free ebooks

A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

When they ventured to attack Robespierre


"A cut-purse of the empire and the rule; "____ a King of shreds and patches."

Providence, Aug. 14, 1794.

The thirty members whom Robespierre intended to sacrifice, might perhaps have formed some design of resisting, but it appears evident that the Convention in general acted without plan, union, or confidence.*--

* The base and selfish timidity of the Convention is strongly evinced by their suffering fifty innocent people to be guillotined on the very ninth of Thermidor, for a pretended conspiracy in the prison of St. Lazare.--A single word from any member might at this crisis have suspended the execution of the sentence, but that word no one had the courage or the humanity to utter.

--Tallien and Billaud were rendered desperate by their situation, and it is likely that, when they ventured to attack Robespierre, they did not themselves expect to be successful--it was the consternation of the latter which encouraged them to persist, and the Assembly to support them:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, "Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

And to have been lucky enough to seize on this crisis, is, doubtless, the whole merit of the convention.

There has, it is true, been many allusions to the dagger of Brutus, and several Deputies are said to have conceived very heroic projects for the destruction of the tyrant; but as he was dead before these projects were brought to light, we cannot justly ascribe any effect to them.

The remains of the Brissotin faction, still at liberty, from whom some exertions might have been expected, were cautiously inactive; and those who had been most in the habit of appreciating themselves for their valour, were now conspicuous only for that discretion which Falstaff calls the better part of it.--Dubois Crance, who had been at the expence of buying a Spanish poniard at St. Malo, for the purpose of assassinating Robespierre, seems to have been calmed by the journey, and to have finally recovered his temper, before he reached the Convention.--Merlin de Thionville, Merlin de Douay, and others of equal note, were among the "passive valiant;" and Bourdon de l'Oise had already experienced such disastrous effects from inconsiderate exhibitions of courage, that he now restrained his ardour till the victory should be determined. Even Legendre, who is occasionally the Brutus, the Curtius, and all the patriots whose names he has been able to learn, confined his prowess to an assault on the club-room of the Jacobins, when it was empty, and carrying off the key, which no one disputed with him, so that he can at most claim an ovation. It is, in short, remarkable, that all the members who at present affect to be most vehement against Robespierre's principles, [And where was the all-politic Sieyes?--At home, writing his own eulogium.] were the least active in attacking his person; and it is indisputable, that to Tallien, Billaud, Louchet, Elie Lacoste, Collot d'Herbois, and a few of the more violent Jacobins, were due those first efforts which determined his fall.--Had Robespierre, instead of a querelous harangue, addressed the convention in his usual tone of authority, and ended by moving for a decree against a few only of those obnoxious to him, the rest might have been glad to compound for their own safety, by abandoning a cause no longer personal: but his impolicy, not his wickedness, hastened his fate; and it is so far fortunate for France, that it has at least suspended the system of government which is ascribed to him.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us