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reject the Decree." All the Departments of France voted the Constitution unanimously, and sustained the Decree by an immense majority. In Paris, however, the opposition was kept up and stimulated by the agents of the Royalists, by the journalists, and the literary men who were anxious to enter the new legislature. They propagated the belief that the Convention, if re-elected, would restore the Reign of Terror.
Finally, an Insurrection was organized, and the citizens of Paris, to the number of 40,000 men, enrolled themselves. The Convention could muster in its defence only some 8000 men, but 5000 of these were composed of troops of the line. Barras, the Member who had defeated the Commune, and Robespierre in July, was named the Commander of the troops of the Convention. He appointed as his second in command a young soldier of the name of Napoleon Bonaparte. As Commandant of the artillery at the siege of Toulon he devised the plan which recaptured it. He afterwards obtained distinction in other operations, and was made General of Brigade. He was at this time in Paris unemployed and in great indigence.†
* Napoleon was the second son of Charles Bonaparte, and was born at Ajaccio, Corsica, then belonging to France, in 1769. The family was noble, and of Italian origin, dating from the twelfth century. Napoleon entered the Military School of Brienne at ten years old, and was made a Sub-Lieutenant in 1785, then sixteen. Napoleon had four brothers and three sisters.
+ "At this period Napoleon passed most of his time in meditation and retirement. He went out but seldom, and had few acquaintances. He endeavoured to forget the sense of mortification and neglect by a more intense application to his professional studies. He sometimes went to the theatre, and frequented the Corazza coffee house in the Palais Royal, where the celebrated Talina is said once to have paid his reckoning for him, for which he had left his sword in pledge."HAZLITT.
Barras believed in his capacity, and selected him at this critical moment as far more competent to deal with the situation than himself. Bonaparte was no sooner in command, than he seized all the artillery, which was parked at Sablons near Paris. He thus secured himself an immense advantage, and at just the right moment, for the cannon had scarcely been removed before a detachment of the Sections came in quest of it. Napoleon then made all his dispositions, and awaited the attack, which began at four P.M. on the 13th Vendémiaire (October 5th), and by six P.M. the assailants were routed, and the victory of the Convention complete.
The rough handling of the Parisians by the resolute Bonaparte was a lesson they long remembered. Rebellion in the streets disappeared, and the new Government went to work with great vigor. In the place of the Commune, which fell with Robespierre, Paris was divided, February, 1796, into twelve separate Municipalities, so as to render future insurrections less dangerous.*
The Directory resolved upon two important objects: first, to put down the civil war in la Vendée, west of France; and this they accomplished in six months; next, to carry on with energy the war against the foreign nations in conflict with France. Moreau was
* The reader may remember that the old city government of Paris was abolished in 1789, and a new organization called the Commune substituted, which concentrated all the municipal power in the hands of a Mayor. The object of this was simply to give the Revolutionists, through their instrument, the Mayor, the entire control of Paris. To get rid of this dangerous centralization of power, Paris was divided by the Convention, as stated above, into twelve municipalities, with as many Mayors; and this arrangement has been maintained to the present day. It was temporarily superseded by the Commune of 1871, but was immediately restored ou the collapse of that sanguinary insurrection.
made Commander of the army destined for Germany; and Bonaparte, then twenty-six, obtained to his joy the army of Italy, at the time contending with Piedmont and Austria. The prodigies achieved by the young Corsican are briefly recounted in a foot-note.*
Whilst victory abroad rendered revolutionary France alarming to Europe, the political caldron at Paris was boiling fiercely. Three political Factions were struggling to obtain power. The Royalists aspired to restore the Monarchy; the "Patriots," as they styled themselves, desired to restore the reign of terror; and the Constitutionalists were anxious to preserve what existed. By degrees, and regardless of the results, cliques were formed in both the Upper and Lower Chambers of the Legislature to upset the Directory. The Royalists and Patriots hoped if they succeeded to seize on the Government. Besides the hostile combinations in the two Chambers, the Directory was divided against itself. Its two prominent members were Barrast and Carnot, who detested
* General Bonaparte took command of the " Army of Italy," April, 1795, consisting of 30,000 men, beaten, disorganized, without food, clothes, or money. In a year he overthrew five armies, each more than double his own, and led by the first generals of Austria. He conquered Lombardy, and extinguished the ancient governments of Venice and Genoa. The King of Sardinia, the Pope, the Dukes of Florence, Parma, and Modena, begged for peace, and finally the Emperor of Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio, October, 1797, ceding to France Lombardy, the left bank of the Rhine, and the Austrian Netherlands. In Germany the French army under Moreau was also victorious, but the results were less important.
