During the four months following the fall of the Danton party, the committees exercised their authority without opposition or restraint. Death became the only means of governing, and the republic was given up to daily and systematic executions. It was then were invented the alleged conspiracies of the inmates of the prisons, crowded under the law des suspects, or emptied by that of the 22nd Prairial, which might be called the law des condamnes; then the emissaries of the committee of public safety entirely replaced in the departments those of the Mountain; and Carrier, the protege of Billaud, was seen in the west; Maigret, the protege of Couthon, in the south; and Joseph Lebon, the protege of Robespierre, in the north. The extermination en masse of the enemies of the democratic dictatorship, which had already been effected at Lyons and Toulon by grape-shot, became still more horrible, by the noyades of Nantes, and the scaffolds of Arras, Paris, and Orange.

May this example teach men a truth, which for their good ought to be generally known, that in a revolution all depends on a first refusal and a first struggle. To effect a pacific innovation, it must not be contested; otherwise war is declared and the revolution spreads, because the whole nation is aroused to its defence. When society is thus shaken to its foundations, it is the most daring who triumph, and instead of wise and temperate reformers, we find only extreme and inflexible innovators. Engendered by contest, they maintain themselves by it; with one hand they fight to maintain their sway, with the other they establish their system with a view to its consolidation; they massacre in the name of their doctrines: virtue, humanity, the welfare of the people, all that is holiest on earth, they use to sanction their executions, and to protect their dictatorship. Until they become exhausted and fall, all perish indiscriminately, both the enemies and the partisans of reform. The tempest dashes a whole nation against the rock of revolution. Inquire what became of the men of 1789 in 1794, and it will be found that they were all alike swept away in this vast shipwreck. As soon as one party appeared on the field of battle, it summoned all the others thither, and all like it were in turn conquered and exterminated; constitutionalists, Girondists, the Mountain, and the Decemvirs themselves. At each defeat, the effusion of blood became greater, and the system of tyranny more violent. The Decemvirs were the most cruel, because they were the last.

The committee of public safety, being at once the object of the attacks of Europe, and of the hatred of so many conquered parties, thought that any abatement of violence would occasion its destruction; it wished at the same time to subdue its foes, and to get rid of them. "The dead alone do not return," said Barrere. "The more freely the social body perspires, the more healthy it becomes," added Collot-d'Herbois. But the Decemvirs, not suspecting their power to be ephemeral, aimed at founding a democracy, and sought in institutions a security for its permanence in the time when they should cease to employ executions. They possessed in the highest degree the fanaticism of certain social theories, as the millenarians of the English revolution, with whom they may be compared, had the fanaticism of certain religious ideas. The one originated with the people, as the other looked to God; these desired the most absolute political equality, as those sought evangelical equality; these aspired to the reign of virtue, as those to the reign of the saints. Human nature flies to extremes in all things, and produces, in a religious epoch, democratic Christians - in a philosophical epoch, political democrats.

Robespierre and Saint-Just had produced the plan of that democracy, whose principles they professed in all their speeches; they wished to change the manners, mind, and customs of France, and to make it a republic after the manner of the ancients; they sought to establish the dominion of the people; to have magistrates free from pride; citizens free from vice; fraternity of intercourse, simplicity of manners, austerity of character, and the worship of virtue. The symbolical words of the sect may be found in the speeches of all the reporters of the committee, and especially in those of Robespierre and Saint-Just. Liberty and equality for the government of the republic; indivisibility for its form; public safety for its defence and preservation; virtue for its principle; the Supreme Being for its religion; as for the citizens, fraternityfor their daily intercourse; probity for their conduct; good sense for their mental qualities; modesty for their public actions, which were to have for object the welfare of the state, and not their own: such was the symbol of this democracy. Fanaticism could not go further. The authors of this system did not inquire into its practicability; they thought it just and natural; and having power, they tried to establish it by violence. Not one of these words but served to condemn a party or individuals. The royalists and aristocrats were hunted down in the name of liberty and equality; the Girondists in the name of indivisibility; Philippeaux, Camille Desmoulins, and the moderate party, in the name of public safety ; Chaumette, Anacharsis Clootz, Gobet, Hebert, all the anarchical and atheistical party, in the name of virtue and the Supreme Being; Chabot, Bazire, Fabre-d'Eglantine, in the name of probity; Danton in the name of virtue and modesty. In the eyes of fanatics, these moral crimes necessitated their destruction, as much as the conspiracies which they were accused of.

Robespierre was the patron of this sect, which had in the committee a more zealous, disinterested, and fanatic partisan than himself, in the person of Saint-Just, who was called the Apocalyptic. His features were bold but regular, and marked by an expression determined, but melancholy. His eye was steady and piercing; his hair black, straight, and long. His manners cold, though his character was ardent; simple in his habits, austere and sententious, he advanced without hesitation towards the completion of his system. Though scarcely twenty-five years old, he was the boldest of the Decemvirs, because his convictions were the deepest. Passionately devoted to the republic, he was indefatigable in the committees, intrepid on his missions to the armies, where he set an example of courage, sharing the marches and dangers of the soldiers. His predilection for the multitude did not make him pay court to their propensities; and far from adopting their dress and language with Hebert, he wished to confer on them ease, gravity, and dignity. But his policy made him more terrible than his popular sentiments. He had much daring, coolness, readiness, and decision. Rarely susceptible to pity, he reduced to form his measures for the public safety, and put them into execution immediately. If he considered victory, proscription, the dictatorship necessary, he at once demanded them. Unlike Robespierre, he was completely a man of action. The latter, comprehending all the use he might make of him, early gained him over in the convention. Saint-Just, on his part, was drawn towards Robespierre by his reputation for incorruptibility, his austere life, and the conformity of their ideas.

