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´╗┐Title: A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Complete - Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: with General - and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners
Author: Lady, An English
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Complete - Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: with General - and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners" ***

1792, 1793, 1794, AND 1795;

With General And Incidental Remarks
On The French Character And Manners.

Prepared for the Press
By John Gifford, Esq.
Author of the History of France, Letter to Lord
Lauderdale, Letter to the Hon. T. Erskine, &c.

Second Edition.

_Plus je vis l'Etranger plus j'aimai ma Patrie._
--Du Belloy.

London: Printed for T. N. Longman, Paternoster Row. 1797.


The following Letters were submitted to my inspection and judgement by
the Author, of whose principles and abilities I had reason to entertain a
very high opinion.  How far my judgement has been exercised to advantage
in enforcing the propriety of introducing them to the public, that public
must decide.  To me, I confess, it appeared, that a series of important
facts, tending to throw a strong light on the internal state of France,
during the most important period of the Revolution, could neither prove
uninteresting to the general reader, nor indifferent to the future
historian of that momentous epoch; and I conceived, that the opposite and
judicious reflections of a well-formed and well-cultivated mind,
naturally arising out of events within the immediate scope of its own
observation, could not in the smallest degree diminish the interest
which, in my apprehension, they are calculated to excite.  My advice upon
this occasion was farther influenced by another consideration.  Having
traced, with minute attention, the progress of the revolution, and the
conduct of its advocates, I had remarked the extreme affiduity employed
(as well by translations of the most violent productions of the Gallic
press, as by original compositions,) to introduce and propagate, in
foreign countries, those pernicious principles which have already sapped
the foundation of social order, destroyed the happiness of millions, and
spread desolation and ruin over the finest country in Europe.  I had
particularly observed the incredible efforts exerted in England, and, I
am sorry to say, with too much success, for the base purpose of giving a
false colour to every action of the persons exercising the powers of
government in France; and I had marked, with indignation, the atrocious
attempt to strip vice of its deformity, to dress crime in the garb of
virtue, to decorate slavery with the symbols of freedom, and give to
folly the attributes of wisdom.  I had seen, with extreme concern, men,
whom the lenity, mistaken lenity, I must call it, of our government had
rescued from punishment, if not from ruin, busily engaged in this
scandalous traffic, and, availing themselves of their extensive
connections to diffuse, by an infinite variety of channels, the poison of
democracy over their native land.  In short, I had seen the British
press, the grand palladium of British liberty, devoted to the cause of
Gallic licentiousness, that mortal enemy of all freedom, and even the
pure stream of British criticism diverted from its natural course, and
polluted by the pestilential vapours of Gallic republicanism.  I
therefore deemed it essential, by an exhibition of well-authenticated
facts, to correct, as far as might be, the evil effects of
misrepresentation and error, and to defend the empire of truth, which had
been assailed by a host of foes.

My opinion of the principles on which the present system of government in
France was founded, and the war to which those principles gave rise, have
been long since submitted to the public.  Subsequent events, far from
invalidating, have strongly confirmed it.  In all the public declarations
of the Directory, in their domestic polity, in their conduct to foreign
powers, I plainly trace the prevalence of the same principles, the same
contempt for the rights and happiness of the people, the same spirit of
aggression and aggrandizement, the same eagerness to overturn the
existing institutions of neighbouring states, and the same desire to
promote "the universal revolution of Europe," which marked the conduct of
BRISSOT, LE BRUN, DESMOULINS, ROBESPIERRE, and their disciples.  Indeed,
what stronger instance need be adduced of the continued prevalence of
these principles, than the promotion to the supreme rank in the state, of
two men who took an active part in the most atrocious proceedings of the
Convention at the close of 1792, and at the commencement of the following

In all the various constitutions which have been successively adopted
in that devoted country, the welfare of the people has been wholly
disregarded, and while they have been amused with the shadow of liberty,
they have been cruelly despoiled of the substance.  Even on the
establishment of the present constitution, the one which bore the nearest
resemblance to a rational system, the freedom of election, which had been
frequently proclaimed as the very corner-stone of liberty, was shamefully
violated by the legislative body, who, in their eagerness to perpetuate
their own power, did not scruple to destroy the principle on which it was
founded.  Nor is this the only violation of their own principles.  A
French writer has aptly observed, that "En revolution comme en morale, ce
n'est que le premier pas qui coute:" thus the executive, in imitation of
the legislative body, seem disposed to render their power perpetual.  For
though it be expressly declared by the 137th article of the 6th title of
their present constitutional code, that the "Directory shall be partially
renewed by the election of a new member every year," no step towards such
election has been taken, although the time prescribed by the law is
elapsed.--In a private letter from Paris now before me, written within
these few days, is the following observation on this very circumstance:
"The constitution has received another blow.  The month of Vendemiaire is
past, and our Directors still remain the same.  Hence we begin to drop
the appalation of Directory, and substitute that of the Cinqvir, who are
more to be dreaded for their power, and more to be detested for their
crimes, than the Decemvir of ancient Rome."  The same letter also
contains a brief abstract of the state of the metropolis of the French
republic, which is wonderfully characteristic of the attention of the
government to the welfare and happiness of its inhabitants!

"The reign of misery and of crime seems to be perpetuated in this
distracted capital: suicides, pillage, and assassinations, are daily
committed, and are still suffered to pass unnoticed.  But what renders
our situation still more deplorable, is the existence of an innumerable
band of spies, who infest all public places, and all private societies.
More than a hundred thousand of these men are registered on the books of
the modern SARTINE; and as the population of Paris, at most, does not
exceed six hundred thousand souls, we are sure to find in six individuals
one spy.  This consideration makes me shudder, and, accordingly, all
confidence, and all the sweets of social intercourse, are banished from
among us.  People salute each other, look at each other, betray mutual
suspicions, observe a profound silence, and part.  This, in few words, is
an exact description of our modern republican parties.  It is said, that
poverty has compelled many respectable persons, and even state-creditors,
to enlist under the standard of COCHON, (the Police Minister,) because
such is the honourable conduct of our sovereigns, that they pay their
spies in specie--and their soldiers, and the creditors of the state, in
paper.--Such is the morality, such the justice, such are the republican
virtues, so loudly vaunted by our good and dearest friends, our
pensioners--the Gazetteers of England and Germany!"

There is not a single abuse, which the modern reformers reprobated so
loudly under the ancient system, that is not magnified, in an infinite
degree, under the present establishment.  For one Lettre de Cachet issued
during the mild reign of LOUIS the Sixteenth, a thousand Mandats d'Arret
have been granted by the tyrannical demagogues of the revolution; for one
Bastile which existed under the Monarchy, a thousand Maisons de Detention
have been established by the Republic.  In short, crimes of every
denomination, and acts of tyranny and injustice, of every kind, have
multiplied, since the abolition of royalty, in a proportion which sets
all the powers of calculation at defiance.

It is scarcely possible to notice the present situation of France,
without adverting to the circumstances of the WAR, and to the attempt now
making, through the medium of negotiation, to bring it to a speedy
conclusion.  Since the publication of my Letter to a Noble Earl, now
destined to chew the cud of disappointment in the vale of obscurity, I
have been astonished to hear the same assertions advance, by the members
and advocates of that party whose merit is said to consist in the
violence of their opposition to the measures of government, on the origin
of the war, which had experienced the most ample confutation, without the
assistance of any additional reason, and without the smallest attempt to
expose the invalidity of those proofs which, in my conception, amounted
nearly to mathematical demonstration, and which I had dared them, in
terms the most pointed, to invalidate.  The question of aggression before
stood on such high ground, that I had not the presumption to suppose it
could derive an accession of strength from any arguments which I could
supply; but I was confident, that the authentic documents which I offered
to the public would remove every intervening object that tended to
obstruct the fight of inattentive observers, and reflect on it such an
additional light as would flash instant conviction on the minds of all.
It seems, I have been deceived; but I must be permitted to suggest, that
men who persist in the renewal of assertions, without a single effort to
controvert the proofs which have been adduced to demonstrate their
fallacy, cannot have for their object the establishment of truth--which
ought, exclusively, to influence the conduct of public characters,
whether writers or orators.

With regard to the negotiation, I can derive not the smallest hopes of
success from a contemplation of the past conduct, or of the present
principles, of the government of France.  When I compare the projects of
aggrandizement openly avowed by the French rulers, previous to the
declaration of war against this country, with the exorbitant pretensions
advanced in the arrogant reply of the Executive Directory to the note
presented by the British Envoy at Basil in the month of February, 1796,
and with the more recent observations contained in their official note of
the 19th of September last, I cannot think it probable that they will
accede to any terms of peace that are compatible with the interest and
safety of the Allies.  Their object is not so much the establishment as
the extension of their republic.

As to the danger to be incurred by a treaty of peace with the republic of
France, though it has been considerably diminished by the events of the
war, it is still unquestionably great.  This danger principally arises
from a pertinacious adherence, on the part of the Directory, to those
very principles which were adopted by the original promoters of the
abolition of Monarchy in France.  No greater proof of such adherence need
be required than their refusal to repeal those obnoxious decrees (passed
in the months of November and December, 1792,) which created so general
and so just an alarm throughout Europe, and which excited the reprobation
even of that party in England, which was willing to admit the equivocal
interpretation given to them by the Executive Council of the day.  I
proved, in the Letter to a Noble Earl before alluded to, from the very
testimony of the members of that Council themselves, as exhibited in
their official instructions to one of their confidential agents, that the
interpretation which they had assigned to those decrees, in their
communications with the British Ministry, was a base interpretation, and
that they really intended to enforce the decrees, to the utmost extent of
their possible operation, and, by a literal construction thereof, to
encourage rebellion in every state, within the reach of their arms or
their principles.  Nor have the present government merely forborne to
repeal those destructive laws--they have imitated the conduct of their
predecessors, have actually put them in execution wherever they had the
ability to do so, and have, in all respects, as far as related to those
decrees, adopted the precise spirit and principles of the faction which
declared war against England.  Let any man read the instructions of the
Executive Council to PUBLICOLA CHAUSSARD, their Commissary in the
Netherlands, in 1792 and 1793, and an account of the proceedings in the
Low Countries consequent thereon, and then examine the conduct of the
republican General, BOUNAPARTE, in Italy--who must necessarily act from
the instructions of the Executive Directory----and he will be compelled
to acknowledge the justice of my remark, and to admit that the latter
actuated by the same pernicious desire to overturn the settled order of
society, which invariably marked the conduct of the former.

"It is an acknowledged fact, that every revolution requires a provisional
power to regulate its disorganizing movements, and to direct the
methodical demolition of every part of the ancient social constitution.--
Such ought to be the revolutionary power.

"To whom can such power belong, but to the French, in those countries
into which they may carry their arms?  Can they with safety suffer it to
be exercised by any other persons?  It becomes the French republic, then,
to assume this kind of guardianship over the people whom she awakens to

     * _Considerations Generales fur l'Esprit et les Principes du Decret
     du 15 Decembre_.

Such were the Lacedaemonian principles avowed by the French government in
1792, and such is the Lacedaimonian policy* pursued by the French
government in 1796!  It cannot then, I conceive, be contended, that a
treaty with a government still professing principles which have been
repeatedly proved to be subversive of all social order, which have been
acknowledged by their parents to have for their object the methodical
demolition of existing constitutions, can be concluded without danger or
risk.  That danger, I admit, is greatly diminished, because the power
which was destined to carry into execution those gigantic projects which
constituted its object, has, by the operations of the war, been
considerably curtailed.  They well may exist in equal force, but the
ability is no longer the same.

MACHIAVEL justly observes, that it was the narrow policy of the
Lacedaemonians always to destroy the ancient constitution, and establish
their own form of government, in the counties and cities which they

But though I maintain the existence of danger in a Treaty with the
Republic of France, unless she previously repeal the decrees to which I
have adverted, and abrogate the acts to which they have given birth, I by
no means contend that it exists in such a degree as to justify a
determination, on the part of the British government, to make its removal
the sine qua non of negotiation, or peace.  Greatly as I admire the
brilliant endowments of Mr. BURKE, and highly as I respect and esteem him
for the manly and decisive part which he has taken, in opposition to the
destructive anarchy of republican France, and in defence of the
constitutional freedom of Britain; I cannot either agree with him on this
point, or concur with him in the idea that the restoration of the
Monarchy of France was ever the object of the war.  That the British
Ministers ardently desired that event, and were earnest in their
endeavours to promote it, is certain; not because it was the object of
the war, but because they considered it as the best means of promoting
the object of the war, which was, and is, the establishment of the safety
and tranquillity of Europe, on a solid and permanent basis.  If that
object can be attained, and the republic exist, there is nothing in the
past conduct and professions of the British Ministers, that can interpose
an obstacle to the conclusion of peace.  Indeed, in my apprehension, it
would be highly impolitic in any Minister, at the commencement of a war,
to advance any specific object, that attainment of which should be
declared to be the sine qua non of peace.  If mortals could arrogate to
themselves the attributes of the Deity, if they could direct the course
of events, and controul the chances of war, such conduct would be
justifiable; but on no other principle, I think, can its defence be
undertaken.  It is, I grant, much to be lamented, that the protection
offered to the friends of monarchy in France, by the declaration of the
29th of October, 1793, could not be rendered effectual: as far as the
offer went it was certainly obligatory on the party who made it; but it
was merely conditional--restricted, as all similar offers necessarily
must be, by the ability to fulfil the obligation incurred.

In paying this tribute to truth, it is not my intention to retract, in
the smallest degree, the opinion I have ever professed, that the
restoration of the ancient monarchy of France would be the best possible
means not only of securing the different states of Europe from the
dangers of republican anarchy, but of promoting the real interests,
welfare, and happiness of the French people themselves.  The reasons on
which this opinion is founded I have long since explained; and the
intelligence which I have since received from France, at different times,
has convinced me that a very great proportion of her inhabitants concur
in the sentiment.

The miseries resulting from the establishment of a republican system of
government have been severely felt, and deeply deplored; and I am fully
persuaded, that the subjects and tributaries of France will cordially
subscribe to the following observation on republican freedom, advanced by
a writer who had deeply studied the genius of republics: _"Di tutte le
fervitu dure, quella e durissima, che ti sottomette ad una republica;
l'una, perche e la piu durabile, e manco si puo sperarne d'ufare: L'altra
perche il fine della republica e enervare ed indebolire, debolire, per
accrescere il corpo suo, tutti gli altri corpi._*"

JOHN GIFFORD.  London, Nov. 12, 1796.

     * _Discorsi di Nicoli Machiavelli,_ Lib. ii. p. 88.

P.S.  Since I wrote the preceding remarks, I have been given to
understand, that by a decree, subsequent to the completion of the
constitutional code, the first partial renewal of the Executive Directory
was deferred till the month of March, 1979; and that, therefore, in this
instance, the present Directory cannot be accused of having violated the
constitution.  But the guilt is only to be transferred from the Directory
to the Convention, who passed that decree, as well as some others, in
contradiction to a positive constitutional law.-----Indeed, the Directory
themselves betrayed no greater delicacy with regard to the observance of
the constitution, or M. BARRAS would never have taken his seat among
them; for the constitution expressly says, (and this positive provision
was not even modified by any subsequent mandate of the Convention,) that
no man shall be elected a member of the Directory who has not completed
his fortieth year--whereas it is notorious that Barras had not this
requisite qualification, having been born in the year 1758!

                         - - - - - - - - - - - -

I avail myself of the opportunity afforded me by the publication of a
Second Edition to notice some insinuations which have been thrown out,
tending to question the authenticity of the work.  The motives which have
induced the author to withhold from these Letters the sanction of her
name, relate not to herself, but to some friends still remaining in
France, whose safety she justly conceives might be affected by the
disclosure.  Acceding to the force and propriety of these motives, yet
aware of the suspicions to which a recital of important facts, by an
anonymous writer, would naturally be exposed, and sensible, also, that a
certain description of critics would gladly avail themselves of any
opportunity for discouraging the circulation of a work which contained
principles hostile to their own; I determined to prefix my name to the
publication.  By so doing, I conceived that I stood pledged for its
authenticity; and the matter has certainly been put in a proper light by
an able and respectable critic, who has observed that "Mr. GIFFORD stands
between the writer and the public," and that "his name and character are
the guarantees for the authenticity of the Letters."

This is precisely the situation in which I meant to place myself--
precisely the pledge which I meant to give.  The Letters are exactly what
they profess to be; the production of a Lady's pen, and written in the
very situations which they describe.--The public can have no grounds for
suspecting my veracity on a point in which I can have no possible
interest in deceiving them; and those who know me will do me the justice
to acknowledge, that I have a mind superior to the arts of deception, and
that I am incapable of sanctioning an imposition, for any purpose, or
from any motives whatever.  Thus much I deemed it necessary to say, as
well from a regard for my own character, and from a due attention to the
public, as from a wish to prevent the circulation of the work from being
subjected to the impediments arising from the prevalence of a groundless

I naturally expected, that some of the preceding remarks would excite the
resentment and draw down the vengeance of those persons to whom they
evidently applied.  The contents of every publication are certainly a
fair subject for criticism; and to the fair comments of real critics,
however repugnant to the sentiments I entertain, or the doctrine I seek
to inculcate, I shall ever submit without murmur or reproach.  But, when
men, assuming that respectable office, openly violate all the duties
attached to it, and, sinking the critic in the partizan, make a wanton
attack on my veracity, it becomes proper to repel the injurious
imputation; and the same spirit which dictates submission to the candid
award of an impartial judge, prescribes indignation and scorn at the
cowardly attacks of a secret assassin.

April 14, 1797.





It is with extreme diffidence that I offer the following pages to Your
notice; yet as they describe circumstances which more than justify Your
own prophetic reflections, and are submitted to the public eye from no
other motive than a love of truth and my country, I may, perhaps, be
excused for presuming them to be not altogether unworthy of such a

While Your puny opponents, if opponents they may be called, are either
sunk into oblivion, or remembered only as associated with the degrading
cause they attempted to support, every true friend of mankind,
anticipating the judgement of posterity, views with esteem and veneration
the unvarying Moralist, the profound Politician, the indefatigable
Servant of the Public, and the warm Promoter of his country's happiness.

To this universal testimony of the great and good, permit me, Sir, to
join my humble tribute; being, with the utmost respect,

Your obedient Servant, THE AUTHOR.  Sept. 12, 1796.


After having, more than once, in the following Letters, expressed
opinions decidedly unfavourable to female authorship, when not justified
by superior talents, I may, by now producing them to the public, subject
myself to the imputation either of vanity or inconsistency; and I
acknowledge that a great share of candour and indulgence must be
possessed by readers who attend to the apologies usually made on such
occasions: yet I may with the strictest truth alledge, that I should
never have ventured to offer any production of mine to the world, had I
not conceived it possible that information and reflections collected and
made on the spot, during a period when France exhibited a state, of which
there is no example in the annals of mankind, might gratify curiosity
without the aid of literary embellishment; and an adherence to truth, I
flattered myself, might, on a subject of this nature, be more acceptable
than brilliancy of thought, or elegance of language.  The eruption of a
volcano may be more scientifically described and accounted for by the
philosopher; but the relation of the illiterate peasant who beheld it,
and suffered from its effects, may not be less interesting to the common

Above all, I was actuated by the desire of conveying to my countrymen a
just idea of that revolution which they have been incited to imitate, and
of that government by which it has been proposed to model our own.

Since these pages were written, the Convention has nominally been
dissolved, and a new constitution and government have succeeded, but no
real change of principle or actors has taken place; and the system, of
which I have endeavoured to trace the progress, must still be considered
as existing, with no other variations than such as have been necessarily
produced by the difference of time and circumstances.  The people grew
tired of massacres en masse, and executions en detail: even the national
fickleness operated in favour of humanity; and it was also discovered,
that however a spirit of royalism might be subdued to temporary inaction,
it was not to be eradicated, and that the sufferings of its martyrs only
tended to propagate and confirm it.  Hence the scaffolds flow less
frequently with blood, and the barbarous prudence of CAMILLE DESMOULINS'
guillotine economique has been adopted.  But exaction and oppression are
still practised in every shape, and justice is not less violated, nor is
property more secure, than when the former was administered by
revolutionary tribunals, and the latter was at the disposition of
revolutionary armies.

The error of supposing that the various parties which have usurped the
government of France have differed essentially from each other is pretty
general; and it is common enough to hear the revolutionary tyranny
exclusively associated with the person of ROBESPIERRE, and the
thirty-first of May, 1793, considered as the epoch of its introduction.
Yet whoever examines attentively the situation and politics of France,
from the subversion of the Monarchy, will be convinced that all the
principles of this monstrous government were established during the
administration of the Brissotins, and that the factions which succeeded,
from Danton and Robespierre to Sieyes and Barras, have only developed
them, and reduced them to practice.  The revolution of the thirty-first
of May, 1793, was not a contest for system but for power--that of July
the twenty-eighth, 1794, (9th Thermidor,) was merely a struggle which of
two parties should sacrifice the other--that of October the fifth, 1795,
(13th Vendemiaire,) a war of the government against the people.  But in
all these convulsions, the primitive doctrines of tyranny and injustice
were watched like the sacred fire, and have never for a moment been
suffered to languish.

It may appear incredible to those who have not personally witnessed this
phoenomenon, that a government detested and despised by an immense
majority of the nation, should have been able not only to resist the
efforts of so many powers combined against it, but even to proceed from
defence to conquest, and to mingle surprize and terror with those
sentiments of contempt and abhorrence which it originally excited.

That wisdom or talents are not the sources of this success, may be
deduced from the situation of France itself.  The armies of the republic
have, indeed, invaded the territories of its enemies, but the desolation
of their own country seems to increase with every triumph--the genius of
the French government appears powerful only in destruction, and inventive
only in oppression--and, while it is endowed with the faculty of
spreading universal ruin, it is incapable of promoting the happiness of
the smallest district under its protection.  The unrestrained pillage of
the conquered countries has not saved France from multiplied
bankruptcies, nor her state-creditors from dying through want; and
the French, in the midst of their external prosperity, are often
distinguished from the people whom their armies have been subjugated,
only by a superior degree of wretchedness, and a more irregular

With a power excessive and unlimited, and surpassing what has hitherto
been possessed by any Sovereign, it would be difficult to prove that
these democratic despots have effected any thing either useful or
beneficent.  Whatever has the appearance of being so will be found, on
examination, to have for its object some purpose of individual interest
or personal vanity.  They manage the armies, they embellish Paris, they
purchase the friendship of some states and the neutrality of others; but
if there be any real patriots in France, how little do they appreciate
these useless triumphs, these pilfered museums, and these fallacious
negotiations, when they behold the population of their country
diminished, its commerce annihilated, its wealth dissipated, its morals
corrupted, and its liberty destroyed--

          "Thus, on deceitful Aetna's Flow'ry side
          Unfading verdure glads the roving eye,
          While secret flames with unextinguish'd rage
          Insatiate on her wafted entrails prey,
          And melt her treach'rous beauties into ruin."

Those efforts which the partizans of republicanism admire, and which even
well-disposed persons regard as prodigies, are the simple and natural
result of an unprincipled despotism, acting upon, and disposing of, all
the resources of a rich, populous, and enslaved nation.  _"Il devient aise
d'etre habile lorsqu'on s'est delivre des scrupules et des loix, de tout
honneur et de toute justice, des droits de ses semblables, et des devoirs
de l'autorite--a ce degre d'independence la plupart des obstacles qui
modifient l'activite humaine disparaissent; l'on parait avoir du talent
lorsqu'on n'a que de l'impudence, et l'abus de la force passe pour

     * "Exertions of ability become easy, when men have released
     themselves from the scruples of conscience, the restraints of law,
     the ties of honour, the bonds of justice, the claims of their fellow
     creatures, and obedience to their superiors:--at this point of
     independence, most of the obstacles which modify human activity
     disappear; impudence is mistaken for talents; and the abuse of power
     passes for energy."

The operations of all other governments must, in a great measure, be
restrained by the will of the people, and by established laws; with them,
physical and political force are necessarily separate considerations:
they have not only to calculate what can be borne, but what will be
submitted to; and perhaps France is the first country that has been
compelled to an exertion of its whole strength, without regard to any
obstacle, natural, moral, or divine.  It is for want of sufficiently
investigating and allowing for this moral and political latitudinarianism
of our enemies, that we are apt to be too precipitate in censuring the
conduct of the war; and, in our estimation of what has been done, we pay
too little regard to the principles by which we have been directed.   An
honest man could scarcely imagine the means we have had to oppose, and an
Englishman still less conceive that they would have been submitted to:
for the same reason that the Romans had no law against parricide, till
experience had evinced the possibility of the crime.

In a war like the present, advantage is not altogether to be appreciated
by military superiority.  If, as there is just ground for believing, our
external hostilities have averted an internal revolution, what we have
escaped is of infinitely more importance to us than what we could
acquire.  Commerce and conquest, compared to this, are secondary objects;
and the preservation of our liberties and our constitution
is a more solid blessing than the commerce of both the Indies, or the
conquest of nations.

Should the following pages contribute to impress this salutary truth on
my countrymen, my utmost ambition will be gratified; persuaded, that a
sense of the miseries they have avoided, and of the happiness they enjoy,
will be their best incentive, whether they may have to oppose the arms of
the enemy in a continuance of the war, or their more dangerous
machinations on the restoration of peace.

I cannot conclude without noticing my obligations to the Gentleman whose
name is prefixed to these volumes; and I think it at the same time
incumbent on me to avow, that, in having assisted the author, he must not
be considered as sanctioning the literary imperfections of the work.
When the subject was first mentioned to him, he did me the justice of
supposing, that I was not likely to have written any thing, the general
tendency of which he might disapprove; and when, on perusing the
manuscript, he found it contain sentiments dissimilar to his own, he was
too liberal to require a sacrifice of them as the condition of his
services.--I confess that previous to my arrival in France in 1792, I
entertained opinions somewhat more favourable to the principle of the
revolution than those which I was led to adopt at a subsequent period.
Accustomed to regard with great justice the British constitution as the
standard of known political excellence, I hardly conceived it possible
that freedom or happiness could exist under any other: and I am not
singular in having suffered this prepossession to invalidate even the
evidence of my senses.  I was, therefore, naturally partial to whatever
professed to approach the object of my veneration.  I forgot that
governments are not to be founded on imitations or theories, and that
they are perfect only as adapted to the genius, manners, and disposition
of the people who are subject to them.  Experience and maturer judgement
have corrected my error, and I am perfectly convinced, that the old
monarchical constitution of France, with very slight meliorations, was
every way better calculated for the national character than a more
popular form of government.

A critic, though not very severe, will discover many faults of style,
even where the matter may not be exceptionable.  Besides my other
deficiencies, the habit of writing is not easily supplied, and, as I
despaired of attaining excellence, and was not solicitous about degrees
of mediocrity, I determined on conveying to the public such information
as I was possessed of, without alteration or ornament.  Most of these
Letters were written exactly in the situation they describe, and remain
in their original state; the rest were arranged according as
opportunities were favourable, from notes and diaries kept when "the
times were hot and feverish," and when it would have been dangerous to
attempt more method.  I forbear to describe how they were concealed
either in France or at my departure, because I might give rise to the
persecution and oppression of others.  But, that I may not attribute to
myself courage which I do not possess, nor create doubts of my veracity,
I must observe, that I seldom ventured to write till I was assured of
some certain means of conveying my papers to a person who could safely
dispose of them.

As a considerable period has elapsed since my return, it may not be
improper to add, that I took some steps for the publication of these
Letters so early as July, 1795.  Certain difficulties, however, arising,
of which I was not aware, I relinquished my design, and should not have
been tempted to resume it, but for the kindness of the Gentleman whose
name appears as the Editor.

Sept. 12, 1796.


May 10, 1792.

I am every day more confirmed in the opinion I communicated to you on my
arrival, that the first ardour of the revolution is abated.--The bridal
days are indeed past, and I think I perceive something like indifference
approaching.  Perhaps the French themselves are not sensible of this
change; but I who have been absent two years, and have made as it were a
sudden transition from enthusiasm to coldness, without passing through
the intermediate gradations, am forcibly struck with it.  When I was here
in 1790, parties could be scarcely said to exist--the popular triumph was
too complete and too recent for intolerance and persecution, and the
Noblesse and Clergy either submitted in silence, or appeared to rejoice
in their own defeat.  In fact, it was the confusion of a decisive
conquest--the victors and the vanquished were mingled together; and the
one had not leisure to exercise cruelty, nor the other to meditate
revenge.  Politics had not yet divided society; nor the weakness and
pride of the great, with the malice and insolence of the little, thinned
the public places.  The politics of the women went no farther than a few
couplets in praise of liberty, and the patriotism of the men was confined
to an habit de garde nationale, the device of a button, or a nocturnal
revel, which they called mounting guard.--Money was yet plenty, at least
silver, (for the gold had already begun to disappear,) commerce in its
usual train, and, in short, to one who observes no deeper than myself,
every thing seemed gay and flourishing--the people were persuaded they
were happier; and, amidst such an appearance of content, one must have
been a cold politician to have examined too strictly into the future.
But all this, my good brother, is in a great measure subsided; and the
disparity is so evident, that I almost imagine myself one of the seven
sleepers--and, like them too, the coin I offer is become rare, and
regarded more as medals than money.  The playful distinctions of
Aristocrate and Democrate are degenerated into the opprobium and
bitterness of Party--political dissensions pervade and chill the common
intercourse of life--the people are become gross and arbitrary, and the
higher classes (from a pride which those who consider the frailty of
human nature will allow for) desert the public amusements, where they
cannot appear but at the risk of being the marked objects of insult.--The
politics of the women are no longer innoxious--their political principles
form the leading trait of their characters; and as you know we are often
apt to supply by zeal what we want in power, the ladies are far from
being the most tolerant partizans on either side.--The national uniform,
which contributed so much to the success of the revolution, and
stimulated the patriotism of the young men, is become general; and the
task of mounting guard, to which it subjects the wearer, is now a serious
and troublesome duty.--To finish my observations, and my contrast, no
Specie whatever is to be seen; and the people, if they still idolize
their new form of government, do it at present with great sobriety--the
Vive la nation! seems now rather the effect of habit than of feeling; and
one seldom hears any thing like the spontaneous and enthusiastic sounds I
formerly remarked.

I have not yet been here long enough to discover the causes of this
change; perhaps they may lie too deep for such an observer as myself: but
if (as the causes of important effects sometimes do) they lie on the
surface, they will be less liable to escape me, than an observer of more
pretentions.  Whatever my remarks are, I will not fail to communicate
them--the employment will at least be agreeable to me, though the result
should not be satisfactory to you; and as I shall never venture on any
reflection, without relating the occurrence that gave rise to it, your
own judgement will enable you to correct the errors of mine.

I was present yesterday at a funeral service, performed in honour of
General Dillon.  This kind of service is common in Catholic countries,
and consists in erecting a cenotaph, ornamented with numerous lights,
flowers, crosses, &c.  The church is hung with black, and the mass is
performed the same as if the body were present.  On account of General
Dillon's profession, the mass yesterday was a military one.  It must
always, I imagine, sound strange to the ears of a Protestant, to hear
nothing but theatrical music on these occasions, and indeed I could never
reconcile myself to it; for if we allow any effect to music at all, the
train of thought which should inspire us with respect for the dead, and
reflections on mortality, is not likely to be produced by the strains in
which Dido bewails Eneas, or in which Armida assails the virtue of
Rinaldo.--I fear, that in general the air of an opera reminds the belle
of the Theatre where she heard it--and, by a natural transition, of the
beau who attended her, and the dress of herself and her neighbours.  I
confess, this was nearly my own case yesterday, on hearing an air from
"Sargines;" and had not the funeral oration reminded me, I should have
forgotten the unfortunate event we were celebrating, and which, for some
days before, when undistracted by this pious ceremony, I had dwelt on
with pity and horror.*--

     * At the first skirmish between the French and Austrians near Lisle,
     a general panic seized the former, and they retreated in disorder to
     Lisle, crying _"Sauve qui peut, & nous fomnes (sic) trahis."_--"Let
     every one shift for himself--we are betrayed."  The General, after
     in vain endeavouring to rally them, was massacred at his return on
     the great square.--My pen faulters, and refuses to describe the
     barbarities committed on the lifeless hero. Let it suffice, perhaps
     more than suffice, to say, that his mutilated remains were thrown on
     a fire, which these savages danced round, with yells expressive of
     their execrable festivity.  A young Englishman, who was so
     unfortunate as to be near the spot, was compelled to join in this
     outrage to humanity.--The same day a gentleman, the intimate friend
     of our acquaintance, Mad. _____, was walking (unconscious what had
     happened) without the gate which leads to Douay, and was met by the
     flying ruffians on their return; immediately on seeing him they
     shouted, _"Voila encore un Aristocrate!"_ and massacred him on the

--Independent of any regret for the fate of Dillon, who is said to have
been a brave and good officer, I am sorry that the first event of this
war should be marked by cruelty and licentiousness.--Military discipline
has been much relaxed since the revolution, and from the length of time
since the French have been engaged in a land war, many of the troops must
be without that kind of courage which is the effect of habit.  The
danger, therefore, of suffering them to alledge that they are betrayed,
whenever they do not choose to fight, and to excuse their own cowardice
by ascribing treachery to their leaders, is incalculable.--Above all,
every infraction of the laws in a country just supposing itself become
free, cannot be too severely repressed.  The National Assembly have done
all that humanity could suggest--they have ordered the punishment of the
assassins, and have pensioned and adopted the General's children.  The
orator expatiated both on the horror of the act and its consequences, as
I should have thought, with some ingenuity, had I not been assured by a
brother orator that the whole was "execrable."  But I frequently remark,
that though a Frenchman may suppose the merit of his countrymen to be
collectively superior to that of the whole world, he seldom allows any
individual of them to have so large a portion as himself.--Adieu: I have
already written enough to convince you I have neither acquired the
Gallomania, nor forgotten my friends in England; and I conclude with a
wish _a propos_ to my subject--that they may long enjoy the rational
liberty they possess and so well deserve.--Yours.

May, 1792.

You, my dear _____, who live in a land of pounds, shillings, and pence,
can scarcely form an idea of our embarrassments through the want of them.
'Tis true, these are petty evils; but when you consider that they happen
every day, and every hour, and that, if they are not very serious, they
are very frequent, you will rejoice in the splendour of your national
credit, which procures you all the accommodation of paper currency,
without diminishing the circulation of specie.  Our only currency here
consists of assignats of 5 livres, 50, 100, 200, and upwards: therefore
in making purchases, you must accommodate your wants to the value of your
assignat, or you must owe the shopkeeper, or the shopkeeper must owe you;
and, in short, as an old woman assured me to-day, "C'est de quoi faire
perdre la tete," and, if it lasted long, it would be the death of her.
Within these few days, however, the municipalities have attempted to
remedy the inconvenience, by creating small paper of five, ten, fifteen,
and twenty sols, which they give in exchange for assignats of five
livres; but the number they are allowed to issue is limited, and the
demand for them so great, that the accommodation is inadequate to the
difficulty of procuring it.  On the days on which this paper (which is
called billets de confiance) is issued, the Hotel de Ville is besieged by
a host of women collected from all parts of the district--Peasants, small
shopkeepers, fervant maids, and though last, not least formidable--
fishwomen.  They usually take their stand two or three hours before the
time of delivery, and the interval is employed in discussing the news,
and execrating paper money.  But when once the door is opened, a scene
takes place which bids defiance to language, and calls for the pencil of
a Hogarth.  Babel was, I dare say, comparatively to this, a place of
retreat and silence.  Clamours, revilings, contentions, tearing of hair,
and breaking of heads, generally conclude the business; and, after the
loss of half a day's time, some part of their clothes, and the expence of
a few bruises, the combatants retire with small bills to the value of
five, or perhaps ten livres, as the whole resource to carry on their
little commerce for the ensuing week.  I doubt not but the paper may have
had some share in alienating the minds of the people from the revolution.
Whenever I want to purchase any thing, the vender usually answers my
question by another, and with a rueful kind of tone inquires, "En papier,
madame?"--and the bargain concludes with a melancholy reflection on the
hardness of the times.

The decrees relative to the priests have likewise occasioned much
dissension; and it seems to me impolitic thus to have made religion the
standard of party.  The high mass, which is celebrated by a priest who
has taken the oaths, is frequented by a numerous, but, it must be
confessed, an ill-drest and ill-scented congregation; while the low mass,
which is later, and which is allowed the nonjuring clergy, has a gayer
audience, but is much less crouded.--By the way, I believe many who
formerly did not much disturb themselves about religious tenets, have
become rigid Papists since an adherence to the holy see has become a
criterion of political opinion.  But if these separatists are bigoted and
obstinate, the conventionalists on their side are ignorant and

I enquired my way to-day to the Rue de l'Hopital.  The woman I spoke to
asked me, in a menacing tone, what I wanted there.  I replied, which was
true, that I merely wanted to pass through the street as my nearest way
home; upon which she lowered her voice, and conducted me very civilly.--I
mentioned the circumstance on my return, and found that the nuns of the
hospital had their mass performed by a priest who had not taken the
oaths, and that those who were suspected of going to attend it were
insulted, and sometimes ill treated.  A poor woman, some little time ago,
who conceived perhaps that her salvation might depend on exercising her
religion in the way she had been accustomed to, persisted in going, and
was used by the populace with such a mixture of barbarity and indecency,
that her life was despaired of.  Yet this is the age and the country of
Philosophers.--Perhaps you will begin to think Swift's sages, who only
amused themselves with endeavouring to propagate sheep without wool, not
so contemptible.  I am almost convinced myself, that when a man once
piques himself on being a philosopher, if he does no mischief you ought
to be satisfied with him.

We passed last Sunday with Mr. de ____'s tenants in the country.  Nothing
can equal the avidity of these people for news.  We sat down after dinner
under some trees in the village, and Mr. de _____ began reading the
Gazette to the farmers who were about us.  In a few minutes every thing
that could hear (for I leave understanding the pedantry of a French
newspaper out of the question) were his auditors.  A party at quoits in
one field, and a dancing party in another, quitted their amusements, and
listened with undivided attention.  I believe in general the farmers are
the people most contented with the revolution, and indeed they have
reason to be so; for at present they refuse to sell their corn unless for
money, while they pay their rent in assignats; and farms being for the
most part on leases, the objections of the landlord to this kind of
payment are of no avail.  Great encouragement is likewise held out to
them to purchase national property, which I am informed they do to an
extent that may for some time be injurious to agriculture; for in their
eagerness to acquire land, the deprive themselves of cultivating it.
They do not, like our crusading ancestors, "sell the pasture to buy the
horse," but the horse to buy the pasture; so that we may expect to see in
many places large farms in the hands of those who are obliged to neglect

A great change has happened within the last year, with regard to landed
property--so much has been sold, that many farmers have had the
opportunity of becoming proprietors.  The rage of emigration, which the
approach of war, pride, timidity, and vanity are daily increasing, has
occasioned many of the Noblesse to sell their estates, which, with those
of the Crown and the Clergy, form a large mass of property, thrown as it
were into general circulation.  This may in future be beneficial to the
country, but the present generation will perhaps have to purchase (and
not cheaply) advantages they cannot enjoy.  A philanthropist may not
think of this with regret; and yet I know not why one race is preferable
to another, or why an evil should be endured by those who exist now, in
order that those who succeed may be free from it.--I would willingly
plant a million of acorns, that another age might be supplied with oaks;
but I confess, I do not think it quite so pleasant for us to want bread,
in order that our descendants may have a superfluity.

I am half ashamed of these selfish arguments; but really I have been led
to them through mere apprehension of what I fear the people may have yet
to endure, in consequence of the revolution.

I have frequently observed how little taste the French have for the
country, and I believe all my companions, except Mr. de _____, who took
(as one always does) an interest in surveying his property, were heartily
ennuyes with our little excursion.--Mad. De _____, on her arrival, took
her post by the farmer's fire-side, and was out of humour the whole day,
inasmuch as our fare was homely, and there was nothing but rustics to see
or be seen by.  That a plain dinner should be a serious affair, you may
not wonder; but the last cause of distress, perhaps you will not conclude
quite so natural at her years.  All that can be said about it is, that
she is a French woman, who rouges, and wears lilac ribbons, at
seventy-four.  I hope, in my zeal to obey you, my reflections will not
be too voluminous.--For the present I will be warned by my conscience,
and add only, that I am, Yours.

June 10, 1792.

You observe, with some surprize, that I make no mention of the Jacobins--
the fact is, that until now I have heard very little about them.  Your
English partizans of the revolution have, by publishing their
correspondence with these societies, attributed a consequence to them
infinitely beyond what they have had pretensions to:--a prophet, it is
said, is not honoured in his own country--I am sure a Jacobin is not.
In provincial towns these clubs are generally composed of a few of the
lowest tradesmen, who have so disinterested a patriotism, as to bestow
more attention on the state than on their own shops; and as a man may be
an excellent patriot without the aristocratic talents of reading and
writing, they usually provide a secretary or president, who can supply
these deficiencies--a country attorney, a _Pere de l'oratoire,_ or a
disbanded capuchin, is in most places the candidate for this office.
The clubs often assemble only to read the newspapers; but where they
are sufficiently in force, they make motions for "fetes," censure the
municipalities, and endeavour to influence the elections of the members
who compose them.--That of Paris is supposed to consist of about six
thousand members; but I am told their number and influence are daily
increasing, and that the National Assembly is more subservient to them
than it is willing to acknowledge--yet, I believe, the people at large
are equally adverse to the Jacobins, who are said to entertain the
chimerical project of forming a republic, and to the Aristocrates, who
wish to restore the ancient government.  The party in opposition to both
these, who are called the Feuillans,* have the real voice of the people
with them, and knowing this, they employ less art than their opponents,
have no point of union, and perhaps may finally be undermined by
intrigue, or even subdued by violence.

     *They derive this appellation, as the Jacobins do theirs, from the
     convent at which they hold their meetings.

You seem not to comprehend why I include vanity among the causes of
emigration, and yet I assure you it has had no small share in many of
them.  The gentry of the provinces, by thus imitating the higher
noblesse, imagine they have formed a kind of a common cause, which may
hereafter tend to equalize the difference of ranks, and associate them
with those they have been accustomed to look up to as their superiors.
It is a kind of ton among the women, particularly to talk of their
emigrated relations, with an accent more expressive of pride than regret,
and which seems to lay claim to distinction rather than pity.

I must now leave you to contemplate the boasted misfortunes of these
belles, that I may join the card party which forms their alleviation.--

June 24, 1792.

You have doubtless learned from the public papers the late outrage of the
Jacobins, in order to force the King to consent to the formation of an
army at Paris, and to sign the decree for banishing the nonjuring Clergy.
The newspapers will describe to you the procession of the Sans-Culottes,
the indecency of their banners, and the disorders which were the result--
but it is impossible for either them or me to convey an idea of the
general indignation excited by these atrocities.  Every well-meaning
person is grieved for the present, and apprehensive for the future:
and I am not without hope, that this open avowal of the designs of the
Jacobins, will unite the Constitutionalists and Aristocrates, and that
they will join their efforts in defence of the Crown, as the only means
of saving both from being overwhelmed by a faction, who are now become
too daring to be despised.  Many of the municipalities and departments
are preparing to address they King, on the fortitude he displayed in this
hour of insult and peril.--I know not why, but the people have been
taught to entertain a mean opinion of his personal courage; and the late
violence will at least have the good effect of undeceiving them.  It is
certain, that he behaved on this occasion with the utmost coolness; and
the Garde Nationale, whose hand he placed on his heart, attested that it
had no unusual palpitation.

That the King should be unwilling to sanction the raising an army under
the immediate auspice of the avowed enemies of himself, and of the
constitution he has sworn to protect, cannot be much wondered at; and
those who know the Catholic religion, and consider that this Prince is
devout, and that he has reason to suspect the fidelity of all who
approach him, will wonder still less that he refuses to banish a class of
men, whose influence is extensive, and whose interest it is to preserve
their attachment to him.

These events have thrown a gloom over private societies; and public
amusements, as I observed in a former letter, are little frequented; so
that, on the whole, time passes heavily with a people who, generally
speaking, have few resources in themselves.  Before the revolution,
France was at this season a scene of much gaiety.  Every village had
alternately a sort of Fete, which nearly answers to our Wake--but with
this difference, that it was numerously attended by all ranks, and the
amusement was dancing, instead of wrestling and drinking.  Several small
fields, or different parts of a large one, were provided with music,
distinguished by flags, and appropriated to the several classes of
dancers--one for the peasants, another for the bourgeois, and a third for
the higher orders.  The young people danced beneath the ardour of a July
sun, while the old looked on and regaled themselves with beer, cyder, and
gingerbread.  I was always much pleased with this village festivity: it
gratified my mind more than select and expensive amusements, because it
was general, and within the power of all who chose to partake of it; and
the little distinction of rank which was preserved, far from diminishing
the pleasure of any, added, I am certain, to the freedom of all.  By
mixing with those only of her own class, the Paysanne* was spared the
temptation of envying the pink ribbons of the Bourgeoise, who in her turn
was not disturbed by an immediate rivalship with the sash and plumes of
the provincial belle.  But this custom is now much on the decline.  The
young women avoid occasions where an inebriated soldier may offer himself
as her partner in the dance, and her refusal be attended with insult to
herself, and danger to those who protect her; and as this licence is
nearly as offensive to the decent Bourgeoise as to the female of higher
condition, this sort of fete will most probably be entirely abandoned.

     *The head-dress of the French _Paysanne_ is uniformly a small cap,
     without ribbon or ornament of any kind, except in that part of
     Normandy which is called the _Pays de Caux,_ where the Paysannes
     wear a particular kind of head dress, ornamented with silver.

The people here all dance much better than those of the same rank in
England; but this national accomplishment is not instinctive: for though
few of the laborious class have been taught to read, there are scarcely
any so poor as not to bestow three livres for a quarter's instruction
from a dancing master; and with this three months' noviciate they become
qualified to dance through the rest of their lives.

The rage for emigration, and the approach of the Austrians, have
occasioned many restrictions on travelling, especially near the seacoast
of frontiers.  No person can pass through a town without a passport from
the municipality he resides in, specifying his age, the place of his
birth, his destination, the height of his person, and the features of his
face.  The Marquis de C____ entered the town yesterday, and at the gate
presented his passport as usual; the guard looked at the passport, and in
a high tone demanded his name, whence he came, and where he was going.
M. de C____ referred him to the passport, and suspecting the man could
not read, persisted in refusing to give a verbal account of himself, but
with much civility pressed the perusal of the passport; adding, that if
it was informal, Monsieur might write to the municipality that granted
it.  The man, however, did not approve of the jest, and took the Marquis
before the municipality, who sentenced him to a month's imprisonment for
his pleasantry.

The French are becoming very grave, and a bon-mot will not now, as
formerly, save a man's life.--I do not remember to have seen in any
English print an anecdote on this subject, which at once marks the levity
of the Parisians, and the wit and presence of mind of the Abbe Maury.--At
the beginning of the revolution, when the people were very much incensed
against the Abbe, he was one day, on quitting the Assembly, surrounded by
an enraged mob, who seized on him, and were hurrying him away to
execution, amidst the universal cry of _a la lanterne! a la lanterne!_
The Abbe, with much coolness and good humour, turned to those nearest him,
_"Eh bien mes amis et quand je serois a la lanterne, en verriez vous plus
clair?"_  Those who held him were disarmed, the bon-mot flew through the
croud, and the Abbe escaped while they were applauding it.--I have
nothing to offer after this trait which is worthy of succeeding it, but
will add that I am always Yours.

July 24, 1792.

Our revolution aera has passed tranquilly in the provinces, and with less
turbulence at Paris than was expected.  I consign to the Gazette-writers
those long descriptions that describe nothing, and leave the mind as
unsatisfied as the eye.  I content myself with observing only, that the
ceremony here was gay, impressive, and animating.  I indeed have often
remarked, that the works of nature are better described than those of
art.  The scenes of nature, though varied, are uniform; while the
productions of art are subject to the caprices of whim, and the
vicissitudes of taste.  A rock, a wood, or a valley, however the scenery
may be diversified, always conveys a perfect and distinct image to the
mind; but a temple, an altar, a palace, or a pavilion, requires a detail,
minute even to tediousness, and which, after all, gives but an imperfect
notion of the object.  I have as often read descriptions of the Vatican,
as of the Bay of Naples; yet I recollect little of the former, while the
latter seems almost familiar to me.--Many are strongly impressed with the
scenery of Milton's Paradise, who have but confused ideas of the
splendour of Pandemonium.  The descriptions, however, are equally minute,
and the poetry of both is beautiful.

But to return to this country, which is not absolutely a Paradise, and I
hope will not become a Pandemonium--the ceremony I have been alluding to,
though really interesting, is by no means to be considered as a proof
that the ardour for liberty increases: on the contrary, in proportion as
these fetes become more frequent, the enthusiasm which they excite seems
to diminish.  "For ever mark, Lucilius, when Love begins to sicken and
decline, it useth an enforced ceremony."  When there were no
foederations, the people were more united.  The planting trees of liberty
seems to have damped the spirit of freedom; and since there has been a
decree for wearing the national colours, they are more the marks of
obedience than proofs of affection.--I cannot pretend to decide whether
the leaders of the people find their followers less warm than they were,
and think it necessary to stimulate them by these shows, or whether the
shows themselves, by too frequent repetition, have rendered the people
indifferent about the objects of them.--Perhaps both these suppositions
are true.  The French are volatile and material; they are not very
capable of attachment to principles.  External objects are requisite for
them, even in a slight degree; and the momentary enthusiasm that is
obtained by affecting their senses subsides with the conclusion of a
favourite air, or the end of a gaudy procession.

The Jacobin party are daily gaining ground; and since they have forced a
ministry of their own on the King, their triumph has become still more
insolent and decisive.--A storm is said to be hovering over us, which I
think of with dread, and cannot communicate with safety--"Heaven square
the trial of those who are implicated, to their proportioned strength!"--

August 4, 1792.

I must repeat to you, that I have no talent for description; and, having
seldom been able to profit by the descriptions of others, I am modest
enough not willingly to attempt one myself.  But, as you observe, the
ceremony of a foederation, though familiar to me, is not so to my English
friends; I therefore obey your commands, though certain of not succeeding
so as to gratify your curiosity in the manner you too partially expect.

The temple where the ceremony was performed, was erected in an open
space, well chosen both for convenience and effect.  In a large circle on
this spot, twelve posts, between fifty and sixty feet high, were placed
at equal distances, except one larger, opening in front by way of
entrance.  On each alternate post were fastened ivy, laurel, &c. so as to
form a thick body which entirely hid the support.  These greens were then
shorn (in the manner you see in old fashioned gardens) into the form of
Doric columns, of dimensions proportioned to their height.  The
intervening posts were covered with white cloth, which was so
artificially folded, as exactly to resemble fluted pillars--from the
bases of which ascended spiral wreaths of flowers.  The whole was
connected at top by a bold festoon of foliage, and the capital of each
column was surmounted by a vase of white lilies.  In the middle of this
temple was placed an altar, hung round with lilies, and on it was deposed
the book of the constitution.  The approach to the altar was by a large
flight of steps, covered with beautiful tapestry.

All this having been arranged and decorated, (a work of several days,)
the important aera was ushered in by the firing of cannon, ringing of
bells, and an appearance of bustle and hilarity not to be seen on any
other occasion.  About ten, the members of the district, the
municipality, and the judges in their habits of ceremony, met at the
great church, and from thence proceeded to the altar of liberty.  The
troops of the line, the Garde Nationale of the town, and of all the
surrounding communes, then arrived, with each their respective music and
colours, which (reserving one only of the latter to distinguish them in
the ranks) they planted round the altar.  This done, they retired, and
forming a circle round the temple, left a large intermediate space free.
A mass was then celebrated with the most perfect order and decency, and
at the conclusion were read the rights of man and the constitution.  The
troops, Garde Nationale, &c. were then addressed by their respective
officers, the oath to be faithful to the nation, the law, and the King,
was administered: every sword was drawn, and every hat waved in the air;
while all the bands of music joined in the favorite strain of ca ira.--
This was followed by crowning, with the civic wreaths hung round the
altar, a number of people, who during the year had been instrumental in
saving the lives of their fellow-citizens that had been endangered by
drowning or other accidents.  This honorary reward was accompanied by a
pecuniary one, and a fraternal embrace from all the constituted bodies.
But this was not the gravest part of the ceremony.  The magistrates,
however upright, were not all graceful, and the people, though they
understood the value of the money, did not that of the civic wreaths, or
the embraces; they therefore looked vacant enough during this part of the
business, and grinned most facetiously when they began to examine the
appearance of each other in their oaken crowns, and, I dare say, thought
the whole comical enough.--This is one trait of national pedantry.
Because the Romans awarded a civic wreath for an act of humanity, the
French have adopted the custom; and decorate thus a soldier or a sailor,
who never heard of the Romans in his life, except in extracts from the
New Testament at mass.

But to return to our fete, of which I have only to add, that the
magistrates departed in the order they observed in coming, and the troops
and Garde Nationale filed off with their hats in the air, and with
universal acclamations, to the sound of ca ira.--Things of this kind are
not susceptible of description.  The detail may be uninteresting, while
the general effect may have been impressive.  The spirit of the scene I
have been endeavouring to recall seems to have evaporated under my pen;
yet to the spectator it was gay, elegant, and imposing.  The day was
fine, a brilliant sun glittered on the banners, and a gentle breeze gave
them motion; while the satisfied countenances of the people added spirit
and animation to the whole.

I must remark to you, that devots, and determined aristocrates, ever
attend on these occasions.  The piety of the one is shocked at a mass by
a priest who has taken the oaths, and the pride of the other is not yet
reconciled to confusion of ranks and popular festivities.  I asked a
woman who brings us fruit every day, why she had not come on the
fourteenth as usual.  She told me she did not come to the town, _"a cause
de la foederation"--"Vous etes aristocrate donc?"--"Ah, mon Dieu non--ce
n'est pas que je suis aristocrate, ou democrate, mais que je suis

     *"On account of the foederation."--"You are an aristocrate then, I
     suppose?"--"Lord, no!  It is not because I am an aristocrate, or a
     democrate, but because I am a Christian."

This is an instance, among many others I could produce, that our
legislators have been wrong, in connecting any change of the national
religion with the revolution.  I am every day convinced, that this and
the assignats are the great causes of the alienation visible in many who
were once the warmest patriots.--Adieu: do not envy us our fetes and
ceremonies, while you enjoy a constitution which requires no oath to make
you cherish it: and a national liberty, which is felt and valued without
the aid of extrinsic decoration.--Yours.

August 15.

The consternation and horror of which I have been partaker, will more
than apologize for my silence.  It is impossible for any one, however
unconnected with the country, not to feel an interest in its present
calamities, and to regret them.  I have little courage to write even now,
and you must pardon me if my letter should bear marks of the general
depression.  All but the faction are grieved and indignant at the King's
deposition; but this grief is without energy, and this indignation
silent.  The partizans of the old government, and the friends of the new,
are equally enraged; but they have no union, are suspicious of each
other, and are sinking under the stupor of despair, when they should be
preparing for revenge.--It would not be easy to describe our situation
during the last week.  The ineffectual efforts of La Fayette, and the
violences occasioned by them, had prepared us for something still more
serious.  On the ninth, we had a letter from one of the representatives
for this department, strongly expressive of his apprehensions for the
morrow, but promising to write if he survived it.  The day, on which we
expected news, came, but no post, no papers, no diligence, nor any means
of information.  The succeeding night we sat up, expecting letters by the
post: still, however, none arrived; and the courier only passed hastily
through, giving no detail, but that Paris was _a feu et a sang_.*

     * All fire and slaughter.

At length, after passing two days and nights in this dreadful suspence,
we received certain intelligence which even exceeded our fears.--It is
needless to repeat the horrors that have been perpetrated.  The accounts
must, ere now, have reached you.  Our representative, as he seemed to
expect, was so ill treated as to be unable to write: he was one of those
who had voted the approval of La Fayette's conduct--all of whom were
either massacred, wounded, or intimidated; and, by this means, a majority
was procured to vote the deposition of the King.  The party allow, by
their own accounts, eight thousand persons to have perished on this
occasion; but the number is supposed to be much more considerable.  No
papers are published at present except those whose editors, being members
of the Assembly, and either agents or instigators of the massacres, are,
of course, interested in concealing or palliating them.---Mr. De _____
has just now taken up one of these atrocious journals, and exclaims, with
tears starting from his eyes, _"On a abattu la statue d'Henri quatre!*"_

     *"They have destroyed the statue of Henry the Fourth."

The sacking of Rome by the Goths offers no picture equal to the
licentiousness and barbarity committed in a country which calls itself
the most enlightened in Europe.--But, instead of recording these horrors,
I will fill up my paper with the Choeur Bearnais.

                   _Choeur Bearnais.

               "Un troubadour Bearnais,
               "Le yeux inoudes de larmes,
               "A ses montagnards
               "Chantoit ce refrein source d'alarmes--
               "Louis le fils d'Henri
               "Est prisonnier dans Paris!
               "Il a tremble pour les jours
               "De sa compagne cherie
               "Qui n'a troube de secours
               "Que dans sa propre energie;
               "Elle suit le fils d'Henri
               "Dans les prisons de Paris.

               "Quel crime ont ils donc commis
               "Pour etre enchaines de meme?
               "Du peuple ils sont les amis,
               "Le peuple veut il qu'on l'aime,
               "Quand il met le fils d'Henri
               "Dans les prisons de Paris?

               "Le Dauphin, ce fils cheri,
               "Qui seul fait notre esperance,
               "De pleurs sera donc nourri;
               "Les Berceaux qu'on donne en France
               "Aux enfans de notre Henri
               "Sont les prisons de Paris.

               "Il a vu couler le sang
               "De ce garde fidele,
               "Qui vient d'offrir en mourant
               "Aux Francais un beau modele;
               Mais Louis le fils d'Henri
               "Est prisonnier dans Paris.

               "Il n'est si triste appareil
               "Qui du respect nous degage,
               "Les feux ardens du Soleil
               "Savent percer le nuage:
               "Le prisonnier de Paris
               "Est toujours le fils d'Henri.

               "Francais, trop ingrats Francais
               "Rendez le Roi a sa compagne;
               "C'est le bien du Bearnais,
               "C'est l'enfant de la Montagne:
               "Le bonheur qu' avoit Henri
               "Nous l'affarons a Louis.

               "Chez vouz l'homme a de ses droits
               "Recouvre le noble usage,
               "Et vous opprimez  vos rois,
               "Ah! quel injuste partage!
               "Le peuple est libre, et Louis
               "Est prisonnier dans Paris.

               "Au pied de ce monument
               "Ou le bon Henri respire
               "Pourquoi l'airain foudroyant?
               "Ah l'on veut qu' Henri conspire
               "Lui meme contre son fils
               "Dans les prisons de Paris."_

It was published some time ago in a periodical work, (written with great
spirit and talents,) called "The Acts of the Apostles," and, I believe,
has not yet appeared in England.  The situation of the King gives a
peculiar interest to these stanzas, which, merely as a poetical
composition, are very beautiful.  I have often attempted to translate
them, but have always found it impossible to preserve the effect and
simplicity of the original.  They are set to a little plaintive air, very
happily characteristic of the words.

Perhaps I shall not write to you again from hence, as we depart for
A_____ on Tuesday next.  A change of scene will dissipate a little the
seriousness we have contracted during the late events.  If I were
determined to indulge grief or melancholy, I would never remove from the
spot where I had formed the resolution.  Man is a proud animal even when
oppressed by misfortune.  He seeks for his tranquility in reason and
reflection; whereas, a post-chaise and four, or even a hard-trotting
horse, is worth all the philosophy in the world.--But, if, as I observed
before, a man be determined to resist consolation, he cannot do better
than stay at home, and reason and phosophize.

Adieu:--the situation of my friends in this country makes me think of
England with pleasure and respect; and I shall conclude with a very
homely couplet, which, after all the fashionable liberality of modern
travellers, contains a great deal of truth:

               "Amongst mankind
               "We ne'er shall find
               "The worth we left at home."

Yours, &c.

August 22, 1792.

The hour is past, in which, if the King's friends had exerted themselves,
they might have procured a movement in his favour.  The people were at
first amazed, then grieved; but the national philosophy already begins to
operate, and they will sink into indifference, till again awakened by
some new calamity.  The leaders of the faction do not, however, entirely
depend either on the supineness of their adversaries, or the submission
of the people.  Money is distributed amongst the idle and indigent, and
agents are nightly employed in the public houses to comment on
newspapers, written for the purpose to blacken the King and exalt the
patriotism of the party who have dethroned him.  Much use has likewise
been made of the advances of the Prussians towards Champagne, and the
usual mummery of ceremony has not been wanting.  Robespierre, in a burst
of extemporary energy, previously studied, has declared the country in
danger.  The declaration has been echoed by all the departments, and
proclaimed to the people with much solemnity.  We were not behind hand in
the ceremonial of the business, though, somehow, the effect was not so
serious and imposing as one could have wished on such an occasion.  A
smart flag, with the words "Citizens, the country is in danger," was
prepared; the judges and the municipality were in their costume, the
troops and Garde Nationale under arms, and an orator, surrounded by his
cortege, harangued in the principal parts of the town on the text of the
banner which waved before him.

All this was very well; but, unfortunately, in order to distinguish the
orator amidst the croud, it was determined he should harangue on
horseback.  Now here arose a difficulty which all the ardour of
patriotism was not able to surmount.  The French are in general but
indifferent equestrians; and it so happened that, in our municipality,
those who could speak could not ride, and those who could ride could not
speak.  At length, however, after much debating, it was determined that
arms should yield to the gown, or rather, the horse to the orator--with
this precaution, that the monture should be properly secured, by an
attendant to hold the bridle.  Under this safeguard, the rhetorician
issued forth, and the first part of the speech was performed without
accident; but when, by way of relieving the declaimer, the whole military
band began to flourish ca ira, the horse, even more patriotic than his
rider, curvetted and twisted with so much animation, that however the
spectators might be delighted, the orator was far from participating in
their satisfaction.  After all this, the speech was to be finished, and
the silence of the music did not immediately tranquillize the animal.
The orator's eye wandered from the paper that contained his speech, with
wistful glances toward the mane; the fervor of his indignation against
the Austrians was frequently calmed by the involuntary strikings he was
obliged to submit to; and at the very crisis of the emphatic declaration,
he seemed much less occupied by his country's danger than his own.  The
people, who were highly amused, I dare say, conceived the whole ceremony
to be a rejoicing, and at every repetition that the country was in
danger, joined with great glee in the chorus of _ca ira_.*

     *The oration consisted of several parts, each ending with a kind of
     burden of _"Citoyens, la patri est en danger;"_ and the arrangers of
     the ceremony had not selected appropriate music: so that the band,
     who had been accustomed to play nothing else on public occasions,
     struck up _ca ira_ at every declaration that the country was in

Many of the spectators, I believe, had for some time been convinced of
the danger that threatened the country, and did not suppose it much
increased by the events of the war; others were pleased with a show,
without troubling themselves about the occasion of it; and the mass,
except when rouzed to attention by their favourite air, or the
exhibitions of the equestrian orator, looked on with vacant stupidity.
--This tremendous flag is now suspended from a window of the Hotel de
Ville, where it is to remain until the inscription it wears shall no
longer be true; and I heartily wish, the distresses of the country may
not be more durable than the texture on which they are proclaimed.

Our journey is fixed for to-morrow, and all the morning has been passed
in attendance for our passports.--This affair is not so quickly
dispatched as you may imagine.  The French are, indeed, said to be a very
lively people, but we mistake their volubility for vivacity; for in their
public offices, their shops, and in any transaction of business, no
people on earth can be more tedious--they are slow, irregular, and
loquacious; and a retail English Quaker, with all his formalities, would
dispose of half his stock in less time than you can purchase a three sols
stamp from a brisk French Commis.  You may therefore conceive, that this
official portraiture of so many females was a work of time, and not very
pleasant to the originals.  The delicacy of an Englishman may be shocked
at the idea of examining and registering a lady's features one after
another, like the articles of a bill of lading; but the cold and
systematic gallantry of a Frenchman is not so scrupulous.--The officer,
however, who is employed for this purpose here, is civil, and I suspected
the infinity of my nose, and the acuteness of Mad. de ____'s chin, might
have disconcerted him; but he extricated himself very decently.  My nose
is enrolled in the order of aquilines, and the old lady's chin pared off
to a _"menton un peu pointu."_--[A longish chin.]

The carriages are ordered for seven to-morrow.  Recollect, that seven
females, with all their appointments, are to occupy them, and then
calculate the hour I shall begin increasing my distance from England and
my friends.  I shall not do it without regret; yet perhaps you will be
less inclined to pity me than the unfortunate wights who are to escort
us.  A journey of an hundred miles, with French horses, French carriages,
French harness, and such an unreasonable female charge, is, I confess, in
great humility, not to be ventured on without a most determined
patience.--I shall write to you on our arrival at Arras; and am, till
then, at all times, and in all places, Yours.


We arrived here last night, notwithstanding the difficulties of our first
setting out, in tolerable time; but I have gained so little in point of
repose, that I might as well have continued my journey.  We are lodged at
an inn which, though large and the best in the town, is so disgustingly
filthy, that I could not determine to undress myself, and am now up and
scribbling, till my companions shall be ready.  Our embarkation will, I
foresee, be a work of time and labour; for my friend, Mad. de ____,
besides the usual attendants on a French woman, a femme de chambre and a
lap-dog, travels with several cages of canary-birds, some pots of curious
exotics, and a favourite cat; all of which must be disposed of so as to
produce no interstine commotions during the journey.  Now if you consider
the nature of these fellow-travellers, you will allow it not so easy a
matter as may at first be supposed, especially as their fair mistress
will not allow any of them to be placed in any other carriage than her
own.--A fray happened yesterday between the cat and the dog, during which
the birds were overset, and the plants broken.  Poor M. de ____, with a
sort of rueful good nature, separated the combatants, restored order, and
was obliged to purchase peace by charging himself with the care of the

I should not have dwelt so long on these trifling occurrences, but that
they are characteristic.  In England, this passion for animals is chiefly
confined to old maids, but here it is general.  Almost every woman,
however numerous her family, has a nursery of birds, an angola, and two
or three lap-dogs, who share her cares with her husband and children.
The dogs have all romantic names, and are enquired after with so much
solicitude when they do not make one in a visit, that it was some time
before I discovered that Nina and Rosine were not the young ladies of the
family.  I do not remember to have seen any husband, however master of
his house in other respects, daring enough to displace a favourite
animal, even though it occupied the only vacant fauteuil.

The entrance into Artois from Picardy, though confounded by the new
division, is sufficiently marked by a higher cultivation, and a more
fertile soil.  The whole country we have passed is agreeable, but
uniform; the roads are good, and planted on each side with trees, mostly
elms, except here and there some rows of poplar or apple.  The land is
all open, and sown in divisions of corn, carrots, potatoes, tobacco, and
poppies of which last they make a coarse kind of oil for the use of
painters.  The country is entirely flat, and the view every where bounded
by woods interspersed with villages, whose little spires peeping through
the trees have a very pleasing effect.

The people of Artois are said to be highly superstitious, and we have
already passed a number of small chapels and crosses, erected by the road
side, and surrounded by tufts of trees.  These are the inventions of a
mistaken piety; yet they are not entirely without their use, and I cannot
help regarding them with more complacence than a rigid Protestant might
think allowable.  The weary traveller here finds shelter from a mid-day
sun, and solaces his mind while he reposes his body.  The glittering
equipage rolls by--he recalls the painful steps he has past, anticipates
those which yet remain, and perhaps is tempted to repine; but when he
turns his eye on the cross of Him who has promised a recompence to the
sufferers of this world, he checks the sigh of envy, forgets the luxury
which excited it, and pursues his way with resignation.  The Protestant
religion proscribes, and the character of the English renders
unnecessary, these sensible objects of devotion; but I have always been
of opinion, that the levity of the French in general would make them
incapable of persevering in a form of worship equally abstracted and
rational.  The Spaniards, and even the Italians, might abolish their
crosses and images, and yet preserve their Christianity; but if the
French ceased to be bigots, they would become atheists.

This is a small fortified town, though not of strength to offer any
resistance to artillery.  Its proximity to the frontier, and the dread of
the Austrians, make the inhabitants very patriotic.  We were surrounded
by a great croud of people on our arrival, who had some suspicion that we
were emigrating; however, as soon as our passports were examined and
declared legal, they retired very peaceably.

The approach of the enemy keeps up the spirit of the people, and,
notwithstanding their dissatisfaction at the late events, they have not
yet felt the change of their government sufficiently to desire the
invasion of an Austrian army.--Every village, every cottage, hailed us
with the cry of Vive la nation!  The cabaret invites you to drink beer a
la nation, and offers you lodging a la nation--the chandler's shop sells
you snuff and hair powder a la nation--and there are even patriotic
barbers whose signs inform you, that you may be shaved and have your
teeth drawn a la nation!  These are acts of patriotism one cannot
reasonably object to; but the frequent and tedious examination of one's
passports by people who can't read, is not quite so inoffensive, and I
sometimes lose my patience.  A very vigilant _Garde Nationale_ yesterday,
after spelling my passport over for ten minutes, objected that it was not
a good one.  I maintained that it was; and feeling a momentary importance
at the recollection of my country, added, in an assuring tone, _"Et
d'ailleurs je suis Anglaise et par consequent libre d'aller ou bon me
semble._*"  The man stared, but admitted my argument, and we passed on.

     *"Besides, I am a native of England, and, consequently, have a right
     to go where I please."

My room door is half open, and gives me a prospect into that of Mad. de
L____, which is on the opposite side of the passage.  She has not yet put
on her cap, but her grey hair is profusely powdered; and, with no other
garments than a short under petticoat and a corset, she stands for the
edification of all who pass, putting on her rouge with a stick and a
bundle of cotton tied to the end of it.--All travellers agree in
describing great indelicacy to the French women; yet I have seen no
accounts which exaggerate it, and scarce any that have not been more
favourable than a strict adherence to truth might justify.  This
inattractive part of the female national character is not confined to the
lower or middling classes of life; and an English woman is as likely to
be put to the blush in the boudoir of a Marquise, as in the shop of the
Grisette, which serves also for her dressing-room.

If I am not too idle, or too much amused, you will soon be informed of my
arrival at Arras; but though I should neglect to write, be persuaded I
shall never cease to be, with affection and esteem, Yours, &c.

Arras, August, 1792.

The appearance of Arras is not busy in proportion to its population,
because its population is not equal to its extent; and as it is a large,
without being a commercial, town, it rather offers a view of the tranquil
enjoyment of wealth, than of the bustle and activity by which it is
procured.  The streets are mostly narrow and ill paved, and the shops
look heavy and mean; but the hotels, which chiefly occupy the low town,
are large and numerous.  What is called la Petite Place, is really very
large, and small only in comparison with the great one, which, I believe,
is the largest in France.  It is, indeed, an immense quadrangle--the
houses are in the Spanish form, and it has an arcade all round it.  The
Spaniards, by whom it was built, forgot, probably, that this kind of
shelter would not be so desirable here as in their own climate.  The
manufacture of tapestry, which a single line of Shakespeare has
immortalized, and associated with the mirthful image of his fat Knight,
has fallen into decay.  The manufacturers of linen and woollen are but
inconsiderable; and one, which existed till lately, of a very durable
porcelain, is totally neglected.  The principal article of commerce is
lace, which is made here in great quantities.  The people of all ages,
from five years old to seventy, are employed in this delicate fabrick.
In fine weather you will see whole streets lined with females, each with
her cushion on her lap.  The people of Arras are uncommonly dirty, and
the lacemakers do not in this matter differ from their fellow-citizens;
yet at the door of a house, which, but for the surrounding ones, you
would suppose the common receptacle of all the filth in the vicinage, is
often seated a female artizan, whose fingers are forming a point of
unblemished whiteness.  It is inconceivable how fast the bobbins move
under their hands; and they seem to bestow so little attention on their
work, that it looks more like the amusement of idleness than an effort of
industry.  I am no judge of the arguments of philosophers and politicians
for and against the use of luxury in a state; but if it be allowable at
all, much may be said in favour of this pleasing article of it.  Children
may be taught to make it at a very early age, and they can work at home
under the inspection of their parents, which is certainly preferable to
crouding them together in manufactories, where their health is injured,
and their morals are corrupted.

