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party, twenty-two in all, were also executed. On 6th of November, the Duke of Orleans, who took the name of Philip Egalité, and voted for the death of his cousin the King, went to the guillotine in his turn.*
Of the nine members of the "Committee of Public Safety," Robespierre was the most influential. He was far inferior to Danton in decision and courage, but made up for this by his superior activity. Whilst Danton gave himself up to luxurious indulgence, the plotting, austere Robespierre was cunningly paving his way to Supreme Power. He meant to play the rôle of Cromwell; but though he was the equal of the Protector in profound hypocrisy, he was wholly below him in capacity and daring.
The only rival who now stood in his path was Danton. The brutal, but popular Marat had been slain in July, 1793, by Charlotte Corday, whose motives were as patriotic as those of Jeanne d'Arc. The savage Hébert, who declared the Convention was too mode
not to an ignominious death-that is only for the guilty-but to rejoin your brother. I weep only for my children; I hope that one day, when they have regained their rank, they may be reunited to you, and feel the blessing of your tender care. May my son never forget the last words of his father, which I now repeat from myself-Never attempt to revenge our death. I die true to the Catholic religion. Deprived of all spiritual consolation, I can only seek for pardon from Heaven. I ask forgiveness of all who know me. I pray for forgiveness to all my enemies."-ALISON.
"When led out to execution, she was dressed in white: she had cut off her hair with her own hands. Placed in a tumbrel, with her arms tied behind her, she was taken by a circuitous route to the Place de la Révolution. She ascended the scaffold with a firm and dignified step, as if she had been about to take her place on a throne by the side of her husband."-LACRETELLE.
* The Duke, not content with voting the death of his cousin, drove in an open carriage to witness his execution, and afterwards gave a fête. He spent great sums on the people, and hoped to reach the throne. As he went to execution, he was hooted by the mob. shrugged his shoulders and said, "They used to applaud me."
rate, and proposed to transfer all its powers to the more sanguinary Commune, was by Robespierre's perfidy sent to the scaffold, March, 1794. Of all his brother-assassins, there was only one left between him and that Supremacy he steadily pursued. Thiers, in his "French Revolution," attributes to Robespierre these reflections:-" If Danton were sacrificed, there would be left not one prominent name out of the 'Committee of Public Safety;' and in the Committee, there would remain only men of secondary importance. By consenting to this sacrifice, he would at once destroy his rival, and above all heighten his own reputation for virtue, by striking down a man accused of having sought money and pleasure.
It was so resolved, and Robespierre set his satellites to work calumniating Danton as a Retrograde, though never uttering a word himself. Danton was warned, but his reply was, "They will not dare." When suspicion had been aroused, and Robespierre thought the mob ready for his purpose, the "Committee of Public Safety," of which he was the head, ordered Danton's arrest.* The Convention was thunderstruck, but dreaded, in the presence of Robespierre, to utter a protest. Danton now appeared before the "Revolutionary Tribunal" he had created, and which had hurried so many innocent victims into eternity. He clamored loudly and denounced his Colleagues with fury, but without being allowed a defence was sentenced and executed, April, 1794, along with Camille Desmoulins,† and three other of his friends-all members of the Convention.
* As he entered the prison, Danton exclaimed, "At length I perceive that in revolutions, the supreme power ultimately rests with the most abandoned."
+ When Camille Desmoulins was asked his age by the judge on his
"After them," says Mignet, "no voice was heard for some time against the Dictatorship of Terror. It struck its silent reiterated blows from one end of France to the other. The Girondists had wished to prevent this violent reign, the Dantonists to stop it-all perished; and the more enemies the rulers counted, the more victims they had to despatch."