The terrible effects of their association may be conceived when we consider their popularity, the envious and tyrannical passions of the one, and the inflexible character and systematic views of the other. Couthon had joined them; he was personally devoted to Robespierre. Although he had a mild look and a partially paralysed frame, he was a man of merciless fanaticism. They formed, in the committee, a triumvirate which soon sought to engross all power. This ambition alienated the other members of the committee, and caused their own destruction. In the meantime, the triumvirate imperiously governed the convention and the committee itself. When it was necessary to intimidate the assembly, Saint-Just was intrusted with the task; when they wished to take it by surprise, Couthon was employed. If the assembly murmured or hesitated, Robespierre rose, and restored silence and terror by a single word.

During the first two months after the fall of the commune and the Danton party, the Decemvirs, who were not yet divided, laboured to secure their domination: their commissioners kept the departments in restraint, and the armies of the republic were victorious on all the frontiers. The committee took advantage of this moment of security and union to lay the foundation of new manners and new institutions. It must never be forgotten, that in a revolution men are moved by two tendencies, attachment to their ideas, and a thirst for command. The members of the committee, at the beginning, agreed in their democratic sentiments; at the end, they contended for power.

Billaud-Varennes presented the theory of popular government and the means of rendering the army always subordinate to the nation. Robespierre delivered a discourse on the moral sentiments and solemnities suited to a republic: he dedicated festivals to the Supreme Being, to Truth, Justice, Modesty, Friendship, Frugality, Fidelity, Immortality, Misfortune, etc., in a word, to all the moral and republican virtues. In this way he prepared the establishment of the new worship of the Supreme Being. Barrere made a report on the extirpation of mendicity, and the assistance the republic owed to indigent citizens. All these reports passed into decrees, agreeably to the wishes of the democrats. Barrere, whose habitual speeches in the convention were calculated to disguise his servitude from himself, was one of the most supple instruments of the committee; he belonged to the regime of terror, neither from cruelty nor from fanaticism. His manners were gentle, his private life blameless, and he possessed great moderation of mind. But he was timid; and after having been a constitutional royalist before the 10th of August, a moderate republican prior to the 31st of May, he became the panegyrist and the co- operator of the decemviral tyranny. This shows that, in a revolution, no one should become an actor without decision of character. Intellect alone is not inflexible enough; it is too accommodating; it finds reasons for everything, even for what terrifies and disgusts it; it never knows when to stop, at a time when one ought always to be prepared to die, and to end one's part or end one's opinions.

Robespierre, who was considered the founder of this moral democracy, now attained the highest degree of elevation and of power. He became the object of the general flattery of his party; he was the great man of the republic. Men spoke of nothing but of his virtue, of his genius, and of his eloquence. Two circumstances contributed to augment his importance still further. On the 3rd Prairial, an obscure but intrepid man, named l'Admiral, was determined to deliver France from Robespierre and Collot- d'Herbois. He waited in vain for Robespierre all day, and at night he resolved to kill Collot. He fired twice at him with pistols, but missed him. The following day, a young girl, name Cecile Renaud, called at Robespierre's house, and earnestly begged to speak with him. As he was out, and as she still insisted upon being admitted, she was detained. She carried a small parcel, and two knives were found on her person. "What motive brought you to Robespierre's?" inquired her examiners. "I wanted to speak to him." "On what business?" "That depended on how I might find him." "Do you know citizen Robespierre?" "No, I sought to know him; I went to his house to see what a tyrant was like." "What did you propose doing with your two knives?" "Nothing, having no intention to injure any one." "And your parcel?" "Contains a change of linen for my use in the place I shall be sent to." "Where is that?" "To prison; and from thence to the guillotine." The unfortunate girl was ultimately taken there, and her family shared her fate.

Robespierre received marks of the most intoxicating adulation. At the Jacobins and in the convention his preservation was attributed to the good genius of the republic, and to the Supreme Being, whose existence he had decreed on the 18th Floreal. The celebration of the new religion had been fixed for the 20th Prairial throughout France. On the 16th, Robespierre was unanimously appointed president of the convention, in order that he might officiate as the pontiff at the festival. At that ceremony he appeared at the head of the assembly, his face beaming with joy and confidence, an unusual expression with him. He advanced alone, fifteen feet in advance of his colleagues, attired in a magnificent dress, holding flowers and ears of corn in his hand, the object of general attention. Expectation was universally raised on this occasion: the enemies of Robespierre foreboded attempts at usurpation, the persecuted looked forward to a milder regime. He disappointed every one. He harangued the people in his capacity of high priest, and concluded his speech, in which all expected to find a hope of happier prospects, with these discouraging words: - "People, let us to-day give ourselves up to the transports of pure delight! To-morrow we will renew our struggle against vices and against tyrants. "

Two days after, on the 22nd Prairial, Couthon presented a new law to the convention. The revolutionary tribunal had dutifully struck all those who had been pointed out to it: royalists, constitutionalists, Girondists, anarchists, and Mountain, had been all alike despatched to execution. But it did not proceed expeditiously enough to satisfy the systematic exterminators, who wished promptly, and at any cost, to get rid of all their prisoners. It still observed some forms; these were suppressed. "All tardiness," said Couthon, "is a crime, all indulgent formality a public danger; there should be no longer delay in punishing the enemies of the state than suffices to recognise them." Hitherto the prisoners had counsel; they had them no longer: - The law furnishes patriot jurymen for the defence of calumniated patriots; it grants none to conspirators. They tried them, at first, individually; now they tried them en masse. There had been some precision in the crimes, even when revolutionary; now all the enemies of the peoplewere declared guilty, and all were pronounced enemies of the people who sought to destroy liberty by force or stratagem. The jury before had the law to guide their determinations, they now only had their conscience. A single tribunal, Fouquier-Tinville and a few jurymen, were not sufficient for the increase of victims the new law threatened to bring before it; the tribunal was divided into four sections, the number of judges and juries was increased, and the public accuser had four substitutes appointed to assist him. Lastly, the deputies of the people could not before be brought to trial without a decree of the convention; but the law was now so drawn up that they could be tried on an order from the committees. The law respecting suspected persons gave rise to that of Prairial.