By requiring no more implements than about five shillings will purchase,
a lacemaker is not dependent on the shopkeeper, nor the head of a
manufactory.  All who choose to work have it in their own power, and can
dispose of the produce of their labour, without being at the mercy of an
avaricious employer; for though a tolerable good workwoman can gain a
decent livelihood by selling to the shops, yet the profit of the retailer
is so great, that if he rejected a piece of lace, or refused to give a
reasonable price for it, a certain sale would be found with the
individual consumer: and it is a proof of the independence of this
employ, that no one will at present dispose of their work for paper, and
it still continues to be paid for in money.  Another argument in favour
of encouraging lace-making is, that it cannot be usurped by men: you may
have men-milliners, men-mantuamakers, and even ladies' valets, but you
cannot well fashion the clumsy and inflexible fingers of man to
lace-making.  We import great quantities of lace from this country, yet
I imagine we might, by attention, be enabled to supply other countries,
instead of purchasing abroad ourselves.  The art of spinning is daily
improving in England; and if thread sufficiently fine can be
manufactured, there is no reason why we should not equal our neighbours
in the beauty of this article.  The hands of English women are more
delicate than those of the French; and our climate is much the same as
that of Brussels, Arras, Lisle, &c. where the finest lace is made.

The population of Arras is estimated at about twenty-five thousand souls,
though many people tell me it is greater.  It has, however, been lately
much thinned by emigration, suppression of convents, and the decline of
trade, occasioned by the absence of so many rich inhabitants.--The
Jacobins are here become very formidable: they have taken possession of a
church for their meetings, and, from being the ridicule, are become the
terror of all moderate people.

Yesterday was appointed for taking the new oath of liberty and equality.
I did not see the ceremony, as the town was in much confusion, and it was
deemed unsafe to be from home.  I understand it was attended only by the
very refuse of the people, and that, as a gallanterie analogue, the
President of the department gave his arm to Madame Duchene, who sells
apples in a cellar, and is Presidente of the Jacobin club.  It is,
however, reported to-day, that she is in disgrace with the society for
her condescension; and her parading the town with a man of forty thousand
livres a year is thought to be too great a compliment to the aristocracy
of riches; so that Mons. Le President's political gallantry has availed
him nothing.  He has debased and made himself the ridicule of the
Aristocrates and Constitutionalists, without paying his court, as he
intended, to the popular faction.  I would always wish it to happen so to
those who offer up incense to the mob.  As human beings, as one's fellow
creatures, the poor and uninformed have a claim to our affection and
benevolence, but when they become legislators, they are absurd and
contemptible tyrants.--_A propos_--we were obliged to acknowledge this new
sovereignty by illuminating the house on the occasion; and this was not
ordered by nocturnal vociferation as in England, but by a regular command
from an officer deputed for that purpose.

I am concerned to see the people accustomed to take a number of
incompatible oaths with indifference: it neither will nor can come to any
good; and I am ready to exclaim with Juliet--"Swear not at all."  Or, if
ye must swear, quarrel not with the Pope, that your consciences may at
least be relieved by dispensations and indulgences.

To-morrow we go to Lisle, notwithstanding the report that it has already
been summoned to surrender.  You will scarcely suppose it possible, yet
we find it difficult to learn the certainty of this, at the distance of
only thirty miles: but communication is much less frequent and easy here
than in England.  I am not one of those "unfortunate women who delight in
war;" and, perhaps, the sight of this place, so famous for its
fortifications, will not be very amusing to me, nor furnish much matter
of communication for my friends; but I shall write, if it be only to
assure you that I am not made prize of by the Austrians. Yours, &c.

Lisle, August, 1792.

You restless islanders, who are continually racking imagination to
perfect the art of moving from one place to another, and who can drop
asleep in a carriage and wake at an hundred mile distance, have no notion
of all the difficulties of a day's journey here.  In the first place, all
the horses of private persons have been taken for the use of the army,
and those for hire are constantly employed in going to the camp--hence,
there is a difficulty in procuring horses.  Then a French carriage is
never in order, and in France a job is not to be done just when you want
it--so that there is often a difficulty in finding vehicles.  Then there
is the difficulty of passports, and the difficulty of gates, if you want
to depart early.  Then the difficulties of patching harness on the road,
and, above all, the inflexible _sang froid_ of drivers.  All these things
considered, you will not wonder that we came here a day after we
intended, and arrived at night, when we ought to have arrived at noon.
--The carriage wanted a trifling repair, and we could get neither
passports nor horses.  The horses were gone to the army--the municipality
to the club--and the blacksmith was employed at the barracks in making a
patriotic harangue to the soldiers.--But we at length surmounted all
these obstacles, and reached this place last night.

The road between Arras and Lisle is equally rich with that we before
passed, but is much more diversified.  The plain of Lens is not such a
scene of fertility, that one forgets it has once been that of war and
carnage.  We endeavoured to learn in the town whereabouts the column was
erected that commemmorates that famous battle, [1648.] but no one seemed
to know any thing of the matter.  One who, we flattered ourselves, looked
more intelligent than the rest, and whom we supposed might be an
attorney, upon being asked for this spot,--(where, added Mr. de ____, by
way of assisting his memory, _"le Prince de Conde s'est battu si bien,"_)
--replied, _"Pour la bataille je n'en sais rien, mais pour le Prince de
Conde il y a deja quelque tems qu'il est emigre--on le dit a Coblentz."_*
After this we thought it in vain to make any farther enquiry, and
continued our walk about the town.

     *"Where the Prince of Conde fought so gallantly."--"As to the battle
     I know nothing about the matter; but for the Prince of Conde he
     emigrated some time since--they say he is at Coblentz."

Mr. P____, who, according to French custom, had not breakfasted, took a
fancy to stop at a baker's shop and buy a roll.  The man bestowed so much
more civility on us than our two sols were worth, that I observed, on
quitting the shop, I was sure he must be an Aristocrate.  Mr. P____, who
is a warm Constitutionalist, disputed the justice of my inference, and we
agreed to return, and learn the baker's political principles.  After
asking for more rolls, we accosted him with the usual phrase, "Et vous,
Monsieur, vous etes bon patriote?"--_"Ah, mon Dieu, oui,_ (replied he,)
_il faut bien l'etre a present."_*

     *"And you, Sir, are without doubt, a good patriot?"--"Oh Lord, Sir,
     yes; one's obliged to be so, now-a-days."

Mr. P____ admitted the man's tone of voice and countenance as good
evidence, and acknowledged I was right.--It is certain that the French
have taken it into their heads, that coarseness of manners is a necessary
consequence of liberty, and that there is a kind of leze nation in being
too civil; so that, in general, I think I can discover the principles of
shopkeepers, even without the indications of a melancholy mien at the
assignats, or lamentations on the times.

The new doctrine of primeval equality has already made some progress.  At
a small inn at Carvin, where, upon the assurance that they had every
thing in the world, we stopped to dine, on my observing they had laid
more covers than were necessary, the woman answered, "Et les domestiques,
ne dinent ils pas?"--"And, pray, are the servants to have no dinner?"

We told her not with us, and the plates were taken away; but we heard her
muttering in the kitchen, that she believed we were aristocrates going to
emigrate.  She might imagine also that we were difficult to satisfy, for
we found it impossible to dine, and left the house hungry,
notwithstanding there was "every thing in the world" in it.

On the road between Carvin and Lisle we saw Dumouriez, who is going to
take the command of the army, and has now been visiting the camp of
Maulde.  He appears to be under the middle size, about fifty years of
age, with a brown complexion, dark eyes, and an animated countenance.  He
was not originally distinguished either by birth or fortune, and has
arrived at his present situation by a concurrence of fortuitous
circumstances, by great and various talents, much address, and a spirit
of intrigue.  He is now supported by the prevailing party; and, I
confess, I could not regard with much complacence a man, whom the
machinations of the Jacobins had forced into the ministry, and whose
hypocritical and affected resignation has contributed to deceive the
people, and ruin the King.

Lisle has all the air of a great town, and the mixture of commercial
industry and military occupation gives it a very gay and populous
appearance.  The Lillois are highly patriotic, highly incensed against
the Austrians, and regard the approaching siege with more contempt than
apprehension.  I asked the servant who was making my bed this morning,
how far the enemy was off.  _"Une lieue et demie, ou deux lieues, a moins
qu'ils ne soient plus avances depuis hier,"_* repled she, with the utmost
indifference.--I own, I did not much approve of such a vicinage, and a
view of the fortifications (which did not make the less impression,
because I did not understand them,) was absolutely necessary to raise my
drooping courage.

     *"A league and a half, or two leagues; unless, indeed, they have
     advanced since yesterday."

This morning was dedicated to visiting the churches, citadel, and
Collisee (a place of amusement in the manner of our Vauxhall); but all
these things have been so often described by much abler pens, that I
cannot modestly pretend to add any thing on the subject.

In the evening we were at the theatre, which is large and handsome; and
the constant residence of a numerous garrison enables it to entertain a
very good set of performers:--their operas in particular are extremely
well got up.  I saw Zemire et Azor given better than at Drury Lane.--In
the farce, which was called Le Francois a Londres, was introduced a
character they called that of an Englishman, (Jack Roastbeef,) who pays
his addresses to a nobleman's daughter, in a box coate, a large hat
slouched over his eyes, and an oaken trowel in his hand--in short, the
whole figure exactly resembling that of a watchman.  His conversation is
gross and sarcastic, interlarded with oaths, or relieved by fits of
sullen taciturnity--such a lover as one may suppose, though rich, and the
choice of the lady's father, makes no impression; and the author has
flattered the national vanity by making the heroine give the preference
to a French marquis.  Now there is no doubt but nine-tenths of the
audience thought this a good portraiture of the English character, and
enjoyed it with all the satisfaction of conscious superiority.--The
ignorance that prevails with regard to our manners and customs, among a
people so near us, is surprizing.  It is true, that the noblesse who have
visited England with proper recommendations, and have been introduced to
the best society, do us justice: the men of letters also, who, from party
motives, extol every thing English, have done us perhaps more than
justice.  But I speak of the French in general; not the lower classes
only, but the gentry of the provinces, and even those who in other
respects have pretensions to information.  The fact is, living in England
is expensive: a Frenchman, whose income here supports him as a gentleman,
goes over and finds all his habits of oeconomy insufficient to keep him
from exceeding the limits he had prescribed to himself.  His decent
lodging alone costs him a great part of his revenue, and obliges him to
be strictly parsimonious of the rest.  This drives him to associate
chiefly with his own countrymen, to dine at obscure coffee-houses, and
pay his court to opera-dancers.  He sees, indeed, our theatres, our
public walks, the outside of our palaces, and the inside of churches: but
this gives him no idea of the manners of the people in superior life, or
even of easy fortune.  Thus he goes home, and asserts to his untravelled
countrymen, that our King and nobility are ill lodged, our churches mean,
and that the English are barbarians, who dine without soup, use no
napkin, and eat with their knives.--I have heard a gentleman of some
respectability here observe, that our usual dinner was an immense joint
of meat half drest, and a dish of vegetables scarcely drest at all.--Upon
questioning him, I discovered he had lodged in St. Martin's Lane, had
likewise boarded at a country attorney's of the lowest class, and dined
at an ordinary at Margate.

Some few weeks ago the Marquis de P____ set out from Paris in the
diligence, and accompanied by his servant, with a design of emigrating.
Their only fellow-traveller was an Englishman, whom they frequently
addressed, and endeavoured to enter into conversation with; but he either
remained silent, or gave them to understand he was entirely ignorant of
the language.  Under this persuasion the Marquis and his valet freely
discussed their affairs, arranged their plan of emigration, and
expressed, with little ceremony, their political opinions.--At the end of
their journey they were denounced by their companion, and conducted to
prison.  The magistrate who took the information mentioned the
circumstance when I happened to be present.  Indignant at such an act in
an Englishman, I enquired his name.  You will judge of my surprize, when
he assured me it was the English Ambassador.  I observed to him, that it
was not common for our Ambassadors to travel in stage-coaches: this, he
said, he knew; but that having reason to suspect the Marquis, Monsieur
l'Ambassadeur had had the goodness to have him watched, and had taken
this journey on purpose to detect him.  It was not without much
reasoning, and the evidence of a lady who had been in England long enough
to know the impossibility of such a thing, that I would justify Lord
G____ from this piece of complaisance to the Jacobins, and convince the
worthy magistrate he had been imposed upon: yet this man is the Professor
of Eloquence at a college, is the oracle of the Jacobin society; and may
perhaps become a member of the Convention.  This seems so almost
incredibly absurd, that I should fear to repeat it, were it not known to
many besides myself; but I think I may venture to pronounce, from my own
observation, and that of others, whose judgement, and occasions of
exercising it, give weight to their opinions, that the generality of the
French who have read a little are mere pedants, nearly unacquainted with
modern nations, their commercial and political relation, their internal
laws, characters, or manners.  Their studies are chiefly confined to
Rollin and Plutarch, the deistical works of Voltaire, and the visionary
politics of Jean Jaques.  Hence they amuse their hearers with allusions
to Caesar and Lycurgus, the Rubicon, and Thermopylae.  Hence they pretend
to be too enlightened for belief, and despise all governments not founded
on the Contrat Social, or the Profession de Foi.--They are an age removed
from the useful literature and general information of the middle classes
in their own country--they talk familiarly of Sparta and Lacedemon, and
have about the same idea of Russia as they have of Caffraria.  Yours.


"Married to another, and that before those shoes were old with which she
followed my poor father to the grave."--There is scarcely any
circumstance, or situation, in which, if one's memory were good, one
should not be mentally quoting Shakespeare.  I have just now been
whispering the above, as I passed the altar of liberty, which still
remains on the Grande Place.  But "a month, a little month," ago, on this
altar the French swore to maintain the constitution, and to be faithful
to the law and the King; yet this constitution is no more, the laws are
violated, the King is dethroned, and the altar is now only a monument of
levity and perjury, which they have not feeling enough to remove.

The Austrians are daily expected to besiege this place, and they may
destroy, but they will not take it.  I do not, as you may suppose,
venture to speak so decisively in a military point of view--I know as
little as possible of the excellencies of Vauban, or the adequacy of the
garrison; but I draw my inference from the spirit of enthusiasm which
prevails among the inhabitants of every class--every individual seems to
partake of it: the streets resound with patriotic acclamations, patriotic
songs, war, and defiance.--Nothing can be more animating than the
theatre.  Every allusion to the Austrians, every song or sentence,
expressive of determined resistance, is followed by bursts of assent,
easily distinguishable not to be the effort of party, but the sentiment
of the people in general.  There are, doubtless, here, as in all other
places, party dissensions; but the threatened siege seems at least to
have united all for their common defence: they know that a bomb makes no
distinction between Feuillans, Jacobins, or Aristocrates, and neither are
so anxious to destroy the other, when it is only to be done at such a
risk to themselves.  I am even willing to hope that something better than
mere selfishness has a share in their uniting to preserve one of the
finest, and, in every sense, one of the most interesting, towns in

Lisle, Saturday.

We are just on our departure for Arras, where, I fear, we shall scarcely
arrive before the gates are shut.  We have been detained here much beyond
our time, by a circumstance infinitely shocking, though, in fact, not
properly a subject of regret.  One of the assassins of General Dillon was
this morning guillotined before the hotel where we are lodged.--I did
not, as you will conclude, see the operation; but the mere circumstance
of knowing the moment it was performed, and being so near it, has much
unhinged me.  The man, however, deserved his fate, and such an example
was particularly necessary at this time, when we are without a
government, and the laws are relaxed.  The mere privation of life is,
perhaps, more quickly effected by this instrument than by any other
means; but when we recollect that the preparation for, and apprehension
of, death, constitute its greatest terrors; that a human hand must give
motion to the Guillotine as well as to the axe; and that either accustoms
a people, already sanguinary, to the sight of blood, I think little is
gained by the invention.  It was imagined by a Mons. Guillotin, a
physician of Paris, and member of the Constituent Assembly.  The original
design seems not so much to spare pain to the criminal, as obloquy to the
executioner.  I, however, perceive little difference between a man's
directing a Guillotine, or tying a rope; and I believe the people are of
the same opinion.  They will never see any thing but a _bourreau_
[executioner] in the man whose province it is to execute the sentence of
the laws, whatever name he may be called by, or whatever instrument he
may make use of.--I have concluded this letter with a very unpleasant
subject, but my pen is guided by circumstances, and I do not invent, but
communicate.--Adieu.  Yours, &c.

Arras, September 1, 1792.

Had I been accompanied by an antiquary this morning, his sensibility
would have been severely exercised; for even I, whose respect for
antiquity is not scientific, could not help lamenting the modern rage for
devastation which has seized the French.  They are removing all "the
time-honoured figures" of the cathedral, and painting its massive
supporters in the style of a ball-room.  The elaborate uncouthness of
ancient sculpture is not, indeed, very beautiful; yet I have often
fancied there was something more simply pathetic in the aukward effigy of
an hero kneeling amidst his trophies, or a regal pair with their
supplicating hands and surrounding offspring, than in the graceful
figures and poetic allegories of the modern artist.  The humble intreaty
to the reader to "praye for the soule of the departed," is not very
elegant--yet it is better calculated to recall the wanderings of
morality, than the flattering epitaph, a Fame hovering in the air, or the
suspended wreath of the remunerating angel.--But I moralize in vain--the
rage of these new Goths is inexorable: they seem solicitous to destroy
every vestige of civilization, lest the people should remember they have
not always been barbarians.

After obtaining an order from the municipality, we went to see the
gardens and palace of the Bishop, who has emigrated.  The garden has
nothing very remarkable, but is large and well laid out, according to the
old style.  It forms a very agreeable walk, and, when the Bishop possest
it, was open for the enjoyment of the inhabitants, but it is now shut up
and in disorder.  The house is plain, and substantially furnished, and
exhibits no appearance of unbecoming luxury.  The whole is now the
property of the nation, and will soon be disposed of.--I could not help
feeling a sensation of melancholy as we walked over the apartments.
Every thing is marked in an inventory, just as left; and an air of
arrangement and residence leads one to reflect, that the owner did not
imagine at his departure he was quitting it perhaps for ever.  I am not
partial to the original emigrants, yet much may be said for the Bishop of
Arras.  He was pursued by ingratitude, and marked for persecution.  The
Robespierres were young men whom he had taken from a mean state, had
educated, and patronized.  The revolution gave them an opportunity of
displaying their talents, and their talents procured them popularity.
They became enemies to the clergy, because their patron was a Bishop; and
endeavoured to render their benefactor odious, because the world could
not forget, nor they forgive, how much they were indebted to him.--Vice
is not often passive; nor is there often a medium between gratitude for
benefits, and hatred to the author of them.  A little mind is hurt by the
remembrance of obligation--begins by forgetting, and, not uncommonly,
ends by persecuting.

We dined and passed the afternoon from home to-day.  After dinner our
hostess, as usual, proposed cards; and, as usual in French societies,
every one assented: we waited, however, some time, and no cards came--
till, at length, conversation-parties were formed, and they were no
longer thought of.  I have since learned, from one of the young women of
the house, that the butler and two footmen had all betaken themselves to
clubs and Guinguettes,* and the cards, counters, &c. could not be

     * Small public houses in the vicinity of large towns, where the
     common people go on Sundays and festivals to dance and make merry.

This is another evil arising from the circumstances of the times.  All
people of property have begun to bury their money and plate, and as the
servants are often unavoidably privy to it, they are become idle and
impertinent--they make a kind of commutation of diligence for fidelity,
and imagine that the observance of the one exempts them from the
necessity of the other.  The clubs are a constant receptacle for
idleness; and servants who think proper to frequent them do it with very
little ceremony, knowing that few whom they serve would be imprudent
enough to discharge them for their patriotism in attending a Jacobin
society.  Even servants who are not converts to the new principle cannot
resist the temptation of abusing a little the power which they acquire
from a knowledge of family affairs.  Perhaps the effect of the revolution
has not, on the whole, been favourable to the morals of the lower class
of people; but this shall be the subject of discussion at some future
period, when I shall have had farther opportunities of judging.

We yesterday visited the Oratoire, a seminary for education, which is now
suppressed.  The building is immense, and admirably calculated for the
purpose, but is already in a state of dilapidation; so that, I fear, by
the time the legislature has determined what system of instruction shall
be substituted for that which has been abolished, the children (as the
French are fond of examples from the ancients) will take their lessons,
like the Greeks, in the open air; and, in the mean while, become expert
in lying and thieving, like the Spartans.

The Superior of the house is an immoderate revolutionist, speaks English
very well, and is a great admirer of our party writers.  In his room I
observed a vast quantity of English books, and on his chimney stood what
he called a patriotic clock, the dial of which was placed between two
pyramids, on which were inscribed the names of republican authors, and on
the top of one was that of our countryman, Mr. Thomas Paine--whom, by the
way, I understand you intended to exhibit in a much more conspicuous and
less tranquil situation.  I assure you, though you are ungrateful on your
side of the water, he is in high repute here--his works are translated--
all the Jacobins who can read quote, and all who can't, admire him; and
possibly, at the very moment you are sentencing him to an installment in
the pillory, we may be awarding him a triumph.--Perhaps we are both
right.  He deserves the pillory, from you for having endeavoured to
destroy a good constitution--and the French may with equal reason grant
him a triumph, as their constitution is likely to be so bad, that even
Mr. Thomas Paine's writings may make it better!

Our house is situated within view of a very pleasant public walk, where I
am daily amused with a sight of the recruits at their exercise.  This is
not quite so regular a business as the drill in the Park.  The exercise
is often interrupted by disputes between the officer and his eleves--some
are for turning to the right, others to the left, and the matter is not
unfrequently adjusted by each going the way that seemeth best unto
himself.  The author of the _"Actes des Apotres"_ [The Acts of the
Apostles] cites a Colonel who reprimanded one of his corps for walking
ill--_"Eh Dicentre,_ (replied the man,) _comment veux tu que je marche
bien quand tu as fait mes souliers trop etroits."_* but this is no longer
a pleasantry--such circumstances are very common.  A Colonel may often be
tailor to his own regiment, and a Captain operated on the heads of his
whole company, in his civil capacity, before he commands them in his
military one.

     *"And how the deuce can you expect me to march well, when you have
     made my shoes too tight?"

The walks I have just mentioned have been extremely beautiful, but a
great part of the trees have been cut down, and the ornamental parts
destroyed, since the revolution--I know not why, as they were open to the
poor as well as the rich, and were a great embellishment to the low town.
You may think it strange that I should be continually dating some
destruction from the aera of the revolution--that I speak of every thing
demolished, and of nothing replaced.  But it is not my fault--"If freedom
grows destructive, I must paint it:" though I should tell you, that in
many streets where convents have been sold, houses are building with the
materials on the same site.--This is, however, not a work of the nation,
but of individuals, who have made their purchases cheap, and are
hastening to change the form of their property, lest some new revolution
should deprive them of it.--Yours, &c.

Arras, September.

Nothing more powerfully excites the attention of a stranger on his first
arrival, than the number and wretchedness of the poor at Arras.  In all
places poverty claims compulsion, but here compassion is accompanied by
horror--one dares not contemplate the object one commiserates, and
charity relieves with an averted eye.  Perhaps with Him, who regards
equally the forlorn beggar stretched on the threshold, consumed by filth
and disease, and the blooming beauty who avoids while she succours him,
the offering of humanity scarcely expiates the involuntary disgust; yet
such is the weakness of our nature, that there exists a degree of misery
against which one's senses are not proof, and benevolence itself revolts
at the appearance of the poor of Arras.--These are not the cold and
fastidious reflections of an unfeeling mind--they are not made without
pain: nor have I often felt the want of riches and consequence so much as
in my incapacity to promote some means of permanent and substantial
remedy for the evils I have been describing.  I have frequently enquired
the cause of this singular misery, but can only learn that it always has
been so.  I fear it is, that the poor are without energy, and the rich
without generosity.  The decay of manufactures since the last century
must have reduced many families to indigence.  These have been able to
subsist on the refuse of luxury, but, too supine for exertion, they have
sought for nothing more; while the great, discharging their consciences
with the superfluity of what administered to their pride, fostered the
evil, instead of endeavouring to remedy it.  But the benevolence of the
French is not often active, nor extensive; it is more frequently a
religious duty than a sentiment.  They content themselves with affording
a mere existence to wretchedness; and are almost strangers to those
enlightened and generous efforts which act beyond the moment, and seek
not only to relieve poverty, but to banish it.  Thus, through the frigid
and indolent charity of the rich, the misery which was at first
accidental is perpetuated, beggary and idleness become habitual, and are
transmitted, like more fortunate inheritances, from one generation to
another.--This is not a mere conjecture--I have listened to the histories
of many of these unhappy outcasts, who were more than thirty years old,
and they have all told me, they were born in the state in which I beheld
them, and that they did not remember to have heard that their parents
were in any other.  The National Assembly profess to effectuate an entire
regeneration of the country, and to eradicate all evils, moral, physical,
and political.  I heartily wish the numerous and miserable poor, with
which Arras abounds, may become one of the first objects of reform; and
that a nation which boasts itself the most polished, the most powerful,
and the most philosophic in the world, may not offer to the view so many
objects shocking to humanity.

The citadel of Arras is very strong, and, as I am told, the chef d'oeuvre
of Vauban; but placed with so little judgement, that the military call it
_la belle inutile_ [the useless beauty].  It is now uninhabited, and
wears an appearance of desolation--the commandant and all the officers of
the ancient government having been forced to abandon it; their houses
also are much damaged, and the gardens entirely destroyed.--I never heard
that this popular commotion had any other motive than the general war of
the new doctrines on the old.

I am sorry to see that most of the volunteers who go to join the army are
either old men or boys, tempted by extraordinary pay and scarcity of
employ.  A cobler who has been used to rear canary-birds for Mad. de
____, brought us this morning all the birds he was possessed of, and told
us he was going to-morrow to the frontiers.  We asked him why, at his
age, he should think of joining the army.  He said, he had already
served, and that there were a few months unexpired of the time that would
entitle him to his pension.--"Yes; but in the mean while you may get
killed; and then of what service will your claim to a pension be?"--
_"N'ayez pas peur, Madame--Je me menagerai bien--on ne se bat pas pour ces
gueux la comme pour son Roi."_*

     * "No fear of that, Madam--I'll take good care of myself: a man does
     not fight for such beggarly rascals as these as he would for his

M. de ____ is just returned from the camp of Maulde, where he has been to
see his son.  He says, there is great disorder and want of discipline,
and that by some means or other the common soldiers abound more in money,
and game higher, than their officers.  There are two young women,
inhabitants of the town of St. Amand, who go constantly out on all
skirmishing parties, exercise daily with the men, and have killed several
of the enemy.  They are both pretty--one only sixteen, the other a year
or two older.  Mr. de ____ saw them as they were just returning from a
reconnoitring party.  Perhaps I ought to have been ashamed after this
recital to decline an invitation from Mr. de R___'s son to dine with him
at the camp; but I cannot but feel that I am an extreme coward, and that
I should eat with no appetite in sight of an Austrian army.  The very
idea of these modern Camillas terrifies me--their creation seems an error
of nature.*

     * Their name was Fernig; they were natives of St. Amand, and of no
     remarkable origin.  They followed Dumouriez into Flanders, where
     they signalized themselves greatly, and became Aides-de-Camp to that
     General.  At the time of his defection, one of them was shot by a
     soldier, whose regiment she was endeavouring to gain over.  Their
     house having been razed by the Austrians at the beginning of the
     war, was rebuilt at the expence of the nation; but, upon their
     participation in Dumouriez' treachery, a second decree of the
     Assembly again levelled it with the ground.

Our host, whose politeness is indefatigable, accompanied us a few days
ago to St. Eloy, a large and magnificent abbey, about six miles from
Arras.  It is built on a terrace, which commands the surrounding country
as far as Douay; and I think I counted an hundred and fifty steps from
the house to the bottom of the garden, which is on a level with the road.
The cloisters are paved with marble, and the church neat and beautiful
beyond description.  The iron work of the choir imitates flowers and
foliage with so much taste and delicacy, that (but for the colour) one
would rather suppose it to be soil, than any durable material.--The monks
still remain, and although the decree has passed for their suppression,
they cannot suppose it will take place.  They are mostly old men, and,
though I am no friend to these institutions, they were so polite and
hospitable that I could not help wishing they were permitted, according
to the design of the first Assembly, to die in their habitations--
especially as the situation of St. Eloy renders the building useless for
any other purpose.--A friend of Mr. de ____ has a charming country-house
near the abbey, which he has been obliged to deny himself the enjoyment
of, during the greatest part of the summer; for whenever the family
return to Arras, their persons and their carriage are searched at the
gate, as strictly as though they were smugglers just arrived from the
coast, under the pretence that they may assist the religious of St. Eloy
in securing some of their property, previous to the final seizure.

I observe, in walking the streets here, that the common people still
retain much of the Spanish cast of features: the women are remarkably
plain, and appear still more so by wearing faals.  The faal is about two
ells of black silk or stuff, which is hung, without taste or form, on the
head, and is extremely unbecoming: but it is worn only by the lower
class, or by the aged and devotees.

I am a very voluminous correspondent, but if I tire you, it is a proper
punishment for your insincerity in desiring me to continue so.  I have
heard of a governor of one of our West India islands who was universally
detested by its inhabitants, but who, on going to England, found no
difficulty in procuring addresses expressive of approbation and esteem.
The consequence was, he came back and continued governor for life.--Do
you make the application of my anecdote, and I shall persevere in
scribbling.--Every Yours.


It is not fashionable at present to frequent any public place; but as we
are strangers, and of no party, we often pass our evenings at the
theatre.  I am fond of it--not so much on account of the representation,
as of the opportunity which it affords for observing the dispositions of
the people, and the bias intended to be given them.  The stage is now
become a kind of political school, where the people are taught hatred to
Kings, Nobility, and Clergy, according as the persecution of the moment
requires; and, I think, one may often judge from new pieces the meditated
sacrifice.  A year ago, all the sad catalogue of human errors were
personified in Counts and Marquisses; they were not represented as
individuals whom wealth and power had made something too proud, and much
too luxurious, but as an order of monsters, whose existence,
independently of their characters, was a crime, and whose hereditary
possessions alone implied a guilt, not to be expiated but by the
forfeiture of them.  This, you will say, was not very judicious; and that
by establishing a sort of incompatibility of virtue with titular
distinctions, the odium was transferred from the living to the dead--from
those who possessed these distinctions to those who instituted them.
But, unfortunately, the French were disposed to find their noblesse
culpable, and to reject every thing which tended to excuse or favour
them.  The hauteur of the noblesse acted as a fatal equivalent to every
other crime; and many, who did not credit other imputations, rejoiced in
the humiliation of their pride.  The people, the rich merchants, and even
the lesser gentry, all eagerly concurred in the destruction of an order
that had disdained or excluded them; and, perhaps, of all the innovations
which have taken place, the abolition of rank has excited the least

It is now less necessary to blacken the noblesse, and the compositions of
the day are directed against the Throne, the Clergy, and Monastic Orders.
All the tyrants of past ages are brought from the shelves of faction and
pedantry, and assimilated to the mild and circumscribed monarchs of
modern Europe.  The doctrine of popular sovereignty is artfully
instilled, and the people are stimulated to exert a power which they must
implicitly delegate to those who have duped and misled them.  The frenzy
of a mob is represented as the sublimest effort of patriotism; and
ambition and revenge, usurping the title of national justice, immolate
their victims with applause.  The tendency of such pieces is too obvious;
and they may, perhaps, succeed in familiarizing the minds of the people
to events which, a few months ago, would have filled them with horror.
There are also numerous theatrical exhibitions, preparatory to the
removal of the nuns from their convents, and to the banishment of the
priests.  Ancient prejudices are not yet obliterated, and I believe some
pains have been taken to justify these persecutions by calumny.  The
history of our dissolution of the monasteries has been ransacked for
scandal, and the bigotry and biases of all countries are reduced into
abstracts, and exposed on the stage.  The most implacable revenge, the
most refined malice, the extremes of avarice and cruelty, are wrought
into tragedies, and displayed as acting under the mask of religion and
the impunity of a cloister; while operas and farces, with ridicule still
more successful, exhibit convents as the abode of licentiousness,
intrigue, and superstition.

These efforts have been sufficiently successful--not from the merit of
the pieces, but from the novelty of the subject.  The people in general
were strangers to the interior of convents: they beheld them with that
kind of respect which is usually produced in uninformed minds by mystery
and prohibition.  Even the monastic habit was sacred from dramatic uses;
so that a representation of cloisters, monks, and nuns, their costumes
and manners, never fails to attract the multitude.--But the same cause
which renders them curious, makes them credulous.  Those who have seen no
farther than the Grille, and those who have been educated in convents,
are equally unqualified to judge of the lives of the religious; and their
minds, having no internal conviction or knowledge of the truth, easily
become the converts of slander and falsehood.

I cannot help thinking, that there is something mean and cruel in this
procedure.  If policy demand the sacrifice, it does not require that the
victims should be rendered odious; and if it be necessary to dispossess
them of their habitations, they ought not, at the moment they are thrown
upon the world, to be painted as monsters unworthy of its pity or
protection.  It is the cowardice of the assassin, who murders before he
dares to rob.

This custom of making public amusements subservient to party, has, I
doubt not, much contributed to the destruction of all against whom it has
been employed; and theatrical calumny seems to be always the harbinger of
approaching ruin to its object; yet this is not the greatest evil which
may arise from these insidious politics--they are equally unfavourable
both to the morals and taste of the people; the first are injured beyond
calculation, and the latter corrupted beyond amendment.  The orders of
society, which formerly inspired respect or veneration, are now debased
and exploded; and mankind, once taught to see nothing but vice and
hypocrisy in those whom they had been accustomed to regard as models of
virtue, are easily led to doubt the very existence of virtue itself: they
know not where to turn for either instruction or example; no prospect is
offered to them but the dreary and uncomfortable view of general
depravity; and the individual is no longer encouraged to struggle with
vicious propensities, when he concludes them irresistibly inherent in his
nature.  Perhaps it was not possible to imagine principles at once so
seductive and ruinous as those now disseminated.  How are the morals of
the people to resist a doctrine which teaches them that the rich only can
be criminal, and that poverty is a substitute for virtue--that wealth is
holden by the sufferance of those who do not possess it--and that he who
is the frequenter of a club, or the applauder of a party, is exempt from
the duties of his station, and has a right to insult and oppress his
fellow citizens?  All the weaknesses of humanity are flattered and called
to the aid of this pernicious system of revolutionary ethics; and if
France yet continue in a state of civilization, it is because Providence
has not yet abandoned her to the influence of such a system.

Taste is, I repeat it, as little a gainer by the revolution as morals.
The pieces which were best calculated to form and refine the minds of the
people, all abound with maxims of loyalty, with respect for religion, and
the subordinations of civil society.  These are all prohibited; and are
replaced by fustian declamations, tending to promote anarchy and discord
--by vulgar and immoral farces, and insidious and flattering panegyrics
on the vices of low life.  No drama can succeed that is not supported by
the faction; and this support is to be procured only by vilifying the
Throne, the Clergy, and Noblesse.  This is a succedaneum for literary
merit, and those who disapprove are menaced into silence; while the
multitude, who do not judge but imitate, applaud with their leaders--and
thus all their ideas become vitiated, and imbibe the corruption of their
favourite amusement.

I have dwelt on this subject longer than I intended; but as I would not
be supposed prejudiced nor precipitate in my assertions, I will, by the
first occasion, send you some of the most popular farces and tragedies:
you may then decide yourself upon the tendency; and, by comparing the
dispositions of the French before, and within, the last two years, you
may also determine whether or not my conclusions are warranted by fact.


Our countrymen who visit France for the first time--their imaginations
filled with the epithets which the vanity of one nation has appropriated,
and the indulgence of the other sanctioned--are astonished to find this
"land of elegance," this refined people, extremely inferior to the
English in all the arts that minister to the comfort and accommodation of
life.  They are surprized to feel themselves starved by the intrusion of
all the winds of heaven, or smothered by volumes of smoke--that no lock
will either open or shut--that the drawers are all immoveable--and that
neither chairs nor tables can be preserved in equilibrium.  In vain do
they inquire for a thousand conveniences which to them seem
indispensible; they are not to be procured, or even their use is unknown:
till at length, after a residence in a score of houses, in all of which
they observe the same deficiencies, they begin to grow sceptical, to
doubt the pretended superiority of France, and, perhaps for the first
time, do justice to their own unassuming country.  It must however, be
confessed, that if the chimnies smoke, they are usually surrounded by
marble--that the unstable chair is often covered with silk--and that if a
room be cold, it is plentifully decked with gilding, pictures, and
glasses.--In short, a French house is generally more showy than
convenient, and seldom conveys that idea of domestic comfort which
constitutes the luxury of an Englishman.

I observe, that the most prevailing ornaments here are family portraits:
almost every dwelling, even among the lower kind of tradesmen, is peopled
with these ensigns of vanity; and the painters employed on these
occasions, however deficient in other requisites of their art, seem to
have an unfortunate knack at preserving likenesses.  Heads powdered even
whiter than the originals, laced waistcoats, enormous lappets, and
countenances all ingeniously disposed so as to smile at each other,
encumber the wainscot, and distress the unlucky visitor, who is obliged
to bear testimony to the resemblance.  When one sees whole rooms filled
with these figures, one cannot help reflecting on the goodness of
Providence, which thus distributes self-love, in proportion as it denies
those gifts that excite the admiration of others.

You must not understand what I have said on the furniture of French
houses as applying to those of the nobility or people of extraordinary
fortunes, because they are enabled to add the conveniences of other
countries to the luxuries of their own.  Yet even these, in my opinion,
have not the uniform elegance of an English habitation: there is always
some disparity between the workmanship and the materials--some mixture of
splendour and clumsiness, and a want of what the painters call keeping;
but the houses of the gentry, the lesser noblesse, and merchants, are,
for the most part, as I have described---abounding in silk, marble,
glasses, and pictures; but ill finished, dirty, and deficient in articles
of real use.--I should, however, notice, that genteel people are cleaner
here than in the interior parts of the kingdom.  The floors are in
general of oak, or sometimes of brick; but they are always rubbed bright,
and have not that filthy appearance which so often disgusts one in French

The heads of the lower classes of people are much disturbed by these new
principles of universal equality.  We enquired of a man we saw near a
coach this morning if it was hired.  "Monsieur--(quoth he--then checking
himself suddenly,)--no, I forgot, I ought not to say Monsieur, for they
tell me I am equal to any body in the world: yet, after all, I know not
well if this may be true; and as I have drunk out all I am worth, I
believe I had better go home and begin work again to-morrow."  This new
disciple of equality had, indeed, all the appearance of having sacrificed
to the success of the cause, and was then recovering from a dream of
greatness which he told us had lasted two days.

Since the day of taking the new oath we have met many equally elevated,
though less civil.  Some are undoubtedly paid, but others will distress
their families for weeks by this celebration of their new discoveries,
and must, after all, like our intoxicated philosopher, be obliged to
return "to work again to-morrow."

I must now bid you adieu--and, in doing so, naturally turn my thoughts to
that country where the rights of the people consist not of sterile and
metaphysic declarations, but of real defence and protection.  May they
for ever remain uninterrupted by the devastating chimeras of their
neighbours; and if they seek reform, may it be moderate and permanent,
acceded to reason, and not extorted by violence!--Yours, &c.

September 2, 1792.

We were so much alarmed at the theatre on Thursday, that I believe we
shall not venture again to amuse ourselves at the risk of a similar
occurrence.  About the middle of the piece, a violent outcry began from
all parts of the house, and seemed to be directed against our box; and I
perceived Madame Duchene, the Presidente of the Jacobins, heading the
legions of Paradise with peculiar animation.  You may imagine we were not
a little terrified.  I anxiously examined the dress of myself and my
companions, and observing nothing that could offend the affected
simplicity of the times, prepared to quit the house.  A friendly voice,
however, exerting itself above the clamour, informed us that the
offensive objects were a cloak and a shawl which hung over the front of
the box.--You will scarcely suppose such grossness possible among a
civilized people; but the fact is, our friends are of the proscribed
class, and we were insulted because in their society.--I have before
noticed, that the guards which were stationed in the theatre before the
revolution are now removed, and a municipal officer, made conspicuous by
his scarf, is placed in the middle front box, and, in case of any tumult,
is empowered to call in the military to his assistance.

We have this morning been visiting two objects, which exhibit this
country in very different points of view--as the seat of wealth, and the
abode of poverty.  The first is the abbey of St. Vaast, a most superb
pile, now inhabited by monks of various orders, but who are preparing to
quit it, in obedience to the late decrees.  Nothing impresses one with a
stronger idea of the influence of the Clergy, than these splendid
edifices.  We see them reared amidst the solitude of deserts, and in the
gaiety and misery of cities; and while they cheer the one and embellish
the other, they exhibit, in both, monuments of indefatigable labour and
immense wealth.--The facade of St. Vaast is simple and striking, and the
cloisters and every other part of the building are extremely handsome.
The library is supposed to be the finest in France, except the King's,
but is now under the seal of the nation.  A young monk, who was our
Cicerone, told us he was sorry it was not in his power to show it. _"Et
nous, Monsieur, nous sommes faches aussi."_--["And we are not less sorry
than yourself, Sir."]

Thus, with the aid of significant looks, and gestures of disapprobation,
an exchange of sentiments took place, without a single expression of
treasonable import: both parties understood perfectly well, that in
regretting that the library was inaccessible, each included all the
circumstances which attended it.--A new church was building in a style
worthy of the convent--I think, near four hundred feet long; but it was
discontinued at the suppression of the religious orders, and will now, of
course, never be finished.

From this abode of learned case and pious indolence Mr. de ____ conducted
us to the Mont de Piete, a national institution for lending money to the
poor on pledges, (at a moderate interest,) which, if not redeemed within
a year, are sold by auction, and the overplus, if there remain any, after
deducting the interest, is given to the owner of the pledge.  Thousands
of small packets are deposited here, which, to the eye of affluence,
might seem the very refuse of beggary itself.--I could not reflect
without an heart-ache, on the distress of the individual, thus driven to
relinquish his last covering, braving cold to satisfy hunger, and
accumulating wretchedness by momentary relief.  I saw, in a lower room,
groupes of unfortunate beings, depriving themselves of different parts of
their apparel, and watching with solicitude the arbitrary valuations;
others exchanging some article of necessity for one of a still greater--
some in a state of intoxication, uttering execrations of despair; and all
exhibiting a picture of human nature depraved and miserable.--While I was
viewing this scene, I recalled the magnificent building we had just left,
and my first emotions were those of regret and censure.  When we only
feel, and have not leisure to reflect, we are indignant that vast sums
should be expended on sumptuous edifices, and that the poor should live
in vice and want; yet the erection of St. Vaast must have maintained
great numbers of industrious hands; and perhaps the revenues of the abbey
may not, under its new possessors, be so well employed.  When the
offerings and the tributes to religion are the support of the industrious
poor, it is their best appropriation; and he who gives labour for a day,
is a more useful benefactor than he who maintains in idleness for two.
--I could not help wishing that the poor might no longer be tempted by
the facility of a resource, which perhaps, in most instances, only
increases their distress.--It is an injudicious expedient to palliate an
evil, which great national works, and the encouragement of industry and
manufactures, might eradicate.*

     * In times of public commotion people frequently send their valuable
     effects to the Mont de Piete, not only as being secure by its
     strength, but as it is respected by the people, who are interested
     in its preservation.

--With these reflections I concluded mental peace with the monks of St.
Vaast, and would, had it depended upon me, have readily comprized the
finishing their great church in the treaty.

The Primary Assemblies have already taken place in this department.  We
happened to enter a church while the young Robespierre was haranguing to
an audience, very little respectable either in numbers or appearance.
They were, however, sufficiently unanimous, and made up in noisy applause
what they wanted in other respects.  If the electors and elected of other
departments be of the same complexion with those of Arras, the new
Assembly will not, in any respect, be preferable to the old one.  I have
reproached many of the people of this place, who, from their education
and property, have a right to take an interest in the public affairs,
with thus suffering themselves to be represented by the most desperate
and worthless individuals of the town.  Their defence is, that they are
insulted and overpowered if they attend the popular meetings, and by
electing _"les gueux et les scelerats pour deputes,"_* they send them to
Paris, and secure their own local tranquillity.

     * The scrubs and scoundrels for deputies.

--The first of these assertions is but too true, yet I cannot but think
the second a very dangerous experiment.  They remove these turbulent and
needy adventurers from the direction of a club to that of government, and
procure a partial relief by contributing to the general ruin.

Paris is said to be in extreme fermentation, and we are in some anxiety
for our friend M. P____, who was to go there from Montmorency last week.
I shall not close my letter till I have heard from him.

September 4.

I resume my pen after a sleepless night, and with an oppression of mind
not to be described.  Paris is the scene of proscription and massacres.
The prisoners, the clergy, the noblesse, all that are supposed inimical
to public faction, or the objects of private revenge, are sacrificed
without mercy.  We are here in the utmost terror and consternation--we
know not the end nor the extent of these horrors, and every one is
anxious for himself or his friends.  Our society consists mostly of
females, and we do not venture out, but hover together like the fowls of
heaven, when warned by a vague yet instinctive dread of the approaching
storm.  We tremble at the sound of voices in the street, and cry, with
the agitation of Macbeth, "there's knocking at the gate."  I do not
indeed envy, but I most sincerely regret, the peace and safety of
England.--I have no courage to add more, but will enclose a hasty
translation of the letter we received from M. P____, by last night's
post.  Humanity cannot comment upon it without shuddering.--Ever Yours,

"Rue St. Honore, Sept. 2, 1792.

"In a moment like this, I should be easily excused a breach of promise in
not writing; yet when I recollect the apprehension which the kindness of
my amiable friends will feel on my account, I determine, even amidst the
danger and desolation that surround me, to relieve them.--Would to Heaven
I had nothing more alarming to communicate than my own situation!  I may
indeed suffer by accident; but thousands of wretched victims are at this
moment marked for sacrifice, and are massacred with an execrable
imitation of rule and order: a ferocious and cruel multitude, headed by
chosen assassins, are attacking the prisons, forcing the houses of the
noblesse and priests, and, after a horrid mockery of judicial
condemnation, execute them on the spot.  The tocsin is rung, alarm guns
are fired, the streets resound with fearful shrieks, and an undefinable
sensation of terror seizes on one's heart.  I feel that I have committed
an imprudence in venturing to Paris; but the barriers are now shut, and I
must abide the event.  I know not to what these proscriptions tend, or if
all who are not their advocates are to be their victims; but an
ungovernable rage animates the people: many of them have papers in their
hands that seem to direct them to their objects, to whom they hurry in
crouds with an eager and savage fury.--I have just been obliged to quit
my pen.  A cart had stopped near my lodgings, and my ears were assailed
by the groans of anguish, and the shouts of frantic exultation.
Uncertain whether to descend or remain, I, after a moment's deliberation,
concluded it would be better to have shown myself than to have appeared
to avoid it, in case the people should enter the house, and therefore
went down with the best show of courage I could assume.--I will draw a
veil over the scene that presented itself--nature revolts, and my fair
friends would shudder at the detail.  Suffice it to say, that I saw cars,
loaded with the dead and dying, and driven by their yet ensanguined
murderers; one of whom, in a tone of exultation, cried, 'Here is a
glorious day for France!'  I endeavoured to assent, though with a
faultering voice, and, as soon as they were passed escaped to my room.
You may imagine I shall not easily recover the shock I received.--At this
moment they say, the enemy are retreating from Verdun.  At any other time
this would have been desirable, but at present one knows not what to wish
for.  Most probably, the report is only spread with the humane hope of
appeasing the mob.  They have already twice attacked the Temple; and I
tremble lest this asylum of fallen majesty should ere morning, be

"Adieu--I know not if the courier will be permitted to depart; but, as I
believe the streets are not more unsafe than the houses, I shall make an
attempt to send this.  I will write again in a few days.  If to-morrow
should prove calm, I shall be engaged in enquiring after the fate of my
friends.--I beg my respects to Mons. And Mad. de ____; and entreat you
all to be as tranquil as such circumstances will permit.--You may be
certain of hearing any news that can give you pleasure immediately.  I
have the honour to be," &c. &c.

Arras, September, 1792.

You will in future, I believe, find me but a dull correspondent.  The
natural timidity of my disposition, added to the dread which a native of
England has of any violation of domestic security, renders me unfit for
the scenes I am engaged in.  I am become stupid and melancholy, and my
letters will partake of the oppression of my mind.

At Paris, the massacres at the prisons are now over, but those in the
streets and in private houses still continue.  Scarcely a post arrives
that does not inform M. de ____ of some friend or acquaintance being
sacrificed.  Heaven knows where this is to end!

We had, for two days, notice that, pursuant to a decree of the Assembly,
commissioners were expected here at night, and that the tocsin would be
rung for every body to deliver up their arms.  We did not dare go to bed
on either of these nights, but merely lay down in our robes de chambre,
without attempting to sleep.  This dreaded business is, however, past.
Parties of the Jacobins paraded the streets yesterday morning, and
disarmed all they thought proper.  I observed they had lists in their
hands, and only went to such houses as have an external appearance of
property.  Mr. de ____, who has been in the service thirty years,
delivered his arms to a boy, who behaved to him with the utmost
insolence, whilst we sat trembling and almost senseless with fear the
whole time they remained in the house; and could I give you an idea of
their appearance, you would think my terror very justifiable.  It is,
indeed, strange and alarming, that all who have property should be
deprived of the means of defending either that or their lives, at a
moment when Paris is giving an example of tumult and assassination to
every other part of the kingdom.  Knowing no good reason for such
procedure, it is very natural to suspect a bad one.--I think, on many
accounts, we are more exposed here than at ____, and as soon as we can
procure horses we shall depart.--The following is the translation of our
last letter from Mr. P____.

"I promised my kind friends to write as soon as I should have any thing
satisfactory to communicate: but, alas! I have no hope of being the
harbinger of any thing but circumstances of a very different tendency.
I can only give you details of the horrors I have already generally
described.  Carnage has not yet ceased; and is only become more cool and
more discriminating.  All the mild characteristics annihilated; and a
frantic cruelty, which is dignified with the name of patriotism, has
usurped ever faculty, and banished both reason and mercy.

"Mons. ____, whom I have hitherto known by reputation, as an upright, and
even humane man, had a brother shut up, with a number of other priests,
at the Carmes; and, by his situation and connections, he has such
influence as might, if exerted, have preserved the latter.  The
unfortunate brother knowing this, found means, while hourly expecting his
fate, to convey a note to Mr. ____, begging he would immediately release,
and procure him an asylum.  The messenger returned with an answer, that
Mons. ____ had no relations in the enemies of his country!

"A few hours after, the massacres at the Carmes took place.--One Panis,*
who is in the Comite de Surveillance, had, a few days previous to these
dreadful events, become, I know not on what occasion, the depositary of a
large sum of money belonging to a gentleman of his section.

     * Panis has since figured on various occasions.  He is a member of
     the Convention, and was openly accused of having been an accomplice
     in the robbery of the Garde Meuble.

"A secret and frivolous denunciation was made the pretext for throwing
the owner of the money into prison, where he remained till September,
when his friends, recollecting his danger, flew to the Committee and
applied for his discharge.  Unfortunately, the only member of the
Committee present was Panis.  He promised to take measures for an
immediate release.--Perhaps he kept his word, but the release was cruel
and final--the prison was attacked, and the victim heard of no more.--You
will not be surprized at such occurrences when I tell you that G____,*
whom you must remember to have heard of as a Jacobin at ____, is
President of the Committee above mentioned--yes, an assassin is now the
protector of the public safety, and the commune of Paris the patron of a
criminal who has merited the gibbet.

     * G____ was afterwards elected (doubtless by a recommendation of the
     Jacobins) Deputy for the department of Finisterre, to which he was
     sent Commissioner by the Convention.  On account of some
     unwarrantable proceedings, and of some words that escaped him, which
     gave rise to a suspicion that he was privy to the robbery of the
     Garde Meuble, he was arrested by the municipality of Quimper
     Corentin, of which place he is a native.  The Jacobins applied for
     his discharge, and for the punishment of the municipality; but the
     Convention, who at that time rarely took any decisive measures,
     ordered G____ to be liberated, but evaded the other part of the
     petition which tended to revenge him.  The affair of the Garde
     Meuble, was, however, again brought forward; but, most probably,
     many of the members had reasons for not discussing too nearly the
     accusation against G____; and those who were not interested in
     suppressing it, were too weak or too timid to pursue it farther.

"--I know not if we are yet arrived at the climax of woe and iniquity,
but Brissot, Condorcet, Rolland, &c. and all those whose principles you
have reprobated as violent and dangerous, will now form the moderate side
of the Assembly.  Perhaps even those who are now the party most dreaded,
may one day give place to yet more desperate leaders, and become in their
turn our best alternative.  What will then be the situation of France?
Who can reflect without trembling at the prospect?--It is not yet safe to
walk the streets decently dressed; and I have been obliged to supply
myself with trowsers, a jacket, coloured neckcloths, and coarse linen,
which I take care to soil before I venture out.

"The Agrarian law is now the moral of Paris, and I had nearly lost my
life yesterday by tearing a placard written in support of it.  I did it
imprudently, not supposing I was observed; and had not some people, known
as Jacobins, come up and interfered in my behalf, the consequence might
have been fatal.--It would be difficult, and even impossible, to attempt
a description of the manners of the people of Paris at this moment: the
licentiousness common to great cities is decency compared with what
prevails in this; it has features of a peculiar and striking description,
and the general expression is that of a monstrous union of opposite
vices.  Alternately dissolute and cruel, gay and vindictive, the Parisian
vaunts amidst debauchery the triumph of assassination, and enlivens his
midnight orgies by recounting the sufferings of the massacred
aristocrates: women, whose profession it is to please, assume the _bonnet
rouge_ [red cap], and affect, as a means of seduction, an intrepid and
ferocious courage.--I cannot yet learn if Mons. S____'s sister be alive;
her situation about the Queen makes it too doubtful; but endeavour to
give him hope--many may have escaped whose fears still detain them in
concealment.  People of the first rank now inhabit garrets and cellars,
and those who appear are disguised beyond recollection; so that I do not
despair of the safety of some, who are now thought to have perished.--
I am, as you may suppose, in haste to leave this place, and I hope to
return to Montmorency tomorrow; but every body is soliciting passports.
The Hotel de Ville is besieged, and I have already attended two days
without success.--I beg my respectful homage to Monsieur and Madame de
____; and I have the honour to be, with esteem, the affectionate servant
of my friends in general.


You will read M. L____'s letter with all the grief and indignation we
have already felt, and I will make no comment on it, but to give you a
slight sketch of the history of Guermeur, whom he mentions as being
President of the Committee of Surveillance.--In the absence of a man,
whom he called his friend, he seduced his wife, and eloped with her: the
husband overtook them, and fell in the dispute which insued; when
Guermeur, to avoid being taken by the officers of justice, abandoned his
companion to her fate, and escaped alone.  After a variety of adventures,
he at length enlisted himself as a grenadier in the regiment of Dillon.
With much assurance, and talents cultivated above the situation in which
he appeared, he became popular amongst his fellow-soldiers, and the
military impunity, which is one effect of the revolution, cast a veil
over his former guilt, or rather indeed enabled him to defy the
punishment annexed to it.  When the regiment was quartered at ____, he
frequented and harangued at the Jacobin club, perverted the minds of the
soldiers by seditious addresses, till at length he was deemed qualified
to quit the character of a subordinate incendiary, and figure amongst the
assassins at Paris.  He had hitherto, I believe, acted without pay, for
he was deeply in debt, and without money or clothes; but a few days
previous to the tenth of August, a leader of the Jacobins supplied him
with both, paid his debts, procured his discharge, and sent him to Paris.
What intermediate gradations he may have passed through, I know not; but
it is not difficult to imagine the services that have advanced him to his
present situation.--It would be unsafe to risk this letter by the post,
and I close it hastily to avail myself of a present conveyance.--I
remain, Yours, &c.

Arras, September 14, 1792.

The camp of Maulde is broken up, and we deferred our journey, that we
might pass a day at Douay with M. de ____'s son.  The road within some
miles of that place is covered with corn and forage, the immediate
environs are begun to be inundated, and every thing wears the appearance
of impending hostility.  The town is so full of troops, that without the
interest of our military friends we should scarcely have procured a
lodging.  All was bustle and confusion, the enemy are very near, and the
French are preparing to form a camp under the walls.  Amidst all this, we
found it difficult to satisfy our curiosity in viewing the churches and
pictures: some of the former are shut, and the latter concealed; we
therefore contented ourselves with seeing the principal ones.

The town-house is a very handsome building, where the Parliament was
holden previous to the revolution, and where all the business of the
department of the North is now transacted.--In the council-chamber, which
is very elegantly carved, was also a picture of the present King.  They
were, at the very moment of our entrance, in the act of displacing it.
We asked the reason, and were told it was to be cut in pieces, and
portions sent to the different popular societies.--I know not if our
features betrayed the indignation we feared to express, but the man who
seemed to have directed this disposal of the portrait, told us we were
not English if we saw it with regret.  I was not much delighted with such
a compliment to our country, and was glad to escape without farther

The manners of the people seem every where much changed, and are becoming
gross and inhuman.  While we were walking on the ramparts, I happened to
have occasion to take down an address, and with the paper and pencil in
my hand turned out of the direct path to observe a chapel on one side of
it.  In a moment I was alarmed by the cries of my companions, and beheld
the musquet of the centinel pointed at me, and M. de ____ expostulating
with him.  I am not certain if he supposed I was taking a plan of the
fortifications, and meant really more than a threat; but I was
sufficiently frightened, and shall not again approach a town wall with
pencils and paper.

M. de ____ is one of the only six officers of his regiment who have not
emigrated.  With an indignation heated by the works of modern
philosophers into an enthusiastic love of republican governments, and
irritated by the contempt and opposition he has met with from those of
this own class who entertain different principles, he is now become
almost a fanatic.  What at first was only a political opinion is now a
religious tenet; and the moderate sectary has acquired the obstinacy of a
martyr, and, perhaps, the spirit of persecution.  At the beginning of the
revolution, the necessity of deciding, a youthful ardour for liberty, and
the desire of preserving his fortune, probably determined him to become a
patriot; and pride and resentment have given stability to notions which
might otherwise have fluctuated with circumstances, or yielded to time.
This is but too general the case: the friends of rational reform, and the
supporters of the ancient monarchy, have too deeply offended each other
for pardon or confidence; and the country perhaps will be sacrificed by
the mutual desertions of those most concerned in its preservation.
Actuated only by selfishness and revenge, each party willingly consents
to the ruin of its opponents.  The Clergy, already divided among
themselves, are abandoned by the Noblesse--the Noblesse are persecuted by
the commercial interest--and, in short, the only union is amongst the
Jacobins; that is, amongst a few weak persons who are deceived, and a
banditti who betray and profit by their "patriotism."

I was led to these reflections by my conversation with Mr. de L____ and
his companions.  I believe they do not approve of the present extremes,
yet they expressed themselves with the utmost virulence against the
aristocrates, and would hear neither of reconcilement nor palliation.  On
the other hand, these dispositions were not altogether unprovoked--the
young men had been persecuted by their relations, and banished the
society of their acquaintance; and their political opinions had acted as
an universal proscription.  There were even some against whom the doors
of the parental habitation were shut.--These party violences are
terrible; and I was happy to perceive that the reciprocal claims of duty
and affection were not diminished by them, either in M. de ____, or his
son.  He, however, at first refused to come to A____, because he
suspected the patriotism of our society.  I pleaded, as an inducement,
the beauty of Mad. G____, but he told me she was an aristocrate.  It was
at length, however, determined, that he should dine with us last Sunday,
and that all visitors should be excluded.  He was prevented coming by
being ordered out with a party the day we left him; and he has written to
us in high spirits, to say, that, besides fulfilling his object, he had
returned with fifty prisoners.

We had a very narrow escape in coming home--the Hulans were at the
village of ____, an hour after we passed through it, and treated the poor
inhabitants, as they usually do, with great inhumanity.--Nothing has
alienated the minds of the people so much as the cruelties of these
troops--they plunder and ill treat all they encounter; and their avarice
is even less insatiable than their barbarity.  How hard is it, that the
ambition of the Chiefs, and the wickedness of faction, should thus fall
upon the innocent cottager, who perhaps is equally a stranger to the
names of the one, and the principles of the other!

The public papers will now inform you, that the French are at liberty to
obtain a divorce on almost any pretext, or even on no pretext at all,
except what many may think a very good one--mutual agreement.  A lady of
our acquaintance here is become a republican in consequence of the
decree, and probably will very soon avail herself of it; but this
conduct, I conceive, will not be very general.

Much has been said of the gallantry of the French ladies, and not
entirely without reason; yet, though sometimes inconstant wives, they
are, for the most part, faithful friends--they sacrifice the husband
without forsaking him, and their common interest is always promoted with
as much zeal as the most inviolable attachment could inspire.  Mad. de
C____, whom we often meet in company, is the wife of an emigrant, and is
said not to be absolutely disconsolate at his absence; yet she is
indefatigable in her efforts to supply him with money: she even risks her
safety by her solicitude, and has just now prevailed on her favourite
admirer to hasten his departure for the frontiers, in order to convey a
sum she has with much difficulty been raising.  Such instances are, I
believe, not very rare; and as a Frenchman usually prefers his interest
to every thing else, and is not quite so unaccommodating as an
Englishman, an amicable arrangement takes place, and one seldom hears of
a separation.

The inhabitants of Arras, with all their patriotism, are extremely averse
from the assignats; and it is with great reluctance that they consent to
receive them at two-thirds of their nominal value.  This discredit of the
paper money has been now two months at a stand, and its rise or fall will
be determined by the success of the campaign.--I bid you adieu for the
last time from hence.  We have already exceeded the proposed length of
our visit, and shall set out for St. Omer to-morrow.--Yours.

St. Omer, September, 1792.

I am confined to my room by a slight indisposition, and, instead of
accompanying my friends, have taken up my pen to inform you that we are
thus far safe on our journey.--Do not, because you are surrounded by a
protecting element, smile at the idea of travelling forty or fifty miles
in safety.  The light troops of the Austrian army penetrate so far, that
none of the roads on the frontier are entirely free from danger.  My
female companions were alarmed the whole day--the young for their
baggage, and the old for themselves.

The country between this and Arras has the appearance of a garden
cultivated for the common use of its inhabitants, and has all the
fertility and beauty of which a flat surface is susceptible.  Bethune and
Aire I should suppose strongly fortified.  I did not fail, in passing
through the former, to recollect with veneration the faithful minister of
Henry the Fourth.  The misfortunes of the descendant of Henry, whom
Sully* loved, and the state of the kingdom he so much cherished, made a
stronger impression on me than usual, and I mingled with the tribute of
respect a sentiment of indignation.

     * Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de Sully.

What perverse and malignant influence can have excited the people either
to incur or to suffer their present situation?  Were we not well
acquainted with the arts of factions, the activity of bad men, and the
effect of their union, I should be almost tempted to believe this change
in the French supernatural.  Less than three years ago, the name of Henri
Quatre was not uttered without enthusiasm.  The piece that transmitted
the slightest anecdotes of his life was certain of success--the air that
celebrated him was listened to with delight--and the decorations of
beauty, when associated with the idea of this gallant Monarch, became
more irresistible.*

     * At this time it was the prevailing fashion to call any new
     inventions of female dress after his name, and to decorate the
     ornamental parts of furniture with his resemblance.

Yet Henry the Fourth is now a tyrant--his pictures and statues are
destroyed, and his memory is execrated!--Those who have reduced the
French to this are, doubtless, base and designing intriguers; yet I
cannot acquit the people, who are thus wrought on, of unfeelingness and
levity.--England has had its revolutions; but the names of Henry the
Fifth and Elizabeth were still revered: and the regal monuments, which
still exist, after all the vicissitudes of our political principles,
attest the mildness of the English republicans.

The last days of our stay at Arras were embittered by the distress of our
neighbour and acquaintance, Madame de B____.  She has lost two sons under
circumstances so affecting, that I think you will be interested in the
relation.--The two young men were in the army, and quartered at
Perpignan, at a time when some effort of counter-revolution was said to
be intended.  One of them was arrested as being concerned, and the other
surrendered himself prisoner to accompany his brother.--When the High
Court at Orleans was instituted for trying state-prisoners, those of
Perpignan were ordered to be conducted there, and the two B____'s,
chained together, were taken with the rest.  On their arrival at Orleans,
their gaoler had mislaid the key that unlocked their fetters, and, not
finding it immediately, the young men produced one, which answered the
purpose, and released themselves.  The gaoler looked at them with
surprize, and asked why, with such a means in their power, they had not
escaped in the night, or on the road.  They replied, because they were
not culpable, and had no reason for avoiding a trial that would manifest
their innocence.  Their heroism was fatal.  They were brought, by a
decree of the Convention, from Orleans to Versailles, (on their way to
Paris,) where they were met by the mob, and massacred.

Their unfortunate mother is yet ignorant of their fate; but we left her
in a state little preferable to that which will be the effect of
certainty.  She saw the decree for transporting the prisoners from
Orleans, and all accounts of the result have been carefully concealed
from her; yet her anxious and enquiring looks at all who approach her,
indicate but too well her suspicion of the truth.--Mons. de ____'s
situation is indescribable.  Informed of the death of his sons, he is yet
obliged to conceal his sufferings, and wear an appearance of tranquillity
in the presence of his wife.  Sometimes he escapes, when unable to
contain his emotions any longer, and remains at M. de ____'s till he
recovers himself.  He takes no notice of the subject of his grief, and we
respect it too much to attempt to console him.  The last time I asked him
after Madame de ____, he told me her spirits were something better, and,
added he, in a voice almost suffocated, "She is amusing herself with
working neckcloths for her sons!"--When you reflect that the massacres at
Paris took place on the second and third of September, and that the
decree was passed to bring the prisoners from Orleans (where they were in
safety) on the tenth, I can say nothing that will add to the horror of
this transaction, or to your detestation of its cause.  Sixty-two, mostly
people of high rank, fell victims to this barbarous policy: they were
brought in a fort of covered waggons, and were murdered in heaps without
being taken out.*

     * Perhaps the reader will be pleased at a discovery, which it would
     have been unsafe to mention when made, or in the course of this
     correspondence.  The two young men here alluded to arrived at
     Versailles, chained together, with their fellow-prisoners.
     Surprize, perhaps admiration, had diverted the gaoler's attention
     from demanding the key that opened their padlock, and it was still
     in their possession.  On entering Versailles, and observing the
     crowd preparing to attack them, they divested themselves of their
     fetters, and of every other incumbrance.  In a few moments their
     carriages were surrounded, their companions at one end were already
     murdered, and themselves slightly wounded; but the confusion
     increasing, they darted amidst the croud, and were in a moment
     undistinguishable.  They were afterwards taken under the protection
     of an humane magistrate, who concealed them for some time, and they
     are now in perfect security.  They were the only two of the whole
     number that escaped.

September, 1792.

We passed a country so barren and uninteresting yesterday, that even a
professional traveller could not have made a single page of it.  It was,
in every thing, a perfect contrast to the rich plains of Artois--
unfertile, neglected vallies and hills, miserable farms, still more
miserable cottages, and scarcely any appearance of population.  The only
place where we could refresh the horses was a small house, over the door
of which was the pompous designation of Hotel d'Angleterre.  I know not
if this be intended as a ridicule on our country, or as an attraction to
our countrymen, but I, however, found something besides the appellation
which reminded me of England, and which one does not often find in houses
of a better outside; for though the rooms were small, and only two in
number, they were very clean, and the hostess was neat and civil.  The
Hotel d'Angleterre, indeed, was not luxuriously supplied, and the whole
of our repast was eggs and tea, which we had brought with us.--In the
next room to that we occupied were two prisoners chained, whom the
officers were conveying to Arras, for the purpose of better security.
The secret history of this business is worth relating, as it marks the
character of the moment, and the ascendancy which the Jacobins are daily

These men were apprehended as smugglers, under circumstances of peculiar
atrocity, and committed to the gaol at ____.  A few days after, a young
girl, of bad character, who has much influence at the club, made a
motion, that the people, in a body, should demand the release of the
prisoners.  The motion was carried, and the Hotel de Ville assailed by a
formidable troop of sailors, fish-women, &c.--The municipality refused to
comply, the Garde Nationale was called out, and, on the mob persisting,
fired over their heads, wounded a few, and the rest dispersed of
themselves.--Now you must understand, the latent motive of all this was
two thousand livres promised to one of the Jacobin leaders, if he
succeeded in procuring the men their liberty.--I do not advance this
merely on conjecture.  The fact is well known to the municipality; and
the decent part of it would willingly have expelled this man, who is one
of their members, but that they found themselves too weak to engage in a
serious quarrel with the Jacobins.--One cannot reflect, without
apprehension, that any society should exist which can oppose the
execution of the laws with impunity, or that a people, who are little
sensible of realities, should be thus abused by names.  They suffer, with
unfeeling patience, a thousand enormities--yet blindly risk their
liberties and lives to promote the designs of an adventurer, because he
harangues at a club, and calls himself a patriot.--I have just received
advice that my friends have left Lausanne, and are on their way to Paris.
Our first plan of passing the winter there will be imprudent, if not
impracticable, and we have concluded to take a house for the winter six
months at Amiens, Chantilly, or some place which has the reputation of
being quiet.  I have already ordered enquiries to be made, and shall set
out with Mrs. ____ in a day or two for Amiens.  I may, perhaps, not write
till our return; but shall not cease to be, with great truth.--Yours, &c.

Amiens, 1792.

The departement de la Somme has the reputation of being a little
aristocratic.  I know not how far this be merited, but the people are
certainly not enthusiasts.  The villages we passed on our road hither
were very different from those on the frontiers--we were hailed by no
popular sounds, no cries of Vive la nation! except from here and there
some ragged boy in a red cap, who, from habit, associated this salutation
with the appearance of a carriage.  In every place where there are half a
dozen houses is planted an unthriving tree of liberty, which seems to
wither under the baneful influence of the _bonnet rouge_. [The red cap.]
This Jacobin attribute is made of materials to resist the weather, and
may last some time; but the trees of liberty, being planted unseasonably,
are already dead.  I hope this will not prove emblematic, and that the
power of the Jacobins may not outlive the freedom of the people.

The Convention begin their labours under disagreeable auspices.  A
general terror seems to have seized on the Parisians, the roads are
covered with carriages, and the inns filled with travellers.  A new
regulation has just taken place, apparently intended to check this
restless spirit.  At Abbeville, though we arrived late and were fatigued,
we were taken to the municipality, our passports collated with our
persons, and at the inn we were obliged to insert in a book our names,
the place of our birth, from whence we came, and where we were going.
This, you will say, has more the features of a mature Inquisition, than a
new-born Republic; but the French have different notions of liberty from
yours, and take these things very quietly.--At Flixecourt we eat out of
pewter spoons, and the people told us, with much inquietude, that they
had sold their plate, in expectation of a decree of the Convention to
take it from them.  This decree, however, has not passed, but the alarm
is universal, and does not imply any great confidence in the new

I have had much difficulty in executing my commission, and have at last
fixed upon a house, of which I fear my friends will not approve; but the
panic which depopulates Paris, the bombardment of Lisle, and the
tranquillity which has hitherto prevailed here, has filled the town, and
rendered every kind of habitation scarce, and extravagantly dear: for you
must remark, that though the Amienois are all aristocrates, yet when an
intimidated sufferer of the same party flies from Paris, and seeks an
asylum amongst them, they calculate with much exactitude what they
suppose necessity may compel him to give, and will not take a livre
less.--The rent of houses and lodgings, like the national funds, rises
and falls with the public distresses, and, like them, is an object of
speculation: several persons to whom we were addressed were extremely
indifferent about letting their houses, alledging as a reason, that if
the disorders of Paris should increase, they had no doubt of letting them
to much greater advantage.

We were at the theatre last night--it was opened for the first time since
France has been declared a republic, and the Jacobins vociferated loudly
to have the fleur de lys, ad other regal emblems, effaced.  Obedience was
no sooner promised to this command, than it was succeeded by another not
quite so easily complied with--they insisted on having the Marsellois
Hymn sung.  In vain did the manager, with a ludicrous sort of terror,
declare, that there were none of his company who had any voice, or who
knew either the words of the music of the hymn in question. _"C'est egal,
il faut chanter,"_ ["No matter for that, they must sing."] resounded from
all the patriots in the house.  At last, finding the thing impossible,
they agreed to a compromise; and one of the actors promised to sing it on
the morrow, as well as the trifling impediment of having no voice would
permit him.--You think your galleries despotic when they call for an
epilogue that is forgotten, and the actress who should speak it is
undrest; or when they insist upon enlivening the last acts of Jane Shore
with Roast Beef!  What would you think if they would not dispense with a
hornpipe on the tight-rope by Mrs. Webb?  Yet, bating the danger, I
assure you, the audience of Amiens was equally unreasonable.  But liberty
at present seems to be in an undefined state; and until our rulers shall
have determined what it is, the matter will continue to be settled as it
is now--by each man usurping as large a portion of tyranny as his
situation will admit of.  He who submits without repining to his
district, to his municipality, or even to the club, domineers at the
theatre, or exercises in the street a manual censure on aristocratic

     *It was common at this time to insult women in the streets if
     dressed too well, or in colours the people chose to call
     aristocratic.  I was myself nearly thrown down for having on a straw
     bonnet with green ribbons.

