A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795 - Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: with General - and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners
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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795 - Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: with General - and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795, by An English Lady This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795 Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: With General and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners Author: An English Lady Release Date: April 11, 2004 [EBook #11995] [Last updated on February 14, 2007] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RESIDENCE IN FRANCE, PART IV., 1795 *** Produced by Mary Munarin and David Widger A RESIDENCE IN FRANCE, DURING THE YEARS 1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795 DESCRIBED IN A SERIES OF LETTERS FROM AN ENGLISH LADY; With General And Incidental Remarks On The French Character And Manners. Prepared for the Press By John Gifford, Esq. Second Edition. Plus je vis l'Etranger plus j'aimai ma Patrie. —Du Belloy. London: Printed for T. N. Longman, Paternoster Row. 1797. 1795 SAMPLE PAGES FROM THE SECOND VOLUME Contents Amiens, Jan. 23, 1795. Amiens, Jan. 30, 1795. Beauvais, March 13, 1795. Amiens, May 9, 1795. Amiens, May 26, 1795. Paris, June 3, 1795. Paris, June 6, 1795.

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Residence in France During the Years1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795, by An English LadyThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netT i t l e :   DAe sRcersiibdeedn cien  ian  SFerrainecse  oDfu rLientgt etrhse  fYreoamr sa n1 7E9n2g,l i1s7h9 3L,a d1y7:9 4W iatnhd  G1e7n9e5r,a lPart IV., 1795              and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners              Author: An English Lady[RLealseta suep dDaatteed:  oAnp rFielb r1u1a,r y2 01044,  [2E0B0o7o]k #11995]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RESIDENCE IN FRANCE, PART IV., 1795 ***Produced by Mary Munarin and David WidgerA RESIDENCE IN FRANCE,DURING THE YEARS
1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795DESCFRIRBOEMD  IANN  AE SNEGRLIIESSH  OLAF DLYE;T TERSOWn itThh eG eFrneenracl h ACnhda Irnaccitdeer nAtanl d RMeamnanrekrss.PBrye pJaorhend  fGoifrf tohred , PErseqs.sSecond Edition.Plus je vis l'Etranger plus j'aimai ma Patrie.—Du Belloy.London: Printed for T. N. Longman, Paternoster Row. 1797.5971SAMPLE PAGES FROM THE SECOND VOLUME
    ContentsAmiens,Jan. 23, 1795.Amiens,Jan. 30, 1795.Beauvais,    March 13, 1795.Amiens,May 9, 1795.Amiens,May 26, 1795.Paris,June 3, 1795.Paris,June 6, 1795.Paris,June 8, 1795.Paris,June 15, 1795.Amiens,June 18, 1795.Havre,June 22, 1795.Amiens, Jan. 23, 1795.Nothing proves more that the French republican government was originallyfounded on principles of despotism and injustice, than the weakness andanarchy which seem to accompany every deviation from these principles. It isstrong to destroy and weak to protect: because, deriving its support from thepower of the bad and the submission of the timid, it is deserted or opposed by
the former when it ceases to plunder or oppress— while the fears and habitsof the latter still prevail, and render them as unwilling to defend a bettersystem as they have been to resist the worst possible.The reforms that have taken place since the death of Robespierre, thoughnot sufficient for the demands of justice, are yet enough to relax the strength ofthe government; and the Jacobins, though excluded from authority, yetinfluence by the turbulence of their chiefs in the Convention, and therecollection of their past tyranny—against the return of which the fluctuatingpolitics of the Assembly offer no security. The Committees of Public Welfareand General Safety (whose members were intended, according to the originalinstitution, to be removed monthly) were, under Robespierre, perpetual; andthe union they preserved in certain points, however unfavourable to liberty,gave a vigour to the government, of which from its conformation it shouldappear to have been incapable. It is now discovered, that an undefinedpower, not subject to the restriction of fixed laws, cannot remain long in thesame hands without producing tyranny. A fourth part of the Members of theseCommittees are, therefore, now changed every month; but this regulation,more advantageous to the Convention than the people, keeps aliveanimosities, stimulates ambition, and retains the country in anxiety andsuspense; for no one can guess this month what system may be adopted thenext—and the admission of two or three new Jacobin members would besufficient to excite an universal alarm.We watch these renewals with a solicitude inconceivable to those whostudy politics as they do a new opera, and have nothing to apprehend fromthe personal characters of Ministers; and our hopes and fears vary accordingas the members elected are Moderates, Doubtfuls, or decided Mountaineers.