As soon as Couthon had made his report, a murmur of astonishment and alarm pervaded the assembly. "If this law passes," cried Ruamps, "all we have to do is to blow our brains out. I demand an adjourment." This motion was supported; but Robespierre ascended the tribunal. "For a long time," said he, "the national assembly has been accustomed to discuss and decree at the same time, because it has long been delivered from the thraldom of faction. I move that without considering the question of adjournment, the convention debate, till eight in the evening if necessary, on the proposed law." The discussion was immediately begun, and in thirty minutes after the second reading, the decree was carried. But the following day, a few members, more afraid of the law than of the committee, returned to the debate of the day before. The Mountain, friends of Danton, fearing, for their own sakes, the new provisions, which left the representatives at the mercy of the Decemvirs, proposed to the convention to provide for the safety of its members. Bourdon de l'Oise was the first to speak on this subject; he was supported. Merlin, by a skilful amendment, restored the old safeguard of the conventionalists, and the assembly adopted Merlin's measure. Gradually, objections were made to the decree; the courage of the Mountain increased, and the discussion became very animated. Couthon attacked the Mountain. "Let them know," replied Bourdon de l'Oise - "let the members of the committee know that if they are patriots, we are patriots too. Let them know that I shall not reply with bitterness to their reproaches. I esteem Couthon, I esteem the committee; but I also esteem the unshaken Mountain which has saved our liberty." Robespierre, surprised at this unexpected resistance, hurried to the tribune. "The convention," said he, "the Mountain, and the committee are the same thing! Every representative of the people who sincerely loves liberty, every representative of the people who is ready to die for his country, belongs to the Mountain! We should insult our country, assassinate the people, did we allow a few intriguing persons, more contemptible than others, because they are more hypocritical, to draw off a portion of the Mountain, and make themselves the leaders of a party." "If was never my intention," said Bourdon, "to make myself leader of a party." "It would be the height of opprobrium," continued Robespierre, "if a few of our colleagues, led away by calumny respecting our intentions and the object of our labours...." "I insist on your proving what you assert," rejoined Bourdon. "I have been very plainly called a scoundrel." "I did not name Bourdon. Woe to the man who names himself! Yes, the Mountain is pure, it is sublime; intriguers do not belong to the Mountain!" "Name them!" "I will name them when it is necessary." The threats and the imperious tone of Robespierre, the support of the other Decemvirs, and the feeling of fear which went round caused profound silence. The amendment of Merlin was revoked as insulting to the committee of public safety, and the whole law was adopted. From that time executions took place in batches; and fifty persons were sent to death daily. This Terror within terror lasted about two months.

But the end of this system drew near. The sittings of Prairial were the term of union for the member of the committees. From that time, silent dissensions existed among them. They had advanced together, so long as they had to contend together; but this ceased to be the case when they found themselves alone in the arena, with habits of contest and the desire for dominion. Moreover, their opinions were no longer entirely the same: the democratic party were divided by the fall of the old commune; Billaud- Varennes, Collot-d'Herbois, and the principal members of the committee of general safety, Vadier, Amar, Vouland, clung to this overthrown faction, and preferred the worship of Reason to that of the Supreme Being. They were also jealous of the fame, and anxious at the power of Robespierre, who, in his turn, was irritated at their secret disapprobation and the obstacles they opposed to his will. At this period, the latter conceived the design of putting down the most enterprising members of the Mountain, Tallien, Bourdon, Legendre, Freron, Rovere, etc., and his rivals of the committee.

Robespierre had a prodigious force at his disposal, the common people, who considered the revolution as depending on him, supported him as the representative of its doctrines and interests; the armed force of Paris, commanded by Henriot, was at his command. He had entire sway over the Jacobins, whom he admitted and ejected at pleasure; all important posts were occupied by his creatures; he had formed the revolutionary tribunal and the new committee himself, substituting Payan, the national agent, for Chaumette, the attorney-general; and Fleuriot for Pache, in the office of mayor. But what was his design in granting the most influential places to new men, and in separating himself from the committees? Did he aspire to the dictatorship? Did he only seek to establish his democracy of virtue by the ruin of the remaining immoral members of the Mountain, and the factious of the committee? Each party had lost its leaders: the Gironde had lost the twenty-two; the commune, Hebert, Chaumette, and Ronsin; the Mountain, Danton, Chabot, Lacroix, and Camille Desmoulins. But while thus proscribing the leaders, Robespierre had carefully protected the sects. He had defended the seventy-three prisoners against the denunciations of the Jacobins and the hatred of the committees; he had placed himself at the head of the new commune; he had no longer reason to fear opposition to his projects, whatever they might be, except from a few of the Mountain and the members of the conventional government. It was against this double obstacle that he directed his efforts during the last moments of his career. It is probable that he did not separate the republic from his protectorate, and that he thought to establish both on the overthrow of the other parties.

