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of Germany make their territory a retreat for the conspirators against you. They favor the plots of the emigrants. They furnish them an asylum-they furnish them gold, arms, Lorses, and munitions. Is not the patience suicidal which tolerates all this? Doubtless you have renounced all projects of conquest; but you have not promised to endure such insolent provocations. You have shaken off the yoke of your tyrants; but it was not to bend the knee to foreign despots.
But, beware! You are environed by snares. They seek to drive you, by disgust or lassitude, to a state of languor fatal to your or fatal to its right direction. They seek to separate you from us; they pursue a system of calumny against the National Assembly; they incriminate your Revolution in your eyes. O! beware of these attempts at panic! Repel, indignantly, these impostors, who, while they affect a hyperitical zeal for the Constitution, cease not to urge upon you the monarchy! The monarchy! With them it is the counter-revolution! The monarchy ? The monarchy? It is the nobility! The counter-revolution - what is it but taxation, feudality, the Bastille, chains and executioners, to punish the sublime aspirations of liberty? What is it but foreign satellites in the midst of the State? What, but bankruptcy, engulfing, with your assignats, your private fortunes and the national wealth; what, but the furies of fanaticism and of vengeance,-assassinations pillage, and incendiarism, in short, despotism and death, disputing, over rivers of blood and heaps of carcasses, the dominion of our wretched country? The nobility! That is to say, two classes of men; the one for grandeur, the other for debasement!-the one for tyranny, the other for servitude! The nobility! Ah! every word is an insult to the human race!
And yet, it is in order to secure the success of these conspiracies that Europe is now put in motion against you! Be it so! By a solemn declaration must these guilty hopes be crushed. Yes, the free representatives of France, unshaken in their attachment to the Constitution, will be buried beneath its ruins, before they consent to a capitulation at once unworthy of them and of you. Rally! Be reassured! They would raise the Nations against you: - they will raise only princes. The heart of every People is with you. It is their cause which you embrace, in defending your own. Ever abhorred be war! It is the greatest of the crimes of men ;-it is the most terrible scourge of humanity! But, since you are irresistibly forced to it, yield to the course of your destinies. Who can foresee where will end the punishment of the tyrants who will have driven you to take up arms?
20. AGAINST THE TERRORISM OF THE JACOBINS, 1792.-Id. Orig. Trans.
THE blinded Parisians presume to call themselves free. Alas! it is true they are no longer the slaves of crowned tyrants; but they are the slaves of men the most vile, and of wretches the most detestable,;
men who continue to imagine that the Revolution has been made for themselves alone, and who have sent Louis XVI. to the Temple, in order that they may be enthroned at the Tuileries! * It is time to break these disgraceful chains to crush this new despotism. It is time that those who have made honest men tremble should be made to tremble in their turn. I am not ignorant that they have poniards at their service. On the night of the second of September- - that night of proscription! - did they not seek to turn them against several deputies, and myself among the number? Were we not denounced to the People as traitors? Fortunately, it was the People into whose hands we fell. The assassins were elsewhere occupied. The voice of calumny failed of its effect. If my voice may yet make itself heard from this place, I call you all to witness, it shall not cease to thunder, with all its energy, against tyrants, whether of high or low degree. What to me their ruffians and their poniards? What his own life to the representative of the People, while the safety of the country is at stake?
When William Tell adjusted the arrow which was to pierce the fatal apple that a tyrant had placed on his son's head, he exclaimed, "Perish my name, and perish my memory, provided Switzerland may be free!" And we, also,- we will say, "Perish the National Assembly and its memory, provided France may be free!" Ay, perish the National Assembly and its memory, so by its death it may save the Nation from a course of crime that would affix an eternal stigma to the French name; so, by its action, it may show the Nations of Europe that, despite the calumnies by which it is sought to dishonor France, there is still in the very bosom of that momentary anarchy where the brigands have plunged us there is still in our country some public virtue, some respect for humanity left! Perish the National Assembly and its memory, if upon our ashes our more fortunate successors may establish the edifice of a Constitution, which shall assure the happiness of France, and consolidate the reign of liberty and equality!