** For instance, Carnot, whose talents inthe military department obliged theConvention (even if they had not beenso disposed) to forget his complianceswith Robespierre, his friendship forBarrere and Collot, and his eulogiumson Carrier.—This mixture of principles, which intrigue, intimidation, or expediency,occasions in the Committees, is felt daily; and if the languor and versatility ofthe government be not more apparent, it is that habits of submission stillcontinue, and that the force of terror operates in the branches, though themain spring be relaxed. Were armies to be raised, or means devised to paythem now, it could not be done; though, being once put in motion, theycontinue to act, and the requisitions still in a certain degree supply them.The Convention, while they have lost much of their real power, have alsobecome more externally contemptible than ever. When they were overawedby the imposing tone of their Committees, they were tolerably decent; but asthis restraint has worn off, the scandalous tumult of their debates increases,and they exhibit whatever you can imagine of an assemblage of men, most ofwhom are probably unacquainted with those salutary forms which correct thepassions, and soften the intercourse of polished society. They question eachother's veracity with a frankness truly democratic, and come fraternally to"Touchstone's seventh remove" at once, without passing any of theintermediate progressions. It was but lately that one Gaston advanced with astick in full assembly to thresh Legendre; and Cambon and Duhem aresometimes obliged to be holden by the arms and legs, to prevent their fallingon Tallien and Freron. I described scenes of this nature to you at the openingof the Convention; but I assure you, the silent meditations of the membersunder Robespierre have extremely improved them in that species ofeloquence, which is not susceptible of translation or transcription. We mayconclude, that these licences are inherent to a perfect democracy; for thegreater the number of representatives, and the nearer they approach to themass of the people, the less they will be influenced by aristocraticceremonials. We have, however, no interest in disputing the right of theConvention to use violence and lavish abuse amongst themselves; for,perhaps, these scenes form the only part of their journals which does notrecord or applaud some real mischief.The French, who are obliged to celebrate so many aeras of revolution, whohave demolished Bastilles and destroyed tyrants, seem at this moment to bein a political infancy, struggling against despotism, and emerging fromignorance and barbarity. A person unacquainted with the promoters andobjects of the revolution, might be apt to enquire for what it had beenundertaken, or what had been gained by it, when all the manufacturedeloquence of Tallien is vainly exerted to obtain some limitation of arbitraryimprisonment—when Freron harangues with equal labour and as littlesuccess in behalf of the liberty of the press; while Gregoire pleads for freedomof worship, Echasseriaux for that of commerce, and all the sections of Parisfor that of election.** It is to be observed, that in theseorations all the decrees passed by theConvention for the destruction ofcommerce and religion, are ascribed tothe influence of Mr. Pitt.—"La libertedescultes existe en Turquie, elle n'existepoint en France. Le peuple y est prived'un droit donc on jouit dans les etatsdespotiques memes, sous les regencesde Maroc et d'Algers. Si cet etat dechoses doit perseverer, ne parlons plusde l'inquisition, nous en avons perdu ledroit, car la liberte des cultes n'est quedans les decrets, et la persecution
