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1793.

thing could make the people see it was owing to the chap. IX. measures of the Revolution. The attempts of the Municipality to restore order, or pass coercive regulations, were drowned in the cries of the multitude, and the hisses of the galleries ; every new act of violence which was recounted, was received with shouts of applause. Neither at the Convention, nor the Hotel de Ville, nor the Jacobins, could any remedy be devised for the fury of the people. Robespierre, St Just, Chaumette, were hooted down the moment they attempted to speak. The Royalists contrasted these deplorable scenes with the tranquillity enjoyed under the monarchy. “Behold,” said the Girondists, “ to what we are fast driving under the system of popular violence.”—“ It is all,” said the Jacobins, “ the work of Royalists, Rolandists, Girondists, and partisans of La Fayette, in disguise.” Robespierre maintained in the evening, at the Jacobins, the popular doctrine, “ that the people could do no wrong," and that the Royalists were the secret instigators of all the disorders. 1

The alarm in Paris soon became extreme : all the Hist. de la public bodies declared their sittings permanent; the Conx. ii. générale everywhere called the armed sections to their posts, and the people openly talked of the necessity of a new insurrection to “ lop off the gangrened parts of the National Representation.” The Girondists, who were the first likely to suffer, assembled, armed, at the house of Valazè, one of their number, where indecision and distraction of opinion paralyzed all their counsels. The Jacobins were hardly less embarrassed than themselves. Though supported by the Municipality, the majority of the sections, or National Guard, and the armed multitude, they did not conceive the public mind yet ripe for a

i Th. iv. 47, 48.

1 Th. iv. 50, 55.

CHAP. IX. direct attack on the National Representatives, where

the Girondists still held the important offices. They 1793.

resolved, therefore, to limit their demands to minor points, preparatory to the grand attack which was to overthrow their adversaries.

The other event which consolidated the influence Designs of Dumourier. of the Jacobins in the metropolis, was the unsuccess

ful attempt of Dumourier to restore the Constitutional Throne. This celebrated General, who was warmly attached to the principles of the Girondists, had long been dissatisfied with the sanguinary proceedings, and still more sanguinary declarations of the democratical leaders, and saw no safety for France, but in the re-establishment of the Constitution of 1791. He left the command of his army, and came to Paris, in order to endeavour to save the life of Louis, and when that project failed, returned to Flanders, and entered into negotiations with Holland and Great Britain. His design was to make an irruption into Holland, overturn the Revolutionary authorities in that country; to form a new government in the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands, and raise an army of eighty thousand men; to offer the alliance of this state to the French government, on condition of their restoring the Constitution of 1791; and, in case of refusal, to march to Paris with his

own forces, and those of the Belgians, and overturn . Dum. ii. the Convention and the rule of the Jacobins. 2

Full of this extraordinary project, Dumourier, at Mign. i.

the head of fifteen thousand men, threw himself into Holland. He was at first successful, and succeeded in obtaining possession of Breda and Gertruydenberg; but while prosecuting his career, intelligence was received of the rout of the French army besieging Maestricht, and orders were given for the immediate

287. Toul. iii. 256, 260.

249, 250. Roland. i. 217.

i Lac. ii. 53, 55, 56.

return of the victorious army to cover the frontiers. CHAP. IX. So great was the consternation in the Republican

1793, troops, that whole battalions disbanded themselves, and some of the fugitives fled as far as Paris, spreading the most exaggerated reports wherever they went. In obedience to his orders, Dumourier returned to Flanders, and fought a general action with Prince Cobourg ; but the allies were successful, and the victory of Nerwinde compelled the French to abandon all their conquests in Flanders.

