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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

That the terrified Bourdon declared


--This,

and this only, by involving their personal safety, excited their courage through their fears.--Merlin de Douay, originally a worthless character, and become yet more so by way of obviating the imputation of bribery from the court, seconded Bourdon's motion, and the obnoxious article was repealed instantaneously.

This first and only instance of opposition was highly displeasing to the Committee, and, on the twenty-fourth, Robespierre, Barrere, Couthon, and Billaud, animadverted with such severity on the promoters of it, that the terrified Bourdon* declared, the repeal he had solicited was unnecessary, and that he believed the Committee were destined to be the saviours of the country; while Merlin de Douay disclaimed all share in the business-- and, in fine, it was determined, that the law of the twenty-second of Prairial should remain as first presented to the Convention, and that the qualification of the succeeding day was void.

* It was on this occasion that the "intrepid" Bourdon kept his bed a whole month with fear.

So dangerous an infringement on the privileges of the representative body, dwelt on minds insensible to every other consideration; the principal members caballed secretly on the perils by which they were surrounded; and the sullen concord which now marked their deliberations, was beheld by the Committee rather as the prelude to revolt, than the indication

of continued obedience. In the mean while it was openly proposed to concentrate still more the functions of government. The circulation of newspapers was insinuated to be useless; and Robespierre gave some hints of suppressing all but one, which should be under particular and official controul.*

* This intended restriction was unnecessary; for the newspapers were all, not indeed paid by government, but so much subject to the censure of the guillotine, that they had become, under an "unlimited freedom of the press," more cautious and insipid than the gazettes of the proscribed court. Poor Duplain, editor of the "Petit Courier," and subsequently of the "Echo," whom I remember one of the first partizans of the revolution, narrowly escaped the massacre of August 1792, and was afterwards guillotined for publishing the surrender of Landrecy three days before it was announced officially.

A rumour prevailed, that the refractory members who had excited the late rebellion were to be sacrificed, a general purification of the Assembly to take place, and that the committee and a few select adherents were to be invested with the whole national authority. Lists of proscription were said to be made; and one of them was secretly communicated as having been found among the papers of a juryman of the Revolutionary Tribunal lately arrested.--These apprehensions left the members implicated no alternative but to anticipate hostilities, or fall a sacrifice; for they knew the instant of attack would be that of destruction, and that the people were too indifferent to take any part in the contest.

Things were in this state, when two circumstances of a very different nature assisted in promoting the final explosion, which so much astonished, not only the rest of Europe, but France itself.


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