tiraille toute la France. "Cetteimpression intolerante aurait elle ete(suggeree) par le cabinet de St.James?" "In Turkey the liberty ofworship is admitted, though it does notexist in France. Here the people aredeprived of a right common to the mostdespotic governments, not evenexcepting those of Algiers and Morocco.—If things are to continue in this state,let us say no more about the Inquisition,we have no right, for religious liberty isto be found only in our decrees, while,in truth, the whole country is exposed topersecution. "May not these intolerantnotions have been suggested by theCabinet of St. James?" Gregoire'sReport on the Liberty of Worship.—Thus, after so many years of suffering, and such a waste of whatever ismost valuable, the civil, religious, and political privileges of this countrydepend on a vote of the Convention.The speech of Gregoire, which tended to restore the Catholic worship, wasvery ill received by his colleagues, but every where else it is read with avidityand applause; for, exclusive of its merit as a composition, the subject is ofgeneral interest, and there are few who do not wish to have the presentpuerile imitations of Paganism replaced by Christianity. The Assemblylistened to this tolerating oration with impatience, passed to the order of theday, and called loudly for Decades, with celebrations in honour of "the libertyof the world, posterity, stoicism, the republic, and the hatred of tyrants!" Butthe people, who understand nothing of this new worship, languish after thesaints of their ancestors, and think St. Francois d'Assise, or St. Francois deSales, at least as likely to afford them spiritual consolation, as Carmagnoles,political homilies, or pasteboard goddesses of liberty.The failure of Gregoire is far from operating as a discouragement to thismode of thinking; for such has been the intolerance of the last year, that hishaving even ventured to suggest a declaration in favour of free worship, isdeemed a sort of triumph to the pious which has revived their hopes. Nothingis talked of but the restoration of churches, and reinstalment of priests—theshops are already open on the Decade, and the decrees of the Convention,which make a principal part of the republican service, are now read only to afew idle children or bare walls. [When the bell toll'd on the Decade, thepeople used to say it was for La messe du Diable—The Devil's mass.]—Mymaid told me this morning, as a secret of too much importance for her toretain, that she had the promise of being introduced to a good priest, (un bonpretre, for so the people entitle those who have never conformed,) to receiveher confession at Easter; and the fetes of the new calendar are now jested onpublicly with very little reverence.The Convention have very lately decreed themselves an increase of pay,from eighteen to thirty-six livres. This, according to the comparative value ofassignats, is very trifling: but the people, who have so long been flattered withthe ideas of partition and equality, and are now starving, consider it as a greatdeal, and much discontent is excited, which however evaporates, as usual, inthe national talent for bon mots. The augmentation, though an object ofpopular jealousy, is most likely valued by the leading members only as itprocures them an ostensible means of living; for all who have been onmissions, or had any share in the government, have, like Falstaff, "hid theirhonour in their necessities," and have now resources they desire to profit by,but cannot decently avow.The Jacobin party have in general opposed this additional eighteen livres,with the hope of casting an odium on their adversaries; but the people, thoughthey murmur, still prefer the Moderates, even at the expence of paying thedifference. The policy of some Deputies who have acquired too much, or themalice of others who have acquired nothing, has frequently proposed, thatevery member of the Convention should publish an account of his fortunebefore and since the revolution. An enthusiastic and acclamatory decree ofassent has always insued; but somehow prudence has hitherto cooled thiswarmth before the subsequent debate, and the resolution has never yet beencarried into effect.The crimes of Maignet, though they appear to occasion but little regret inhis colleagues, have been the source of considerable embarrassment tothem. When he was on mission in the department of Vaucluse, besidesnumberless other enormities, he caused the whole town of Bedouin to beburnt, a part of its inhabitants to be guillotined, and the rest dispersed,because the tree of liberty was cut down one dark night, while they wereasleep.** Maignet's order for the burning ofBedouin begins thus: "Liberte, egalite,au nom du peuple Francais!" He thenstates the offence of the inhabitants insuffering the tree of liberty to be cutdown, institutes a commission for tryingthem, and proceeds—"It is herebyordered, that as soon as the principalcriminals are executed, the nationalagent shall notify to the remaininginhabitants not confined, that they areenjoined to evacuate their dwellings,and take out their effects in twenty-four
