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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

Executions were daily multiplied


When

the news of this extraordinary event first became public, it was ever where received with great gravity--I might say, coldness.--Not a comment was uttered, nor a glance of approbation seen. Things might be yet in equilibrium, and popular commotions are always uncertain. Prudence was, therefore, deemed, indispensable; and, until the contest was finally decided, no one ventured to give an opinion; and many, to be certain of guarding against verbal indiscretion, abstained from all intercourse whatever.

By degrees, the execution of Robespierre and above an hundred of his partizans, convinced even the most timid; the murmurs of suppressed discontent began to be heard; and all thought they might now with safety relieve their fears and their sufferings, by execrating the memory of the departed tyrants. The prisons, which had hitherto been avoided as endangering all who approached them, were soon visited with less apprehension; and friendship or affection, no longer exanimate by terror, solicited, though still with trepidation, the release of those for whom they were interested. Some of our associates have already left us in consequence of such intercessions, and we all hope that the tide of opinion, now avowedly inimical to the detestable system to which we are victims, will enforce a general liberation.--We are guarded but slightly; and I think I perceive in the behaviour of the Jacobin Commissaries something of civility and respect not usual.

style="text-align: justify;">Thus an event, which I beheld merely as the justice which one set of banditti were made the instruments of exercising upon another, may finally tend to introduce a more humane system of government; or, at least, suspend proscription and massacre, and give this harassed country a little repose.

I am in arrears with my epistolary chronicle, and the hope of so desirable a change will now give me courage to resume it from the conclusion of my last. To-morrow shall be dedicated to this purpose.-- Yours.

August 12.

My letters, previous to the time when I judged it necessary to desist from writing, will have given you some faint sketch of the situation of the country, and the sufferings of its inhabitants--I say a faint sketch, because a thousand horrors and iniquities, which are now daily disclosing, were then confined to the scenes where they were perpetrated; and we knew little more of them than what we collected from the reports of the Convention, where they excited a laugh as pleasantries, or applause as acts of patriotism.

France had become one vast prison, executions were daily multiplied, and a minute and comprehensive oppression seemed to have placed the lives, liberty, and fortune of all within the grasp of the single Committee. Despair itself was subdued, and the people were gradually sinking into a gloomy and stupid obedience.


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