On the 10th of May, 1794, Madame Elizabeth, the devoted sister of Louis XVI., was sent to execution, and died with the same calm courage as the King and Queen.*
Robespierre was now at the head of France. was the Chief of the "Committee of Public Safety, and was able to overawe the Commune and the Convention, neither of which were well disposed towards him. Noone, not even his most devoted partisan, or humblest satellite, felt safe. His frown was a summons to the guillotine. History records no tyranny so bloody and so inexorable as the Dictatorship of Robespierre. For this, then, all that was noble, grand, and good in France had been sacrificed. For this, a million of men, women, and children, noble and common, rich and poor, had been ruthlessly slain.†
Robespierre began to feel that such a Regime must soon prove insupportable, and he showed a desire to
trial, he replied: "Trente-trois ans, l'age du sans-culotte Jésus Christ lorsqu'il mourut "The age of the democrat Jesus Christ when He died." The term "sans-culotte" was applied to the extreme Revolutionists at the time.
* In going to the guillotine, her handkerchief fell from her neck, and exposed her to the gaze of the multitude. She said to her executioners, "In the name of modesty, I entreat you to cover my bosom." Thiers says that at this epoch, "Death was rapidly descending from the upper to the lower classes of society." We find at this period on the list of the Revolutionary Tribunal, tailors, shoemakers, hairdressers, butchers, farmers, publicans, nay even labouring men, condemned for sentiments and language alleged as counter-revolutionary.
conciliate society. In May, 1794, he ordered the Convention to proclaim the Existence of a Supreme Being, in opposition to a previous Vote which had abrogated God. Up to this period, the savage fury of the Revolution had defied all authority human and divine. Not only were all the laws and institutions of France overthrown, but Christianity itself was ridiculed and abolished. France, stript of law, bereft of religion, paralyzed by terror, lay weltering in gore at the feet of a handful of brutal men who mocked at the havoc which surrounded them. There is no instance in history of a Nation reduced to such an extremity; and Robespierre, though insensible to human sympathies, had sense enough to perceive that such a state of things could only be transitory; and that to avert Anarchy among men, it is necessary to acknowledge the wonderful Order on which the Universe reposesin other words, to recognize a First Cause or Supreme Being.
On the occasion of the Convention admitting the existence of a Supreme Being, May, 1794, Robespierre delivered a pompous harangue, wherein he stated that the Government, whilst proclaiming the worship of a Supreme Being, had no idea of restoring the Clergy. "What is there," he exclaimed, "in common between Priests and God? Priests are to morality what quacks are to medicine. How different is the God of Nature from the God of Priests! I know nothing so nearly resembles Atheism as the Religions which they have framed. By grossly misrepresenting the Supreme Being, they have annihilated belief in Him as far as lay in their power."
But though the Dictator was willing to give back religion and its consolations to desolated France, he
refused from fear or ambition to relax his bloody terrorism. He hurried through the Convention a law dispensing with witnesses and official defenders for the unfortunate people dragged before the "Revolutionary Tribunal," which daily sent a hundred or more to the guillotine. He organized a legion of spies to denounce the most inoffensive. His only motive seemed to be to maintain his power by indiscriminate carnage.
At this time-May, 1794-the "Committee of Public Safety," of which he was the head, "exercised,' as Thiers remarks, "an absolute dictatorship." They were all regarded as dictators; but it was Robespierre in particular, whose high influence began to dazzle all eyes. It was customary to say no longer that the Committee wills it, but that Robespierre wills it. Fouquier Tinville* said to a person whom he threatened with the guillotine, "If it please Robespierre, thou shalt go before it." The agents of the Government constantly named Robespierre in all their operations, and referred to him as the source from which everything emanated. Thus, after wading through seas of blood, after climbing over mountains of headless bodies, after consigning to destruction
* Fouquier Tinville was the government prosecutor before the Revolutionary Tribunal, and Dumas was the president. Fouquier seemed actually to revel in his daily butcheries. He had batches of sixty brought in and condemned at one time, but said this was waste of time, and ordered that space should be made for a hundred and fifty. One day a prisoner's name was not on the list, and he cried out, "I am not accused, my name is not on your list." Give me your name," said Fouquier. "There it is on the list now, go to the scaffold with the rest." In June, 1794, Fouquier exclaimed with glee, that with the aid of Robespierre's new law to facilitate executions, he would be able to empty the prisons. "We shall be able to inscribe on their doors-These Houses to let.' It goes well," he added, “heads fall like tiles, but it must go better next decade. I must have 450 at least." This monster was arrested three days after Robespierre, and beheaded in his turn.