hours; at the expiration of which he is tocommit the town to the flames, andleave no vestige of a building standing.Farther, it is forbidden to erect anybuilding on the spot in future, or tocultivate the soil." "Done at Avignon, the17th Floreal." The decree of theConvention to the same effect passedabout the 1st of Floreal. Merlin deDouai, (Minister of Justice in 1796,)Legendre, and Bourdon de l'Oise, werethe zealous defenders of Maignet onthis occasion.—Since the Assembly have thought it expedient to disavow theserevolutionary measures, the conduct of Maignet has been denounced, andthe accusations against him sent to a commission to be examined. For a longtime no report was made, till the impatience of Rovere, who is Maignet'spersonal enemy, rendered a publication of the result dispensable. Theydeclared they found no room for censure or farther proceedings. This decisionwas at first strongly reprobated by the Moderates; but as it was proved, in thecourse of the debate, that Maignet was authorized, by an express decree ofthe Convention, to burn Bedouin, and guillotine its inhabitants, all partiessoon agreed to consign the whole to oblivion.Our clothes, &c. are at length entirely released from sequestration, and theseals taken off. We are indebted for this act of justice to the intrigues ofTallien, whose belle Espagnole is considerably interested. Tallien's goodfortune is so much envied, that some of the members were little enough tomove, that the property of the Spanish Bank of St. Charles (in which MadameT——'s is included) should be excepted from the decree in favour offoreigners. The Convention were weak enough to accede; but the exceptionwill, doubtless, be over-ruled.The weather is severe beyond what it has been in my remembrance. Thethermometer was this morning at fourteen and a half. It is, besides, potentiallycold, and every particle of air is like a dart.—I suppose you contrive to keepyourselves warm in England, though it is not possible to do so here. Thehouses are neither furnished nor put together for the climate, and we arefanned by these congealing winds, as though the apertures which admit themwere designed to alleviate the ardours of an Italian sun.The satin hangings of my room, framed on canvas, wave with the galeslodged behind them every second. A pair of "silver cupids, nicely poised ontheir brands," support a wood fire, which it is an occupation to keep fromextinguishing; and all the illusion of a gay orange-grove pourtrayed on thetapestry at my feet, is dissipated by a villainous chasm of about half an inchbetween the floor and the skirting-boards. Then we have so manycorresponding windows, supernumerary doors, "and passages that lead tonothing," that all our English ingenuity in comfortable arrangement is baffled.—When the cold first became so insupportable, we attempted to live entirelyin the eating-room, which is warmed by a poele, or German stove, but the kindof heat it emits is so depressive and relaxing to those who are not inured to it,that we are again returned to our large chimney and wood-fire.—The Frenchdepend more on the warmth of their clothing, than the comfort of their houses.They are all wadded and furred as though they were going on a sledge party,and the men, in this respect, are more delicate than the ladies: but whether itbe the consequence of these precautions, or from any other cause, I observethey are, in general, without excepting even the natives of the Southernprovinces, less sensible of cold than the English.    Amiens, Jan. 30, 1795.Delacroix, author of "Les Constitutions Politiques de l'Europe," [ThePolitical Constitutions of Europe.] has lately published a work much read, andwhich has excited the displeasure of the Assembly so highly, that the writer,by way of preliminary criticism, has been arrested. The book is intitled "LeSpectateur Francais pendant la Revolution." [The French Spectator duringthe Revolution.] It contains many truths, and some speculations veryunfavourable both to republicanism and its founders. It ventures to doubt thefree acceptance of the democratic constitution, proposes indirectly therestoration of the monarchy, and dilates with great composure on a plan fortransporting to America all the Deputies who voted for the King's death. Thepopularity of the work, still more than its principles, has contributed toexasperate the Assembly; and serious apprehensions are entertained for thefate of Delacroix, who is ordered for trial to the Revolutionary Tribunal.It would astonish a superficial observer to see with what avidity allforbidden doctrines are read. Under the Church and Monarchy, a deistical orrepublican author might sometimes acquire proselytes, or become thefavourite amusement of fashionable or literary people; but the circulation ofsuch works could be only partial, and amongst a particular class of readers:whereas the treason of the day, which comprises whatever favours Kings orreligion, is understood by the meanest individual, and the temptation to theseprohibited enjoyments is assisted both by affection and prejudice.—Analmanack, with a pleasantry on the Convention, or a couplet in behalf ofroyalism, is handed mysteriously through half a town, and a brochure [Apamphlet.] of higher pretensions, though on the same principles, is the very
