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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

Which they alledge to be carrying on by the persons confined


All

this would be inexplicable, if we did not contemplate in the French a nation where every faculty is absorbed by a terror which involves a thousand contradictions. The rich now seek protection by becoming members of clubs,* and are happy if, after various mortifications, they are finally admitted by the mob who compose them; while families, that heretofore piqued themselves on a voluminous and illustrious genealogy,** eagerly endeavour to prove they have no claim to either.

* _Le diplome de Jacobin etait une espece d'amulette, dont les inities etaient jaloux, et qui frappoit de prestiges ceux qui ne l'etaient pas_--"The Jacobin diploma was a kind of amulet, which the initiated were jealous of preserving, and which struck as it were with witchcraft, those who were not of the number."

Rapport de Courtois sur les Papiers de Robespierre.

** Besides those who, being really noble, were anxious to procure certificates of sans-cullotism, many who had assumed such honours without pretensions now relinquished them, except indeed some few, whose vanity even surmounted their fears. But an express law included all these seceders in the general proscription; alledging, with a candour not usual, that those who assumed rank were, in fact, more criminal than such as were guilty of being born to it.

--Places and employments, which are in most countries the objects of intrigue and ambition, are here refused or relinquished with such perfect sincerity, that a decree became requisite to oblige every one, under pain of durance, to preserve the station to which his ill stars, mistaken politics, or affectation of patriotism, had called him. Were it not for this law, such is the dreadful responsibility and danger attending offices under the government, that even low and ignorant people, who have got possession of them merely for support, would prefer their original poverty to emoluments which are perpetually liable to the commutation of the guillotine.--Some members of a neighbouring district told me to-day, when I asked them if they came to release any of our fellow-prisoners, that so far from it, they had not only brought more, but were not certain twelve hours together of not being brought themselves.

The visionary equality of metaphysical impostors is become a substantial one--not constituted by abundance and freedom, but by want and oppression. The disparities of nature are not repaired, but its whole surface is levelled by a storm. The rich are become poor, but the poor still remain so; and both are conducted indiscriminately to the scaffold. The prisons of the former government were "petty to the ends" of this. Convents, colleges, palaces, and every building which could any how be adapted to such a purpose, have been filled with people deemed suspicious;* and a plan of destruction seems resolved on, more certain and more execrable than even the general massacre of September 1792.

* Now multiplied to more than four hundred thousand!--The prisons of Paris and the environs were supposed to contain twenty-seven thousand. The public papers stated but about seven thousand, because they included the official returns of Paris only.

--Agents of the police are, under some pretended accusation, sent to the different prisons; and, from lists previously furnished them, make daily information of plots and conspiracies, which they alledge to be carrying on by the persons confined. This charge and this evidence suffice: the prisoners are sent to the tribunal, their names read over, and they are conveyed by cart's-full to the republican butchery. Many whom I have known, and been in habits of intimacy with, have perished in this manner; and the expectation of Le Bon,* with our numbers which make us of too much consequence to be forgotten, all contribute to depress and alarm me.


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