These events, the details of which belong to an- Mign. 1.250. other chapter, occasioned an immediate rupture between this General and the Jacobins. Shortly after the battle, he wrote a letter to the Convention, in which he drew too faithful a picture of their government, accusing them of all the anarchy and disorders which had prevailed, and declaring them responsible for the safety of their more moderate colleagues. This letter was suppressed by the government; but it was circulated in Paris, and produced the greatest sensation. Danton returned to the capital from the army, and openly denounced the “ Traitor, Dumourier,” at the club of the Jacobins; his head was loudly called for as a sacrifice to national justice; and the agitation occasioned by the public disasters, was incessantly kept alive by the circulation of the most gloomy reports.? Impelled by the imminent danger of his own situa- Mig. i. 251.

Th. iv. 112, tion, dissatisfied with the measures of the Conven- 113. tion, who had both thwarted his political wishes, and withered his military laurels ; chagrined at the conduct of the government to the Belgians, who had capitulated on the faith of his assurances, and had subsequently been cruelly treated by their conquerors, Dumourier entered into a 'correspondence with

2 Toul. iii. 293.

CHAP. IX. the Allied Generals.

In the prosecution of this design, he neither acted with the vigour nor the caution 1793.

requisite to ensure success ; to his officers, he openly spoke of marching to Paris, as he had recently before spoken of marching to Brussels ; while the soldiers were left to the seductions of the Jacobins, who found in them the willing instruments of their ambitious designs. Dumourier, as he himself admits, had not the qualities requisite for the leader of a party ; but, even if he had possessed the energy of Danton, the firmness of Bouillé, or the ambition of Napoleon, the current of the Revolution was then too strong to be arrested by any single arm. Like La Fayette and Pi. chegru, he was destined to experience the truth of the saying of Tacitus, “ Bellis civilibus plus militibus quam ducibus licere.” His power, great while wielding the force of the democracy, crumbled, when applied to coerce its fury; and the leader of fifty thousand men, speedily found himself deserted and proscribed

in the midst of the troops whom he had recently 1 Tacitus,

commanded with despotic authority."

The first intimation which the Convention received Lac. ii. 256,

of his designs, was from the General himself. Three 294, 306. determined Jacobins, Proly, Pereira, and Dubuisson, Mig. i. 258.

had been sent to headquarters to obtain authentic accounts of his intentions : in a long and animated discussion with them, he openly avowed his views, and threatened the Convention with the vengeance of

No peace !” he exclaimed, " can be made for France, if we do not destroy the Convention; as long as I have a sword to wield, I shall strive to overturn its rule, and the sanguinary tribunal which it has recently created. The Republic is a mere chimera ; I was only deceived by it for three days; we must save our country, by re-establishing the throne,

Hist. ii. 44.

and 56, Toul. iii.

his army:

Lac. ii. 57.

and the Constitution of 1791. Ever since the battle of CHAP. IX. Jemappes, I have never ceased to regret the triumphs 1793. obtained in so bad a cause. What signifies it whether the King is named Louis, James, or Philip ? If the lives of the prisoners in the Temple are endangered, France will still find a Sovereign, and I will instantly march to Paris to avenge their death.”

Mig. i. 256. To the imprudence of this premature declaration, Dumourier, with that mixture of warmth and facility which distinguished his character, added the still greater fault of letting the commissioners, thus possessed of his intentions, depart for Paris, where they lost no time in informing the Convention of the dan. ger which threatened them. Instant measures were taken to counteract the designs of so formidable an opponent. Proceeding with the decision and rapidity which, in civil dissensions, is indispensable to success, they summoned him to appear at their bar, and, on his failure to obey, despatched four commissioners, with instructions to bring him before them, or arrest him in the middle of his army. Dumourier received these representatives in the midst of his staff; they read to him the decree of the Assembly, commanding his instant attendance at their bar; he refused to coinply, alleging, as an excuse, the important duties with which he was intrusted, and promising to render an account of his proceedings at some future time. The representatives urged, as a reason for his submission, the example of the Roman Generals. “ We deceive ourselves,” replied he,“ in alleging as an apology for our crimes, the virtues of the ancients. The Romans did not murder Tarquin; they established a Republic, governed by wise laws; they had neither a Jacobin club, nor a Revolutionary Tribunal. We live in the days of anarchy; tigers demand my

VOL. II.

B

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