bonne bouche of our political gourmands. [Gluttons.]There is, in fact, no liberty of the press. It is permitted to write againstBarrere or the Jacobins, because they are no longer in power; but a singleword of disrespect towards the Convention is more certain of being followedby a Lettre de Cachet, than a volume of satire on any of Louis theFourteenth's ministers would have been formerly. The only period in which areal freedom of the press has existed in France were those years of the lateKing's reign immediately preceding the revolution; and either through thecontempt, supineness, or worse motives, of those who should have checkedit, it existed in too great a degree: so that deists and republicans werepermitted to corrupt the people, and undermine the government withoutrestraint.** It is well known that Calonneencouraged libels on the Queen, toobtain credit for his zeal in suppressingthem; and the culpable vanity of Neckermade made him but too willing to raisehis own reputation on the wreck of thatof an unsuspecting and unfortunateMonarch.After the fourteenth of July 1789, political literature became more subject tomobs and the lanterne, than ever it had been to Ministers and Bastilles; and atthe tenth of August 1792, every vestige of the liberty of the pressdisappeared.*—* "What impartial man among us mustnot be forced to acknowledge, that sincethe revolution it has become dangerousfor any one, I will not say to attack thegovernment, but to emit opinionscontrary to those which the governmenthas adopted." Discours de Jean Bon St.Andre sur la Liberte de la Presse, 30thApril, 1795. A law was passed on thefirst of May, 1795, a short time after thisletter was written, making ittransportation to vilify the NationalRepresentation, either by words orwriting; and if the offence werecommitted publicly, or among a certainnumber of people, it became capital.—Under the Brissotins it was fatal to write, and hazardous to read, anywork which tended to exculpate the King, or to censure his despotism, andthe massacres that accompanied and followed it.*—* I appeal for the confirmation of this toevery person who resided in France atthat period.—During the time of Robespierre the same system was only transmitted toother hands, and would still prevail under the Moderates, if their tyranny werenot circumscribed by their weakness. It was some time before I ventured toreceive Freron's Orateur du Peuple by the post. Even pamphlets written withthe greatest caution are not to be procured without difficulty in the country;and this is not to be wondered at when we recollect how many people havelost their lives through a subscription to a newspaper, or the possession ofsome work, which, when they purchased it, was not interdicted.As the government has lately assumed a more civilized cast, it wasexpected that the anniversary of the King's death would not have beencelebrated. The Convention, however, determined otherwise; and theirmusical band was ordered to attend as usual on occasions of festivity. Theleader of the band had perhaps sense and decency enough to suppose, thatif such an event could possibly be justified, it never could be a subject ofrejoicing, and therefore made choice of melodies rather tender than gay. Butthis Lydian mood, far from having the mollifying effect attributed to it byScriblerus, threw several Deputies into a rage; and the conductor wasreprimanded for daring to insult the ears of the legislature with strains whichseemed to lament the tyrant. The affrighted musician begged to be heard inhis defence; and declaring he only meant, by the adoption of these gentleairs, to express the tranquillity and happiness enjoyed under the republicanconstitution, struck off Ca Ira.When the ceremony was over, one Brival proposed, that the young Kingshould be put to death; observing that instead of the many useless crimeswhich had been committed, this ought to have had the preference. The motionwas not seconded; but the Convention, in order to defeat the purposes of theroyalists, who, they say, increase in number, have ordered the Committees toconsider of some way of sending this poor child out of the country.When I reflect on the event which these men have so indecentlycommemorated, and the horrors which succeeded it, I feel something morethan a detestation for republicanism. The undefined notions of liberty imbibedfrom poets and historians, fade away—my reverence for names longconsecrated in our annals abates—and the sole object of my politicalattachment is the English constitution, as tried by time and undeformed by theexperiments of visionaries and impostors. I begin to doubt either the sense orhonesty of most of those men who are celebrated as the promoters ofchanges of government which have chiefly been adopted rather with a view toindulge a favourite theory, than to relieve a people from any acknowledgedoppression. A wise or good man would distrust his judgment on a subject so