21. AGAINST WAR, JAN. 13, 1792.-Robespierre.
SHALL we await the orders of the War Office to overturn Thrones? Shall we await the signal of the Court? In this war against aristocrats and Kings, shall we look to be commanded by these same Patricians, these eternal favorites of Despotism? No! Alone let us
The deputies here rose, as by an unanimous impulse, and repeated, with enthusiasm, the oath of Vergniaud. The audience, who occupied the galleries, also mingled their voices with those of the deputies. To appreciate fully the intrepid eloquence of this speech, it should be remembered that France was, at that moment, virtually under the sanguinary dictatorship of the Jacobin Club; and that their proscriptions and massacres threatened to involve all who did not acquiesce in their measures. Vergniaud soon afterward paid the penalty of his courage; and justified his bold words by a bold death on the scaffold.
march! Our own leaders let us be! If it is the war of the Court, that we must accept, - the war of the Ministers, of Patricians shamming patriotism, then, alas! far from anticipating the enfranchisement of the world, I shall not even believe that your own liberty is secure. Our wisest course now is to defend it against the perfidy of those internal enemies who would beguile you with these heroic illusions. I have proved that liberty has no more mortal enemy than war. I have proved that war, recommended by men of doubtful stamp, will be, in the Executive hands, but a means of annihilating the Constitution - but the issue of a plot against the Revolution. To favor these projects of war, under whatever pretext, is, then, to join a conspiracy against the Revolution. To recommend confidence in the Executive, to invoke public favor in behalf of the Generals, — is, then, to deprive the Revolution of its last security, the vigilance and energy of the Nation.
If, then, the moment of emancipation for the Nations be not yet arrived, we should have the patience to await it. If this generation be destined only to struggle on in the slough of those vices, where Despotism has plunged it, if the theatre of our Revolution be doomed to present the world no other spectacle than the miserable contests of perfidy and imbecility, egotism and ambition, then to the rising generation will be bequeathed the task of purifying the polluted earth. That generation shall bring not the peace of Despotism, not the sterile agitations of intrigue, but the torch and the sword, to consume Thrones, and exterminate oppressors! Thou art not alien to us, O more fortunate posterity! For thee we brave these storms, for thee defy the plots of tyranny. Disheartened ofttimes by the obstacles that surround us, towards thee we yearn! For by thee shall our work be finished! O! cherish in thy memory the names of the martyrs of liberty!
22. MORALITY THE BASIS OF CIVILIZED SOCIETY-BELIEF IN GOD THE BASIS OF MORALITY. - Robespierre. Original Translation.
The name of Maximilien Robespierre is associated with all that is sanguinary and atrocious in the history of the French Revolution. Whatever his own practice may have been, he had the sagacity to see that there is no security in a Republic which is not based on principle,and no security in principle which is not based on belief in God and the immortality of the soul. The extract we here give from his Report, read to the French National Convention, the 7th of May, 1794.
THE idea of a Supreme Being and of the immortality of the soul is a continual call to justice. It is therefore a social and republican principle. Who has authorized you to declare that a Deity does not exist? O, you who support so arid a doctrine, what advantage do you expect to derive from the principle that a blind fatality regulates the affairs of men, and that the soul is nothing but a breath of air impelled towards the tomb? Will the idea of nonentity inspire man with more elevated sentiments than that of immortality? Will it awaken more respect for others or himself, more devotion to country, more courage to resist tyranny, greater contempt for pleasure or
death? You, who regret a virtuous friend, can you endure the thought that his noblest part has not escaped dissolution? You, who weep over the remains of a child or a wife, are you consoled by the thought that a handful of dust is all that is left of the beloved object? You, the unfortunate, who expire under the stroke of the assassin, is not your last sigh an appeal to the justice of the Most High? Innocence on the scaffold makes the tyrant turn pale on his triumphal car. Would such an ascendency be felt, if the tomb levelled alike the oppressor and the oppressed? The more a man is gifted with sensibility and genius, the more does he attach himself to those ideas which aggrandize his being and exalt his aspirations; and the doctrine of men of this stamp becomes the doctrine of all mankind. A great man, a veritable hero, knows his own worth too well to experience complacency in the thought of his nonentity. A wretch, despicable in his own eyes, repulsive in those of others, feels that nature but gives him his deserts in annihilation.
