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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

The Jacobins are decidedly adverse to it


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have seen that, at the fall of Robespierre, the revolutionary government had reached the very summit of despotism, and that the Convention found themselves under the necessity of appearing to be directed by a new impulse, or of acknowledging their participation in the crimes they affected to deplore.--In consequence, almost without the direct repeal of any law, (except some which affected their own security,) a more moderate system has been gradually adopted, or, to speak more correctly, the revolutionary one is suffered to relax. The Jacobins behold these popular measures with extreme jealousy, as a means which may in time render the legislature independent of them; and it is certainly not the least of their discontents, that, after all their labours in the common cause, they find themselves excluded both from power and emoluments. Accustomed to carry every thing by violence, and more ferocious than politic, they have, by insisting on the reincarceration of suspected people, attached a numerous party to the Convention, which is thus warned that its own safety depends on repressing the influence of clubs, which not only loudly demand that the prisons may be again filled, but frequently debate on the project of transporting all the "enemies of the republic" together.

The liberty of the press, also, is a theme of discord not less important than the emancipation of aristocrats. The Jacobins are decidedly adverse to it; and it is a sort of revolutionary

solecism, that those who boast of having been the original destroyers of despotism, are now the advocates of arbitrary imprisonment, and restraints on the freedom of the press. The Convention itself is divided on the latter subject; and, after a revolution of five years, founded on the doctrine of the rights of man, it has become matter of dispute--whether so principal an article of them ought really to exist or not. They seem, indeed, willing to allow it, provided restrictions can be devised which may prevent calumny from reaching their own persons; but as that cannot easily be atchieved, they not only contend against the liberty of the press in practice, but have hitherto refused to sanction it by decree, even as a principle.

It is perhaps reluctantly that the Convention opposes these powerful and extended combinations which have so long been its support, and it may dread the consequences of being left without the means of overawing or influencing the people; but the example of the Brissotins, who, by attempting to profit by the services of the Jacobins, without submitting to their domination, fell a sacrifice, has warned their survivors of the danger of employing such instruments. It is evident that the clubs will not act subordinately, and that they must either be subdued to insignificance, or regain their authority entirely; and as neither the people nor Convention are disposed to acquiesce in the latter, they are politicly joining their efforts to accelerate the former.

Yet, notwithstanding these reciprocal cajoleries, the return of justice is slow and mutable; an instinctive or habitual preference of evil appears at times to direct the Convention, even in opposition to their own interests. They have as yet done little towards repairing the calamities of which they are the authors; and we welcome the little they have done, not for its intrinsic value, but as we do the first spring flowers--which, though of no great sweetness or beauty, we consider as pledges that the storms of winter are over, and that a milder season is approaching.--It is true, the revolutionary Committees are diminished in number, the prisons are disencumbered, and a man is not liable to be arrested because a Jacobin suspects his features: yet there is a wide difference between such toleration and freedom and security; and it is a circumstance not favourable to those who look beyond the moment, that the tyrannical laws which authorized all the late enormities are still unrepealed. The Revolutionary Tribunal continues to sentence people to death, on pretexts as frivolous as those which were employed in the time of Robespierre; they have only the advantage of being tried more formally, and of forfeiting their lives upon proof, instead of without it, for actions that a strictly administered justice would not punish by a month's imprisonment.*


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