momentous, and perhaps the best of such reformers were but enthusiasts.Shaftesbury calls enthusiasm an honest passion; yet we have seen it is avery dangerous one: and we may perhaps learn, from the example of France,not to venerate principles which we do not admire in practice.** I do not imply that the FrenchRevolution was the work of enthusiasts,but that the enthusiasm of Rousseauproduced a horde of Brissots, Marats,Robespierres, &c. who speculated onthe affectation of it. The Abbe Sieyes,whose views were directed to a changeof Monarchs, not a dissolution of themonarchy, and who in promoting arevolution did not mean to found arepublic, has ventured to doubt both thepolitical genius of Rousseau, and thehonesty of his sectaries. These truthsfrom the Abbe are not the less so for ourknowing they would not be avowed if itanswered his purpose to conceal them."Helas! un ecrivain justement celebrequi seroit mort de douleur s'il avoitconnu ses disciples; un philosopheaussi parfait de sentiment que foible devues, n'a-t-il pas dans ses pageseloquentes, riches en detail, pauvre aufond, confondu lui-meme les principesde l'art social avec les commencemensde la societe humaine? Que dire si l'onvoyait dans un autre genre demechaniques, entreprendre le radoubou la construction d'un vaisseau deligne avec la seule theorie, avec lesseules resources des Sauvages dans laconstruction de leurs Pirogues!"—"Alas!has not a justly-celebrated writer, whowould have died with grief, could hehave known what disciples he wasdestined to have;—a philosopher asperfect in sentiment as feeble in hisviews,—confounded, in his eloquentpages—pages which are as rich inmatter as poor in substance—theprinciples of the social system with thecommencement of human society?What should we say to a mechanic of adifferent description, who shouldundertake the repair or construction of aship of the line, without any practicalknowledge of the art, on mere theory,and with no other resources than thosewhich the savage employs in theconstruction of his canoe?" Notices surla Vie de Sieyes.What had France, already possessed of a constitution capable of renderingher prosperous and happy, to do with the adoration of Rousseau'sspeculative systems? Or why are the English encouraged in a traditionalrespect for the manes of republicans, whom, if living, we might not improbablyconsider as factious and turbulent fanatics?** The prejudices of my countrymen onthis subject are respectable, and I knowI shall be deemed guilty of a species ofpolitical sacrilege. I attack not the tombsof the dead, but the want ofconsideration for the living; and let notthose who admire republican principlesin their closets, think themselvescompetent to censure the opinions ofone who has been watching their effectsamidst the disasters of a revolution.Our slumbers have for some time been patriotically disturbed by the dangerof Holland; and the taking of the Maestricht nearly caused me a jaundice: butthe French have taught us philosophy—and their conquests appear to affordthem so little pleasure, that we ourselves hear of them with less pain. TheConvention were indeed, at first, greatly elated by the dispatches fromAmsterdam, and imagined they were on the eve of dictating to all Europe: thechurches were ordered to toll their only bell, and the gasconades of thebulletin were uncommonly pompous—but the novelty of the event has nowsubsided, and the conquest of Holland excites less interest than the thaw.Public spirit is absorbed by private necessities or afflictions; people whocannot procure bread or firing, even though they have money to purchase it,are little gratified by reading that a pair of their Deputies lodged in theStadtholder's palace; and the triumphs of the republic offer no consolation tothe families which it has pillaged or dismembered.The mind, narrowed and occupied by the little cares of hunting out thenecessaries of life, and evading the restraints of a jealous government, is notsusceptible of that lively concern in distant and general events which is theeffect of ease and security; and all the recent victories have not been able tosooth the discontents of the Parisians, who are obliged to shiver whole hours