Confusion to those who seek, by their desolating doctrines, to extinguish this sublime enthusiasm, and to stifle this moral instinct of the People, which is the principle of all great actions! To you, Representatives of the People, it belongs to hasten the triumph of the truths we have developed. If we lack the courage to proclaim them, then deep, indeed, must be the depravity, with which we are environed! Defy the insensate clamors of presumptuous ignorance and of stubborn hypocrisy! Will posterity credit it, that the vanquished factions have carried their audacity so far as to charge us with lukewarmness and aristocracy for having restored to the Nation's heart the idea of the Divinity, the fundamental principle of all morality? Will it be believed that they have dared, even in this place, to assert that we have thereby thrown back human reason centuries in its progress ? O, be not surprised that the wretches, leagued against us, are so eager to put the hemlock to our lips! But, before we quaff it, we will save the country!
23. ROBESPIERRE'S LAST SPEECH. -Original Translation.
The day after this speech,- delivered July 28th, 1794, and addressed to an assembly bent on his destruction,-Robespierre was executed, at the early age of thirty-five, under circumstances of accumulated horror. His fate is a warning to rulers who would cement even the best of Governments with blood. Robespierre's character is still an enigma; some regarding him as an honest fanatic, and others as a crafty demagogue. Perhaps the traits of either predominated at times. "Destitute," says Lamartine," of exterior graces, and of that gift of extemporaneous speaking which pours forth the unpremeditated inspirations of natural eloquence, Robespierre had taken so much pains with himself, - he had meditated so much, written and erased so much, he had so often braved the inattention and the sarcasms of his audiences, that, in the end, he succeeded in giving warmth and suppleness to his style, and in transforming his whole person, despite his stiff and meagre figure, his shrill voice and abrupt gesticulation, into an engine of eloquence, of conviction and of passion."
THE enemies of the Republic call me tyrant! Were I such, they would grovel at my feet. I should gorge them with gold, I should grant them impunity for their crimes, and they would be grateful. Were I such, the Kings we have vanquished, far from denouncing Robespierre, would lend me their guilty support. There would be a
covenant between them and me. Tyranny must have tools.. But the enemies of tyranny,-whither does their path tend? To the tomb, and to immortality! What tyrant is my protector? To what faction do I belong? Yourselves! What faction, since the beginning of the Revolution, has crushed and annihilated so many detected traitors? You, - the People,our principles, are that faction! A faction to which I am devoted, and against which all the scoundrelism of the day is banded!
The confirmation of the Republic has been my object; and I know that the Republic can be established only on the eternal basis of morality. Against me, and against those who hold kindred principles, the league is formed. My life? O! my life, I abandon without a regret! I have seen the Past; AND I FORESEE THE FUTURE. What friend of his country would wish to survive the moment when he could no longer serve it, when he could no longer defend innocence against oppression? Wherefore should I continue in an order of things, where intrigue eternally triumphs over truth; where justice is mocked; where passions the most abject, or fears the most absurd, override the sacred interests of humanity? In witnessing the multitude of vices which the torrent of the Revolution has rolled in turbid communion with its civic virtues, I confess that I have sometimes feared that I should be sullied, in the eyes of posterity, by the impure neighborhood of unprincipled men, who had thrust themselves into association with the sincere friends of humanity; and I rejoice that these conspirators against my country have now, by their reckless rage, traced deep the line of demarcation between themselves and all
Question history, and learn how all the defenders of liberty, in all times, have been overwhelmed by calumny. But their traducers died also. The good and the bad disappear alike from the earth; but in very different conditions. O, Frenchmen! O, my countrymen! Let not your enemies, with their desolating doctrines, degrade your souls, and enervate your virtues! No, Chaumette,* no! Death is not "an eternal sleep"! Citizens! efface from the tomb that motto, graven by sacrilegious hands, which spreads over all nature a funereal crape, takes from oppressed innocence its support, and affronts the beneficent dispensation of death! Inscribe rather thereon these words: "Death is the commencement of immortality!" I leave to the oppressors of the People a terrible testament, which I proclaim with the independence befitting one whose career is so nearly ended; it is the awful truth, "Thou shalt die!"
24. ADDRESS TO THE CHAMBER OF PEERS, 1835. — Trélat.
I HAVE long felt that it was necessary - that it was inevitable we should meet face to face: we do so now. Gentlemen Peers,
Chaumette was a member of the Convention, who was opposed to the public recognition of a God and a future state.