The death of Louis XVI. rendered the different parties irreconcilable, and increased the external enemies of the revolution. The republicans had to contend with all Europe, with several classes of malcontents, and with themselves. But the Mountain, who then directed the popular movement, imagined that they were too far involved not to push matters to extremity. To terrify the enemies of the revolution, to excite the fanaticism of the people by harangues, by the presence of danger, and by insurrections; to refer everything to it, both the government and the safety of the republic; to infuse into it the most ardent enthusiasm, in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity; to keep it in this violent state of crisis for the purpose of making use of its passions and its power; such was the plan of Danton and the Mountain, who had chosen him for their leader. It was he who augmented the popular effervescence by the growing dangers of the republic, and who, under the name of revolutionary government, established the despotism of the multitude, instead of legal liberty. Robespierre and Marat went even much further than he. They sought to erect into a permanent government what Danton considered as merely transitory. The latter was only a political chief, while the others were true sectarians; the first, more ambitious, the second, more fanatical.

The Mountain had, by the catastrophe of the 21st of January, gained a great victory over the Girondists, whose politics were much more moral than theirs, and who hoped to save the revolution, without staining it with blood. But their humanity, their spirit of justice, proved of no service, and even turned against them. They were accused of being the enemies of the people, because they opposed their excesses; of being the accomplices of the tyrant, because they had sought to save Louis XVI.; and of betraying the republic, because they recommended moderation. It was with these reproaches that the Mountain persecuted them with constant animosity in the bosom of the convention, from the 21st of January till the 31st of May and the 2nd of June. The Girondists were for a long time supported by the Centre, which sided with the Right against murder and anarchy, and with the Left for measures of public safety. This mass, which, properly speaking, formed the spirit of the convention, displayed some courage, and balanced the power of the Mountain and the Commune as long as it possessed those intrepid and eloquent Girondists, who carried with them to prison and to the scaffold all the generous resolutions of the assembly.

For a moment, union existed among the various parties of the assembly. Lepelletier Saint Fargeau was stabbed by a retired member of the household guard, named Paris, for having voted the death of Louis XVI. The members of the convention, united by common danger, swore on his tomb to forget their enmities; but they soon revived them. Some of the murderers of September, whose punishment was desired by the more honourable republicans, were proceeded against at Meaux. The Mountain, apprehensive that their past conduct would be inquired into, and that their adversaries would take advantage of a condemnation to attack them more openly themselves, put a stop to these proceedings. This impunity further emboldened the leaders of the multitude; and Marat, who at that period had an incredible influence over the multitude, excited them to pillage the dealers, whom he accused of monopolizing provisions. He wrote and spoke violently, in his pamphlets and at the Jacobins, against the aristocracy of the burghers, merchants, and statesmen (as he designated the Girondists), that is to say, against those who, in the assembly or the nation at large, still opposed the reign of the Sans-culottes and the Mountain. There was something frightful in the fanaticism and invincible obstinacy of these sectaries. The name given by them to the Girondists from the beginning of the convention, was that of Intrigants, on account of the ministerial and rather stealthy means with which they opposed in the departments the insolent and public conduct of the Jacobins.

Accordingly, they denounced them regularly in the club. "At Rome, an orator cried daily: 'Carthage must be destroyed!' well, let a Jacobin mount this tribune every day, and say these single words, 'The intrigants must be destroyed!' Who could withstand us? We oppose crime, and the ephemeral power of riches; but we have truth, justice, poverty, and virtue in our cause. With such arms, the Jacobins will soon have to say: 'We had only to pass on, they were already extinct.'" Marat, who was much more daring than Robespierre, whose hatred and projects still concealed themselves under certain forms, was the patron of all denouncers and lovers of anarchy. Several of the Mountain reproached him with compromising their cause by his extreme counsels, and by unseasonable excesses; but the entire Jacobin people supported him even against Robespierre, who rarely obtained the advantage in his disputes with him. The pillage recommended in February, in L'Ami du Peuple, with respect to some dealers, "by way of example," took place, and Marat was denounced to the convention, who decreed his accusation after a stormy sitting. But this decree had no result, because the ordinary tribunals had no authority. This double effort of force on one side, and weakness on the other, took place in the month of February. More decisive events soon brought the Girondists to ruin.

Hitherto, the military position of France had been satisfactory. Dumouriez had just crowned the brilliant campaign of Argonne by the conquest of Belgium. After the retreat of the Prussians, he had repaired to Paris to concert measures for the invasion of the Austrian Netherlands. Returning to the army on the 20th of October, 1792, he began the attack on the 28th. The plan attempted so inappropriately, with so little strength and success, at the commencement of the war, was resumed and executed with superior means. Dumouriez, at the head of the army of Belgium, forty thousand strong, advanced from Valenciennes upon Mons, supported on the right by the army of the Ardennes, amounting to about sixteen thousand men, under general Valence, who marched from Givet upon Namur; and on his left, by the army of the north, eighteen thousand strong, under general Labourdonnaie, who advanced from Lille upon Tournai. The Austrian army, posted before Mons, awaited battle in its intrenchments. Dumouriez completely defeated it; and the victory of Jemappes opened Belgium to the French, and again gave our arms the ascendancy in Europe. A victor on the 6th of November, Dumouriez entered Mons on the 7th, Brussels on the 14th, and Liege on the 28th. Valence took Namur, Labourdonnaie Antwerp; and by the middle of December, the invasion of the Netherlands was completely achieved. The French army, masters of the Meuse and the Scheldt, went into their winter quarters, after driving beyond the Roer the Austrians, whom they might have pushed beyond the Lower Rhine.