Our embarrassment for small change is renewed: many of the communes who
had issued bills of five, ten, and fifteen sols, repayable in assignats,
are become bankrupts, which circumstance has thrown such a discredit on
all this kind of nominal money, that the bills of one town will not pass
at another.  The original creation of these bills was so limited, that no
town had half the number requisite for the circulation of its
neighbourhood; and this decrease, with the distrust that arises from the
occasion of it, greatly adds to the general inconvenience.

The retreat of the Prussian army excites more surprize than interest, and
the people talk of it with as much indifference as they would of an event
that had happened beyond the Ganges.  The siege of Lisle takes off all
attention from the relief of Thionville--not on account of its
importance, but on account of its novelty.--I remain, Yours, &c.

Abbeville, September, 1792.

We left Amiens early yesterday morning, but were so much delayed by the
number of volunteers on the road, that it was late before we reached
Abbeville.  I was at first somewhat alarmed at finding ourselves
surrounded by so formidable a cortege; they however only exacted a
declaration of our political principles, and we purchased our safety by a
few smiles, and exclamations of vive la nation!  There were some hundreds
of these recruits much under twenty; but the poor fellows, exhilarated by
their new uniform and large pay, were going gaily to decide their fate by
that hazard which puts youth and age on a level, and scatters with
indiscriminating hand the cypress and the laurel.

At Abbeville all the former precautions were renewed--we underwent
another solemn identification of our persons at the Hotel de Ville, and
an abstract of our history was again enregistered at the inn.  One would
really suppose that the town was under apprehensions of a siege, or, at
least, of the plague.  My "paper face" was examined as suspiciously as
though I had had the appearance of a travestied Achilles; and M____'s,
which has as little expression as a Chinese painting, was elaborately
scrutinized by a Dogberry in spectacles, who, perhaps, fancied she had
the features of a female Machiavel.  All this was done with an air of
importance sufficiently ludicrous, when contrasted with the object; but
we met with no incivility, and had nothing to complain of but a little
additional fatigue, and the delay of our dinner.

We stopped to change horses at Bernay, and I soon perceived our landlady
was a very ardent patriot.  In a room, to which we waded at great risk of
our clothes, was a representation of the siege of the Bastille, and
prints of half a dozen American Generals, headed by Mr. Thomas Paine.  On
descending, we found out hostess exhibiting a still more forcible picture
of curiosity than Shakspeare's blacksmith.  The half-demolished repast
was cooling on the table, whilst our postilion retailed the Gazette, and
the pigs and ducks were amicably grazing together on whatever the kitchen
produced.  The affairs of the Prussians and Austrians were discussed with
entire unanimity, but when these politicians, as is often the case, came
to adjust their own particular account, the conference was much less
harmonious.  The postilion offered a ten sols billet, which the landlady
refused: one persisted in its validity, the other in rejecting it--till,
at last, the patriotism of neither could endure this proof, and peace was
concluded by a joint execration of those who invented this fichu papier--
"Sorry paper."

At ____ we met our friend, Mad. de ____, with part of her family and an
immense quantity of baggage.  I was both surprized and alarmed at such an
apparition, and found, on enquiry, that they thought themselves unsafe at
Arras, and were going to reside near M. de ____'s estate, where they were
better known.  I really began to doubt the prudence of our establishing
ourselves here for the winter.  Every one who has it in his power
endeavours to emigrate, even those who till now have been zealous
supporters of the revolution.--Distrust and apprehension seem to have
taken possession of every mind.  Those who are in towns fly to the
country, while the inhabitant of the isolated chateau takes refuge in the
neighbouring town.  Flocks of both aristocrates and patriots are
trembling and fluttering at the foreboding storm, yet prefer to abide its
fury, rather than seek shelter and defence together.  I, however, flatter
myself, that the new government will not justify this fear; and as I am
certain my friends will not return to England at this season, I shall not
endeavour to intimidate or discourage them from their present
arrangement.  We shall, at least, be enabled to form some idea of a
republican constitution, and I do not, on reflection, conceive that any
possible harm can happen to us.

October, 1792.

I shall not date from this place again, intending to quit it as soon as
possible.  It is disturbed by the crouds from the camps, which are broken
up, and the soldiers are extremely brutal and insolent.  So much are the
people already familiarized with the unnatural depravity of manners that
begins to prevail, that the wife of the Colonel of a battalion now here
walks the streets in a red cap, with pistols at her girdle, boasting of
the numbers she has destroyed at the massacres in August and September.

The Convention talk of the King's trial as a decided measure; yet no one
seems to admit even the possibility that such an act can be ever
intended.  A few believe him culpable, many think him misled, and many
acquit him totally: but all agree, that any violation of his person would
be an atrocity disgraceful to the nation at large.--The fate of Princes
is often disastrous in proportion to their virtues.  The vanity,
selfishness, and bigotry of Louis the Fourteenth were flattered while he
lived, and procured him the appellation of Great after his death.  The
greatest military talents that France has given birth to seemed created
to earn laurels, not for themselves, but for the brow of that
vain-glorious Monarch.  Industry and Science toiled but for his
gratification, and Genius, forgetting its dignity, willingly received
from his award the same it has since bestowed.

Louis the Fifteenth, who corrupted the people by his example, and ruined
them by his expence, knew no diminution of the loyalty, whatever he might
of the affection, of his people, and ended his days in the practice of
the same vices, and surrounded by the same luxury, in which he had passed

Louis the Sixteenth, to whom scarcely his enemies ascribe any vices, for
its outrages against whom faction finds no excuse but in the facility of
his nature--whose devotion is at once exemplary and tolerant--who, in an
age of licentiousness, is remarkable for the simplicity of his manners--
whose amusements were liberal or inoffensive--and whose concessions to
his people form a striking contrast with the exactions of his
predecessors.--Yes, the Monarch I have been describing, and, I think, not
partially, has been overwhelmed with sorrow and indignities--his person
has been degraded, that he might be despoiled of his crown, and perhaps
the sacrifice of his crown may be followed by that of his life.  When we
thus see the punishment of guilt accumulated on the head of him who has
not participated in it, and vice triumph in the security that should seem
the lot of innocence, we can only adduce new motives to fortify ourselves
in this great truth of our religion--that the chastisement of the one,
and reward of the other, must be looked for beyond the inflictions or
enjoyments of our present existence.

I do not often moralize on paper, but there are moments when one derives
one's best consolation from so moralizing; and this easy and simple
justification of Providence, which refers all that appears inconsistent
here to the retribution of a future state, is pointed out less as the
duty than the happiness of mankind.  This single argument of religion
solves every difficulty, and leaves the mind in fortitude and peace;
whilst the pride of sceptical philosophy traces whole volumes, only to
establish the doubts, and nourish the despair, of its disciples.

Adieu.  I cannot conclude better than with these reflections, at a time
when disbelief is something too fashionable even amongst our
countrymen.--Yours, &c.

Amiens, October, 1792.

I arrived here the day on which a ball was given to celebrate the return
of the volunteers who had gone to the assistance of Lisle.*

     *The bombardment of Lisle commenced on the twenty-ninth of
     September, at three o'clock in the afternoon, and continued, almost
     without interruption, until the sixth of October.  Many of the
     public buildings, and whole quarters of the town, were so much
     damaged or destroyed, that the situation of the streets were
     scarcely distinguishable.  The houses which the fire obliged their
     inhabitants to abandon, were pillaged by barbarians, more merciless
     than the Austrians themselves.  Yet, amidst these accumulated
     horrors, the Lillois not only preserved their courage, but their
     presence of mind: the rich incited and encouraged the poor; those
     who were unable to assist with their labour, rewarded with their
     wealth: the men were employed in endeavouring to extinguish the fire
     of the buildings, or in preserving their effects; while women and
     children snatched the opportunity of extinguishing the fuzes of the
     bombs as soon as they fell, at which they became very daring and
     dexterous.  During the whole of this dreadful period, not one
     murmur, not one proposition to surrender, was heard from any party.

     --The Convention decreed, amidst the wildest enthusiasm of applause,
     that Lisle had deserved well of the country.

     --Forty-two thousand five hundred balls were fired, and the damages
     were estimated at forty millions of livres.

The French, indeed, never refuse to rejoice when they are ordered; but as
these festivities are not spontaneous effusions, but official ordinances,
and regulated with the same method as a tax or recruitment, they are of
course languid and uninteresting.  The whole of their hilarity seems to
consist in the movement of the dance, in which they are by not means
animated; and I have seen, even among the common people, a cotillion
performed as gravely and as mechanically as the ceremonies of a Chinese
court.--I have always thought, with Sterne, that we were mistaken in
supposing the French a gay nation.  It is true, they laugh much, have
great gesticulation, and are extravagantly fond of dancing: but the laugh
is the effect of habit, and not of a risible sensation; the gesture is
not the agitation of the mind operating upon the body, but constitutional
volatility; and their love of dancing is merely the effect of a happy
climate, (which, though mild, does not enervate,) and that love of action
which usually accompanies mental vacancy, when it is not counteracted by
heat, or other physical causes.

I know such an opinion, if publicly avowed, would be combated as false
and singular; yet I appeal to those who have at all studied the French
character, not as travellers, but by a residence amongst them, for the
support of my opinion.  Every one who understands the language, and has
mixed much in society, must have made the same observations.--See two
Frenchmen at a distance, and the vehemence of their action, and the
expression of their features, shall make you conclude they are discussing
some subject, which not only interests, but delights them.  Enquire, and
you will find they were talking of the weather, or the price of a
waistcoat!--In England you would be tempted to call in a peace-officer at
the loud tone and menacing attitudes with which two people here very
amicably adjust a bargain for five livres.--In short, we mistake that for
a mental quality which, in fact, is but a corporeal one; and, though the
French may have many good and agreeable points of character, I do not
include gaiety among the number.

I doubt very much of my friends will approve of their habitation.  I
confess I am by no means satisfied with it myself; and, with regard to
pecuniary consideration, my engagement is not an advantageous one.
--Madame Dorval, of whom I have taken the house, is a character very
common in France, and over which I was little calculated to have the
ascendant.  Officiously polite in her manners, and inflexibly attentive
to her interest, she seemingly acquiesces in every thing you propose.
You would even fancy she was solicitous to serve you; yet, after a
thousand gracious sentiments, and as many implied eulogiums on her
liberality and generosity, you find her return, with unrelenting
perseverance, to some paltry proposition, by which she is to gain a few
livres; and all this so civilly, so sentimentally, and so determinedly,
that you find yourself obliged to yield, and are duped without being

The lower class have here, as well as on your side of the water, the
custom of attributing to Ministers and Governments some connection with,
or controul over, the operations of nature.  I remarked to a woman who
brings me fruit, that the grapes were bad and dear this year--_"Ah! mon
Dieu, oui, ils ne murrissent pas.  Il me semble que tout va mal depuis
qu'on a invente la nation."_  ["Ah!  Lord, they don't ripen now.--For my
part, I think nothing has gone well since the nation was first

I cannot, like the imitators of Sterne, translate a chapter of sentiment
from every incident that occurs, or from every physiognomy I encounter;
yet, in circumstances like the present, the mind, not usually observing,
is tempted to comment.--I was in a milliner's shop to-day, and took
notice on my entering, that its mistress was, whilst at her work,
learning the _Marseillois_ Hymn. [A patriotic air, at this time highly
popular.]  Before I had concluded my purchase, an officer came in to
prepare her for the reception of four volunteers, whom she was to lodge
the two ensuing nights.  She assented, indeed, very graciously, (for a
French woman never loses the command of her features,) but a moment
after, the Marseillois, which lay on the counter, was thrown aside in a
pet, and I dare say she will not resume her patriotic taste, nor be
reconciled to the revolution, until some days after the volunteers shall
have changed their quarters.

This quartering of troops in private houses appears to me the most
grievous and impolitic of all taxes; it adds embarrassment to expence,
invades domestic comfort, and conveys such an idea of military
subjection, that I wonder any people ever submits to it, or any
government ever ventures to impose it.

I know not if the English are conscious of their own importance at this
moment, but it is certain they are the centre of the hopes and fears of
all parties, I might say of all Europe.  The aristocrates wait with
anxiety and solicitude a declaration of war, whilst their opponents
regard such an event as pregnant with distress, and even as the signal of
their ruin.  The body of the people of both parties are averse from
increasing the number of their enemies; but as the Convention may be
directed by other motives than the public wish, it is impossible to form
any conclusion on the subject.  I am, of course, desirous of peace, and
should be so from selfishness, if I were not from philanthropy, as a
cessation of it at this time would disconcert all our plans, and oblige
us to seek refuge at ____, which has just all that is necessary for our
happiness, except what is most desirable--a mild and dry atmosphere.--
Yours, &c.

Amiens, November, 1792.

The arrival of my friends has occasioned a short suspension of my
correspondence: but though I have been negligent, I assure you, my dear
brother, I have not been forgetful; and this temporary preference of the
ties of friendship to those of nature, will be excused, when you consider
our long separation.

My intimacy with Mrs. D____ began when I first came to this country, and
at every subsequent visit to the continent it has been renewed and
increased into that rational kind of attachment, which your sex seldom
allow in ours, though you yourselves do not abound in examples of it.
Mrs. D____ is one of those characters which are oftener loved than
admired--more agreeable than handsome--good-natured, humane, and
unassuming--and with no mental pretensions beyond common sense tolerably
well cultivated.  The shades of this portraiture are an extreme of
delicacy, bordering on fastidiousness--a trifle of hauteur, not in
manners, but disposition--and, perhaps, a tincture of affectation.  These
foibles are, however, in a great degree, constitutional: she is more an
invalid than myself; and ill health naturally increases irritability, and
renders the mind less disposed to bear with inconveniencies; we avoid
company at first, through a sense of our infirmities, till this timidity
becomes habitual, and settles almost into aversion.--The valetudinarian,
who is obliged to fly the world, in time fancies herself above it, and
ends by supposing there is some superiority in differing from other
people.  Mr. D____ is one of the best men existing--well bred and well
informed; yet, without its appearing to the common observer, he is of a
very singular and original turn of mind.  He is most exceedingly nervous,
and this effect of his physical construction has rendered him so
susceptible, that he is continually agitated and hurt by circumstances
which others pass by unnoticed.  In other respects he is a great lover of
exercise, fond of domestic life, reads much, and has an aversion from
bustle of all kind.

The banishment of the Priests, which in many instances was attended with
circumstances of peculiar atrocity, has not yet produced those effects
which were expected from it, and which the promoters of the measure
employed as a pretext for its adoption.  There are indeed now no masses
said but by the Constitutional Clergy; but as the people are usually as
ingenious in evading laws as legislators are in forming them, many
persons, instead of attending the churches, which they think profaned by
priests who have taken the oaths, flock to church-yards, chapels, or
other places, once appropriated to religious worship, but in disuse since
the revolution, and of course not violated by constitutional masses.  The
cemetery of St. Denis, at Amiens, though large, is on Sundays and
holidays so crouded, that it is almost difficult to enter it.  Here the
devotees flock in all weathers, say their mass, and return with the
double satisfaction of having preserved their allegiance to the Pope, and
risked persecution in a cause they deem meritorious.  To say truth, it is
not very surprizing that numbers should be prejudiced against the
constitutional clergy.  Many of them are, I doubt not, liberal and
well-meaning men, who have preferred peace and submission to theological
warfare, and who might not think themselves justified in opposing their
opinion to a national decision: yet are there also many of profligate
lives, who were never educated for the profession, and whom the
circumstances of the times have tempted to embrace it as a trade, which
offered subsistence without labour, and influence without wealth, and
which at once supplied a veil for licentiousness, and the means of
practising it.  Such pastors, it must be confessed, have little claim to
the confidence or respect of the people; and that there are such, I do
not assert, but on the most credible information.  I will only cite two
instances out of many within my own knowledge.

P____n, bishop of St. Omer, was originally a priest of Arras, of vicious
character, and many of his ordinations have been such as might be
expected from such a patron.--A man of Arras, who was only known for his
vicious pursuits, and who had the reputation of having accelerated the
death of his wife by ill treatment, applied to P____n to marry him a
second time.  The good Bishop, preferring the interest of his friend to
the salvation of his flock, advised him to relinquish the project of
taking a wife, and offered to give him a cure.  The proposal was accepted
on the spot, and this pious associate of the Reverend P____n was
immediately invested with the direction of the consciences, and the care
of the morals, of an extensive parish.

Acts of this nature, it is to be imagined, were pursued by censure and
ridicule; but the latter was not often more successful than on the
following occasion:--Two young men, whose persons were unknown to the
bishop, one day procured an audience, and requested he would recommend
them to some employment that would procure them the means of subsistence.
This was just a time when the numerous vacancies that had taken place
were not yet supplied, and many livings were unfilled for want of
candidates.  The Bishop, who was unwilling that the nonjuring priests
should have the triumph of seeing their benefices remain vacant, fell
into the snare, and proposed their taking orders.  The young men
expressed their joy at the offer; but, after looking confusedly on each
other, with some difficulty and diffidence, confessed their lives had
been such as to preclude them from the profession, which, but for this
impediment, would have satisfied them beyond their hopes.  The Bishop
very complaisantly endeavoured to obviate thesse objections, while they
continued to accuse themselves of all the sins in the decalogue; but the
Prelate at length observing he had ordained many worse, the young men
smiled contemptuously, and, turning on their heels, replied, that if
priests were made of worse men than they had described themselves to be,
they begged to be excused from associating with such company.

Dumouriez, Custine, Biron, Dillon, &c. are doing wonders, in spite of the
season; but the laurel is an ever-green, and these heroes gather it
equally among the snows of the Alps, and the fogs of Belgium.  If we may
credit the French papers too, what they call the cause of liberty is not
less successfully propagated by the pen than the sword.  England is said
to be on the eve of a revolution, and all its inhabitants, except the
King and Mr. Pitt, become Jacobins.  If I did not believe "the wish was
father to the thought," I should read these assertions with much
inquietude, as I have not yet discovered the excellencies of a republican
form of government sufficiently to make me wish it substituted for our
own.--It should seem that the Temple of Liberty, as well as the Temple of
Virtue, is placed on an ascent, and that as many inflexions and
retrogradations occur in endeavouring to attain it.  In the ardour of
reaching these difficult acclivities, a fall sometimes leaves us lower
than the situation we first set out from; or, to speak without a figure,
so much power is exercised by our leaders, and so much submission exacted
from the people, that the French are in danger of becoming habituated to
a despotism which almost sanctifies the errors of their ancient monarchy,
while they suppose themselves in the pursuit of a degree of freedom more
sublime and more absolute than has been enjoyed by any other nation.--
Attempts at political as well as moral perfection, when carried beyond
the limits compatible with a social state, or the weakness of our
natures, are likely to end in a depravity which moderate governments and
rational ethics would have prevented.

The debates of the Convention are violent and acrimonious.  Robespierre
has been accused of aspiring to the Dictatorship, and his defence was by
no means calculated to exonerate him from the charge.  All the chiefs
reproach each other with being the authors of the late massacres, and
each succeeds better in fixing the imputation on his neighbour, than in
removing it from himself.  General reprobation, personal invectives, and
long speeches, are not wanting; but every thing which tends to
examination and enquiry is treated with much more delicacy and composure:
so that I fear these first legislators of the republic must, for the
present, be content with the reputation they have assigned each other,
and rank amongst those who have all the guilt, but want the courage, of

I subjoin an extract from a newspaper, which has lately appeared.*

     *Extract from _The Courier de l'Egalite,_ November, 1792:

     "There are discontented people who still venture to obtrude their
     sentiments on the public.  One of them, in a public print, thus
     expresses himself--

     'I assert, that the newspapers are sold and devoted to falsehood.
     At this price they purchase the liberty of appearing; and the
     exclusive privilege they enjoy, as well as the contradictory and
     lying assertions they all contain, prove the truth of what I
     advance.  They are all preachers of liberty, yet never was liberty
     so shamefully outraged--of respect for property, and property was at
     no time so little held sacred--of personal security, yet when were
     there committed so many massacres? and, at the very moment I am
     writing, new ones are premeditated.  They call vehemently for
     submission, and obedience to the laws, but the laws had never less
     influence; and while our compliance with such as we are even
     ignorant of is exacted, it is accounted a crime to execute those in
     force.  Every municipality has its own arbitrary code--every
     battalion, every private soldier, exercises a sovereignty, a most
     absolute despotism; and yet the Gazettes do not cease to boast the
     excellence of such a government.  They have, one and all, attributed
     the massacres of the tenth of August and the second of September,
     and the days following each, to a popular fermentation.  The
     monsters! they have been careful not to tell us, that each of these
     horrid scenes (at the prisons, at La Force, at the Abbaye, &c. &c.)
     was presided by municipal officers in their scarfs, who pointed out
     the victims, and gave the signal for the assassination.  It was
     (continue the Journals) the error of an irritated people--and yet
     their magistrates were at the head of it: it was a momentary error;
     yet this error of a moment continued during six whole days of the
     coolest reflection--it was only at the close of the seventh that
     Petion made his appearance, and affected to persuade the people to
     desist.  The assassins left off only from fatigue, and at this
     moment they are preparing to begin again.  The Journals do not tell
     us that the chief of these _Scelerats_ [We have no term in the
     English language that conveys an adequate meaning for this word--it
     seems to express the extreme of human wickedness and atrocity.]
     employed subordinate assassins, whom they caused to be clandestinely
     murdered in their turn, as though they hoped to destroy the proof of
     their crime, and escape the vengeance that awaits them.  But the
     people themselves were accomplices in the deed, for the Garde
     Nationale gave their assistance,'" &c. &c.

In spite of the murder of so many journalists, and the destruction of the
printing-offices, it treats the September business so freely, that the
editor will doubtless soon be silenced.  Admitting these accusations to
be unfounded, what ideas must the people have of their magistrates, when
they are credited?  It is the prepossession of the hearer that gives
authenticity to fiction; and such atrocities would neither be imputed to,
nor believed of, men not already bad.--Yours, &c.

December, 1792.

Dear Brother,

All the public prints still continue strongly to insinuate, that England
is prepared for an insurrection, and Scotland already in actual
rebellion: but I know the character of our countrymen too well to be
persuaded that they have adopted new principles as easily as they would
adopt a new mode, or that the visionary anarchists of the French
government can have made many proselytes among an humane and rational
people.  For many years we were content to let France remain the
arbitress of the lighter departments of taste: lately she has ceded this
province to us, and England has dictated with uncontested superiority.
This I cannot think very strange; for the eye in time becomes fatigued by
elaborate finery, and requires only the introduction of simple elegance
to be attracted by it.  But if, while we export fashions to this country,
we should receive in exchange her republican systems, it would be a
strange revolution indeed; and I think, in such a commerce, we should be
far from finding the balance in our favour.  I have, in fact, little
solicitude about these diurnal falsehoods, though I am not altogether
free from alarm as to their tendency.  I cannot help suspecting it is to
influence the people to a belief that such dispositions exist in England
as preclude the danger of a war, in case it should be thought necessary
to sacrifice the King.

I am more confirmed in this opinion, from the recent discovery, with the
circumstances attending it, of a secret iron chest at the Tuilleries.
The man who had been employed to construct this recess, informs the
minister, Rolland; who, instead of communicating the matter to the
Convention, as it was very natural he should do on an occasion of so much
importance, and requiring it to be opened in the presence of proper
witnesses, goes privately himself, takes the papers found into his own
possession, and then makes an application for a committee to examine
them.  Under these suspicious and mysterious appearances, we are told
that many letters, &c. are found, which inculpate the King; and perhaps
the fate of this unfortunate Monarch is to be decided by evidence not
admissible with justice in the case of the obscurest malefactor.  Yet
Rolland is the hero of a party who call him, par excellence, the virtuous
Rolland!  Perhaps you will think, with me, that this epithet is
misapplied to a man who has risen, from an obscure situation to that of
first Minister, without being possessed of talents of that brilliant or
prominent class which sometimes force themselves into notice, without the
aid of wealth or the support of patronage.

Rolland was inspector of manufactories in this place, and afterwards at
Lyons; and I do not go too far in advancing, that a man of very rigid
virtue could not, from such a station, have attained so suddenly the one
he now possesses.  Virtue is of an unvarying and inflexible nature: it
disdains as much to be the flatterer of mobs, as the adulator of Princes:
yet how often must he, who rises so far above his equals, have stooped
below them?  How often must he have sacrificed both his reason and his
principles?  How often have yielded to the little, and opposed the great,
not from conviction, but interest?  For in this the meanest of mankind
resemble the most exalted; he bestows not his confidence on him who
resists his will, nor subscribes to the advancement of one whom he does
not hope to influence.--I may almost venture to add, that more
dissimulation, meaner concessions, and more tortuous policy, are
requisite to become the idol of the people, than are practised to acquire
and preserve the favour of the most potent Monarch in Europe.  The
French, however, do not argue in this manner, and Rolland is at present
very popular, and his popularity is said to be greatly supported by the
literary talents of his wife.

I know not if you rightly understand these party distinctions among a set
of men whom you must regard as united in the common cause of establishing
a republic in France, but you have sometimes had occasion to remark in
England, that many may amicably concur in the accomplishment of a work,
who differ extremely about the participation of its advantages; and this
is already the case with the Convention.  Those who at present possess
all the power, and are infinitely the strongest, are wits, moralists, and
philosophers by profession, having Brissot, Rolland, Petion, Concorcet,
&c. at their head; their opponents are adventurers of a more desperate
cast, who make up by violence what they want in numbers, and are led by
Robespierre, Danton, Chabot, &c. &c.  The only distinction of these
parties is, I believe, that the first are vain and systematical
hypocrites, who have originally corrupted the minds of the people by
visionary and insidious doctrines, and now maintain their superiority by
artifice and intrigue: their opponents, equally wicked, and more daring,
justify that turpitude which the others seek to disguise, and appear
almost as bad as they are.  The credulous people are duped by both; while
the cunning of the one, and the vehemence of the other, alternately
prevail.--But something too much of politics, as my design is in general
rather to mark their effect on the people, than to enter on more
immediate discussions.

Having been at the Criminal Tribunal to-day, I now recollect that I have
never yet described to you the costume of the French Judges.--Perhaps
when I have before had occasion to speak of it, your imagination may have
glided to Westminster Hall, and depicted to you the scarlet robes and
voluminous wigs of its respectable magistrates: but if you would form an
idea of a magistrate here, you must bring your mind to the abstraction of
Crambo, and figure to yourself a Judge without either gown, wig, or any
of those venerable appendages.  Nothing indeed can be more becoming or
gallant, than this judicial accoutrement--it is black, with a silk cloak
of the same colour, in the Spanish form, and a round hat, turned up
before, with a large plume of black feathers.  This, when the magistrate
happens to be young, has a very theatrical and romantic appearance; but
when it is worn by a figure a little Esopian, or with a large bushy
perriwig, as I have sometimes seen it, the effect is still less awful;
and a stranger, on seeing such an apparition in the street, is tempted to
suppose it a period of jubilee, and that the inhabitants are in

It is now the custom for all people to address each other by the
appellation of Citizen; and whether you are a citizen or not--whether you
inhabit Paris, or are a native of Peru--still it is an indication of
aristocracy, either to exact, or to use, any other title.  This is all
congruous with the system of the day: the abuses are real, the reform is
imaginary.  The people are flattered with sounds, while they are losing
in essentials. And the permission to apply the appellation of Citizen to
its members, is but a poor compensation for the despotism of a department
or a municipality.

In vain are the people flattered with a chimerical equality--it cannot
exist in a civilized state, and if it could exist any where, it would not
be in France.  The French are habituated to subordination--they naturally
look up to something superior--and when one class is degraded, it is only
to give place to another.

--The pride of the noblesse is succeeded by the pride of the merchant--
the influence of wealth is again realized by cheap purchases of the
national domains--the abandoned abbey becomes the delight of the opulent
trader, and replaces the demolished chateau of the feudal institution.
Full of the importance which the commercial interest is to acquire under
a republic, the wealthy man of business is easily reconciled to the
oppression of the superior classes, and enjoys, with great dignity, his
new elevation.  The counting-house of a manufacturer of woollen cloth is
as inaccessible as the boudoir of a Marquis; while the flowered brocade
gown and well-powdered curls of the former offer a much more imposing
exterior than the chintz robe de chambre and dishevelled locks of the
more affable man of fashion.

I have read, in some French author, a maxim to this effect:--"Act with
your friends as though they should one day be your enemies;" and the
existing government seems amply to have profited by the admonition of
their country-man: for notwithstanding they affirm, that all France
supports, and all England admires them, this does not prevent their
exercising a most vigilant inquisition over the inhabitants of both
countries.--It is already sagaciously hinted, that Mr. Thomas Paine may
be a spy, and every householder who receives a lodger or visitor, and
every proprietor who lets a house, is obliged to register the names of
those he entertains, or who are his tenants, and to become responsible
for their conduct.  This is done at the municipality, and all who thus
venture to change their residence, of whatever age, sex, or condition,
must present themselves, and submit to an examination.  The power of the
municipalities is indeed very great; and as they are chiefly selected
from the lower class of shop-keepers, you may conclude that their
authority is not exercised with much politeness or moderation.

The timid or indolent inhabitant of London, whose head has been filled
with the Bastilles and police of the ancient government, and who would as
soon have ventured to Constantinople as to Paris, reads, in the debates
of the Convention, that France is now the freeest country in the world,
and that strangers from all corners of it flock to offer their adorations
in this new Temple of Liberty.  Allured by these descriptions, he
resolves on the journey, willing, for once in his life, to enjoy a taste
of the blessing in sublimate, which he now learns has hitherto been
allowed him only in the gross element.--He experiences a thousand
impositions on landing with his baggage at Calais, but he submits to them
without murmuring, because his countrymen at Dover had, on his
embarkation, already kindly initiated him into this science of taxing the
inquisitive spirit of travellers.  After inscribing his name, and
rewarding the custom-house officers for rummaging his portmanteau, he
determines to amuse himself with a walk about the town.  The first
centinel he encounters stops him, because he has no cockade: he purchases
one at the next shop, (paying according to the exigency of the case,) and
is suffered to pass on.  When he has settled his bill at the Auberge "a
l'Angloise," and emagines he has nothing to do but to pursue his journey,
he finds he has yet to procure himself a passport.  He waits an hour and
an half for an officer, who at length appears, and with a rule in one
hand, and a pen in the other, begins to measure the height, and take an
inventory of the features of the astonished stranger.  By the time this
ceremony is finished, the gates are shut, and he can proceed no farther,
till the morrow.  He departs early, and is awakened twice on the road to
Boulogne to produce his passport: still, however, he keeps his temper,
concluding, that the new light has not yet made its way to the frontiers,
and that these troublesome precautions may be necessary near a port.  He
continues his route, and, by degrees, becomes habituated to this regimen
of liberty; till, perhaps, on the second day, the validity of his
passport is disputed, the municipality who granted it have the reputation
of aristocracy, or the whole is informal, and he must be content to wait
while a messenger is dispatched to have it rectified, and the officers
establish the severity of their patriotism at the expence of the

Our traveller, at length, permitted to depart, feels his patience
wonderfully diminished, execrates the regulations of the coast, and the
ignorance of small towns, and determines to stop a few days and observe
the progress of freedom at Ameins.  Being a large commercial place, he
here expects to behold all the happy effects of the new constitution; he
congratulates himself on travelling at a period when he can procure
information, and discuss his political opinions, unannoyed by fears of
state prisons, and spies of the police.  His landlord, however, acquaints
him, that his appearance at the Town House cannot be dispensed with--he
attends three or four different hours of appointment, and is each time
sent away, (after waiting half an hour with the valets de ville in the
antichamber,) and told that the municipal officers are engaged.  As an
Englishman, he has little relish for these subordinate sovereigns, and
difficult audiences--he hints at the next coffee-house that he had
imagined a stranger might have rested two days in a free country, without
being measured, and questioned, and without detailing his history, as
though he were suspected of desertion; and ventures on some implied
comparison between the ancient "Monsieur le Commandant," and the modern
"Citoyen Maire."--To his utter astonishment he finds, that though there
are no longer emissaries of the police, there are Jacobin informers; his
discourse is reported to the municipality, his business in the town
becomes the subject of conjecture, he is concluded to be _"un homme sans
aveu,"_ [One that can't give a good account of himself.] and arrested as
"suspect;" and it is not without the interference of the people to whom
he may have been recommended at Paris, that he is released, and enabled
to continue his journey.

At Paris he lives in perpetual alarm.  One night he is disturbed by a
visite domiciliaire, another by a riot--one day the people are in
insurrection for bread, and the next murdering each other at a public
festival; and our country-man, even after making every allowance for the
confusion of a recent change, thinks himself very fortunate if he reaches
England in safety, and will, for the rest of his life, be satisfied with
such a degree of liberty as is secured to him by the constitution of his
own country.

You see I have no design of tempting you to pay us a visit; and, to speak
the truth, I think those who are in England will show their wisdom by
remaining there.  Nothing but the state of Mrs. D____'s health, and her
dread of the sea at this time of the year, detains us; for every day
subtracts from my courage, and adds to my apprehensions.

--Yours, &c.


Amiens, January, 1793.

Vanity, I believe, my dear brother, is not so innoxious a quality as we
are desirous of supposing.  As it is the most general of all human
failings, so is it regarded with the most indulgence: a latent
consciousness averts the censure of the weak; and the wise, who flatter
themselves with being exempt from it, plead in its favour, by ranking it
as a foible too light for serious condemnation, or too inoffensive for
punishment.  Yet, if vanity be not an actual vice, it is certainly a
potential one--it often leads us to seek reputation rather than virtue,
to substitute appearances for realities, and to prefer the eulogiums of
the world to the approbation of our own minds.  When it takes possession
of an uninformed or an ill-constituted mind, it becomes the source of a
thousand errors, and a thousand absurdities.  Hence, youth seeks a
preeminence in vice, and age in folly; hence, many boast of errors they
would not commit, or claim distinction by investing themselves with an
imputation of excess in some popular absurdity--duels are courted by the
daring, and vaunted by the coward--he who trembles at the idea of death
and a future state when alone, proclaims himself an atheist or a
free-thinker in public--the water-drinker, who suffers the penitence of
a week for a supernumerary glass, recounts the wonders of his
intemperance--and he who does not mount the gentlest animal without
trepidation, plumes himself on breaking down horses, and his perils in
the chace.  In short, whatever order of mankind we contemplate, we shall
perceive that the portion of vanity allotted us by nature, when it is
not corrected by a sound judgement, and rendered subservient to useful
purposes, is sure either to degrade or mislead us.

I was led into this train of reflection by the conduct of our
Anglo-Gallican legislator, Mr. Thomas Paine.  He has lately composed a
speech, which was translated and read in his presence, (doubtless to his
great satisfaction,) in which he insists with much vehemence on the
necessity of trying the King; and he even, with little credit to his
humanity, gives intimations of presumed guilt.  Yet I do not suspect Mr.
Paine to be of a cruel or unmerciful nature; and, most probably, vanity
alone has instigated him to a proceeding which, one would wish to
believe, his heart disapproves.  Tired of the part he was playing, and
which, it must be confessed, was not calculated to flatter the censurer
of Kings and the reformer of constitutions, he determined to sit no
longer for whole hours in colloquy with his interpreter, or in mute
contemplation, like the Chancellor in the Critic; and the speech to
which I have alluded was composed.  Knowing that lenient opinions would
meet no applause from the tribunes, he inlists himself on the side of
severity, accuses all the Princes in the world as the accomplices of
Louis the Sixteenth, expresses his desire for an universal revolution,
and, after previously assuring the Convention the King is guilty,
recommends that they may instantly proceed to his trial.  But, after all
this tremendous eloquence, perhaps Mr. Paine had no malice in his heart:
he may only be solicitous to preserve his reputation from decay, and to
indulge his self-importance by assisting at the trial of a Monarch whom
he may not wish to suffer.--I think, therefore, I am not wrong in
asserting, that Vanity is a very mischievous counsellor.

The little distresses I formerly complained of, as arising from the paper
currency, are nearly removed by a plentiful emission of small assignats,
and we have now pompous assignments on the national domains for ten sols:
we have, likewise, pieces coined from the church bells in circulation,
but most of these disappear as soon as issued.  You would scarcely
imagine that this copper is deemed worthy to be hoarded; yet such is the
people's aversion from the paper, and such their mistrust of the
government, that not an housewife will part with one of these pieces
while she has an assignat in her possession; and those who are rich
enough to keep a few livres by them, amass and bury this copper treasure
with the utmost solicitude and secresy.

A tolerably accurate scale of the national confidence might be made, by
marking the progress of these suspicious interments.  Under the first
Assembly, people began to hide their gold; during the reign of the second
they took the same affectionate care of their silver; and, since the
meeting of the Convention, they seem equally anxious to hide any metal
they can get.  If one were to describe the present age, one might, as far
as regards France, call it, both literally and metaphorically, the Iron
Age; for it is certain, the character of the times would justify the
metaphoric application, and the disappearance of every other metal the
literal one.  As the French are fond of classic examples, I shall not be
surprized to see an iron coinage, in imitation of Sparta, though they
seem in the way of having one reason less for such a measure than the
Spartans had, for they are already in a state to defy corruption; and if
they were not, I think a war with England would secure the purity of
their morals from being endangered by too much commercial intercourse.

I cannot be displeased with the civil things you say of my letters, nor
at your valuing them so much as to preserve them; though, I assure you,
this fraternal gallantry is not necessary, on the account you intimate,
nor will our countrymen suffer, in my opinion, by any comparisons I can
make here.  Your ideas of French gallantry are, indeed, very erroneous--
it may differ in the manner from that practised in England, but is far
from having any claim to superiority.  Perhaps I cannot define the
pretensions of the two nations in this respect better than by saying,
that the gallantry of an Englishman is a sentiment--that of a Frenchman a
system.  The first, if a lady happen to be old or plain, or indifferent
to him, is apt to limit his attentions to respect, or utility--now the
latter never troubles himself with these distinctions: he is repulsed by
no extremity of years, nor deformity of feature; he adores, with equal
ardour, both young and old, nor is either often shocked by his visible
preference of the other.  I have seen a youthful beau kiss, with perfect
devotion, a ball of cotton dropped from the hand of a lady who was
knitting stockings for her grand-children.  Another pays his court to a
belle in her climacteric, by bringing _gimblettes_ [A sort of
gingerbread.] to the favourite lap-dog, or attending, with great
assiduity, the egresses and regresses of her angola, who paces slowly out
of the room ten times in an hour, while the door is held open by the
complaisant Frenchman with a most respectful gravity.

Thus, you see, France is to the old what a masquerade is to the ugly
--the one confounds the disparity of age as the other does that of
person; but indiscriminate adoration is no compliment to youth, nor is a
mask any privilege to beauty.  We may therefore conclude, that though
France may be the Elysium of old women, England is that of the young.
When I first came into this country, it reminded me of an island I had
read of in the Arabian Tales, where the ladies were not deemed in their
bloom till they verged towards seventy; and I conceived the project of
inviting all the belles, who had been half a century out of fashion in
England, to cross the Channel, and begin a new career of admiration!--
Yours, &c.

Amiens, 1793.

Dear Brother,

I have thought it hitherto a self evident proposition--that of all the
principles which can be inculcated in the human mind, that of liberty is
least susceptible of propagation by force.  Yet a Council of Philosophers
(disciples of Rousseau and Voltaire) have sent forth Dumouriez, at the
head of an hundred thousand men, to instruct the people of Flanders in
the doctrine of freedom.  Such a missionary is indeed invincible, and the
defenceless towns of the Low Countries have been converted and pillaged
[By the civil agents of the executive power.] by a benevolent crusade of
the philanthropic assertors of the rights of man.  These warlike
Propagandistes, however, do not always convince without experiencing
resistance, and ignorance sometimes opposes, with great obstinacy, the
progress of truth.  The logic of Dumouriez did not enforce conviction at
Gemappe, but at the expence of fifteen thousand of his own army, and,
doubtless, a proportionate number of the unconverted.

Here let me forbear every expression tending to levity: the heart recoils
at such a slaughter of human victims; and, if a momentary smile be
excited by these Quixotisms, it is checked by horror at their
consequences!--Humanity will lament such destruction; but it will
likewise be indignant to learn, that, in the official account of this
battle, the killed were estimated at three hundred, and the wounded at
six!--But, if the people be sacrificed, they are not deceived.  The
disabled sufferers, who are returning to their homes in different parts
of the republic, betray the turpitude of the government, and expose the
fallacy of these bloodless victories of the gazettes.  The pedants of the
Convention are not unlearned in the history of the Praetorian Bands and
the omnipotence of armies; and an offensive war is undertaken to give
occupation to the soldiers, whose inactivity might produce reflection, or
whose discontent might prove fatal to the new order of things.--Attempts
are made to divert the public mind from the real misery experienced at
home, by relations of useless conquests abroad; the substantial losses,
which are the price of these imaginary benefits, are palliated or
concealed; and the circumstances of an engagement is known but by
individual communication, and when subsequent events have nearly effaced
the remembrance of it.--By these artifices, and from motives at least not
better, and, perhaps, worse than those I have mentioned, will population
be diminished, and agriculture impeded: France will be involved in
present distress, and consigned to future want; and the deluded people be
punished in the miseries of their own country, because their unprincipled
rulers have judged it expedient to carry war and devastation into

One of the distinguishing features in the French character is _sang froid_
--scarcely a day passes that it does not force itself on one's
observation.  It is not confined to the thinking part of the people, who
know that passion and irritability avail nothing; nor to those who, not
thinking at all, are, of course, not moved by any thing: but is equally
possessed by every rank and condition, whether you class them by their
mental endowments, or their temporal possessions.  They not only (as, it
must be confessed, is too commonly the case in all countries,) bear the
calamities of their friends with great philosophy, but are nearly as
reasonable under the pressure of their own.  The grief of a Frenchman,
at least, partakes of his imputed national complaisance, and, far from
intruding itself on society, is always ready to accept of consolation,
and join in amusement.  If you say your wife or relations are dead, they
replay coldly, _"Il faut se consoler:"_ or if they visit you in an
illness, _"Il faut prendre patience."_  Or tell them you are ruined, and
their features then become something more attenuated, the shoulders
something more elevated, and a more commiserating tone confesses, _"C'est
bien mal beureux--Mai enfin que voulez vous?"_ ["It's unlucky, but what
can be said in such cases?"] and in the same instant they ill recount
some good fortune at a card party, or expatiate on the excellence of a
ragout.--Yet, to do them justice, they only offer for your comfort the
same arguments they would have found efficacious in promoting their own.

This disposition, which preserves the tranquillity of the rich, indurates
the sense of wretchedness in the poor; it supplies the place of fortitude
in the one, and that of patience in the other; and, while it enables both
to endure their own particular distresses, it makes them submit quietly
to a weight and excess of public evils, which any nation but their own
would sink under, or resist.  Amongst shopkeepers, servants, &c. without
incurring personal odium, it has the effect of what would be deemed in
England impenetrable assurance.  It forces pertinaceously an article not
wanted, and preserves the inflexibility of the features at a detected
imposition: it inspires servants with arguments in defence of every
misdemeanour in the whole domestic catalogue; it renders them insensible
either of their negligences or the consequences of them; and endows them
with a happy facility of contradicting with the most obsequious

A gentleman of our acquaintances dined at a table d'Hote, where the
company were annoyed by a very uncommon and offensive smell.  On cutting
up a fowl, they discovered the smell to have been occasioned by its being
dressed with out any other preparation than that of depluming.  They
immediately sent for the host, and told him, that the fowl had been
dressed without having been drawn: but, far from appearing disconcerted,
as one might expect, he only replied, _"Cela se pourroit bien,
Monsieur."_ ["'Tis very possible, Sir."] Now an English Boniface, even
though he had already made his fortune, would have been mortified at such
an incident, and all his eloquence would scarcely have produced an
unfaultering apology.

Whether this national indifference originate in a physical or a moral
cause, from an obtuseness in their corporeal formation or a perfection in
their intellectual one, I do not pretend to decide; but whatever be the
cause, the effect is enjoyed with great modesty.  So little do the French
pique themselves on this valuable stoicism, that they acknowledge being
more subject to that human weakness called feeling, than any other people
in the world.  All their writers abound in pathetic exclamations,
sentimental phrases, and allusions to "la sensibilite Francaise," as
though they imagined it proverbial.  You can scarcely hold a conversation
with a Frenchman without hearing him detail, with an expression of
feature not always analogous, many very affecting sentences.  He is
_desole, desespere, or afflige_--he has _le coeur trop sensible, le coeur
serre, or le coeur navre;_ [Afflicted--in despair--too feeling a heart--
his heart is wrung or wounded.] and the well-placing of these dolorous
assertions depends rather upon the judgement and eloquence of the
speaker, than the seriousness of the case which gives rise to them.  For
instance, the despair and desolation of him who has lost his money, and
of him whose head is ill drest, are of different degrees, but the
expressions are usually the same.  The debates of the Convention, the
debates of the Jacobins, and all the public prints, are fraught with
proofs of this appropriated susceptibility, and it is often attributed to
persons and occasions where we should not much expect to find it.  A
quarrel between the legislators as to who was most concerned in promoting
the massacres of September, is reconciled with a "sweet and enthusiastic
excess of fraternal tenderness."  When the clubs dispute on the
expediency of an insurrection, or the necessity of a more frequent
employment of the guillotine, the debate terminates by overflowing of
sensibility from all the members who have engaged in it!

At the assassinations in one of the prisons, when all the other miserable
victims had perished, the mob discovered one Jonneau, a member of the
Assembly, who had been confined for kicking another member named
Grangeneuve.*  As the massacrers probably had no orders on the subject,
he was brought forth, from amidst heaps of murdered companions, and a
messenger dispatched to the Assembly, (which during these scenes met as
usual,) to enquire if they acknowledged Jonneau as a member.  A decree
was passed in the affirmative, and Jonneau brought by the assassins, with
the decree fastened on his breast, in triumph to his colleagues, who, we
are told, at this instance of respect for themselves, shed tears of
tenderness and admiration at the conduct of monsters, the sight of whom
should seem revolting to human nature.

     * When the massacres began, the wife and friends of Jonneau
     petitioned Grangeneuve on their knees to consent to his enlargement;
     but Grangeneuve was implacable, and Jonneau continued in prison till
     released by the means above mentioned.  It is observable, that at
     this dreadful moment the utmost strictness was observed, and every
     form literally enforced in granting the discharge of a prisoner.  A
     suspension of all laws, human and divine, was allowed to the
     assassins, while those only that secured them their victims were
     rigidly adhered to.

Perhaps the real sang froid I have before noticed, and these pretensions
to sensibility, are a natural consequence one or the other.  It is the
history of the beast's confession--we have only to be particularly
deficient in any quality, to make us solicitous for the reputation of it;
and after a long habit of deceiving others we finish by deceiving
ourselves.  He who feels no compassion for the distresses of his
neighbour, knows that such indifference is not very estimable; he
therefore studies to disguise the coldness of his heart by the
exaggeration of his language, and supplies, by an affected excess of
sentiment, the total absence of it.--The gods have not (as you know) made
me poetical, nor do I often tax your patience with a simile, but I think
this French sensibility is to genuine feeling, what their paste is to the
diamond--it gratifies the vanity of the wearer, and deceives the eye of
the superficial observer, but is of little use or value, and when tried
by the fire of adversity quickly disappears.

You are not much obliged to me for this long letter, as I own I have
scribbled rather for my own amusement than with a view to yours.--
Contrary to our expectation, the trial of the King has begun; and, though
I cannot properly be said to have any real interest in the affairs of
this country, I take a very sincere one in the fate of its unfortunate
Monarch--indeed our whole house has worn an appearance of dejection since
the commencement of the business.  Most people seem to expect it will
terminate favourably, and, I believe, there are few who do not wish it.
Even the Convention seem at present disposed to be merciful; and as they
judge now, so may they be judged hereafter!


Amiens, January 1793.

I do all possible justice to the liberality of my countrymen, who are
become such passionate admirers of the French; and I cannot but lament
their having been so unfortunate in the choice of the aera from whence
they date this new friendship.  It is, however, a proof, that their
regards are not much the effect of that kind of vanity which esteems
objects in proportion as they are esteemed by the rest of the world; and
the sincerity of an attachment cannot be better evinced than by its
surviving irretrievable disgrace and universal abhorrence.  Many will
swell the triumph of a hero, or add a trophy to his tomb; but he who
exhibits himself with a culprit at the gallows, or decorates the gibbet
with a wreath, is a friend indeed.

If ever the character of a people were repugnant to amity, or inimical to
connection, it is that of the French for the last three years.--*

     * The editor of the _Courier de l'Egalite,_ a most decided patriot,
     thus expresses himself on the injuries and insults received by the
     King from the Parisians, and their municipality, previous to his

     "I know that Louis is guilty--but are we to double his punishment
     before it is pronounced by the law?  Indeed one is tempted to say
     that, instead of being guided by the humanity and philosophy which
     dictated the revolution, we have taken lessons of barbarity from the
     most ferocious savages!  Let us be virtuous if we would be
     republicans; if we go on as we do, we never shall, and must have
     recourse to a despot: for of two evils it is better to choose the

The editor, whose opinion of the present politics is thus expressed, is
so truly a revolutionist, and so confidential a patriot, that, in August
last, when almost all the journalists were murdered, his paper was the
only one that, for some time, was allowed to reach the departments.

In this short space they have formed a compendium of all the vices which
have marked as many preceding ages:--the cruelty and treachery of the
league--the sedition, levity, and intrigue of the _Fronde_ [A name given
to the party in opposition to the court during Cardinal Mazarin's
ministry.--See the origin of it in the Memoirs of that period.] with the
licentiousness and political corruption of more modern epochs.  Whether
you examine the conduct of the nation at large, or that of its chiefs and
leaders, your feelings revolt at the one, and your integrity despises the
other.  You see the idols erected by Folly, degraded by Caprice;--the
authority obtained by Intrigue, bartered by Profligacy;--and the perfidy
and corruption of one side so balanced by the barbarity and levity of the
other, that the mind, unable to decide on the preference of contending
vices, is obliged to find repose, though with regret and disgust, in
acknowledging the general depravity.

La Fayette, without very extraordinary pretensions, became the hero of
the revolution.  He dictated laws in the Assembly, and prescribed oaths
to the Garde Nationale--and, more than once, insulted, by the triumph of
ostentatious popularity, the humiliation and distress of a persecuted
Sovereign.  Yet when La Fayette made an effort to maintain the
constitution to which he owed his fame and influence, he was abandoned
with the same levity with which he had been adopted, and sunk, in an
instant, from a dictator to a fugitive!

Neckar was an idol of another description. He had already departed for
his own country, when he was hurried back precipitately, amidst universal
acclamations.  All were full of projects either of honour or recompence--
one was for decreeing him a statue, another proposed him a pension, and a
third hailed him the father of the country.  But Mr. Neckar knew the
French character, and very wisely declined these pompous offers; for
before he could have received the first quarter of his pension, or the
statue could have been modelled, he was glad to escape, probably not
without some apprehensions for his head!

The reign of Mirabeau was something longer.  He lived with popularity,
was fortunate enough to die before his reputation was exhausted, was
deposited in the Pantheon, apotheosised in form, and his bust placed as a
companion to that of Brutus, the tutelary genius of the Assembly.--Here,
one might have expected, he would have been quit for this world at least;
but the fame of a patriot is not secured by his death, nor can the gods
of the French be called immortal: the deification of Mirabeau is
suspended, his memory put in sequestration, and a committee appointed to
enquire, whether a profligate, expensive, and necessitous character was
likely to be corruptible.  The Convention, too, seem highly indignant
that a man, remarkable only for vice and atrocity, should make no
conscience of betraying those who were as bad as himself; and that, after
having prostituted his talents from the moment he was conscious of them,
he should not, when associated with such immaculate colleagues, become
pure and disinterested.  It is very probable that Mirabeau, whose only
aim was power, might rather be willing to share it with the King, as
Minister, than with so many competitors, and only as Prime Speechmaker to
the Assembly: and as he had no reason for suspecting the patriotism of
others to be more inflexible than his own, he might think it not
impolitic to anticipate a little the common course of things, and betray
his companions, before they had time to stipulate for felling him.  He
might, too, think himself more justified in disposing of them in the
gross, because he did not thereby deprive them of their right of
bargaining for themselves, and for each other in detail.--*

     * La Porte, Steward of the Household, in a letter to Duquesnoy, [Not
     the brutal Dusquenoy hereafter mentioned.] dated February, 1791,
     informs him that Barrere, Chairman of the Committee of Domains, is
     in the best disposition possible.--A letter of Talon, (then
     minister,) with remarks in the margin by the King, says, that
     "Sixteen of the most violent members on the patriotic side may be
     brought over to the court, and that the expence will not exceed two
     millions of livres: that fifteen thousand will be sufficient for the
     first payment; and only a Yes or No from his Majesty will fix these
     members in his interest, and direct their future conduct."--It
     likewise observes, that these two millions will cost the King
     nothing, as the affair is already arranged with the

Extract of a letter from Chambonas to the King, dated June 18, 1792:


     "I inform your Majesty, that my agents are now in motion.  I have
     just been converting an evil spirit.  I cannot hope that I have made
     him good, but I believe I have neutralized him.--To-night we shall
     make a strong effort to gain Santerre, (Commandant of the Garde
     Nationale,) and I have ordered myself to be awakened to hear the
     result.  I shall take care to humour the different interests as well
     as I can.--The Secretary of the Cordeliers club is now secured.--All
     these people are to be bought, but not one of them can be hired.--I
     have had with me one Mollet a physician.  Perhaps your Majesty may
     have heard of him.  He is an outrageous Jacobin, and very difficult,
     for he will receive nothing.  He insists, previous to coming to any
     definitive treaty, on being named Physician to the Army.  I have
     promised him, on condition that Paris is kept quiet for fifteen
     days.  He is now gone to exert himself in our favour.  He has great
     credit at the Caffe de Procope, where all the journalists and
     'enragis' of the Fauxbourg St. Germain assemble.  I hope he will
     keep his word.--The orator of the people, the noted Le Maire, a
     clerk at the Post-office, has promised tranquility for a week, and
     he is to be rewarded.

     "A new Gladiator has appeared lately on the scene, one Ronedie
     Breton, arrived from England.  He has already been exciting the
     whole quarter of the Poisonnerie in favour of the Jacobins, but I
     shall have him laid siege to.--Petion is to come to-morrow for
     fifteen thousand livres, [This sum was probably only to propitiate
     the Mayor; and if Chambonas, as he proposed, refused farther
     payment, we may account for Petion's subsequent conduct.] on account
     of thirty thousand per month which he received under the
     administration of Dumouriez, for the secret service of the police.--
     I know not in virtue of what law this was done, and it will be the
     last he shall receive from me.  Your Majesty will, I doubt not,
     understand me, and approve of what I suggest.

     (Signed) "Chambonas."
     Extract from the Papers found at the Thuilleries.

     It is impossible to warrant the authenticity of these Papers; on
     their credibility, however, rests the whole proof of the most
     weighty charges brought against the King.  So that it must be
     admitted, that either all the first patriots of the revolution, and
     many of those still in repute, are corrupt, or that the King was
     condemned on forged evidence.

The King might also be solicitous to purchase safety and peace at any
rate; and it is unfortunate for himself and the country that he had not
recourse to the only effectual means till it was too late.   But all this
rests on no better evidence than the papers found at the Thuilleries; and
as something of this kind was necessary to nourish the exhausted fury of
the populace, I can easily conceive that it was thought more prudent to
sacrifice the dead, than the living; and the fame of Mirabeau being less
valuable than the safety of those who survived him, there would be no
great harm in attributing to him what he was very likely to have done.--
The corruption of a notorious courtier would have made no impression: the
King had already been overwhelmed with such accusations, and they had
lost their effect: but to have seduced the virtuous Mirabeau, the very
Confucius of the revolution, was a kind of profanation of the holy fire,
well calculated to revive the languid rage, and extinguish the small
remains of humanity yet left among the people.

It is sufficiently remarkable, that notwithstanding the court must have
seen the necessity of gaining over the party now in power, no vestige of
any attempt of this kind has been discovered; and every criminating
negotiation is ascribed to the dead, the absent, or the insignificant.  I
do not, however, presume to decide in a case so very delicate; their
panegyrists in England may adjust the claims of Mirabeau's integrity, and
that of his accusers, at their leisure.

Another patriot of "distinguished note," and more peculiarly interesting
to our countrymen, because he has laboured much for their conversion, is
Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun.--He was in England some time as
Plenipotentiary from the Jacobins, charged with establishing treaties
between the clubs, publishing seditious manifestoes, contracting friendly
alliances with discontented scribblers, and gaining over neutral or
hostile newspapers.--But, besides his political and ecclesiastical
occupations, and that of writing letters to the Constitutional Society,
it seems this industrious Prelate had likewise a correspondence with the
Agents of the Court, which, though he was too modest to surcharge his
fame by publishing it, was, nevertheless, very profitable.

I am sorry his friends in England are mostly averse from episcopacy,
otherwise they might have provided for him, as I imagine he will have no
objection to relinquish his claims on the see of Autun.  He is not under
accusation, and, were he to return, he would not find the laws quite so
ceremonious here as in England.  After labouring with impunity for months
together to promote an insurrection with you, a small private barter of
his talents would here cost him his head; and I appeal to the Bishop's
friends in England, whether there can be a proper degree of freedom in a
country where a man is refused the privilege of disposing of himself to
the best advantage.

To the eternal obloquy of France, I must conclude, in the list of those
once popular, the ci-devant Duke of Orleans.  But it was an unnatural
popularity, unaided by a single talent, or a single virtue, supported
only by the venal efforts of those who were almost his equals in vice,
though not in wealth, and who found a grateful exercise for their
abilities in at once profiting by the weak ambition of a bad man, and
corrupting the public morals in his favour.  The unrighteous compact is
now dissolved; those whom he ruined himself to bribe have already
forsaken him, and perhaps may endeavour to palliate the disgrace of
having been called his friends, by becoming his persecutors.--Thus, many
of the primitive patriots are dead, or fugitives, or abandoned, or
treacherous; and I am not without fear lest the new race should prove as
evanescent as the old.

The virtuous Rolland,* whose first resignation was so instrumental in
dethroning the King, has now been obliged to resign a second time,
charged with want of capacity, and suspected of malversation; and this
virtue, which was so irreproachable, which it would have been so
dangerous to dispute while it served the purposes of party, is become
hypocrisy, and Rolland will be fortunate if he return to obscurity with
only the loss of his gains and his reputation.

     * In the beginning of December, the Council-General of the
     municipality of Paris opened a register, and appointed a Committee
     to receive all accusations and complaints whatever against Rolland,
     who, in return, summoned them to deliver in their accounts to him as
     Minister of the interior, and accused them, at the same time, of the
     most scandalous peculations.

The credit of Brissot and the Philosophers is declining fast--the clubs
are unpropitious, and no party long survives this formidable omen; so
that, like Macbeth, they will have waded from one crime to another, only
to obtain a short-lived dominion, at the expence of eternal infamy, and
an unlamented fall.

Dumouriez is still a successful General, but he is denounced by one
faction, insulted by another, insidiously praised by a third, and, if he
should persevere in serving them, he has more disinterested rectitude
than I suspect him of, or than they merit.  This is another of that
Jacobin ministry which proved so fatal to the King; and it is evident
that, had he been permitted to entertain the same opinion of all these
people as they now profess to have of each other, he would have been
still living, and secure on his throne.

After so many mutual infidelities, it might be expected that one party
would grow indifferent, and the other suspicious; but the French never
despair: new hordes of patriots prepare to possess themselves of the
places they are forcing the old ones to abandon, and the people, eager
for change, are ready to receive them with the momentary and fallacious
enthusiasm which ever precedes disgrace; while those who are thus
intriguing for power and influence, are, perhaps, secretly devising how
it may be made most subservient to their personal advantage.

Yet, perhaps, these amiable levities may not be displeasing to the
Constitutional Society and the revolutionists of England; and, as the
very faults of our friends are often endearing to us, they may extend
their indulgence to the "humane" and "liberal" precepts of the Jacobins,
and the massacres of September.--To confess the truth, I am not a little
ashamed for my country when I see addresses from England to a Convention,
the members of which have just been accusing each other of assassination
and robbery, or, in the ardour of a debate, threatening, cuffing, and
knocking each other down.  Exclusive of their moral character, considered
only as it appears from their reciprocal criminations, they have so
little pretension to dignity, or even decency, that it seems a mockery to
address them as the political representatives of a powerful nation
deliberating upon important affairs.

If a bearer of one of these congratulatory compliments were not apprized
of the forms of the House, he would be rather astonished, at his
introduction, to see one member in a menacing attitude, and another
denying his veracity in terms perfectly explicit, though not very civil.
Perhaps, in two minutes, the partizans of each opponent all rise and
clamour, as if preparing for a combat--the President puts on his hat as
the signal of a storm--the subordinate disputants are appeased--and the
revilings of the principal ones renewed; till, after torrents of indecent
language, the quarrel is terminated by a fraternal embrace.*--I think,
after such a scene, an addresser must feel a little humiliated, and would
return without finding his pride greatly increased by his mission.

     * I do not make any assertions of this nature from conjecture or
     partial evidence.  The journals of the time attest that the scenes I
     describe occur almost in every debate.--As a proof, I subjoin some
     extracts taken nearly at hazard:

     "January 7th, Convention Nationale, Presidence de Treilhard.--The
     debate was opened by an address from the department of Finisterre,
     expressing their wishes, and adding, that these were likewise the
     wishes of the nation at large--that Marat, Robespierre, Bazire,
     Chabot, Merlin, Danton, and their accomplices, might be expelled the
     Convention as caballers and intriguers paid by the tyrants at war
     with France."

     The account of this debate is thus continued--"The almost daily
     troubles which arise in the Convention were on the point of being
     renewed, when a member, a friend to order, spoke as follows, and, it
     is remarked, was quietly listened to:


     "'If three months of uninterrupted silence has given me any claim to
     your attention, I now ask it in the name of our afflicted country.
     Were I to continue silent any longer, I should render myself as
     culpable as those who never hold their tongues.  I see we are all
     sensible of the painfulness of our situation.  Every day
     dissatisfied with ourselves, we come to the debate with the
     intention of doing something, and every day we return without having
     done any thing.  The people expect from us wise laws, and not storms
     and tumults.  How are we to make these wise laws, and keep
     twenty-five millions of people quiet, when we, who are only seven
     hundred and fifty individuals, give an example of perpetual riot and
     disorder?  What signifies our preaching the unity and indivisibility
     of the republic, when we cannot maintain peace and union amongst
     ourselves?  What good can we expect to do amidst such scandalous
     disturbances, and while we spend our time in attending to
     informations, accusations, and inculpations, for the most part
     utterly unfounded?  For my part, I see but one means of attaining
     any thing like dignity and tranquillity, and that is, by submitting
     ourselves to coercive regulations.'"

     Here follow some proposals, tending to establish a little decency in
     their proceedings for the future; but the account from whence this
     extract is taken proceeds to remark, that this invitation to peace
     was no sooner finished, than a new scene of disturbance took place,
     to the great loss of their time, and the scandal of all good
     citizens.  One should imagine, that if ever the Convention could
     think it necessary to assume an appearance of dignity, or at least
     of seriousness and order, it would be in giving their judgement
     relative to the King.  Yet, in determining how a series of questions
     should be discussed, on the arrangement of which his fate seems much
     to have depended, the solemnity of the occasion appears to have had
     no weight.  It was proposed to begin by that of the appeal to the
     people.  This was so violently combated, that the Convention would
     hear neither party, and were a long time without debating at all.
     Petion mounted the tribune, and attempted to restore order; but the
     noise was too great for him to be heard.  He at length, however,
     obtained silence enough to make a motion.  Again the murmurs
     recommenced.  Rabaud de St. Etienne made another attempt, but was
     equally unsuccessful.  Those that were of an opposite opinion
     refused to hear him, and both parties rose up and rushed together to
     the middle of the Hall.  The most dreadful tumult took place, and
     the President, with great difficulty, procured a calm.  Again the
     storm began, and a member told them, that if they voted in the
     affirmative, those on the left side (Robespierre, &c.) would not
     wait the result, but have the King assassinated.  "Yes!  Yes!
     (resounded from all parts) the Scelerats of Paris will murder him!"
     --Another violent disorder ensuing, it was thought no decree could
     be passed, and, at length, amidst this scene of riot and confusion,
     the order of questions was arranged, and in such a manner as to
     decide the fate of the King.--It was determined, that the question
     of his guilt should precede that of the appeal to the people.  Had
     the order of the questions been changed, the King might have been
     saved, for many would have voted for the appeal in the first
     instance who did not dare do it when they found the majority
     resolved to pronounce him guilty.

It is very remarkable, that, on the same day on which the friends of
liberty and equality of Manchester signalized themselves by a most
patriotic compliment to the Convention, beginning with _"Francais, vous
etes libres,"_ ["Frenchmen, you are free."] they were, at that very
moment, employed in discussing a petition from numbers of Parisians who
had been thrown into prison without knowing either their crime or their
accusers, and were still detained under the same arbitrary
circumstances.--The law of the constitution is, that every person
arrested shall be interrogated within twenty-four hours; but as these
imprisonments were the work of the republican Ministers, the Convention
seemed to think it indelicate to interpose, and these citizens of a
country whose freedom is so much envied by the Manchester Society, will
most likely remain in durance as long as their confinement shall be
convenient to those who have placed them there.--A short time after,
Villette, who is a news-writer and deputy, was cited to appear before the
municipality of Paris, under the charge of having inserted in his paper
"equivocal phrases and anti-civic expressions, tending to diminish the
confidence due to the municipality."--Villette, as being a member of the
Convention, obtained redress; but had he been only a journalist, the
liberty of the press would not have rescued him.--On the same day,
complaint was made in the Assembly, that one man had been arrested
instead of another, and confined for some weeks, and it was agreed
unanimously, (a thing that does not often occur,) that the powers
exercised by the Committee of Inspection [Surveillance.--See Debates,
December.] were incompatible with liberty.

The patriots of Belfast were not more fortunate in the adaption of their
civilities--they addressed the Convention, in a strain of great piety, to
congratulate them on the success of their arms in the "cause of civil and
religious liberty."*

     * At this time the municipalities were empowered to search all
     houses by night or day; but their visites domiciliaires, as they are
     called, being made chiefly in the night, a decree has since ordained
     that they shall take place only during the day.  Perhaps an
     Englishman may think the latter quite sufficient, considering that
     France is the freeest country in the world, and, above all, a

The harangue was interrupted by the _mal-a-propos_ entrance of two
deputies, who complained of having been beaten, almost hanged, and half
drowned, by the people of Chartres, for belonging, as they were told, to
an assembly of atheistical persecutors of religion; and this Convention,
whom the Society of Belfast admire for propagating "religious liberty" in
other countries, were in a few days humbly petitioned, from various
departments, not to destroy it in their own.  I cannot, indeed, suppose
they have really such a design; but the contempt with which they treat
religion has occasioned an alarm, and given the French an idea of their
piety very different from that so kindly conceived by the patriots of

I entrust this to our friend Mrs. ____, who is leaving France in a few
days; and as we are now on the eve of a war, it will be the last letter
you will receive, except a few lines occasionally on our private affairs,
or to inform you of my health.  As we cannot, in the state Mrs. D____ is
in, think of returning to England at present, we must trust ourselves to
the hospitality of the French for at least a few weeks, and I certainly
will not abuse it, by sending any remarks on their political affairs out
of the country.  But as I know you interest yourself much in the subject,
and read with partiality my attempts to amuse you, I will continue to
throw my observations on paper as regularly as I have been accustomed to
do, and I hope, ere long, to be the bearer of the packets myself.  I here
also renew my injunction, that no part of my correspondence that relates
to French politics be communicated to any one, not even my mother.  What
I have written has been merely to gratify your own curiosity, and I
should be extremely mortified if my opinions were repeated even in the
little circle of our private acquaintance.  I deem myself perfectly
justifiable in imparting my reflections to you, but I have a sort of
delicacy that revolts at the thought of being, in the remotest degree,
accessary to conveying intelligence from a country in which I reside,
and which is so peculiarly situated as France is at this moment.  My
feelings, my humanity, are averse from those who govern, but I should
regret to be the means of injuring them.  You cannot mistake my
intentions, and I conclude by seriously reminding you of the promise I
exacted previous to any political discussion.--Adieu.

Amiens, February 15, 1793.

I did not, as I promised, write immediately on my return from Chantilly;
the person by whom I intended to send my letter having already set out
for England, and the rule I have observed for the last three months of
entrusting nothing to the post but what relates to our family affairs,
is now more than ever necessary.  I have before requested, and I must now
insist, that you make no allusion to any political matter whatever, nor
even mention the name of any political person.  Do not imagine that you
are qualified to judge of what is prudent, or what may be written with
safety--I repeat, no one in England can form an idea of the suspicion
that pervades every part of the French government.

I cannot venture to answer decisively your question respecting the King--
indeed the subject is so painful to me, that I have hitherto avoided
reverting to it.  There certainly was, as you observe, some sudden
alteration in the dispositions of the Assembly between the end of the
trial and the final judgement.  The causes were most probably various,
and must be sought for in the worst vices of our nature--cruelty,
avarice, and cowardice.  Many, I doubt not, were guided only by the
natural malignity of their hearts; many acted from fear, and expected to
purchase impunity for former compliances with the court by this popular
expiation; a large number are also supposed to have been paid by the Duke
of Orleans--whether for the gratification of malice or ambition, time
must develope.--But, whatever were the motives, the result was an
iniquitous combination of the worst of a set of men, before selected from
all that was bad in the nation, to profane the name of justice--to
sacrifice an unfortunate, but not a guilty Prince--and to fix an
indelible stain on the country.

Among those who gave their opinion at large, you will observe Paine: and,
as I intimated in a former letter, it seems he was at that time rather
allured by the vanity of making a speech that should be applauded, than
by any real desire of injuring the King.  Such vanity, however, is not
pardonable: a man has a right to ruin himself, or to make himself
ridiculous; but when his vanity becomes baneful to others, as it has all
the effect, so does it merit the punishment, of vice.

Of all the rest, Condorcet has most powerfully disgusted me.  The avowed
wickedness of Thuriot or Marat inspires one with horror; but this cold
philosophic hypocrite excites contempt as well as detestation.  He seems
to have wavered between a desire to preserve the reputation of humanity,
which he has affected, and that of gratifying the real depravity of his
mind.  Would one have expected, that a speech full of benevolent systems,
mild sentiments, and aversion from the effusion of human blood, was to
end in a vote for, and recommendation of, the immediate execution of his
sovereign?--But such a conduct is worthy of him, who has repaid the
benefits of his patron and friend [The Duke de la Rochefaucault.] by a
persecution which ended in his murder.

You will have seen, that the King made some trifling requests to be
granted after his decease, and that the Convention ordered him to be
told, that the nation, "always great, always just," accorded them in
part.  Yet this just and magnanimous people refused him a preparation of
only three days, and allowed him but a few hours--suffered his remains to
be treated with the most scandalous indecency--and debated seriously,
whether or no the Queen should receive some little tokens of affection he
had left for her.

The King's enemies had so far succeeded in depreciating his personal
courage, that even his friends were apprehensive he might not sustain his
last moments with dignity.  The event proves how much injustice has been
done him in this respect, as well as in many others.  His behaviour was
that of a man who derived his fortitude from religion--it was that of
pious resignation, not ostentatious courage; it was marked by none of
those instances of levity and indifference which, at such a time, are
rather symptoms of distraction than resolution; he exhibited the
composure of an innocent mind, and the seriousness that became the
occasion; he seemed to be occupied in preparing for death, but not to
fear it.--I doubt not but the time will come, when those who have
sacrificed him may envy the last moments of Louis the Sixteenth!

