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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

Henriot was dragged from concealment


But

at this crisis all Robespierre's circumspection abandoned him. Having provoked the decree for arresting his person, instead of submitting to it until his party should be able to rally, he resisted; and by so doing gave the Convention a pretext for putting him out of the law; or, in other words, to destroy him, without the delay or hazard of a previous trial.

Having been rescued from the Gens d'Armes, and taken in triumph to the municipality, the news spread, the Jacobins assembled, and Henriot, the commander of the National Guard, (who had likewise been arrested, and again set at liberty by force,) all prepared to act in his defence. But while they should have secured the Convention, they employed themselves at the Hotel de Ville in passing frivolous resolutions; and Henriot, with all the cannoneers decidedly in his favour, exhibited an useless defiance, by stalking before the windows of the Committee of General Safety, when he should have been engaged in arresting its members.

All these imprudences gave the Convention time to proclaim that Robespierre, the municipality, and their adherents, were decreed out of the protection of the laws, and in circumstances of this nature such a step has usually been decisive--for however odious a government, if it does but seem to act on a presumption of its own strength, it has always an advantage over its enemies; and the timid, the doubtful, or indifferent, for the most

part, determine in favour of whatever wears the appearance of established authority. The people, indeed, remained perfectly neuter; but the Jacobins, the Committees of the Sections, and their dependents, might have composed a force more than sufficient to oppose the few guards which surrounded the National Palace, had not the publication of this summary outlawry at once paralyzed all their hopes and efforts.--They had seen multitudes hurried to the Guillotine, because they were "hors de la loi;" and this impression now operated so forcibly, that the cannoneers, the national guard, and those who before were most devoted to the cause, laid down their arms, and precipitately abandoned their chiefs to the fate which awaited them. Robespierre was taken at the Hotel de Ville, after being severely wounded in the face; his brother broke his thigh, in attempting to escape from a window; Henriot was dragged from concealment, deprived of an eye; and Couthon, whom nature had before rendered a cripple, now exhibited a most hideous spectacle, from an ineffectual effort to shoot himself.--Their wounds were dressed to prolong their suffering, and their sentence being contained in the decree that outlawed them, their persons were identified by the same tribunal which had been the instrument of their crimes. --On the night of the tenth they were conveyed to the scaffold, amidst the insults and execrations of a mob, which a few hours before beheld them with trembling and adoration.--Lebas, also a member of the convention, and a principal agent of Robespierre, fell by his own hand; and Couthon, St. Just, and seventeen others, suffered with the two Robespierres.--The municipality of Paris, &c. to the number of seventy-two, were guillotined the succeeding day, and about twelve more the day after.

The fate of these men may be ranked as one of the most dreadful of those examples which history vainly transmits to discourage the pursuits of ambition. The tyrant who perishes amidst the imposing fallaciousness of military glory, mingles admiration with abhorrence, and rescues his memory from contempt, if not from hatred. Even he who expiates his crimes on the scaffold, if he die with fortitude, becomes the object of involuntary compassion, and the award of justice is not often rendered more terrible by popular outrage. But the fall of Robespierre and his accomplices was accompanied by every circumstance that could add poignancy to suffering, or dread to death. The ambitious spirit which had impelled them to tyrannize over a submissive and defenceless people, abandoned them in their last moments. Depressed by anguish, exhausted by fatigue, and without courage, religion, or virtue, to support them, they were dragged through the savage multitude, wounded and helpless, to receive that stroke, from which even the pious and the brave sometimes shrink with dismay.


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