From this moment hostilities began between Dumouriez and the Jacobins. A decree of the convention, dated the 15th of September, abrogated the Belgian customs, and democratically organized that country. The Jacobins sent agents to Belgium to propagate revolutionary principles, and establish clubs on the model of the parent society; but the Flemings, who had received us with enthusiasm, became cool at the heavy demands made upon them, and at the general pillage and insupportable anarchy which the Jacobins brought with them. All the party that had opposed the Austrian army, and hoped to be free under the protection of France, found our rule too severe, and regretted having sought our aid, or supported us. Dumouriez, who had projects of independence for the Flemings, and of ambition for himself, came to Paris to complain of this impolitic conduct with regard to the conquered countries. He changed his hitherto equivocal course; he had employed every means to keep on terms with the two factions; he had ranged himself under the banner of neither, hoping to make use of the Right through his friend Gensonne, and the Mountain through Danton and Lacroix, whilst he awed both by his victories. But in this second journey he tried to stop the Jacobins and save Louis XVI.; not having been able to attain his end, he returned to the army to begin the second campaign, very dissatisfied, and determined to make his new victories the means of suspending the revolution and changing its government.

This time all the frontiers of France were to be attacked by the European powers. The military successes of the revolution, and the catastrophe of the 21st of January, had made most of the undecided or neutral governments join the coalition.

The court of St. James', on learning the death of Louis XVI., dismissed the ambassador Chauvelin, whom it had refused to acknowledge since the 10th of August and the dethronement of the king. The convention, finding England already leagued with the coalition, and consequently all its promises of neutrality vain and elusive, on the 1st of February, 1793, declared war against the king of Great Britain and the stadtholder of Holland, who had been entirely guided by the English cabinet since 1788. England had hitherto preserved the appearances of neutrality, but it took advantage of this opportunity to appear on the scene of hostilities. For some time disposed for a rupture, Pitt employed all his resources, and in the space of six months concluded seven treaties of alliance, and six treaties of subsidies. [Footnote: These treaties were as follows: the 4th March, articles between Great Britain and Hanover; 25th March, treaty of alliance at London between Russia and Great Britain; 10th April, treaty of subsidies with the landgrave of Hesse Cassel; 25th April, treaty of subsidies with Sardinia; 25th May, treaty of alliance at Madrid with Spain; 12th July, treaty of alliance with Naples, the kingdom of the Two Sicilies; 14th July, treaty of alliance at the camp before Mayence with Prussia; 30th August, treaty of alliance at London with the emperor; 21st September, treaty of subsidies with the margrave of Baden; 26th September, treaty of alliance at London with Portugal. By these treaties England gave considerable subsidies, more especially to Austria and Prussia.] England thus became the soul of the coalition against France; her fleets were ready to sail; the minister had obtained 3,200,000l. extraordinary, and Pitt designed to profit by our revolution by securing the preponderance of Great Britain, as Richelieu and Mazarin had taken advantage of the crisis in England in 1640, to establish the French domination in Europe. The court of St. James' was only influenced by motives of English interests; it desired at any cost to effect the consolidation of the aristocratical power at home, and the exclusive empire in the two Indies, and on the seas.

The court of St. James' then made the second levy of the coalition. Spain had just undergone a ministerial change; the famous Godoy, duke of Alcudia, afterwards Prince of the Peace, had been placed at the head of the government by means of an intrigue of England and the emigrants. This power came to a rupture with the republic, after having interceded in vain for Louis XVI., and made its neutrality the price of the life of the king. The German empire entirely adopted the war; Bavaria, Suabia, and the elector palatine joined the hostile circles of the empire. Naples followed the example of the Holy See; and the only neutral powers were Venice, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Turkey. Russia was still engaged with the second partition of Poland.

The republic was threatened on all sides by the most warlike troops of Europe. It would soon have to face forty-five thousand Austro-Sardinians in the Alps; fifty thousand Spaniards on the Pyrenees; seventy thousand Austrians or Imperialists, reinforced by thirty-eight thousand English and Dutch troops, on the Lower Rhine and in Belgium; thirty-three thousand four hundred Austrians between the Meuse and the Moselle; a hundred and twelve thousand six hundred Prussians, Austrians and Imperialists on the Middle and Upper Rhine. In order to confront so many enemies, the convention decreed a levy of three hundred thousand men. This measure of external defence was accompanied by a party measure for the interior. At the moment the new battalions, about to quit Paris, presented themselves to the assembly, the Mountain demanded the establishment of an extraordinary tribunal to maintain the revolution at home, which the battalions were going to defend on the frontiers. This tribunal, composed of nine members, was to try without jury or appeal. The Girondists arose with all their power against so arbitrary and formidable an institution, but it was in vain; for they seemed to be favouring the enemies of the republic by rejecting a tribunal intended to punish them. All they obtained was the introduction of juries into it, the removal of some violent men, and the power of annulling its acts, as long as they maintained any influence.

The principal efforts of the coalition were directed against the vast frontier extending from the north sea to Huninguen. The prince of Coburg, at the head of the Austrians, was to attack the French army on the Roer and the Meuse, to enter Belgium; while the Prussians, on the other point, should march against Custine, give him battle, surround Mayence, and after taking it, renew the preceding invasion. These two armies of operation were sustained in the intermediate position by considerable forces. Dumouriez, engrossed by ambitious and reactionary designs, at a moment when he ought only to have thought of the perils of France, proposed to himself to re-establish the monarchy of 1791, in spite of the convention and Europe. What Bouille could not do for an absolute, nor Lafayette for a constitutional throne, Dumouriez, at a less propitious time, hoped alone to carry through in the interest of a destroyed constitution and a monarchy without a party. Instead of remaining neutral among factions, as circumstances dictated to a general, and even to an ambitious man, Dumouriez preferred a rupture, in order to sway them. He conceived a design of forming a party out of France; of entering Holland by means of the Dutch republicans opposed to the stadtholdership, and to English influence; to deliver Belgium from the Jacobins; to unite these countries in a single independent state, and secure for himself their political protectorate after having acquired all the glory of a conqueror. To intimidate parties, he was to gain over his troops, march on the capital, dissolve the convention, put down popular meetings, re-establish the constitution of 1791, and give a king to France.