The committees opposed Robespierre in their own way. They secretly strove to bring about his fall by accusing him of tyranny; they caused the establishment of his religion to be considered as the presage of his usurpation; they recalled the haughty attitude he assumed on the 20th Priarial, and the distance at which he kept even the national convention. Among themselves, they called him Pisistratus, and this name already passed from mouth to mouth. A circumstance, insignificant enough at any other time, gave them an opportunity of attacking him indirectly. An old woman, called Catherine Theot, played the prophetess in an obscure habitation, surrounded by a few mystic sectaries: they styled her the Mother of God, and she announced the immediate coming of a Messiah. Among her followers there was on old associate of Robespierre in the constituent assembly, the Chartreux Dom Gerle, who had a civic certificate from Robespierre himself. When the committees discovered the mysteries of the Mother of God, and her predictions, they believed or pretended to believe, that Robespierre made use of her instrumentality to gain over the fanatics, or to announce his elevation. They altered her name of Theot into that ofTheos, signifying God; and they craftily insinuated that Robespierre was the Messiah she announced. The aged Vadier, in the name of the committee of general safety, was deputed to bring forward a motion against this new sect. He was vain and subtle; he denounced those who were initiated into these mysteries, turned the worship into derision, implicated Robespierre in it without naming him, and had the fanatics sent to prison. Robespierre wished to save them. The conduct of the committee of general safety greatly irritated him, and in the Jacobin club he spoke of the speech of Vadier with contempt and anger. He experienced fresh opposition from the committee of public safety, which refused to proceed against the persons he pointed out to them. From that time he ceased to join his colleagues in the government, and was rarely present at the sittings of the convention. But he attended the Jacobins regularly; and from the tribune of that club he hoped to overthrow his enemies as he had hitherto done.

Naturally sad, suspicious and timid, he became more melancholy and mistrustful than ever. He never went out without being accompanied by several Jacobins armed with sticks, who were called his body-guard. He soon commenced his denunciations in the popular assembly. "All corrupt men," said he, "must be expelled the convention." This was designating the friends of Danton. Robespierre had them watched with the most minute anxiety. Every day spies followed all their motions, observing their actions, haunts, and conversation. Robespierre not only attacked the Dantonists at the Jacobins, he even arose against the committee itself, and for that purpose he chose a day when Barrere presided in the popular assembly. At the close of the sitting, the latter returned home discouraged; "I am disgusted with men," said he to Villate. "What could be his motive for attacking you?" inquired the other. "Robespierre is insatiable," rejoined Barrere; "because we will not do all he wishes, he must break with us. If he talked to us about Thuriot, Guffroi, Rovere Lecointre, Panis, Cambon, Monestier, and the rest of the Dantonists, we might agree with him; let him even require Tallien, Bourdon de l'Oise, Legendre, Freron, well; but Duval, Audoin, Leonard Bourdon, Vadier, Vouland - it is impossible to consent." To give up members of the committee of general safety, was to expose themselves; accordingly, while fearing, they firmly awaited the attack. Robespierre was very formidable, with respect to his power, his hatred, and his designs; it was for him to begin the combat.

But how could he set about it? For the first time he was the author of a conspiracy; hitherto he had taken advantage of all popular movements. Danton, the Cordeliers, and the faubourgs had made the insurrection of the 10th of August against the throne; Marat, the Mountain, and the commune had made that of the 31st of May against the Gironde; Billaud, Saint-Just, and the committees had effected the ruin of the commune, and weakened the Mountain. Robespierre remained alone. Unable to procure assistance from the government, since he had declared against the committees, he had recourse to the populace and the Jacobins. The principal conspirators were Saint-Just, and Couthon in the committee; Fleuriot the mayor, and Payan the national agent in the commune; Dumas the president, and Coffinhal the vice-president, in the revolutionary tribunal; Henriot, the commander of the armed force, and the popular society. On the 15th Messidor, three weeks after the law of Prairial, and twenty-four days before the 9th Thermidor, the resolution was already taken; at that time, and under that date, Henriot wrote to the mayor: "You shall be satisfied with me, comrade, and with the way in which I shall proceed; trust me, men who love their country, easily agree in directing all their steps to the benefit of public affairs. I would have wished, and I do wish, that the secret of the operation rested with us two; the wicked should know nothing of it. Health and brotherhood."

Saint-Just was on a mission to the army of the north; Robespierre hastily recalled him. While waiting his return, he prepared the public mind at the Jacobins. In the sitting of the 3rd Thermidor, he complained of the conduct of the committees, and of the persecution of the patriots, whom he swore to defend. "There must no longer be traces of crime or faction," said he, "in any place whatever. A few scoundrels disgrace the convention; but it will not allow itself to be swayed by them." He then urged his colleagues, the Jacobins, to prevent their reflections to the national assembly. This was the transaction of the 31st of May. On the 4th, he received a deputation from the department of l'Aisne, who came to complain to him of the operations of the government, to which, for a month past, he had been a stranger. "The convention," said Robespierre, in his reply to the deputation, "in the situation in which it now stands, gangrened by corruption, and being wholly unable to recover itself, cannot save the republic-both must perish. The proscription of patriots is the order of the day. As for me I have one foot in the tomb; in a few days the other will follow it. The rest is in the hands of Providence." He was then slightly indisposed, and he purposely exaggerated his discouragement, his fears, and the dangers of the republic, in order to inflame the patriots, and again bind the fate of the revolution with his own.

In the meantime. Saint-Just arrived from the army. He ascertained the state of affairs from Robespierre. He presented himself to the committees, the members of which received him coldly; every time he entered, they ceased to deliberate. Saint-Just, who, from their silence, a few chance words, and the expression of perplexity or hostility on their countenances, saw there was no time to be lost, pressed Robespierre to act. His Maxim was to strike at once, and resolutely. "Dare," said he, "that is the secret of revolutions." But he wished to prevail on Robespierre to take a measure, which was impossible, by urging him to strike his foes, without apprising them. The force at his disposal was a force of revolutionary opinion, and not an organized force. It was necessary for him to seek the assistance of the convention or of the commune, the legal authority of government, or the extraordinary authority of insurrection. Such was the custom, and such must be all coups-d'etat. They could not even have recourse to insurrection, until after they had received the refusal of the assembly, otherwise a pretext was wanting for the rising. Robespierre was therefore obliged to commence the attack in the convention itself. He hoped to obtain everything from it by his ascendancy, or if, contrary to its custom, it resisted, he reckoned on the people, urged by the commune, rising on the 9th Thermidor against the proscribed of the Mountain, and the committee of public safety, as it had risen on the 31st of May against the proscribed of the Gironde and the Commission of Twelve. It is almost always by the past that man regulates his conduct and his hopes.