at the door of a baker, to buy, at an extravagant price, a trifling portion ofbread.* "Chacun se concentre aujourdhuidans sa famille et calcule sesresources."—"The attention of everyone now is confined to his family, and tothe calculation of his resources."Discours de Lindet. "Accable du soind'etre, et du travail devivre."—"Overwhelmed with the care ofexistence, and the labour of living." St.Lambert—The impression of these successes is, I am persuaded, also diminishedby considerations to which the philosopher of the day would allow noinfluence; yet by their assimilation with the Deputies and Generals whosenames are so obscure as to escape the memory, they cease to inspire thatmixed sentiment which is the result of national pride and personal affection.The name of a General or an Admiral serves as the epitome of an historicalrelation, and suffices to recall all his glories, and all his services; but this sortof enthusiasm is entirely repelled by an account that the citizens Gillet andJourbert, two representatives heard of almost for the first time, have takenpossession of Amsterdam.I enquired of a man who was sawing wood for us this morning, what thebells clattered for last night. "L'on m'a dit (answered he) que c'est pourquelque ville que quelque general de la republique a prise. Ah! ca nousavancera beaucoup; la paix et du pain, je crois, sera mieux notre affaire quetoutes ces conquetes." ["They say its for some town or other, that somegeneral or other has taken.—Ah! we shall get a vast deal by that—a peaceand bread, I think, would answer our purpose better than all these victories."] Itold him he ought to speak with more caution. "Mourir pour mourir, [Onedeath's as good as another.] (says he, half gaily,) one may as well die by theGuillotine as be starved. My family have had no bread these two days, andbecause I went to a neighbouring village to buy a little corn, the peasants,who are jealous that the town's people already get too much of the farmers,beat me so that I am scarce able to work."*—* "L'interet et la criminelle avarice ontfomente et entretenu des germes dedivision entre les citoyens des villes etceux des campagnes, entre lescultivateurs, les artisans et lescommercans, entre les citoyens desdepartements et districts, et meme descommunes voisines. On a voulu s'isolerde toutes parts." Discours de Lindet."Self-interest and a criminal avaricehave fomented and kept alive the seedsof division between the inhabitants ofthe towns and those of the country,between the farmer, the mechanic, andthe trader— the like has happenedbetween adjoining towns and districts—an universal selfishness, in short, hasprevailed." Lindet's Speech. Thispicture, drawn by a Jacobin Deputy, isnot flattering to republican fraternization.—It is true, the wants of the lower classes are afflicting. The whole townhas, for some weeks, been reduced to a nominal half pound of bread a day foreach person—I say nominal, for it has repeatedly happened, that none hasbeen distributed for three days together, and the quantity diminished to fourounces; whereas the poor, who are used to eat little else, consume each, inordinary times, two pounds daily, on the lowest calculation.We have had here a brutal vulgar-looking Deputy, one Florent-Guyot, whohas harangued upon the virtues of patience, and the magnanimity of sufferinghunger for the good of the republic. This doctrine has, however, made fewconverts; though we learn, from a letter of Florent-Guyot's to the Assembly,that the Amienois are excellent patriots, and that they starve with the bestgrace possible.You are to understand, that the Representatives on mission, who describethe inhabitants of all the towns they visit as glowing with republicanism, have,besides the service of the common cause, views of their own, and are oftenenabled by these fictions to administer both to their interest and their vanity.They ingratiate themselves with the aristocrats, who are pleased at theimputation of principles which may secure them from persecution—they seetheir names recorded on the journals; and, finally, by ascribing these civicdispositions to the power of their own eloquence, they obtain the renewal ofan itinerant delegation—which, it may be presumed, is very profitable.    Beauvais, March 13, 1795.I have often, in the course of these letters, experienced how difficult it is todescribe the political situation of a country governed by no fixed principles,