That the King was not guilty of the principal charges brought against
him, has been proved indubitably--not altogether by the assertions of
those who favour him, but by the confession of his enemies.  He was, for
example, accused of planning the insurrection of the tenth of August; yet
not a day passes that both parties in the Convention are not disputing
the priority of their efforts to dethrone him, and to erect a republic;
and they date their machinations long before the period on which they
attribute the first aggression to the King.--Mr. Sourdat, and several
other writers, have very ably demonstrated the falsehood of these
charges; but the circulation of such pamphlets was dangerous--of course,
secret and limited; while those which tended to deceive and prejudice the
people were dispersed with profusion, at the expence of the government.*

     * Postscript of the Courier de l'Egalite, Sept. 29:

     "The present minister (Rolland) takes every possible means in his
     power to enlighten and inform the people in whatever concerns their
     real interests.  For this purpose he has caused to be printed and
     distributed, in abundance, the accounts and papers relative to the
     events of the tenth of August.  We have yet at our office a small
     number of these publications, which we have distributed to our
     subscribers, and we still give them to any of our fellow-citizens
     who have opportunities of circulating them."

I have seen one of these written in coarse language, and replete with
vulgar abuse, purposely calculated for the lower classes in the country,
who are more open to gross impositions than those of the same rank in
towns; yet I have no doubt, in my own mind, that all these artifices
would have proved unavailing, had the decision been left to the nation at
large: but they were intimidated, if not convinced; and the mandate of
the Convention, which forbids this sovereign people to exercise their
judgement, was obeyed with as much submission, and perhaps more
reluctance, than an edict of Louis the fourteenth.*

     * The King appealed, by his counsel, to the People; but the
     convention, by a decree, declared his appeal of no validity, and
     forbade all persons to pay attention to it, under the severest

The French seem to have no energy but to destroy, and to resist nothing
but gentleness or infancy.  They bend under a firm or oppressive
administration, but become restless and turbulent under a mild Prince or
a minority.

The fate of this unfortunate Monarch has made me reflect, with great
seriousness, on the conduct of our opposition-writers in England.  The
literary banditti who now govern France began their operations by
ridiculing the King's private character--from ridicule they proceeded to
calumny, and from calumny to treason; and perhaps the first libel that
degraded him in the eyes of his subjects opened the path from the palace
to the scaffold.--I do not mean to attribute the same pernicious
intentions to the authors on your side the Channel, as I believe them,
for the most part, to be only mercenary, and that they would write
panegyrics as soon as satires, were they equally profitable.  I know too,
that there is no danger of their producing revolutions in England--we do
not suffer our principles to be corrupted by a man because he has the art
of rhyming nothings into consequence, nor suffer another to overturn the
government because he is an orator.  Yet, though these men may not be
very mischievous, they are very reprehensible; and, in a moment like the
present, contempt and neglect should supply the place of that punishment
against which our liberty of the press secures them.

It is not for a person no better informed than myself to pronounce on
systems of government--still less do I affect to have more enlarged
notions than the generality of mankind; but I may, without risking those
imputations, venture to say, I have no childish or irrational deference
for the persons of Kings.  I know they are not, by nature, better than
other men, and a neglected or vicious education may often render them
worse.  This does not, however, make me less respect the office.  I
respect it as the means chosen by the people to preserve internal peace
and order--to banish corruption and petty tyrants ["And fly from petty
tyrants to the throne."--Goldsmith]--and give vigour to the execution of
the laws.

Regarded in this point of view, I cannot but lament the mode which has
lately prevailed of endeavouring to alienate the consideration due to our
King's public character, by personal ridicule.  If an individual were
attacked in this manner, his house beset with spies, his conversation
with his family listened to, and the most trifling actions of his life
recorded, it would be deemed unfair and illiberal, and he who should
practice such meanness would be thought worthy of no punishment more
respectful than what might be inflicted by an oaken censor, or an
admonitory heel.--But it will be said, a King is not an individual, and
that such a habit, or such an amusement, is beneath the dignity of his
character.  Yet would it be but consistent in those who labour to prove,
by the public acts of Kings, that they are less than men, not to exact,
that, in their private lives, they should be more.--The great prototype
of modern satyrists, Junius, does not allow that any credit should be
given a Monarch for his domestic virtues; is he then to be reduced to an
individual, only to scrutinize his foibles, and is his station to serve
only as the medium of their publicity?  Are these literary miners to
penetrate the recesses of private life, only to bring to light the dross?
Do they analyse only to discover poisons?  Such employments may be
congenial to their natures, but have little claim to public remuneration.
The merit of a detractor is not much superior to that of a flatterer; nor
is a Prince more likely to be amended by imputed follies, than by
undeserved panegyrics.  If any man wished to represent his King
advantageously, it could not be done better than by remarking, that,
after all the watchings of assiduous necessity, and the laborious
researches of interested curiosity, it appears, that his private life
affords no other subjects of ridicule than, that he is temperate,
domestic, and oeconomical, and, as is natural to an active mind, wishes
to be informed of whatever happens not to be familiar to him.  It were to
be desired that some of these accusations were applicable to those who
are so much scandalized at them: but they are not littlenesses--the
littleness is in him who condescends to report them; and I have often
wondered that men of genius should make a traffic of gleaning from the
refuse of anti-chambers, and retailing the anecdotes of pages and

You will perceive the kind of publications I allude to; and I hope the
situation of France, and the fate of its Monarch, may suggest to the
authors a more worthy employ of their talents, than that of degrading the
executive power in the eyes of the people.

Amiens, Feb. 25, 1793.

I told you, I believe, in a former letter, that the people of Amiens were
all aristocrates: they have, nevertheless, two extremely popular
qualifications--I mean filth and incivility.  I am, however, far from
imputing either of them to the revolution.  This grossness of behavior
has long existed under the palliating description of _"la franchise
Picarde,"_ ["Picardy frankness."] and the floors and stairs of many
houses will attest their preeminence in filth to be of a date much
anterior to the revolution.--If you purchase to the amount of an hundred
livres, there are many shopkeepers who will not send your purchases home;
and if the articles they show you do not answer your purpose, they are
mostly sullen, and often rude.  No appearance of fatigue or infirmity
suggests to them the idea of offering you a seat; they contradict you
with impertinence, address you with freedom, and conclude with cheating
you if they can.  It was certainly on this account that Sterne would not
agree to die at the inn at Amiens.  He might, with equal justice, have
objected to any other house; and I am sure if he thought them an
unpleasant people to die amongst, he would have found them still worse to
live with.--My observation as to the civility of aristocrates does not
hold good here--indeed I only meant that those who ever had any, and were
aristocrates, still preserved it.

Amiens has always been a commercial town, inhabited by very few of the
higher noblesse; and the mere gentry of a French province are not very
much calculated to give a tone of softness and respect to those who
imitate them.  You may, perhaps, be surprized that I should express
myself with little consideration for a class which, in England, is so
highly respectable: there gentlemen of merely independent circumstances
are not often distinguishable in their manners from those of superior
fortune or rank.  But, in France, it is different: the inferior noblesse
are stiff, ceremonious, and ostentatious; while the higher ranks were
always polite to strangers, and affable to their dependents.  When you
visit some of the former, you go through as many ceremonies as though you
were to be invested with an order, and rise up and sit down so many
times, that you return more fatigued than you would from a cricket match;
while with the latter you are just as much at your ease as is consistent
with good breeding and propriety, and a whole circle is never put in
commotion at the entrance and exit of every individual who makes part of
it.  Any one not prepared for these formalities, and who, for the first
time, saw an assembly of twenty people all rising from their seats at the
entrance of a single beau, would suppose they were preparing for a dance,
and that the new comer was a musician.  For my part I always find it an
oeconomy of strength (when the locality makes it practicable) to take
possession of a window, and continue standing in readiness until the hour
of visiting is over, and calm is established by the arrangement of the
card tables.--The revolution has not annihilated the difference of rank;
though it has effected the abolition of titles; and I counsel all who
have remains of the gout or inflexible joints, not to frequent the houses
of ladies whose husbands have been ennobled only by their offices, of
those whose genealogies are modern, or of the collaterals of ancient
families, whose claims are so far removed as to be doubtful.  The society
of all these is very exigent, and to be avoided by the infirm or

I send you with this a little collection of airs which I think you will
find very agreeable.  The French music has not, perhaps, all the
reputation it is entitled to.  Rousseau has declared it to be nothing but
doleful psalmodies; Gray calls a French concert "Une tintamarre de
diable:" and the prejudices inspired by these great names are not easily
obliterated.  We submit our judgement to theirs, even when our taste is
refractory.--The French composers seem to excel in marches, in lively
airs that abound in striking passages calculated for the popular taste,
and yet more particularly in those simple melodies they call romances:
they are often in a very charming and singular style, without being
either so delicate or affecting as the Italian.  They have an expression
of plaintive tenderness, which makes one tranquil rather than melancholy;
and which, though it be more soothing than interesting, is very
delightful.--Yours, &c.

Amiens, 1793.

I have been to-day to take a last view of the convents: they are now
advertised for sale, and will probably soon be demolished.  You know my
opinion is not, on the whole, favourable to these institutions, and that
I thought the decree which extinguishes them, but which secured to the
religious already profest the undisturbed possession of their habitations
during life, was both politic and humane.  Yet I could not see the
present state of these buildings without pain--they are now inhabited by
volunteers, who are passing a novitiate of intemperance and idleness,
previous to their reception in the army; and those who recollect the
peace and order that once reigned within the walls of a monastery, cannot
but be stricken with the contrast.  I felt both for the expelled and
present possessors, and, perhaps, gave a mental preference to the
superstition which founded such establishments, over the persecution that
destroys them.

The resigned and pious votaries, who once supposed themselves secure from
all the vicissitudes of fortune, and whose union seemed dissoluble only
by the common lot of mortality, are now many of them dispersed,
wandering, friendless, and miserable.  The religion which they cherished
as a comfort, and practised as a duty, is now pursued as a crime; and it
is not yet certain that they will not have to choose between an
abjuration of their principles, and the relinquishment of the means of
existence.--The military occupiers offered nothing very alleviating to
such unpleasant reflections; and I beheld with as much regret the
collection of these scattered individuals, as the separation of those
whose habitations they fill.  They are most of them extremely young,
taken from villages and the service of agriculture, and are going to risk
their lives in a cause detested perhaps by more than three parts of the
nation, and only to secure impunity to its oppressors.

It has usually been a maxim in all civilized states, that when the
general welfare necessitates some act of partial injustice, it shall be
done with the utmost consideration for the sufferer, and that the
required sacrifice of moral to political expediency shall be palliated,
as much as the circumstances will admit, by the manner of carrying it
into execution.  But the French legislators, in this respect, as in most
others, truly original, disdain all imitation, and are rarely guided by
such confined motives.  With them, private rights are frequently
violated, only to facilitate the means of public oppressions--and cruel
and iniquitous decrees are rendered still more so by the mode of
enforcing them.

I have met with no person who could conceive the necessity of expelling
the female religious from their convents.  It was, however, done, and
that with a mixture of meanness and barbarity which at once excites
contempt and detestation.  The ostensible, reasons were, that these
communities afforded an asylum to the superstitious, and that by their
entire suppression, a sale of the houses would enable the nation to
afford the religious a more liberal support than had been assigned them
by the Constituent Assembly.  But they are shallow politicians who expect
to destroy superstition by persecuting those who practise it: and so far
from adding, as the decree insinuates, to the pensions of the nuns, they
have now subjected them to an oath which, to those at least whose
consciences are timid, will act as a prohibition to their receiving what
they were before entitled to.

The real intention of the legislature in thus entirely dispersing the
female religious, besides the general hatred of every thing connected
with religion, is, to possess itself of an additional resource in the
buildings and effects, and, as is imagined by some, to procure numerous
and convenient state prisons.  But, I believe, the latter is only an
aristocratic apprehension, suggested by the appropriation of the convents
to this use in a few places, where the ancient prisons are full.--
Whatever purpose it is intended to answer, it has been effected in a way
disgraceful to any national body, except such a body as the Convention;
and, though it be easy to perceive the cruelty of such a measure, yet as,
perhaps, its injustice may not strike you so forcibly as if you had had
the same opportunities of investigating it as I have, I will endeavour to
explain, as well as I can, the circumstances that render it so peculiarly

I need not remind you, that no order is of very modern foundation, nor
that the present century has, in a great degree, exploded the fashion of
compounding for sins by endowing religious institutions.  Thus,
necessarily, by the great change which has taken place in the expence of
living, many establishments that were poorly endowed must have become
unable to support themselves, but for the efforts of those who were
attached to them.  It is true, that the rent of land has increased as its
produce became more valuable; but every one knows that the lands
dependent on religious houses have always been let on such moderate
terms, as by no means to bear a proportion to the necessities they were
intended to supply; and as the monastic vows have long ceased to be the
frequent choice of the rich, little increase has been made to the
original stock by the accession of new votaries:--yet, under all these
disadvantages, many societies have been able to rebuild their houses,
embellish their churches, purchase plate, &c. &c.  The love of their
order, that spirit of oeconomy for which they are remarkable, and a
persevering industry, had their usual effects, and not only banished
poverty, but became a source of wealth.  An indefatigable labour at such
works as could be profitably disposed of, the education of children, and
the admission of boarders, were the means of enriching a number of
convents, whose proper revenues would not have afforded them even a

But the fruits of active toil or voluntary privation, have been
confounded with those of expiatory bequest and mistaken devotion, and
have alike become the prey of a rapacious and unfeeling government.  Many
communities are driven from habitations built absolutely with the produce
of their own labour.  In some places they were refused even their beds
and linen; and the stock of wood, corn, &c. provided out of the savings
of their pensions, (understood to be at their own disposal,) have been
seized, and sold, without making them the smallest compensation.

Thus deprived of every thing, they are sent into the world with a
prohibition either to live several of them together, wear their habits,*
or practise their religion; yet their pensions** are too small for them
to live upon, except in society, or to pay the usual expence of boarding:
many of them have no other means of procuring secular dresses, and still
more will imagine themselves criminal in abstaining from the mode of
worship they have been taught to think salutary.

     * Two religious, who boarded with a lady I had occasion to see
     sometimes, told me, that they had been strictly enjoined not to
     dress like each other in any way.

     ** The pensions are from about seventeen to twenty-five pounds
     sterling per annum.--At the time I am writing, the necessaries of
     life are increased in price nearly two-fifths of what they bore
     formerly, and are daily becoming dearer.  The Convention are not
     always insensible to this--the pay of the foot soldier is more than

It is also to be remembered, that women of small fortune in France often
embraced the monastic life as a frugal retirement, and, by sinking the
whole they were possessed of in this way, they expected to secure a
certain provision, and to place themselves beyond the reach of future
vicissitudes: yet, though the sums paid on these occasions can be easily
ascertained, no indemnity has been made; and many will be obliged to
violate their principles, in order to receive a trifling pension, perhaps
much less than the interest of their money would have produced without
loss of the principal.

But the views of these legislating philosophers are too sublimely
extensive to take in the wrongs or sufferings of contemporary
individuals; and not being able to disguise, even to themselves, that
they create much misery at present, they promise incalculable advantages
to those who shall happen to be alive some centuries hence!  Most of
these poor nuns are, however, of an age to preclude them from the hope of
enjoying this Millennium; and they would have been content en attendant
these glorious times, not to be deprived of the necessaries of life, or
marked out as objects of persecution.

The private distresses occasioned by the dissolution of the convents are
not the only consequences to be regretted--for a time, at least, the loss
must certainly be a public one.  There will now be no means of
instruction for females, nor any refuge for those who are without friends
or relations: thousands of orphans must be thrown unprotected on the
world, and guardians, or single men, left with the care of children, have
no way to dispose of them properly.  I do not contend that the education
of a convent is the best possible: yet are there many advantages
attending it; and I believe it will readily be granted, that an education
not quite perfect is better than no education at all.  It would not be
very difficult to prove, that the systems of education, both in England
and France, are extremely defective; and if the characters of women are
generally better formed in one than the other, it is not owing to the
superiority of boarding-schools over convents, but to the difference of
our national manners, which tend to produce qualities not necessary, or
not valued, in France.

The most distinguished female excellencies in England are an attachment
to domestic life, an attention to its oeconomies, and a cultivated
understanding.  Here, any thing like house-wifery is not expected but
from the lower classes, and reading or information is confined chiefly to
professed wits.  Yet the qualities so much esteemed in England are not
the effect of education: few domestic accomplishments, and little useful
knowledge, are acquired at a boarding-school; but finally the national
character asserts its empire, and the female who has gone through a
course of frivolities from six to sixteen, who has been taught that the
first "human principle" should be to give an elegant tournure to her
person, after a few years' dissipation, becomes a good wife and mother,
and a rational companion.

In France, young women are kept in great seclusion: religion and oeconomy
form a principal part of conventual acquirements, and the natural vanity
of the sex is left to develope itself without the aid of authority, or
instillation by precept--yet, when released from this sober tuition,
manners take the ascendant here as in England, and a woman commences at
her marriage the aera of coquetry, idleness, freedom, and rouge.--We may
therefore, I think, venture to conclude, that the education of a
boarding-school is better calculated for the rich, that of a convent for
the middle classes and the poor; and, consequently, that the suppression
of this last in France will principally affect those to whom it was most
beneficial, and to whom the want of it will be most dangerous.

A committee of wise men are now forming a plan of public instruction,
which is to excel every thing ever adopted in any age or country; and we
may therefore hope that the defects which have hitherto prevailed, both
in theirs and our own, will be remedied.  All we have to apprehend is,
that, amidst so many wise heads, more than one wise plan may be produced,
and a difficulty of choice keep the rising generation in a sort of
abeyance, so that they must remain sterile, or may become vitiated, while
it is determining in what manner they shall be cultivated.

It is almost a phrase to say, the resources of France are wonderful, and
this is no less true than generally admitted.  Whatever be the want or
loss, it is no sooner known than supplied, and the imagination of the
legislature seems to become fertile in proportion to the exigence of the
moment.--I was in some pain at the disgrace of Mirabeau, lest this new
kind of retrospective judgement should depopulate the Pantheon of the few
divinities that remained; more especially when I considered that
Voltaire, notwithstanding his merits as an enemy to revelation, had been
already accused of aristocracy, and even Rousseau himself might not be
found impeccable.  His Contrat Social might not, perhaps, in the eyes of
a committee of philosophical Rhadmanthus's, atone for his occasional
admiration of christianity: and thus some crime, either of church or
state, disfranchise the whole race of immortals, and their fame scarcely
outlast the dispute about their earthly remains.*

     * Alluding to the disputes between the Convention and the person who
     claimed the exclusive right to the remains of Rousseau.

My concern, on this account, was the more justifiable, because the great
fallibility which prevailed among the patriots, and the very delicate
state of the reputation of those who retained their political existence,
afforded no hope that they could ever fill the vacancies in the
Pantheon.--But my fears were very superfluous--France will never want
subjects for an apotheosis, and if one divinity be dethroned, "another
and another still succeeds," all equally worthy as long as they continue
in fashion.--The phrenzy of despair has supplied a successor to Mirabeau,
in Le Pelletier. [De St. Fargeau.] The latter had hitherto been little
heard of, but his death offered an occasion for exciting the people too
favourable to be neglected: his patriotism and his virtues immediately
increased in a ratio to the use which might be made of them;* a dying
speech proper for the purpose was composed, and it was decreed
unanimously, that he should be installed in all the rights, privileges,
and immortalities of the degraded Riquetti.--

     * At the first intelligence of his death, a member of the
     Convention, who was with him, and had not yet had time to study a
     speech, confessed his last words to have been, "Jai froid."--"I am
     cold."  This, however, would nave made no figure on the banners of a
     funeral procession; and Le Pelletier was made to die, like the hero
     of a tragedy, uttering blank verse.

The funeral that preceded these divine awards was a farce, which tended
more to provoke a massacre of the living, than to honour the dead; and
the Convention, who vowed to sacrifice their animosities on his tomb, do
so little credit to the conciliating influence of St. Fargeau's virtues,
that they now dispute with more acrimony than ever.

The departments, who begin to be extremely submissive to Paris, thought
it incumbent on them to imitate this ceremony; but as it was rather an
act of fear than of patriotism, it was performed here with so much
oeconomy, and so little inclination, that the whole was cold and paltry.
--An altar was erected on the great market-place, and so little were the
people affected by the catastrophe of a patriot whom they were informed
had sacrificed* his life in their cause, that the only part of the
business which seemed to interest them was the extravagant gestures of a
woman in a dirty white dress, hired to act the part of a "pleureuse," or
mourner, and whose sorrow appeared to divert them infinitely.--

     * There is every reason to believe that Le Pelletier was not singled
     out for his patriotism.--It is said, and with much appearance of
     probability, that he had promised PARIS, with whom he had been
     intimate, not to vote for the death of the King; and, on his
     breaking his word, PARIS, who seems to have not been perfectly in
     his senses, assassinated him.--PARIS had been in the Garde du Corps,
     and, like most of his brethren, was strongly attached to the King's
     person.  Rage and despair prompted him to the commission of an act,
     which can never be excused, however the perpetrator may imagine
     himself the mere instrument of Divine vengeance.--Notwithstanding
     the most vigilant research, he escaped for some time, and wandered
     as far as Forges d'Eaux, a little town in Normandy.  At the inn
     where he lodged, the extravagance of his manner giving suspicions
     that he was insane, the municipality were applied to, to secure him.
     An officer entered his room while he was in bed, and intimated the
     purpose he was come for.  PARIS affected to comply, and, turning,
     drew a pistol from under the clothes, and shot himself.--Among the
     papers found upon him were some affecting lines, expressive of his
     contempt for life, and adding, that the influence of his example was
     not to be dreaded, since he left none behind him that deserved the
     name of Frenchmen!--_"Qu'on n'inquiete personne! personne n'a ete
     mon complice dans la mort heureuse de Scelerat St. Fargeau.  Si Je
     ne l'eusse pas rencontre sous ma main, Je purgeois la France du
     regicide, du parricide, du patricide D'Orleans.  Qu'on n'inquiete
     personne.  Tous les Francois sont des laches auxquelles Je dis--

     "Peuple, dont les forfaits jettent partout l'effroi,
     "Avec calme et plaisir J'abandonne la vie
     "Ce n'est que par la mort qu'on peut fuir l'infamie,
     "Qu'imprime sur nos fronts le sang de notre Roi."_

     "Let no man be molested on my account: I had no accomplice in the
     fortunate death of the miscreant St. Fargeau.  If he had not fallen
     in my way, I should have purged France of the regicide, parricide,
     patricide D'Orleans.  Let no man be molested.  All the French are
     cowards, to whom I say--'People, whose crimes inspire universal
     horror, I quit life with tranquility and pleasure.  By death alone
     can we fly from that infamy which the blood of our King has marked
     upon our foreheads!'"--This paper was entitled "My Brevet of

It will ever be so where the people are not left to consult their own
feelings.  The mandate that orders them to assemble may be obeyed, but
"that which passeth show" is not to be enforced.  It is a limit
prescribed by Nature herself to authority, and such is the aversion of
the human mind from dictature and restraint, that here an official
rejoicing is often more serious than these political exactions of regret
levied in favour of the dead.--Yours, &c. &c.

March 23, 1793.

The partizans of the French in England alledge, that the revolution, by
giving them a government founded on principles of moderation and
rectitude, will be advantageous to all Europe, and more especially to
Great Britain, which has so often suffered by wars, the fruit of their
intrigues.--This reasoning would be unanswerable could the character of
the people be changed with the form of their government: but, I believe,
whoever examines its administration, whether as it relates to foreign
powers or internal policy, will find that the same spirit of intrigue,
fraud, deception, and want of faith, which dictated in the cabinet of
Mazarine or Louvois, has been transfused, with the addition of meanness
and ignorance,* into a Constitutional Ministry, or the Republican
Executive Council.

     * The Executive Council is composed of men who, if ever they were
     well-intentioned, must be totally unfit for the government of an
     extensive republic.  Monge, the Minister of the Marine, is a
     professor of geometry; Garat, Minister of Justice, a gazette writer;
     Le Brun, Minister of Foreign Affairs, ditto; and Pache, Minister of
     the Interior, a private tutor.--Whoever reads the debates of the
     Convention will find few indications of real talents, and much
     pedantry and ignorance.  For example, Anacharsis Cloots, who is a
     member of the Committee of Public Instruction, and who one should,
     of course, expect not to be more ignorant than his colleagues, has
     lately advised them to distress the enemy by invading Scotland,
     which he calls the granary of England.

France had not yet determined on the articles of her future political
creed, when agents were dispatched to make proselytes in England, and, in
proportion as she assumed a more popular form of government, all the
qualities which have ever marked her as the disturber of mankind seem to
have acquired new force.  Every where the ambassadors of the republic are
accused of attempts to excite revolt and discontent, and England* is now
forced into a war because she could not be persuaded to an insurrection.

     * For some time previous to the war, all the French prints and even
     members of the Convention, in their debates, announced England to be
     on the point of an insurrection.  The intrigues of Chauvelin, their
     ambassador, to verify this prediction, are well known.  Brissot, Le
     Brun, &c. who have since been executed, were particularly charged by
     the adverse party with provoking the war with England.  Robespierre,
     and those who succeeded, were not so desirous of involving us in a
     foreign war, and their humane efforts were directed merely to excite
     a civil one.--The third article of accusation against Rolland is,
     having sent twelve millions of livres to England, to assist in
     procuring a declaration of war.

Perhaps it may be said, that the French have taken this part only for
their own security, and to procure adherents to the common cause; but
this is all I contend for--that the politics of the old government
actuate the new, and that they have not, in abolishing courts and
royalty, abolished the perfidious system of endeavouring to benefit
themselves, by creating distress and dissention among their neighbours.--
Louvois supplied the Protestants in the Low Countries with money, while
he persecuted them in France.  The agents of the republic, more
oeconomical, yet directed by the same motives, eke out corruption by
precepts of sedition, and arm the leaders of revolt with the rights of
man; but, forgetting the maxim that charity should begin at home, in
their zeal for the freedom of other countries, they leave no portion of
it for their own!

Louis the Fourteenth over-ran Holland and the Palatinate to plant the
white flag, and lay the inhabitants under contribution--the republic send
an army to plant the tree of liberty, levy a _don patriotique,_
[Patriotic gift.] and place garrisons in the towns, in order to preserve
their freedom.--Kings have violated treaties from the desire of conquest
--these virtuous republicans do it from the desire of plunder; and,
previous to opening the Scheldt, the invasion of Holland, was proposed as
a means of paying the expences of the war.  I have never heard that even
the most ambitious Potentates ever pretended to extend their subjugation
beyond the persons and property of the conquered; but these militant
dogmatists claim an empire even over opinions, and insist that no people
can be free or happy unless they regulate their ideas of freedom and
happiness by the variable standard of the Jacobin club.  Far from being
of Hudibras's philosophy,* they seem to think the mind as tangible as the
body, and that, with the assistance of an army, they may as soon lay one
"by the heels" as the other.

             * "Quoth he, one half of man, his mind,
               "Is, sui juris, unconfin'd,
               "And ne'er can be laid by the heels,
               "Whate'er the other moiety feels."


Now this I conceive to be the worst of all tyrannies, nor have I seen it
exceeded on the French theatre, though, within the last year, the
imagination of their poets has been peculiarly ingenious and inventive on
this subject.--It is absurd to suppose this vain and overbearing
disposition will cease when the French government is settled.  The
intrigues of the popular party began in England the very moment they
attained power, and long before there was any reason to suspect that the
English would deviate from their plan of neutrality.  If, then, the
French cannot restrain this mischievous spirit while their own affairs
are sufficient to occupy their utmost attention, it is natural to
conclude, that, should they once become established, leisure and peace
will make them dangerous to the tranquillity of all Europe.  Other
governments may be improved by time, but republics always degenerate; and
if that which is in its original state of perfection exhibit already the
maturity of vice, one cannot, without being more credulous than
reasonable, hope any thing better for the future than what we have
experienced from the past.--It is, indeed, unnecessary to detain you
longer on this subject.  You must, ere now, be perfectly convinced how
far the revolutionary systems of France are favourable to the peace and
happiness of other countries.  I will only add a few details which may
assist you in judging of what advantage they have been to the French
themselves, and whether, in changing the form of their government, they
have amended its principles; or if, in "conquering liberty," (as they
express it,) they have really become free.

The situation of France has altered much within the last two months: the
seat of power is less fluctuating and the exercise of it more absolute--
arbitrary measures are no longer incidental, but systematic--and a
regular connection of dependent tyranny is established, beginning with
the Jacobin clubs, and ending with the committees of the sections.  A
simple decree for instance, has put all the men in the republic,
(unmarried and without children,) from eighteen to forty-five at the
requisition of the Minister of War.  A levy of three hundred thousand is
to take place immediately: each department is responsible for the whole
of a certain number to the Convention, the districts are answerable for
their quota to the departments, the municipalities to the district, and
the diligence of the whole is animated by itinerant members of the
legislature, entrusted with the disposal of an armed force.  The latter
circumstance may seem to you incredible; yet is it nevertheless true,
that most of the departments are under the jurisdiction of these
sovereigns, whose authority is nearly unlimited.  We have, at this
moment, two Deputies in the town, who arrest and imprison at their
pleasure.  One-and-twenty inhabitants of Amiens were seized a few nights
ago, without any specific charge having been exhibited against them, and
are still in confinement.  The gates of the town are shut, and no one is
permitted to pass or repass without an order from the municipality; and
the observance of this is exacted even of those who reside in the
suburbs.  Farmers and country people, who are on horseback, are obliged
to have the features and complexion of their horses minuted on the
passport with their own.  Every person whom it is found convenient to
call suspicious, is deprived of his arms; and private houses are
disturbed during the night, (in opposition to a positive law,) under
pretext of searching for refractory priests.--These regulations are not
peculiar to this department, and you must understand them as conveying a
general idea of what passes in every part of France.--I have yet to add,
that letters are opened with impunity--that immense sums of assignats are
created at the will of the Convention--that no one is excused mounting
guard in person--and that all housekeepers, and even lodgers, are
burthened with the quartering of troops, sometimes as many as eight or
ten, for weeks together.

You may now, I think, form a tolerable idea of the liberty that has
accrued to the French from the revolution, the dethronement of the King,
and the establishment of a republic.  But, though the French suffer this
despotism without daring to murmur openly, many a significant shrug and
doleful whisper pass in secret, and this political discontent has even
its appropriate language, which, though not very explicit, is perfectly
understood.--Thus when you hear one man say to another, _"Ah, mon Dieu,
on est bien malheureux dans ce moment ici;"_ or, _"Nous sommes dans une
position tres critique--Je voudrois bien voir la fin de tout cela;"_
["God knows, we are very miserable at present--we are in a very critical
situation--I should like to see an end of all this."] you may be sure he
languishes for the restoration of the monarchy, and hopes with equal
fervor, that he may live to see the Convention hanged.  In these sort of
conferences, however, evaporates all their courage.  They own their
country is undone, that they are governed by a set of brigands, go home
and hide any set of valuables they have not already secreted, and receive
with obsequious complaisance the next visite domiciliaire.

The mass of the people, with as little energy, have more obstinacy, and
are, of course, not quite so tractable.  But, though they grumble and
procrastinate, they do not resist; and their delays and demurs usually
terminate in implicit submission.

The Deputy-commissioners, whom I have mentioned above, have been at
Amiens some time, in order to promote the levying of recruits.  On
Sundays and holidays they summoned the inhabitants to attend at the
cathedral, where they harangued them on the subject, called for vengeance
on the coalesced despots, expatiated on the love of glory, and insisted
on the pleasure of dying for one's country: while the people listened
with vacant attention, amused themselves with the paintings, or adjourned
in small committees to discuss the hardship of being obliged to fight
without inclination.--Thus time elapsed, the military orations produced
no effect, and no troops were raised: no one would enlist voluntarily,
and all refused to settle it by lot, because, as they wisely observed,
the lot must fall on somebody.  Yet, notwithstanding the objection, the
matter was at length decided by this last method.  The decision had no
sooner taken place, than another difficulty ensued--those who escaped
acknowledged it was the best way that could be devised; but those who
were destined to the frontiers refused to go.  Various altercations, and
excuses, and references, were the consequence; yet, after all this
murmuring and evasion, the presence of the Commissioners and a few
dragoons have arranged the business very pacifically; many are already
gone, and the rest will (if the dragoons continue here) soon follow.

This, I assure you, is a just statement of the account between the
Convention and the People: every thing is effected by fear--nothing by
attachment; and the one is obeyed only because the other want courage to
resist.--Yours, &c.

Rouen, March 31, 1793.

Rouen, like most of the great towns in France, is what is called
decidedly aristocratic; that is, the rich are discontented because they
are without security, and the poor because they want bread.  But these
complaints are not peculiar to large places; the causes of them equally
exist in the smallest village, and the only difference which fixes the
imputation of aristocracy on one more than the other, is, daring to
murmur, or submitting in silence.

I must here remark to you, that the term aristocrate has much varied from
its former signification.  A year ago, aristocrate implied one who was an
advocate for the privileges of the nobility, and a partizan of the
ancient government--at present a man is an aristocrate for entertaining
exactly the same principles which at that time constituted a patriot;
and, I believe, the computation is moderate, when I say, that more than
three parts of the nation are aristocrates.  The rich, who apprehend a
violation of their property, are aristocrates--the merchants, who regret
the stagnation of commerce, and distrust the credit of the assignats, are
aristocrates--the small retailers, who are pillaged for not selling
cheaper than they buy, and who find these outrages rather encouraged than
repressed, are aristocrates--and even the poor, who murmur at the price
of bread, and the numerous levies for the army, are, occasionally,

Besides all these, there are likewise various classes of moral
aristocrates--such as the humane, who are averse from massacres and
oppression--those who regret the loss of civil liberty--the devout, who
tremble at the contempt for religion--the vain, who are mortified at the
national degradation--and authors, who sigh for the freedom of the
press.--When you consider this multiplicity of symptomatic indications,
you will not be surprized that such numbers are pronounced in a state of
disease; but our republican physicians will soon generalize these various
species of aristocracy under the single description of all who have any
thing to lose, and every one will be deemed plethoric who is not in a
consumption.  The people themselves who observe, though they do not
reason, begin to have an idea that property exposes the safety of the
owner and that the legislature is less inexorable when guilt is
unproductive, than when the conviction of a criminal comprehends the
forfeiture of an estate.--A poor tradesman was lamenting to me yesterday,
that he had neglected an offer of going to live in England; and when I
told him I thought he was very fortunate in having done so, as he would
have been declared an emigrant, he replied, laughing, _"Moi emigre qui
n'ai pas un sol:"_ ["I am emigrant, who am not worth a halfpenny!"]--No,
no; they don't make emigrants of those who are worth nothing.  And this
was not said with any intended irreverence to the Convention, but with
the simplicity which really conceived the wealth of the emigrants to be
the cause of the severity exercised against them.

The commercial and political evils attending a vast circulation of
assignats have been often discussed, but I have never yet known the
matter considered in what is, perhaps, its most serious point of view--I
mean its influence on the habits and morals of the people.  Wherever I
go, especially in large towns like this, the mischief is evident, and, I
fear, irremediable.  That oeconomy, which was one of the most valuable
characteristics of the French, is now comparatively disregarded.  The
people who receive what they earn in a currency they hold in contempt,
are more anxious to spend than to save; and those who formerly hoarded
six liards or twelve sols pieces with great care, would think it folly to
hoard an assignat, whatever its nominal value.  Hence the lower class of
females dissipate their wages on useless finery; men frequent
public-houses, and game for larger sums than before; little shopkeepers,
instead of amassing their profits, become more luxurious in their table:
public places are always full; and those who used, in a dress becoming
their station, to occupy the "parquet" or "parterre," now, decorated
with paste, pins, gauze, and galloon, fill the boxes:--and all this
destructive prodigality is excused to others and themselves _"par ce que
ce n'est que du papier."_ [Because it is only paper.]--It is vain to
persuade them to oeconomize what they think a few weeks may render
valueless; and such is the evil of a circulation so totally discredited,
that profusion assumes the merit of precaution, extravagance the plea of
necessity, and those who were not lavish by habit become so through
their eagerness to part with their paper.  The buried gold and silver
will again be brought forth, and the merchant and the politician forget
the mischief of the assignats.  But what can compensate for the injury
done to the people?  What is to restore their ancient frugality, or
banish their acquired wants?  It is not to be expected that the return
of specie will diminish the inclination for luxury, or that the human
mind can be regulated by the national finance; on the contrary, it is
rather to be feared, that habits of expence which owe their introduction
to the paper will remain when the paper is annihilated; that, though
money may become more scarce, the propensities of which it supplies the
indulgence will not be less forcible, and that those who have no other
resources for their accustomed gratifications will but too often find
one in the sacrifice of their integrity.--Thus, the corruption of
manners will be succeeded by the corruption of morals, and the
dishonesty of one sex, with the licentiousness of the other, produce
consequences much worse than any imagined by the abstracted calculations
of the politician, or the selfish ones of the merchant.  Age will be
often without solace, sickness without alleviation, and infancy without
support; because some would not amass for themselves, nor others for
their children, the profits of their labour in a representative sign of
uncertain value.

I do not pretend to assert that these are the natural effects of a paper
circulation--doubtless, when supported by high credit, and an extensive
commerce, it must have many advantages; but this was not the case in
France--the measure was adopted in a moment of revolution, and when the
credit of the country, never very considerable, was precarious and
degraded--It did not flow from the exuberance of commerce, but the
artifices of party--it never presumed, for a moment, on the confidence of
the people--its reception was forced, and its emission too profuse not to
be alarming.--I know it may be answered, that the assignats do not depend
upon an imaginary appreciation, but really represent a large mass of
national wealth, particularly in the domains of the clergy: yet, perhaps,
it is this very circumstance which has tended most to discredit them.
Had their credit rested only on the solvency of the nation, though they
had not been greatly coveted, still they would have been less
distributed; people would not have apprehended their abolition on a
change of government, nor that the systems adopted by one party might be
reversed by another.  Indeed we may add, that an experiment of this kind
does not begin auspiciously when grounded on confiscation and seizures,
which it is probable more than half the French considered as sacrilege
and robbery; nor could they be very anxious to possess a species of
wealth which they made it a motive of conscience to hope would never be
of any value.--But if the original creation of assignats were
objectionable, the subsequent creations cannot but augment the evil.  I
have already described to you the effects visible at present, and those
to be apprehended in future--others may result from the new inundation,
[1200 millions--50 millions sterling.] which it is not possible to
conjecture; but if the mischiefs should be real, in proportion as a part
of the wealth which this paper is said to represent is imaginary, their
extent cannot easily be exaggerated.  Perhaps you will be of this
opinion, when you recollect that one of the funds which form the security
of this vast sum is the gratitude of the Flemings for their liberty; and
if this reimbursement be to be made according to the specimen the French
army have experienced in their retreat, I doubt much of the convention
will be disposed to advance any farther claims on it; for, it seems, the
inhabitants of the Low Countries have been so little sensible of the
benefits bestowed on them, that even the peasants seize on any weapons
nearest hand, and drub and pursue the retrograding armies as they would
wild beasts; and though, as Dumouriez observes in one of his dispatches,
our revolution is intended to favour the country people, _"c'est
cependant les gens de campagne qui s'arment contre nous, et le tocsin
sonne de toutes parts;"_ ["It is, however, the country people who take up
arms against us, and the alarm is sounded from all quarters."] so that
the French will, in fact, have created a public debt of so singular a
nature, that every one will avoid as much as possible making any demand
of the capital.

I have already been more diffuse than I intended on the subject of
finance; but I beg you to observe, that I do not affect to calculate, or
speculate, and that I reason only from facts which are daily within my
notice, and which, as tending to operate on the morals of the people, are
naturally included in the plan I proposed to myself.

I have been here but a few days, and intend returning to-morrow.  I left
Mrs. D____ very little better, and the disaffection of Dumouriez, which I
just now learn, may oblige us to remove to some place not on the route to
Paris.--Every one looks alert and important, and a physiognomist may
perceive that regret is not the prevailing sentiment--

               "We now begin to speak in tropes,
               "And, by our fears, express our hopes."

The Jacobins are said to be apprehensive, which augurs well; for,
certainly, next to the happiness of good people, one desires the
punishment of the bad.

Amiens, April 7, 1793.

If the sentiments of the people towards their present government had been
problematical before, the visible effect of Dumouriez' conduct would
afford an ample solution of the problem.  That indifference about public
affairs which the prospect of an established despotism had begun to
create has vanished--all is hope and expectation--the doors of those who
retail the newspapers are assailed by people too impatient to read them--
each with his gazette in his hand listens eagerly to the verbal
circulation, and then holds a secret conference with his neighbour, and
calculates how long it may be before Dumouriez can reach Paris.  A
fortnight ago the name of Dumouriez was not uttered but in a tone of
harshness and contempt, and, if ever it excited any thing like
complacency, it was when he announced defeats and losses.  Now he is
spoken of with a significant modulation of voice, it is discovered that
he has great talents, and his popularity with the army is descanted upon
with a mysterious air of suppressed satisfaction.--Those who were
extremely apprehensive lest part of the General's troops should be driven
this way by the successes of the enemy, seem to talk with perfect
composure of their taking the same route to attack the capital; while
others, who would have been unwilling to receive either Dumouriez or his
army as peaceful fugitives, will be "nothing loath" to admit them as
conquerors.  From all I can learn, these dispositions are very general,
and, indeed, the actual tyranny is so great, and the perspective so
alarming, that any means of deliverance must be acceptable.  But whatever
may be the event, though I cannot be personally interested, if I thought
Dumouriez really proposed to establish a good government, humanity would
render one anxious for his success; for it is not to be disguised, that
France is at this moment (as the General himself expressed it) under the
joint dominion of _"imbecilles"_ and _"brigands."_ [Ideots and robbers.]

It is possible, that at this moment the whole army is disaffected, and
that the fortified towns are prepared to surrender.  It is also certain,
that Brittany is in revolt, and that many other departments are little
short of it; yet you will not very easily conceive what may have occupied
the Convention during part of this important crisis--nothing less than
inventing a dress for their Commissioners!  But, as Sterne says, "it is
the spirit of the nation;" and I recollect no circumstance during the
whole progress of the revolution (however serious) that has not been
mixed with frivolities of this kind.

I know not what effect this new costume may produce on the rebels or the
enemy, but I confess it appears to me more ludicrous than formidable,
especially when a representative happens to be of the shape and features
of the one we have here.  Saladin, Deputy for this department, and an
advocate of the town of Amiens, has already invested himself with this
armour of inviolability; "strange figure in such strange habiliments,"
that one is tempted to forget that Baratraria and the government of
Sancho are the creation of fancy.  Imagine to yourself a short fat man,
of sallow complexion and small eyes, with a sash of white, red, and blue
round his waist, a black belt with a sword suspended across his
shoulders, and a round hat turned up before, with three feathers of the
national colours: "even such a man" is our representative, and exercises
a more despotic authority than most Princes in Europe.--He is accompanied
by another Deputy, who was what is called Pere de la Oratoire before the
revolution--that is, in a station nearly approaching to that of an
under-master at our public schools; only that the seminaries to which
these were attached being very numerous, those employed in them were
little considered.  They wore the habit, and were subject to the same
restrictions, as the Clergy, but were at liberty to quit the profession
and marry, if they chose.--I have been more particular in describing
this class of men, because they have every where taken an active and
successful part in perverting and misleading the people: they are in the
clubs, or the municipalities, in the Convention, and in all elective
administrations, and have been in most places remarkable for their
sedition and violence.

Several reasons may be assigned for the influence and conduct of men
whose situation and habits, on a first view, seem to oppose both.  In the
first ardour of reform it was determined, that all the ancient modes of
education should be abolished; small temporary pensions were allotted to
the Professors of Colleges, and their admission to the exercise of
similar functions in the intended new system was left to future decision.
From this time the disbanded oratorians, who knew it would be vain to
resist popular authority, endeavoured to share in it; or, at least, by
becoming zealous partizans of the revolution, to establish their claims
to any offices or emoluments which might be substituted for those they
had been deprived of.  They enrolled themselves with the Jacobins,
courted the populace, and, by the talent of pronouncing Roman names with
emphasis, and the study of rhetorical attitudes, they became important to
associates who were ignorant, or necessary to those who were designing.

The little information generally possessed by the middle classes of life
in France, is also another cause of the comparative importance of those
whose professions had, in this respect, raised them something above the
common level.  People of condition, liberally educated, have
unfortunately abandoned public affairs for some time; so that the
incapacity of some, and the pride or despondency of others, have, in a
manner, left the nation to the guidance of pedants, incendiaries, and
adventurers.  Perhaps also the animosity with which the description of
men I allude to pursued every thing attached to the ancient government,
may, in some degree, have proceeded from a desire of revenge and
retaliation.  They were not, it must be confessed, treated formerly with
the regard due to persons whose profession was in itself useful and
respectable; and the wounds of vanity are not easily cured, nor the
vindictiveness of little minds easily satisfied.

From the conduct and popular influence of these Peres de l'Oratoire, some
truths may be deduced not altogether useless even to a country not liable
to such violent reforms.  It affords an example of the danger arising
from those sudden and arbitrary innovations, which, by depriving any part
of the community of their usual means of living, and substituting no
other, tempt them to indemnify themselves by preying, in different ways,
on their fellow-citizens.--The daring and ignorant often become
depredators of private property; while those who have more talents, and
less courage, endeavour to succeed by the artifices which conciliate
public favour.  I am not certain whether the latter are not to be most
dreaded of the two, for those who make a trade of the confidence of the
people seldom fail to corrupt them--they find it more profitable to
flatter their passions than to enlighten their understandings; and a
demagogue of this kind, who obtains an office by exciting one popular
insurrection, will make no scruple of maintaining himself in it by
another.  An inferrence may likewise be drawn of the great necessity of
cultivating such a degree of useful knowledge in the middle order of
society, as may not only prevent their being deceived by interested
adventurers themselves, but enable them to instruct the people in their
true interests, and rescue them from becoming the instruments, and
finally the victims, of fraud and imposture.--The insult and oppression
which the nobility frequently experience from those who have been
promoted by the revolution, will, I trust, be a useful lesson in future
to the great, who may be inclined to arrogate too much from adventitious
distinctions, to forget that the earth we tread upon may one day
overwhelm us, and that the meanest of mankind may do us an injury which
it is not in the power even of the most exalted to shield us from.

The inquisition begins to grow so strict, that I have thought it
necessary to-day to bury a translation of Burke.--In times of ignorance
and barbarity, it was criminal to read the bible, and our English author
is prohibited for a similar reason--that is, to conceal from the people
the errors of those who direct them: and, indeed, Mr. Burke has written
some truths, which it is of much more importance for the Convention to
conceal, than it could be to the Catholic priests to monopolize the
divine writings.--As far as it was possible, Mr. Burke has shown himself
a prophet: if he has not been completely so, it was because he had a
benevolent heart, and is the native of a free country.  By the one, he
was prevented from imagining the cruelties which the French have
committed; by the other, the extreme despotism which they endure.

April 20, 1793.

Before these halcyon days of freedom, the supremacy of Paris was little
felt in the provinces, except in dictating a new fashion in dress, an
improvement in the art of cookery, or the invention of a minuet.  At
present our imitations of the capital are something more serious; and if
our obedience be not quite so voluntary, it is much more implicit.
Instead of receiving fashions from the Court, we take them now from the
_dames des balles,_ [Market-women.] and the municipality; and it must be
allowed, that the imaginations of our new sovereigns much exceed those of
the old in force and originality.

The mode of pillaging the shops, for instance, was first devised by the
Parisian ladies, and has lately been adopted with great success in the
departments; the visite domiciliaire, also, which I look upon as a most
ingenious effort of fancy, is an emanation from the commune of Paris, and
has had an universal run.--But it would be vain to attempt enumerating
all the obligations of this kind which we owe to the indulgence of that
virtuous city: our last importation, however, is of so singular a nature,
that, were we not daily assured all the liberty in the world centers in
Paris, I should be doubtful as to its tendency.  It has lately been
decreed, that every house in the republic shall have fixed on the outside
of the door, in legible characters, the name, age, birth-place, and
profession of its inhabitants.  Not the poorest cottager, nor those who
are too old or too young for action, nor even unmarried ladies, are
exempt from thus proclaiming the abstract of their history to passers-by.
--The reigning party judge very wisely, that all those who are not
already their enemies may become so, and that those who are unable to
take a part themselves may excite others: but, whatever may be the
intention of this measure, it is impossible to conceive any thing which
could better serve the purposes of an arbitrary government; it places
every individual in the republic within the immediate reach of informers
and spies--it points out those who are of an age to serve in the army--
those who have sought refuge in one department from the persecutions of
another--and, in short, whether a victim is pursued by the denunciation
of private malice, or political suspicion, it renders escape almost

We have had two domiciliary visits within the last fortnight--one to
search for arms, the other under pretext of ascertaining the number of
troops each house is capable of lodging.  But this was only the pretext,
because the municipalities always quarter troops as they think proper,
without considering whether you have room or not; and the real object of
this inquisition was to observe if the inhabitants answered to the lists
placed on the doors.--Mrs. D____ was ill in bed, but you must not imagine
such a circumstance deterred these gallant republicans from entering her
room with an armed force, to calculate how many soldiers might be lodged
in the bedchamber of a sick female!  The French, indeed, had never, in my
remembrance, any pretensions to delicacy, or even decency, and they are
certainly not improved in these respects by the revolution.

It is curious in walking the streets, to observe the devices of the
several classes of aristocracy; for it is not to be disguised, that since
the hope from Dumouriez has vanished, though the disgust of the people
may be increased, their terror is also greater than ever, and the
departments near Paris have no resource but silent submission.  Every
one, therefore, obeys the letter of the decrees with the diligence of
fear, while they elude the spirit of them with all the ingenuity of
hatred.  The rich, for example, who cannot entirely divest themselves of
their remaining hauteur, exhibit a sullen compliance on a small piece of
paper, written in a small hand, and placed at the very extreme of the
height allowed by the law.  Some fix their bills so as to be half covered
by a shutter; others fasten them only with wafers, so that the wind
detaching one or two corners, makes it impossible to read the rest.*

     * This contrivance became so common, that an article was obliged to
     be added to the decree, importing, that whenever the papers were
     damaged or effaced by the weather, or deranged by the wind, the
     inhabitants should replace them, under a penalty.

Many who have courts or passages to their houses, put their names on the
half of a gate which they leave open, so that the writing is not
perceptible but to those who enter.  But those who are most afraid, or
most decidedly aristocrates, subjoin to their registers, "All good
republicans:" or, _"Vive la republique, une et indivisible."_ ["The
republic, one and indivisible for ever!"] Some likewise, who are in
public offices, or shopkeepers who are very timid, and afraid of pillage,
or are ripe for a counter-revolution, have a sheet half the size of the
door, decorated with red caps, tri-coloured ribbons, and flaming
sentences ending in "Death or Liberty!"

If, however, the French government confined itself to these petty acts of
despotism, I would endeavour to be reconciled to it; but I really begin
to have serious apprehensions, not so much for our safety as our
tranquillity, and if I considered only myself, I should not hesitate to
return to England.  Mrs. D____ is too ill to travel far at present, and
her dread of crossing the sea makes her less disposed to think our
situation here hazardous or ineligible.  Mr. D____, too, who, without
being a republican or a partizan of the present system, has always been a
friend to the first revolution, is unwilling to believe the Convention so
bad as there is every reason to suppose it.  I therefore let my judgement
yield to my friendship, and, as I cannot prevail on them to depart, the
danger which may attend our remaining is an additional reason for my not
quitting them.

The national perfidy which has always distinguished France among the
other countries of Europe, seems now not to be more a diplomatic
principle, than a rule of domestic government.  It is so extended and
generalized, that an individual is as much liable to be deceived and
betrayed by confiding in a decree, as a foreign power would be by relying
on the faith of a treaty.--An hundred and twenty priests, above sixty
years of age, who had not taken the oaths, but who were allowed to remain
by the same law that banished those who were younger, have been lately
arrested, and are confined together in a house which was once a college.
The people did not behold this act of cruelty with indifference, but,
awed by an armed force, and the presence of the Commissioners of the
Convention, they could only follow the priests to their prison with
silent regret and internal horror.  They, however, venture even now to
mark their attachment, by taking all opportunities of seeing them, and
supplying them with necessaries, which it is not very difficult to do, as
they are guarded by the Bourgeois, who are generally inclined to favour
them.  I asked a woman to-day if she still contrived to have access to
the priests, and she replied, _"Ah, oui, il y a encore de la facilite,
par ce que l'on ne trouve pas des gardes ici qui ne sont pas pour eux."_*

     * "Yes, yes, we still contive it, because there are no guards to be
     found here who don't befriend them."

Thus, even the most minute and best organized tyranny may be eluded; and,
indeed, if all the agents of this government acted in the spirit of its
decrees, it would be insupportable even to a native of Turkey or Japan.
But if some have still a remnant of humanity left, there are a sufficient
number who execute the laws as unfeelingly as they are conceived.

When these poor priests were to be removed from their several houses, it
was found necessary to dislodge the Bishop of Amiens, who had for some
time occupied the place fixed on for their reception.  The Bishop had
notice given him at twelve o'clock in the day to relinquish his lodging
before evening; yet the Bishop of Amiens is a constitutional Prelate, and
had, before the revolution, the cure of a large parish at Paris; nor was
it without much persuasion that he accepted the see of Amiens.  In the
severe winter of 1789 he disposed of his plate and library, (the latter
of which was said to be one of the best private collections in Paris,) to
purchase bread for the poor.  "But Time hath a wallet on his back,
wherein he puts alms for oblivion;" and the charities of the Bishop could
not shield him from the contempt and insult which pursue his profession.

I have been much distressed within the last few days on account of my
friend Madame de B____.  I subjoining a translation of a letter I have
just received from her, as it will convey to you hereafter a tolerable
specimen of French liberty.

     "Maison de Arret, at ____.

     "I did not write to you, my dear friend, at the time I promised, and
     you will perceive, by the date of this, that I have had too good an
     excuse for my negligence.  I have been here almost a week, and my
     spirits are still so much disordered, that I can with difficulty
     recollect myself enough to relate the circumstances of our
     unfortunate situation; but as it is possible you might become
     acquainted with them by some other means, I rather determined to
     send you a few lines, than suffer you to be alarmed by false or
     exaggerated reports.

     "About two o'clock on Monday morning last our servants were called
     up, and, on their opening the door, the house was immediately filled
     with armed men, some of whom began searching the rooms, while others
     came to our bedchamber, and informed us we were arrested by order of
     the department, and that we must rise and accompany them to prison.
     It is not easy to describe the effect of such a mandate on people
     who, having nothing to reproach themselves with, could not be
     prepared for it.--As soon as we were a little recovered from our
     first terrors, we endeavoured to obey, and begged they would indulge
     us by retiring a few moments till I had put my clothes on; but
     neither my embarrassment, nor the screams of the child--neither
     decency nor humanity, could prevail.  They would not even permit my
     maid to enter the room; and, amidst this scene of disorder, I was
     obliged to dress myself and the terrified infant.  When this
     unpleasant task was finished, a general examination of our house and
     papers took place, and lasted until six in the evening: nothing,
     however, tending in the remotest degree to criminate us was found,
     but we were nevertheless conducted to prison, and God knows how long
     we are likely to remain here.  The denunciation against us being
     secret, and not being able to learn either our crime or our
     accusers, it is difficult for us to take any measures for our
     enlargement.  We cannot defend ourselves against a charge of which
     we are ignorant, nor combat the validity of a witness, who is not
     only allowed to remain secret, but is paid perhaps for his

          * At this time informers were paid from fifty to an hundred
          livres for each accusation.

     "We most probably owe our misfortune to some discarded servant or
     personal enemy, for I believe you are convinced we have not merited
     it either by our discourse or our actions: if we had, the charge
     would have been specific; but we have reason to imagine it is
     nothing more than the indeterminate and general charge of being
     aristocrates.  I did not see my mother or sister all the day we were
     arrested, nor till the evening of the next: the one was engaged
     perhaps with "Rosine and the Angola", who were indisposed, and the
     other would not forego her usual card-party.  Many of our friends
     likewise have forborne to approach us, lest their apparent interest
     in our fate should involve themselves; and really the alarm is so
     general, that I can, without much effort, forgive them.

     "You will be pleased to learn, that the greatest civilities I have
     received in this unpleasant situation, have been from some of your
     countrymen, who are our fellow-prisoners: they are only poor
     sailors, but they are truly kind and attentive, and do us various
     little services that render us more comfortable than we otherwise
     should be; for we have no servants here, having deemed it prudent to
     leave them to take care of our property.  The second night we were
     here, these good creatures, who lodge in the next room, were rather
     merry, and awoke the child; but as they found, by its cries, that
     their gaiety had occasioned me some trouble, I have observed ever
     since that they walk softly, and avoid making the least noise, after
     the little prisoner is gone to rest.  I believe they are pleased
     with me because I speak their language, and they are still more
     delighted with your young favourite, who is so well amused, that he
     begins to forget the gloom of the place, which at first terrified
     him extremely.

     "One of our companions is a nonjuring priest, who has been
     imprisoned under circumstances which make me almost ashamed of my
     country.--After having escaped from a neighbouring department, he
     procured himself a lodging in this town, and for some time lived
     very peaceably, till a woman, who suspected his profession, became
     extremely importunate with him to confess her.  The poor man, for
     several days, refused, telling her, that he did not consider himself
     as a priest, nor wished to be known as such, nor to infringe the law
     which excluded him.  The woman, however, still continued to
     persecute him, alledging, that her conscience was distressed, and
     that her peace depended on her being able to confess "in the right
     way."  At length he suffered himself to be prevailed upon--the woman
     received an hundred livres for informing against him, and, perhaps,
     the priest will be condemned to the Guillotine.*

          * He was executed some time after.

     "I will make no reflection on this act, nor on the system of paying
     informers--your heart will already have anticipated all I could say.
     I will only add, that if you determine to remain in France, you must
     observe a degree of circumspection which you may not hitherto have
     thought necessary.  Do not depend on your innocence, nor even trust
     to common precautions--every day furnishes examples that both are
     unavailing.--Adieu.--My husband offers you his respects, and your
     little friend embraces you sincerely.  As soon as any change in our
     favour takes place, I will communicate it to you; but you had better
     not venture to write--I entrust this to Louison's mother, who is
     going through Amiens, as it would be unsafe to send it by the post.
     --Again adieu.--Yours,

          "Adelaide de ____."

     Amiens, 1793.

It is observable, that we examine less scrupulously the pretensions of a
nation to any particular excellence, than we do those of an individual.
The reason of this is, probably, that our self-love is as much gratified
by admitting the one, as in rejecting the other.   When we allow the
claims of a whole people, we are flattered with the idea of being above
narrow prejudices, and of possessing an enlarged and liberal mind; but if
a single individual arrogate to himself any exclusive superiority, our
own pride immediately becomes opposed to his, and we seem but to
vindicate our judgement in degrading such presumption.

I can conceive no other causes for our having so long acquiesced in the
claims of the French to pre-eminent good breeding, in an age when, I
believe, no person acquainted with both nations can discover any thing to
justify them.  If indeed politeness consisted in the repetition of a
certain routine of phrases, unconnected with the mind or action, I might
be obliged to decide against our country; but while decency makes a part
of good manners, or feeling is preferable to a mechanical jargon, I am
inclined to think the English have a merit more than they have hitherto
ascribed to themselves.  Do not suppose, however, that I am going to
descant on the old imputations of "French flattery," and "French
insincerity;" for I am far from concluding that civil behaviour gives one
a right to expect kind offices, or that a man is false because he pays a
compliment, and refuses a service: I only wish to infer, that an
impertinence is not less an impertinence because it is accompanied by a
certain set of words, and that a people, who are indelicate to excess,
cannot properly be denominated "a polite people."

A French man or woman, with no other apology than _"permettez moi,"_
["Give me leave."] will take a book out of your hand, look over any thing
you are reading, and ask you a thousand questions relative to your most
private concerns--they will enter your room, even your bedchamber,
without knocking, place themselves between you and the fire, or take hold
of your clothes to guess what they cost; and they deem these acts of
rudeness sufficiently qualified by _"Je demande bien de pardons."_ ["I
ask you a thousand pardons."]--They are fully convinced that the English
all eat with their knives, and I have often heard this discussed with
much self-complacence by those who usually shared the labours of the
repast between a fork and their fingers.  Our custom also of using
water-glasses after dinner is an object of particular censure; yet whoever
dines at a French table must frequently observe, that many of the guests
might benefit by such ablutions, and their napkins always testify that
some previous application would be by no means superfluous.  Nothing is
more common than to hear physical derangements, disorders, and their
remedies, expatiated upon by the parties concerned amidst a room full of
people, and that with so much minuteness of description, that a
foreigner, without being very fastidious, is on some occasions apt to
feel very unpleasant sympathies.  There are scarcely any of the
ceremonies of a lady's toilette more a mystery to one sex than the other,
and men and their wives, who scarcely eat at the same table, are in this
respect grossly familiar.  The conversation in most societies partakes of
this indecency, and the manners of an English female are in danger of
becoming contaminated, while she is only endeavouring to suffer without
pain the customs of those she has been taught to consider as models of

Whether you examine the French in their houses or in public, you are
every where stricken with the same want of delicacy, propriety, and
cleanliness.  The streets are mostly so filthy, that it is perilous to
approach the walls.  The insides of the churches are often disgusting, in
spite of the advertisements that are placed in them to request the
forbearance of phthifical persons: the service does not prevent those who
attend from going to and fro with the same irreverence as if the church
were empty; and, in the most solemn part of the mass, a woman is suffered
to importune you for a liard, as the price of the chair you sit on.  At
the theatres an actor or actress frequently coughs and expectorates on
the stage, in a manner one should think highly unpardonable before one's
most intimate friends in England, though this habit is very common to all
the French.  The inns abound with filth of every kind, and though the
owners of them are generally civil enough, their notions of what is
decent are so very different from ours, that an English traveller is not
soon reconciled to them.  In short, it would be impossible to enumerate
all that in my opinion excludes the French from the character of a
well-bred people.--Swift, who seems to have been gratified by the
contemplation of physical impurity, might have done the subject justice;
but I confess I am not displeased to feel that, after my long and
frequent residences in France, I am still unqualified.  So little are
these people susceptible of delicacy, propriety, and decency, that they
do not even use the words in the sense we do, nor have they any others
expressive of the same meaning.

But if they be deficient in the external forms of politeness, they are
infinitely more so in that politeness which may be called mental.  The
simple and unerring rule of never preferring one's self, is to them more
difficult of comprehension than the most difficult problem in Euclid: in
small things as well as great, their own interest, their own
gratification, is their leading principle; and the cold flexibility which
enables them to clothe this selfish system in "fair forms," is what they
call politeness.

My ideas on this subject are not recent, but they occurred to me with
additional force on the perusal of Mad. de B____'s letter.  The behaviour
of some of the poorest and least informed class of our countrymen forms a
striking contrast with that of the people who arrested her, and even her
own friends: the unaffected attention of the one, and the brutality and
neglect of the other, are, perhaps, more just examples of English and
French manners than you may have hitherto imagined.  I do not, however,
pretend to say that the latter are all gross and brutal, but I am myself
convinced that, generally speaking, they are an unfeeling people.

I beg you to remember, that when I speak of the dispositions and
character of the French, my opinions are the result of general
observation, and are applicable to all ranks; but when my remarks are on
habits and manners, they describe only those classes which are properly
called the nation.  The higher noblesse, and those attached to courts, so
nearly resemble each other in all countries, that they are necessarily
excepted in these delineations, which are intended to mark the
distinguishing features of a people at large: for, assuredly, when the
French assert, and their neighbours repeat, that they are a polite
nation, it is not meant that those who have important offices or
dignified appellations are polite: they found their claims on their
superiority as a people, and it is in this light I consider them.  My
examples are chiefly drawn, not from the very inferior, nor from the most
eminent ranks; neither from the retailer of a shop, nor the claimant of a
_tabouret,_* or _les grandes ou petites entrees;_ but from the gentry,
those of easy fortunes, merchants, &c.--in fact, from people of that
degree which it would be fair to cite as what may be called genteel
society in England.

     * The tabouret was a stool allowed to the Ladies of the Court
     particularly distinguished by rank or favour, when in presence of
     the Royal Family.--"Les entrees" gave a familiar access to the King
     and Queen.

This cessation of intercourse with our country dispirits me, and, as it
will probably continue some time, I shall amuse myself by noting more
particularly the little occurrences which may not reach your public
prints, but which tend more than great events to mark both the spirit of
the government and that of the people.--Perhaps you may be ignorant that
the prohibition of the English mails was not the consequence of a decree
of the Convention, but a simple order of its commissioners; and I have
some reason to think that even they acted at the instigation of an
individual who harbours a mean and pitiful dislike to England and its
inhabitants.--Yours, &c.

May 18, 1793.

Near six weeks ago a decree was passed by the Convention, obliging all
strangers, who had not purchased national property, or who did not
exercise some profession, to give security to the amount of half their
supposed fortune, and under these conditions they were to receive a
certificate, allowing them to reside, and were promised the protection of
the laws.  The administrators of the departments, who perceive that they
become odious by executing the decrees of the Convention, begin to relax
much of their diligence, and it is not till long after a law is
promulgated, and their personal fear operates as a stimulant, that they
seriously enforce obedience to these mandates.  This morning, however, we
were summoned by the Committee of our section (or ward) in order to
comply with the terms of the decree, and had I been directed only by my
own judgement, I should have given the preference to an immediate return
to England; but Mrs. D____ is yet ill, and Mr. D____ is disposed to
continue.  In vain have I quoted "how fickle France was branded 'midst
the nations of the earth for perfidy and breach of public faith;" in vain
have I reasoned upon the injustice of a government that first allured
strangers to remain by insidious offers of protection, and now subjects
them to conditions which many may find it difficult to subscribe to: Mr.
D____ wishes to see our situation in the most favourable point of view:
he argues upon the moral impossibility of our being liable to any
inconvenience, and persists in believing that one government may act with
treachery towards another, yet, distinguishing between falsehood and
meanness, maintain its faith with individuals--in short, we have
concluded a sort of treaty, by which we are bound, under the forfeiture
of a large sum, to behave peaceably and submit to the laws.  The
government, in return, empowers us to reside, and promises protection and

It is to be observed, that the spirit of this regulation depends upon
those it affects producing six witnesses of their _"civisme;"_* yet so
little interest do the people take on these occasions, that our witnesses
were neighbours we had scarcely ever seen, and even one was a man who
happened to be casually passing by.

     * Though the meaning of this word is obvious, we have no one that is
     exactly synonymous to it.  The Convention intend by it an attachment
     to their government: but the people do not trouble themselves about
     the meaning of words--they measure their unwilling obedience by the

These Committees, which form the last link of a chain of despotism, are
composed of low tradesmen and day-labourers, with an attorney, or some
person that can read and write, at their head, as President.  Priests and
nobles, with all that are related, or anywise attached, to them, are
excluded by the law; and it is understood that true sans-culottes only
should be admitted.

With all these precautions, the indifference and hatred of the people to
their government are so general, that, perhaps, there are few places
where this regulation is executed so as to answer the purposes of the
jealous tyranny that conceived it.  The members of these Committees seem
to exact no farther compliances than such as are absolutely necessary to
the mere form of the proceeding, and to secure themselves from the
imputation of disobedience; and are very little concerned whether the
real design of the legislature be accomplished or not.  This negligence,
or ill-will, which prevails in various instances, tempers, in some
degree, the effect of that restless suspicion which is the usual
concomitant of an uncertain, but arbitrary, power.  The affections or
prejudices that surround a throne, by ensuring the safety of the Monarch,
engage him to clemency, and the laws of a mild government are, for the
most part, enforced with exactness; but a new and precarious authority,
which neither imposes on the understanding nor interests the heart, which
is supported only by a palpable and unadorned tyranny, is in its nature
severe, and it becomes the common cause of the people to counteract the
measures of a despotism which they are unable to resist.--This (as I have
before had occasion to observe) renders the condition of the French less
insupportable, but it is by no means sufficient to banish the fears of a
stranger who has been accustomed to look for security, not from a
relaxation or disregard of the laws, but from their efficacy; not from
the characters of those who execute them, but from the rectitude with
which they are formed.--What would you think in England, if you were
obliged to contemplate with dread the three branches of your legislature,
and depend for the protection of your person and property on soldiers and
constables?  Yet such is nearly the state we are in; and indeed a system
of injustice and barbarism gains ground so fast, that almost any
apprehension is justified.--The Tribunal Revolutionnaire has already
condemned a servant maid for her political opinions; and one of the
Judges of this tribunal lately introduced a man to the Jacobins, with
high panegyrics, because, as he alledged, he had greatly contributed to
the condemnation of a criminal.  The same Judge likewise apologized for
having as yet sent but a small number to the Guillotine, and promises,
that, on the first appearance of a "Brissotin" before him, he will show
him no mercy.

When the minister of public justice thus avows himself the agent of a
party, a government, however recent its formation, must be far advanced
in depravity; and the corruption of those who are the interpreters of the
law has usually been the last effort of expiring power.

My friends, Mons. And Mad. de B____, are released from their confinement;
not as you might expect, by proving their innocence, but by the efforts
of an individual, who had more weight than their accuser: and, far from
obtaining satisfaction for the injury they have received, they are
obliged to accept as a favour the liberty they were deprived of by malice
and injustice.  They will, most probably, never be acquainted with the
nature of the charges brought against them; and their accuser will escape
with impunity, and, perhaps, meet with reward.

All the French papers are filled with descriptions of the enthusiasm with
which the young men "start to arms" [_Offian._] at the voice of their
country; yet it is very certain, that this enthusiasm is of so subtle and
aerial a form as to be perceivable only to those who are interested in
discovering it.  In some places these enthusiastic warriors continue to
hide themselves--from others they are escorted to the place of their
destination by nearly an equal number of dragoons; and no one, I believe,
who can procure money to pay a substitute, is disposed to go himself.
This is sufficiently proved by the sums demanded by those who engage as
substitutes: last year from three to five hundred livres was given; at
present no one will take less than eight hundred or a thousand, besides
being furnished with clothes, &c.  The only real volunteers are the sons
of aristocrates, and the relations of emigrants, who, sacrificing their
principles to their fears, hope, by enlisting in the army, to protect
their estates and families: those likewise who have lucrative
employments, and are afraid of losing them, affect great zeal, and expect
to purchase impunity for civil peculation at home, by the military
services of their children abroad.

This, I assure you, is the real state of that enthusiasm which occasions
such an expence of eloquence to our gazette-writers; but these fallacious
accounts are not like the ephemeral deceits of your party prints in
England, the effect of which is destroyed in a few hours by an opposite
assertion.  None here are bold enough to contradict what their sovereigns
would have believed; and a town or district, driven almost to revolt by
the present system of recruiting, consents very willingly to be described
as marching to the frontiers with martial ardour, and burning to combat
les esclaves des tyrans!  By these artifices, one department is misled
with regard to the dispositions of another, and if they do not excite to
emulation, they, at least, repress by fear; and, probably, many are
reduced to submission, who would resist, were they not doubtful of the
support and union of their neighbours.  Every possible precaution is
taken to prevent any connections between the different departments--
people who are not known cannot obtain passports without the
recommendation of two housekeepers--you must give an account of the
business you go upon, of the carriage you mean to travel in, whether it
has two wheels or four: all of which must be specified in your passport:
and you cannot send your baggage from one town to another without the
risk of having it searched.  All these things are so disgusting and
troublesome, that I begin to be quite of a different opinion from Brutus,
and should certainly prefer being a slave among a free people, than thus
be tormented with the recollection that I am a native of England in a
land of slavery.  Whatever liberty the French might have acquired by
their first revolution, it is now much like Sir John Cutler's worsted
stockings, so torn, and worn, and disguised by patchings and mendings,
that the original texture is not discoverable.--Yours, &c.

June 3, 1793.

We have been three days without receiving newspapers; but we learn from
the reports of the courier, that the Brissotins are overthrown, that many
of them have been arrested, and several escaped to raise adherents in the
departments.  I, however, doubt much if their success will be very
general: the people have little preference between Brissot and Marat,
Condorcet and Robespierre, and are not greatly solicitous about the names
or even principles of those who govern them--they are not yet accustomed
to take that lively interest in public events which is the effect of a
popular constitution.  In England every thing is a subject of debate and
contest, but here they wait in silence the result of any political
measure or party dispute; and, without entering into the merits of the
cause, adopt whatever is successful.  While the King was yet alive, the
news of Paris was eagerly sought after, and every disorder of the
metropolis created much alarm: but one would almost suppose that even
curiosity had ceased at his death, for I have observed no subsequent
event (except the defection of Dumouriez) make any very serious
impression.  We hear, therefore, with great composure, the present
triumph of the more violent republicans, and suffer without impatience
this interregnum of news, which is to continue until the Convention shall
have determined in what manner the intelligence of their proceedings
shall be related to the departments.