On the 8th Thermidor, he entered the convention at an early hour. He ascended the tribunal and denounced the committee in a most skilful speech. "I am come," said he, "to defend before you your authority insulted, and liberty violated. I will also defend myself; you will not be surprised at this; you do not resemble the tyrants you contend with. The cries of outraged innocence do not importune your ears, and you know that this cause is not foreign to your interests." After this opening, he complained of those who had calumniated him; he attacked those who sought the ruin of the republic, either by excesses or moderation; those who persecuted pacific citizens, meaning the committees, and those who persecuted true patriots, meaning the Mountain. He associated himself with the intentions, past conduct, and spirit of the convention; he added that its enemies were his: "What have I done to merit persecution, if it entered not into the general system of their conspiracy against the convention? Have you not observed that, to isolate you from the nation, they have given out that you are dictators, reigning by means of terror, and disavowed by the silent wishes of all Frenchmen? For myself, what faction do I belong to? To yourselves. What is that faction that, from the beginning of the revolution, has overthrown all factions, and got rid of acknowledged traitors. It is you, it is the people, it is principles. That is the faction to which I am devoted, and against which all crimes are leagued. For at least six weeks, my inability to do good and to check evil has obliged me absolutely to renounce my functions as a member of the committee of public safety. Has patriotism been better protected? Have factions been more timid? Or the country more happy? At all times my influence has been confined to pleading the cause of my country before the national representation, and at the tribunal of public opinion." After having attempted to confound his cause with that of the convention, he tried to excite it against the committees by dwelling on the idea of its independence. "Representatives of the people," said he, "it is time to resume the pride and elevation of character which befits you. You are not made to be ruled, but to rule the depositaries of your confidence."

While he thus endeavoured to tempt the assembly by the return of its power and the end of its slavery, he addressed the moderate party, by reminding them that they were indebted to him for the lives of the Seventy-Three, and by holding forth hopes of returning order, justice, and clemency. He spoke of changing the devouring and trickster system of finance, of softening the revolutionary government, of guiding its influence, and punishing its prevaricating agents. Lastly, he invoked the people, talked of their necessities, and of their power. And when he had recalled all that could act upon the interests, hopes, or fears of the convention, he added: "We say, then, that there exists a conspiracy against public liberty; that it owes its strength to a criminal coalition which intrigues in the very heart of the convention; that this coalition has accomplices in the committee of general safety; that the enemies of the republic have opposed this committee to the committee of public safety, and have thus constituted two governments; that members of the committee of public safety are concerned in this plot; that the coalition thus formed seeks the ruin both of patriots and of the country; What remedy is there for this evil? Punish the traitors; compose anew the committee of general safety; purify this committee, and make it subordinate to the committee of public safety; purify the latter committee itself; constitute the unity of the government under the supreme authority of the convention; crush every faction under the weight of national authority, and establish on their ruins the power of justice and liberty."

Not a murmur, not a mark of applause welcomed this declaration of war. The silence with which Robespierre was heard continued long after he had ceased speaking. Anxious looks were exchanged in all parts of the doubting assembly. At length Lecointre of Versailles arose and proposed that the speech should be printed. This motion was the signal for agitation, discussion, and resistance. Bourdon de l'Oise opposed the motion for printing the speech, as a dangerous measure. He was applauded. But Barrere, in his ambiguous manner, having maintained that all speeches ought to be published, and Couthon having moved that it should be sent to all the communes of the republic, the convention, intimidated by this apparent concord of the two opposite factions, decreed both the printing and circulation of the speech.

The members of the two committees thus attacked, who had hitherto remained silent, seeing the Mountain thwarted, and the majority undecided, thought it time to speak. Vadier first opposed Robespierre's speech and Robespierre himself. Cambon went further. "It is time," he cried, "to speak the whole truth: one man paralyzed the resolution of the national assembly; that man is Robespierre." "The mask must be torn off," added Billaud-Varennes, "whatever face it may cover; I would rather my corpse should serve an ambitious man for his throne, than by my silence to become the accomplice of his crimes." Panis, Bentabole, Charlier, Thirion, Amar, attacked him in turn. Freron proposed to the convention to throw off the fatal yoke of the committees. "The time is come," said he, "to revive liberty of opinion; I move that the assembly revoke the decree which gives the committee power to arrest the representatives of the people. Who can speak freely while he fears an arrest?" Some applause was heard; but the moment for the entire deliverance of the convention was not yet arrived. It was necessary to contend with Robespierre from behind the committees, in order subsequently to attack the committees more easily. Freron's motion was accordingly rejected. "The man who is prevented by fear from delivering his opinion," said Billaud-Varennes, looking at him, "is not worthy the title of a representative of the people." Attention was again drawn to Robespierre. The decree ordering his speech to be printed was recalled, and the convention submitted the speech to the examination of the committees. Robespierre who had been surprised at this fiery resistance, then said: "What! I had the courage to place before the assembly truths which I think necessary to the safety of the country, and you send my discourse for the examination of the members whom I accuse." He retired, a little discouraged, but hoping to bring back the assembly to his views, or rather, bring it into subjection with the aid of the conspirators of the Jacobins and the commune.