This project, impracticable amidst the great shock between the revolution and Europe, appeared easy to the fiery and adventurous Dumouriez. Instead of defending the line, threatened from Mayence to the Roer, he threw himself on the left of the operations, and entered Holland at the head of twenty thousand men. By a rapid march he was to reach the centre of the United Provinces, attack the fortresses from behind, and be joined at Nymegen by twenty-five thousand men under General Miranda, who would probably have made himself master of Maestricht. An army of forty thousand men was to observe the Austrians and protect his right.

Dumouriez vigorously prosecuted his expedition into Holland; he took Breda and Gertruydenberg, and prepared to pass the Biesbos, and capture Dordrecht. But the army of the right experienced in the meantime the most alarming reverses on the Lower Meuse. The Austrians assumed the offensive, passed the Roer, beat Miazinski at Aix-la-Chapelle; made Miranda raise the blockade of Maestricht, which he had uselessly bombarded; crossed the Meuse, and at Liege put our army, which had fallen back between Tirlemont and Louvain, wholly to the rout. Dumouriez received from the executive council orders to leave Holland immediately, and to take the command of the troops in Belgium; he was compelled to obey, and to renounce in part his wildest but dearest hopes.

The Jacobins, at the news of these reverses, became much more intractable; unable to conceive a defeat without treachery, especially after the brilliant and unexpected victories of the last campaign, they attributed these military disasters to party combinations. They denounced the Girondists, the ministers, and generals who, they supposed, had combined to abandon the republic, and clamoured for their destruction. Rivalry mingled with suspicion, and they desired as much to acquire an exclusive domination, as to defend the threatened territory; they began with the Girondists. As they had not yet accustomed the multitude to the idea of the proscription of representatives, they at first had recourse to a plot to get rid of them; they resolved to strike them in the convention, where they would all be assembled, and the night of the 10th of March was fixed on for the execution of the plot. The assembly sat permanently on account of the public danger. It was decided on the preceding day at the Jacobins and Cordeliers to shut the barriers, sound the tocsin, and march in two bands on the convention and the ministers. They started at the appointed hour, but several circumstances prevented the conspirators from succeeding. The Girondists, apprised, did not attend the evening sitting; the sections declared themselves opposed to the plot, and Beurnonville, minister for war, advanced against them at the head of a battalion of Brest federalists; these unexpected obstacles, together with the ceaseless rain, obliged the conspirators to disperse. The next day Vergniaud denounced the insurrectional committee who had projected these murders, demanded that the executive council should be commissioned to make inquiries respecting the conspiracy of the 10th of March, to examine the registers of the clubs, and to arrest the members of the insurrectional committee. "We go," said he, "from crimes to amnesties, from amnesties to crimes. Numbers of citizens have begun to confound seditious insurrections with the great insurrection of liberty; to look on the excitement of robbers as the outburst of energetic minds, and robbery itself as a measure of general security. We have witnessed the development of that strange system of liberty, in which we are told: 'you are free; but think with us, or we will denounce you to the vengeance of the people; you are free, but bow down your head to the idol we worship, or we will denounce you to the vengeance of the people; you are free, but join us in persecuting the men whose probity and intelligence we dread, or we will denounce you to the vengeance of the people.' Citizens, we have reason to fear that the revolution, like Saturn, will devour successively all its children, and only engender despotism and the calamities which accompany it." These prophetic words produced some effect in the assembly; but the measures proposed by Vergniaud led to nothing.

The Jacobins were stopped for a moment by the failure of their first enterprise against their adversaries; but the insurrection of La Vendee gave them new courage. The Vendean war was an inevitable event in the revolution. This country, bounded by the Loire and the sea, crossed by few roads, sprinkled with villages, hamlets, and manorial residences, had retained its ancient feudal state. In La Vendee there was no civilization or intelligence, because there was no middle class; and there was no middle class because there were no towns, or very few. At that time the peasants had acquired no other ideas than those few communicated to them by the priests, and had not separated their interests from those of the nobility. These simple and sturdy men, devotedly attached to the old state of things, did not understand a revolution, which was the result of a faith and necessities entirely foreign to their situation. The nobles and priests, being strong in these districts, had not emigrated; and the ancient regime really existed there, because there were its doctrines and its society. Sooner or later, a war between France and La Vendee, countries so different, and which had nothing in common but language, was inevitable. It was inevitable that the two fanaticisms of monarchy and of popular sovereignty, of the priesthood and human reason, should raise their banners against each other, and bring about the triumph of the old or of the new civilization.

Partial disturbances had taken place several times in La Vendee. In 1792 the count de la Rouairie had prepared a general rising, which failed on account of his arrest; but all yet remained ready for an insurrection, when the decree for raising three hundred thousand men was put into execution. This levy became the signal of revolt. The Vendeans beat the gendarmerie at Saint Florent, and took for leaders, in different directions, Cathelineau, a waggoner, Charette, a naval officer, and Stofflet, a gamekeeper. Aided by arms and money from England, the insurrection soon overspread the country; nine hundred communes flew to arms at the sound of the tocsin; and then the noble leaders Bonchamps, Lescure, La Rochejaquelin, d'Elbee, and Talmont, joined the others. The troops of the line and the battalions of the national guard who advanced against the insurgents were defeated. General Marce was beaten at Saint Vincent by Stofflet; general Gauvilliers at Beaupreau, by d'Elbee and Bonchamps; general Quetineau at Aubiers, by La Rochejaquelin; and general Ligonnier at Cholet. The Vendeans, masters of Chatillon, Bressuire, and Vihiers, considered it advisable to form some plan of organization before they pushed their advantages further. They formed three corps, each from ten to twelve thousand strong, according to the division of La Vendee, under three commanders; the first, under Bonchamps, guarded the banks of the Loire, and was called the Armee d'Anjou; the second, stationed in the centre, formed the Grande armee under d'Elbee; the third, in Lower Vendee, was styled the Armee du Marais, under Charette. The insurgents established a council to determine their operations, and elected Cathelineau generalissimo. These arrangements, with this division of the country, enabled them to enrol the insurgents, and to dismiss them to their fields, or call them to arms.