and subject to all the fluctuations which are produced by the interests andpassions of individuals and of parties. In such a state conclusions arenecessarily drawn from daily events, minute facts, and an attentiveobservation of the opinions and dispositions of the people, which, though theyleave a perfect impression on the mind of the writer, are not easily conveyedto that of the reader. They are like colours, the various shades of which,though discriminated by the eye, cannot be described but in general terms.Since I last wrote, the government has considerably improved in decencyand moderation; and though the French enjoy as little freedom as their almostsole Allies, the Algerines, yet their terror begins to wear off— and, temporizingwith a despotism they want energy to destroy, they rejoice in the suspensionof oppressions which a day or an hour may renew. No one pretends to haveany faith in the Convention; but we are tranquil, if not secure—and, thoughsubject to a thousand arbitrary details, incompatible with a good government,the political system is doubtless meliorated. Justice and the voice of thepeople have been attended to in the arrest of Collot, Barrere, and Billaud,though many are of opinion that their punishment will extend no farther; for atrial, particularly that of Barrere, who is in the secret of all factions, wouldexpose so many revolutionary mysteries and patriotic reputations, that thereare few members of the Convention who will not wish it evaded; theyprobably expect, that the seclusion, for some months, of the persons of thedelinquents will appease the public vengeance, and that this affair may beforgotten in the bustle of more recent events.—If there had been any doubt ofthe crimes of these men, the publication of Robespierre's papers would haveremoved them; and, exclusive of their value when considered as a history ofthe times, these papers form one of the most curious and humiliatingmonuments of human debasement, and human depravity, extant.** The Report of Courtois onRobespierre's papers, though very able,is an instance of the pedantry I haveoften remarked as so peculiar to theFrench, even when they are notdeficient in talents. It seems to be anabstract of all the learning, ancient andmodern, that Courtois was possessedof. I have the book before me, and haveselected the following list of personsand allusions; many of which areindeed of so little use or ornament totheir stations in this speech, that onewould have thought even a republicanrequisition could not have brought themthere: "Sampson, Dalila, Philip, Athens,Sylla, the Greeks and Romans, Brutus,Lycurgus, Persepolis, Sparta, Pulcheria,Cataline, Dagon, Anicius, Nero, Babel,Tiberius, Caligula, Augustus, Antony,Lepidus, the Manicheans, Bayle andGalileo, Anitus, Socrates,Demosthenes, Eschinus, Marius,Busiris, Diogenes, Caesar, Cromwell,Constantine, the Labarum, Domitius,Machiavel, Thraseas, Cicero, Cato,Aristophanes, Riscius, Sophocles,Euripides, Tacitus, Sydney, Wisnou,Possidonius, Julian, Argus, Pompey,the Teutates, Gainas, Areadius, Sinon,Asmodeus, Salamanders, Anicetus,Atreus, Thyestus, Cesonius, Barca andOreb, Omar and the Koran, PtolomyPhiladelphus, Arimanes, Gengis,Themuginus, Tigellinus, Adrean,Cacus, the Fates, Minos andRhadamanthus," &c. &c. Rapport deCourtois su les Papiers de Robespierre.After several skirmishes between the Jacobins and Muscadins, the bust ofMarat has been expelled from the theatres and public places of Paris, and theConvention have ratified this popular judgment, by removing him also fromtheir Hall and the Pantheon. But reflecting on the frailty of our nature, and thelevity of their countrymen, in order to obviate the disorders these prematurebeatifications give rise to, they have decreed that no patriot shall in future byPantheonized until ten years after his death. This is no long period; yetrevolutionary reputations have hitherto scarcely survived as many months,and the puerile enthusiasm which is adopted, not felt, has been usuallysucceeded by a violence and revenge equally irrational.It has lately been discovered that Condorcet is dead, and that he perishedin a manner singularly awful. Travelling under a mean appearance, hestopped at a public house to refresh himself, and was arrested inconsequence of having no passport. He told the people who examined himhe was a servant, but a Horace, which they found about him, leading to asuspicion that he was of a superior rank, they determined to take him to thenext town. Though already exhausted, he was obliged to walk some milesfarther, and, on his arrival, he was deposited in a prison, where he wasforgotten, and starved to death.Thus, perhaps at the moment the French were apotheosing an obscuredemagogue, the celebrated Condorcet expired, through the neglect of agaoler; and now, the coarse and ferocious Marat, and the more refined, yetmore pernicious, philosopher, are both involved in one common obloquy.What a theme for the moralist!—Perhaps the gaoler, whose brutal