In the evening he repaired to the popular society. He was received with enthusiasm. He read the speech which the assembly had just condemned, and the Jacobins loaded him with applause. He then recounted to them the attacks which had been directed against him, and to increase their excitement he added: "If necessary, I am ready to drink the cup of Socrates." "Robespierre," cried a deputy, "I will drink it with you." "The enemies of Robespierre," cried numbers on all sides, "are the enemies of the country; let them be named, and they shall cease to live." During the whole night Robespierre prepared his partisans for the following day. It was agreed that they should assemble at the commune and the Jacobins, in order to be ready for every event, while he, accompanied by his friends, repaired to the assembly.

The committees had also spent the night in deliberation. Saint-Just had appeared among them. His colleagues tried to disunite him from the triumvirate; they deputed him to draw up a report on the events of the preceding day, and submit it to them. But, instead of that, he drew up an act of accusation, which he would not communicate to them, and said, as he withdrew: "You have withered my heart; I am going to open it to the convention." The committees placed all their hope in the courage of the assembly and the union of parties. The Mountain had omitted nothing to bring about this salutary agreement. They had addressed themselves to the most influential members of the Right and of the Marais. They had entreated Boissy d'Anglas and Durand de Maillane, who were at their head, to join them against Robespierre. They hesitated at first: they were so alarmed at his power, so full of resentment against the Mountain, that they dismissed the Dantonists twice without listening to them. At last the Dantonists returned to the charge a third time, and then the Right and the Plain engaged to support them. There was thus a conspiracy on both sides. All the parties of the assembly were united against Robespierre, all the accomplices of the triumvirs were prepared to act against the convention. In this state of affairs the sitting of the ninth Thermidor began.

The members of the assembly repaired there earlier than usual. About half- past eleven they gathered in the passages, encouraging each other. The Bourdon de l'Oise, one of the Mountain, approached Durand de Maillane, a moderate, pressed his hand, and said - "The people of the Right are excellent men." Rovere and Tallien came up and mingled their congratulations with those of Bourdon. At twelve they saw, from the door of the hall, Saint-Just ascend the tribune. "Now is the time," said Tallien, and they entered the hall. Robespierre occupied a seat in front of the tribune, doubtless in order to intimidate his adversaries with his looks. Saint-Just began: "I belong," he said, "to no faction; I will oppose them all. The course of things has perhaps made this tribune the Tarpeian rock for him who shall tell you that the members of the government have quitted the path of prudence." Tallien then interrupted Saint-Just, and exclaimed violently: "No good citizen can restrain his tears at the wretched state of public affairs. We see nothing but divisions. Yesterday a member of the government separated himself from it to accuse it. To-day another does the same. Men still seek to attack each other, to increase the woes of the country, to precipitate it into the abyss. Let the veil be wholly torn asunder." "It must! it must!" resounded on every side.

Billaud-Varennes spoke from his seat - "Yesterday," said he, "the society of Jacobins was filled with hired men, for no one had a card; yesterday the design of assassinating the members of the national assembly was developed in that society; yesterday I saw men uttering the most atrocious insults against those who have never deviated from the revolution. I see on the Mountain one of those men who threatened the republic; there he is." "Arrest him! arrest him!" was the general cry. The serjeant seized him, and took him to the committee of general safety. "The time is come for speaking the truth," said Billaud. "The assembly would form a wrong judgment of events and of the position in which it is placed, did it conceal from itself that it is placed between two massacres. It will perish, if feeble." "No! no! It will not perish!" exclaimed all the members, rising from their seats. They swore to save the republic. The spectators in the gallery applauded, and cried - "Vive la Convention Rationale!" The impetuous Lebas attempted to speak in defence of the triumvirs; he was not allowed to do so, and Billaud continued. He warned the convention of its dangers, attacked Robespierre, pointed out his accomplices, denounced his conduct and his plans of dictatorship. All eyes were directed towards him. He faced them firmly for some time; but at length, unable to contain himself, he rushed to the tribune. The cry of "Down with the tyrant," instantly became general, and drowned his voice.

"Just now," said Tallien, "I required that the veil should be torn asunder. It gives me pleasure to see that it is wholly sundered. The conspirators are unmasked; they will soon be destroyed, and liberty will triumph. I was present yesterday at the sitting of the Jacobins; I trembled for my country. I saw the army of this new Cromwell forming, and I armed myself with a poignard to stab him to the heart, if the national convention wanted courage to decree his impeachment." He drew out his poignard, brandished it before the indignant assembly, and moved before anything else, the arrest of Henriot, the permanent sitting of the assembly; and both motions were carried, in the midst of cries of - "Vive la republique!" Billaud also moved the arrest of three of Robespierre's most daring accomplices, Dumas, Boulanger, and Dufrese. Barrere caused the convention to be placed under the guard of the armed sections, and drew up a proclamation to be addressed to the people. Every one proposed a measure of precaution. Vadier diverted the assembly for a moment, from the danger which threatened it, to the affair of Catherine Theos. "Let us not be diverted from the true object of debate," said Tallien. "I will undertake to bring you back to it," said Robespierre. "Let us turn our attention to the tyrant," rejoined Tallien, attacking him more warmly than before.