The intelligence of this formidable insurrection drove the convention to adopt still more rigorous measures against priests and emigrants. It outlawed all priests and nobles who took part in any gathering, and disarmed all who had belonged to the privileged classes. The former emigrants were banished for ever; they could not return, under penalty of death; their property was confiscated. On the door of every house, the names of all its inmates were to be inscribed; and the revolutionary tribunal, which had been adjourned, began its terrible functions.

At the same time, tidings of new military disasters arrived, one after the other. Dumouriez, returned to the army of Belgium, concentrated all his forces to resist the Austrian general, the prince of Coburg. His troops were greatly discouraged, and in want of everything; he wrote to the convention a threatening letter against the Jacobins, who denounced him. After having again restored to his army a part of its former confidence by some minor advantages, he ventured a general action at Neerwinden, and lost it. Belgium was evacuated, and Dumouriez, placed between the Austrians and Jacobins, beaten by the one and assailed by the other, had recourse to the guilty project of defection, in order to realize his former designs. He had conferences with Colonel Mack, and agreed with the Austrians to march upon Paris for the purpose of re-establishing the monarchy, leaving them on the frontiers, and having first given up to them several fortresses as a guarantee. It is probable that Dumouriez wished to place on the constitutional throne the young duc de Chartres, who had distinguished himself throughout this campaign; while the prince of Coburg hoped that if the counter-revolution reached that point, it would be carried further and restore the son of Louis XVI. and the ancient monarchy. A counter-revolution will not halt any more than a revolution; when once begun, it must exhaust itself. The Jacobins were soon informed of Dumouriez's arrangements; he took little precaution to conceal them; whether he wished to try his troops, or to alarm his enemies, or whether he merely followed his natural levity. To be more sure of his designs, the Jacobin club sent to him a deputation, consisting of Proly, Pereira, and Dubuisson, three of its members. Taken to Dumouriez's presence, they received from him more admissions than they expected: "The convention," said he, "is an assembly of seven hundred and thirty-five tyrants. While I have four inches of iron I will not suffer it to reign and shed blood with the revolutionary tribunal it has just created; as for the republic," he added, "it is an idle word. I had faith in it for three days. Since Jemappes, I have deplored all the successes I obtained in so bad a cause. There is only one way to save the country - that is, to re-establish the constitution of 1791, and a king." "Can you think of it, general?" said Dubuisson; "the French view royalty with horror - the very name of Louis - " "What does it signify whether the king be called Louis, Jacques, or Philippe?" "And what are your means?" "My army - yes, my army will do it, and from my camp, or the stronghold of some fortress, it will express its desire for a king." "But your project endangers the safety of the prisoners in the Temple." "Should the last of the Bourbons be killed, even those of Coblentz, France shall still have a king, and if Paris were to add this murder to those which have already dishonoured it, I would instantly march upon it." After thus unguardedly disclosing his intentions, Dumouriez proceeded to the execution of his impracticable design. He was really in a very difficult position; the soldiers were very much attached to him, but they were also devoted to their country. He was to surrender some fortresses which he was not master of, and it was to be supposed that the generals under his orders, either from fidelity to the republic, or from ambition, would treat him as he had treated Lafayette. His first attempt was not encouraging; after having established himself at Saint Amand, he essayed to possess himself of Lille, Conde, and Valenciennes; but failed in this enterprise. The failure made him hesitate, and prevented his taking the initiative in the attack.

It was not so with the convention; it acted with a promptitude, a boldness, a firmness, and, above all, with a precision in attaining its object, which rendered success certain. When we know what we want, and desire it strongly and speedily, we nearly always attain our object. This quality was wanting in Dumouriez, and the want impeded his audacity and deterred his partisans. As soon as the convention was informed of his projects, it summoned him to its bar. He refused to obey; without, however, immediately raising the standard of revolt. The convention instantly despatched four representatives: Camus, Quinette, Lamarque, Bancal, and Beurnonville, the war minister, to bring him before it, or to arrest him in the midst of his army. Dumouriez received the commissioners at the head of his staff. They presented to him the decree of the convention; he read it and returned it to them, saying that the state of his army would not admit of his leaving it. He offered to resign, and promised in a calmer season to demand judges himself, and to give an account of his designs and of his conduct. The commissioners tried to induce him to submit, quoting the example of the ancient Roman generals. "We are always mistaken in our quotations," he replied; "and we disfigure Roman history by taking as an excuse for our crimes the example of their virtues. The Romans did not kill Tarquin; the Romans had a well ordered republic and good laws; they had neither a Jacobin club nor a revolutionary tribunal. We live in a time of anarchy. Tigers wish for my head; I will not give it them." "Citizen general," said Camus then, "will you obey the decree of the national convention, and repair to Paris?" "Not at present." "Well, then, I declare that I suspend you; you are no longer a general; I order your arrest." "This is too much," said Dumouriez; and he had the commissioners arrested by German hussars, and delivered them as hostages to the Austrians. After this act of revolt he could no longer hesitate. Dumouriez made another attempt on Conde, but it succeeded no better than the first. He tried to induce the army to join him, but was forsaken by it. The soldiers were likely for a long time to prefer the republic to their general; the attachment to the revolution was in all its fervour, and the civil power in all its force. Dumouriez experienced, in declaring himself against the convention, the fate which Lafayette experienced when he declared himself against the legislative assembly, and Bouille when he declared against the constituent assembly. At this period, a general, combining the firmness of Bouille with the patriotism and popularity of Lafayette, with the victories and resources of Dumouriez, would have failed as they did. The revolution, with the movement imparted to it, was necessarily stronger than parties, than generals, and than Europe. Dumouriez went over to the Austrian camp with the duc de Chartres, colonel Thouvenot, and two squadrons of Berchiny. The rest of his army went to the camp at Famars, and joined the troops commanded by Dampierre.