† Barras was of noble family, and began life as a soldier. He joined the revolution, and was active in the capture of the Bastille. He figured throughout the revolution; he owed his escape in the Reign of Terror to being on duty with the armies. He was the real head of the Directory till its fall. He was able, adroit, unscrupulous, and dissolute. He died in 1829, aged 74, at Paris, quite forgotten.
‡ Carnot was in the army when the revolution broke out, and immediately espoused the side of the opponents of the monarchy. He was a member of all the legislative bodies, as well as of the Committee of Safety. He abhorred Robespierre and his bloody acts, and had no
each other. A crisis was inevitable. Whilst the politicians in both Chambers were preparing for the explosion, and the Directors were intriguing against each other, the mob of Paris to the surprise of all were passive, if not indifferent. They seen ed to have lost the ferocity which had transformed them from men into demons. Whether they had discovered that in all the changes they got nothing but the blows, whilst the Politicians pocketed all the profits; or whether the existence in Paris of a military force the Directory could depend on cowed them, the populace of Paris it was evident were no longer disposed to fight for another revolution, and left the demagogues to settle the matter to their liking.
On the 18th Fructidor-September 4th, 1797-the catastrophe came. Of the five Directors two joined Barras, making a majority. They ordered the military under General Augereau to surround the Chambers and seize the Members opposed to the Government. Two hundred were arrested and promptly transported. Forty-two journals of the Royalists were suppressed. All were doomed who attacked the Directory which now assumed Dictatorial power. The two Directors in minority, Carnot and Barthelemy, resigned, and were replaced. This Revolution was bloodless, a proof that revolutionary passions had cooled, and that the Opinion of the country kept the Politicians in check.
This coup d'état was effected by means of regular troops, and not by the mob as hitherto, showing that
share in them, being always absent with the armies. In military administration he was unrivalled. It was said of him that he organized victory." After leaving the Directory he was frequently employed by Napoleon. He possessed great capacity and high principles, and died in 1823, aged 70, leaving a stainless reputation.
the military men who had been created by the wars the Revolution provoked, were destined to supersede the demagogues who had made it. From this time it
will be seen that Soldiers, and not Politicians, were to govern France for a long period.
In December, 1797, General Bonaparte received a splendid ovation in Paris from the Directory. His renown filled Europe, and France regarded him as destined to restore her long-lost divinities, Law and Order. The Directory and the Politicians were already so jealous of his popularity that he was left without employment. Bonaparte knew the necessity of keeping the public eye upon him; and after incessant efforts he induced the Directory to give him an army to invade Egypt. He embarked with some 30,000 men in May, 1798, and in a brief period conquered the whole country, where he remained a little over a year. His constant victories, bold acts, and striking proclamations added daily to his glory, and electrified France.
During 1798, the Directory maintained order at home, and added to its credit by victories abroad. Yet the state of things was unsatisfactory. Everybody felt the Government was only provisional: the factions were always conspiring: some powerful hand, some master intellect, was necessary to crush them.
In July, 1799, another outbreak occurred. All the parties in the two Chambers, Royalists, Terrorists, and Constitutionalists united against the Directory, which was always divided against itself. This time there was no majority to call in the military. Only two of the Directors pulled together, Barras and Sieyès: the other three were unable to unite. The consequence was, that these three resigned, and were replaced. The Government now was weaker than