Robespierre, after attempting to speak several times, ascending and descending the stairs of the tribune, while his voice was drowned by cries of "Down with the tyrant!" and the bell which the president Thuriot continued ringing, now made a last effort to be heard. "President of assassins," he cried, "for the last time, will you let me speak?" But Thuriot continued to ring his bell. Robespierre, after glancing at the spectators in the public gallery, who remained motionless, turned towards the Right. "Pure and virtuous men," said he, "I have recourse to you; give me the hearing which these assassins refuse." No answer was returned; profound silence prevailed. Then, wholly dejected, he returned to his place, and sank on his seat exhausted by fatigue and rage. He foamed at the mouth, and his utterance was choked. "Wretch!" said one of the Mountain, "the blood of Danton chokes thee." His arrest was demanded and supported on all sides. Young Robespierre now arose: "I am as guilty as my brother," said he. "I share his virtues, and I will share his fate." "I will not be involved in the opprobrium of this decree," added Lebas; "I demand my arrest too." The assembly unanimously decreed the arrest of the two Robespierres, Couthon, Lebas, and Saint-Just. The latter, after standing for some time at the tribune with unchanged countenance, descended with composure to his place. He had faced this protracted storm without any show of agitation. The triumvirs were delivered to the gendarmerie, who removed them amidst general applause. Robespierre exclaimed, as he went out - "The republic is lost, the brigands triumph." It was now half-past five, and the sitting was suspended till seven.

During this stormy contest the accomplices of the triumvirs had assembled at the Commune and the Jacobins. Fleuriot the mayor, Payan the national agent, and Henriot the commandant, had been at the Hotel de Ville since noon. They had assembled the municipal officers by the sound of the drum, hoping that Robespierre would be triumphant in the assembly, and that they should not require the general council to decree the insurrection, or the sections to sustain it. A few hours after, a serjeant of the convention arrived to summon the mayor to the bar of the assembly to give a report of the state of Paris. "Go, and tell your scoundrels," said Henriot, "that we are discussing how to purge them. Do not forget to tell Robespierre to be firm, and to fear nothing." About half-past four they learned of the arrest of the triumvirs, and the decree against their accomplices. The tocsin was immediately sounded, the barriers closed, the general council assembled, and the sectionaries called together. The cannoneers were ordered to bring their pieces to the commune, and the revolutionary committees to take the oath of insurrection. A message was sent to the Jacobins, who sat permanently. The municipal deputies were received with the greatest enthusiasm. "The society watches over the country," they were told. "It has sworn to die rather than live under crime." At the same time they concerted together, and established rapid communications between these two centres of the insurrection. Henriot, on his side, to arouse the people, ran through the streets, pistol in hand, at the head of his staff, crying "to arms!" haranguing the multitude, and instigating all he met to repair to the commune to save the country. While on this errand, two members of the convention perceived him in the Rue Saint Honore. They summoned, in the name of the law, a few gendarmes to execute the order for his arrest; they obeyed, and Henriot was pinioned and conveyed to the committee of general safety.

Nothing, however, was decided as yet on either side. Each party made use of its means of power; the convention of its decrees, the commune of the insurrection; each party knew what would be the consequences of defeat, and this rendered them both so active, so full of foresight and decision. Success was long uncertain. From noon till five the convention had the upper hand; it caused the arrest of the triumvirs, Payan the national agent, and Henriot the commandant. It was already assembled, and the commune had not yet collected its forces; but from six to eight the insurgents regained their position, and the cause of the convention was nearly lost. During this interval, the national representatives had separated, and the commune had redoubled its efforts and audacity.

Robespierre had been transferred to the Luxembourg, his brother to Saint- Lazare, Saint-Just to the Ecossais, Couthon to La Bourbe, Lebas to the Conciergerie. The commune, after having ordered the gaolers not to receive them, sent municipal officers with detachments to bring them away. Robespierre was liberated first, and conducted in triumph to the Hotel de Ville. On arriving, he was received with the greatest enthusiasm; "Long live Robespierre! Down with the traitors!" resounded on all sides. A little before, Coffinhal had departed, at the head of two hundred cannoneers, to release Henriot, who was detained at the committee of general safety. It was now seven o'clock, and the convention had resumed its sitting. Its guard, at the most, was a hundred men. Coffinhal arrived, made his way through the outer courts, entered the committee chamber, and delivered Henriot. The latter repaired to the Place du Carrousel, harangued the cannoneers, and ordered them to point their pieces on the convention.

The assembly was just then discussing the danger to which it was exposed. It had just heard of the alarming success of the conspirators, of the insurrectional orders of the commune, the rescue of the triumvirs, their presence at the Hotel de Ville, the rage of the Jacobins, the successive convocation of the revolutionary council and of the sections. It was dreading a violent invasion every moment, when the terrified members of the committees rushed in, fleeing from Coffinhal. They learned that the committees were surrounded, and Henriot released. This news caused great agitation. The next moment Amar entered precipitately, and announced that the cannoneers, acted upon by Henriot, had turned their pieces upon the convention. "Citizens," said the president, putting on his hat, in token of distress, "the hour is come to die at our posts!" "Yes, yes! we will die there!" exclaimed all the members. The people in the galleries rushed out, crying, "To arms! Let us drive back the scoundrels!" And the assembly courageously outlawed Henriot.

Fortunately for the assembly, Henriot could not prevail upon the cannoneers to fire. His influence was limited to inducing them to accompany him, and he turned his steps to the Hotel de Ville. The refusal of the cannoneers decided the fate of the day. From that moment the commune, which had been on the point of triumphing, saw its affairs decline. Having failed in a surprise by main force, it was reduced to the slow measures of the insurrection; the point of attack was changed, and soon it was no longer the commune which besieged the Tuileries, but the convention which marched upon the Hotel de Ville. The assembly instantly outlawed the conspiring deputies and the insurgent commune. It sent commissioners to the sections, to secure their aid, named the representative Barras commandant of the armed force, joining with him Freron, Rovere, Bourdon de l'Oise, Feraud, Leonard Bourdon, Legendre, all men of decision: and made the committees the centre of operation.