The convention, on learning the arrest of the commissioners, established itself as a permanent assembly, declared Dumouriez a traitor to his country, authorized any citizen to attack him, set a price on his head, decreed the famous committee of public safety, and banished the duke of Orleans and all the Bourbons from the republic. Although the Girondists had assailed Dumouriez as warmly as the Mountain, they were accused of being his accomplices, and this was a new cause of complaint added to the rest. Their enemies became every day more powerful; and it was in moments of public danger that they were especially dangerous. Hitherto, in the struggle between the two parties, they had carried the day on every point. They had stopped all inquiries into the massacres of September; they had maintained the usurpation of the commune; they had obtained, first the trial, then the death of Louis XVI.; through their means the plunderings of February and the conspiracy of the 10th of March, had remained unpunished; they had procured the erection of the revolutionary tribunal despite the Girondists; they had driven Roland from the ministry, in disgust; and they had just defeated Dumouriez. It only remained now to deprive the Girondists of their last asylum - the assembly; this they set about on the 10th of April, and accomplished on the 2nd of June.

Robespierre attacked by name Brissot, Guadet, Vergniaud, Petion, and Gensonne, in the convention; Marat denounced them in the popular societies. As president of the Jacobins, he wrote an address to the departments, in which he invoked the thunder of petitions and accusations against the traitors and faithless delegates who had sought to save the tyrant by an appeal to the public or his imprisonment. The Right and the Plain of the convention felt that it was necessary to unite. Marat was sent before the revolutionary tribunal. This news set the clubs in motion, the people, and the commune. By way of reprisal, Pache, the mayor, came in the name of the thirty-five sections and of the general council, to demand the expulsion of the principal Girondists. Young Boyer Fonfrede required to be included in the proscription of his colleagues, and the members of the Right and the Plain rose, exclaiming, "All! all!" This petition, though declared calumnious, was the first attack upon the convention from without, and it prepared the public mind for the destruction of the Gironde.

The accusation of Marat was far from intimidating the Jacobins who accompanied him to the revolutionary tribunal. Marat was acquitted, and borne in triumph to the assembly. From that moment the approaches to the hall were thronged with daring sans-culottes, and the partisans of the Jacobins filled the galleries of the convention. The clubists and Robespierre's tricoteuses (knitters) constantly interrupted the speakers of the Right, and disturbed the debate; while without, every opportunity was sought to get rid of the Girondists. Henriot, commandant of the section of sans-culottes, excited against them the battalions about to march for La Vendee. Gaudet then saw that it was time for something more than complaints and speeches; he ascended the tribune. "Citizens," said he, "while virtuous men content themselves with bewailing the misfortunes of the country, conspirators are active for its ruin. With Caesar they say: 'Let them talk, we will act.' Well, then, do you act also. The evil consists in the impunity of the conspirators of the 10th of March; the evil is in anarchy; the evil is in the existence of the authorities of Paris - authorities striving at once for gain and dominion. Citizens, there is yet time; you may save the republic and your compromised glory. I propose to abolish the Paris authorities, to replace within twenty-four hours the municipality by the presidents of the sections, to assemble the convention at Bourges with the least possible delay, and to transmit this decree to the departments by extraordinary couriers." The Mountain was surprised for a moment by Guadet's motion. Had his measures been at once adopted, there would have been an end to the domination of the commune, and to the projects of the conspirators; but it is also probable that the agitation of parties would have brought on a civil war, that the convention would have been dissolved by the assembly at Bourges, that all centre of action would have been destroyed, and that the revolution would not have been sufficiently strong to contend against internal struggles and the attacks of Europe. This was what the moderate party in the assembly feared. Dreading anarchy if the career of the commune was not stopped, and counter-revolution if the multitude were too closely kept down, its aim was to maintain the balance between the two extremes of the convention. This party comprised the committees of general safety and of public safety. It was directed by Barrere, who, like all men of upright intentions but weak characters, advocated moderation so long as fear did not make him an instrument of cruelty and tyranny. Instead of Guadet's decisive measures, he proposed to nominate an extraordinary commission of twelve members, deputed to inquire into the conduct of the municipality; to seek out the authors of the plots against the national representatives, and to secure their persons. This middle course was adopted; but it left the commune in existence, and the commune was destined to triumph over the convention.

The Commission of Twelve threw the members of the commune into great alarm by its inquiries. It discovered a new conspiracy, which was to be put into execution on the 22nd of May, and arrested some of the conspirators, and among others, Hebert, the deputy recorder, author of Pere Duchesne, who was taken in the very bosom of the municipality. The commune, at first astounded, began to take measures of defence. From that moment, not conspiracy, but insurrection was the order of the day. The general council, encouraged by the Mountain, surrounded itself with the agitators of the capital; it circulated a report that the Twelve wished to purge the convention, and to substitute a counter-revolutionary tribunal for that which had acquitted Marat. The Jacobins, the Cordeliers, the sections sat permanently. On the 26th of May, the agitation became perceptible; on the 27th; it was sufficiently decided to induce the commune to open the attack. It accordingly appeared before the convention and demanded the liberation of Hebert and the suppression of the Twelve; it was accompanied by the deputies of the sections, who expressed the same desire, and the hall was surrounded by a large mob. The section of the City even presumed to require that the Twelve should be brought before the revolutionary tribunal. Isnard, president of the assembly, replied in a solemn tone: "Listen to what I am about to say. If ever by one of those insurrections, of such frequent recurrence since the 10th of March, and of which the magistrates have never apprised the assembly, a hostile hand be raised against the national representatives, I declare to you in the name of all France, Paris will be destroyed. Yes, universal France would rise to avenge such a crime, and soon it would be matter of doubt on which side of the Seine Paris had stood." This reply became the signal for great tumult. "And I declare to you," exclaimed Danton, "that so much impudence begins to be intolerable; we will resist you." Then turning to the Right, he added: "No truce between the Mountain and the cowards who wished to save the tyrant."