The great solicitude of the people is now rather about their physical
existence than their political one--provisions are become enormously
dear, and bread very scarce: our servants often wait two hours at the
baker's, and then return without bread for breakfast.  I hope, however,
the scarcity is rather artificial than real.  It is generally supposed to
be occasioned by the unwillingness of the farmers to sell their corn for
paper.  Some measures have been adopted with an intention of remedying
this evil, though the origin of it is beyond the reach of decree.  It
originates in that distrust of government which reconciles one part of
the community to starving the other, under the idea of self-preservation.
While every individual persists in establishing it as a maxim, that any
thing is better than assignats, we must expect that all things will be
difficult to procure, and will, of course, bear a high price.  I fear,
all the empyricism of the legislature cannot produce a nostrum for this
want of faith.  Dragoons and penal laws only "linger, and linger it out;"
the disease is incurable.

My friends, Mons. and Mad. de B____, by way of consolation for their
imprisonment, now find themselves on the list of emigrants, though they
have never been a single day absent from their own province, or from
places of residence where they are well known.  But that they may not
murmur at this injustice, the municipality have accompanied their names
with those of others who have not even been absent from the town, and of
one gentleman in particular, who I believe may have been seen on the
ramparts every day for these seven years.--This may appear to you only
very absurd, and you may imagine the consequences easily obviated; yet
these mistakes are the effect of private malice, and subject the persons
affected by them to an infinity of expence and trouble.  They are
obliged, in order to avert the confiscation of their property, to appear,
in every part of the republic where they have possessions, with
attestations of their constant residence in France, and perhaps suffer a
thousand mortifications from the official ignorance and brutality of the
persons to whom they apply.  No remedy lies against the authors of these
vexations, and the sufferer who is prudent fears even to complain.

I have, in a former letter, noticed the great number of beggars that
swarm at Arras: they are not less numerous at Amiens, though of a
different description--they are neither so disgusting, nor so wretched,
but are much more importunate and insolent--they plead neither sickness
nor infirmity, and are, for the most part, able and healthy.  How so many
people should beg by profession in a large manufacturing town, it is
difficult to conceive; but, whatever may be the cause, I am tempted to
believe the effect has some influence on the manners of the inhabitants
of Amiens.  I have seen no town in France so remarkable for a rude and
unfeeling behaviour, and it is not fanciful to conjecture that the
multitude of poor may tend in part to occasion it.  The constant view of
a sort of misery that excites little compassion, of an intrusive
necessity which one is more desirous to repulse than to relieve, cannot
but render the heart callous, and the manners harsh.  The avarice of
commerce, which is here unaccompanied by its liberality, is glad to
confound real distress with voluntary and idle indigence, till, in time,
an absence of feeling becomes part of the character; and the constant
habit of petulant refusals, or of acceding more from fatigue than
benevolence, has perhaps a similar effect on the voice, gesture, and

This place has been so often visited by those who describe better than
myself, that I have thought it unnecessary to mention public buildings,
or any thing equally obvious to the traveller or the resident.  The
beauty and elegance of the cathedral have been celebrated for ages, and I
only remind you of it to indulge my national vanity in the reflection
that one of the most splendid monuments of Gothic architecture in France
is the work of our English ancestors.  The edifice is in perfect
preservation, and the hand of power has not yet ventured to appropriate
the plate or ornaments; but this forbearance will most probably give way
to temptation and impunity.  The Convention will respect ancient
prejudices no longer than they suppose the people have courage to defend
them, and the latter seem so entirely subdued, that, however they may
murmur, I do not think any serious resistance is to be expected from
them, even in behalf of the relics of St. Firmin. [St. Firmin, the patron
of Amiens, where he is, in many of the streets, represented with his head
in his hand.]--The bust of Henry the Fourth, which was a present from the
Monarch himself, is banished the town-house, where it was formerly
placed, though, I hope, some royalist has taken possession of it, and
deposited it in safety till better times.  This once popular Prince is
now associated with Nero and Caligula, and it is "leze nation" to speak
of him to a thorough republican.--I know not if the French had before the
revolution reached the acme of perfection, but they have certainly been
retrograding very fast since.  Every thing that used to create fondness
and veneration is despised, and things are esteemed only in proportion as
they are worthless.  Perhaps the bust of Robespierre may one day replace
that of Henry the Fourth, and, to speak in the style of an eastern
epistle, "what can I say more?"

Should you ever travel this way with Gray in your hand, you will look for
the Ursuline convent, and regret the paintings he mentions: but you may
recollect, for your consolation, that they are merely pretty, and
remarkable only for being the work of one of the nuns.--Gray, who seems
to have had that enthusiastic respect for religious orders common to
young minds, admired them on this account; and numbers of English
travellers have, I dare say, prepossessed by such an authority,
experienced the same disappointment I myself felt on visiting the
Ursuline church.  Many of the chapels belonging to these communities were
very showy and much decorated with gilding and sculpture: some of them
are sold for a mere trifle, but the greatest part are filled with corn
and forage, and on the door is inscribed "Magazin des armees."  The
change is almost incredible to those who remember, that less than four
years ago the Catholic religion was strictly practised, and the violation
of these sanctuaries deemed sacrilegious.  Our great historian [Gibbon]
might well say "the influence of superstition is fluctuating and
precarious;" though, in the present instance, it has rather been
restrained than subdued; and the people, who have not been convinced, but
intimidated, secretly lament these innovations, and perhaps reproach
themselves conscientiously with their submission.--Yours.

June 20, 1793.

Mercier, in his Tableau de Paris, notices, on several occasions, the
little public spirit existing among his countrymen--it is also
observable, that many of the laws and customs presume on this deficiency,
and the name of republicans has by no means altered that cautious
disposition which makes the French consider either misfortunes or
benefits only as their personal interest is affected by them.--I am just
returned from a visit to Abbeville, where we were much alarmed on Sunday
by a fire at the Paraclete convent.  The tocsin rang great part of the
day, and the principal street of the town was in danger of being
destroyed.  In such circumstances, you will suppose, that people of all
ranks eagerly crouded to offer their service, and endeavour to stop the
progress of so terrible a calamity.  By no means--the gates of the town
were shut to prevent its entire evacuation, many hid themselves in
garrets and cellars, and dragoons patrolled the streets, and even entered
the houses, to force the inhabitants to assist in procuring water; while
the consternation, usually the effect of such accidents, was only owing
to the fear of being obliged to aid the sufferers.--This employment of
military coercion for what humanity alone should dictate, is not
ascribeable to the principles of the present government--it was the same
before the revolution, (except that the agents of the ancient system were
not so brutal and despotic as the soldiers of the republic,) and
compulsion was always deemed necessary where there was no stimulant but
the general interest.

In England, at any alarm of the fort, all distinction of ranks is
forgotten, and every one is solicitous to contribute as much as he is
able to the safety of his fellow-citizens; and, so far from an armed
force being requisite to procure assistance, the greatest difficulty is
to repress the too-officious zeal of the croud.--I do not pretend to
account for this national disparity, but I fear what a French gentleman
once said to me of the Parisians is applicable to the general character,
_"Ils sont tous egoistes,"_ ["They are all selfish!"] and they would not
do a benevolent action at the risk of soiling a coat or tearing a ruffle.

Distrust of the assignats, and scarcity of bread, have occasioned a law
to oblige the farmers, in every part of the republic, to sell their corn
at a certain price, infinitely lower than what they have exacted for some
months past.  The consequence of this was, that, on the succeeding market
days, no corn came to market, and detachments of dragoons are obliged to
scour the country to preserve us from a famine.  If it did not convey an
idea both of the despotism and want with which the nation is afflicted,
one should be amused by the ludicrous figures of the farmers, who enter
the town preceded by soldiers, and reposing with doleful visages on their
sacks of wheat.  Sometimes you see a couple of dragoons leading in
triumph an old woman and an ass, who follow with lingering steps their
military conductors; and the very ass seems to sympathize with his
mistress on the disaster of selling her corn at a reduced price, and for
paper, when she had hoped to hoard it till a counter-revolution should
bring back gold and silver.

The farmers are now, perhaps, the greatest aristocrates in the country;
but as both their patriotism and their aristocracy have been a mere
calculation of interest, the severity exercised on their avarice is not
much to be regretted.  The original fault is, however, in an usurped
government, which inspires no confidence, and which, to supply an
administration lavish beyond all example, has been obliged to issue such
an immense quantity of paper as nearly destroys its credit.  In
political, as in moral, vices, the first always necessitates a second,
and these must still be sustained by others; until, at length, the very
sense of right and wrong becomes impaired, and the latter is not only
preferred from habit, but from choice.

Thus the arbitrary emission of paper has been necessarily followed by
still more arbitrary decrees to support it.  For instance--the people
have been obliged to sell their corn at a stated price, which has again
been the source of various and general vexations.  The farmers, irritated
by this measure, concealed their grain, or sold it privately, rather than
bring it to market.--Hence, some were supplied with bread, and others
absolutely in want of it.  This was remedied by the interference of the
military, and a general search for corn has taken place in all houses
without exception, in order to discover if any was secreted; even our
bedchambers were examined on this occasion: but we begin to be so
accustomed to the visite domiciliaire, that we find ourselves suddenly
surrounded by the Garde Nationale, without being greatly alarmed.--I know
not how your English patriots, who are so enamoured of French liberty,
yet thunder with the whole force of their eloquence against the ingress
of an exciseman to a tobacco warehouse, would reconcile this domestic
inquisition; for the municipalities here violate your tranquillity in
this manner under any pretext they choose, and that too with an armed
cortege sufficient to undertake the siege of your house in form.

About fifteen departments are in insurrection, ostensibly in behalf of
the expelled Deputies; but I believe I am authorized in saying, it is by
no means the desire of the people at large to interfere.  All who are
capable of reflection consider the dispute merely as a family quarrel,
and are not partial enough to either party to adopt its cause.  The
tropps they have already raised have been collected by the personal
interest of the members who contrived to escape, or by an attempt of a
few of the royalists to make one half of the faction subservient to the
destruction of the other.  If you judge of the principles of the nation
by the success of the Foederalists,* and the superiority of the
Convention, you will be extremely deceived; for it is demonstrable, that
neither the most zealous partizans of the ancient system, nor those of
the abolished constitution, have taken any share in the dispute; and the
departments most notoriously aristocratic have all signified their
adherence to the proceedings of the Assembly.

     * On the 31st of May and 2d of June, the Convention, who had been
     for some months struggling with the Jacobins and the municipality of
     Paris, was surrounded by an armed force: the most moderate of the
     Deputies (those distinguished by the name of Brissotins,) were
     either menaced into a compliance with the measures of the opposite
     faction, or arrested; others took flight, and, by representing the
     violence and slavery in which the majority of the Convention was
     holden, excited some of the departments to take arms in their
     favour.--This contest, during its short existence, was called the
     war of the Foederalists.--The result is well known.

Those who would gladly take an active part in endeavouring to establish a
good government, are averse from risking their lives and properties in
the cause of Brissot or Condorcet.--At Amiens, where almost every
individual is an aristocrate, the fugitive Deputies could not procure the
least encouragement, but the town would have received Dumouriez, and
proclaimed the King without opposition.  But this schism in the
legislature is considered as a mere contest of banditti, about the
division of spoil, not calculated to excite an interest in those they
have plundered and oppressed.

The royalists who have been so mistaken as to make any effort on this
occasion, will, I fear, fall a sacrifice, having acted for the most part
without union or concert; and their junction with the Deputies renders
them suspicious, if not odious, to their own party.  The extreme
difficulty, likewise, of communication between the departments, and the
strict watch observed over all travellers, form another obstacle to the
success of any attempt at present; and, on the whole, the only hope of
deliverance for the French seems to rest upon the allied armies and the
insurgents of La Vendee.

When I say this, I do not assert from prejudices, which often deceive,
nor from conjecture, that is always fallible; but from unexceptionable
information--from an intercourse with various ranks of people, and a
minute observance of all.  I have scarcely met with a single person who
does not relate the progress of the insurgents in La Vendee with an air
of satisfaction, or who does not appear to expect with impatience the
surrender of Conde: and even their language, perhaps unconsciously,
betrays their sentiments, for I remark, they do not, when they speak of
any victory gained by the arms of the republic, say, Nous, or Notre
armee, but, Les Francais, and, Les troupes de la republique;--and that
always in a tone as though they were speaking of an enemy.--Adieu.

June 30, 1793.

Our modern travellers are mostly either sentimental or philosophical, or
courtly or political; and I do not remember to have read any who describe
the manner of living among the gentry and middle ranks of life in France.
I will, therefore, relieve your attention for a moment from our actual
distresses, and give you the picture of a day as usually passed by those
who have easy fortunes and no particular employment.--The social
assemblage of a whole family in the morning, as in England, is not very
common, for the French do not generally breakfast: when they do, it is
without form, and on fruit, bread, wine, and water, or sometimes coffee;
but tea is scarcely ever used, except by the sick.  The morning is
therefore passed with little intercourse, and in extreme dishabille.  The
men loiter, fiddle, work tapestry, and sometimes read, in a robe de
chambre, or a jacket and _"pantalons;"_ [Trowsers.] while the ladies,
equipped only in a short manteau and petticoat, visit their birds, knit,
or, more frequently, idle away the forenoon without doing any thing.  It
is not customary to walk or make visits before dinner, and if by chance
any one calls, he is received in the bedchamber.  At half past one or two
they dine, but without altering the negligence of their apparel, and the
business of the toilette does not begin till immediately after the
repast.  About four, visits of ceremony begin, and may be made till six
or seven according to the season; but those who intend passing an evening
at any particular house, go before six, and the card parties generally
finish between eight and nine.  People then adjourn to their supper
engagements, which are more common than those for dinner, and are, for
the most part, in different places, and considered as a separate thing
from the earlier amusements of the evening.  They keep better hours than
the English, most families being in bed by half past ten.  The theatres
are also regulated by these sober habits, and the dramatic
representations are usually over by nine.

A day passed in this manner is, as you may imagine, susceptible of much
ennui, and the French are accordingly more subject to it than
to any other complaint, and hold it in greatest dread than either
sickness or misfortune.  They have no conception how one can remain two
hours alone without being ennuye a la mort; and but few, comparatively
speaking, read for amusement: you may enter ten houses without seeing a
book; and it is not to be wondered at that people, who make a point of
staying at home all the morning, yet do not read, are embarrassed with
the disposition of so much time.--It is this that occasions such a
general fondness for domestic animals, and so many barbarous musicians,
and male-workers of tapestry and tambour.

I cannot but attribute this littleness and dislike of morning exercise to
the quantity of animal food the French eat at night, and to going to rest
immediately after it, in consequence of which their activity is checked
by indigestions, and they feel heavy and uncomfortable for half the
succeeding day.--The French pique themselves on being a gayer nation than
the English; but they certainly must exclude their mornings from the
account, for the forlorn and neglected figure of a Frenchman till dinner
is a very antidote to chearfulness, especially if contrasted with the
animation of our countrymen, whose forenoon is passed in riding or
walking, and who make themselves at least decent before they appear even
in their own families.

The great difficulty the French have in finding amusement makes them
averse from long residences in the country, and it is very uncommon for
those who can afford only one house not to prefer a town; but those whose
fortune will admit of it, live about three months of the year in the
country, and the rest in the neighbouring town.  This, indeed, as they
manage it, is no very considerable expence, for the same furniture often
serves for both habitations, and the one they quit being left empty,
requires no person to take charge of it, especially as house-breaking is
very uncommon in France; at least it was so before the revolution, when
the police was more strict, and the laws against robbers were more

You will say, I often describe the habits and manners of a nation so
frequently visited, as though I were writing from Kamschatka or Japan;
yet it is certain, as I have remarked above, that those who are merely
itinerant have not opportunities of observing the modes of familiar life
so well as one who is stationary, and travellers are in general too much
occupied by more important observations to enter into the minute and
trifling details which are the subject of my communications to you.  But
if your attention be sometimes fatigued by occurrences or relations too
well known, or of too little consequence to be interesting, I claim some
merit in never having once described the proportions of a building, nor
given you the history of a town; and I might have contrived as well to
tax your patience by an erudite description, as a superficial reflection,
or a female remark.  The truth is, my pen is generally guided by
circumstances as they rise, and my ideas have seldom any deeper origin
than the scene before me. I have no books here, and I am apt to think if
professed travellers were deprived of this resource, many learned
etymologies and much profound compilation would be lost to the modern

The insurgents of La Vendee continue to have frequent and decided
successes, but the insurrections in the other departments languish.  The
avowed object of liberating the Convention is not calculated to draw
adherents, and if any better purpose be intended, while a faction are the
promoters of it, it will be regarded with too much suspicion to procure
any effectual movement.  Yet, however partial and unconnected this revolt
may be, it is an object of great jealousy and inquietude: all the
addresses or petitions brought in favour of it are received with
disapprobation, and suppressed in the official bulletin of the
legislature; but those which express contrary sentiments are ordered to
be inserted with the usual terms of "applaudi, adopte, et mention
honorable."--In this manner the army and the people, who derive their
intelligence from these accounts (which are pasted up in the streets,)
are kept in ignorance of the real state of distant provinces, and, what
is still more important for the Convention, the communication of
examples, which they know so many are disposed to imitate, is retarded.

The people here are nearly in the same state they have been in for some
time--murmuring in secret, and submitting in public; expecting every
thing from that energy in others which they have not themselves, and
accumulating the discontents they are obliged to suppress.  The
Convention call them the brave republicans of Amiens; but if their
bravery were as unequivocal as their aristocracy, they would soon be at
the gates of Paris.  Even the first levies are not all departed for the
frontiers, and some who were prevailed on to go are already returned.--
All the necessaries of life are augmenting in price--the people complain,
pillage the shops and the markets one day, and want the next.  Many of
the departments have opposed the recruiting much more decidedly than they
have ventured to do here; and it was not without inspiring terror by
numerous arrests, that the levies which were immediately necessary were
procured.--France offers no prospect but that of scarcity, disorder, and
oppression; and my friends begin to perceive that we have committed an
imprudence in remaining so long.  No passports can now be obtained, and
we must, as well as several very respectable families still here, abide
the event of the war.

Some weeks have elapsed since I had letters from England, and those we
receive from the interior come open, or sealed with the seal of the
district.  This is not peculiar to our letters, as being foreigners, but
the same unceremonious inspection is practised with the correspondence of
the French themselves.  Thus, in this land of liberty, all epistolary
intercourse has ceased, except for mere matters of business; and though
in the declaration of the rights of man it be asserted, that every one is
entitled to write or print his thoughts, yet it is certain no person can
entrust a letter to the post, but at the risk of having it opened; nor
could Mr. Thomas Paine himself venture to express the slightest
disapprobation of the measures of government, without hazarding his
freedom, and, in the end, perhaps, his life.  Even these papers, which I
reserve only for your amusement, which contain only the opinions of an
individual, and which never have been communicated, I am obliged to
conceal with the utmost circumspection; for should they happen to fall
into the hands of our domiciliary inquisitors, I should not, like your
English liberties, escape with the gentle correction of imprisonment, or
the pillory.--A man, who had murdered his wife, was lately condemned to
twenty years imprisonment only; but people are guillotined every day for
a simple discourse, or an inadvertent expression.--Yours.

Amiens, July 5, 1793.

It will be some consolation to the French, if, from the wreck of their
civil liberty, they be able to preserve the mode of administering justice
as established by the constitution of 1789.  Were I not warranted by the
best information, I should not venture an opinion on the subject without
much diffidence, but chance has afforded me opportunities that do not
often occur to a stranger, and the new code appears to me, in many parts,
singularly excellent, both as to principle and practice.--Justice is here
gratuitous--those who administer it are elected by the people--they
depend only on their salaries, and have no fees whatever.  Reasonable
allowances are made to witnesses both for time and expences at the public
charge--a loss is not doubled by the costs of a prosecution to recover
it.  In cases of robbery, where property found is detained for the sake
of proof, it does not become the prey of official rapacity, but an
absolute restitution takes place.--The legislature has, in many respects,
copied the laws of England, but it has simplified the forms, and
rectified those abuses which make our proceedings in some cases almost as
formidable to the prosecutor as to the culprit.  Having to compose an
entire new system, and being unshackled by professional reverence for
precedents, they were at liberty to benefit by example, to reject those
errors which have been long sanctioned by their antiquity, and are still
permitted to exist, through our dread of innovation.  The French,
however, made an attempt to improve on the trial by jury, which I think
only evinces that the institution as adopted in England is not to be
excelled.  The decision is here given by ballot--unanimity is not
required--and three white balls are sufficient to acquit the prisoner.
This deviation from our mode seems to give the rich an advantage over the
poor.  I fear, that, in the number of twelve men taken from any country,
it may sometimes happen that three may be found corruptible: now the
wealthy delinquent can avail himself of this human failing; but, "through
tatter'd robes small vices do appear," and the indigent sinner has less
chance of escaping than another.

It is to be supposed, that, at this time, the vigour of the criminal laws
is much relaxed, and their execution difficult.  The army offers refuge
and impunity to guilt of all kinds, and the magistrates themselves would
be apprehensive of pursuing an offender who was protected by the mob, or,
which is the same thing, by the Jacobins.

The groundwork of much of the French civil jurisprudence is arbitration,
particularly in those trifling processes which originate in a spirit of
litigation; and it is not easy for a man here, however well disposed, to
spend twenty pounds in a contest about as many pence, or to ruin himself
in order to secure the possession of half an acre of land.  In general,
redress is easily obtained without unnecessary procrastination, and with
little or no cost.  Perhaps most legal codes may be simple and
efficacious at their first institution, and the circumstance of their
being encumbered with forms which render them complex and expensive, may
be the natural consequence of length of time and change of manners.
Littleton might require no commentary in the reign of Henry II. and the
mysterious fictions that constitute the science of modern judicature were
perhaps familiar, and even necessary, to our ancestors.  It is to be
regretted that we cannot adapt our laws to the age in which we live, and
assimilate them to our customs; but the tendency of our nature to
extremes perpetuates evils, and makes both the wise and the timid enemies
to reform.  We fear, like John Calvin, to tear the habit while we are
stripping off the superfluous decoration; and the example of this country
will probably long act as a discouragement to all change, either judicial
or political.  The very name of France will repress the desire of
innovation--we shall cling to abuses as though they were our support, and
every attempt to remedy them will become an objection of suspicion and
terror.--Such are the advantages which mankind will derive from the
French revolution.

The Jacobin constitution is now finished, and, as far as I am able to
judge, it is what might be expected from such an origin: calculated to
flatter the people with an imaginary sovereignty--to place the whole
power of election in the class most easily misled--to exclude from the
representation those who have a natural interest in the welfare of the
country, and to establish the reign of anarchy and intrigue.--Yet,
however averse the greater number of the French may be from such a
constitution, no town or district has dared to reject it; and I remark,
that amongst those who have been foremost in offering their acceptation,
are many of the places most notoriously aristocratic.  I have enquired of
some of the inhabitants of these very zealous towns on what principle
they acted so much in opposition to their known sentiments: the reply is
always, that they fear the vengeance of the Jacobins, and that they are
awed by military force.  This reasoning is, of course, unanswerable; and
we learn, from the debates of the Convention, that the people have
received the new constitution _"avec la plus vive reconnoissance,"_
["With the most lively gratitude."] and that they have all sworn to die
in its defence.--Yours, &c.

July 14, 1793.

The return of this day cannot but suggest very melancholy reflections to
all who are witnesses of the changes which a single year has produced.
In twelve months only the government of France has been overturned, her
commerce destroyed, the country depopulated to raise armies, and the
people deprived of bread to support them.  A despotism more absolute than
that of Turkey is established, the manners of the nation are corrupted,
and its moral character is disgraced in the eyes of all Europe.  A
barbarous rage has laid waste the fairest monuments of art--whatever
could embellish society, or contribute to soften existence, has
disappeared under the reign of these modern Goths--even the necessaries
of life are becoming rare and inadequate to the consumption--the rich are
plundered and persecuted, yet the poor are in want--the national credit
is in the last stage of debasement, yet an immense debt is created, and
daily accumulating; and apprehension, distrust, and misery, are almost
universal.--All this is the work of a set of adventurers who are now
divided among themselves--who are accusing each other of those crimes
which the world imputes to them all--and who, conscious they can no
longer deceive the nation, now govern with the fear and suspicion of
tyrants.  Every thing is sacrificed to the army and Paris, and the people
are robbed of their subsistence to supply an iniquitous metropolis, and a
military force that awes and oppresses them.

The new constitution has been received here officially, but no one seems
to take the least interest in it: it is regarded in just the same light
as a new tax, or any other ministerial mandate, not sent to be discussed
but obeyed.  The mode of proclaiming it conveyed a very just idea of its
origin and tendency.  It was placed on a cushion, supported by Jacobins
in their red caps, and surrounded by dragoons.  It seemed the image of
Anarchy, guarded by Despotism.--In this manner they paraded the town, and
the "sacred volume" was then deposed on an altar erected on the Grande
Place.--The Garde Nationale, who were ordered to be under arms, attended,
and the constitution was read.  A few of the soldiers cried "Vive la
republique!" and every one returned home with countenances in which
delight was by no means the prevailing expression.

A trifling incident which I noticed on this occasion, will serve, among
others of the same kind that I could enumerate, to prove that even the
very lower class of the people begin to ridicule and despise their
legislators.  While a municipal officer was very gravely reading the
constitution, an ass forced his way across the square, and placed himself
near the spot where the ceremony was performing: a boy, who was under our
window, on observing it, cried out, "Why don't they give him the
_accolade fraternelle!"_*

     * Fraternal embrace.--This is the reception given by the President
     to any one whom the Convention wish particularly to distinguish.  On
     an occasion of the sort, the fraternal embrace was given to an old
     Negress.--The honours of the fitting are also daily accorded to
     deputations of fish-women, chimney-sweepers, children, and all whose
     missions are flattering.  There is no homage so mean as not to
     gratify the pride of those to whom dominion is new; and these
     expressions are so often and so strangely applied, that it is not
     surprizing they are become the cant phrases of the mob.

--"Yes, (rejoined another,) and admit him _aux honneurs de la feance."_
[To the honours of the fitting.] This disposition to jest with their
misfortunes is, however, not so common as it was formerly.  A bon mot may
alleviate the loss of a battle, and a lampoon on the court solace under
the burthen of a new impost; but the most thoughtless or improvident can
find nothing very facetious in the prospect of absolute want--and those
who have been used to laugh under a circumscription of their political
liberty, feel very seriously the evil of a government which endows its
members with unlimited power, and enables a Deputy, often the meanest and
most profligate character of his department, to imprison all who, from
caprice, interest, or vengeance, may have become the objects of his

I know this will appear so monstrous to an Englishman, that, had I an
opportunity of communicating such a circumstance before it were publicly
authenticated, you would suppose it impossible, and imagine I had been
mistaken, or had written only from report; it is nevertheless true, that
every part of France is infested by these Commissioners, who dispose,
without appeal, of the freedom and property of the whole department to
which they are sent.  It frequently happens, that men are delegated to
places where they have resided, and thus have an opportunity of
gratifying their personal malice on all who are so unfortunate as to be
obnoxious to them.  Imagine, for a moment, a village-attorney acting with
uncontrouled authority over the country where he formerly exercised his
profession, and you will have some idea of what passes here, except that
I hope no class of men in England are so bad as those which
compose the major part of the National Convention.--Yours, &c.

July 23, 1793.

The events of Paris which are any way remarkable are so generally
circulated, that I do not often mention them, unless to mark their effect
on the provinces; but you will be so much misled by the public papers
with regard to the death of Marat, that I think it necessary to notice
the subject while it is yet recent in my memory.  Were the clubs, the
Convention, or the sections of Paris to be regarded as expressing the
sense of the people, the assassination of this turbulent journalist must
be considered being the case, that the departments are for the most part,
if not rejoiced, indifferent--and many of those who impute to him the
honour of martyrdom, or assist at his apotheosis, are much better
satisfied both with his christian and heathen glories, than they were
while he was living to propagate anarchy and pillage.  The reverence of
the Convention itself is a mere political pantomime.  Within the last
twelve months nearly all the individuals who compose it have treated
Marat with contempt; and I perfectly remember even Danton, one of the
members of the Committee of Salut Publique, accusing him of being a
contre revolutionnaire.

But the people, to use a popular expression here, require to be
electrified.--St. Fargeau is almost forgotten, and Marat is to serve the
same purposes when dead, to which he contributed while living.--An
extreme grossness and want of feeling form the characteristic feature of
the Parisians; they are ignorant, credulous, and material, and the
Convention do not fail on all occasions to avail themselves of these
qualities.  The corpse of Marat decently enclosed in a coffin would have
made little impression, and it was not pity, but revenge, which was to be
excited.  The disgusting object of a dead leper was therefore exposed to
the eyes of a metropolis calling itself the most refined and enlightened
of all Europe--

              "And what t'oblivion better were consign'd,
               Is hung on high to poison half mankind."

I know not whether these lines are most applicable to the display of
Marat's body, or the consecration of his fame, but both will be a lasting
stigma on the manners and morals of Paris.

If the departments, however, take no interest in the loss of Marat, the
young woman who assassinated him has created a very lively one.  The
slightest anecdotes concerning her are collected with avidity, and
repeated with admiration; and this is a still farther proof of what you
have heard me advance, that neither patriotism nor humanity has an
abundant growth in this country.  The French applaud an act in itself
horrid and unjustifiable, while they have scarcely any conception of the
motive, and such a sacrifice seems to them something supernatural.--The
Jacobins assert, that Charlotte Corday was an emissary of the allied
powers, or, rather, of Mr. Pitt; and the Parisians have the complaisance
to believe, that a young woman could devote herself to certain
destruction at the instigation of another, as though the same principles
which would lead a person to undertake a diplomatic commission, would
induce her to meet death.

I wrote some days ago to a lady of my acquaintance at Caen, to beg she
would procure me some information relative to this extraordinary female,
and I subjoin an extract of her answer, which I have just received:

"Miss Corday was a native of this department, and had, from her earliest
years, been very carefully educated by an aunt who lives at Caen.  Before
she was twenty she had decided on taking the veil, and her noviciate was
just expired when the Constituent Assembly interdicted all religious vows
for the future: she then left the convent, and resided entirely with her
aunt.  The beauty of her person, and particularly her mental
acquisitions, which were superior to that of French women in general,
rendered an object of much admiration.  She spoke uncommonly well, and
her discourse often turned on the ancients, and on such subjects as
indicated that masculine turn of mind which has since proved so fatal to
her.  Perhaps her conversation was a little tinctured with that pedantry
not unjustly attributed to our sex when they have a little more knowledge
than usual, but, at the same time, not in such a degree as to render it
unpleasant.  She seldom gave any opinion on the revolution, but
frequently attended the municipalities to solicit the pensions of the
expelled religious, or on any other occasion where she could be useful to
her friends.  On the arrival of Petion, Barbaroux, and others of the
Brissotin faction, she began to frequent the clubs, and to take a more
lively interest in political affairs.  Petion, and Barbaroux especially,
seemed to be much respected by her.  It was even said, she had a tender
partiality for the latter; but this I believe is untrue.--I dined with
her at her aunt's on the Sunday previous to her departure for Paris.
Nothing very remarkable appeared in her behaviour, except that she was
much affected by a muster of the recruits who were to march against
Paris, and seemed to think many lives might be lost on the occasion,
without obtaining any relief for the country.--On the Tuesday following
she left Caen, under pretext of visiting her father, who lives at Sens.
Her aunt accompanied her to the gate of the town, and the separation was
extremely sorrowful on both sides.  The subsequent events are too well
known to need recital."

On her trial, and at her execution, Miss Corday was firm and modest;
and I have been told, that in her last moments her whole figure was
interesting beyond description.  She was tall, well formed, and
beautiful--her eyes, especially, were fine and expressive--even her dress
was not neglected, and a simple white dishabille added to the charms of
this self-devoted victim.  On the whole, it is not possible to ascertain
precisely the motives which determined her to assassinate Marat.  Her
letter to Barbaroux expresses nothing but republican sentiments; yet it
is difficult to conceive that a young woman, who had voluntarily embraced
the life of a cloister, could be really of this way of thinking.--I
cannot but suppose her connection with the Deputies arose merely from an
idea that they might be the instruments of restoring the abolished
government, and her profession of republican principles after she was
arrested might probably be with a view of saving Duperret, and others of
the party, who were still in the power of the Convention.--Her selection
of Marat still remains to be accounted for.  He was, indeed, the most
violent of the Jacobins, but not the most dangerous, and the death of
several others might have been more serviceable to the cause.  Marat was,
however, the avowed persecutor of priests and religion, and if we
attribute any influence to Miss Corday's former habits, we may suppose
them to have had some share in the choice of her victim.  Her refusal of
the ministry of a constitutional priest at the scaffold strengthens this
opinion.  We pay a kind of involuntary tribute of admiration to such
firmness of mind in a young and beautiful woman; and I do not recollect
that history has transmitted any thing parallel to the heroism of
Charlotte Corday.  Love, revenge, and ambition, have often sacrificed
their victims, and sustained the courage of their voluntaries under
punishment; but a female, animated by no personal motives, sensible only
to the misfortunes of her country, patriotic both from feeling and
reflection, and sacrificing herself from principle, is singular in the
annals of human nature.--Yet, after doing justice to such an instance of
fortitude and philanthropic devotion, I cannot but sincerely lament the
act to which it has given rise.  At a time when so many spirits are
irritated by despair and oppression, the example may be highly
pernicious, and a cause, however good, must always be injured by the use
of such means in its support.--Nothing can sanctify an assassination; and
were not the French more vindictive than humane, the crimes of the
republican party would find a momentary refuge in this injudicious effort
to punish them.

My friend La Marquise de ____ has left Paris, and is now at Peronne,
where she has engaged me to pass a few weeks with her; so that my next
will most probably be dated from thence.--Mr. D____ is endeavouring to
get a passport for England.  He begins to regret having remained here.
His temper, naturally impatient of restraint, accords but ill with the
portion of liberty enjoyed by our republicans.  Corporal privations and
mental interdictions multiply so fast, that irritable people like
himself, and valetudinarians like Mrs. C____ and me, could not choose a
worse residence; and, as we are now unanimous on the subject, I hope soon
to leave the country.--There is, as you observe in your last, something
of indolence as well as friendship in my having so long remained here;
but if actions were always analyzed so strictly, and we were not allowed
to derive a little credit from our weaknesses, how many great characters
would be reduced to the common level.  Voltaire introduced a sort of rage
for anecdotes, and for tracing all events to trifling causes, which has
done much more towards exploding the old-fashioned system or the dignity
of human nature than the dry maxims of Rochefaucault, the sophisms of
Mandeville, or even the malicious wit of Swift.  This is also another
effect of the progress of philosophy; and this sort of moral Quixotism,
continually in search of evil, and more gratified in discovering it than
pained by its existence, may be very philosophical; but it is at least
gloomy and discouraging; and we may be permitted to doubt whether mankind
become wiser or better by learning, that those who have been most
remarkable either for wisdom or virtue were occasionally under the
influence of the same follies and passions as other people.--Your
uncharitable discernment, you see, has led me into a digression, and I
have, without intending it, connected the motives of my stay with
reflections on Voltaire's General History, Barillon's Letters, and all
the secret biography of our modern libraries.  This, you will say, is
only a chapter of a "man's importance to himself;" but public affairs are
now so confused and disgusting, that we are glad to encourage any train
of ideas not associated with them.

The Commissioners I gave you some account of in a former letter are
departed, and we have lately had Chabot, an Ex-capuchin, and a patriot of
special note in the Convention, and one Dumont, an attorney of a
neighbouring village.  They are, like all the rest of these missionaries,
entrusted with unlimited powers, and inspire apprehension and dismay
wherever they approach.

The Garde Nationale of Amiens are not yet entirely subdued to the times,
and Chabot gave some hints of a project to disarm them, and actually
attempted to arrest some of their officers; but, apprized of his design,
they remained two nights under arms, and the Capuchin, who is not
martially inclined, was so alarmed at this indication of resistance,
that he has left the town with more haste than ceremony.--He had, in an
harangue at the cathedral, inculcated some very edifying doctrines on the
division of property and the right of pillage; and it is not improbable,
had he not withdrawn, but the Amienois would have ventured, on this
pretext, to arrest him.  Some of them contrived, in spite of the centinel
placed at the lodging of these great men, to paste up on the door two
figures, with the names of Chabot and Dumont; in the "fatal position of
the unfortunate brave;" and though certain events in the lives of these
Deputies may have rendered this perspective of their last moments not
absolutely a novelty, yet I do not recollect that Akenside, or any other
author, has enumerated a gibbet amongst the objects, which, though not
agreeable in themselves, may be reconciled to the mind by familiarity.
I wish, therefore, our representatives may not, in return for this
admonitory portrait of their latter end, draw down some vengeance on the
town, not easily to be appeased.  I am no astrologer, but in our
sublunary world the conjunction of an attorney and a renegade monk cannot
present a fortunate aspect; and I am truly anxious to find myself once
again under the more benign influence of your English hemisphere.--Yours.

Peronne, July 29, 1793.

Every attempt to obtain passports has been fruitless, and, with that sort
of discontented resignation which is the effect of necessity, I now look
upon myself as fixed here till the peace.  I left Mr. and Mrs. D____
yesterday morning, the disappointment operating upon them in full force.
The former takes longer walks than usual, breaks out in philippics
against tyrannies of all kinds, and swears ten times a day that the
French are the most noisy people upon earth--the latter is vexed, and,
for that reason, fancies she is ill, and calculates, with great
ingenuity, all the hazard and inconvenience we may be liable to by
remaining here.  I hope, on my return, to find them more reconciled.

At Villars de Bretonne, on my road hither, some people told me, with
great gaiety, that the English had made a descent on the coast of
Picardy.  Such a report (for I did not suppose it possible) during the
last war would have made me tremble, but I heard this without alarm,
having, in no instance, seen the people take that kind of interest in
public events which formerly made a residence in France unpleasant to an
individual of an hostile nation.  It is not that they are become more
liberal, or better informed--no change of this kind has been discovered
even by the warmest advocates of the revolution; but they are more
indifferent, and those who are not decidedly the enemies of the present
government, for the most part concern themselves as little about the
events of the war, as though it were carried on in the South Sea.

I fear I should risk an imputation on my veracity, were I to describe the
extreme ignorance and inattention of the French with respect to public
men and measures.  They draw no conclusions from the past, form no
conjectures for the future, and, after exclaiming "Il ne peut pas durer
comme cela," they, with a resignation which is certainly neither pious
nor philosophic, leave the rest to the agency of Providence.--Even those
who are more informed so bewilder themselves in the politics of Greece
and Rome, that they do not perceive how little these are applicable to
their own country.  Indeed, it should seem that no modern age or people
is worthy the knowledge of a Frenchman.--I have often remarked, in the
course of our correspondence, how little they are acquainted with what
regards England or the English; and scarcely a day passes that I have not
occasion to make the same observation.

My conductor hither, who is a friend of Mad. de T____, and esteemed "bien
instruit," was much surprized when I told him that the population and
size of London exceeded that of Paris--that we had good fruit, and better
vegetables than were to be found in many parts of France.  I saw that he
suspected my veracity, and there is always on these occasions such a
decided and impenetrable incredulity in a Frenchman as precludes all
hopes of convincing him.  He listens with a sort of self-sufficient
complacence which tells you he does not consider your assertions as any
thing more than the exaggerations of national vanity, but that his
politeness does not allow him to contradict you.  I know nothing more
disgustingly impertinent than his ignorance, which intrenches itself
behind the forms of civility, and, affecting to decline controversy,
assumes the merit of forbearance and moderation: yet this must have been
often observed by every one who has lived much in French society: for the
first emotion of a Frenchman, on hearing any thing which tends to place
another country on an equality with France, is doubt--this doubt is
instantly reinforced by vanity--and, in a few seconds, he is perfectly
satisfied that the thing is impossible.

One must be captious indeed to object to this, did it arise from that
patriotic feeling so common in the English; but here it is all vanity,
downright vanity: a Frenchman must have his country and his mistress
admired, though he does not often care much for either one or the other.
I have been in various parts of France in the most critical periods of
the revolution--I have conversed with people of all parties and of all
ranks--and I assert, that I have never yet met but with one man who had a
grain of real patriotism.  If the Athenian law were adopted which doomed
all to death who should be indifferent to the public welfare in a time of
danger, I fear there would be a woeful depopulation here, even among the
loudest champions of democracy.

It is not thirty miles from Amiens to Peronne, yet a journey of thirty
miles is not now to be undertaken inconsiderately; the horses are so much
worked, and so ill fed, that few perform such a distance without rest and
management.  If you wish to take others, and continue your route, you
cannot, or if you wait while your own horses are refreshed, as a reward
for your humanity you get starved yourself.  Bread being very scarce, no
family can get more than sufficient for its own consumption, and those
who travel without first supplying themselves, do it at the risk of
finding none on the road.

Peronne is chiefly remarkable in history for never having been taken, and
for a tower where Louis XI. was confined for a short time, after being
outwitted in a manner somewhat surprizing for a Monarch who piqued
himself on his talents for intrigue, by Charles le Temeraire, Duke of
Burgundy.  It modern reputation, arises from its election of the Abbe
Maury for its representative, and for entertaining political principles
every way analogous to such a choice.

I found the Marquise much altered in her person, and her health much
impaired, by the frequent alarms and continual apprehensions she had been
subject to at Paris.  Fortunately she has no imputation against her but
her rank and fortune, for she is utterly guiltless of all political
opinions; so that I hope she will be suffered to knit stockings, tend her
birds and dogs, and read romances in peace.--Yours, &c. &c.

August 1, 1793.

When the creation of assignats was first proposed, much ingenuity was
employed in conjecturing, and much eloquence displayed in expatiating
upon, the various evils that might result from them; yet the genius of
party, however usually successful in gloomy perspective, did not at that
time imagine half the inconvenience this measure was fraught with.  It
was easy, indeed, to foresee, that an immense circulation of paper, like
any other currency, must augment the price of every thing; but the
excessive discredit of the assignats, operating accessarily to their
quantity, has produced a train of collateral effects of greater magnitude
than even those that were originally apprehended.  Within the last twelve
months the whole country are become monopolizers--the desire of realizing
has so possessed all degrees of people, that there is scarcely an article
of consumption which is not bought up and secreted.  One would really
suppose that nothing was perishable but the national credit--the
nobleman, the merchant, the shopkeeper, all who have assignats, engage in
these speculations, and the necessities of our dissipated heirs do not
drive them to resources for obtaining money more whimsical than the
commerce now practised here to get rid of it.  I know a beau who has
converted his _hypotheque_ [Mortgage.] on the national domains into train
oil, and a General who has given these "airy nothings" the substance and
form of hemp and leather!*

     * In the late rage for monopolies in France, a person who had
     observed the vast daily consumption of onions, garlic, and
     eschalots, conceived the project of making the whole district of
     Amiens tributary for this indispensible article.  In consequence, he
     attended several market-days, and purchased all that came in his
     way.  The country people finding a ready sale for their onions,
     poured in from all quarters, and our projector found that, in
     proportion as he bought, the market became more profusely supplied,
     and that the commodity he had hoped to monopolize was inexhaustible.

Goods purchased from such motives are not as you may conceive sold till
the temptation of an exorbitant profit seduces the proprietor to risk a
momentary possession of assignats, which are again disposed of in a
similar way.  Thus many necessaries of life are withdrawn from
circulation, and when a real scarcity ensues, they are produced to the
people, charged with all the accumulated gains of these intermediate

This illiberal and pernicious commerce, which avarice and fear have for
some time kept in great activity, has at length attracted the notice of
the Convention, and very severe laws are now enacted against monopolies
of all kinds.  The holder of any quantity of merchandize beyond what he
may be supposed to consume is obliged to declare it to his municipality,
and to expose the articles he deals in in writing over his door.  These
clauses, as well as every other part of the decree, seem very wise and
equitable; but I doubt if the severity of the punishment annexed to any
transgression of it will not operate so as to defeat the purposes
intended to be produced.  A false declaration is punishable by six years
imprisonment, and an absolute non-compliance with death.--Blackstone
remarks, that it is the certainty, not the severity, of punishment, which
makes laws efficacious; and this must ever be the case amongst an humane
people.--An inordinate desire of gain is not often considered by mankind
as very criminal, and those who would willingly subject it to its
adequate punishment of fine and confiscation, will hesitate to become the
means of inflicting death on the offender, or of depriving him of his
liberty.  The Poets have, from time immemorial, claimed a kind of
exclusive jurisdiction over the sin of avarice: but, unfortunately, minds
once steeled by this vice are not often sensible to the attacks of
ridicule; and I have never heard that any poet, from Plautus to Moliere,
has reformed a single miser.  I am not, therefore, sorry that our
legislature has encroached on this branch of the poetical prerogative,
and only wish that the mild regimen of the Muses had been succeeded by
something less rigid than the prison or the guillotine.  It is true,
that, in the present instance, it is not the ordinary and habitual
practice of avarice that has called forth the severity of the laws, but a
species so destructive and extensive in its consequences, that much may
be said in defence of any penalty short of death; and such is the general
distrust of the paper-money, that I really believe, had not some measure
of the kind been adopted, no article susceptible of monopoly would have
been left for consumption.  There are, however, those who retort on the
government, and assert, that the origin of the evil is in the waste and
peculation of its agents, which also make the immense emission of paper
more necessary; and they are right in the fact, though not in their
deduction, for as the evil does exist whatever may be the cause, it is
certainly wise to endeavour to remedy it.

The position of Valenciennes, which is supposed to be on the eve of a
surrender--the progress of the insurgents in La Vendee--the discontents
in the South--and the charge of treachery against so many of the
Generals, and particularly Custine--all together seem to have agitated
the public extremely: yet it is rather the agitation of uncertainty than
that occasioned by any deep impression of hope or fear.  The people wish
to be relieved from their present situation, yet are without any
determinate views for the future; and, indeed, in this part of the
country, where they have neither leaders nor union, it would be very
difficult for them to take a more active part.

The party of the foederalists languish, merely because it is nothing more
than a party, and a party of which the heads excite neither interest nor
esteem.  I conclude you learn from the papers all the more important
events, and I confine myself, as usual, to such details as I think less
likely to reach you.  The humanity of the English must often banish their
political animosities when they read what passes here; and thousands of
my countrymen must at this moment lament with me the situation to which
France is reduced by projects in which common sense can distinguish no
medium between wickedness and folly.

All apparent attachment to royalism is now cautiously avoided, but the
royalists do not diminish by persecution, and the industry with which
they propagate their opinions is nearly a match for all the force armee
of the republicans.--It is not easy to print pamphlets or newspapers, but
there are certain shops which one would think were discovered by
instinct, where are sold a variety of mysterious emblems of royalty, such
as fans that have no visible ornaments except landscapes, &c. but when
opened by the initiated, present tolerable likenesses of the Royal
Family; snuff-boxes with secret lids, containing miniature busts of the
late King; and music so ingeniously printed, that what to the common eye
offers only some popular air, when folded so as to join the heads and
tails of the notes together, forms sentences of very treasonable import,
and by no means flattering to the existing government--I have known these
interdicted trifles purchased at extravagant prices by the best-reputed
patriots, and by officers who in public breathe nothing but unconquerable
democracy, and detestation of Kings.  Yet, though these things are
circulated with extreme caution, every body has something of the sort,
and, as Charles Surface says, "for my part, I don't see who is out of the

The belief in religious miracles is exploded, and it is only in political
ones that the faith of the people is allowed to exercise itself.--We have
lately seen exhibited at the fairs and markets a calf, produced into the
world with the tri-coloured cockade on its head; and on the painted cloth
that announces the phoenomenon is the portrait of this natural
revolutionist, with a mayor and municipality in their official scarfs,
addressing the four-footed patriot with great ceremony.

We set out early to-morrow-morning for Soissons, which is about twenty
leagues from hence.  Travelling is not very desirable in the present
circumstances, but Mad. de F____ has some affairs to settle there which
cannot well be entrusted to a third person.  The times, however, have a
very hostile appearance, and we intend, if possible, to be absent but
three days.--Yours.

Soissons, August 4, 1793.

"And you may go by Beauvais if you will, for which reason many go by
Beauvais;" and the stranger who turns out of his road to go by Soissons,
must use the same reasoning, for the consciousness of having exercised
his free agency will be all his reward for visiting Soissons.  This, by
the way; for my journey hither not being one of curiosity, I have no
right to complain; yet somehow or other, by associating the idea of the
famous Vase, the ancient residence of the first French Kings, and other
circumstances as little connected as these I suppose with modern history,
I had ranked Soissons in my imagination as one of the places I should see
with interest.  I find it, however, only a dull, decent-looking town,
tolerably large, but not very populous.  In the new division of France it
is the capital of the department De l'Aisne, and is of course the seat of
the administration.

We left Peronne early, and, being so fortunate as to encounter no
accidental delays, we arrived within a league of Soissons early in the
afternoon.  Mad. de F____, recollecting an acquaintance who has a chateau
not far out of our road, determined to stop an hour or two; for, as she
said, her friend was so "fond of the country," she should be sure to find
him there.  We did, indeed, find this Monsieur, who is so "fond of the
country," at home, extremely well powdered, dressed in a striped silk
coat, and engaged with a card party, on a warm afternoon on the third of
August.--The chateau was situated as a French chateau usually is, so as
to be benefited by all the noises and odours of the village--built with a
large single front, and a number of windows so judiciously placed, that
it must be impossible either to be cool in summer or warm in winter.

We walked out after taking some coffee, and I learned that this lover of
the country did not keep a single acre of land in his own hands, but that
the part immediately contiguous to the house was cultivated for a certain
share of the profit by a farmer who lives in a miserable looking place
adjoining, and where I saw the operations of the dairy-maid carried on
amidst pigs, ducks, and turkeys, who seemed to have established a very
familiar access.

Previous to our arrival at Soissons, the Marquise (who, though she does
not consider me as an aristocrate, knows I am by no means a republican,)
begged me to be cautious in expressing my sentiments, as the Comte de
____, where we were going, had embraced the principles of the revolution
very warmly, and had been much blamed by his family on this account.
Mad. de F____ added, that she had not seen him for above a year, but that
she believed him still to be "extremement patriote."

We reached Mons. de ____'s just as the family were set down to a very
moderate supper, and I observed that their plate had been replaced by
pewter.  After the first salutations were over, it was soon visible that
the political notions of the count were much changed.  He is a sensible
reflecting man, and seems really to wish the good of his country.  He
thinks, with many others, that all the good effects which might have been
obtained by the revolution will be lost through the contempt and hatred
which the republican government has drawn upon it.

Mons. de ____ has two sons who have distinguished themselves very
honourably in the army, and he has himself made great pecuniary
sacrifices; but this has not secured him from numerous domiciliary visits
and vexations of all kinds.  The whole family are at intervals a little
pensive, and Mons. de ____ told us, at a moment when the ladies were
absent, that the taking of Valenciennes had occasioned a violent
fermentation at Paris, and that he had serious apprehensions for those
who have the misfortune to be distinguished by their rank, or obnoxious
from their supposed principles--that he himself, and all who were
presumed to have an attachment to the constitution of eighty-nine, were
much more feared, and of course more suspected, than the original
aristocrates--and "enfin" that he had made up his mind a la Francaise to
the worst that could happen.

I have just run over the papers of the day, and I perceive that the
debates of the Convention are filled with invectives against the English.
A letter has been very opportunely found on the ramparts of Lisle, which
is intended to persuade the people that the British government has
distributed money and phosphoric matches in every town in France--the one
to provoke insurrection, the other to set fire to the corn.*  You will
conclude this letter to be a fabrication, and it is imagined and executed
with so little ingenuity, that I doubt whether it will impose on the most
ignorant of the people for a moment.

     * "The National Convention, in the name of violated humanity,
     denounces to all the world, and to the people of England in
     particular, the base, perfidious, and wicked conduct of the British
     government, which does not hesitate to employ fire, poison,
     assassination, and every other crime, to procure the triumph of
     tyranny, and the destruction of the rights of man."  (Decree, 1st
     August, 1793.)

The Queen has been transferred to the Conciergerie, or common prison, and
a decree is passed for trying her; but perhaps at this moment (whatever
may be the result hereafter) they only hope her situation may operate as
a check upon the enemy; at least I have heard it doubted by many whether
they intend to proceed seriously on this trial so long threatened.--
Perhaps I may have before noticed to you that the convention never seemed
capable of any thing great or uniform, and that all their proceedings
took a tinge from that frivolity and meanness which I am almost tempted
to believe inherent in the French character.  They have just now, amidst
a long string of decrees, the objects of which are of the first
consequence, inserted one for the destruction of all the royal tombs
before the tenth of August, and another for reducing the expences of the
King's children, particularly their food, to bare necessaries.  Had our
English revolutionists thus employed themselves, they might have expelled
the sculptured Monarchs from the Abbey, and waged a very successful war
on the admirers of Gothic antiquity; but neither the Stuarts, nor the
Catholic religion, would have had much to fear from them.

We have been wandering about the town all day, and I have not remarked
that the successes of the enemy have occasioned any regret.  When I was
in France three years ago, you may recollect that my letters usually
contained some relation of our embarrassment and delays, owing to the
fear and ignorance of the people.  At one place they apprehended the
introduction of foreign troops--at another, that the Comte d'Artois was
to burn all the corn.  In short, the whole country teemed with plots and
counterplots, every one of which was more absurd and inexplicable than
those of Oates, with his whole tribe of Jesuits.  At present, when a
powerful army is invading the frontiers, and people have not in many
places bread to eat, they seem to be very little solicitous about the
former, and as little disposed to blame the aristocrates for the latter.

It is really extraordinary, after all the pains that have been taken to
excite hatred and resentment against the English, that I have not heard
of a single instance of their having been insulted or molested.  Whatever
inconveniencies they may have been subjected to, were acts of the
government, not of the people; and perhaps this is the first war between
the two nations in which the reverse has not been the case.

I accompanied Mad. de ____ this afternoon to the house of a rich
merchant, where she had business, and who, she told me, had been a
furious patriot, but his ardour is now considerably abated.  He had just
returned from the department, [Here used for the place where the public
business is transacted.] where his affairs had led him; and he assures
us, that in general the agents of the republic were more inaccessible,
more insolent, corrupt, and ignorant, than any employed under the old
government.  He demurred to paying Mad. de ____ a sum of money all in
_assignats a face;_* and this famous patriot would readily have given me
an hundred livres for a pound sterling.

     * _Assignats a face_--that is, with the King's effigy; at this time
     greatly preferred to those issued after his death.

We shall return to Peronne to-morrow, and I have availed myself of the
hour between cards and supper, which is usually employed by the French in
undressing, to scribble my remarks.  In some families, I suppose, supping
in dishabille is an arrangement of oeconomy, in others of ease; but I
always think it has the air of preparation for a very solid meal; and, in
effect, supping is not a mere ceremony with either sex in this country.

I learnt in conversation with M. de ____, whose sons were at Famars when
the camp was forced, that the carnage was terrible, and that the loss of
the French on this occasion amounted to several thousands.  You will be
informed of this much more accurately in England, but you will scarcely
imagine that no official account was ever published here, and that in
general the people are ignorant of the circumstance, and all the
disasters attending it.  In England, you have opposition papers that
amply supply the omissions of the ministerial gazettes, and often dwell
with much complacence on the losses and defeats of their country; here
none will venture to publish the least event which they suppose the
government wish to keep concealed.  I am told, a leading feature of
republican governments is to be extremely jealous of the liberty of the
press, and that of France is, in this respect, truly republican.--Adieu.

Peronne, August, 1793.

I have often regretted, my dear brother, that my letters have for some
time been rather intended to satisfy your curiosity than your affection.
At this moment I feel differently, and I rejoice that the inquietude and
danger of my situation will, probably, not come to your knowledge till I
shall be no longer subject to them.  I have been for several days unwell,
and yet my body, valetudinarian as I am at best, is now the better part
of me; for my mind has been so deranged by suspense and terror, that I
expect to recover my health long before I shall be able to tranquillize
my spirits.

On our return from Soissons I found, by the public prints, that a decree
had passed for arresting all natives of the countries with which France
is at war, and who had not constantly resided there since 1789.--This
intelligence, as you will conceive, sufficiently alarmed me, and I lost
no time in consulting Mad. de ____'s friends on the subject, who were
generally of opinion that the decree was merely a menace, and that it was
too unjust to be put in execution.  As some days elapsed and no steps
were taken in consequence, I began to think they were right, and my
spirits were somewhat revived; when one evening, as I was preparing to go
to bed, my maid suddenly entered the room, and, before she could give me
any previous explanation, the apartment was filled with armed men.  As
soon as I was collected enough to enquire the object of this unseasonable
visit, I learned that all this military apparel was to put the seals on
my papers, and convey my person to the Hotel de Ville!--I knew it would
be vain to remonstrated, and therefore made an effort to recover my
spirits and submit.  The business, however, was not yet terminated, my
papers were to be sealed--and though they were not very voluminous, the
process was more difficult than you would imagine, none of the company
having been employed on affairs of the kind before.  A debate ensued on
the manner in which it should be done, and, after a very tumultuous
discussion, it was sagaciously concluded to seal up the doors and windows
of all the apartments appropriated to my use.  They then discovered that
they had no seal fit for the purpose, and a new consultation was holden
on the propriety of affixing a cypher which was offered them by one of
the Garde Nationale.

This weighty matter being at length decided, the doors of my bedchamber,
dressing-room, and of the apartments with which they communicated, were
carefully fastened up, though not without an observation on my part that
I was only a guest at Mad. de ____'s, and that an order to seize my
papers or person was not a mandate for rendering a part of her home
useless.  But there was no reasoning with ignorance and a score of
bayonets, nor could I obtain permission even to take some linen out of my
drawers.  On going down stairs, I found the court and avenues to the
garden amply guarded, and with this numerous escort, and accompanied by
Mad. de ____, I was conducted to the Hotel de Ville.  I know not what
resistance they might expect from a single female, but, to judge by their
precautions, they must have deemed the adventure a very perilous one.
When we arrived at the Hotel de Ville, it was near eleven o'clock: the
hall was crouded, and a young man, in a dirty linen jacket and trowsers
and dirty linen, with the air of a Polisson and the countenance of an
assassin, was haranguing with great vehemence against the English, who,
he asserted, were all agents of Pitt, (especially the women,) and were to
set fire to the corn, and corrupt the garrisons of the fortified towns.--
The people listened to these terrible projects with a stupid sort of
surprize, and, for the most part, seemed either very careless or very
incredulous.  As soon as this inflammatory piece of eloquence was
finished, I was presented to the ill-looking orator, who, I learned, was
a representant du peuple.  It was very easy to perceive that my spirits
were quite overpowered, and that I could with difficulty support myself;
but this did not prevent the representant du peuple from treating me with
that inconsiderable brutality which is commonly the effect of a sudden
accession of power on narrow and vulgar minds.  After a variety of
impertinent questions, menaces of a prison for myself, and exclamations
of hatred and vengeance against my country, on producing some friends of
Mad. de ____, who were to be answerable for me, I was released, and
returned home more dead than alive.

You must not infer, from what I have related, that I was particularly
distinguished on this occasion, for though I have no acquaintance with
the English here, I understand they had all been treated much in the same
manner.--As soon as the representant had left the town, by dint of
solicitation we prevailed on the municipality to take the seal off the
rooms, and content themselves with selecting and securing my papers,
which was done yesterday by a commission, formally appointed for the
purpose.  I know not the quality of the good citizens to whom this
important charge was entrusted, but I concluded from their costume that
they had been more usefully employed the preceding part of the day at the
anvil and last.  It is certain, however, they had undertaken a business
greatly beyond their powers.  They indeed turned over all my trunks and
drawers, and dived to the bottom of water-jugs and flower-jars with great
zeal, but neglected to search a large portfolio that lay on the table,
probably from not knowing the use of it; and my servant conveyed away
some letters, while I amused them with the sight of a blue-bottle fly
through a microscope.  They were at first much puzzled to know whether
books and music were included under the article of papers, and were very
desirous of burning a history of France, because they discovered, by the
title-plate, that it was "about Kings;" but the most difficult part of
this momentous transaction was taking an account of it in writing.
However, as only one of the company could write, there was no disputing
as to the scribe, though there was much about the manner of execution.  I
did not see the composition, but I could hear that it stated "comme
quoi," they had found the seals unbroken, "comme quoi," they had taken
them off, and divers "as hows" of the same kind.  The whole being
concluded, and my papers deposited in a box, I was at length freed from
my guests, and left in possession of my apartments.

It is impossible to account for this treatment of the English by any mode
of reasoning that does not exclude both justice and policy; and viewing
it only as a symptom of that desperate wickedness which commits evil, not
as a means, but an end, I am extremely alarmed for our situation.  At
this moment the whole of French politics seems to center in an endeavour
to render the English odious both as a nation and as individuals.  The
Convention, the clubs, and the streets of Paris, resound with low abuse
of this tendency; and a motion was made in the former, by one Garnier, to
procure the assassination of Mr. Pitt.  Couthon, a member of the Comite
de Salut Publique, has proposed and carried a decree to declare him the
enemy of mankind; and the citizens of Paris are stunned by the hawkers of
Mr. Pitt's plots with the Queen to "starve all France," and "massacre all
the patriots."--Amidst so many efforts* to provoke the destruction of the
English, it is wonderful, when we consider the sanguinary character which
the French people have lately evinced, that we are yet safe, and it is in
effect only to be accounted for by their disinclination to take any part
in the animosities of their government.

     * When our representative appeared at Abbeville with an intention of
     arresting the English and other foreigners, the people, to whom
     these missionaries with unlimited powers were yet new, took the
     alarm, and became very apprehensive that he was come likewise to
     disarm their Garde Nationale.  The streets were crouded, the town
     house was beset, and Citizen Dumout found it necessary to quiet the
     town's people by the following proclamation.  One part of his
     purpose, that of insuring his personal safety, was answered by it;
     but that of exciting the people against the English, failed--
     insomuch, that I was told even the lowest classes, so far from
     giving credit to the malignant calumnies propagated against the
     English, openly regretted their arrestation.


     "On my arrival amongst you, I little thought that malevolence would
     be so far successful as to alarm you on the motives of my visit.
     Could the aristocrates, then, flatter themselves with the hope of
     making you believe I had the intention of disarming you?  Be deaf, I
     beseech you, to so absurd a calumny, and seize on those who
     propagate it.  I came here to fraternize with you, and to assist you
     in getting rid of those malcontents and foreigners, who are striving
     to destroy the republic by the most infernal manoeuvres.--An
     horrible plot has been conceived.  Our harvests are to be fired by
     means of phosphoric matches, and all the patriots assassinated.
     Women, priests, and foreigners, are the instruments employed by the
     coalesced despots, and by England above all, to accomplish these
     criminal designs.--A law of the first of this month orders the
     arrest of all foreigners born in the countries with which the
     republic is at war, and not settled in France before the month of
     July, 1789.  In execution of this law I have required domiciliary
     visits to be made.  I have urged the preservation of the public
     tranquillity.  I have therefore done my duty, and only what all good
     citizens must approve."

I have just received a few lines from Mrs. D____, written in French, and
put in the post without sealing.  I perceive, by the contents, though she
enters into no details, that circumstances similar to those I have
described have likewise taken place at Amiens.  In addition to my other
anxieties, I have the prospect of a long separation from my friends; for
though I am not in confinement, I cannot, while the decree which arrested
me remains in force, quit the town of Peronne.  I have not often looked
forward with so little hope, or so little certainty, and though a
first-rate philosopher might make up his mind to a particular event, yet
to be prepared for any thing, and all things, is a more difficult

The histories of Greece and Rome have long constituted the grand
resources of French eloquence, and it is not till within a few days that
an orator has discovered all this good learning to be of no use--not, as
you might imagine, because the moral character and political situation of
the French differ from those of the Greeks and Romans, but because they
are superior to all the people who ever existed, and ought to be cited as
models, instead of descending to become copyists.  "Therefore, continues
this Jacobin sage, (whose name is Henriot, and who is highly popular,)
let us burn all the libraries and all the antiquities, and have no guide
but ourselves--let us cut off the heads of all the Deputies who have not
voted according to our principles, banish or imprison all the gentry and
the clergy, and guillotine the Queen and General Custine!"

These are the usual subjects of discussion at the clubs, and the
Convention itself is not much more decent.  I tremble when I recollect
that I am in a country where a member of the legislature proposes rewards
for assassination, and the leader of a society, that pretends to inform
and instruct the people, argues in favour of burning all the books.  The
French are on the eve of exhibiting the singular spectacle of a nation
enlightened by science, accustomed to the benefit of laws and the
enjoyment of arts, suddenly becoming barbarous by system, and sinking
into ignorance from choice.--When the Goths shared the most curious
antiques by weight, were they not more civilized than the Parisian of
1793, who disturbs the ashes of Henry the Fourth, or destroys the
monument of Turenne, by a decree?--I have myself been forced to an act
very much in the spirit of the times, but I could not, without risking my
own safety, do otherwise; and I sat up late last night for the purpose of
burning Burke, which I had brought with me, but had fortunately so well
concealed, that it escaped the late inquisition.  I indeed made this
sacrifice to prudence with great unwillingness--every day, by confirming
Mr. Burke's assertions, or fulfilling his predictions, had so increased
my reverence for the work, that I regarded it as a kind of political
oracle.  I did not, however, destroy it without an apologetic apostrophe
to the author's benevolence, which I am sure would suffer, were he to be
the occasion, though involuntarily, of conducting a female to a prison or
the Guillotine.

"How chances mock, and changes fill the cup of alteration up with divers
liquors."--On the same hearth, and in a mingled flame, was consumed the
very constitution of 1789, on which Mr. Burke's book was a censure, and
which would now expose me to equal danger were it to be found in my
possession.  In collecting the ashes of these two compositions, the
tendency of which is so different, (for such is the complexion of the
moment, that I would not have even the servant suspect I had been burning
a quantity of papers,) I could not but moralize on the mutability of
popular opinion.  Mr. Burke's Gallic adversaries are now most of them
proscribed and anathematized more than himself.  Perhaps another year may
see his bust erected on the piedestal which now supports that of Brutus
or Le Pelletier.

The letters I have written to you since the communication was
interrupted, with some other papers that I am solicitous to preserve,
I have hitherto always carried about me, and I know not if any danger,
merely probable, will induce me to part with them.  You will not, I
think, suspect me of attaching any consequence to my scribblings from
vanity; and if I run some personal risk in keeping them, it is because
the situation of this country is so singular, and the events which occur
almost daily so important, that the remarks of any one who is unlucky
enough to be a spectator, may interest, without the advantage of literary

Peronne, August 24, 1793.

I have been out to-day for the first time since the arrest of the
English, and, though I have few acquaintances here, my adventure at the
Hotel de Ville has gained me a sort of popularity.  I was saluted by many
people I did not know, and overwhelmed with expressions of regret for
what had happened, or congratulations on my having escaped so well.

The French are not commonly very much alive to the sufferings of others,
and it is some mortification to my vanity that I cannot, but at the
expence of a reproaching conscience, ascribe the civilities I have
experienced on this occasion to my personal merit.  It would doubtless
have been highly flattering to me to relate the tender and general
interest I had excited even among this cold-hearted people, who scarcely
feel for themselves: but the truth is, they are disposed to take the part
of any one whom they think persecuted by their government; and their
representative, Dumont, is so much despised in his private character, and
detested in his public one, that it suffices to have been ill treated by
him, to ensure one a considerable portion of the public good will.

This disposition is not a little consolatory, at a time when the whole
rage of an oligarchical tyranny, though impotent against the English as a
nation, meanly exhausts itself on the few helpless individuals within its
power.  Embarrassments accumulate and if Mr. Pitt's agents did not most
obligingly write letters, and these letters happen to be intercepted just
when they are most necessary, the Comite de Salut Publique would be at a
loss how to account for them.

Assignats have fallen into a discredit beyond example, an hundred and
thirty livres having been given for one Louis-d'or; and, as if this were
not the natural result of circumstances like the present, a
correspondence between two Englishmen informs us, that it is the work of
Mr. Pitt, who, with an unparalleled ingenuity, has contrived to send
couriers to every town in France, to concert measures with the bankers
for this purpose.  But if we may believe Barrere, one of the members of
the Committee, this atrocious policy of Mr. Pitt will not be unrevenged,
for another intercepted letter contains assurances that an hundred
thousand men have taken up arms in England, and are preparing to march
against the iniquitous metropolis that gives this obnoxious Minister

My situation is still the same--I have no hope of returning to Amiens,
and have just reason to be apprehensive for my tranquillity here.  I had
a long conversation this morning with two people whom Dumont has left
here to keep the town in order during his absence.  The subject was to
prevail on them to give me a permission to leave Peronne, but I could not
succeed.  They were not, I believe, indisposed to gratify me, but were
afraid of involving themselves.  One of them expressed much partiality
for the English, but was very vehement in his disapprobation of their
form of government, which he said was "detestable."  My cowardice did not
permit me to argue much in its behalf, (for I look upon these people as
more dangerous than the spies of the old police,) and I only ventured to
observe, with great diffidence, that though the English government was
monarchical, yet the power of the Crown was very much limited; and that
as the chief subjects of our complaints at present were not our
institutions, but certain practical errors, they might be remedied
without any violent or radical changes; and that our nobility were
neither numerous nor privileged, and by no means obnoxious to the
majority of the people.--_"Ah, vous avez donc de la noblesse blesse en
Angleterre, ce sont peut-etre les milords,"_ ["What, you have nobility in
England then?  The milords, I suppose."] exclaimed our republican, and it
operated on my whole system of defence like my uncle Toby's smoke-jack,
for there was certainly no discussing the English constitution with a
political critic, who I found was ignorant even of the existence of a
third branch of it; yet this reformer of governments and abhorrer of
Kings has power delegated to him more extensive than those of an English
Sovereign, though I doubt if he can write his own language; and his moral
reputation is still less in his favour than his ignorance--for, previous
to the revolution, he was known only as a kind of swindler, and has more
than once been nearly convicted of forgery.--This is, however, the
description of people now chiefly employed, for no honest man would
accept of such commissions, nor perform the services annexed to them.

Bread continues very scarce, and the populace of Paris are, as usual,
very turbulent; so that the neighbouring departments are deprived of
their subsistence to satisfy the wants of a metropolis that has no claim
to an exemption from the general distress, but that which arises from the
fears of the Convention.  As far as I have opportunity of learning or
observing, this part of France is in that state of tranquillity which is
not the effect of content but supineness; the people do not love their
government, but they submit to it, and their utmost exertions amount only
to a little occasional obstinacy, which a few dragoons always reduce to
compliance.  We are sometimes alarmed by reports that parties of the
enemy are approaching the town, when the gates are shut, and the great
bell is toll'd; but I do not perceive that the people are violently
apprehensive about the matter.  Their fears are, I believe, for the most
part, rather personal than political--they do not dread submission to the
Austrians, but military licentiousness.

I have been reading this afternoon Lord Orrery's definition of the male
Cecisbeo, and it reminds me that I have not yet noticed to you a very
important class of females in France, who may not improperly be
denominated female Cecisbeos.  Under the old system, when the rank of a
woman of fashion had enabled her to preserve a degree of reputation and
influence, in spite of the gallantries of her youth and the decline of
her charms, she adopted the equivocal character I here allude to, and,
relinquishing the adorations claimed by beauty, and the respect due to
age, charitably devoted herself to the instruction and advancement of
some young man of personal qualifications and uncertain fortune.  She
presented him to the world, panegyrized him into fashion, and insured his
consequence with one set of females, by hinting his successes with
another.  By her exertions he was promoted in the army or distinguished
at the levee, and a career begun under such auspices often terminated in
a brilliant establishment.--In the less elevated circle, a female
Cecisbeo is usually of a certain age, of an active disposition, and great
volubility, and her functions are more numerous and less dignified.  Here
the grand objects are not to besiege Ministers, nor give a "ton" to the
protege at a fashionable ruelle, but to obtain for him the solid
advantages of what she calls _"un bon parti."_ [A good match.]  To this
end she frequents the houses of widows and heiresses, vaunts the docility
of his temper, and the greatness of his expectations, enlarges on the
solitude of widowhood, or the dependence and insignificance of a
spinster; and these prefatory encomiums usually end in the concerted
introduction of the Platonic "ami."

But besides these principal and important cares, a female Cecisbeo of the
middle rank has various subordinate ones--such as buying linen, choosing
the colour of a coat, or the pattern of a waistcoat, with all the
minutiae of the favourite's dress, in which she is always consulted at
least, if she has not the whole direction.