The sections, on the invitation of the commune, had assembled about nine o'clock; the greater part of the citizens, in repairing thither, were anxious, uncertain, and but vaguely informed of the quarrels between the commune and the convention. The emissaries of the insurgents urged them to join them and to march their battalions to the Hotel de Ville. The sections confined themselves to sending a deputation, but as soon as the commissioners of the convention arrived among them, had communicated to them the decrees and invitations of the assembly, and informed them that there was a leader and a rallying point, they hesitated no longer. Their battalions presented themselves in succession to the assembly; they swore to defend it, and they passed in files through the hall, amid shouts of enthusiasm and sincere applause. "The moments are precious," said Freron; "we must act; Barras is gone to take the orders of the committees; we will march against the rebels; we will summon them in the name of the convention to deliver up the traitors, and if they refuse, we will reduce the building in which they are to ashes." "Go," said the president, "and let not day appear before the heads of the conspirators have fallen." A few battalions and some pieces of artillery were placed round the assembly, to guard it from attack, and the sections then marched in two columns against the commune. It was now nearly midnight.

The conspirators were still assembled. Robespierre, after having been received with cries of enthusiasm, promises of devotedness and victory, had been admitted into the general council between Payan and Fleuriot. The Place de Greve was filled with men, and glittered with bayonets, pikes, and cannon. They only waited the arrival of the sections to proceed to action. The presence of their deputies, and the sending of municipal commissioners in their midst, had inspired reliance on their aid. Henriot answered for everything. The conspirators looked for certain victory; they appointed an executive commission, prepared addresses to the armies, and drew up various lists. Half-past midnight, however, arrived, and no section had yet appeared, no order had yet been given, the triumvirs were still sitting, and the crowd on the Place de Greve became discouraged by this tardiness and indecision. A report spread in whispers that the sections had declared in favour of the convention, that the commune was outlawed, and that the troops of the convention were advancing. The eagerness of the armed multitude had already abated, when a few emissaries of the assembly glided among them, and raised the cry, "Vive la convention!" Several voices repeated it. They then read the proclamation of outlawry against the commune; and after hearing it, the whole crowd dispersed. The Place de Greve was deserted in a moment. Henriot came down a few minutes after, sabre in hand, to excite their courage; but finding no one: "What!" cried he; "is it possible? Those rascals of cannoneers, who saved my life five hours ago, now forsake me." He went up again. At that moment, the columns of the convention arrived, surrounded the Hotel de Ville, silently took possession of all its outlets, and then shouted, "Vive la convention nationale!"

The conspirators, finding they were lost, sought to escape the violence of their enemies. A gendarme named Meda, who first entered the room where the conspirators were assembled, fired a pistol at Robespierre and shattered his jaw; Lebas wounded himself fatally; Robespierre the younger jumped from a window on the third story, and survived his fall; Couthon hid himself under a table; Saint-Just awaited his fate; Coffinhal, after reproaching Henriot with cowardice, threw him from a window into a drain and fled. Meantime, the conventionalists penetrated into the Hotel de Ville, traversed the desolate halls, seized the conspirators, and carried them in triumph to the assembly. Bourdon entered the hall crying "Victory! victory! the traitors are no more!" "The wretched Robespierre is there," said the president; "they are bringing him on a litter. Doubtless you would not have him brought in." "No! no!" they cried; "carry him to the Place de la Revolution!" He was deposited for some time at the committee of general safety before he was transferred to the Conciergerie; and here, stretched on a table, his face disfigured and bloody, exposed to the looks, the invectives, the curses of all, he beheld the various parties exulting in his fall, and charging upon him all the crimes that had been committed. He displayed much insensibility during his last moments. He was taken to the Conciergerie, and afterwards appeared before the revolutionary tribunal, which, after identifying him and his accomplices, sent them to the scaffold. On the 10th Thermidor, about five in the evening, he ascended the death cart, placed between Henriot and Couthon, mutilated like himself. His head was enveloped in linen saturated with blood; his face was livid, his eyes almost visionless. An immense crowd thronged around the cart, manifesting the most boisterous and exulting joy. They congratulated and embraced each other, loading him with imprecations, and pressed near to view him more closely. The gendarmes pointed him out with their sabres. As to him, he seemed to regard the crowd with contemptuous pity; Saint-Just looked calmly at them; the rest, in number twenty-two, were dejected. Robespierre ascended the scaffold last; when his head fell, shouts of applause arose in the air, and lasted for some minutes.

With him ended the reign of terror, although he was not the most zealous advocate of that system in his party. If he sought for supremacy, after obtaining it, he would have employed moderation; and the reign of terror, which ceased at his fall, would also have ceased with his triumph. I regard his ruin to have been inevitable; he had no organized force; his partisans, though numerous, were not enrolled; his instrument was the force of opinion and of terror; accordingly, not being able to surprise his foes by a strong hand, after the fashion of Cromwell, he sought to intimidate them. Terror not succeeding, he tried insurrection. But as the convention with the support of the committees had become courageous, so the sections, relying on the courage of the convention, would naturally declare against the insurgents. By attacking the government, he aroused the assembly; by arousing the assembly, he aroused the people, and this coalition necessarily ruined him. The convention on the 9th of Thermidor was no longer, as on the 31st of May, divided, undecided, opposed to a compact, numerous, and daring faction. All parties were united by defeat, misfortune, and the proscription ever threatening them, and would naturally cooperate in the event of a struggle. It did not, therefore, depend on Robespierre himself to escape defeat; and it was not in his power to secede from the committees. In the position to which he had attained, one is consumed by one's passions, deceived by hopes and by fortune, hitherto good; and when once the scaffolds have been erected, justice and clemency are as impossible as peace, tranquillity, and the dispensing of power when war is declared. One must then fall by the means by which one has arisen; the man of faction must perish by the scaffold, as conquerors by war.