The utmost confusion now reigned in the hall. The strangers' galleries vociferated denunciations of the Right; the Mountain broke forth into menaces; every moment deputations arrived without, and the convention was surrounded by an immense multitude. A few sectionaries of the Mail and of the Butte-des-Moulins, commanded by Raffet, drew up in the passages and avenues to defend it. The Girondists withstood, as long as they could, the deputations and the Mountain. Threatened within, besieged without, they would have availed themselves of this violence to arouse the indignation of the assembly. But the minister of the interior, Garat, deprived them of this resource. Called upon to give an account of the state of Paris, he declared that the convention had nothing to fear; and the opinion of Garat, who was considered impartial, and whose conciliatory turn of mind involved him in equivocal proceedings, emboldened the members of the Mountain. Isnard was obliged to resign the chair, which was taken by Herault de Sechelles, a sign of victory for the Mountain. The new president replied to the petitioners, whom Isnard had hitherto kept in the background. "The power of reason and the power of the people are the same thing. You demand from us a magistrate and justice. The representatives of the people will give you both." It was now very late; the Right was discouraged, some of its members had left. The petitioners had moved from the bar to the seats of the representatives, and there, mixed up with the Mountain, with outcry and disorder, they voted, all together, for the dismissal of the Twelve, and the liberation of the prisoners. It was at half-past twelve, amidst the applause of the galleries and the people outside, that this decree was passed.

It would, perhaps, have been wise on the part of the Girondists, since they were really not the strongest party, to have made no recurrence to this matter. The movement of the preceding day would have had no other result than the suppression of the Twelve, if other causes had not prolonged it. But animosity had attained such a height, that it had become necessary to bring the quarrel to an issue; since the two parties could not endure each other, the only alternative was for them to fight; they must needs go on from victory to defeat, and from defeat to victory, growing more and more excited every day, until the stronger finally triumphed over the weaker party. Next day, the Right regained its position in the convention, and declared the decree of the preceding day illegally passed, in tumult and under compulsion, and the commission was re- established. "You yesterday," said Danton, "did a great act of justice; but I declare to you, if the commission retains the tyrannical power it has hitherto exercised; if the magistrates of the people are not restored to their functions; if good citizens are again exposed to arbitrary arrest; then, after having proved to you that we surpass our enemies in prudence, in wisdom, we shall surpass them in audacity and revolutionary vigour." Danton feared to commence the attack; he dreaded the triumph of the Mountain as much as he did that of the Girondists: he accordingly sought, by turns, to anticipate the 31st of May, and to moderate its results. But he was reduced to join his own party during the conflict, and to remain silent after the victory.

The agitation, which had been a little allayed by the suppression of the Twelve, became threatening at the news of their restoration. The benches of the sections and popular societies resounded with invectives, with cries of danger, with calls to insurrection. Hebert, having quitted his prison, reappeared at the commune. A crown was placed on his brow, which he transferred to the bust of Brutus, and then rushed to the Jacobins to demand vengeance on the Twelve. Robespierre, Marat, Danton, Chaumette, and Pache then combined in organising a new movement. The insurrection was modelled on that of the 10th of August. The 29th of May was occupied in preparing the public mind. On the 30th, members of the electoral college, commissioners of the clubs, and deputies of sections assembled at the Eveche, declared themselves in a state of insurrection, dissolved the general council of the commune, and immediately reconstituted it, making it take a new oath; Henriot received the title of commandant-general of the armed force, and the sans-culottes were assigned forty sous a day while under arms. These preparations made, early on the morning of the 31st the tocsin rang, the drums beat to arms, the troops were assembled, and all marched towards the convention, which for some time past had held its sittings at the Tuileries.

The assembly had met at the sound of the tocsin. The minister of the interior, the administrators of the department, and the mayor of Paris had been summoned, in succession, to the bar. Garat had given an account of the agitated state of Paris, but appeared to apprehend no dangerous result. Lhuillier, in the name of the department, declared it was only a moral insurrection. Pache, the mayor, appeared last, and informed them, with an hypocritical air, of the operations of the insurgents; he pretended that he had employed every means to maintain order; assured them that the guard of the convention had been doubled, and that he had prohibited the firing of the alarm cannon; yet, at the same moment, the cannon was heard in the distance. The surprise and excitement of the assembly were extreme. Cambon exhorted the members to union, and called upon the people in the strangers' gallery to be silent. "Under these extraordinary circumstances," said he, "the only way of frustrating the designs of the malcontents is to make the national convention respected." "I demand," said Thuriot, "the immediate abolition of the Commission of Twelve." "And I," cried Tallien, "that the sword of the law may strike the conspirators who profane the very bosom of the convention." The Girondists, on their part, required that the audacious Henriot should be called to the bar, for having fired the alarm cannon without the permission of the convention. "If a struggle take place," said Vergniaud, "be the success what it may, it will be the ruin of the republic. Let every member swear to die at his post." The entire assembly rose, applauding the proposition. Danton rushed to the tribune: "Break up the Commission of Twelve! you have heard the thunder of the cannon. If you are politic legislators, far from blaming the outbreak of Paris, you will turn it to the profit of the republic, by reforming your own errors, by dismissing your commission. - I address those," he continued, on hearing murmurs around him, "who possess some political talent, not dullards, who can only act and speak in obedience to their passions. - Consider the grandeur of your aim; it is to save the people from their foes, from the aristocrats, to save them from their own blind fury. If a few men, really dangerous, no matter to what party they belong, should then seek to prolong a movement, become useless, by your act of justice, Paris itself will hurl them back into their original insignificance. I calmly, simply, and deliberately demand the suppression of the commission, on political grounds." The commission was violently attacked on one side, feebly defended on the other; Barrere and the committee of public safety, who were its creators proposed its suppression, in order to restore peace, and to save the assembly from being left to the mercy of the multitude. The moderate portion of the Mountain were about to adopt this concession, when the deputations arrived. The members of the department, those of the municipality, and the commissaries of sections, being admitted to the bar, demanded not merely the suppression of the Twelve, but also the punishment of the moderate members, and of all the Girondist chiefs.

