permanent; one half relieving the other, and always ready to receive denunciations. "This is an inquisition a thousand times more dreadful than that of Venice," cried Vergniaud, "we will die rather than vote it." Even Cambon, a Jacobin, declared himself averse. The trimming Barrere discovered, as usual, a middle term, and proposed the addition of juris to the tribunal. This opinion prevailed; and the Gironde carried the point, that the jury should be selected, not merely from Paris, but the departments.
This did not satisfy the agitators. Danton demanded that the executive power should be renewed, and recurred to the question of the tribunal, which he proposed to organize instantly. "Let us take warning by the weakness of the legislative assembly," said he; "let us be terrible, in order to dispense the people from making themselves so." "Give us the tribunal, or you shall have an insurrection," had been the pithy argument of another Jacobin. Towards night the convention were treated with a sample of what they might have expected in case the popular demand had been rejected. An armed and furious mob collected, surrounded the assembly, and demanded to march in procession through it; a request that was granted. Several of the ruffians, as they passed, stopped to address, to insult, and menace the members. The Girondists were the objects of resentment. They feared to be massacred, and looked upon this as an insurrection organized against them, as had been that of the 10th of August against royalty. But they anticipated: this was but a foretaste and a prelude. The tumultuous crowd subsided without proceeding to acts of violence; satisfied, no doubt, by the appointment of their desired tribunal, and also somewhat induced to be orderly by the appearance of Beumonville, minister at war, and an able officer, at the head of the Brest federals and such troops as he couid muster.
This movement, as an abortive insterection is termed in revolutionary language, gave rise naturally to fresh heats and recriminations betwixt the rival parties. The Girondists accused the Mountainists of raising a tumult to massacre them, The latter denied the charge, and even showed a jealousy of the meaner agitators by denouncing several of them. Marat pointed out Fournier, and caused his arrest. This Jacobin, os well as Robespierre, was jealous of the still viler leaders of insurrection, and feared to be outrivalled by them in popular power. As they were composed of the scum of all nations, Poles, Prussians, refugees from America, Marat meditated in his next insurrection to get rid of them, and he accordingly placed aristocrats and foreigners in the same category. "I would first cut off the ears of all you foreign intruders," said Marat to Ward, an Irish officer; "let your blood flow a little, and then cut off your heads." This proposal being reported to Thomas Paine, who herded with the Girondists, he denounced it to the committee of public safety; a new executive that the convention had decreed, and chose from its members, to superintend the measures of the several ministers, in other words, to supersede them.
The defection of Dumouriez proved a serious blow to the Gironde. He had hurried from Holland to rally the French army, which was retreating before the Austrians. The disorganization of the troops, and the wants of all kinds which they suffered, the principal causes of their retreat and inefficiency, he attributed to the Jacobins in power, especially to Pache. Dumouriez's first step was to state this opinion frankly in a letter to the executive council at Paris. His next was to give battle to the imperialists, determined to redeem by a brilliant victory the overthrow of his projects, and his character for success. The action was fought on the 18th of March, at Neerwinden, the field of a former battle. It was fiercely contested by the prince of Coburg, who commanded the Austrians. The villages which served for positions were frequently taken and retaken. The due de Chartres (now king of the French) commanded the centre, and rivalled, though without the same success, his opportune and valiant manoeuvre at Jemmapes. Towards evening, however, Dumouriez with his centre and one wing remained masters of the field, and, as he thought, of the victory. But Miranda, command ing the left, had been in the mean time completely beaten and routed. The French flank was exposed; and naught was left to Dumouriez but a precipitate retreat, which ended in i truce with the enemy, little glorious to the French arms. Ill success soured the temper and altered the vie vs of Dumouriez. His resentment against the Jacobins was louder; nor,
1793. DEFECTION OP DUMOUR1EZ. 39
while they ruled, could he hope to achieve the military fame that he ardently desired. He turned his views, therefore, against the anarchists of the convention; opened himself on this point to the Austrians; and entered into an understandingtwith them. He proposed to march upon Paris; he was far more popular with his soldiers than La Fayette had been, and deemed himself more capable than that general of striking such a blow effectually. Dumouriez, however, wanted the dissimulation of Monk. He spoke loudly of his intentions, and braved Danton, who had journeyed from Paris purposely to bring back his former friend to be faithful to the republican cause. But Dumouriez was not to be moved. "He would re-establish the constitution voted by the first national assembly in 1791." "You must have a king then. Whom do you select]" was the rejoinder. Dumouriez did not reply; but it was generally supposed, from his connexion and friendship with the princes of Orleans, that he aimed at fixing the crown on the head of one of that family. Complete failure had rendered his intentions too unimportant to fathom. His popularity with his army waned as soon as it saw his accord with the Austrians. He made attempts to seize Lille and Valenciennes, in order not to pass empty-handed to his allies. Both failed; and even the little town of Conde refused to admit him. Four commissioners arrived, at length, in his camp from the convention: amongst them was his friend Beurnonville. They found him mistrustful, and surrounded by his staff; but signified not the less their mandate, that he should resign his command, and repair to the bar of the convention. "What! bear my head to the tigers?" exclaimed Dumouriez, "no!—Here, hussars!" And he instantly ordered the four commissioners into arrest. He here passed the Rubicon; but his army was no longer his. It contained many freshly arrived corps of fanatic republicans: they menaced to arrest him; and, at length, Dumouriez was obliged to follow the fate of La Fayette, and abandoned his army on the 5th of April. The princes of Orleans and other officers accompanied him; he had previously delivered up the captive commissioners of the convention to the Austrians, whom he now joined. He was honorably received by them, and offered command; but he declined it, preferring the oblivion into which he ever after sunk, and to which his active spirit most reluctantly submitted. The treason of Dumouriez came as an apt and opportune theme of declamation to the Jacobins. They instantly accused the Gironde of suggesting and supporting his schemes. Robespierre especially, in an elaborate philippic, invoked vengeance on the accomplices of the traitor. The Girondists were able