It is not only in the first or intermediate classes that these useful
females abound, they are equally common in more humble situations, and
only differ in their employments, not in their principles.  A woman in
France, whatever be her condition, cannot be persuaded to resign her
influence with her youth; and the bourgeoise who has no pretensions to
court favour or the disposal of wealthy heiresses, attaches her eleve by
knitting him stockings, forcing him with bons morceaux till he has an
indigestion, and frequent regales of coffee and liqueur.

You must not conclude from all this that there is any gallantry implied,
or any scandal excited--the return for all these services is only a
little flattery, a philosophic endurance of the card-table, and some
skill in the disorders of lap-dogs.  I know there are in England, as well
as in France, many notable females of a certain age, who delight in what
they call managing, and who are zealous in promoting, matches among the
young people of their acquaintance; but for one that you meet with in
England there are fifty here.

I doubt much if, upon the whole, the morals of the English women are not
superior to those of the French; but however the question may be decided
as to morals, I believe their superiority in decency of manners is
indisputable--and this superiority is, perhaps, more conspicuous in women
of a certain age, than in the younger part of the sex.  We have a sort of
national regard for propriety, which deters a female from lingering on
the confines of gallantry, when age has warned her to withdraw; and an
old woman that should take a passionate and exclusive interest about a
young man not related to her, would become at least an object of
ridicule, if not of censure:--yet in France nothing is more common; every
old woman appropriates some youthful dangler, and, what is extraordinary,
his attentions are not distinguishable from those he would pay to a
younger object.--I should remark, however, as some apology for these
juvenile gallants, that there are very few of what we call Tabbies in
France; that is, females of severe principles and contracted features, in
whose apparel every pin has its destination with mathematical exactness,
who are the very watch-towers of a neighbourhood, and who give the alarm
on the first appearance of incipient frailty.  Here, antique dowagers and
faded spinsters are all gay, laughing, rouged, and indulgent--so that
'bating the subtraction of teeth and addition of wrinkles, the disparity
between one score and four is not so great:

               "Gay rainbow silks their mellow charms enfold,
                Nought of these beauties but themselves is old."

I know if I venture to add a word in defence of Tabbyhood, I shall be
engaged in a war with yourself and all our young acquaintance; yet in
this age, which so liberally "softens, and blends, and weakens, and
dilutes" away all distinctions, I own I am not without some partiality
for strong lines of demarcation; and, perhaps, when fifty retrogrades
into fifteen, it makes a worse confusion in society than the toe of the
peasant treading on the heel of the courtier.--But, adieu: I am not gay,
though I trifle.  I have learnt something by my residence in France, and
can be, as you see, frivolous under circumstances that ought to make me

Peronne, August 29, 1793.

The political horizon of France threatens nothing but tempests.  If we
are still tranquil here, it is only because the storm is retarded, and,
far from deeming ourselves secure from its violence, we suffer in
apprehension almost as much as at other places is suffered in reality.
An hundred and fifty people have been arrested at Amiens in one night,
and numbers of the gentry in the neighbouring towns have shared the same
fate.  This measure, which I understand is general throughout the
republic, has occasioned great alarms, and is beheld by the mass of the
people themselves with regret.  In some towns, the Bourgeois have
petitions to the Representatives on mission in behalf of their gentry
thus imprisoned: but, far from succeeding, all who have signed such
petitions are menaced and intimidated, and the terror is so much
increased, that I doubt if even this slight effort will be repeated any

The levee en masse, or rising in a body, which has been for some time
decreed, has not yet taken place.  There are very few, I believe, that
comprehend it, and fewer who are disposed to comply.  Many consultations
have been holden, many plans proposed; but as the result of all these
consultations and plans is to send a certain number to the frontiers, the
suffrages have never been unanimous except in giving their negative.--
Like Falstaff's troops, every one has some good cause of exemption; and
if you were to attend a meeting where this affair is discussed, you would
conclude the French to be more physically miserable than any people on
the glove.  Youths, in apparent good health, have internal disorders, or
concealed infirmities--some are near-sighted--others epileptic--one is
nervous, and cannot present a musquet--another is rheumatic, and cannot
carry it.  In short, according to their account, they are a collection of
the lame, the halt, and the blind, and fitter to send to the hospital,
than to take the field.  But, in spite of all these disorders and
incapacities, a considerable levy must be made, and the dragoons will, I
dare say, operate very wonderful cures.

The surrender of Dunkirk to the English is regarded as inevitable.  I am
not politician enough to foresee the consequences of such an event, but
the hopes and anxieties of all parties seem directed thither, as if the
fate of the war depended on it.  As for my own wishes on the subject,
they are not national, and if I secretly invoke the God of Armies for the
success of my countrymen, it is because I think all that tends to destroy
the present French government may be beneficial to mankind.  Indeed, the
successes of war can at no time gratify a thinking mind farther than as
they tend to the establishment of peace.

After several days of a mockery which was called a trial, though the
witnesses were afraid to appear, or the Counsel to plead in his favour,
Custine has suffered at the Guillotine.  I can be no judge of his
military conduct, and Heaven alone can judge of his intentions.  None of
the charges were, however, substantiated, and many of them were absurd or
frivolous.  Most likely, he has been sacrificed to a cabal, and his
destruction makes a part of that system of policy, which, by agitating
the minds of the people with suspicions of universal treason and
unfathomable plots, leaves them no resource but implicit submission to
their popular leaders.

The death of Custine seems rather to have stimulated than appeased the
barbarity of the Parisian mob.  At every defeat of their armies they call
for executions, and several of those on whom the lot has fallen to march
against the enemy have stipulated, at the tribune of the Jacobins, for
the heads they exact as a condition of their departure,* or as the reward
for their labours.  The laurel has no attraction for heroes like these,
who invest themselves with the baneful yew and inauspicious cypress, and
go to the field of honour with the dagger of the assassin yet

     * Many insisted they would not depart until after the death of the
     Queen--some claimed the death of one General, some that of another,
     and all, the lives or banishment of the gentry and clergy.

"Fair steeds, gay shields, bright arms," [Spencer.] the fancy-created
deity, the wreath of fame, and all that poets have imagined to decorate
the horrors of war, are not necessary to tempt the gross barbarity of the
Parisian: he seeks not glory, but carnage--his incentive is the groans of
defenceless victims--he inlists under the standard of the Guillotine, and
acknowledges the executioner for his tutelary Mars.

In remarking the difficulties that have occurred in carrying into
execution the levee en masse, I neglected to inform you that the prime
mover of all these machinations is your omnipotent Mr. Pitt--it is he who
has fomented the perverseness of the towns, and alarmed the timidity of
the villages--he has persuaded some that it is not pleasant to leave
their shops and families, and insinuated into the minds of others that
death or wounds are not very desirable--he has, in fine, so effectually
achieved his purpose, that the Convention issues decree after decree, the
members harangue to little purpose, and the few recruits already levied,
like those raised in the spring, go from many places strongly escorted to
the army.--I wish I had more peaceful and more agreeable subjects for
your amusement, but they do not present themselves, and "you must blame
the times, not me."  I would wish to tell you that the legislature is
honest, that the Jacobins are humane, and the people patriots; but you
know I have no talent for fiction, and if I had, my situation is not
favourable to any effort of fancy.--Yours.

Peronne, Sept. 7, 1793.

The successes of the enemy on all sides, the rebellion at Lyons and
Marseilles, with the increasing force of the insurgents in La Vendee,
have revived our eagerness for news, and if the indifference of the
French character exempt them from more patriotic sensations, it does not
banish curiosity; yet an eventful crisis, which in England would draw
people together, here keeps them apart.  When an important piece of
intelligence arrives, our provincial politicians shut themselves up with
their gazettes, shun society, and endeavour to avoid giving an opinion
until they are certain of the strength of a party, or the success of an
attempt.  In the present state of public affairs, you may therefore
conceive we have very little communication--we express our sentiments
more by looks and gestures than words, and Lavater (admitting his system)
would be of more use to a stranger than Boyer or Chambaud.  If the
English take Dunkirk, perhaps we may be a little more social and more

Mad. de ____ has a most extensive acquaintance, and, as we are situated
on one of the roads from Paris to the northern army, notwithstanding the
cautious policy of the moment, we are tolerably well informed of what
passes in most parts of France; and I cannot but be astonished, when I
combine all I hear, that the government is able to sustain itself.  Want,
discord, and rebellion, assail it within--defeats and losses from
without.  Perhaps the solution of this political problem can only be
found in the selfishness of the French character, and the want of
connection between the different departments.  Thus one part of the
country is subdued by means of another: the inhabitants of the South take
up arms in defence of their freedom and their commerce, while those of
the North refuse to countenance or assist them, and wait in selfish
tranquillity till the same oppression is extended to themselves.  The
majority of the people have no point of union nor mode of communication,
while the Jacobins, whose numbers are comparatively insignificant, are
strong, by means of their general correspondence, their common center at
Paris, and the exclusive direction of all the public prints.  But,
whatever are the causes, it is certain that the government is at once
powerful and detested--almost without apparent support, yet difficult to
overthrow; and the submission of Rome to a dotard and a boy can no longer
excite the wonder of any one who reflects on what passes in France.

After various decrees to effect the levee en masse, the Convention have
discovered that this sublime and undefined project was not calculated for
the present exhausted state of martial ardour.  They therefore no longer
presume on any movement of enthusiasm, but have made a positive and
specific requisition of all the male inhabitants of France between
eighteen and twenty-five years of age.  This, as might be expected, has
been more effectual, because it interests those that are exempt to force
the compliance of those who are not.  Our young men here were like
children with a medicine--they proposed first one form of taking this
military potion, then another, and finding them all equally unpalatable,
would not, but for a little salutary force, have decided at all.

A new law has been passed for arresting all the English who cannot
produce two witnesses of their civisme, and those whose conduct is thus
guaranteed are to receive tickets of hospitality, which they are to wear
as a protection.  This decree has not yet been carried into effect at
Peronne, nor am I much disturbed about it.  Few of our countrymen will
find the matter very difficult to arrange, and I believe they have all a
better protection in the disposition of the people towards them, than any
that can be assured them by decrees of the Convention.

Sept. 11.  The news of Lord Hood's taking possession of Toulon, which the
government affected to discredit for some days, is now ascertained; and
the Convention, in a paroxism of rage, at once cowardly and unprincipled,
has decreed that all the English not resident in France before 1789,
shall be imprisoned as hostages, and be answerable with their lives for
the conduct of their countrymen and of the Toulonese towards Bayle and
Beauvais, two Deputies, said to be detained in the town at the time of
its surrender.  My first emotions of terror and indignation have
subsided, and I have, by packing up my clothes, disposing of my papers,
and providing myself with money, prepared for the worst.  My friends,
indeed, persuade me, (as on a former occasion,) that the decree is too
atrocious to be put in execution; but my apprehensions are founded on a
principle not likely to deceive me--namely, that those who have possessed
themselves of the French government are capable of any thing.  I live in
constant fear, watching all day and listening all night, and never go to
bed but with the expectation of being awakened, nor rise without a
presentiment of misfortune.--I have not spirits nor composure to write,
and shall discontinue my letters until I am relieved from suspense, if
nor from uneasiness.  I risk much by preserving these papers, and,
perhaps, may never be able to add to them; but whatever I may be reserved
for, while I have a hope they may reach you they shall not be destroyed.
--I bid you adieu in a state of mind which the circumstances I am under
will describe better than words.--Yours.

Maison d'Arret, Arras, Oct. 15, 1793.

Dear Brother,

The fears of a timid mind usually magnify expected evil, and anticipated
suffering often diminishes the effect of an apprehended blow; yet my
imagination had suggested less than I have experienced, nor do I find
that a preparatory state of anxiety has rendered affliction more
supportable.  The last month of my life has been a compendium of misery;
and my recollection, which on every other subject seems to fail me, is,
on this, but too faithful, and will enable me to relate events which will
interest you not only as they personally concern me, but as they present
a picture of the barbarity and despotism to which this whole country is
subject, and to which many thousands besides myself were at the same
instant victims.

A few evenings after I concluded my last, the firing of cannon and
ringing the great bell announced the arrival of Dumont (still
Representative en mission in our department).  The town was immediately
in alarm, all the gates were shut, and the avenues leading to the
ramparts guarded by dragoons.  Our house being in a distant and
unfrequented street, before we could learn the cause of all this
confusion, a party of the national guard, with a municipal officer at
their head, arrived, to escort Mad. de ___ and myself to a church, where
the Representant was then examining the prisoners brought before him.
Almost as much astonished as terrified, we endeavoured to procure some
information of our conductors, as to what was to be the result of this
measure; but they knew nothing, and it was easy to perceive they thought
the office they were executing an unpleasant one.  The streets we passed
were crouded with people, whose silent consternation and dismayed
countenances increased our forebodings, and depressed the little courage
we had yet preserved.  The church at our arrival was nearly empty, and
Dumont preparing to depart, when the municipal officer introduced us to
him.  As soon as he learned that Mad. de ____ was the sister of an
emigrant, and myself a native of England, he told us we were to pass the
night in a church appointed for the purpose, and that on the morrow we
should be conveyed to Arras.  For a moment all my faculties became
suspended, and it was only by an effort almost convulsive that I was able
to ask how long it was probable we should be deprived of our liberty.  He
said he did not know--"but that the raising of the siege of Dunkirk, and
the loss of six thousand troops which the French had taken prisoners,
would doubtless produce an insurrection in England, par consequent a
peace, and our release from captivity!"

You may be assured I felt no desire of freedom on such terms, and should
have heard this ignorant and malicious suggestion only with contempt, had
not the implication it conveyed that our detention would not terminate
but with the war overwhelmed every other idea.  Mad. de ____ then
petitioned that we might, on account of our health, (for we were both
really unwell,) be permitted to go home for the night, accompanied by
guards if it were thought necessary.  But the Representant was
inexorable, and in a brutal and despotic tone ordered us away.--When we
reached the church, which was to be our prison till morning, we found
about an hundred and fifty people, chiefly old men, women, and children,
dispersed in melancholy groupes, lamenting their situation, and imparting
their fears to each other.  The gloom of the building was increased by
the darkness of the night; and the noise of the guard, may of whom were
intoxicated, the odour of tobacco, and the heat of the place, rendered
our situation almost insupportable.  We soon discovered several of our
acquaintance, but this association in distress was far from consolatory,
and we passed the time in wandering about together, and consulting upon
what would be of most use to us in our confinement.  We had, indeed,
little to hope for from the morrow, yet the hours dragged on heavily, and
I know not if ever I beheld the return of light with more pleasure.  I
was not without apprehension for our personal safety.  I recollected the
massacres in churches at Paris, and the frequent propositions that had
been made to exterminate the gentry and clergy.  Mad. de ____ has since
confessed, that she had the same ideas.

Morning at length came, and our servants were permitted to enter with
breakfast.  They appeared sorrowful and terror-stricken, but offered with
great willingness to accompany us whithersoever we should be sent.  After
a melancholy sort of discussion, it was decided that we should take our
femmes de chambres, and that the others should remain for the safety of
the house, and to send us what we might have occasion for.  This settled,
they returned with such directions as we were able to give them, (God
knows, not very coherent ones,) to prepare for our journey: and as our
orders, however confused, were not very voluminous, they were soon
executed, and before noon every thing was in readiness for our departure.
The people employed by our companions were equally diligent, and we might
very well have set out by one o'clock, had our case been at all
considered; but, I know not why, instead of so providing that we might
reach our destination in the course of the day, it seemed to have been
purposely contrived that we should be all night on the road, though we
had already passed one night without rest, and were exhausted by watching
and fatigue.

In this uncertain and unpleasant state we waited till near six o'clock;
a number of small covered waggons were then brought, accompanied by a
detachment of dragoons, who were to be our escort.  Some time elapsed, as
you may suppose, before we could be all settled in the carriages and such
a cavalcade put in motion; but the concourse of people that filled the
streets, the appearance of the troops, and the tumult occasioned by so
many horses and carriages, overpowered my spirits, and I remember little
of what passed till I found we were on the road to Arras.  Mad. de ____'s
maid now informed us, that Dumont had arrived the evening before in
extreme ill humour, summoned the municipality in haste, enquired how many
people they had arrested, and what denunciations they had yet to make.
The whole body corporate trembled, they had arrested no one, and, still
worse, they had no one to accuse; and could only alledge in their behalf,
that the town was in the utmost tranquillity, and the people were so well
disposed, that all violence was unnecessary.  The Representant became
furious, vociferated _tout grossierement a la Francaise,_ [In the vulgar
French manner.] that he knew there were five thousand aristocrates in
Peronne, and that if he had not at least five hundred brought him before
morning, he would declare the town in a state of rebellion.

Alarmed by this menace, they began to arrest with all possible speed,
and were more solicitous to procure their number than to make
discriminations.  Their diligence, however, was inadequate to appease the
choleric legislator, and the Mayor, municipal officers, and all the
administrators of the district, were in the morning sent to the Castle,
whence they are to be conveyed, with some of their own prisoners, to

Besides this intelligence, we learned that before our servants had
finished packing up our trunks, some Commissioners of the section arrived
to put the seals on every thing belonging to us, and it was not without
much altercation that they consented to our being furnished with
necessaries--that they had not only sealed up all the house, but had
placed guards there, each of whom Mad. de ____ is to pay, at the rate of
two shillings a day.

We were too large a body to travel fast, and by the time we reached
Bapaume (though only fifteen miles) it was after twelve; it rained
dreadfully, the night was extremely dark, the roads were bad, and the
horses tired; so that the officer who conducted us thought it would be
difficult to proceed before morning.  We were therefore once more crouded
into a church, in our wet clothes, (for the covering of the waggon was
not thick enough to exclude the rain,) a few bundles of damp straw were
distributed, and we were then shut up to repose as well as we could.  All
my melancholy apprehensions of the preceding night returned with
accumulated force, especially as we were now in a place where we were
unknown, and were guarded by some of the newly-raised dragoons, of whom
we all entertained very unfavourable suspicions.

We did not, as you may well imagine, attempt to sleep--a bed of wet straw
laid on the pavement of a church, filthy, as most French churches are,
and the fear of being assassinated, resisted every effort of nature
herself, and we were very glad when at the break of day we were summoned
to continue our journey.  About eleven we entered Arras: the streets were
filled by idle people, apprized of our arrival; but no one offered us any
insult, except some soldiers, (I believe, by their uniform, refugees from
the Netherlands,) who cried, "a la Guillotine!--a la Guillotine!"

The place to which we were ordered had been the house of an emigrant,
now converted into an house of detention, and which, though large, was
excessively full.  The keeper, on our being delivered to him, declared he
had no room for us, and we remained with our baggage in the court-yard
some hours before he had, by dislodging and compressing the other
inhabitants, contrived to place us.  At last, when we were half dead with
cold and fatigue, we were shown to our quarters.  Those allotted for my
friend, myself, and our servants, was the corner of a garret without a
cieling, cold enough in itself, but rendered much warmer than was
desirable by the effluvia of a score of living bodies, who did not seem
to think the unpleasantness of their situation at all increased by dirt
and offensive smells.  Weary as we were, it was impossible to attempt
reposing until a purification had been effected: we therefore set
ourselves to sprinkling vinegar and burning perfumes; and it was curious
to observe that the people, (_all gens comme il faut_ [People of
fashion.]) whom we found inhaling the atmosphere of a Caffrarian hut,
declared their nerves were incommoded by the essence of roses and
vinaigre des quatre voleurs.

As a part of the room was occupied by men, our next business was to
separate our corner by a curtain, which we had fortunately brought with
our bedding; and this done, we spread our mattresses and lay down, while
the servants were employed in getting us tea.  As soon as we were a
little refreshed, and the room was quiet for the night, we made up our
beds as well as we could, and endeavoured to sleep.  Mad. de ____ and the
two maids soon forgot their cares; but, though worn out by fatigue, the
agitation of my mind conquered the disposition of my body.  I seemed to
have lost the very faculty of sleeping, and passed this night with almost
as little repose as the two preceding ones.  Before morning I discovered
that remaining so long in damp clothes, and the other circumstances of
our journey, had given me cold, and that I had all the symptoms of a
violent fever.

I leave you to conjecture, for it would be impossible to detail, all the
misery of illness in such a situation; and I will only add, that by the
care of Mad. de ____, whose health was happily less affected, and the
attention of my maid, I was able to leave the room in about three weeks.
--I must now secrete this for some days, but will hereafter resume my
little narrative, and explain how I have ventured to write so much even
in the very neighbourhood of the Guillotine.--Adieu.

Maison d'Arret, Arras, Oct. 17, 1793.

On the night I concluded my last, a report that Commissioners were to
visit the house on the morrow obliged me to dispose of my papers beyond
the possibility of their being found.  The alarm is now over, and I
proceed.--After something more than three weeks indisposition, I began to
walk in the yard, and make acquaintance with our fellow-prisoners.  Mad.
de ____ had already discovered several that were known to her, and I now
found, with much regret, that many of my Arras friends were here also.
Having been arrested some days before us, they were rather more
conveniently lodged, and taking the wretchedness of our garret into
consideration, it was agreed that Mad. de ____ should move to a room less
crouded than our own, and a dark closet that would just contain my
mattresses was resigned to me.  It is indeed a very sorry apartment, but
as it promises me a refuge where I may sometimes read or write in peace,
I have taken possession of it very thankfully.  A lock on the door is not
the least of its recommendations, and by way of securing myself against
all surprize, I have contrived an additional fastening by means of a
large nail and the chain of a portmanteau--I have likewise, under pretext
of keeping out the wind, papered over the cracks of the door, and
provided myself with a sand-bag, so that no one can perceive when I have
a light later than usual.--With these precautions, I can amuse myself by
putting on paper any little occurrences that I think worth preserving,
without much danger, and perhaps the details of a situation so new and so
strange may not be uninteresting to you.

We are now about three hundred in number of both sexes, and of all ages
and conditions--ci-devant noblesse, parents, wives, sisters, and other
relations of emigrants--priests who have not taken the oaths, merchants
and shopkeepers accused of monopoly, nuns, farmers that are said to have
concealed their corn, miserable women, with scarcely clothes to cover
them, for not going to the constitutional mass, and many only because
they happened to be at an inn, or on a visit from their own town, when a
general arrest took place of all who are what is called etrangers, that
is to say, not foreigners only, but not inhabitants of the town where
they are found.--There are, besides, various descriptions of people sent
here on secret informations, and who do not themselves know the precise
reason of their confinement.  I imagine we are subject to nearly the same
rules as the common prisons: no one is permitted to enter or speak to a
"detenu" but at the gate, and in presence of the guard; and all letters,
parcels, baskets, &c. are examined previous to their being either
conveyed from hence or received.  This, however, depends much on the
political principles of those who happen to be on guard: an aristocrate
or a constitutionalist will read a letter with his eyes half shut, and
inspect bedding and trunks in a very summary way; while a thorough-paced
republican spells every syllable of the longest epistle, and opens all
the roasted pigs or duck-pies before he allows their ingress.--None of
the servants are suffered to go out, so that those who have not friends
in the town to procure them necessaries are obliged to depend entirely on
the keeper, and, of course, pay extravagantly dear for every thing; but
we are so much in the power of these people, that it is prudent to submit
to such impositions without murmuring.

I did not, during my illness, read the papers, and have to-day been
amusing myself with a large packet.  General Houchard, I find, is
arrested, for not having, as they say he might have done, driven all the
English army into the sea, after raising the siege of Dunkirk; yet a few
weeks ago their utmost hopes scarcely amounted to the relief of the town:
but their fears having subsided, they have now leisure to be jealous; and
I know no situation so little to be envied under the present government
as that of a successful General.--Among all their important avocations,
the Convention have found time to pass a decree for obliging women to
wear the national cockade, under pain of imprisonment; and the
municipality of the superb Paris have ordered that the King's family
shall, in future, use pewter spoons and eat brown bread!

Oct. 18.

I begin to be very uneasy about Mr. and Mrs. D____.  I have written
several times, and still receive no answer.  I fear they are in a
confinement more severe than my own, or that our letters miscarry.  A
servant of Mad. de ____'s was here this morning, and no letters had come
to Peronne, unless, as my friend endeavours to persuade me, the man would
not venture to give them in presence of the guard, who par excellence
happened to be a furious Jacobin.--We had the mortification of hearing
that a very elegant carriage of Mad. de ____'s has been put in
requisition, and taken to convey a tinman and two farriers who were going
to Paris on a mission--that two of her farmer's best horses had been
killed by hard work in taking provisions to the army, and that they are
now cutting down the young wood on her estate to make pikes.--The seals
are still on our effects, and the guard remains in possession, which has
put us to the expence of buying a variety of articles we could not well
dispense with: for, on examining the baggage after our arrival, we found
it very much diminshed; and this has happened to almost all the people
who have been arrested.  Our suspicions naturally fall on the dragoons,
and it is not very surprizing that they should attempt to steal from
those whom they are certain would not dare to make any complaint.

Many of our fellow-prisoners are embarrassed by their servants having
quitted them.--One Collot d'Herbois, a member of the Commite de Salut
Public, has proposed to the Convention to collect all the gentry,
priests, and suspected people, into different buildings, which should be
previously mined for the purpose, and, on the least appearance of
insurrection, to blow them up all together.--You may perhaps conclude,
that such a project was received with horror, and the adviser of it
treated as a monster.  Our humane legislature, however, very coolly sent
it to the committee to be discussed, without any regard to the terror and
apprehension which the bare idea of a similar proposal must inspire in
those who are the destined victims.  I cannot myself believe that this
abominable scheme is intended for execution, but it has nevertheless
created much alarm in timid minds, and has occasioned in part the
defection of the servants I have just mentioned.  Those who were
sufficiently attached to their masters and mistresses to endure the
confinement and privations of a Maison d'Arret, tremble at the thoughts
of being involved in the common ruin of a gunpowder explosion; and the
men seem to have less courage than the women, at least more of the latter
have consented to remain here.--It was atrocious to publish such a
conception, though nothing perhaps was intended by it, as it may deprive
many people of faithful attendants at a time when they are most

We have a tribunal revolutionnaire here, with its usual attendant the
Guillotine, and executions are now become very frequent.  I know not who
are the sufferers, and avoid enquiring through fear of hearing the name
of some acquaintance.  As far as I can learn, the trials are but too
summary, and little other evidence is required than the fortune, rank,
and connections of the accused.  The Deputy who is Commissioner for this
department is one Le Bon, formerly a priest--and, I understand, of an
immoral and sanguinary character, and that it is he who chiefly directs
the verdicts of the juries according to his personal hatred or his
personal interest.--We have lately had a very melancholy instance of the
terror created by this tribunal, as well as of the notions that prevail
of its justice.  A gentleman of Calais, who had an employ under the
government, was accused of some irregularity in his accounts, and, in
consequence, put under arrest.  The affair became serious, and he was
ordered to prison, as a preliminary to his trial.  When the officers
entered his apartment to take him, regarding the judicial procedure as a
mere form, and concluding it was determined to sacrifice him, he in a
frenzy of despair seized the dogs in the chimney, threw them at the
people, and, while they escaped to call for assistance, destroyed himself
by cutting his arteries.--It has appeared, since the death of this
unfortunate man, that the charge against him was groundless, and that he
only wanted time to arrange his papers, in order to exonerate himself

Oct. 19.

We are disturbed almost nightly by the arrival of fresh prisoners, and my
first question of a morning is always _"N'est il pas du monde entre la
nuit?"_--Angelique's usual reply is a groan, and _"Ah, mon Dieu, oui;"
"Une dixaine de pretres;"_ or, _"Une trentaine de nobles:"_ ["Did not some
people arrive in the night?"]--"Yes, God help us--half a score priests, or
twenty or thirty gentry."  And I observe the depth of the groan is nearly
in proportion to the quality of the person she commiserates.  Thus, a
groan for a Comte, a Marquise, or a Priest, is much more audible than one
for a simple gentlewoman or a merchant; and the arrival of a Bishop
(especially if not one of the constitutional clergy) is announced in a
more sorrowful key than either.

While I was walking in the yard this morning, I was accosted by a
female whom I immediately recollected to be Victoire, a very pretty
_couturiere,_ [Sempstress.] who used to work for me when I was at
Panthemont, and who made your last holland shirts.  I was not a little
surprized to see her in such a situation, and took her aside to enquire
her history.  I found that her mother was dead, and that her brother
having set up a little shop at St. Omer, had engaged her to go and live
with him.  Being under five-and-twenty, the last requisition obliged him
to depart for the army, and leave her to carry on the business alone.
Three weeks after, she was arrested at midnight, put into a cart, and
brought hither.  She had no time to take any precautions, and their
little commerce, which was in haberdashery, as well as some work she had
in hand, is abandoned to the mercy of the people that arrested her.  She
has reason to suppose that her crime consists in not having frequented
the constitutional mass; and that her accuser is a member of one of the
town committees, who, since her brother's absence, has persecuted her
with dishonourable proposals, and, having been repulsed, has taken this
method of revenging himself.  Her conjecture is most probably right, as,
since her imprisonment, this man has been endeavouring to make a sort of
barter with her for her release.

I am really concerned for this poor creature, who is at present a very
good girl, but if she remain here she will not only be deprived of her
means of living, but perhaps her morals may be irremediably corrupted.
She is now lodged in a room with ten or dozen men, and the house is so
crouded that I doubt whether I have interest enough to procure her a more
decent apartment.

What can this strange policy tend to, that thus exposes to ruin and want
a girl of one-and-twenty--not for any open violation of the law, but
merely for her religious opinions; and this, too, in a country which
professes toleration as the basis of its government?

My friend, Mad. de ____ s'ennui terribly; she is not incapable of amusing
herself, but is here deprived of the means.  We have no corner we can
call our own to sit in, and no retreat when we wish to be out of a croud
except my closet, where we can only see by candle-light.  Besides, she
regrets her employments, and projects for the winter.  She had begun
painting a St. Theresa, and translating an Italian romance, and had
nearly completed the education of a dozen canary birds, who would in a
month's time have accompanied the harp so delightfully, as to overpower
the sound of the instrument.  I believe if we had a few more square
inches of room, she would be tempted, if not to bring the whole chorus,
at least to console herself with two particular favourites, distinguished
by curious topknots, and rings about their necks.

With all these feminine propensities, she is very amiable, and her case
is indeed singularly cruel and unjust.--Left, at an early age, under the
care of her brother, she was placed by him at Panthemont (where I first
became acquainted with her) with an intention of having her persuaded to
take the veil; but finding her averse from a cloister, she remained as a
pensioner only, till a very advantageous marriage with the Marquis de
____, who was old enough to be her father, procured her release.  About
two years ago he died, and left her a very considerable fortune, which
the revolution has reduced to nearly one-third of its former value.  The
Comte de ____, her brother, was one of the original patriots, and
embraced with great warmth the cause of the people; but having very
narrowly escaped the massacres of September, 1792, he immediately after

Thus, my poor friend, immured by her brother till the age of twenty-two
in a convent, then sacrificed three years to a husband of a disagreeable
temper and unsuitable age, is now deprived of the first liberty she ever
enjoyed, and is made answerable for the conduct of a man over whom she
has no sort of influence.  It is not, therefore, extraordinary that she
cannot reconcile herself to her present situation, and I am really often
more concerned on her account than my own.  Cut off from her usual
resources, she has no amusement but wandering about the house; and if her
other causes of uneasiness be not augmented, they are at least rendered
more intolerable by her inability to fill up her time.--This does not
arise from a deficiency of understanding, but from never having been
accustomed to think.  Her mind resembles a body that is weak, not by
nature, but from want of exercise; and the number of years she has passed
in a convent has given her that mixture of childishness and romance,
which, my making frivolities necessary, renders the mind incapable of
exertion or self-support.

Oct. 20.

The unfortunate Queen, after a trial of some days, during which she seems
to have behaved with great dignity and fortitude, is no longer sensible
of the regrets of her friends or the malice of her enemies.  It is
singular, that I have not yet heard her death mentioned in the prison
--every one looks grave and affects silence.  I believe her death has not
occasioned an effect so universal as that of the King, and whatever
people's opinions may be, they are afraid of expressing them: for it is
said, though I know not with what truth, that we are surrounded by spies,
and several who have the appearance of being prisoners like ourselves
have been pointed out to me as the objects of this suspicion.

I do not pretend to undertake the defence of the Queen's imputed faults--
yet I think there are some at least which one may be very fairly
permitted to doubt.  Compassion should not make me an advocate for guilt
--but I may, without sacrificing morals to pity, venture to observe, that
the many scandalous histories circulated to her prejudice took their rise
at the birth of the Dauphin,* which formed so insurmountable a bar to the
views of the Duke of Orleans.--

     * Nearly at the same time, and on the same occasion, there were
     literary partizans of the Duke of Orleans, who endeavoured to
     persuade the people that the man with the iron mask, who had so long
     excited curiosity and eluded conjecture, was the real son of Louis
     XIII.--and Louis XIV. in consequence, supposititious, and only the
     illegitimate offspring of Cardinal Mazarin and Anne of Austria--that
     the spirit of ambition and intrigue which characterized this
     Minister had suggested this substitution to the lawful heir, and
     that the fears of the Queen and confusion of the times had obliged
     her to acquiesce:

     "Cette opinion ridicule, et dont les dates connues de l'histoire
     demontrent l'absurdite, avoit eu des partisans en France--elle
     tendoit a avilir la maison regnante, et a persuader au peuple que le
     trone n'appartient pas aux descendans de Louis XIV. prince
     furtivement sutstitue, mais a la posterite du second fils de Louis
     XIII. qui est la tige de la branche d'Orleans, et qui est reconnue
     comme descendant legitimement, et sans objection, du Roi Louis

     --Nouvelles Considerations sur la Masque de Fer, Memoirs de

     "This ridiculous opinion, the absurdity of which is demonstrated by
     historical dates, had not been without its partizans in France.--It
     tended to degrade the reigning family, and to make the people
     believe that the throne did not of right belong to the descendants
     of Louis XIV. (a prince surreptitiously intruded) but to the
     posterity of the second son of Louis XIII. from whom is derived the
     branch of Orleans, and who was, without dispute, the legitimate and
     unobjectionable offspring of Louis XIII."

     --New Considerations on the Iron Mask.--Memoirs of the Duc de

The author of the above Memoirs adds, that after the taking of the
Bastille, new attempts were made to propagate this opinion, and that he
himself had refuted it to many people, by producing original letters and
papers, sufficiently demonstrative of its absurdity.

--He might hope, by popularity, to supersede the children of the Count
d'Artois, who was hated; but an immediate heir to the Crown could be
removed only by throwing suspicions on his legitimacy.  These
pretensions, it is true, were so absurd, and even incredible, that had
they been urged at the time, no inference in the Queen's favour would
have been admitted from them; but as the existence of such projects,
however absurd and iniquitous, has since been demonstrated, one may now,
with great appearance of reason, allow them some weight in her

The affair of the necklace was of infinite disservice to the Queen's
reputation; yet it is remarkable, that the most furious of the Jacobins
are silent on this head as far as it regarded her, and always mention the
Cardinal de Rohan in terms that suppose him to be the culpable party:
but, "whatever her faults, her woes deserve compassion;" and perhaps the
moralist, who is not too severe, may find some excuse for a Princess,
who, at the age of sixteen, possibly without one real friend or
disinterested adviser, became the unrestrained idol of the most
licentious Court in Europe.  Even her enemies do not pretend that her
fate was so much a merited punishment as a political measure: they
alledge, that while her life was yet spared, the valour of their troops
was checked by the possibility of negotiation; and that being no more,
neither the people nor armies expecting any thing but execration or
revenge, they will be more ready to proceed to the most desperate
extremities.--This you will think a barbarous sort of policy, and
considering it as national, it appears no less absurd than barbarous; but
for the Convention, whose views perhaps extend little farther than to
saving their heads, peculating, and receiving their eighteen livres a
day, such measures, and such a principle of action, are neither unwise
nor unaccountable: "for the wisdom of civilized nations is not their
wisdom, nor the ways of civilized people their ways."*--

     * I have been informed, by a gentleman who saw the Queen pass in her
     way to execution, that the short white bed gown and the cap which
     she wore were discoloured by smoke, and that her whole appearance
     seemed to have been intended, if possible, to degrade her in the
     eyes of the multitude.  The benevolent mind will recollect with
     pleasure, that even the Queen's enemies allow her a fortitude and
     energy of character which must have counteracted this paltry malice,
     and rendered it incapable of producing any emotion but contempt.  On
     her first being removed to the Conciergerie, she applied for some
     necessaries; but the humane municipality of Paris refused them,
     under pretext that the demand was contrary to the system of _la
     sainte elagite_--"holy equality."

--It was reported that the Queen was offered her life, and the liberty to
retire to St. Cloud, her favourite residence, if she would engage the
enemy to raise the siege of Maubeuge and withdraw; but that she refused
to interfere.

Arras, 1793.

For some days previous to the battle by which Maubeuge was relieved, we
had very gloomy apprehensions, and had the French army been unsuccessful
and forced to fall back, it is not improbable but the lives of those
detained in the _Maison d'Arret_ [House of detention.] might have been
sacrificed under pretext of appeasing the people, and to give some credit
to the suspicions so industriously inculcated that all their defeats are
occasioned by internal enemies.  My first care, as soon as I was able to
go down stairs, was to examine if the house offered any means of escape
in case of danger, and I believe, if we could preserve our recollection,
it might be practicable; but I can so little depend on my strength and
spirits, should such a necessity occur, that perhaps the consolation of
knowing I have a resource is the only benefit I should ever derive from

Oct. 21.

I have this day made a discovery of a very unpleasant nature, which Mad.
de ____ had hitherto cautiously concealed from me.  All the English, and
other foreigners placed under similar circumstances, are now, without
exception, arrested, and the confiscation of their property is decreed.
It is uncertain if the law is to extend to wearing apparel, but I find
that on this ground the Committee of Peronne persist in refusing to take
the seals off my effects, or to permit my being supplied with any
necessaries whatsoever.  In other places they have put two, four, and, I
am told, even to the number of six guards, in houses belonging to the
English; and these guards, exclusive of being paid each two shillings per
day, burn the wood, regale on the wine, and pillage in detail all they
can find, while the unfortunate owner is starving in a Maison d'Arret,
and cannot obtain permission to withdraw a single article for his own
use.--The plea for this paltry measure is, that, according to the report
of a deserter escaped from Toulon, Lord Hood has hanged one Beauvais, a
member of the Convention.  I have no doubt but the report is false, and,
most likely, fabricated by the Comite de Salut Public, in order to
palliate an act of injustice previously meditated.

It is needless to expatiate on the atrocity of making individuals, living
here under the faith of the nation, responsible for the events of the
war, and it is whispered that even the people are a little ashamed of it;
yet the government are not satisfied with making us accountable for what
really does happen, but they attribute acts of cruelty to our countrymen,
in order to excuse those they commit themselves, and retaliate imagined
injuries by substantial vengeance.--Legendre, a member of the Convention,
has proposed, with a most benevolent ingenuity, that the manes of the
aforesaid Beauvais should be appeased by exhibiting Mr. Luttrell in an
iron cage for a convenient time, and then hanging him.

A gentleman from Amiens, lately arrested while happening to be here on
business, informs me, that Mr. Luttrell is now in the common gaol of that
place, lodged with three other persons in a miserable apartment, so
small, that there is not room to pass between their beds.  I understand
he was advised to petition Dumont for his removal to a Maison d'Arret,
where he would have more external convenience; but he rejected this
counsel, no doubt from a disdain which did him honour, and preferred to
suffer all that the mean malice of these wretches would inflict, rather
than ask any accommodation as a favour.--The distinguishing Mr. Luttrell
from any other English gentleman is as much a proof of ignorance as of
baseness; but in this, as in every thing else, the present French
government is still more wicked than absurd, and our ridicule is
suppressed by our detestation.

Oct. 22.

Mad. de ____'s _homme d'affaires_ [Agent] has been here to-day, but no
news from Amiens.  I know not what to conjecture.  My patience is almost
exhausted, and my spirits are fatigued.  Were I not just now relieved by
a distant prospect of some change for the better, my situation would be
insupportable.--"Oh world! oh world! but that thy strange mutations make
us wait thee, life would not yield to age."  We should die before our
time, even of moral diseases, unaided by physical ones; but the
uncertainty of human events, which is the "worm i'the bud" of happiness,
is to the miserable a cheering and consolatory reflection.  Thus have I
dragged on for some weeks, postponing, as it were, my existence, without
any resource, save the homely philosophy of _"nous verrons demain."_
["We shall see to-morrow."]

At length our hopes and expectations are become less general, and if we
do not obtain our liberty, we may be able at least to procure a more
eligible prison.  I confess, the source of our hopes, and the protector
we have found, are not of a dignity to be ushered to your notice by
citations of blank verse, or scraps of sentiment; for though the top of
the ladder is not quite so high, the first rounds are as low as that of
Ben Bowling's.

Mad. de ____'s confidential servant, who came here to-day, has learned,
by accident, that a man, who formerly worked with the Marquis's tailor,
having (in consequence, I suppose of a political vocation,) quitted the
selling of old clothes, in which he had acquired some eminence, has
become a leading patriot, and is one of Le Bon's, the Representative's,
privy counsellors.  Fleury has renewed his acquaintance with this man,
has consulted him upon our situation, and obtained a promise that he will
use his interest with Le Bon in our behalf.  Under this splendid
patronage, it is not unlikely but we may get an order to be transferred
to Amiens, or, perhaps, procure our entire liberation.  We have already
written to Le Bon on the subject, and Fleury is to have a conference with
our friend the tailor in a few days to learn the success of his
mediation; so that, I trust, the business will not be long in suspense.

We have had a most indulgent guard to-day, who, by suffering the servant
to enter a few paces within the gate, afforded us an opportunity of
hearing this agreeable intelligence; as also, by way of episode, that
boots being wanted for the cavalry, all the boots in the town were last
night put in requisition, and as Fleury was unluckily gone to bed before
the search was made at his inn, he found himself this morning very
unceremoniously left bootless.  He was once a famous patriot, and the
oracle of Mad. de ____'s household; but our confinement had already
shaken his principles, and this seizure of his "superb English boots"
has, I believe, completed his defection.

Oct. 25.

I have discontinued my journal for three days to attend my friend, Mad.
de ____, who has been ill.  Uneasiness, and want of air and exercise, had
brought on a little fever, which, by the usual mode of treatment in this
country, has been considerably increased.  Her disorder did not indeed
much alarm me, but I cannot say as much of her medical assistants, and it
seems to me to be almost supernatural that she has escaped the jeopardy
of their prescriptions.  In my own illness I had trusted to nature, and
my recollection of what had been ordered me on similar occasions; but for
Mad. de ____ I was less confident, and desirous of having better advice,
begged a physician might be immediately sent for.  Had her disorder been
an apoplexy, she must infallibly have died, for as no person, not even
the faculty, can enter, without an order from the municipal Divan, half a
day elapsed before this order could be procured.  At length the physician
and surgeon arrived, and I know not why the learned professions should
impose on us more by one exterior than another; but I own, when I saw the
physician appear in a white camblet coat, lined with rose colour, and the
surgeon with dirty linen, and a gold button and loop to his hat, I began
to tremble for my friend.  My feminine prejudices did not, however, in
this instance, deceive me.  After the usual questions, the patient was
declared in a fever, and condemned to cathartics, bleeding, and "bon
bouillons;" that is to say, greasy beef soup, in which there is never an
oeconomy of onions.--When they were departed, I could not help expressing
my surprize that people's lives should be entrusted to such hands,
observing, at the same time, to the Baron de L____, (who is lodged in the
same apartment with Mad. de ____,) that the French must never expect men,
whose education fitted them for the profession, would become physicians,
while they continued to be paid at the rate of twenty-pence per visit.--
Yet, replied the Baron, if they make twenty visits a day, they gain forty
livres--_"et c'est de quoi vivre."_ [It is a living.] It is undeniably
_de quoi vivre,_ but as long as a mere subsistence is the only prospect
of a physician, the French must be content to have their fevers cured by
"drastics, phlebotomy, and beef soup."

They tell me we have now more than five hundred detenus in this single
house.  How so many have been wedged in I can scarcely conceive, but it
seems our keeper has the art of calculating with great nicety the space
requisite for a given number of bodies, and their being able to respire
freely is not his affair.  Those who can afford it have their dinners,
with all the appurtenances, brought from the inns or traiteurs; and the
poor cook, sleep, and eat, by scores, in the same room.  I have persuaded
my friend to sup as I do, upon tea; but our associates, for the most
part, finding it inconvenient to have suppers brought at night, and being
unwilling to submit to the same privations, regale themselves with the
remains of their dinner, re-cooked in their apartments, and thus go to
sleep, amidst the fumes of _perdrix a l'onion, oeufs a la tripe,_
[Partridge a l'onion--eggs a la tripe.] and all the produce of a French

It is not, as you may imagine, the Bourgeois, and less distinguished
prisoners only, who indulge in these highly-seasoned repasts, at the
expence of inhaling the savoury atmosphere they leave behind them: the
beaux and petites mistresses, among the ci-devant, have not less exigent
appetites, nor more delicate nerves; and the ragout is produced at night,
in spite of the odours and disorder that remain till the morrow.

I conclude, notwithstanding your English prejudices, that there is
nothing unwholesome in filth, for if it were otherwise, I cannot account
for our being alive.  Five hundred bodies, in a state of coacervation,
without even a preference for cleanliness, "think of that Master Brook."
All the forenoon the court is a receptacle for cabbage leaves, fish
scales, leeks, &c. &c.--and as a French chambermaid usually prefers the
direct road to circumambulation, the refuse of the kitchen is then washed
away by plentiful inundations from the dressing-room--the passages are
blockaded by foul plates, fragments, and bones; to which if you add the
smell exhaling from hoarded apples and gruyere cheese, you may form some
notion of the sufferings of those whose olfactory nerves are not robust.
Yet this is not all--nearly every female in the house, except myself, is
accompanied even here by her lap-dog, who sleeps in her room, and, not
unfrequently, on her bed; and these Lesbias and Lindamiras increase the
insalubrity of the air, and colonize one's stockings by sending forth
daily emigrations of fleas.  For my own part, a few close November days
will make me as captious and splenetic as Matthew Bramble himself.
Nothing keeps me in tolerable good humour at present, but a clear frosty
morning, or a high wind.

Oct. 27.

I thought, when I wrote the above, that the house was really so full as
to be incapable of containing more; but I did not do justice to the
talents of our keeper.  The last two nights have brought us an addition
of several waggon loads of nuns, farmers, shopkeepers, &c. from the
neighbouring towns, which he has still contrived to lodge, though much in
the way that he would pack goods in bales.  Should another convoy arrive,
it is certain that we must sleep perpendicularly, for even now, when the
beds are all arranged and occupied for the night, no one can make a
diagonal movement without disturbing his neighbour.--This very sociable
manner of sleeping is very far, I assure you, from promoting the harmony
of the day; and I am frequently witness to the reproaches and
recriminations occasioned by nocturnal misdemeanours.  Sometimes the
lap-dog of one dowager is accused of hostilities against that of
another, and thereby producing a general chorus of the rest--then a
four-footed favourite strays from the bed of his mistress, and takes
possession of a General's uniform--and there are female somnambules, who
alarm the modesty of a pair of Bishops, and suspended officers, that,
like Richard, warring in their dreams, cry "to arms," to the great
annoyance of those who are more inclined to sleep in peace.  But, I
understand, the great disturbers of the room where Mad. de ____ sleeps
are two chanoines, whose noses are so sonorous and so untuneable as to
produce a sort of duet absolutely incompatible with sleep; and one of
the company is often deputed to interrupt the serenade by manual
application _mais tout en badinant et avec politesse_ [But all in
pleasantry, and with politeness.] to the offending parties.

All this, my dear brother, is only ludicrous in the relation; yet for so
many people to be thus huddled together without distinction of age, sex,
or condition, is truly miserable.--Mad. De ____ is still indisposed, and
while she is thus suffocated by bad air, and distracted by the various
noises of the house, I see no prospect of her recovery.

Arras is the common prison of the department, and, besides, there are a
number of other houses and convents in the town appropriated to the same
use, and all equally full.  God knows when these iniquities are to
terminate!  So far from having any hopes at present, the rage for
arresting seems, I think, rather to increase than subside.  It is
supposed there are now more than three hundred thousand people in France
confined under the simple imputation of being what is called "gens
suspect:" but as this generic term is new to you, I will, by way of
explanation, particularize the several species as classed by the
Convention, and then described by Chaumette, solicitor for the City of

     * Decree concerning suspected people:

     "Art. I.  Immediately after the promulgation of the present decree,
     all suspected persons that are found on the territory of the
     republic, and who are still at large, shall be put under arrest.

     "II.  Those are deemed suspicious, who by their connections, their
     conversation, or their writings, declare themselves partizans of
     tyranny or foederation, and enemies to liberty--Those who have not
     demonstrated their means of living or the performance of their civic
     duties, in the manner prescribed by the law of March last--Those
     who, having been suspended from public employments by the Convention
     or its Commissioners, are not reinstated therein--Those of the
     ci-devant noblesse, who have not invariably manifested their
     attachment to the revolution, and, in general, all the fathers,
     mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and agents of
     emigrants--All who have emigrated between the 1st of July, 1789,
     and 8th of April, 1792.

     "III.  The execution of the decree is confided to the Committee of
     Inspection.  The individuals arrested shall be taken to the houses
     of confinement appointed for their reception.  They are allowed to
     take with them such only of their effects as are strictly necessary,
     the guards set upon them shall be paid at their expence, and they
     shall be kept in confinement until the peace.--The Committees of
     Inspection shall, without delay, transmit to the Committee of
     General Safety an account of the persons arrested, with the motives
     of their arrest. [If this were observed (which I doubt much) it was
     but a mockery, few persons ever knew the precise reason of their
     confinement.]--The civil and criminal tribunals are empowered, when
     they deem it necessary, to detain and imprison, as suspected
     persons, those who being accused of crimes have nevertheless had no
     bill found against them, (lieu a accusation,) or who have even been
     tried and acquitted."

Indications that may serve to distinguish suspicious persons, and those
to whom it will be proper to refuse certificates of civism:

     "I.  Those who in popular assemblies check the ardour of the people
     by artful speeches, by violent exclamations or threats.

     "II.  Those who with more caution speak in a mysterious way of the
     public misfortunes, who appear to pity the lot of the people, and
     are ever ready to spread bad news with an affectation of concern.

     "III.  Those who adapt their conduct and language to the
     circumstances of the moment--who, in order to be taken for
     republicans, put on a studied austerity of manners, and exclaim with
     vehemence against the most trifling error in a patriot, but mollify
     when the crimes of an Aristocrate or a Moderee are the subject of
     complaint. [These trifling events were, being concerned in the
     massacres of September, 1792--public peculations--occasional, and
     even habitual robbery, forgeries, &c. &c. &c.--The second, fourth,
     fifth, sixth, and seventh classes, were particularly numerous,
     insomuch that I doubt whether they would not have included
     nineteen-twentieths of all the people in France who were honest
     or at all capable of reflection.]

     "IV.  Those who pity avaricious farmers and shopkeepers, against
     whom the laws have been necessarily directed.

     "V.  Those who with the words liberty, country, republic, &c.
     constantly in their mouths, hold intercourse with ci-devant Nobles,
     Contre-revolutionnaires, Priests, Aristocrates, Feuillans, &c. and
     take an interest in their concerns.

     "VI.  Those who not having borne an active part in the revolution,
     endeavour to excuse themselves by urging the regular payment of
     their taxes, their patriotic gifts, and their service in the Garde
     National by substitute or otherwise.

     "VII.  Those who received the republican constitution with coolness,
     or who intimated their pretended apprehensions for its establishment
     and duration.

     "VIII.  Those who, having done nothing against liberty, have done as
     little for it.

     "IX.  Those who do not frequent the assembly of their section, and
     offer, for excuse, that they are no orators, or have no time to
     spare from their own business.

     "X.  Those who speak with contempt of the constituted authorities,
     of the rigour of the laws, of the popular societies, and the
     defenders of liberty.

     "XI.  Those who have signed anti-revolutionary petitions, or any
     time frequented unpatriotic clubs, or were known as partizans of La
     Fayette, and accomplices in the affair of the Champ de Mars."

--and it must be allowed by all who reside in France at this moment, and
are capable of observing the various forms under which hatred for the
government shelters itself, that the latter is a chef d'oeuvre in its

Now, exclusive of the above legal and moral indications of people to be
suspected, there are also outward and visible signs which we are told
from the tribune of the Convention, and the Jacobins, are not much less
infallible--such as _Gens a bas de soie rayes mouchetes--a chapeau rond--
habit carre--culotte pincee etroite--a bottes cirees--les muscadins--
Freloquets--Robinets, &c._ [People that wear spotted or striped silk
stockings--round hats--small coats--tight breeches--blacked boots--
perfumes--coxcombs--sprigs of the law, &c.]  The consequence of making
the cut of a man's coat, or the shape of his hat, a test of his political
opinions, has been the transformation of the whole country into
republicans, at least as far as depends on the costume; and where, as is
natural, there exists a consciousness of inveterate aristocracy, the
external is more elaborately "a la Jacobin."  The equipment, indeed, of a
French patriot of the latest date is as singular as his manners, and in
both he is highly distinguishable from the inhabitants of any other
country: from those of civilized nations, because he is gross and
ferocious--from those of barbarous ones, because his grossness is often
affected, and his ferocity a matter of principle and preference.

A man who would not be reckoned suspect now arrays himself in a jacket
and trowsers (a Carmagnole) of striped cotton or coarse cloth, a
neckcloth of gaudy cotton, wadded like a horse-collar, and projecting
considerably beyond his chin, a cap of red and blue cloth, embroidered in
front and made much in the form of that worn by the Pierrot of a
pantomime, with one, or sometimes a pair, of ear-rings, about the size of
a large curtain-ring!  Finally, he crops his hair, and carefully
encourages the growth of an enormous pair of whiskers, which he does not
fail to perfume with volumes of tobacco smoke.  He, however, who is
ambitious of still greater eminence, disdains these fopperies, and
affects an appearance of filth and rags, which he dignifies with the
appellation of stern republicanism and virtuous poverty; and thus, by
means of a thread-bare coat out at elbows, wooden shoes, and a red
woollen cap, the rich hope to secure their wealth, and the covetous and
intriguing to acquire lucrative employment.--Rolland, I think, was the
founder of these modern Franciscans, and with this miserable affectation
he machinated the death of the King, and, during some months, procured
for himself the exclusive direction of the government.

All these patriots by prescription and system have likewise a peculiar
and appropriated dialect--they address every one by the title of Citizen,
thee and thou indistinctly, and talk of nothing but the agents of Pitt
and Cobourg, the coalesced tyrants, royal ogres, satellites of the
despots, automaton slaves, and anthropophagi; and if they revert to their
own prosperous state, and this very happy country, it is, _un peuple
libre, en peuple heureux, and par excellence la terre de la liberte._
["A free people--a happy people--and, above all others, the land of
liberty."]--It is to be observed, that those with whom these pompous
expressions are most familiar, are officers employed in the war-like
service of mutilating the wooden saints in churches, and arresting old
women whom they encounter without national cockades; or members of the
municipalities, now reduced to execute the offices of constables, and
whose chief functions are to hunt out suspected people, or make
domiciliary visits in quest of concealed eggs and butter.  But, above
all, this democratic oratory is used by tailors, shoemakers, &c.* of the
Committees of Inspection, to whom the Representatives on mission have
delegated their unlimited powers, who arrest much on the principle of
Jack Cade, and with whom it is a crime to read and write, or to appear
decently dressed.

     * For some months the departments were infested by people of this
     description--corrupt, ignorant, and insolent.  Their motives of
     arrest were usually the hope of plunder, or the desire of
     distressing those whom they had been used to look upon as their
     superiors.--At Arras it sufficed even to have disobliged the wives
     of these miscreants to become the object of persecution.  In some
     places they arrested with the most barbarous caprice, even without
     the shadow of a reason.  At Hesden, a small town in Artois, Dumont
     left the Mayor carte blanche, and in one night two hundred people
     were thrown into prison.  Every where these low and obscure
     dominators reigned without controul, and so much were the people
     intimidated, that instead of daring to complain, they treated their
     new tyrants with the most servile adulation.--I have seen a
     ci-devant Comtesse coquetting with all her might a Jacobin tailor,
     and the richest merchants of a town soliciting very humbly the good
     offices of a dealer in old clothes.

These ridiculous accoutrements, and this magnificent phraseology, are in
themselves very harmless; but the ascendancy which such a class of people
are taking has become a subject of just alarm.--The whole administration
of the country is now in the hands of uninformed and necessitous
profligates, swindlers, men already condemned by the laws, and who, if
the revolution had not given them "place and office," would have been at
the galleys, or in prison.*

     * One of the administrators of the department de la Somme (which,
     however, was more decently composed than many others,) was, before
     the revolution, convicted of house-breaking, and another of forgery;
     and it has since been proved on various occasions, particularly on
     the trial of the ninety-four Nantais, that the revolutionary
     Committees were, for the most part, composed of the very refuse of
     society--adventurers, thieves, and even assassins; and it would be
     difficult to imagine a crime that did not there find reward and
     protection.--In vain were the privileges of the nobility abolished,
     and religion proscribed.  A new privileged order arose in the
     Jacobins, and guilt of every kind, without the semblance of
     penitence, found an asylum in these Committees, and an inviolability
     more sacred than that afforded by the demolished altars.

To these may be added a few men of weak character, and unsteady
principles, who remain in office because they fear to resign; with a few,
and but very few, ignorant fanatics, who really imagine they are free
because they can molest and destroy with impunity all they have hitherto
been taught to respect, and drink treble the quantity they did formerly.

Oct. 30.

For some days the guards have been so untractable, and the croud at the
door has been so great, that Fleury was obliged to make various efforts
before he could communicate the result of his negotiation.  He has at
length found means to inform us, that his friend the tailor had exerted
all his interest in our favour, but that Dumont and Le Bon (as often
happens between neighbouring potentates) are at war, and their enmity
being in some degree subject to their mutual fears, neither will venture
to liberate any prisoner arrested by the other, lest such a disposition
to clemency should be seized on by his rival as a ground of accusation.*

     * But if they did not free the enemies of each other, they revenged
     themselves by throwing into prison all their mutual friends--for the
     temper of the times was such, that, though these Representatives
     were expressly invested with unlimited powers, they did not venture
     to set any one at liberty without a multitude of forms and a long
     attendance: on the contrary, they arrested without any form at all,
     and allowed their myrmidons to harrass and confine the persons and
     sequester the property of all whom they judged proper.--It seemed to
     have been an elementary principle with those employed by the
     government at this time, that they risked nothing in doing all the
     mischief they could, and that they erred only in not doing enough.

--All, therefore, that can be obtained is, a promise to have us removed
to Amiens in a short time; and I understand the detenus are there treated
with consideration, and that no tribunal revolutionnaire has yet been

My mind will be considerably more at ease if this removal can be
effected.  Perhaps we may not be in more real danger here than at any
other place, but it is not realities that constitute the misery of life;
and situated as we are, that imagination must be phlegmatic indeed, which
does not create and exaggerate enough to prevent the possibility of
ease.--We are, as I before observed, placed as it were within the
jurisdiction of the guillotine; and I have learned "a secret of our
prison-house" to-day which Mad. de ____ had hitherto concealed from me,
and which has rendered me still more anxious to quit it.  Several of our
fellow prisoners, whom I supposed only transferred to other houses, have
been taken away to undergo the ceremony of a trial, and from thence to
the scaffold.  These judicial massacres are now become common, and the
repetition of them has destroyed at once the feeling of humanity and the
sense of justice.  Familiarized to executions, the thoughtless and
sanguinary people behold with equal indifference the guilty or innocent
victim; and the Guillotine has not only ceased to be an object of horror,
but is become almost a source of amusement.

     * At Arras this horrid instrument of death was what they called en
     permanence, (stationary,) and so little regard was paid to the
     morals of the people, (I say the morals, because every thing which
     tends to destroy their humanity renders them vicious,) that it was
     often left from one execution to another with the ensanguined traces
     of the last victim but too evident.--Children were taught to amuse
     themselves by making models of the Guillotine, with which they
     destroyed flies, and even animals.  On the Pontneuf, at Paris, a
     sort of puppet-show was exhibited daily, whose boast it was to give
     a very exact imitation of a guillotinage; and the burthen of a
     popular song current for some months was _"Dansons la Guillotine."_
     --On the 21st of January, 1794, the anniversary of the King's death,
     the Convention were invited to celebrate it on the "Place de la
     Revolution," where, during the ceremony, and in presence of the
     whole legislative body, several people were executed.  It is true,
     Bourdon, one of the Deputies, complained of this indecency; but not
     so much on account of the circumstance itself, as because it gave
     some of the people an opportunity of telling him, in a sort of way
     he might probably deem prophetic, that one of the victims was a
     Representative of the People.  The Convention pretended to order
     that some enquiry should be made why at such a moment such a place
     was chosen; but the enquiry came to nothing, and I have no doubt but
     the executions were purposely intended as analogous to the
     ceremony.--It was proved that Le Bon, on an occasion when he chose
     to be a spectator of some executions he had been the cause of,
     suspended the operation while he read the newspaper aloud, in order,
     as he said, that the aristocrates might go out of the world with the
     additional mortification of learning the success of the republican
     arms in their last moments.

     The People of Brest were suffered to behold, I had almost said to be
     amused with (for if those who order such spectacles are detestable,
     the people that permit them are not free from blame,) the sight of
     twenty-five heads ranged in a line, and still convulsed with the
     agonies of death.--The cant word for the Guillotine was "our holy
     mother;" and verdicts of condemnation were called prizes in the
     Sainte Lotterie--"holy lottery."

The dark and ferocious character of Le Bon developes itself hourly: the
whole department trembles before him; and those who have least merited
persecution are, with reason, the most apprehensive.  The most cautious
prudence of conduct, the most undeviating rectitude in those who are by
their fortune or rank obnoxious to the tyrant, far from contributing to
their security, only mark them out for a more early sacrifice.  What is
still worse, these horrors are not likely to terminate, because he is
allowed to pay out of the treasury of the department the mob that are
employed to popularize and applaud them.--I hope, in a few days, we shall
receive our permission to depart.  My impatience is a malady, and, for
nearly the first time in my life, I am sensible of ennui; not the ennui
occasioned by want of amusement, but that which is the effect of unquiet
expectation, and which makes both the mind and body restless and
incapable of attending to any thing.  I am incessantly haunted by the
idea that the companion of to-day may to-morrow expire under the
Guillotine, that the common acts of social intercourse may be explained
into intimacy, intimacy into the participation of imputed treasons, and
the fate of those with whom we are associated become our own.  It appears
both useless and cruel to have brought us here, nor do I yet know any
reason why we were not all removed to Amiens, except it was to avoid
exposing to the eyes of the people in the places through which we must
pass too large a number of victims at once.--The cause of our being
removed from Peronne is indeed avowed, as it is at present a rule not to
confine people at the place of their residence, lest they should have too
much facility or communication with, or assistance from, their friends.*

     * In some departments the nobles and priests arrested were removed
     from ten to twenty leagues distant from their homes; and if they
     happened to have relations living at the places where they were
     confined, these last were forbidden to reside there, or even to
     travel that way.

We should doubtless have remained at Arras until some change in public
affairs had procured our release, but for the fortunate discovery of the
man I have mentioned; and the trifling favour of removal from one prison
to another has been obtained only by certain arrangements which Fleury
has made with this subordinate agent of tyranny, and in which justice or
consideration for us had no share.  Alas! are we not miserable? is not
the country miserable, when our only resource is in the vices of those
who govern?--It is uncertain when we shall be ordered from hence--it may
happen when we least expect it, even in the night, so that I shall not
attempt to write again till we have changed our situation.  The risk is
at present too serious, and you must allow my desire of amusing you to
give way to my solicitude for my own preservation.

Bicetre at Amiens, Nov. 18, 1793.

_Nous voila donc encore, logees a la nation;_ that is to say, the common
prison of the department, amidst the thieves, vagabonds, maniacs, &c.
confined by the old police, and the gens suspects recently arrested by
the new.--I write from the end of a sort of elevated barn, sixty or
seventy feet long, where the interstices of the tiles admit the wind from
all quarters, and scarcely exclude the rain, and where an old screen and
some curtains only separate Mad. de ____, myself, and our servants, from
sixty priests, most of them old, sick, and as wretched as men can be, who
are pious and resigned.  Yet even here I feel comparatively at ease, and
an escape from the jurisdiction of Le Bon and his merciless tribunal
seems cheaply purchased by the sacrifice of our personal convenience.  I
do not pretend to philosophize or stoicize, or to any thing else which
implies a contempt of life--I have, on the contrary, a most unheroic
solicitude about my existence, and consider my removal to a place where I
think we are safe, as a very fortunate aera of our captivity.

After many delays and disappointments, Fleury at length procured an
order, signed by the Representative, for our being transferred to Amiens,
under the care of two _Gardes Nationalaux,_ and, of course, at our
expence.--Every thing in this country wears the aspect of despotism.  At
twelve o'clock at night we were awakened by the officer on guard, and
informed we were to depart on the morrow; and, notwithstanding the
difficulty of procuring horses and carriages, it was specified, that if
we did not go on the day appointed, we were not to go at all.  It was, or
course, late before we could surmount the various obstacles to our
journey, and procure two crazy cabriolets, and a cart for the guards,
ourselves, and baggage.  The days being short, we were obliged to sleep
at Dourlens; and, on our arrival at the castle, which is now, as it
always has been, a state-prison, we were told it was so full, that it was
absolutely impossible to lodge us, and that we had better apply to the
Governor, for permission to sleep at an inn.  We then drove to the
Governor's* house, who received us very civilly, and with very little
persuasion agreed to our request.  At the best of the miserable inns in
the town we were informed they had no room, and that they could not
accommodate us in any way whatever, except a sick officer then in the
house would permit us to occupy one of two beds in his apartment.

     * The Commandant had been originally a private soldier in the
     regiment of Dillon.--I know not how he had obtained his advancement,
     but, however obtained, it proved fatal to him: he was, a very short
     time after I saw him, guillotined at Arras, for having borrowed
     money of a prisoner.  His real crime was, probably, treating the
     prisoners in general with too much consideration and indulgence; and
     at this period every suspicion of the kind was fatal.

In England it would not be very decent to make such a request, or to
accept such an accommodation.  In France, neither the one nor the other
is unusual, and we had suffered lately so many embarrassments of the
kind, that we were, if not reconciled, at least inured to them.  Before,
however, we could determine, the gentleman had been informed of our
situation, and came to offer his services.  You may judge of our surprize
when we found in the stranger, who had his head bound up and his arm in a
sling, General ____, a relation of Mad. de ____.  We had now, therefore,
less scruple in sharing his room, though we agreed, notwithstanding, only
to repose a few hours in our clothes.

After taking some tea, the remainder of the evening was dedicated to
reciprocal conversation of all kinds; and our guards having acquaintance
in the town, and knowing it was impossible for us to escape, even were we
so inclined, very civilly left us to ourselves.  We found the General had
been wounded at Maubeuge, and was now absent on conge for the recovery of
his health.  He talked of the present state of public affairs like a
military man who is attached to his profession, and who thinks it his
duty to fight at all events, whatever the rights or merits of those that
employ him.  He confessed, indeed, that they were repulsing their
external enemies, only to confirm the power of those who were infinitely
more to be dreaded at home, and that the condition of a General was more
to be commiserated at this time than any other: if he miscarry, disgrace
and the Guillotine await him--if he be successful, he gains little
honour, becomes an object of jealousy, and assists in rivetting the
chains of his country.  He said, the armies were for the most part
licentious and insubordinate, but that the political discipline was
terrible--the soldiers are allowed to drink, pillage, and insult their
officers with impunity, but all combinations are rigorously suppressed,
the slightest murmur against the Representative on mission is treason,
and to disapprove of a decree of the convention, death--that every man of
any note in the army is beset with spies, and if they leave the camp on
any occasion, it is more necessary to be on their guard against these
wretches than against an ambuscade of the enemy; and he related a
circumstance which happened to himself, as an example of what he
mentioned, and which will give you a tolerable idea of the present system
of government.--After the relief of Dunkirk, being quartered in the
neighbourhood of St. Omer, he occasionally went to the town on his
private concerns.  One day, while he was waiting at the inn where he
intended to dine, two young men accosted him, and after engaging him in a
general conversation for some time, began to talk with great freedom,
though with an affected caution of public men and measures, of the
banditti who governed, the tyranny that was exercised, and the supineness
of the people: in short, of all those too poignant truths which
constitute the leze nation of the day.  Mons. de ____ was not at first
very attentive, but finding their discourse become still more liberal, it
excited his suspicions, and casting his eyes on a glass opposite to where
they were conversing, he perceived a sort of intelligence between them,
which immediately suggested to him the profession of his companions; and
calling to a couple of dragoons who had attended him, ordered them to
arrest the two gentlemen as artistocrates, and convey them without
ceremony to prison.  They submitted, seemingly more surprized than
alarmed, and in two hours the General received a note from a higher
power, desiring him to set them at liberty, as they were agents of the

Duquesnoy, one of the Representatives now with the Northern army, is
ignorant and brutal in the extreme.  He has made his brother (who, as
well as himself, used to retail hops in the streets of St. Pol,) a
General; and in order to deliver him from rivals and critics, he breaks,
suspends, arrests, and sends to the Guillotine every officer of any merit
that comes in his way.  After the battle of Maubeuge, he arrested a
General Bardell, [The Generals Bardell and D'Avesnes, and several others,
were afterwards guillotined at Paris.] for accommodating a wounded
prisoner of distinction (I think a relation of the Prince of Cobourg)
with a bed, and tore with his own hands the epaulette from the shoulders
of those Generals whose divisions had not sustained the combat so well as
the others.  His temper, naturally savage and choleric, is irritated to
fury by the habit of drinking large quantities of strong liquors; and
Mad. de ___'s relation assured us, that he had himself seen him take the
Mayor of Avesnes (a venerable old man, who was presenting some petition
to him that regarded the town,) by the hair and throw him on the ground,
with the gestures of an enraged cannibal.  He also confined one of his
own fellow deputies in the tower of Guise, upon a very frivolous pretext,
and merely on his own authority.  In fact, I scarcely remember half the
horrors told us of this man; and I shall only remind you, that he has an
unlimited controul over the civil constitution of the Northern army, and
over the whole department of the North.

You, I suppose, will be better informed of military events than we are,
and I mention our friend's conjecture, that (besides an enormous number
of killed) the wounded at Maubeuge amounted to twelve or fourteen
thousand, only to remark the deception which is still practised on the
people; for no published account ever allowed the number to be more than
a few hundreds.--Besides these professional details, the General gave us
some very unpleasant family ones.  On returning to his father's chateau,
where he hoped to be taken care of while his wounds were curing, he found
every room in it under seals, three guards in possession, his two sisters
arrested at St. Omer, where they happened to be on a visit, and his
father and mother confined in separate houses of detention at Arras.
After visiting them, and making some ineffectual applications for their
relief, he came to the neighbourhood of Dourlens, expecting to find an
asylum with an uncle, who had hitherto escaped the general persecution of
the gentry.  Here again his disappointment and chagrin were renewed: his
uncle had been carried off to Amiens the morning of his arrival, and the
house rendered inaccessible, by the usual affixture of seals, and an
attendant pair of myrmidons to guard them from infraction.  Thus excluded
from all his family habitations, he had taken up his residence for a day
or two at the inn where we met him, his intention being to return to

In the morning we made our adieus and pursued our journey; but, tenacious
of this comparative liberty and the enjoyment of pure air, we prevailed
on our conductors to let us dine on the road, so that we lingered with
the unwillingness of truant children, and did not reach Amiens until
dark.  When we arrived at the Hotel de Ville, one of the guards enquired
how we were to be disposed of.  Unfortunately for us, Dumont happened to
be there himself, and on hearing we were sent from Arras by order of Le
Bon, declared most furiously (for our Representative is subject to choler
since his accession to greatness) that he would have no prisoners
received from Arras, and that we should sleep at the Conciergerie, and be
conveyed back again on the morrow.  Terrified at this menace, we
persuaded the guard to represent to Dumont that we had been sent to
Amiens at our own instance, and that we had been originally arrested by
himself, and were therefore desirous of returning to the department where
he was on mission, and where we had more reason to expect justice than at
Arras.  Mollified, perhaps, by this implied preference of his authority,
he consented that we should remain for the present at Amiens, and ordered
us to be taken to the Bicetre.  Whoever has been used to connect with the
word Bicetre the idea of the prison so named at Paris, must recoil with
horror upon hearing they are destined to such a abode.  Mad. de ___, yet
weak from the remains of her illness, laid hold of me in a transport of
grief; but, far from being able to calm or console her, my thoughts were
so bewildered that I did not, till we alighted at the gate, begin to be
really sensible of our situation.  The night was dark and dreary, and our
first entrance was into a kitchen, such as my imagination had pictured
the subterraneous one of the robbers in Gil Blas.  Here we underwent the
ceremony of having our pocket-books searched for papers and letters, and
our trunks rummaged for knives and fire-arms.  This done, we were shown
to the lodging I have described, and the poor priests, already
insufferably crouded, were obliged almost to join their beds in order to
make room for us.--I will not pain you by a recital of all the
embarrassments and distresses we had to surmount before we could even
rest ourselves.  We were in want of every thing, and the rules of the
prison such, that it was nearly impossible, for some time, to procure any
thing: but the human mind is more flexible than we are often disposed to
imagine it; and in two days we were able to see our situation in this
best point of view, (that is, as an escape from Arras,) and the affair of
submitting our bodies to our minds must be atchieved by time.--We have
now been here a week.  We have sounded the very depth of humiliation,
taken our daily allowance of bread with the rest of the prisoners, and
contracted a most friendly intimacy with the gaoler.