The Tuileries was completely blockaded by the insurgents; and the presence of their commissaries in the convention emboldened the extreme Mountain, who were desirous of destroying the Girondist party. Robespierre, their leader and orator, spoke: "Citizens, let us not lose this day in vain clamours and unnecessary measures; this is, perhaps, the last day in which patriotism will combat with tyranny. Let the faithful representatives of the people combine to secure their happiness." He urged the convention to follow the course pointed out by the petitioners, rather than that proposed by the committee of public safety. He was thundering forth a lengthened declamation against his adversaries, when Vergniaud interfered: "Conclude this!" - "I am about to conclude, and against you! Against you, who, after the revolution of the 10th of August, sought to bring to the scaffold those who had effected it. Against you, who have never ceased in a course which involved the destruction of Paris. Against you, who desired to save the tyrant. Against you, who conspired with Dumouriez. Against you, who fiercely persecuted the same patriots whose heads Dumouriez demanded. Against you, whose criminal vengeance provoked those cries of vengeance which you seek to make a crime in your victims. I conclude my conclusion is - I propose a decree of accusation against all the accomplices of Dumouriez, and against those who are indicated by the petitioners." Notwithstanding the violence of this outbreak, Robespierre's party were not victorious. The insurrection had only been directed against the Twelve, and the committee of public safety, who proposed their suppression prevailed over the commune. The assembly adopted the decree of Barrere, which dissolved the Twelve, placed the public force in permanent requisition, and, to satisfy the petitioners, directed the committee of public safety to inquire into the conspiracies which they denounced. As soon as the multitude surrounding the assembly was informed of these measures, it received them with applause, and dispersed.

But the conspirators were not disposed to rest content with this half triumph: they had gone further on the 30th of May than on the 29th; and on the 2nd of June they went further than on the 31st of May. The insurrection, from being moral, as they termed it, became personal; that is to say, it was no longer directed against a power, but against the deputies; it passed from Danton and the Mountain, to Robespierre, Marat, and the commune. On the evening of the 31st, a Jacobin deputy said: "We have had but half the game yet; we must complete it, and not allow the people to cool." Henriot offered to place the armed force at the disposition of the club. The insurrectional committee openly took up its quarters near the convention. The whole of the 1st of June was devoted to the preparation of a great movement. The commune wrote to the sections: "Citizens, remain under arms: the danger of the country renders this a supreme law." In the evening, Marat, who was the chief author of the 2nd of June, repaired to the Hotel de Ville, ascended the clock-tower himself, and rang the tocsin; he called upon the members of the council not to separate till they had obtained a decree of accusation against the traitors and the "statesmen." A few deputies assembled at the convention, and the conspirators came to demand the decree against the proscribed parties; but they were not yet sufficiently strong to enforce it from the convention.

The whole night was spent in making preparations; the tocsin rang, drums beat to arms, the people gathered together. On Sunday morning, about eight o'clock, Henriot presented himself to the general council, and declared to his accomplices, in the name of the insurrectionary people, that they would not lay down their arms until they had obtained the arrest of the conspiring deputies. He then placed himself at the head of the vast crowd assembled in the Place de l'Hotel de Ville, harangued them, and gave the signal for their departure. It was nearly ten o'clock when the insurgents reached the Place du Carrousel. Henriot posted round the chateau bands of the most devoted men, and the convention was soon surrounded by eighty thousand men, the greater part ignorant of what was required of them and more disposed to defend than to attack the deputation.

The majority of the proscribed members had not proceeded to the assembly. A few, courageous to the last, had come to brave the storm for the last time. As soon as the sitting commenced, the intrepid Lanjuinais ascended the tribune. "I demand," said he, "to speak respecting the general call to arms now beating throughout Paris." He was immediately interrupted by cries of "Down! down! He wants civil war! He wants a counter-revolution! He calumniates Paris! He insults the people." Despite the threats, the insults, the clamours of the Mountain and the galleries, Lanjuinais denounced the projects of the commune and of the malcontents; his courage rose with the danger. "You accuse us," he said, "of calumniating Paris! Paris is pure; Paris is good; Paris is oppressed by tyrants who thirst for blood and dominion." These words were the signal for the most violent tumult; several Mountain deputies rushed to the tribune to tear Lanjuinais from it; but he, clinging firmly to it, exclaimed, in accents of the most lofty courage, "I demand the dissolution of all the revolutionist authorities in Paris. I demand that all they have done during the last three days may be declared null. I demand that all who would arrogate to themselves a new authority contrary to law, be placed without the law, and that every citizen be at liberty to punish them." He had scarcely concluded, when the insurgent petitioners came to demand his arrest, and that of his colleagues. "Citizens," said they, "the people are weary of seeing their happiness still postponed; they leave it once more in your hands; save them, or we declare that they will save themselves."

