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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

In signing arbitrary mandates of arrest


"That O'Sulivan is author and accomplice of several noyades (drownings) and unheard-of cruelties towards the victims delivered to the waves.

"That Lefevre is proved to have ordered and caused to be executed a noyade of men, women, and children, and to have committed various arbitrary acts.

"That General Heron is proved to have assassinated children, and worn publicly in his hat the ear of a man he had murdered. That he also killed two children who were peaceably watching sheep.

"That Bachelier is author and accomplice of the operations at Nantes, in signing arbitrary mandates of arrest, imposing vexatious taxes, and taking for himself plate, &c. found at the houses of citizens arrested on suspicion.

"That Joly is guilty, &c. in executing the arbitrary orders of the Revolutionary Committee, of tying together the victims destined to be drowned or shot."

There are thirty-one articles conceived nearly in the same terms, and which conclude thus--"All convicted as above, but not having acted with criminal or counter-revolutionary intentions, the Tribunal acquits and sets them at liberty."

All France was indignant at those verdicts, and the people of Paris were so enraged,

that the Convention ordered the acquitted culprits to be arrested again, perhaps rather for protection than punishment. They were sent from Paris, and I never heard the result; but I have seen the name of General Heron as being at large.

The Convention were certainly desirous that the atrocities of these men (all zealous republicans) should be forgotten; for, independently of the disgrace which their trial has brought on the cause, the sacrifice of such agents might create a dangerous timidity in future, and deprive the government of valuable partizans, who would fear to be the instruments of crimes for which, after such a precedent, they might become responsible. But the evil, which was unavoidable, has been palliated by the tenderness or gratitude of a jury chosen by the Convention, who, by sacrificing two only of this mass of monsters, and protecting the rest, hope to consecrate the useful principle of indulgence for every act, whatever its enormity, which has been the consequence of zeal or obedience to the government.

It is among the dreadful singularities of the revolution, that the greatest crimes which have been committed were all in strict observance of the laws. Hence the Convention are perpetually embarrassed by interest or shame, when it becomes necessary to punish them. We have only to compare the conduct of Carrier, le Bon, Maignet, &c. with the decrees under which they acted, to be convinced that their chief guilt lies in having been capable of obeying: and the convention, coldly issuing forth their rescripts of extermination and conflagration, will not, in the opinion of the moralist, be favorably distinguished from those who carried these mandates into execution.

December 24, 1794.

I am now at a village a few miles from Amiens, where, upon giving security in the usual form, we have been permitted to come for a few days on a visit to some relations of my friend Mad. de ____. On our arrival, we found the lady of the house in a nankeen pierrot, knitting grey thread stockings for herself, and the gentleman in a thick woollen jacket and pantaloons, at work in the fields, and really labouring as hard as his men.--They hope, by thus taking up the occupation and assuming the appearance of farmers, to escape farther persecution; and this policy may be available to those who have little to lose: but property is now a more dangerous distinction than birth, and whoever possesses it, will always be considered as the enemies of the republic, and treated accordingly.


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