I have discovered since our arrival, that the order for transferring us
hither described me as a native of the Low Countries.  I know not how
this happened, but my friend has insisted on my not rectifying the
mistake, for as the French talk continually of re-conquering Brabant, she
persuades herself such an event would procure me my liberty.  I neither
desire the one nor expect the other; but, to indulge her, I speak no
English, and avoid two or three of my countrymen who I am told are here.
There have been also some English families who were lately removed, but
the French pronounce our names so strangely, that I have not been able to
learn who they were.

November 19, 1793.

The English in general, especially of late years, have been taught to
entertain very formidable notions of the Bastille and other state prisons
of the ancient government, and they were, no doubt, horrid enough; yet I
have not hitherto been able to discover that those of the new republic
are any way preferable.  The only difference is, that the great number of
prisoners which, for want of room, are obliged to be heaped together,
makes it impossible to exclude them as formerly from communication, and,
instead of being maintained at the public expence, they now, with great
difficulty, are able to procure wherewithal to eat at their own.  Our
present habitation is an immense building, about a quarter of a mile from
the town, intended originally for the common gaol of the province.  The
situation is damp and unwholesome, and the water so bad, that I should
suppose a long continuance here of such a number of prisoners must be
productive of endemical disorders.  Every avenue to the house is guarded,
and no one is permitted to stop and look up at the windows, under pain of
becoming a resident.  We are strictly prohibited from all external
intercourse, except by writing; and every scrap of paper, though but an
order for a dinner, passes the inquisition of three different people
before it reaches its destination, and, of course, many letters and notes
are mislaid, and never sent at all.--There is no court or garden in which
the prisoners are allowed to walk, and the only exercise they can take is
in damp passages, or a small yard, (perhaps thirty feet square,) which
often smells so detestably, that the atmosphere of the house itself is
less mephitic.

Our fellow-captives are a motley collection of the victims of nature,
of justice, and of tyranny--of lunatics who are insensible of their
situation, of thieves who deserve it, and of political criminals whose
guilt is the accident of birth, the imputation of wealth, or the
profession of a clergyman.  Among the latter is the Bishop of Amiens,
whom I recollect to have mentioned in a former letter.  You will wonder
why a constitutional Bishop, once popular with the democratic party,
should be thus treated.  The real motive was, probably, to degrade in his
person a minister of religion--the ostensible one, a dispute with Dumont
at the Jacobin club.  As the times grew alarming, the Bishop, perhaps,
thought it politic to appear at the club, and the Representative meeting
him there one evening, began to interrogate him very rudely with regard
to his opinion of the marriage of priests.  M. Dubois replied, that when
it was officially incumbent on him to explain himself, he would do so,
but that he did not think the club a place for such discussions, or
something to this purpose. _"Tu prevariques donc!--Je t'arrete sur le
champ:"_ ["What, you prevaricate!--I arrest you instantly."] the Bishop
was accordingly arrested at the instant, and conducted to the Bicetre,
without even being suffered to go home and furnish himself with
necessaries; and the seals being immediately put on his effects, he has
never been able to obtain a change of linen and clothes, or any thing
else--this too at a time when the pensions of the clergy are ill paid,
and every article of clothing so dear as to be almost unpurchaseable by
moderate fortunes, and when those who might otherwise be disposed to aid
or accommodate their friends, abandon them through fear of being
implicated in their misfortunes.

But the Bishop, yet in the vigour of life, is better capable of enduring
these hardships than most of the poor priests with whom he is associated:
the greater number of them are very old men, with venerable grey locks--
and their tattered clerical habits, scanty meals, and wretched beds, give
me many an heart-ache.  God send the constant sight of so much misery may
not render me callous!--It is certain, there are people here, who,
whatever their feelings might have been on this occasion at first, seem
now little affected by it.  Those who are too much familiarized with
scenes of wretchedness, as well as those to whom they are unknown, are
not often very susceptible; and I am sometimes disposed to cavil with our
natures, that the sufferings which ought to excite our benevolence, and
the prosperity that enables us to relieve them, should ever have a
contrary effect.  Yet this is so true, that I have scarcely ever observed
even the poor considerate towards each other--and the rich, if they are
frequently charitable, are not always compassionate.*

     * Our situation at the Bicetre, though terrible for people unused to
     hardships or confinement, and in fact, wretched as personal
     inconvenience could make it, was yet Elysium, compared to the
     prisons of other departments.  At St. Omer, the prisoners were
     frequently disturbed at midnight by the entrance of men into their
     apartments, who, with the detestable ensign of their order, (red
     caps,) and pipes in their mouths, came by way of frolic to search
     their pockets, trunks, &c.--At Montreuil, the Maisons d'Arret were
     under the direction of a Commissary, whose behaviour to the female
     prisoners was too atrocious for recital--two young women, in
     particular, who refused to purchase milder treatment, were locked up
     in a room for seventeen days.--Soon after I left Arras, every prison
     became a den of horror.  The miserable inhabitants were subject to
     the agents of Le Bon, whose avarice, cruelty, and licentiousness,
     were beyond any thing a humane mind can imagine.  Sometimes the
     houses were suddenly surrounded by an armed force, the prisoners
     turned out in the depth of winter for several hours into an open
     court, during the operation of robbing them of their pocket-books,
     buckles, ear-rings, or whatever article of value they had about
     them.  At other times they were visited by the same military array,
     and deprived of their linen and clothes.  Their wine and provisions
     were likewise taken from them in the same manner--wives were
     separated from their husbands, parents from their children, old men
     treated with the most savage barbarity, and young women with an
     indecency still more abominable.  All communication, either by
     writing or otherwise, was often prohibited for many days together,
     and an order was once given to prevent even the entry of provisions,
     which was not revoked till the prisoners became absolutely
     distressed.  At the Hotel Dieu they were forbidden to draw more than
     a single jug of water in twenty-four hours.  At the Providence, the
     well was left three days without a cord, and when the unfortunate
     females confined there procured people to beg water of the
     neighbours, they were refused, "because it was for prisoners, and if
     Le Bon heard of it he might be displeased!"  Windows were blocked
     up, not to prevent escape, but to exclude air; and when the general
     scarcity rendered it impossible for the prisoners to procure
     sufficient food for their support, their small portions were
     diminished at the gate, under pretext of searching for letters, &c.
     --People, respectable both for their rank and character, were
     employed to clean the prisons and privies, while their low and
     insolent tyrants looked on and insulted them.  On an occasion when
     one of the Maisons d'Arrets was on fire, guards were planted round,
     with orders to fire upon those that should attempt to escape.--My
     memory has but too faithfully recorded these and still greater
     horrors; but curiosity would be gratified but too dearly by the
     relation.  I added the above note some months after writing the
     letter to which it is annexed.

Nov. 20.

Besides the gentry and clergy of this department, we have likewise for
companions a number of inhabitants of Lisle, arrested under circumstances
singularly atrocious, even where atrocity is the characteristic of almost
every proceeding.--In the month of August a decree was passed to oblige
all the nobility, clergy, and their servants, as well as all those
persons who had been in the service of emigrants, to depart from Lisle in
eight-and-forty hours, and prohibiting their residence within twenty
leagues from the frontiers.  Thus banished from their own habitations,
they took refuge in different towns, at the prescribed distance; but,
almost as soon as they were arrived, and had been at the expence of
settling themselves, they were arrested as strangers,* and conducted to

     * I have before, I believe, noticed that the term estranger at this
     time did not exclusively apply to foreigners, but to such as had
     come from one town to another, who were at inns or on a visit to
     their friends.

It will not be improper to notice here the conduct of the government
towards the towns that have been besieged.  Thionville,* to whose gallant
defence in 1792 France owed the retreat of the Prussians and the safety
of Paris, was afterwards continually reproached with aristocracy; and
when the inhabitants sent a deputation to solicit an indemnity for the
damage the town had sustained during the bombardment a member of the
Convention threatened them from the tribune with "indemnities a coup de
baton!" that is, in our vernacular tongue, with a good thrashing.

     * Wimpsen, who commanded there, and whose conduct at the time was
     enthusiastically admired, was driven, most probably by the
     ingratitude and ill treatment of the Convention, to head a party of
     the Foederalists.--These legislators perpetually boast of imitating
     and surpassing the Romans, and it is certain, that their ingratitude
     has made more than one Coriolanus.  The difference is, that they are
     not jealous for the liberty of the country, but for their own
     personal safety.

The inhabitants of Lisle, who had been equally serviceable in stopping
the progress of the Austrians, for a long time petitioned without effect
to obtain the sums already voted for their relief.  The noblesse, and
others from thence who have been arrested, as soon as it was known that
they were Lillois, were treated with peculiar rigour;* and an _armee
revolutionnaire,_** with the Guillotine for a standard, has lately
harrassed the town and environs of Lisle, as though it were a conquered

     * The Commandant of Lisle, on his arrival at the Bicetre, was
     stripped of a considerable sum of money, and a quantity of plate he
     had unluckily brought with him by way of security.  Out of this he
     is to be supplied with fifty livres at a time in paper, which,
     according to the exchange and the price of every thing, is, I
     suppose, about half a guinea.

     ** The armee revolutionnaire was first raised by order of the
     Jacobins, for the purpose of searching the countries for provisions,
     and conducting them to Paris.  Under this pretext, a levy was made
     of all the most desperate ruffians that could be collected together.
     They were divided into companies, each with its attendant
     Guillotine, and then distributed in the different departments:
     they had extraordinary pay, and seem to have been subject to no
     discipline.  Many of them were distinguished by the representation
     of a Guillotine in miniature, and a head just severed, on their
     cartouch-boxes.  It would be impossible to describe half the
     enormities committed by these banditti: wherever they went they were
     regarded as a scourge, and every heart shrunk at their approach.
     Lecointre, of Versailles, a member of the Convention, complained
     that a band of these wretches entered the house of a farmer, one of
     his tenants, by night, and, after binding the family hand and foot,
     and helping themselves to whatever they could find, they placed the
     farmer with his bare feet on the chaffing-dish of hot ashes, by way
     of forcing him to discover where he had secreted his plate and
     money, which having secured, they set all the vessels of liquor
     running, and then retired.

You are not to suppose this a robbery, and the actors common thieves; all
was in the usual form--"au nom de la loi," and for the service of the
republic; and I do not mention this instance as remarkable, otherwise
than as having been noticed in the Convention.  A thousand events of this
kind, even still more atrocious, have happened; but the sufferers who had
not the means of defence as well as of complaint, were obliged, through
policy, to be silent.

--The garrison and national guard, indignant at the horrors they
committed, obliged them to decamp.  Even the people of Dunkirk, whose
resistance to the English, while the French army was collecting together
for their relief, was perhaps of more consequence than ten victories,
have been since intimidated with Commissioners, and Tribunals, and
Guillotines, as much as if they had been convicted of selling the town.
In short, under this philanthropic republic, persecution seems to be very
exactly proportioned to the services rendered.  A jealous and suspicious
government does not forget, that the same energy of character which has
enabled a people to defend themselves against an external enemy, may also
make them less submissive to domestic oppression; and, far from repaying
them with the gratitude to which they have a claim, it treats them, on
all occasions, as opponents, whom it both fears and hates.

Nov. 22.  We have been walking in the yard to-day with General Laveneur,
who, for an act which in any other country would have gained him credit,
is in this suspended from his command.--When Custine, a few weeks before
his death, left the army to visit some of the neighbouring towns, the
command devolved on Laveneur, who received, along with other official
papers, a list of countersigns, which, having probably been made some
time, and not altered conformably to the changes of the day, contained,
among others, the words Condorcet--Constitution; and these were in their
turn given out.  On Custine's trial, this was made a part of his
accusation.  Laveneur, recollecting that the circumstance had happened in
the absence of Custine, thought it incumbent on him to take the blame, if
there were any, on himself, and wrote to Paris to explain the matter as
it really stood; but his candour, without availing Custine, drew
persecution on himself, and the only notice taken of his letter was an
order to arrest him.  After being dragged from one town to another, like
a criminal, and often lodged in dungeons and common prisons, he was at
length deposited here.

I know not if the General's principles are republican, but he has a very
democratic pair of whiskers, which he occasionally strokes, and seems to
cherish with much affection.  He is, however, a gentleman-like man, and
expresses such anxiety for the fate of his wife and children, who are now
at Paris, that one cannot but be interested in his favour.--As the agents
of the republic never err on the side of omission, they arrested Mons.
Laveneur's aid-de-camp with him; and another officer of his acquaintance,
who was suspended, and living at Amiens, has shared the same fate, only
for endeavouring to procure him a trifling accommodation.  This gentleman
called on Dumont, to beg that General Laveneur's servant might be
permitted to go in and out of the prison on his master's errands.  After
breakfasting together, and conversing on very civil terms, Dumont told
him, that as he concerned himself so much in behalf of his friend, he
would send him to keep the latter company, and at the conclusion of his
visit he was sent prisoner to the Bicetre.

Perhaps the greater part of between three and four hundred thousand
people, now imprisoned on suspicion, have been arrested for reasons as
little substantial.

--I begin to fear my health will not resist the hardship of a long
continuance here.  We have no fire-place, and are sometimes starved
with partial winds from the doors and roof; at others faint and heartsick
with the unhealthy air produced by so many living bodies.  The water we
drink is not preferable to the air we breathe; the bread (which is now
every where scarce and bad) contains such a mixture of barley, rye,
damaged wheat, and trash of all kinds, that, far from being nourished by
it, I lose both my strength and appetite daily.--Yet these are not the
worst of our sufferings.  Shut out from all society, victims of a
despotic and unprincipled government capable of every thing, and ignorant
of the fate which may await us, we are occasionally oppressed by a
thousand melancholy apprehensions.  I might, indeed, have boasted of my
fortitude, and have made myself an heroine on paper at as small an
expence of words as it has cost me to record my cowardice: but I am of an
unlucky conformation, and think either too much or too little (I know not
which) for a female philosopher; besides, philosophy is getting into such
ill repute, that not possessing the reality, the name of it is not worth

A poor old priest told me just now, (while Angelique was mending his
black coat with white thread,) that they had left at the place where they
were last confined a large quantity of linen, and other necessaries; but,
by the express orders of Dumont, they were not allowed to bring a single
article away with them.  The keeper, too, it seems, was threatened with
dismission, for supplying one of them with a shirt.--In England, where,
I believe, you ally political expediency as much as you can with justice
and humanity, these cruelties, at once little and refined, will appear
incredible; and the French themselves, who are at least ashamed of, if
they are not pained by, them, are obliged to seek refuge in the fancied
palliative of a "state of revolution."--Yet, admitting the necessity of
confining the persons of these old men, there can be none for heaping
them together in filth and misery, and adding to the sufferings of years
and infirmity by those of cold and want.  If, indeed, a state of
revolution require such deeds, and imply an apology for them, I cannot
but wish the French had remained as they were, for I know of no political
changes that can compensate for turning a civilized nation into a people
of savages.  It is not surely the eating acorns or ragouts, a
well-powdered head, or one decorated with red feathers, that constitutes
the difference between barbarism and civilization; and, I fear, if the
French proceed as they have begun, the advantage of morals will be
considerably on the side of the unrefined savages.

The conversation of the prison has been much engaged by the fate of an
English gentleman, who lately destroyed himself in a Maison d'Arret at
Amiens.  His confinement had at first deeply affected his spirits, and
his melancholy increasing at the prospect of a long detention, terminated
in deranging his mind, and occasioned this last act of despair.--I never
hear of suicide without a compassion mingled with terror, for, perhaps,
simple pity is too light an emotion to be excited by an event which
reminds us, that we are susceptible of a degree of misery too great to be
borne--too strong for the efforts of instinct, reflection, and religion.
--I could moralize on the necessity of habitual patience, and the benefit
of preparing the mind for great evils by a philosophic endurance of
little ones; but I am at the Bicetre--the winds whistle round me--I am
beset by petty distresses, and we do not expatiate to advantage on
endurance while we have any thing to endure.--Seneca's contempt for the
things of this world was doubtless suggested in the palace of Nero.  He
would not have treated the subject so well in disgrace and poverty.  Do
not suppose I am affecting to be pleasant, for I write in the sober
sadness of conviction, that human fortitude is often no better than a
pompous theory, founded on self-love and self-deception.

I was surprized at meeting among our fellow-prisoners a number of Dutch
officers.  I find they had been some time in the town on their parole,
and were sent here by Dumont, for refusing to permit their men to work on
the fortifications.--The French government and its agents despise the
laws of war hitherto observed; they consider them as a sort of
aristocratie militaire, and they pretend, on the same principle, to be
enfranchised from the law of nations.--An orator of the convention lately
boasted, that he felt himself infinitely superior to the prejudices of
Grotius, Puffendorff, and Vatel, which he calls "l'aristocratie
diplomatique."--Such sublime spirits think, because they differ from the
rest of mankind, that they surpass them.  Like Icarus, they attempt to
fly, and are perpetually struggling in the mire.--Plain common sense has
long pointed out a rule of action, from which all deviation is fatal,
both to nations and individuals.   England, as well as France, has
furnished its examples; and the annals of genius in all countries are
replete with the miseries of eccentricity.--Whoever has followed the
course of the French revolution, will, I believe, be convinced, that the
greatest evils attending on it have been occasioned by an affected
contempt for received maxims.  A common banditti, acting only from the
desire of plunder, or men, erring only through ignorance, could not have
subjugated an whole people, had they not been assisted by narrow-minded
philosophers, who were eager to sacrifice their country to the vanity of
making experiments, and were little solicitous whether their systems were
good or bad, provided they were celebrated as the authors of them.  Yet,
where are they now?  Wandering, proscribed, and trembling at the fate of
their followers and accomplices.--The Brissotins, sacrificed by a party
even worse than themselves, have died without exciting either pity or
admiration.   Their fall was considered as the natural consequence of
their exaltation, and the courage with which they met death obtained no
tribute but a cold and simple comment, undistinguished from the news of
the day, and ending with it.


Last night, after we had been asleep about an hour, (for habit, that
"lulls the wet sea-boy on the high and giddy mast," has reconciled us to
sleep even here,) we were alarmed by the trampling of feet, and sudden
unlocking of our door.  Our apprehensions gave us no time for conjecture
--in a moment an ill-looking fellow entered the room with a lantern, two
soldiers holding drawn swords, and a large dog!  The whole company walked
as it were processionally to the end of the apartment, and, after
observing in silence the beds on each side, left us.  It would not be
easy to describe what we suffered at this moment: for my own part, I
thought only of the massacres of September, and the frequent proposals at
the Jacobins and the Convention for dispatching the _"gens suspect,"_
and really concluded I was going to terminate my existence
_"revolutionnairement."_  I do not now know the purport of these visits,
but I find they are not unusual, and most probably intended to alarm the

After many enquiries and messages, I have had the mortification of
hearing that Mr. and Mrs. D____ were taken to Arras, and were there even
before I left it.  The letters sent to and from the different prisons are
read by so many people, and pass through so many hands, that it is not
surprizing we have not heard from each other.  As far as I can learn,
they had obtained leave, after their first arrest, to remove to a house
in the vicinity of Dourlens for a few days, on account of Mrs. D____'s
health, which had suffered by passing the summer in the town, and that at
the taking of Toulon they were again arrested while on a visit, and
conveyed to a _Maison d'Arret_ at Arras.  I am the more anxious for them,
as it seems they were unprepared for such an event; and as the seals were
put upon their effects, I fear they must be in want of every thing.  I
might, perhaps, have succeeded in getting them removed here, but Fleury's
Arras friend, it seems, did not think, when the Convention had abolished
every other part of Christianity, that they intended still to exact a
partial observance of the eighth article of the decalogue; and having, in
the sense of Antient Pistol, "conveyed" a little too notoriously, Le Bon
has, by way of securing him from notice or pursuit, sent him to the
frontiers in the capacity of Commissary.

The prison, considering how many French inhabitants it contains, is
tolerably quiet--to say the truth, we are not very sociable, and still
less gay.  Common interest establishes a sort of intimacy between those
of the same apartment; but the rest of the house pass each other, without
farther intercourse than silent though significant civility.  Sometimes
you see a pair of unfortunate aristocrates talking politics at the end of
a passage, or on a landing-place; and here and there a bevy of females,
en deshabille, recounting altogether the subject of their arrest.  One's
ear occasionally catches a few half-suppressed notes of a proscribed
aire, but the unhallowed sounds of the Carmagnole and Marseillois are
never heard, and would be thought more dissonant here than the war-whoop.
In fact, the only appearance of gaiety is among the ideots and lunatics.
--_"Je m'ennuye furieusement,"_ is the general exclamation.--An Englishman
confined at the Bicetre would express himself more forcibly, but, it is
certain, the want of knowing how to employ themselves does not form a
small part of the distresses of our fellow-prisoners; and when they tell
us they are _"ennuyes,"_ they say, perhaps, nearly as much as they feel--
for, as far as I can observe, the loss of liberty has not the same effect
on a Frenchman as an Englishman.  Whether this arises from political
causes, or the natural indifference of the French character, I am not
qualified to determine; probably from both: yet when I observe this
facility of mind general, and by no means peculiar to the higher classes,
I cannot myself but be of opinion, that it is more an effect of their
original disposition than of their form of government; for though in
England we were accustomed from our childhood to consider every man in
France as liable to wake and find himself in the Bastille, or at Mont St.
Michel, this formidable despotism existed more in theory than in
practice; and if courtiers and men of letters were intimidated by it,
the mass of the people troubled themselves very little about Lettres de
Cachet.  The revenge or suspicion of Ministers might sometimes pursue
those who aimed at their power, or assailed their reputation; but the
lesser gentry, the merchants, or the shopkeepers, were very seldom
victims of arbitrary imprisonment--and I believe, amongst the evils which
it was the object of the revolution to redress, this (except on the
principle) was far from being of the first magnitude.  I am not likely,
under my present circumstances, to be an advocate for the despotism of
any form of government; and I only give it as a matter of opinion, that
the civil liberty of the French was not so often and generally violated,*
as to influence their character in such a degree as to render them
insensible of its loss.  At any rate, we must rank it among the
_bizarreries_ [Unaccountable whimsical events.] of this world, that the
French should have been prepared, by the theory of oppression under their
old system, for enduring the practice of it under the new one; and that
what during the monarchy was only possible to a few, is, under the
republic, almost certain to all.

     * I remember in 1789, after the destruction of the Bastille, our
     compassionate countrymen were taught to believe that this tremendous
     prison was peopled with victims, and that even the dungeons were
     inhabited; yet the truth is, though it would not have told so
     pathetically, or have produced so much theatrical effect, there were
     only seven persons confined in the whole building, and certainly not
     one in the dungeons.

Amiens, Providence, Dec. 10, 1793.

We have again, as you will perceive, changed our abode, and that too
without expecting, and almost without desiring it.  In my moments of
sullenness and despondency, I was not very solicitous about the
modifications of our confinement, and little disposed to be better
satisfied with one prison than another: but, heroics apart, external
comforts are of some importance, and we have, in many respects, gained by
our removal.

Our present habitation is a spacious building, lately a convent, and
though now crouded with more prisoners by two or three hundred than it
will hold conveniently, yet we are better lodged than at the Bicetre, and
we have also a large garden, good water, and, what above all is
desirable, the liberty of delivering our letters or messages ourselves
(in presence of the guard) to any one who will venture to approach us.
Mad. de ____ and myself have a small cell, where we have just room to
place our beds, but we have no fire-place, and the maids are obliged to
sleep in an adjoining passage.

A few evenings ago, while we were at the Bicetre, we were suddenly
informed by the keeper that Dumont had sent some soldiers with an order
to convey us that night to the Providence.  We were at first rather
surprized than pleased, and reluctantly gathered our baggage together
with as much expedition as we could, while the men who were to escort us
were exclaiming "a la Francaise" at the trifling delay this occasioned.
When we had passed the gate, we found Fleury, with some porters, ready to
receive our beds, and overjoyed at having procured us a more decent
prison, for, it seems, he could by no means reconcile himself to the name
of Bicetre.  We had about half a mile to walk, and on the road he
contrived to acquaint us with the means by which he had solicited this
favour of Dumont.  After advising with all Mad. de ____'s friends who
were yet at liberty, and finding no one willing to make an effort in her
behalf, for fear of involving themselves, he discovered an old
acquaintance in the "femme de chambre" of one of Fleury's mistresses.--
This, for one of Fleury's sagacity, was a spring to have set the whole
Convention in a ferment; and in a few days he profited so well by this
female patronage, as to obtain an order for transferring us hither.  On
our arrival, we were informed, as usual, that the house was already full,
and that there was no possibility of admitting us.  We however, set up
all night in the keeper's room with some other people newly arrived like
ourselves, and in the morning, after a little disputing and a pretty
general derangement of the more ancient inhabitants, we were "nichees,"
as I have described to you.

We have not yet quitted our room much, but I observe that every one
appears more chearful, and more studied in their toilette, than at the
Bicetre, and I am willing to infer from thence that confinement here is
less insupportable.--I have been employed two days in enlarging the notes
I had made in our last prison, and in making them more legible, for I
ventured no farther than just to scribble with a pencil in a kind of
short-hand of my own invention, and not even that without a variety of
precautions.  I shall be here less liable either to surprize or
observation, and as soon as I have secured what I have already noted,
(which I intend to do to-night,) I shall continue my remarks in the usual
form.  You will find even more than my customary incorrectness and want
of method since we left Peronne; but I shall not allow your competency as
a critic, until you have been a prisoner in the hands of French

It will not be improper to notice to you a very ingenious decree of
Gaston, (a member of the Convention,) who lately proposed to embark all
the English now in France at Brest, and then to sink the ships.--Perhaps
the Committee of Public Welfare are now in a sort of benevolent
indecision, whether this, or Collot d'Herbois' gunpowder scheme, shall
have the preference.  Legendre's iron cage and simple hanging will,
doubtless, be rejected, as too slow and formal.  The mode of the day is
"les grandes mesures."  If I be not seriously alarmed at these
propositions, it is not that life is indifferent to me, or that I think
the government too humane to adopt them.  My tranquillity arises from
reflecting that such measures would be of no political use, and that we
shall most likely be soon forgotten in the multitude of more important
concerns.  Those, however, whom I endeavour to console by this reasoning,
tell me it is nothing less than infallible, that the inutility of a crime
is here no security against its perpetration, and that any project which
tends to evil will sooner be remembered than one of humanity or justice.

[End of Vol. I. The Printed Books]

[Beginning of Volume II. Of The Printed Books]

Providence, Dec. 20, 1793.

"All places that are visited by the eye of Heaven, are to the wise man
happy havens."  If Shakspeare's philosophy be orthodox, the French have,
it must be confessed, many claims to the reputation of a wise people; and
though you know I always disputed their pretensions to general gaiety,
yet I acknowledge that misfortune does not deprive them of the share they
possess, and, if one may judge by appearances, they have at least the
habit, more than any other nation, of finding content under situations
with which it should seem incompatible.  We are here between six and
seven hundred, of all ages and of all ranks, taken from our homes, and
from all that usually makes the comfort of life, and crowded together
under many of the inflictions that constitute its misery; yet, in the
midst of all this, we fiddle, dress, rhyme, and visit as ceremoniously as
though we had nothing to disturb us.  Our beaux, after being correctly
frizz'd and powdered behind some door, compliment the belle just escaped
from a toilet, performed amidst the apparatus of the kitchen; three or
four beds are piled one upon another to make room for as many
card-tables; and the wits of the prison, who are all the morning
employed in writing doleful placets to obtain their liberty, in the
evening celebrate the loss of it in bout-rimees and acrostics.

I saw an ass at the _Corps de Garde_ this morning laden with violins and
music, and a female prisoner seldom arrives without her complement of
bandboxes.--Embarrassed, stifled as we are by our numbers, it does not
prevent a daily importation of lap-dogs, who form as consequential a part
of the community in a prison, as in the most superb hotel.  The faithful
valet, who has followed the fortunes of his master, does not so much
share his distresses as contribute to his pleasure by adorning his
person, or, rather, his head, for, excepting the article of
hair-dressing, the beaux here are not elaborate.  In short, there is an
indifference, a frivolity, in the French character, which, in
circumstances like the present, appears unaccountable.  But man is not
always consistent with himself, and there are occasions in which the
French are nothing less than philosophers.  Under all these externals of
levity, they are a very prudent people, and though they seem to bear
with infinite fortitude many of the evils of life, there are some in
which their sensibility is not to be questioned.  At the death of a
relation, or the loss of liberty, I have observed that a few hours
suffice, _pour prendre son parti;_ [To make up his mind.] but on any
occasion where his fortune has suffered, the liveliest Frenchman is _au
desespoir_ for whole days.  Whenever any thing is to be lost or gained,
all his characteristic indifference vanishes, and his attention becomes
mentally concentrated, without dissipating the habitual smile of his
countenance.  He may sometimes be deceived through deficiency of
judgment, but I believe not often by unguardedness; and, in a matter of
interest, a _petit maitre_ of five-and-twenty might _tout en badinage_
[All in the way of pleasantry.] maintain his ground against a whole
synagogue.--This disposition is not remarkable only in affairs that may
be supposed to require it, but extends to the minutest objects; and the
same oeconomy which watches over the mass of a Frenchman's estate,
guards with equal solicitude the menu property of a log of wood, or a
hen's nest.

There is at this moment a general scarcity of provisions, and we who are
confined are, of course, particularly inconvenienced by it; we do not
even get bread that is eatable, and it is curious to observe with what
circumspection every one talks of his resources.  The possessor of a few
eggs takes care not to expose them to the eye of his neighbour; and a
slice of white bread is a donation of so much consequence, that those who
procure any for themselves do not often put their friends to the pain
either of accepting or refusing it.

Mad. de ____ has been unwell for some days, and I could not help giving a
hint to a relation of her's whom we found here, and who has frequent
supplies of bread from the country, that the bread we eat was peculiarly
inimical to her; but I gained only a look of repulsive apprehension, and
a cold remark that it was very difficult to get good bread--_"et que
c'etoit bien malheureux."_ [And that it certainly was very unfortunate.]
I own this kind of selfishness is increased by a situation where our
wants are numerous, and our enjoyments few; and the great distinctions of
meum and tuum, which at all times have occasioned so much bad fellowship
in the world, are here perhaps more rigidly observed than any where else;
yet, in my opinion, a close-hearted consideration has always formed an
essential and a predominant quality in the French character.

People here do not ruin themselves, as with us, by hospitality; and
examples of that thoughtless profusion which we censure and regret,
without being able entirely to condemn, are very rare indeed.  In France
it is not uncommon to see a man apparently dissipated in his conduct, and
licentious in his morals, yet regular, even to parsimony, in his
pecuniary concerns.--He oeconomizes with his vices, and indulges in all
the excesses of fashionable life, with the same system of order that
accumulates the fortune of a Dutch miser.  Lord Chesterfield was
doubtless satisfied, that while his son remained in France, his precepts
would have all the benefit of living illustration; yet it is not certain
that this cautious and reflecting licentiousness has any merit over the
more imprudent irregularity of an English spendthrift: the one is,
however, likely to be more durable than the other; and, in fact, the
character of an old libertine is more frequent in France than in England.

If oeconomy preside even over the vices of the rich and fashionable, you
may conclude that the habits of the middling ranks of people of small
fortunes are still more scrupulously subjected to its influence.  A
French _menage_ [Household.] is a practical treatise on the art of
saving--a spirit of oeconomy pervades and directs every part of it, and
that so uniformly, so generally, and so consistently, as not to make the
same impression on a stranger as would a single instance where the whole
was not conducted on the same principle.  A traveller is not so forcibly
stricken by this part of the French character, because it is more real
than apparent, and does not seem the effect of reasoning or effort, which
is never consequential, but rather that of inclination and the natural
course of things.

A degree of parsimony, which an Englishman, who does not affect the
reputation of a Codrus, could not acquire without many self-combats,
appears in a Frenchman a matter of preference and convenience, and till
one has lived long and familiarly in the country, one is apt to mistake
principles for customs, and character for manners, and to attribute many
things to local which have their real source in moral causes.--The
traveller who sees nothing but gay furniture, and gay clothes, and
partakes on invitation of splendid repasts, returns to England the
enamoured panegyrist of French hospitality.--On a longer residence and
more domestic intercourse, all this is discoverable to be merely the
sacrifice of parsimony to vanity--the solid comforts of life are unknown,
and hospitality seldom extends beyond an occasional and ostentatious
reception.  The gilding, painting, glasses, and silk hangings of a French
apartment, are only a gay disguise; and a house, which to the eye may be
attractive even to splendour, often has not one room that an Englishman
would find tolerably convenient.  Every thing intended for use rather
than shew is scanty and sordid--all is _beau, magnifique, gentil,_ or
_superb,_ [Fine magnificent, genteel, or superb.] and nothing
comfortable.  The French have not the word, or its synonime, in their

In France, clothes are almost as durable as furniture, and the gaiety
which twenty or thirty years ago we were complaisant enough to admire is
far from being expensive.  People are not more than five or six hours a
day in their gala habits, and the whole of this period is judiciously
chosen between the hours of repast, so that no risk in incurred by
accidents at table.  Then the caprices of fashion, which in England are
so various and despotic, have here a more limited influence: the form of
a dress changes as long as the material is convertible, and when it has
outlasted the possibility of adaptation to a reigning mode, it is not on
that account rejected, but is generally worn in some way or other till
banished by the more rational motive of its decay.  All the expences of
tea-visits, breakfast-loungings, and chance-dinners, are avoided--an
evening visit is passed entirely at cards, a breakfast in form even for
the family is unusual, and there are very few houses where you could dine
without being previously engaged.  I am, indeed, certain, that (unless in
large establishments) the calculation for diurnal supply is so exact,
that the intrusion of a stranger would be felt by the whole family.  I
must, however, do them the justice to say, that on such occasions, and
where they find the thing to be inevitable, they put the best face
possible on it, and the guest is entertained, if not plentifully, and
with a very sincere welcome, at least with smiles and compliments.  The
French, indeed, allow, that they live less hospitably than the English:
but then they say they are not so rich; and it is true, property is not
so general, nor so much diffused, as with us.  This is, however, only
relative, and you will not suspect me of being so uncandid as to make
comparisons without allowing for every difference which is the effect of
necessity.  All my remarks of this kind are made after an unprejudiced
comparison of the people of the same rank or fortune in the two
countries;--yet even the most liberal examination must end by concluding,
that the oeconomy of the French too nearly approaches to meanness, and
that their civility is ostentatious, perhaps often either interested, or
even verbal.

You already exclaim, why, in the year 1793, you are characterizing a
nation in the style of Salmon! and implying a panegyric on the moral of
the School for Scandal!  I plead to the first part of the charge, and
shall hereafter defend my opinion against the more polished writers who
have succeeded Salmon.  For the moral of the School for Scandal, I have
always considered it as the seal of humanity on a comedy which would
otherwise be perfection.

It is not the oeconomy of the French that I am censuring, but their
vanity, which, engrossing all their means of expence, prefers show to
accommodation, and the parade of a sumptuous repast three or four times a
year to a plainer but more frequent hospitality.--I am far from being the
advocate of extravagance, or the enemy of domestic order; and the
liberality which is circumscribed only by prudence shall not find in me a

My ideas on the French character and manner of living may not be unuseful
to such of my countrymen as come to France with the project of retrieving
their affairs; for it is very necessary they should be informed, that it
is not so much the difference in the price of things, which makes a
residence here oeconomical, as a conformity to the habits of the country;
and if they were not deterred by a false shame from a temporary adoption
of the same system in England, their object might often be obtained
without leaving it.  For this reason it may be remarked, that the English
who bring English servants, and persist in their English mode of living,
do not often derive very solid advantages from their exile, and their
abode in France is rather a retreat from their creditors than the means
of paying their debts.

Adieu.--You will not be sorry that I have been able for a moment to
forget our personal sufferings, and the miserable politics of the
country.  The details of the former are not pleasant, and the latter grow
every day more inexplicable.



January 6, 1794.

If I had undertaken to follow the French revolution through all its
absurdities and iniquities, my indolence would long since have taken the
alarm, and I should have relinquished a task become too difficult and too
laborious.  Events are now too numerous and too complicated to be
described by occasional remarks; and a narrator of no more pretensions
than myself may be allowed to shrink from an abundance of matter which
will hereafter perplex the choice and excite the wonder of the
historian.--Removed from the great scene of intrigues, we are little
acquainted with them--we begin to suffer almost before we begin to
conjecture, and our solicitude to examine causes is lost in the rapidity
with which we feel their effects.

Amidst the more mischievous changes of a philosophic revolution, you will
have learned from the newspapers, that the French have adopted a new aera
and a new calendar, the one dating from the foundation of their republic,
and other descriptive of the climate of Paris, and the productions of the
French territory.  I doubt, however, if these new almanack-makers will
create so much confusion as might be supposed, or as they may desire, for
I do not find as yet that their system has made its way beyond the public
offices, and the country people are particularly refractory, for they
persist in holding their fairs, markets, &c. as usual, without any regard
to the hallowed decade of their legislators.  As it is to be presumed
that the French do not wish to relinquish all commercial intercourse with
other nations, they mean possibly to tack the republican calendar to the
rights of man, and send their armies to propagate them together;
otherwise the correspondence of a Frenchman will be as difficult to
interpret with mercantile exactness as the characters of the Chinese.

The vanity of these philosophers would, doubtless, be gratified by
forcing the rest of Europe and the civilized world to adopt their useless
and chimerical innovations, and they might think it a triumph to see the
inhabitant of the Hebrides date _"Vendemiaire,"_ [Alluding to the
vintage.] or the parched West-Indian _"Nivose;"_ but vanity is not on
this, as it is on many other occasions, the leading principle.--It was
hoped that a new arrangement of the year, and a different nomenclature of
the months, so as to banish all the commemorations of Christianity, might
prepare the way for abolishing religion itself, and, if it were possible
to impose the use of the new calendar so far as to exclude the old one,
this might certainly assist their more serious atheistical operations;
but as the success of such an introduction might depend on the will of
the people, and is not within the competence of the bayonet, the old year
will maintain its ground, and these pedantic triflers find that they have
laboured to no more extensive a purpose, than to furnish a date to the
newspapers, or to their own decrees, which no one will take the pains to

Mankind are in general more attached to customs than principles.  The
useful despotism of Peter, which subdued so many of the prejudices of his
countrymen, could not achieve the curtailment of their beards; and you
must not imagine that, with all the endurance of the French, these
continual attempts at innovation pass without murmurs: partial revolts
happen very frequently; but, as they are the spontaneous effect of
personal suffering, not of political manoeuvre, they are without concert
or union, of course easily quelled, and only serve to strengthen the
government.--The people of Amiens have lately, in one of these sudden
effusions of discontent, burnt the tree of liberty, and even the
representative, Dumont, has been menaced; but these are only the blows of
a coward who is alarmed at his own temerity, and dreads the chastisement
of it.*

     * The whole town of Bedouin, in the south of France, was burnt
     pursuant to a decree of the convention, to expiate the imprudence of
     some of its inhabitants in having cut down a dead tree of liberty.
     Above sixty people were guillotined as accomplices, and their bodies
     thrown into pits, dug by order of the representative, Magnet, (then
     on mission,) before their death.  These executions were succeeded by
     a conflagration of all the houses, and the imprisonment or
     dispersion of their possessors.  It is likewise worthy of remark,
     that many of these last were obliged, by express order of Maignet,
     to be spectators of the murder of their friends and relations.

This crime in the revolutionary code is of a very serious nature; and
however trifling it may appear to you, it depends only on the will of
Dumont to sacrifice many lives on the occasion.  But Dumont, though
erected by circumstances into a tyrant, is not sanguinary--he is by
nature and education passionate and gross, and in other times might only
have been a good natured Polisson.  Hitherto he has contented himself
with alarming, and making people tired of their lives, but I do not
believe he has been the direct or intentional cause of anyone's death.
He has so often been the hero of my adventures, that I mention him
familiarly to you, without reflecting, that though the delegate of more
than monarchical power here, he is too insignificant of himself to be
known in England. But the history of Dumont is that of two-thirds of the
Convention.  He was originally clerk to an attorney at Abbeville, and
afterwards set up for himself in a neighbouring village.  His youth
having been marked by some digressions from the "'haviour of reputation,"
his profession was far from affording him a subsistence; and the
revolution, which seems to have called forth all that was turbulent,
unprincipled, or necessitous in the country, naturally found a partizan
in an attorney without practice.--At the election of 1792, when the
King's fall and the domination of the Jacobins had spread so general a
terror that no man of character could be prevailed upon to be a candidate
for a public situation, Dumont availed himself of this timidity and
supineness in those who ought to have become the representatives of the
people; and, by a talent for intrigue, and a coarse facility of
phrase-making, (for he has no pretensions to eloquence,) prevailed on
the mob to elect him.  His local knowledge, active disposition, and
subservient industry, render him an useful kind of drudge to any
prevailing party, and, since the overthrow of the Brissotines, he has
been entrusted with the government of this and some of the neighbouring
departments.  He professes himself a zealous republican, and an apostle
of the doctrine of universal equality, yet unites in his person all the
attributes of despotism, and lives with more luxury and expence than
most of the _ci-devant_ gentry.  His former habitation at Oisemont is not
much better than a good barn; but patriotism is more profitable here
than in England, and he has lately purchased a large mansion belonging
to an emigrant.

     * "Britain no longer pays her patriots with her spoils:" and perhaps
     it is matter of congratulation to a country, when the profession of
     patriotism is not lucrative.  Many agreeable inferences may be made
     from it--the sentiment may have become too general for reward,
     Ministers too virtuous to fear, or even the people too enlightened
     to be deceived.

--His mode of travelling, which used at best to be in the _coche d'eau_
[Passage-boat.] or the diligence, is now in a coach and four, very
frequently accompanied by a led horse, and a party of dragoons.  I fear
some of your patriots behold this with envy, and it is not to be wondered
at that they should wish to see a similar revolution in England.  What a
seducing prospect for the assertors of liberty, to have the power of
imprisoning and guillotining all their countrymen!  What halcyon days,
when the aristocratic palaces* shall be purified by solacing the fatigues
of republican virtue, and the levellers of all distinction travel with
four horses and a military escort!--But, as Robespierre observes, you are
two centuries behind the French in patriotism and information; and I
doubt if English republicanism will ever go beyond a dinner, and toasting
the manes of Hampden and Sydney.  I would, therefore, seriously advise
any of my compatriots who may be enamoured of a government founded on the
rights of man, to quit an ungrateful country which seems so little
disposed to reward their labours, and enjoy the supreme delight of men a
systeme, that of seeing their theories in action.

     * Many of the emigrants' houses were bought by members of the
     Convention, or people in office.  At Paris, crouds of inferior
     clerks, who could not purchase, found means to get lodged in the
     most superb national edifices: Monceaux was the villa of
     Robespierre--St. Just occasionally amused himself at Raincy--Couthon
     succeed the Comte d'Artois at Bagatelle-and Vliatte, a juryman of
     the Revolutionary Tribunal, was lodged at the pavillion of Flora, in
     the Tuilleries, which he seems to have occupied as a sort of Maitre
     d'Hotel to the Comite de Salut Public.

_A propos_--a decree of the Convention has lately passed to secure the
person of Mr. Thomas Paine, and place seals on his papers.  I hope,
however, as he has been installed in all the rights of a French citizen,
in addition to his representative inviolability, that nothing more than a
temporary retreat is intended for him.  Perhaps even his personal
sufferings may prove a benefit to mankind.  He may, like Raleigh, "in his
prison hours enrich the world," and add new proselytes to the cause of
freedom.  Besides, human evils are often only blessings in a questionable
form--Mr. Paine's persecutions in England made him a legislator in
France.  Who knows but his persecutions in France may lead to some new
advancement, or at least add another line to the already crouded
title-pages that announce his literary and political distinctions!


January, 1794.

The total suppression of all religious worship in this country is an
event of too singular and important a nature not to have been commented
upon largely by the English papers; but, though I have little new to add
on the subject, my own reflections have been too much occupied in
consequence for me to pass it over in silence.

I am yet in the first emotions of wonder: the vast edifice which had been
raised by the blended efforts of religion and superstition, which had
been consecrated by time, endeared by national taste, and become
necessary by habit, has now disappeared, and scarcely left a vestige of
its ruins.  To those who revert only to the genius of the Catholic
religion, and to former periods of the history of France, this event must
seem incredible; and nothing but constant opportunities of marking its
gradual approach can reconcile it to probability.  The pious christian
and the insidious philosopher have equally contributed to the general
effect, though with very different intentions: the one, consulting only
his reason, wished to establish a pure and simple mode of worship, which,
divested of the allurements of splendid processions and imposing
ceremonies, should teach the people their duty, without captivating their
senses; the other, better acquainted with French character, knew how
little these views were compatible with it, and hoped, under the specious
pretext of banishing the too numerous ornaments of the Catholic practice,
to shake the foundations of Christianity itself.  Thus united in their
efforts, though dissimilar in their motives, all parties were eager at
the beginning of the revolution for a reform in the Church: the wealth of
the Clergy, the monastic establishments, the supernumerary saints, were
devoted and attacked without pity, and without regret; and, in the zeal
and hurry of innovation, the decisive measure, which reduced
ecclesiastics to small pensions dependent on the state, was carried,
before those who really meant well were aware of its consequences.  The
next step was, to make the receiving these pensions subject to an oath,
which the selfish philosopher, who can coldly calculate on, and triumph
in, the weakness of human nature, foresaw would be a brand of discord,
certain to destroy the sole force which the Clergy yet possessed--their
union, and the public opinion.

Unfortunately, these views were not disappointed: conviction, interest,
or fear, prevailed on many to take the oath; while doubt, worldly
improvidence, or a scrupulous piety, deterred others.  A schism took
place between the jurors and nonjurors--the people became equally
divided, and adhered either to the one or the other, as their habits or
prepossessions directed them.  Neither party, as it may be imagined,
could see themselves deprived of any portion of the public esteem,
without concern, perhaps without rancour; and their mutual animosity, far
from gaining proselytes to either, contributed only to the immediate
degradation and future ruin of both.  Those, however, who had not taken
the prescribed oath, were in general more popular than what were called
the constitutionalists, and the influence they were supposed to exert in
alienating the minds of their followers from the new form of government,
supplied the republican party with a pretext for proposing their

     *The King's exertion of the power vested in him by the constitution,
     by putting a temporary negative on this decree, it is well known,
     was one of the pretexts for dethroning him.

At the King's deposition this decree took place, and such of the
nonjuring priests as were not massacred in the prisons, or escaped the
search, were to be embarked for Guiana.  The wiser and better part of
those whose compliances entitled them to remain, were, I believe, far
from considering this persecution of their opponents as a triumph--to
those who did, it was of short duration.  The Convention, which had
hitherto attempted to disguise its hatred of the profession by censure
and abuse of a part of its members, began now to ridicule the profession
itself: some represented it as useless--others as pernicious and
irreconcileable with political freedom; and a discourse* was printed,
under the sanction of the Assembly, to prove, that the only feasible
republic must be supported by pure atheism.

     * Extracts from the Report of Anacharsis Cloots, member of the
     Committee of Public Instruction, printed by order of the National

     "Our _Sans-culottes_ want no other sermon but the rights of man, no
     other doctrine but the constitutional precepts and practice, nor any
     other church than where the section or the club hold their meetings,

     "The propagation of the rights of man ought to be presented to the
     astonished world pure and without stain.  It is not by offering
     strange gods to our neighbours that we shall operate their
     conversion.  We can never raise them from their abject state by
     erecting one altar in opposition to another.  A trifling heresy is
     infinitely more revolting than having no religion at all.  Nature,
     like the sun, diffuses her light without the assistance of priests
     and vestals.  While we were constitutional heretics, we maintained
     an army of an hundred thousand priests, who waged war equally with
     the Pope and the disciples of Calvin.  We crushed the old priesthood
     by means of the new, and while we compelled every sect to contribute
     to the payment of a pretended national religion, we became at once
     the abhorrence of all the Catholics and Protestants in Europe.  The
     repulsion of our religious belief counteracted the attraction of our
     political principles.--But truth is at length triumphant, and all
     the ill-intentioned shall no more be able to detach our neighbours
     from the dominion of the rights of man, under pretext of a religious
     dominion which no longer exists.--The purpose of religion is no how
     so well answered as by presenting carte blanche to the abused world.
     Every one will then be at liberty to form his spiritual regimen to
     his own taste, till in the end the invincible ascendant of reason
     shall teach him that the Supreme Being, the Eternal Being, is no
     other than Nature uncreated and uncreatable; and that the only
     Providence is the association of mankind in freedom and equality!--
     This sovereign providence affords comfort to the afflicted, rewards
     the good, and punishes the wicked.  It exercises no unjust
     partialities, like the providence of knaves and fools.  Man, when
     free, wants no other divinity than himself.  This god will not cost
     us a single farthing, not a single tear, nor a drop of blood.  From
     the summit of our mountain he hath promulgated his laws, traced in
     evident characters on the tables of nature.  From the East to the
     West they will be understood without the aid of interpreters,
     comments, or miracles.  Every other ritual will be torn in pieces at
     the appearance of that of reason.  Reason dethrones both the Kings
     of the earth, and the Kings of heaven.--No monarch above, if we wish
     to preserve our republic below.

     "Volumes have been written to determine whether or no a republic of
     Atheists could exist.  I maintain that every other republic is a
     chimera.  If you once admit the existence of a heavenly Sovereign,
     you introduce the wooden horse within your walls!--What you adore by
     day will be your destruction at night.

     "A people of theists necessarily become revelationists, that is to
     say, slaves of priests, who are but religious go-betweens, and
     physicians of damned souls.

     "If I were a scoundrel, I should make a point of exclaiming against
     atheism, for a religious mask is very convenient to a traitor.

     "The intolerance of truth will one day proscribe the very name of
     temple 'fanum,' the etymology of fanaticism.

     "We shall instantly see the monarchy of heaven condemned in its turn
     by the revolutionary tribunal of victorious Reason; for Truth,
     exalted on the throne of Nature, is sovereignly intolerant.

     "The republic of the rights of man is, properly speaking, neither
     theistical nor atheistical--it is nihilistical."

Many of the most eminent conforming Prelates and Clergy were arrested,
and even individuals, who had the reputation of being particularly
devout, were marked as objects of persecution.  A new calendar was
devised, which excluded the ancient festivals, and limited public worship
to the decade, or tenth day, and all observance of the Sabbath was
interdicted.  The prisons were crouded with sufferers in the cause of
religion, and all who had not the zeal or the courage of martyrs,
abstained from manifesting any attachment to the Christian faith.

While this consternation was yet recent, the Deputies on mission in the
departments shut up the churches entirely: the refuse of low clubs were
paid and encouraged to break the windows and destroy the monuments; and
these outrages, which, it was previously concerted, should at first
assume the appearance of popular tumult, were soon regulated and directed
by the mandates of the Convention themselves.  The churches were again
opened, an atheistic ritual, and licentious homilies,* were substituted
for the proscribed service--and an absurd and ludicrous imitation of the
Greek mythology was exhibited, under the title of the Religion of

     * I have read a discourse pronounced in a church at Paris, on the
     decade, so indecent and profane, that the most humble audience of a
     country-puppet show in England would not have tolerated it.

On the principal church of every town was inscribed, "The Temple of
Reason;" and a tutelary goddess was installed with a ceremony equally
pedantic, ridiculous, and profane.*

     * At Havre, the goddess of Reason was drawn on a car by four
     cart-horses, and as it was judged necessary, to prevent accidents,
     that the horses should be conducted by those they were accustomed
     to, the carters were likewise put in requisition and furnished with
     cuirasses a l'antique from the theatre.  The men, it seems, being
     neither martial nor learned, were not au fait at this equipment,
     and concluding it was only a waistcoat of ceremony, invested
     themselves with the front behind, and the back part laced before,
     to the great amusement of the few who were sensible of the mistake.

Yet the philosophers did not on this occasion disdain those adventitious
aids, the use of which they had so much declaimed against while they were
the auxiliaries of Christianity.*

     * Mr. Gibbon reproaches the Christians with their adoption of the
     allurements of the Greek mythology.--The Catholics have been more
     hostilely despoiled by their modern persecutors, and may retort that
     the religion of reason is a more gross appeal to the senses than the
     darkest ages of superstition would have ventured on.

Music, processions, and decorations, which had been banished from the
ancient worship, were introduced in the new one, and the philosophical
reformer, even in the very attempt to establish a religion purely
metaphysical, found himself obliged to inculcate it by a gross and
material idolatry.*--

     * The French do not yet annex any other idea to the religion of
     reason than that of the female who performs the part of the goddess.

Thus, by submitting his abstractions to the genius of the people, and the
imperfections of our nature, perhaps the best apology was offered for the
errors of that worship which had been proscribed, persecuted, and

Previous to the tenth day, on which a celebration of this kind was to
take place, a Deputy arrived, accompanied by the female goddess:* that
is, (if the town itself did not produce one for the purpose,) a Roman
dress of white satin was hired from the theatre, with which she was
invested--her head covered with a red cap, ornamented with oak leaves--
one arm was reclined on a plough, the other grasped a spear--and her feet
were supported by a globe, and environed by mutilated emblems of
seodality. [It is not possible to explain this costume as appropriate.]

     * The females who personated the new divinity were usually selected
     from amongst those who "might make sectaries of whom they bid but
     follow," but who were more conspicuous for beauty than any other
     celestial attribute.--The itinerant goddess of the principal towns
     in the department de la Somme was the mistress of one Taillefer, a
     republican General, brother to the Deputy of the same name.--I know
     not, in this military government, whether the General's services on
     the occasion were included in his other appointments.  At Amiens, he
     not only provided the deity, but commanded the detachment that
     secured her a submissive adoration.

Thus equipped, the divinity and her appendages were borne on the
shoulders of Jacobins "en bonnet rouge," and escorted by the National
Guard, Mayor, Judges, and all the constituted authorities, who, whether
diverted or indignant, were obliged to preserve a respectful gravity of
exterior.  When the whole cavalcade arrived at the place appointed, the
goddess was placed on an altar erected for the occasion, from whence she
harangued the people, who, in return, proffered their adoration, and sung
the Carmagnole, and other republican hymns of the same kind.  They then
proceeded in the same order to the principal church, in the choir of
which the same ceremonies were renewed: a priest was procured to abjure
his faith and avow the whole of Christianity an imposture;* and the
festival concluded with the burning of prayer-books, saints,
confessionals, and every thing appropriated to the use of public

     *It must be observed, in justice to the French Clergy, that it was
     seldom possible to procure any who would consent to this infamy.  In
     such cases, the part was exhibited by a man hired and dressed for
     the purpose.--The end of degrading the profession in the eyes of the
     people was equally answered.

     ** In many places, valuable paintings and statues were burnt or
     disfigured.  The communion cups, and other church plate, were, after
     being exorcised in Jacobin revels, sent to the Convention, and the
     gold and silver, (as the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
     Empire invidiously expresses himself,) the pearls and jewels, were
     wickedly converted to the service of mankind; as if any thing whose
     value is merely fictitious, could render more service to mankind
     than when dedicated to an use which is equally the solace of the
     rich and the poor--which gratifies the eye without exciting
     cupidity, soothes the bed of sickness, and heals the wounds of
     conscience.  Yet I am no advocate for the profuse decorations of
     Catholic churches; and if I seem to plead in their behalf, it is
     that I recollect no instance where the depredators of them have
     appropriated the spoil to more laudable purposes.

The greater part of the attendants looked on in silent terror and
astonishment; whilst others, intoxicated, or probably paid to act this
scandalous farce, danced round the flames with an appearance of frantic
and savage mirth.--It is not to be forgotten, that representatives of the
people often presided as the high priests of these rites; and their
official dispatches to the convention, in which these ceremonies were
minutely described, were always heard with bursts of applause, and
sanctioned by decrees of insertion in the bulletin.*

     * A kind of official newspaper distributed periodically at the
     expence of Government in large towns, and pasted up in public
     places--it contained such news as the convention chose to impart,
     which was given with the exact measure of truth or falsehood that
     suited the purpose of the day.

I have now conducted you to the period in which I am contemplating France
in possession of all the advantages which a total dereliction of
religious establishments can bestow--at that consummation to which the
labours of modern philosophers have so long tended.

Ye Shaftesburys, Bolingbrokes, Voltaires, and must I add the name of
Gibbon,* behold yourselves inscribed on the registers of fame with a
Laplanche, a Chenier, an Andre Dumont, or a Fouche!**--

     * The elegant satirist of Christianity will smile at the presumption
     of so humble a censurer.--It is certain, the misapplication only of
     such splendid talents could embolden me to mention the name of the
     possessor with diminished respect.

     ** These are names too contemptible for notice, but for the mischief
     to which they were instrumental--they were among the first and most
     remarkable persecutors of religion.

Do not blush at the association; your views have been the same; and the
subtle underminer of man's best comfort in the principles of his
religion, is even more criminal than him who prohibits the external
exercise of it.  Ridicule of the sacred writings is more dangerous than
burning them, and a sneer at the miracles of the gospel more mischievous
than disfiguring the statues of the evangelists; and it must be confessed
that these Anti-christian Iconoclasts themselves might probably have been
content to "believe and say their prayers," had not the intolerance of
philosophy made them atheists and persecutors.--The coarse legend of
"death is the sleep of eternity,"* is only a compendium of the fine-drawn
theories of the more elaborate materialist, and the depositaries of the
dead will not corrupt more by the exhibition of this desolating standard,
than the libraries of the living by the volumes which hold out the same
oblivion to vice, and discouragement to virtue.--

     * Posts, bearing the inscription "la mort est un sommeil eternel,"
     were erected in many public burying-grounds.--No other ceremony is
     observed with the dead than enclosing the body in some rough boards,
     and sending it off by a couple of porters, (in their usual garb,)
     attended by a municipal officer.  The latter inscribes on a register
     the name of the deceased, who is thrown into a grave generally
     prepared for half a score, and the whole business is finished.

The great experiment of governing a civilized people without religion
will now be made; and should the morals, the manners, or happiness of the
French, be improved by it, the sectaries of modern philosophy may
triumph.  Should it happen otherwise, the Christian will have an
additional motive for cherishing his faith: but even the afflictions of
humanity will not, I fear, produce either regret or conviction in his
adversary; for the prejudices of philosophers and systemists are

     * _"Ce ne sont point les philosophes qui connoissent le mieux les
     hommes.  Ils ne les voient qu'a travers les prejuges, et je ne fache
     aucun etat ou l'on en ait tant."_--J. J. Rousseau. ["It is not among
     philosophers that we are to look for the most perfect knowledge of
     human nature.--They view it only through the prejudices of
     philosophy, and I know of no profession where prejudices are more

Providence, Jan. 29.

We are now quite domesticated here, though in a very miserable way,
without fire, and with our mattresses, on the boards; but we nevertheless
adopt the spirit of the country, and a total absence of comfort does not
prevent us from amusing ourselves.  My friend knits, and draws landscapes
on the backs of cards; and I have established a correspondence with an
old bookseller, who sends me treatises of chemistry and fortifications,
instead of poetry and memoirs.  I endeavoured at first to borrow books of
our companions, but this resource was soon exhausted, and the whole
prison supplied little more than a novel of Florian's, _Le Voyage du jeune
Anarcharsis,_ and some of the philosophical romances of Voltaire.--They
say it ennuyes them to read; and I observe, that those who read at all,
take their books into the garden, and prefer the most crowded walks.
These studious persons, who seem to surpass Crambe himself in the faculty
of abstraction, smile and bow at every comma, without any appearance of
derangement from such frequent interruptions.

Time passes sorrowly, rather than slowly; and my thoughts, without being
amused, are employed.  The novelty of our situation, the past, the
future, all offer so many subjects of reflection, that my mind has more
occasion for repose than amusement.  My only external resource is
conversing with our fellow-prisoners, and learning the causes of their
detention.  These relations furnish me with a sort of "abstract of the
times," and mark the character of the government better than
circumstances of more apparent consequence; for what are battles, sieges,
and political machinations, but as they ultimately affect the happiness
of society?  And when I learn that the lives, the liberty, and property
of no class are secure from violation, it is not necessary one should be
at Paris to form an opinion of this period of the revolution, and of
those who conduct it.

The persecution which has hitherto been chiefly directed against the
Noblesse, has now a little subsided, and seems turned against religion
and commerce.  People are daily arrested for assisting at private masses,
concealing images, or even for being possessors of religious books.
Merchants are sent here as monopolizers, and retailers, under various
pretexts, in order to give the committees an opportunity of pillaging
their shops.  It is not uncommon to see people of the town who are our
guards one day, become our fellow-prisoners the next; and a few weeks
since, the son of an old gentleman who has been some time here, after
being on guard the whole day, instead of being relieved at the usual
hour, was joined by his wife and children, under the escort of a couple
of dragoons, who delivered the whole family into the custody of our
keeper; and this appears to have happened without any other motive than
his having presented a petition to Dumont in behalf of his father.

An old man was lately taken from his house in the night, and brought
here, because he was said to have worn the cross of St. Louis.--The fact
is, however, that he never did wear this obnoxious distinction; and
though his daughter has proved this incontrovertibly to Dumont, she
cannot obtain his liberty: and the poor young woman, after making two or
three fruitless journeys to Paris, is obliged to content herself with
seeing her father occasionally at the gate.

The refectory of the convent is inhabited by hospital nuns.  Many of the
hospitals in France had a sort of religious order annexed to them, whose
business it was to attend the sick; and habit, perhaps too the
association of the offices of humanity with the duties of religion, had
made them so useful in their profession, that they were suffered to
remain, even after the abolition of the regular monasteries.  But the
devastating torrent of the revolution at length reached them: they were
accused of bestowing a more tender solicitude on their aristocratic
patients than on the wounded volunteers and republicans; and, upon these
curious charges, they have been heaped into carts, without a single
necessary, almost without covering, sent from one department to another,
and distributed in different prisons, where they are perishing with cold,
sickness, and want!  Some people are here only because they happened to
be accidentally at a house when the owner was arrested;* and we have one
family who were taken at dinner, with their guests, and the plate they
were using!

     * It was not uncommon for a mandate of arrest to direct the taking
     "Citizen Such-a-one, and all persons found in his house."

A grand-daughter of the celebrated De Witt, who resided thirty leagues
from hence, was arrested in the night, put in an open cart, without any
regard to her age, her sex, or her infirmities, though the rain fell in
torrents; and, after sleeping on straw in different prisons on the road,
was deposited here.  As a Fleming, the law places her in the same
predicament with a very pretty young woman who has lived some months at
Amiens; but Dumont, who is at once the maker, the interpreter, and
executor of the laws, has exempted the latter from the general
proscription, and appears daily with her in public; whereas poor Madame
De Witt is excluded from such indulgence, being above seventy years old--
and is accused, moreover, of having been most exemplarily charitable,
and, what is still worse, very religious.--I have given these instances
not as any way remarkable, and only that you may form some idea of the
pretexts which have served to cover France with prisons, and to conduct
so many of its inhabitants to the scaffold.

It is impossible to reflect on a country in such a situation, without
abhorring the authors of it, and dreading the propagation of their
doctrines.  I hope they neither have imitators nor admirers in England;
yet the convention in their debates, the Jacobins, and all the French
newspapers, seem so sanguine in their expectation, and so positive in
their assertions of an English revolution, that I occasionally, and in
spite of myself, feel a vague but serious solicitude, which I should not
have supposed the apprehension of any political evil could inspre.  I
know the good sense and information of my countrymen offer a powerful
resource against the love of change and metaphysical subtilties; but, it
is certain, the French government have much depended on the spirit of
party, and the zeal of their propagandistes.  They talk of a British
convention, of a conventional army, and, in short, all France seem
prepared to see their neighbours involved in the same disastrous system
with themselves.  The people are not a little supported in this error by
the extracts that are given them from your orators in the House of
Commons, which teem with nothing but complaints against the oppression of
their own country, and enthusiastic admiration of French liberty.  We
read and wonder--collate the Bill of Rights with the Code
Revolutionnaire, and again fear what we cannot give credit to.

Since the reports I allude to have gained ground, I have been forcibly
stricken by a difference in the character of the two nations.  At the
prospect of a revolution, all the French who could conveniently leave the
country, fled; and those that remained (except adventurers and the
banditti that were their accomplices) studiously avoided taking any part.
But so little are our countrymen affected with this selfish apathy, that
I am told there is scarcely one here who, amidst all his present
sufferings, does not seem to regret his absence from England, more on
account of not being able to oppose this threatened attack on our
constitution, than for any personal motive.--The example before them
must, doubtless, tend to increase this sentiment of genuine patriotism;
for whoever came to France with but a single grain of it in his
composition, must return with more than enough to constitute an hundred
patriots, whose hatred of despotism is only a principle, and who have
never felt its effects.--Adieu.

February 2, 1794.

The factions which have chosen to give France the appellation of a
republic, seem to have judged, and with some reason, that though it might
answer their purpose to amuse the people with specious theories of
freedom, their habits and ideas were far from requiring that these fine
schemes should be carried into practice.  I know of no example equal to
the submission of the French at this moment; and if "departed spirits
were permitted to review the world," the shades of Richelieu or Louvois
might hover with envy round the Committee of Public Welfare, and regret
the undaring moderation of their own politics.

How shall I explain to an Englishman the doctrine of universal
requisition?  I rejoice that you can imagine nothing like it.--After
establishing, as a general principle, that the whole country is at the
disposal of government, succeeding decrees have made specific claims on
almost every body, and every thing.  The tailors, shoemakers,* bakers,
smiths, sadlers, and many other trades, are all in requisition--carts,
horses, and carriages of every kind, are in requisition--the stables and
cellars are put in requisition for the extraction of saltpetre, and the
houses to lodge soldiers, or to be converted into prisons.

     * In order to prevent frauds, the shoemakers were obliged to make
     only square-toed shoes, and every person not in the army was
     forbidden to wear them of this form.  Indeed, people of any
     pretentions to patriotism (that is to say, who were much afraid) did
     not venture to wear any thing but wooden shoes; as it had been
     declared anti-civique, if not suspicious, to walk in leather.

--Sometimes shopkeepers are forbidden to sell their cloth, nails, wine,
bread, meat, &c.  There are instances where whole towns have been kept
without the necessaries of life for several days together, in consequence
of these interdictions; and I have known it proclaimed by beat of drum,
that whoever possessed two uniforms, two hats, or two pair of shoes,
should relinquish one for the use of the army!  Yet with all these
efforts of despotism, the republican troops are in many respects ill
supplied, the produce being too often converted to the use of the agents
of government, who are all Jacobins, and whose peculations are suffered
with impunity, because they are too necessary, or perhaps too formidable
for punishment.

These proceedings, which are not the less mischievous for being absurd,
must end in a total destruction of commerce: the merchant will not import
what he may be obliged to sell exclusively to government at an arbitrary
and inadequate valuation.--Those who are not imprisoned, and have it in
their power, are for the most part retired from business, or at least
avoid all foreign speculations; so that France may in a few months depend
only on her internal resources.  The same measures which ruin one class,
serve as a pretext to oppress and levy contributions on the rest.--In
order to make this right of seizure still more productive, almost every
village has its spies, and the domiciliary visits are become so frequent,
that a man is less secure in his own house, than in a desert amidst
Arabs.  On these occasions, a band of Jacobins, with a municipal officer
at their head, enter sans ceremonie, over-run your apartments, and if
they find a few pounds of sugar, soap, or any other article which they
choose to judge more than sufficient for immediate consumption, they take
possession of the whole as a monopoly, which they claim for the use of
the republic, and the terrified owner, far from expostulating, thinks
himself happy if he escapes so well.--But this is mere vulgar tyranny:
a less powerful despotism might invade the security of social life, and
banish its comforts.  We are prone to suffer, and it requires often
little more than the will to do evil to give us a command over the
happiness of others.  The Convention are more original, and, not
satisfied with having reduced the people to the most abject slavery,
they exact a semblance of content, and dictate at stated periods the
chastisement which awaits those who refuse to smile.

The splendid ceremonies at Paris, which pass for popular rejoicings,
merit that appellation less than an auto de fe.  Every movement is
previously regulated by a Commissioner appointed for the purpose,
(to whom en passant these fetes are very lucrative jobs,) a plan of the
whole is distributed, in which is prescribed with great exactness, that
at such and such parts the people are to "melt into tears," at others
they are to be seized with a holy enthusiasm, and at the conclusion of
the whole they are to rend the air with the cry of "Vive la Convention!"
--These celebrations are always attended by a military force, sufficient
to ensure their observance, besides a plentiful mixture of spies to
notice refractory countenances or faint acclamations.

The departments which cannot imitate the magnificence of Paris, are
obliged, nevertheless, to manifest their satisfaction.  At every occasion
on which a rejoicing is ordered, the same kind of discipline is
preserved; and the aristocrats, whose fears in general overcome their
principles, are often not the least zealous attendants.

At the retaking of Toulon, when abandoned by our countrymen, the National
Guards were every where assembled to participate in the festivity, under
a menace of three days imprisonment.  Those persons who did not
illuminate their houses were to be considered as suspicious, and treated
as such: yet, even with all these precautions, I am informed the business
was universally cold, and the balls thinly attended, except by
aristocrats and relations of emigrants, who, in some places, with a
baseness not excused even by their terrors, exhibited themselves as a
public spectacle, and sang the defeats of that country which was armed in
their defence.

I must here remark to you a circumstance which does still less honour to
the French character; and which you will be unwilling to believe.  In
several towns the officers and others, under whose care the English were
placed during their confinement, were desirous sometimes on account of
the peculiar hardship of their situation as foreigners, to grant them
little indulgences, and even more liberty than to the French prisoners;
and in this they were justified on several considerations, as well as
that of humanity.--They knew an Englishman could not escape, whatever
facility might be given him, without being immediately retaken; and that
if his imprisonment were made severe, he had fewer external resources and
alleviations than the natives of the country: but these favourable
dispositions were of no avail--for whenever any of our countrymen
obtained an accommodation, the jealousy of the French took umbrage, and
they were obliged to relinquish it, or hazard the drawing embarrassment
on the individual who had served them.

You are to notice, that the people in general, far from being averse to
seeing the English treated with a comparative indulgence, were even
pleased at it; and the invidious comparisons and complaints which
prevented it, proceeded from the gentry, from the families of those who
had found refuge in England, and who were involved in the common
persecution.--I have, more than once, been reproached by a female
aristocrat with the ill success of the English army; and many, with whom
I formerly lived on terms of intimacy, would refuse me now the most
trifling service.--I have heard of a lady, whose husband and brother are
both in London, who amuses herself in teaching a bird to repeat abuse of
the English.

It has been said, that the day a man becomes a slave, he loses half his
virtue; and if this be true as to personal slavery, judging from the
examples before me, I conclude it equally so of political bondage.--The
extreme despotism of the government seems to have confounded every
principle of right and wrong, every distinction of honour and dishonour
and the individual, of whatever class, alive only to the sense of
personal danger, embraces without reluctance meanness or disgrace, if it
insure his safety.--A tailor or shoemaker, whose reputation perhaps is
too bad to gain him a livelihood by any trade but that of a patriot,
shall be besieged by the flatteries of people of rank, and have levees as
numerous as Choiseul or Calonne in their meridian of power.