The Right moved the order of the day on the petition of the insurgents, and the convention accordingly proceeded to the previous question. The petitioners immediately withdrew in a menacing attitude; the strangers quitted the galleries; cries to arms were shouted, and a great tumult was heard without: "Save the people!" cried one of the Mountain. "Save your colleagues, by decreeing their provisional arrest." "No, no!" replied the Right, and even a portion of the Left. "We will all share their fate!" exclaimed La Reveillere-Lepaux. The committee of public safety, called upon to make a report, terrified at the magnitude of the danger, proposed, as on the 31st of May, a measure apparently conciliatory, to satisfy the insurgents, without entirely sacrificing the proscribed members. "The committee," said Barrere, "appeal to the generosity and patriotism of the accused members. It asks of them the suspension of their power, representing to them that this alone can put an end to the divisions which afflict the republic, can alone restore to it peace." A few among them adopted the proposition. Isnard at once gave in his resignation; Lanthenas, Dussaulx, and Fauchet followed his example; Lanjuinais would not. He said: "I have hitherto, I believe, shown some courage; expect not from me either suspension or resignation. When the ancients," he continued, amidst violent interruption, "prepared a sacrifice, they crowned the victim with flowers and chaplets, as they conducted it to the altar; but they did not insult it." Barbaroux was as firm as Lanjuinais. "I have sworn," he said, "to die at my post; I will keep my oath." The conspirators of the Mountain themselves protested against the proposition of the committee. Marat urged that those who make sacrifices should be pure; and Billaud-Varennes demanded the trial of the Girondists, not their suspension.

While this was going on, Lacroix, a deputy of the Mountain, rushed into the house, and to the tribune, and declared that he had been insulted at the door, that he had been refused egress, and that the convention was no longer free. Many of the Mountain expressed their indignation at Henriot and his troops. Danton said it was necessary vigorously to avenge this insult to the national majesty. Barrere proposed to the convention to present themselves to the people. "Representatives," said he, "vindicate your liberty; suspend your sitting; cause the bayonets that surround you to be lowered." The whole convention arose, and set forth in procession, preceded by its sergeants, and headed by the president, who was covered, in token of his affliction. On arriving at a door on the Place du Carrousel, they found there Henriot on horseback, sabre in hand. "What do the people require?" said the president, Herault de Sechelles; "the convention is wholly engaged in promoting their happiness." "Herault," replied Henriot, "the people have not risen to hear phrases; they require twenty-four traitors to be given up to them." "Give us all up!" cried those who surrounded the president. Henriot then turned to his people, and exclaimed: "Cannoneers, to your guns." Two pieces were directed upon the convention, who, retiring to the gardens, sought an outlet at various points, but found all the issues guarded. The soldiers were everywhere under arms. Marat ran through the ranks, encouraging and exciting them. "No weakness," said he; "do not quit your posts till they have given them up." The convention then returned within the house, overwhelmed with a sense of their powerlessness, convinced of the inutility of their efforts, and entirely subdued. The arrest of the proscribed members was no longer opposed. Marat, the true dictator of the assembly, imperiously decided the fate of its members. "Dussaulx," said he, "is an old twaddler, incapable of leading a party; Lathenas is a poor creature, unworthy of a thought; Ducos is merely chargeable with a few absurd notions, and is not at all a man to become a counter-revolutionary leader. I require that these be struck out of the list, and their names replaced by that of Valaze." These names were accordingly struck out, and that of Valaze substituted, and the list thus altered was agreed to, scarcely one half of the assembly taking part in the vote.

These are the names of the illustrious men proscribed: the Girondists Gensonne, Guadet, Brissot, Gorsas, Petion, Vergniaud, Salles, Barbaroux, Chambon, Buzot, Birotteau, Lidon, Rabaud, Lasource, Lanjuinais, Grangeneuve, Lehardy, Lesage, Louvet, Valaze, Lebrun, minister of foreign affairs, Clavieres, minister of taxes; and the members of the Council of Twelve, Kervelegan, Gardien, Rabaud Saint-Etienne, Boileau, Bertrand, Vigee, Molleveau, Henri La Riviere, Gomaire, and Bergoing. The convention placed them under arrest at their own houses, and under the protection of the people. The order for keeping the assembly itself prisoners was at once withdrawn, and the multitude dispersed, but from that moment the convention ceased to be free.

Thus fell the Gironde party, a party rendered illustrious by great talents and great courage, a party which did honour to the young republic by its horror of bloodshed, its hatred of crime and anarchy, its love of order, justice, and liberty; a party unfitly placed between the middle class, whose revolution it had combated, and the multitude, whose government it rejected. Condemned to inaction, it could only render illustrious certain defeat, by a courageous struggle and a glorious death. At this period, its fate might readily be foreseen; it had been driven from post to post; from the Jacobins by the invasion of the Mountain; from the commune by the outbreak of Petion; from the ministry by the retirement of Roland and his colleagues; from the army by the defection of Dumouriez. The convention alone remained to it, there it threw up its intrenchments, there it fought, and there it fell. Its enemies employed against it, in turn, insurrection and conspiracy. The conspiracies led to the creation of the Commission of Twelve, which seemed to give a momentary advantage to the Gironde, but which only excited its adversaries the more violently against it. These aroused the people, and took from the Girondists, first, their authority, by destroying the Twelve; then, their political existence, by proscribing their leaders.

The consequences of this disastrous event did not answer the expectations of any one. The Dantonists thought that the dissensions of parties were at an end: civil war broke out. The moderate members of the committee of public safety thought that the convention would resume all its power: it was utterly subdued. The commune thought that the 31st of May would secure to it domination; domination fell to Robespierre, and to a few men devoted to his fortune, or to the principle of extreme democracy. Lastly, there was another party to be added to the parties defeated, and thenceforth hostile; and as after the 10th of August the republic had been opposed to the constitutionalists, after the 31st of May the Reign of Terror was opposed to the moderate party of the republic.