When a Deputy of the Convention is sent to a town on mission, sadness
takes possession of every heart, and gaiety of every countenance.  He is
beset with adulatory petitions, and propitiating gifts; the Noblesse who
have escaped confinement form a sort of court about his person; and
thrice happy is the owner of that habitation at which he condescends to

     * When a Deputy arrives, the gentry of the town contend with jealous
     rivalship for the honour of lodging him; and the most eloquent
     eulogist of republican simplicity in the Convention does not fail to
     prefer a large house and a good table, even though the unhallowed
     property of an aristocrat.--It is to be observed, that these
     Missionaries travel in a very patriarchal style, accompanied by
     their wives, children, and a numerous train of followers, who are
     not delicate in availing themselves of this hospitality, and are
     sometimes accused of carrying off the linen, or any thing else
     portable--even the most decent behave on these occasions as though
     they were at an inn.

--A Representative of gallantry has no reason to envy either the
authority of the Grand Signor, or the licence of his seraglio--he is
arbiter of the fate of every woman that pleases him; and, it is supposed,
that many a fair captive has owed her liberty to her charms, and that the
philosophy of a French husband has sometimes opened the doors of his

Dumont, who is married, and has besides the countenance of a white Negro,
never visits us without occasioning a general commotion amongst all the
females, especially those who are young and pretty.  As soon as it is
known that he is expected, the toilettes are all in activity, a
renovation of rouge and an adjustment of curls take place, and, though
performed with more haste, not with less solicitude, than the preparatory
splendour of a first introduction.--When the great man arrives, he finds
the court by which he enters crowded by these formidable prisoners, and
each with a petition in her hand endeavours, with the insidious coquetry
of plaintive smiles and judicious tears, that brighten the eye without
deranging the features, to attract his notice and conciliate his favour.
Happy those who obtain a promise, a look of complacence, or even of
curiosity!--But the attention of this apostle of republicanism is not
often bestowed, except on high rank, or beauty; and a woman who is old,
or ill dressed, that ventures to approach him, is usually repulsed with
vulgar brutality--while the very sight of a male suppliant renders him
furious.  The first half hour he walks about, surrounded by his fair
cortege, and is tolerably civil; but at length, fatigued, I suppose by
continual importunity, he loses his temper, departs, and throws all the
petitions he has received unopened into the fire.

Adieu--the subject is too humiliating to dwell on.  I feel for myself, I
feel for human nature, when I see the fastidiousness of wealth, the more
liberal pride of birth, and the yet more allowable pretensions of beauty,
degraded into the most abject submission to such a being as Dumont.  Are
our principles every where the mere children of circumstance, or is it in
this country only that nothing is stable?  For my own part I love
inflexibility of character; and pride, even when ill founded, seems more
respectable while it sustains itself, than concessions which, refused to
the suggestions of reason, are yielded to the dictates of fear.--Yours.

February 12, 1794.

I was too much occupied by my personal distresses to make any remarks on
the revolutionary government at the time of its adoption.  The text of
this political phoenomenon must be well known in England--I shall,
therefore, confine myself to giving you a general idea of its spirit and
tendency,--It is, compared to regular government, what force is to
mechanism, or the usual and peaceful operations of nature to the ravages
of a storm--it substitutes violence for conciliation, and sweeps with
precipitate fury all that opposes its devastating progress.  It refers
every thing to a single principle, which is in itself not susceptible of
definition, and, like all undefined power, is continually vibrating
between despotism and anarchy.  It is the execrable shape of Milton's
Death, "which shape hath none," and which can be described only by its
effects.--For instance, the revolutionary tribunal condemns without
evidence, the revolutionary committees imprison without a charge, and
whatever assumes the title of revolutionary is exonerated from all
subjection to humanity, decency, reason, or justice.--Drowning the
insurgents, their wives and children, by boatloads, is called, in the
dispatch to the Convention, a revolutionary measure--*

     * The detail of the horrors committed in La Vendee and at Nantes
     were not at this time fully known.  Carrier had, however,
     acknowledged, in a report read to the Convention, that a boat-load
     of refractory priests had been drowned, and children of twelve years
     old condemned by a military commission!  One Fabre Marat, a
     republican General, wrote, about the same period, I think from
     Angers, that the Guillotine was too slow, and powder scarce, so that
     it was concluded more expedient to drown the rebels, which he calls
     a patriotic baptism!--The following is a copy of a letter addressed
     to the Mayor of Paris by a Commissary of the Government:

"You will give us pleasure by transmitting the details of your fete at
Paris last decade, with the hymns that were sung.  Here we all cried
_"Vive la Republique!"_ as we ever do, when our holy mother Guillotine
is at work.  Within these three days she has shaved eleven priests, one
_ci-devant_ noble, a nun, a general, and a superb Englishman, six feet
high, and as he was too tall by a head, we have put that into the sack! 
At the same time eight hundred rebels were shot at the Pont du Ce, and
their carcases thrown into the Loire!--I understand the army is on the
track of the runaways.  All we overtake we shoot on the spot, and in
such numbers that the ways are heaped with them!"

--At Lyons, it is revolutionary to chain three hundred victims together
before the mouths of loaded cannon, and massacre those who escape the
discharge with clubs and bayonets;* and at Paris, revolutionary juries
guillotine all who come before them.--**

     * The Convention formally voted their approbation of this measure,
     and Collot d'Herbois, in a report on the subject, makes a kind of
     apostrophical panegyric on the humanity of his colleagues.  "Which
     of you, Citizens, (says he,) would not have fired the cannon?  Which
     of you would not joyfully have destroyed all these traitors at a

     ** About this time a woman who sold newspapers, and the printer of
     them, were guillotined for paragraphs deemed incivique.

--Yet this government is not more terrible than it is minutely vexations.
One's property is as little secure as one's existence.  Revolutionary
committees every where sequestrate in the gross, in order to plunder in

     * The revolutionary committees, when they arrested any one,
     pretended to affix seals in form.  The seal was often, however, no
     other than the private one of some individual employed--sometimes
     only a button or a halfpenny, which was broken as often as the
     Committee wanted access to the wine or other effects.  Camille
     Desmoulins, in an address to Freron, his fellow-deputy, describes
     with some humour the mode of proceeding of these revolutionary

_"Avant hier, deux Commissaires de la section de Mutius Scaevola, montent
chez lui--ils trouvent dans la bibliotheque des livres de droit; et
non-obstant le decret qui porte qu'on ne touchera point Domat ni a Charles
Dumoulin, bien qu'ils traitent de matieres feodales, ils sont main basse
sur la moitie de la bibliotheque, et chargent deux Chrocheteurs des
livres paternels.  Ils trouvent une pendule, don't la pointe de Paiguille
etoit, comme la plupart des pointes d'aiguilles, terminee en trefle: il
leur semble que cette pointe a quelque chose d'approchant d'une fleur de
lys; et non-obstant le decret qui ordonne de respecter les monumens des
arts, il confisquent la pendule.--Notez bien qu'il y avoit a cote une
malle sur laquelle etoit l'adresse fleurdelisee du marchand.--Ici il n'y
avoit pas moyen de aier que ce fut une belle et bonne fleur de lys; mais
comme la malle ne valoit pas un corset, les Commissaires se contentent de
rayer les lys, au lieu que la malheureuse pendule, qui vaut bien 1200
livres, est, malgre son trefle, emportee par eux-memes, qui ne se fioient
pas aux Chrocheteurs d'un poid si precieux--et ce, en vertu du droit que
Barrere a appelle si heureusement le droit de prehension, quoique le
decret s'opposat, dans l'espece, a l'application de ce droit.--Enfin,
notre decemvirat sectionnaire, qui se mettoit ainsi au-dessus des
decrets, trouve le brevet de pension de mon beau-pere, qui, comme tous
les brevets de pension, n'etant pas de nature a etre porte sur le grand
livre de la republique, etoit demeure dans le porte-feuille, et qui,
comme tous les brevets de pension possibles, commencoit par ce protocole;
Louis, &c.  Ciel! s'ecrient les Commissaires, le nom du tyran!--Et apres
avoir retrouve leur haleine, suffoquee d'abord par l'indignation, ils
mettent en poche le brevet de pension, c'est a dire 1000 livres de rente,
et emportent la marmite.  Autre crime, le Citoyen Duplessis, qui etoit
premier commis des finances, sous Clugny, avoit conserve, comme c'etoit
l'usage, la cachet du controle general d'alors--un vieux porte-feuille de
commis, qui etoit au rebut, ouble au dessus d'une armoire, dans un tas de
poussiere, et auquel il n'avoit pas touche ne meme pense depuis dix ans
peutetre, et sur le quel on parvint a decouvrir l'empreinte de quelques
fleurs de lys, sous deux doigts de crasse, acheva de completer la preuve
que le Citoyen Duplessis etoit suspect--et la voila, lui, enferme jusqu'a
la paix, et le scelle mis sur toutes les portes de cette campagne, ou, tu
te souviens, mon cher Freroa--que, decretes tous deux de prise de corps,
apres le massacre du Champ de Mars, nous trouvions un asyle que le tyran
n'osoit violer."_

"The day before yesterday, two Commissaries belonging to the section of
Mutius Scaevola, entered my father-in-law's apartments; they found some
law-books in the library, and, notwithstanding the decree which exempts
from seizure the works of Domat and Charles Dumouin, (although they treat
of feudal matters,) they proceeded to lay violent hands on one half of
the collection, and loaded two porters with paternal spoils.  The next
object that attracted their attention was a clock, the hand of which,
like the hands of most other clocks, terminated in a point, in the form
of a trefoil, which seemed to them to bear some resemblance to a fleur de
lys; and, notwithstanding the decree which ordains that the monuments of
the arts shall be respected, they immediately passed sentence of
confiscation on the clock.  I should observe to you, that hard by lay a
portmanteau, having on it the maker's address, encircled with lilies.--
Here there was no disputing the fact, but as the trunk was not worth five
livres, the Commissaries contented themselves with erasing the lilies;
but the unfortunate clock, being worth twelve hundred, was,
notwithstanding its trefoil, carried off by themselves, for they would
not trust the porters with so precious a load.--And all this was done in
virtue of the law, which Barrere aptly denominated the law of prehension,
and which, according to the terms of the decree itself, was not
applicable to the case in question.

"At length our sectionary decemvirs, who thus placed themselves above the
law, discovered the grant of my father-in-law's pension, which, like all
similar grants, being excluded from the privilege of inscription on the
great register of public debts, had been left in his port-folio; and
which began, as all such grants necessarily must, with the words, Louis,
&c.  "Heaven!" exclaimed the Commissaries, "here is the very name of the
tyrant!"  And, as soon as they recovered their breaths, which had been
nearly stopped by the violence of the indignation, they coolly pocketed
the grant, that is to say, an annuity of one thousand livres, and sent
off the porridge-pot.  Nor did these constitute all the crimes of Citizen
Duplessis, who, having served as first clerk of the revenue board under
Clugny, had, as was usual, kept the official seal of that day.  An old
port-folio, which had been thrown aside, and long forgotten, under a
wardrobe, where it was buried in dust, and had, in all probability, not
been touched for ten years, but, which with much difficulty, was
discovered to bear the impression of a fleur de lys, completed the proof
that Citizen Duplessis was a suspicious character.  And now behold him
shut up in a prison until peace shall be concluded, and the seals put
upon all the doors of that country seat, where, you may remember, my dear
Freron, that at the time when warrants were issued for apprehending us
both, after the massacre in the Champ de Mars, we found an asylum which
the tyrant did not dare to violate."

--In a word, you must generally understand, that the revolutionary system
supersedes law, religion, and morality; and that it invests the
Committees of Public Welfare and General Safety, their agents, the
Jacobin clubs, and subsidiary banditti, with the disposal of the whole
country and its inhabitants.

This gloomy aera of the revolution has its frivolities as well as the
less disastrous periods, and the barbarism of the moment is rendered
additionally disgusting by a mixture of levity and pedantry.--It is a
fashion for people at present to abandon their baptismal and family
names, and to assume that of some Greek or Roman, which the debates of
the Convention have made familiar.--France swarms with Gracchus's and
Publicolas, who by imaginary assimilations of acts, which a change of
manners has rendered different, fancy themselves more than equal to their

     * The vicissitudes of the revolution, and the vengeance of party,
     have brought half the sages of Greece, and patriots of Rome, to the
     Guillotine or the pillory.  The Newgate Calendar of Paris contains
     as many illustrious names as the index to Plutarch's Lives; and I
     believe there are now many Brutus's and Gracchus's in durance vile,
     besides a Mutius Scaevola condemned to twenty years imprisonment for
     an unskilful theft.--A man of Amiens, whose name is Le Roy,
     signified to the public, through the channel of a newspaper, that he
     had adopted that of Republic.

--A man who solicits to be the executioner of his own brother ycleps
himself Brutus, and a zealous preacher of the right of universal pillage
cites the Agrarian law, and signs himself Lycurgus.  Some of the Deputies
have discovered, that the French mode of dressing is not characteristic
of republicanism, and a project is now in agitation to drill the whole
country into the use of a Roman costume.--You may perhaps suspect, that
the Romans had at least more bodily sedateness than their imitators, and
that the shrugs, jerks, and carracoles of a French petit maitre, however
republicanized, will not assort with the grave drapery of the toga.  But
on your side of the water you have a habit of reasoning and deliberating
--here they have that of talking and obeying.

Our whole community are in despair to-day.  Dumont has been here, and
those who accosted him, as well as those who only ventured to interpret
his looks, all agree in their reports that he is in a "bad humour."--The
brightest eyes in France have supplicated in vain--not one grace of any
sort has been accorded--and we begin to cherish even our present
situation, in the apprehension that it may become worse.--Alas! you know
not of what evil portent is the "bad humour" of a Representant.  We are
half of us now, like the Persian Lord, feeling if our heads are still on
our shoulders.--I could add much to the conclusion of one of my last
letters.  Surely this incessant solicitude for mere existence debilitates
the mind, and impairs even its passive faculty of suffering.  We intrigue
for the favour of the keeper, smile complacently at the gross
pleasantries of a Jacobin, and tremble at the frown of a Dumont.--I am
ashamed to be the chronicler of such humiliation: but, "tush, Hal; men,
mortal men!"  I can add no better apology, and quit you to moralize on

[No date given.]

Were I a mere spectator, without fear for myself or compassion for
others, the situation of this country would be sufficiently amusing.  The
effects produced (many perhaps unavoidably) by a state of revolution--the
strange remedies devised to obviate them--the alternate neglect and
severity with which the laws are executed--the mixture of want and
profusion that distinguish the lower classes of people--and the distress
and humiliation of the higher; all offer scenes so new and unaccountable,
as not to be imagined by a person who has lived only under a regular
government, where the limits of authority are defined, the necessaries of
life plentiful, and the people rational and subordinate.  The
consequences of a general spirit of monopoly, which I formerly described,
have lately been so oppressive, that the Convention thought it necessary
to interfere, and in so extraordinary a way, that I doubt if (as usual)
"the distemper of their remedies" will not make us regret the original
disease.  Almost every article, by having passed through a variety of
hands, had become enormously dear; which, operating with a real scarcity
of many things, occasioned by the war, had excited universal murmurings
and inquietude.  The Convention, who know the real source of the evil
(the discredit of assignats) to be unattainable, and who are more
solicitous to divert the clamours of the people, than to supply their
wants, have adopted a measure which, according to the present
appearances, will ruin one half of the nation, and starve the other.  A
maximum, or highest price, beyond which nothing is to be sold, is now
promulgated under very severe penalties for all who shall infringe it.
Such a regulation as this, must, in its nature, be highly complex, and,
by way of simplifying it, the price of every kind of merchandise is fixed
at a third above what it bore in 1791: but as no distinction is made
between the produce of the country, and articles imported--between the
small retailer, who has purchased perhaps at double the rate he is
allowed to sell at, and the wholesale speculator, this very
simplification renders the whole absurd and inexecutable.--The result was
such as might have been expected; previous to the day on which the decree
was to take place, shopkeepers secreted as many of their goods as they
could; and, when the day arrived, the people laid siege to them in
crowds, some buying at the maximum, others less ceremonious, and in a few
hours little remained in the shop beyond the fixtures.  The farmers have
since brought neither butter nor eggs to market, the butchers refuse to
kill as usual, and, in short, nothing is to be purchased openly.  The
country people, instead of selling provisions publicly, take them to
private houses; and, in addition to the former exorbitant prices, we are
taxed for the risk that is incurred by evading the law.  A dozen of eggs,
or a leg of mutton, are now conveyed from house to house with as much
mystery, as a case of fire-arms, or a treasonable correspondence; the
whole republic is in a sort of training like the Spartan youth; and we
are obliged to have recourse to dexterity and intrigue to procure us a

Our legislators, aware of what they term the "aristocratie marchande,"--
that is to say, that tradesmen would naturally shut up their shops when
nothing was to be gained--provided, by a clause in the above law, that no
one should do this in less time than a year; but as the injunction only
obliged them to keep the shops open, and not to have goods to sell, every
demand is at first always answered in the negative, till a sort of
intelligence becomes established betwixt the buyer and seller, when the
former, if he may be trusted, is informed in a low key, that certain
articles may be had, but not au maximum.--Thus even the rich cannot
obtain the necessaries of life without difficulty and submitting to
imposition--and the decent poor, who will not pillage nor intimidate the
tradesmen, are more embarrassed than ever.

The above species of contraband commerce is carried on, indeed, with
great circumspection, and no avowed hostilities are attempted in the
towns.  The great war of the maximum was waged with the farmers and
higlers, as soon as it was discovered that they took their commodities
privily to such people as they knew would buy at any price, rather than
not be supplied.  In consequence, the guards were ordered to stop all
refractory butter-women at the gates, and conduct them to the town-house,
where their merchandize was distributed, without pity or appeal, au
maximum, to those of the populace who could clamour loudest.

These proceedings alarmed the peasants, and our markets became deserted.
New stratagems, on one side, new attacks on the other.  The servants were
forced to supply themselves at private rendezvous in the night, until
some were fined, and others arrested; and the searching all comers from
the country became more intolerable than the vexations of the ancient
Gabelle.--Detachments of dragoons are sent to scour the farm-yards,
arrest the farmers, and bring off in triumph whatever the restive
housewives have amassed, to be more profitably disposed of.

In this situation we remain, and I suppose shall remain, while the law of
the maximum continues in force.  The principle of it was certainly good,
but it is found impossible to reduce it to practice so equitably as to
affect all alike: and as laws which are not executed are for the most
part rather pernicious than nugatory, informations, arrests, imposition,
and scarcity are the only ends which this measure seems to have answered.

The houses of detention, before insupportable, are now yet more crouded
with farmers and shopkeepers suspected of opposing the law.--Many of the
former are so ignorant, as not to conceive that any circumstances ought
to deprive them of the right to sell the produce of their farms at the
highest price they can get, and regard the maximum much in the same light
as they would a law to authorize robbing or housebreaking: as for the
latter, they are chiefly small dealers, who bought dearer than they have
sold, and are now imprisoned for not selling articles which they have not
got.  An informer by trade, or a personal enemy, lodges an accusation
against a particular tradesman for concealing goods, or not selling au
maximum; and whether the accusation be true or false, if the accused is
not in office, or a Jacobin, he has very little chance of escaping
imprisonment.--It is certain, that if the persecution of these classes of
people continue, and commerce (already nearly annihilated by the war) be
thus shackled, an absolute want of various articles of primary
consumption must ensue; but if Paris and the armies can be supplied, the
starving the departments will be a mere pleasurable experiment to their
humane representatives!

March 1, 1794.

The freedom of the press is so perfectly well regulated, that it is not
surprizing we are indulged with the permission of seeing the public
papers: yet this indulgence is often, I assure you, a source of much
perplexity to me--our more intimate associates know that I am a native of
England, and as often as any debates of our House of Commons are
published, they apply to me for explanations which it is not always in my
power to give them.  I have in vain endeavoured to make them comprehend
the nature of an opposition from system, so that when they see any thing
advanced by a member exactly the reverse of truth, they are wondering how
he can be so ill informed, and never suspect him of saying what he does
not believe himself.  It must be confessed, however, that our extracts
from the English papers often form so complete a contrast with facts,
that a foreigner unacquainted with the tactics of professional
patriotism, may very naturally read them with some surprize.  A noble
Peer, for example, (whose wisdom is not to be disputed, since the Abbe
Mably calls him the English Socrates,*) asserts that the French troops
are the best clothed in Europe; yet letters, of nearly the same date with
the Earl's speech, from two Generals and a Deputy at the head of
different armies intreat a supply of covering for their denudated
legions, and add, that they are obliged to march in wooden shoes!**

     * It is surely a reflection on the English discernment not to have
     adopted this happy appellation, in which, however, as well as in
     many other parts of "the rights of Man and the Citizen," the Abbe
     seems to have consulted his own zeal, rather than the noble Peer's

     ** If the French troops are now better clothed, it is the effect of
     requisitions and pre-emptions, which have ruined the manufacturers.
     --Patriots of the North, would you wish to see our soldiers clothed
     by the same means?

--On another occasion, your British Sage describes, with great eloquence,
the enthusiasm with which the youth of France "start to arms at the call
of the Convention;" while the peaceful citizen anticipates, with equal
eagerness, the less glorious injunction to extract saltpetre.--The
revolts, and the coercion, necessary to enforce the departure of the
first levies (however fear, shame, and discipline, may have since made
them soldiers, though not republicans) might have corrected the ardour of
the orator's inventive talents; and the zeal of the French in
manufacturing salpetre, has been of so slow a growth, that any reference
to it is peculiarly unlucky.  For several months the Convention has
recommended, invited, intreated, and ordered the whole country to occupy
themselves in the process necessary for obtaining nitre; but the
republican enthusiasm was so tardy, that scarcely an ounce appeared, till
a long list of sound penal laws, with fines and imprisonments in every
line, roused the public spirit more effectually.*

     * Two years imprisonment was the punishment assigned to a Citizen
     who should be found to obstruct in any way the fabricating
     saltpetre.  If you had a house that was adjudged to contain the
     materials required, and expostulated against pulling it down, the
     penalty was incurred.--I believe something of this kind existed
     under the old government, the abuses of which are the only parts the
     republic seems to have preserved.

--Another cause also has much favoured the extension of this manufacture:
the necessity of procuring gunpowder at any rate has secured an exemption
from serving in the army to those who shall be employed in making it.--*

     * Many, under this pretext, even procured their discharge from the
     army; and it was eventually found requisite to stop this commutation
     of service by a decree.

--On this account vast numbers of young men, whose martial propensities
are not too vehement for calculation, considering the extraction of
saltpetre as more safe than the use of it, have seriously devoted
themselves to the business.  Thus, between fear of the Convention and of
the enemy, has been produced that enthusiasm which seems so grateful to
Lord S____.  Yet, if the French are struck by the dissimilitude of facts
with the language of your English patriots, there are other circumstances
which appear still more unaccountable to them.  I acknowledge the word
patriotism is not perfectly understood any where in France, nor do my
prison-associates abound in it; but still they find it difficult to
reconcile the love of their country, so exclusively boasted by certain
senators, with their eulogiums on a government, and on men who avow an
implacable hatred to it, and are the professed agents of its future
destruction.  The Houses of Lords and Commons resound with panegyrics on
France; the Convention with _"delenda est Carthate"--"ces vils
Insulaires"--"de peuple marchand, boutiquier"--"ces laches Anglois"--_ &c.
&c.  ("Carthage must be destroyed"--"those vile Islanders"--"that nation
of shopkeepers"--"those cowardly Englishmen"--&c.)

The efforts of the English patriots overtly tend to the consolidation of
the French republic, while the demagogues of France are yet more
strenuous for the abolition of monarchy in England.  The virtues of
certain people called Muir and Palmer,* are at once the theme of Mr. Fox
and Robespierre,** of Mr. Grey and Barrere,***, of Collot d'Herbois****
and Mr. Sheridan; and their fate is lamented as much at the Jacobins as
at St. Stephen's.*****

     * If I have not mentioned these gentlemen with the respect due to
     their celebrity, their friends must pardon me.  To say truth, I did
     not at this time think of them with much complacence, as I had heard
     of them only from the Jacobins, by whom they were represented as the
     leaders of a Convention, which was to arm ninety thousand men, for
     the establishment of a system similar to that existing in France.

     **The French were so much misled by the eloquence of these gentlemen
     in their favour, that they were all exhibited on the stage in red
     caps and cropped heads, welcoming the arrival of their Gallic
     friends in England, and triumphing in the overthrow of the British
     constitution, and the dethronement of the King.

     *** If we may credit the assertions of Barrere, the friendship of
     the Committee of Public Welfare was not merely verbal.  He says, the
     secret register of the Committee furnishes proofs of their having
     sent three frigates to intercept these distinguished victims, whom
     their ungrateful country had so ignominiously banished.

     **** This humane and ingenious gentleman, by profession a player, is
     known likewise as the author of several farces and vaudevilles, and
     of the executions at Lyons.--It is asserted, that many of the
     inhabitants of this unfortunate city expiated under the Guillotine
     the crime of having formerly hissed Collot's successful attempts on
     the stage.

     ***** The printing of a particular speech was interdicted on account
     of its containing allusions to certain circumstances, the knowledge
     of which might be of disservice to their unfortunate friends during
     their trial.

--The conduct of Mr. Pitt is not more acrimoniously discussed at the
Palais National than by a part of his colleagues; and the censure of the
British government, which is now the order of the day at the Jacobins, is
nearly the echo of your parliamentary debates.*

     * Allowing for the difference of education in the orators, a
     journeyman shoemaker was, I think, as eloquent, and not more
     abusive, than the facetious _ci-devant_ protege of Lord T____d.

--All this, however, does not appear to me out of the natural order of
things; it is the sorry history of opposition for a century and an half,
and our political rectitude, I fear, is not increasing: but the French,
who are in their way the most corrupt people in Europe, have not
hitherto, from the nature of their government, been familiar with this
particular mode of provoking corruption, nor are they at present likely
to become so.  Indeed, I must here observe, that your English Jacobins,
if they are wise, should not attempt to introduce the revolutionary
system; for though the total possession of such a government is very
alluring, yet the prudence, which looks to futurity, and the incertitude
of sublunary events, must acknowledge it is "Caesar or nothing;" and that
it offers no resource in case of those segregations, which the jealousy
of power, or the appropriation of spoil, may occasion, even amongst the
most virtuous associates.--The eloquence of a discontented orator is here
silenced, not by a pension, but by a mandat d'arret; and the obstinate
patriotism, which with you could not be softened with less than a
participation of authority, is more cheaply secured by the Guillotine.  A
menace is more efficacious than a bribe, and in this respect I agree with
Mr. Thomas Paine,* that a republic is undoubtedly more oeconomical than a
monarchy; besides, that being conducted on such principles, it has the
advantage of simplifying the science of government, as it consults
neither the interests nor weaknesses of mankind; and, disdaining to
administer either to avarice or vanity, subdues its enemies by the sole
influence of terror.--*

     * This gentleman's fate is truly to be pitied.  After rejecting, as
     his friends assert, two hundred a year from the English Ministry, he
     is obliged now to be silent gratis, with the additional desagrement
     of occupying a corner in the Luxembourg.

--Adieu!--Heaven knows how often I may have to repeat the word thus
unmeaningly.  I sit here, like Pope's bard "lulled by soft zephyrs
through the broken pane," and scribbling high-sounding phrases of
monarchy, patriotism, and republics, while I forget the humbler subject
of our wants and embarrassments.  We can scarcely procure either bread,
meat, or any thing else: the house is crouded by an importation of
prisoners from Abbeville, and we are more strictly guarded than ever.  My
friend ennuyes as usual, and I grow impatient, not having sang froid
enough for a true French ennuie in a situation that would tempt one to
hang one's self.

March, 1794.

The aspect of the times promises no change in our favour; on the
contrary, every day seems to bring its attendant evil.  The gentry who
had escaped the comprehensive decree against suspected people, are now
swept away in this and the three neighbouring departments by a private
order of the representatives, St. Just, Lebas, and Dumont.*

     * The order was to arrest, without exception, all the ci-devant
     Noblessse, men, women, and children, in the departments of the
     Somme, North, and Pas de Calais, and to exclude them rigourously
     from all external communication--(mettre au secret).

--A severer regimen is to be adopted in the prisons, and husbands are
already separated from their wives, and fathers from their daughters, for
the purpose, as it is alledged, of preserving good morals.  Both this
place and the Bicetre being too full to admit of more inhabitants, two
large buildings in the town are now appropriated to the male prisoners.--
My friends continue at Arras, and, I fear, in extreme distress.  I
understand they have been plundered of what things they had with them,
and the little supply I was able to send them was intercepted by some of
the harpies of the prisons.  Mrs. D____'s health has not been able to
sustain these accumulated misfortunes, and she is at present at the
hospital.  All this is far from enlivening, even had I a larger share of
the national philosophy; and did I not oftener make what I observe, than
what I suffer, the subject of my letters, I should tax your patience as
much by repetition, as I may by dullness.

When I enumerated in my last letters a few of the obligations the French
have to their friends in England, I ought also to have observed, with how
little gratitude they behave to those who are here.  Without mentioning
Mr. Thomas Paine, whose persecution will doubtless be recorded by abler
pens, nothing, I assure you, can be more unpleasant than the situation of
one of these Anglo-Gallican patriots.  The republicans, supposing that an
Englishman who affects a partiality for them can be only a spy, execute
all the laws, which concern foreigners, upon him with additional rigour;*
and when an English Jacobin arrives in prison, far from meeting with
consolation or sympathy, his distresses are beheld with triumph, and his
person avoided with abhorrence.  They talk much here of a gentleman, of
very democratic principles, who left the prison before I came.  It seems,
that, notwithstanding Dumont condescended to visit at his house, and was
on terms of intimacy with him, he was arrested, and not distinguished
from the rest of his countrymen, except by being more harshly treated.
The case of this unfortunate gentleman was rendered peculiarly amusing to
his companions, and mortifying to himself, by his having a very pretty
mistress, who had sufficient influence over Dumont to obtain any thing
but the liberation of her protector.  The Deputy was on this head
inflexible; doubtless, as a proof of his impartial observance of the
laws, and to show that, like the just man in Horace, he despised the
clamour of the vulgar, who did not scruple to hint, that the crime of our
countryman was rather of a moral than a political nature--that he was
unaccommodating, and recalcitrant--addicted to suspicions and jealousies,
which it was thought charitable to cure him of, by a little wholesome
seclusion.  In fact, the summary of this gentleman's history is not
calculated to tempt his fellow societists on your side of the water to
imitate his example.--After taking refuge in France from the tyranny and
disappointments he experienced in England, and purchasing a large
national property to secure himself the rights of a citizen, he is
awakened from his dream of freedom, to find himself lodged in a prison,
his estate under sequestration, and his mistress in requisition.--Let us
leave this Coriolanus among the Volscians--it is a persecution to make
converts, rather than martyrs, and

               _"Quand le malheur ne seroit bon,
               "Qu'a mettre un sot a la raison,
               "Toujours seroit-ce a juste cause
               "Qu'on le dit bon a quelque chose."_*

     * If calamity were only good to restore a fool to his senses, still
     we might justly say, "that it was good for some thing."

Yours, &c.

March 5, 1794.

Of what strange influence is this word revolution, that it should thus,
like a talisman of romance, keep inchained, as it were, the reasoning
faculties of twenty millions of people!  France is at this moment looking
for the decision of its fate in the quarrels of two miserable clubs,
composed of individuals who are either despised or detested.  The
municipality of Paris favours the Cordeliers, the Convention the
Jacobins; and it is easy to perceive, that in this cafe the auxiliaries
are principals, and must shortly come to such an open rupture, as will
end in the destruction of either one or the other.  The world would be
uninhabitable, could the combinations of the wicked be permanent; and it
is fortunate for the tranquil and upright part of mankind, that the
attainment of the purposes for which such combinations are formed, is
usually the signal of their dissolution.

The municipality of Paris had been the iniquitous drudges of the Jacobin
party in the legislative assembly--they were made the instruments of
massacring the prisoners,* of dethroning and executing the king,** and
successively of destroying the Brissotine faction,*** filling the prisons
with all who were obnoxious to the republicans,**** and of involving a
repentant nation in the irremidiable guilt of the Queen's death.--*****

     * It is well known that the assassins were hired and paid by the
     municipality, and that some of the members presided at these horrors
     in their scarfs of office.

     ** The whole of what is called the revolution of the 10th of August
     may very justly be ascribed to the municipality of Paris--I mean the
     active part of it.  The planning and political part has been so
     often disputed by different members of the Convention, that it is
     not easy to decide on any thing, except that the very terms of these
     disputes fully evince, that the people at large, and more
     particularly the departments, were both innocent, and, until it took
     place, ignorant of an event which has plunged the country into so
     many crimes and calamities.

     *** A former imprisonment of Hebert formed a principal charge
     against the Brissotines, and, indeed, the one that was most insisted
     on at their trial, if we except that of having precipitated France
     into a war with England.--It must be difficult for the English
     Jacobins to decide on this occasion between the virtues of their
     dead friends and those of their living ones.

     **** The famous definition of suspected persons originated with the
     municipality of Paris.

     ***** It is certain that those who, deceived by the calumnies of
     faction, permitted, if not assented to, the King's death, at this
     time regretted it; and I believe I have before observed, that one of
     the reasons urged in support of the expediency of putting the Queen
     to death, was, that it would make the army and people decisive, by
     banishing all hope of peace or accommodation.  See the _Moniteur_ of
     that time, which, as I have elsewhere observed, may be always
     considered as official.

--These services being too great for adequate reward, were not rewarded
at all; and the municipality, tired of the odium of crime, without the
participation of power, has seized on its portion of tyranny; while the
convention, at once jealous and timid, exasperated and doubtful, yet
menaces with the trepidation of a rival, rather than with the security of
a conqueror.

Hebert, the Deputy-solicitor for the commune of Paris, appears on this
occasion as the opponent of the whole legislature; and all the
temporizing eloquence of Barrere, and the mysterious phraseology of
Robespierre, are employed to decry his morals, and to reproach the
ministers with the sums which have been the price of his labours.--*

     * Five thousand pounds, two thousand pounds, and other considerable
     sums, were paid to Hebert for supplying the army with his paper,
     called "La Pere Duchene."  Let whoever has read one of them,
     conceive the nature of a government to which such support was
     necessary, which supposed its interests promoted by a total
     extinction of morals, decency, and religion.  I could almost wish,
     for the sake of exhibiting vice under its most odious colours, that
     my sex and my country permitted me to quote one.

--Virtuous republicans! the morals of Hebert were pure when he outraged
humanity in his accusations of the Queen--they were pure when he
prostrated the stupid multitude at the feet of a Goddess of Reason;* they
were pure while his execrable paper served to corrupt the army, and to
eradicate every principle which yet distinguished the French as a
civilized people.

     * Madame Momoro, the unfortunate woman who exposed herself in this
     pageant, was guillotined as an accomplice of Hebert, together with
     the wives of Hebert and Camille Desmoulins.

--Yet, atrocious as his crimes are, they form half the Magna Charta of
the republic,* and the authority of the Convention is still supported by

     * What are the death of the King, and the murders of August and
     September, 1792, but the Magna Charta of the republicans?

--It is his person, not his guilt, that is proscribed; and if the one be
threatened with the scaffold, the fruits of the other are held sacred.
He will fall a sacrifice--not to offended religion or morality, but to
the fears and resentment of his accomplices!

Amidst the dissentions of two parties, between which neither reason nor
humanity can discover a preference, a third seems to have formed itself,
equally inimical to, and hated by both.  At the head of it are Danton,
Camille Desmoulins, Philipeaux, &c.--I own I have no better opinion of
the integrity of these, than of the rest; but they profess themselves the
advocates of a system of mildness and moderation, and, situated as this
country is at present, even the affectation of virtue is captivating.--
As far as they dare, the people are partial to them: bending beneath the
weight of a sanguinary and turbulent despotism, if they sigh not for
freedom, they do for repose; and the harassed mind, bereft of its own
energy, looks up with indolent hope for relief from a change of factions.
They forget that Danton is actuated by ambitious jealousy, that Camille
Desmoulins is hacknied in the atrocities of the revolution, and that
their partizans are adventurers, with neither honour nor morals.  Yet,
after all, if they will destroy a few of the guillotines, open our
bastilles, and give us at least the security of servitude, we shall be
content to leave these retrospections to posterity, and be thankful that
in this our day the wicked sometimes perceive it their interest to do

In this state of seclusion, when I remark to you the temper of the public
at any important crisis, you are, perhaps, curious to know my sources of
intelligence; but such details are unnecessary.  I might, indeed, write
you a manuel des prisons, and, like Trenck or Latude, by a vain display
of ingenuity, deprive some future victim of a resource.  It is enough,
that Providence itself seems to aid our invention, when its object is to
elude tyranny; besides that a constant accession of prisoners from all
parts, who are too numerous to be kept separate, necessarily circulates
among us whatever passes in the world.

The Convention has lately made a sort of _pas retrogade_ [Retrogade
movement.] in the doctrine of holy equality, by decreeing, that every
officer who has a command shall be able to read and write, though it
cannot be denied that their reasons for this lese democratie are of some
weight.  All gentlemen, or, as it is expressed here, noblesse, have been
recalled from the army, and replaced by officers chosen by the soldiers
themselves, [Under the rank of field-officers.] whose affections are
often conciliated by qualities not essentially military, though sometimes
professional.  A buffoon, or a pot-companion, is, of course, often more
popular than a disciplinarian; and the brightest talents lose their
influence when put in competition with a head that can bear a greater
number of bottles.*

     * Hence it happened, that a post was sometimes confided to one who
     could not read the parole and countersign; expeditions failed,
     because commanding officers mistook on the map a river for a road,
     or woods for mountains; and the most secret orders were betrayed
     through the inability of those to whom they were entrusted to read

--Yet this reading and writing are a sort of aristocratic distinctions,
and not among the primeval rights of man; so that it is possible your
English patriots will not approve of any regulations founded on them.
But this is not the only point on which there is an apparent discordance
between them and their friends here--the severity of Messrs. Muir and
Palmer's sentence is pathetically lamented in the House of Commons, while
the Tribunal Revolutionnaire (in obedience to private orders) is
petitioning, that any disrespect towards the convention shall be punished
with death.  In England, it is asserted, that the people have a right to
decide on the continuation of the war--here it is proposed to declare
suspicious, and treat accordingly, all who shall dare talk of peace.--Mr.
Fox and Robespierre must settle these trifling variations at the general
congress of republicans, when the latter shall (as they profess) have
dethroned all the potentates in Europe!

Do you not read of cart-loads of patriotic gifts,* bales of lint and
bandages, and stockings, knit by the hands of fair citizens, for the use
of the soldiers?

     * A sum of money was at this time publicly offered to the Convention
     for defraying the expences and repairs of the guillotine.--I know
     not if it were intended patriotically or correctionally; but the
     legislative delicacy was hurt, and the bearer of the gift ordered
     for examination to the Committee of General Safety, who most
     probably sent him to expiate either his patriotism or his pleasantry
     in a prison.

--Do you not read, and call me calumniator, and ask if these are proofs
that there is no public spirit in France?  Yes, the public spirit of an
eastern tributary, who offers, with apprehensive devotion, a part of the
wealth which he fears the hand of despotism may ravish entirely.--The
wives and daughters of husbands and fathers, who are pining in arbitrary
confinement, are employed in these feeble efforts, to deprecate the
malice of their persecutors; and these voluntary tributes are but too
often proportioned, not to the abilities, but the miseries of the donor.*

     * A lady, confined in one of the state prisons, made an offering,
     through the hands of a Deputy, of ten thousand livres; but the
     Convention observed, that this could not properly be deemed a gift--
     for, as she was doubtless a suspicious person, all she had belonged
     of right to the republic:

               _"Elle doit etre a moi, dit il, et la raison,
               "C'est que je m'appelle Lion
               "A cela l'on n'a rien a dire."_
               -- La Fontaine.

     Sometimes these _dons patriotiques_ were collected by a band of
     Jacobins, at others regularly assessed by a Representative on
     mission; but on all occasions the aristocrats were most assiduous
     and most liberal:

          "Urg'd by th' imperious soldier's fierce command,
          "The groaning Greeks break up their golden caverns,
          "The accumulated wealth of toiling ages;
              .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
          "That wealth, too sacred for their country's use;
          "That wealth, too pleasing to be lost for freedom,
          "That wealth, which, granted to their weeping Prince,
          "Had rang'd embattled nations at their gates."
          -- Johnson.

     Or, what is still better, have relieved the exigencies of the state,
     without offering a pretext for the horrors of a revolution.--O
     selfish luxury, impolitic avarice, how are ye punished? robbed of
     your enjoyments and your wealth--glad even to commute both for a
     painful existence!

--The most splendid sacrifices that fill the bulletin of the Convention,
and claim an honourable mention in their registers, are made by the
enemies of the republican government--by those who have already been the
objects of persecution, or are fearful of becoming such.--Ah, your prison
and guillotine are able financiers: they raise, feed, and clothe an army,
in less time than you can procure a tardy vote from the most complaisant
House of Commons!--Your, &c.

March 17, 1794.

After some days of agitation and suspense, we learn that the popularity
of Robespierre is victorious, and that Hebert and his partizans are
arrested.  Were the intrinsic claims of either party considered, without
regard to the circumstances of the moment, it might seem strange I should
express myself as though the result of a contest between such men could
excite a general interest: yet a people sadly skilled in the gradations
of evil, and inured to a choice only of what is bad, learn to prefer
comparatively, with no other view than that of adopting what may be least
injurious to themselves; and the merit of the object is out of the
question.  Hence it is, that the public wish was in favour of
Robespierre; for, besides that his cautious character has given him an
advantage over the undisguised profligacy of Hebert, it is conjectured by
many, that the more merciful politics professed by Camille Desmoulins,
are secretly suggested, or, at least assented to, by the former.*

     * This was the opinion of many.--The Convention and the Jacobins had
     taken alarm at a paper called "The Old Cordelier," written by
     Camille Desmoulins, apparently with a view to introduce a milder
     system of government.  The author had been censured at the one,
     expelled the other, and defended by Robespierre, who seems not to
     have abandoned him until he found the Convention resolved to persist
     in the sanguinary plan they had adopted.  Robespierre afterwards
     sacrificed his friends to retrieve his influence; but could his
     views have been answered by humane measures, as certainly as by
     cruel ones, I think he would have preferred the first; for I repeat,
     that the Convention at large were averse from any thing like reason
     or justice, and Robespierre more than once risked his popularity by
     professions of moderation.--The most eloquent speech I have seen of
     his was previous to the death of Danton, and it seems evidently
     intended to sound the principles of his colleagues as to a change of
     system.--Camille Desmoulins has excited some interest, and has been
     deemed a kind of martyr to humanity.  Perhaps nothing marks the
     horrors of the time more than such a partiality.--Camille
     Desmoulins, under an appearance of simplicity, was an adventurer,
     whose pen had been employed to mislead the people from the beginning
     of the revolution.  He had been very active on the 10th of August;
     and even in the papers which have given him a comparative
     reputation, he is the panegyrist of Marat, and recommends "une
     Guillotine economique;" that is, a discrimination in favour of
     himself and his party, who now began to fear they might themselves
     be sacrificed by the Convention and deserted by Robespierre--after
     being the accomplices and tools of both.

The vicissitudes of the revolution have hitherto offered nothing but a
change of vices and of parties; nor can I regard this defeat of the
municipality of Paris as any thing more: the event is, however,
important, and will probably have great influence on the future.

After having so long authorized, and profited by, the crimes of those
they have now sacrificed, the Convention are willing to have it supposed
they were themselves held in subjection by Hebert and the other
representatives of the Parisian mob.--Admitting this to be true, having
regained their independence, we ought naturally to expect a more rational
and humane system will take place; but this is a mere hope, and the
present occurrences are far from justifying it.  We hear much of the
guilt of the fallen party, and little of remedying its effects--much of
punishment, and little of reform; and the people are excited to
vengeance, without being permitted to claim redress.  In the meanwhile,
fearful of trusting to the cold preference which they owe to a superior
abhorrence of their adversaries, the Convention have ordered their
colleagues on mission to glean the few arms still remaining in the hands
of the National Guard, and to arrest all who may be suspected of
connection with the adverse party.--Dumont has performed this service
here very diligently; and, by way of supererogation, has sent the
Commandant of Amiens to the Bicetre, his wife, who was ill, to the
hospital, and two young children to this place.

As usual, these proceedings excite secret murmurs, but are nevertheless
yielded to with perfect submission.

One can never, on these occasions, cease admiring the endurance of the
French character.  In other countries, at every change of party, the
people are flattered with the prospect of advantage, or conciliated by
indulgences; but here they gain nothing by change, except an accumulation
of oppression--and the success of a new party is always the harbinger of
some new tyranny.  While the fall of Hebert is proclaimed as the triumph
of freedom, all the citizens are disarmed by way of collateral security;
and at the instant he is accused by the Convention of atheism and
immorality,* a militant police is sent forth to devastate the churches,
and punish those who are detected in observing the Sabbath--_"mais plutot
souffrir que mourir, c'est la devise des Francois."_ ["To suffer rather
than die is the motto of Frenchmen."]

     * It is remarkable, that the persecution of religion was never more
     violent than at the time when the Convention were anathematizing
     Hebert and his party for athiesm.

--Brissot and his companions died singing a paraphrase of my quotation:

               _"Plutot la mort que l'esclavage,
               "C'est la devise des Francois."_
     ["Death before slavery, is the Frenchman's motto."]

--Let those who reflect on what France has submitted to under them and
their successors decide, whether the original be not more apposite.

I hope the act of accusation against Chabot has been published in
England, for the benefit of your English patriots: I do not mean by way
of warning, but example.  It appears, that the said Chabot, and four or
five of his colleagues in the Convention, had been bribed to serve a
stock-jobbing business at a stipulated sum,* and that the money was to be
divided amongst them.

     * Chabot, Fabre d'Eglantine, (author of "l'Intrigue Epistolaire,"
     and several other admired dramatic pieces,) Delaunay d'Angers,
     Julien de Toulouse, and Bazire, were bribed to procure the passing
     certain decrees, tending to enrich particular people, by defrauding
     the East India Company.--Delaunay and Julien (both re-elected into
     the present Assembly) escaped by flight, the rest were guillotined.
     --It is probable, that these little peculations might have passed
     unnoticed in patriots of such note, but that the intrigues and
     popular character of Chabot made it necessary to dispose of him, and
     his accomplices suffered to give a countenance to the measure.

--Chabot, with great reason, insisted on his claim to an extra share, on
account, as he expressed it, of having the reputation of one of the first
patriots in Europe.  Now this I look upon to be a very useful hint, as it
tends to establish a tariff of reputations, rather than of talents.  In
England, you distinguish too much in favour of the latter; and, in a
question of purchase, a Minister often prefers a "commodity" of
rhetoricians, to one of "good names."--I confess, I am of Chabot's
opinion; and think a vote from a member who has some reputation for
honesty, ought to be better paid for than the eloquence which, weakened
by the vices of the orator, ceases to persuade.  How it is that the
patriotic harangues at St. Stephen's serve only to amuse the auditors,
who identify the sentiments they express as little with the speaker, as
they would those of Cato's soliloquy with the actor who personates the
character for the night?  I fear the people reason like Chabot, and are
"fools to fame."  Perhaps it is fortunate for England, that those whose
talents and principles would make them most dangerous, are become least
so, because both are counteracted by the public contempt.  Ought it not
to humble the pride, and correct the errors, which too often accompany
great genius, that the meanest capacity can distinguish between talents
and virtue; and that even in the moment our wonder is excited by the one,
a sort of intrinsic preference is given to the other?--Yours, &c.

Providence, April 15, 1794.

"The friendship of bad men turns to fear:" and in this single phrase of
our popular bard is comprized the history of all the parties who have
succeeded each other during the revolution.--Danton has been sacrificed
to Robespierre's jealousy,* and Camille Desmoulins to support his
popularity;** and both, after sharing in the crimes, and contributing to
the punishment, of Hebert and his associates, have followed them to the
same scaffold.

     * The ferocious courage of Danton had, on the 10th of August, the 2d
     of September, the 31st of May, and other occasions, been the ductile
     instrument of Robespierre; but, in the course of their iniquitous
     connection, it should seem, they had committed themselves too much
     to each other.  Danton had betrayed a desire of more exclusively
     profiting by his crimes; and Robespierre's views been equally
     ambitious, though less daring, their mutual jealousies had risen to
     a height which rendered the sacrifice of one party necessary--and
     Robespierre had the address to secure himself, by striking the first
     blow.  They had supped in the country, and returned together to
     Paris, on the night Danton was arrested; and, it may be supposed,
     that in this interview, which was intended to produce a
     reconciliation, they had been convinced that neither was to be
     trusted by the other.

     ** There can be no doubt but Robespierre had encouraged Camille
     Desmoulins to publish his paper, intitled "The Old Cordelier," in
     which some translations from Tacitus, descriptive of every kind of
     tyranny, were applied to the times, and a change of system
     indirectly proposed.  The publication became highly popular, except
     with the Convention and the Jacobins; these, however, it was
     requisite for Robespierre to conciliate; and Camille Desmoulins was
     sacrificed, to prove that he did not favour the obnoxious moderation
     of his friend.

I know not if one's heart gain any thing by this habitual contemplation
of successive victims, who ought not to inspire pity, and whom justice
and humanity forbid one to regret.--How many parties have fallen, who
seem to have laboured only to transmit a dear-bought tyranny, which they
had not time to enjoy themselves, to their successors: The French
revolutionists may, indeed, adopt the motto of Virgil's Bees, "Not for
ourselves, but for you."  The monstrous powers claimed for the Convention
by the Brissotines,* with the hope of exclusively exercising them, were
fatal to themselves--the party that overthrew the Brissotines in its turn
became insignificant--and a small number of them only, under the
description of Committees of Public Welfare and General Safety, gradually
usurped the whole authority.

     * The victorious Brissotines, after the 10th of August, availing
     themselves of the stupor of one part of the people, and the
     fanaticism of the other, required that the new Convention might be
     entrusted with unlimited powers.  Not a thousandth portion of those
     who elected the members, perhaps, comprehended the dreadful extent
     of such a demand, as absurd as it has proved fatal.--_"Tout pouvoir
     sans bornes ne fauroit etre legitime, parce qu'il n'a jamais pu
     avoir d'origine legitime, car nous ne pouvons pas donner a un autre
     plus de pouvoir sur nous que nous n'en avons nous-memes"_
     [Montesquieu.]:--that is, the power which we accord to others, or
     which we have over ourselves, cannot exceed the bounds prescribed by
     the immutable laws of truth and justice.  The united voice of the
     whole French nation could not bestow on their representatives a
     right to murder or oppress one innocent man.

--Even of these, several have already perished; and in the hands of
Robespierre, and half a dozen others of equal talents and equal atrocity,
but less cunning, center at present all the fruits of so many miseries,
and so many crimes.

In all these conflicts of party, the victory seems hitherto to have
remained with the most artful, rather than the most able; and it is under
the former title that Robespierre, and his colleagues in the Committee of
Public Welfare, are now left inheritors of a power more despotic than
that exercised in Japan.--Robespierre is certainly not deficient in
abilities, but they are not great in proportion to the influence they
have acquired him.  They may, perhaps, be more properly called singular
than great, and consist in the art of appropriating to his own advantage
both the events of chance and the labours of others, and of captivating
the people by an exterior of severe virtue, which a cold heart enables
him to assume, and which a profligacy, not the effect of strong passions,
but of system, is easily subjected to.  He is not eloquent, nor are his
speeches, as compositions,* equal to those of Collot d'Herbais, Barrere,
or Billaud Varennes; but, by contriving to reserve himself for
extraordinary occasions, such as announcing plots, victories, and systems
of government, he is heard with an interest which finally becomes
transferred from his subject to himself.**

     * The most celebrated members of the Convention are only readers of
     speeches, composed with great labour, either by themselves or
     others; and I think it is distinguishable, that many are
     manufactured by the same hand.  The style and spirit of Lindet,
     Barrere, and Carnot, seem to be in common.

     ** The following passages, from a speech of Dubois Crance, who may
     be supposed a competent judge, at once furnish an idea of
     Robespierre's oratory, exhibit a leading feature in his character,
     and expose some of the arts by which the revolutionary despotism was

     _"Rapportant tout a lui seul, jusqu'a la patrie, il n'en parla
     jamais que pour s'en designer comme l'unique defenseur: otez de ses
     longs discours tout ce qui n'a rapport qu'a son personnel, vous n'y
     trouverez plus que de seches applications de prinipes connus, et
     surtout de phrases preparees pour amener encore son eloge.  Vous
     l'avez juge timide, parce que son imagination, que l'on croyait
     ardente, qui n'etait que feroce, parassait exagerer souvent les maux
     de son pays.  C'etait une jonglerie: il ne croyait ni aux
     conspirations don't il faisait tant d'etalage, ni aux poignards
     aux-quels il feignoit de sse devouer; mais il vouloit que les
     citoyens fusssent constamment en defiance l'un de l'autre," &c._

     "Affecting to consider all things, even the fate of the country, as
     depending on himself alone, he never spoke of it but with a view to
     point himself out its principal defender.--If you take away from his
     long harangues all that regards him personally, you will find only
     dry applications of familiar principles, and, above all, those
     studied turns, which were artfully prepared to introduce his own
     eternal panegyric.--You supposed him timid because his imagination
     (which was not merely ardent, as was supposed, but ferocious) seemed
     often to exaggerate the misfortunes of his country.--This was a mere
     trick: he believed neither in the conspiracies he made so great a
     parade of, nor in the poignards to which he pretended to devote
     himself as a victim.--His real design was to infuse into the minds
     of all men an unceasing diffidence of each other."

One cannot study the characters of these men, and the revolution, without
wonder; and, after an hour of such scribbling, I wake to the scene around
me, and my wonder is not a little increased, at the idea that the fate of
such an individual as myself should be at all dependent on either.--My
friend Mad. de ____ is ill,* and taken to the hospital, so that having no
longer the care of dissipating her ennui, I am at full liberty to indulge
my own.

     * I have generally made use of the titles and distinctions by which
     the people I mention were known before the revolution; for, besides
     that I found it difficult to habituate my pen to the republican
     system of levelling, the person to whom these letters were addressed
     would not have known who was meant by the new appellations.  It is,
     however, to be observed, that, except in private aristocratic
     intercourse, the word Citizen was in general use; and that those who
     had titles relinquished them and assumed their family names.

--Yet I know not how it is, but, as I have before observed to you, I do
not ennuye--my mind is constantly occupied, though my heart is vacant--
curiosity serves instead of interest, and I really find it sufficiently
amusing to conjecture how long my head may remain on my shoulders.--You
will, I dare say, agree with me that any doubts on such a subject are
very well calculated to remove the tranquil sort of indifference which
produces ennui; though, to judge by the greater part of my
fellow-prisoners, one would not think so.--There is something surely in
the character of the French, which makes them differ both in prosperity
and adversity from other people.  Here are many amongst us who see
little more in the loss of their liberty than a privation of their usual
amusements; and I have known some who had the good fortune to obtain
their release at noon, exhibit themselves at the theatre at night.--God
knows how such minds are constituted: for my part, when some consolatory
illusion restores me to freedom, I associate with it no idea of positive
pleasure, but long for a sort of intermediate state, which may repose my
harassed faculties, and in which mere comfort and security are portrayed
as luxuries.  After being so long deprived of the decent accommodations
of life, secluded from the intercourse which constitutes its best
enjoyments, trembling for my own fate, and hourly lamenting that of my
friends, the very thoughts of tumult or gaiety seem oppressive, and the
desire of peace, for the moment, banishes every other.  One must have no
heart, after so many sufferings, not to prefer the castle of Indolence
to the palace of Armida.

The coarse organs of an Argus at the door, who is all day employed in
calling to my high-born companions by the republican appellations of
_"Citoyen,"_ and _"Citoyenne,"_ has just interrupted me by a summons to
receive a letter from my unfortunate friends at Arras.--It was given me
open;* of course they say nothing of their situation, though I have
reason to believe it is dreadful.

     * The opening of letters was now so generally avowed, that people
     who corresponded on business, and were desirous their letters should
     be delivered, put them in the post without sealing; otherwise they
     were often torn in opening, thrown aside, or detained, to save the
     trouble of perusing.

--They have now written to me for assistance, which I have not the means
of affording them.  Every thing I have is under sequestration; and the
difficulty which attends the negociating any drafts drawn upon England,
has made it nearly impossible to procure money in the usual way, even if
I were not confined.  The friendship of Mad. de ____ will be little
available to me.  Her extensive fortune, before frittered to mere
competency by the extortions of the revolution, now scarcely supplies her
own wants; and her tenants humanely take the opportunity of her present
distress to avoid paying their rent.*

     * In some instances servants or tenants have been known to seize on
     portions of land for their own use--in others the country
     municipalities exacted as the price of a certificate of civism,
     (without which no release from prison could be obtained,) such
     leases, lands, or privileges, as they thought the embarrassments of
     their landlords would induce them to grant.  Almost every where the
     houses of persons arrested were pilfered either by their own
     servants or the agents of the republic.  I have known an elegant
     house put in requisition to erect blacksmiths' forges in for the use
     of the army, and another filled with tailors employed in making
     soldiers' clothes.--Houses were likewise not unfrequently abandoned
     by the servants through fear of sharing the fate of their masters,
     and sometimes exposed equally by the arrest of those who had been
     left in charge, in order to extort discoveries of plate, money, &c.
     the concealment of which they might be supposed privy to.

--So that I have no resource, either for myself or Mrs. D____, but the
sale of a few trinkets, which I had fortunately secreted on my first
arrest.  How are we to exist, and what an existence to be solicitous
about!  In gayer moments, and, perhaps, a little tinctured by romantic
refinement, I have thought Dr. Johnson made poverty too exclusively the
subject of compassion: indeed I believe he used to say, it was the only
evil he really felt for.  This, to one who has known only mental
suffering, appears the notion of a coarse mind; but I doubt whether, the
first time we are alarmed by the fear of want, the dread of dependence
does not render us in part his converts.  The opinion of our English sage
is more natural than we may at first imagine; or why is it that we are
affected by the simple distresses of Jane Shore, beyond those of any
other heroine?--Yours.

April 22, 1794.

Our abode becomes daily more crouded; and I observe, that the greater
part of those now arrested are farmers.  This appears strange enough,
when we consider how much the revolutionary persecution has hitherto
spared this class of people; and you will naturally enquire why it has at
length reached them.

It has been often observed, that the two extremes of society are nearly
the same in all countries; the great resemble each other from education,
the little from nature.  Comparisons, therefore, of morals and manners
should be drawn from the intervening classes; yet from this comparison
also I believe we must exclude farmers, who are every where the same, and
who seem always more marked by professional similitude than national

The French farmer exhibits the same acuteness in all that regards his own
interest, and the same stupidity on most other occasions, as the mere
English one; and the same objects which enlarge the understanding and
dilate the heart of other people, seem to have a contrary effect on both.
They contemplate the objects of nature as the stock-jobber does the
vicissitudes of the public funds: "the dews of heaven," and the
enlivening orb by which they are dispelled, are to the farmer only
objects of avaricious speculation; and the scarcity, which is partially
profitable, is but too often more welcome than a general abundance.--They
consider nothing beyond the limits of their own farms, except for the
purpose of making envious comparisons with those of their neighbours; and
being fed and clothed almost without intermediate commerce, they have
little necessity for communication, and are nearly as isolated a part of
society as sailors themselves.

The French revolutionists have not been unobserving of these
circumstances, nor scrupulous of profiting by them: they knew they might
have discussed for ever their metaphysical definitions of the rights of
man, without reaching the comprehension, or exciting the interest, of the
country people; but that if they would not understand the propagation of
the rights of man, they would very easily comprehend an abolition of the
rights of their landlords.  Accordingly, the first principle of liberty
they were taught from the new code was, that they had a right to assemble
in arms, to force the surrender of title-deeds; and their first
revolutionary notions of equality and property seem to have been
manifested by the burning of chateaux, and refusing to pay their rents.
They were permitted to intimidate their landlords, in order to force them
to emigration, and either to sell their estates at a low price, or leave
them to the mercy of the tenants.

At a time when the necessities of the state had been great enough to be
made the pretext of a dreadful revolution, they were not only almost
exempt from contributing to its relief, but were enriched by the common
distress; and while the rest of their countrymen beheld with unavailing
regret their property gradually replaced by scraps of paper, the peasants
became insolent and daring by impunity, refused to sell but for specie,
and were daily amassing wealth.  It is not therefore to be wondered at,
that they were partial to the new order of things.  The prisons might
have overflowed or been thinned by the miseries of those with whom they
had been crowded--the Revolutionary Tribunal might have sacrificed half
France, and these selfish citizens, I fear, would have beheld it
tranquilly, had not the requisition forced their labourers to the army,
and the "maximum" lowered the price of their corn.  The exigency of the
war, and an internal scarcity, having rendered these measures necessary,
and it being found impossible to persuade the farmers into a peaceful
compliance with them, the government has had recourse to its usual
summary mode of expostulation--a prison or the Guillotine.*

     * The avarice of the farmers was doubtless to be condemned, but the
     cruel despotism of the government almost weakened our sense of
     rectitude; for by confounding error with guilt, and guilt with
     innocence, they habituated us to indiscriminate pity, and obliged us
     to transfer our hatred of a crime to those who in punishing it,
     observed neither mercy nor justice.  A farmer was guillotined,
     because some blades of corn appeared growing in one of his ponds;
     from which circumstance it was inferred, he had thrown in a large
     quantity, in order to promote a scarcity--though it was
     substantially proved on his trial, that at the preceding harvest the
     grain of an adjoining field had been got in during a high wind, and
     that in all probability some scattered ears which reached the water
     had produced what was deemed sufficient testimony to convict him.--
     Another underwent the same punishment for pursuing his usual course
     of tillage, and sowing part of his ground with lucerne, instead of
     employing the whole for wheat; and every where these people became
     the objects of persecution, both in their persons and property.

     "Almost all our considerable farmers have been thrown into prison;
     the consequence is, that their capital is eat up, their stock gone
     to ruin, and our lands have lost the almost incalculable effect of
     their industry.  In La Vendee six million acres of land lie
     uncultivated, and five hundred thousand oxen have been turned
     astray, without shelter and without an owner."
                    Speech of Dubois Crance, Sept. 22, 1794.

--Amazed to find themselves the objects of a tyranny they had hitherto
contributed to support, and sharing the misfortune of their Lords and
Clergy, these ignorant and mistaken people wander up and down with a
vacant sort of ruefulness, which seems to bespeak that they are far from
comprehending or being satisfied with this new specimen of
republicanism.--It has been a fatality attending the French through the
whole revolution, that the different classes have too readily facilitated
the sacrifice of each other; and the Nobility, the Clergy, the Merchant,
and the Farmer, have the mortification of experiencing, that their
selfish and illiberal policy has answered no purpose but to involve all
in one common ruin.

Angelique has contrived to-day to negotiate the sale of some bracelets,
which a lady, with whom I was acquainted previous to our detention, has
very obligingly given almost half their value for, though not without
many injunctions to secresy, and as many implied panegyrics on her
benevolence, in risking the odium of affording assistance to a foreigner.
We are, I assure you, under the necessity of being oeconomists, where the
most abundant wealth could not render us externally comfortable: and the
little we procure, by a clandestine disposal of my unnecessary trinkets,
is considerably diminished,* by arbitrary impositions of the guard and
the poor,** and a voluntary tax from the misery that surrounds us.

     * I am aware of Mr. Burke's pleasantry on the expression of very
     little, being greatly diminished; but my exchequer at this time was
     as well calculated to prove the infinite divisibility of matter, as
     that of the Welch principality.

     ** The guards of the republican Bastilles were paid by the prisoners
     they contained; and, in many places, the tax for this purpose was
     levied with indecent rigour.  It might indeed be supposed, that
     people already in prison could have little to apprehend from an
     inability or unwillingness to submit to such an imposition; yet
     those who refused were menaced with a dungeon; and I was informed,
     from undoubted authority, of two instances of the sort among the
     English--the one a young woman, the other a person with a large
     family of children, who were on the point of suffering this
     treatment, but that the humanity of some of their companions
     interfered and paid the sum exacted of them.  The tax for supporting
     the imprisoned poor was more willingly complied with, though not
     less iniquitous in its principle; numbers of inoffensive and
     industrious people were taken from their homes on account of their
     religion, or other frivolous pretexts, and not having the
     wherewithal to maintain themselves in confinement, instead of being
     kept by the republic, were supported by their fellow-prisoners, in
     consequence of a decree to that purpose.  Families who inherited
     nothing from their noble ancestors but their names, were dragged
     from obscurity only to become objects of persecution; and one in
     particular, consisting of nine persons, who lived in extreme
     indigence, but were notwithstanding of the proscribed class; the
     sons were brought wounded from the army and lodged with the father,
     mother, and five younger children in a prison, where they had
     scarcely food to support, or clothing to cover them.

     I take this opportunity of doing justice to the Comte d'Artois,
     whose youthful errors did not extinguish his benevolence--the
     unfortunate people in question having enjoyed a pension from him
     until the revolution deprived them of it.

Our male companions are for the most part transferred to other prisons,
and among the number are two young Englishmen, with whom I used sometimes
to converse in French, without acknowledging our compatriotism.  They
have told me, that when the decree for arresting the English was received
at Amiens, they happened to be on a visit, a few miles from the town; and
having notice that a party of horse were on the road to take them,
willing to gain time at least, they escaped by another route, and got
home.  The republican constables, for I can call the military employed in
the interior by no better appellation, finding their prey had taken
flight, adopted the impartial justice of the men of Charles Town,* and
carried off the old couple (both above seventy) at whose house they had

             * "But they maturely having weigh'd
               "They had no more but him o'th'trade,
               "Resolved to spare him, yet to do
               "The Indian Hoghan-Moghan too
               "Impartial justice--in his stead did
               "Hang an old weaver that was bed-rid."

The good man, who was probably not versed in the etiquette of the
revolution, conceived nothing of the matter, and when at the end of their
journey they were deposited at the Bicetre, his head was so totally
deranged, that he imagined himself still in his own house, and continued
for some days addressing all the prisoners as though they were his
guests--at one moment congratulating them on their arrival, the next
apologizing for want of room and accommodation.--The evasion of the young
men, as you will conclude, availed them nothing, except a delay of their
captivity for a few hours.

A report has circulated amongst us to-day, that all who are not detained
on specific charges are soon to be liberated.  This is eagerly believed
by the new-comers, and those who are not the "pale converts of
experience."  I am myself so far from crediting it, that I dread lest it
should be the harbinger of some new evil, for I know not whether it be
from the effect of chance, or a refinement in atrocity, but I have
generally found every measure which tended to make our situation more
miserable preceded by these flattering rumours.

You would smile to see with what anxious credulity intelligence of this
sort is propagated: we stop each other on the stairs and listen while our
palled dinner, just arrived from the traiteur, is cooling; and the bucket
of the draw-well hangs suspended while a history is finished, of which
the relator knows as little as the hearer, and which, after all, proves
to have originated in some ambiguous phrase of our keeper, uttered in a
good-humoured paroxysm while receiving a douceur.

We occasionally lose some of our associates, who, having obtained their
discharge, _depart a la Francaise,_ forget their suffering, and praise the
clemency of Dumont, and the virtue of the Convention; while those who
remain still unconverted amuse themselves in conjecturing the channel
through which such favours were solicited, and alleging reasons why such
preferences were partial and unjust.

Dumont visits us, as usual, receives an hundred or two of petitions,
which he does not deign to read, and reserves his indulgence for those
who have the means of assailing him through the smiles of a favourite
mistress, or propitiating him by more substantial advantages.--Many of
the emigrants' wives have procured their liberty by being divorced, and
in this there is nothing blameable, for I imagine the greater number
consider it only as a temporary expedient, indifferent in itself, and
which they are justified in having recourse to for the protection of
their persons and property.  But these domestic alienations are not
confined to those who once moved in the higher orders of society--the
monthly registers announce almost as many divorces as marriages, and the
facility of separation has rendered the one little more than a licentious
compact, which the other is considered as a means of dissolving.  The
effect of the revolution has in this, as in many other cases, been to
make the little emulate the vices of the great, and to introduce a more
gross and destructive policy among the people at large, than existed in
the narrow circle of courtiers, imitators of the Regent, or Louis the
fifteenth.  Immorality, now consecrated as a principle, is far more
pernicious than when, though practised, it was condemned, and, though
suffered, not sanctioned.

You must forgive me if I ennuye you a little sententiously--I was more
partial to the lower ranks of life in France, than to those who were
deemed their superiors; and I cannot help beholding with indignant regret
the last asylums of national morals thus invaded by the general
corruption.--I believe no one will dispute that the revolution has
rendered the people more vicious; and, without considering the matter
either in a moral or religious point of view, it is impossible to assert
that they are not less happy.  How many times, when I was at liberty,
have I heard the old wish for an accession of years, or envy those yet
too young to be sensible of "the miseries of a revolution!"--Were the
vanity of the self-sufficient philosopher susceptible of remorse, would
he not, when he beholds this country, lament his presumption, in
supposing he had a right to cancel the wisdom of past ages; or that the
happiness of mankind might be promoted by the destruction of their
morals, and the depravation of their social affections?--Yours, &c.

April 30, 1794.

For some years previous to the revolution, there were several points in
which the French ascribed to themselves a superiority not very distant
from perfection.  Amongst these were philosophy, politeness, the
refinements of society, and, above all, the art of living.--I have
sometimes, as you know, been inclined to dispute these claims; yet, if it
be true that in our sublunary career perfection is not stationary, and
that, having reached the apex of the pyramid on one side, we must
necessarily descend on the other, I might, on this ground, allow such
pretensions to be more reasonable than I then thought them.  Whatever
progress might have been attained in these respects, or however near our
neighbours might have approached to one extreme, it is but too certain
they are now rapidly declining to the other.  This boasted philosophy is
become a horrid compound of all that is offensive to Heaven, and
disgraceful to man--this politeness, a ferocious incivility--and this
social elegance and exclusive science in the enjoyment of life, are now
reduced to suspicious intercourse, and the want of common necessaries.

If the national vanity only were wounded, perhaps I might smile, though I
hope I should not triumph; but when I see so much misery accompany so
profound a degradation, my heart does not accord with my language, if I
seem to do either one or the other.

I should ineffectually attempt to describe the circumstances and
situation which have given rise to these reflections.  Imagine to
yourself whatever tyranny can inflict, or human nature submit to--
whatever can be the result of unrestrained wickedness and unresisting
despair--all that can scourge or disgrace a people--and you may form some
idea of the actual state of this country: but do not search your books
for comparisons, or expect to find in the proscriptions and
extravagancies of former periods any examples by which to judge the
present.--Tiberius and Nero are on the road to oblivion, and the subjects
of the Lama may boast comparative pretensions to rank as a free and
enlightened nation.

The frantic ebullitions of the revolutionary government are now as it
were subsided, and instead of appearing the temporary resources of
"despotism in distress," [Burke.] have assumed the form of a permanent
and regular system.  The agitation occasioned by so many unexampled
scenes is succeeded by an habitual terror, and this depressing sentiment
has so pervaded all ranks, that it would be difficult to find an
individual, however obscure or inoffensive, who deems his property, or
even his existence, secure only for a moment.  The sound of a bell or a
knocker at the close of the evening is the signal of dismay.  The
inhabitants of the house regard each other with looks of fearful
interrogation--all the precautions hitherto taken appear insufficient--
every one recollects something yet to be secreted--a prayer-book, an
unburied silver spoon, or a few assignats "a face royale," are hastily
scrambled together, and if the visit prove nothing more than an amicable
domiciliary one, in search of arms and corn, it forms matter of
congratulation for a week after.  Yet such is the submission of the
people to a government they abhor, that it is scarcely thought requisite
now to arrest any person formally: those whom it is intended to secure
often receive nothing more than a written mandate* to betake themselves
to a certain prison, and such unpleasant rendezvous are attended with
more punctuality than the most ceremonious visit, or the most gallant

     * These rescripts were usually couched in the following terms:--
     "Citizen, you are desired to betake yourself immediately to ------,
     (naming the prison,) under pain of being conveyed there by an armed
     force in case of delay."

--A few necessaries are hastily packed together, the adieus are made,
and, after a walk to their prison, they lay their beds down in the corner
allotted, just as if it were a thing of course.

It was a general observation with travellers, that the roads in France
were solitary, and had rather the deserted appearance of the route of a
caravan, than of the communications between different parts of a rich and
populous kingdom.  This, however, is no longer true, and, as far as I can
learn, they are now sufficiently crowded--not, indeed, by curious
itinerants, parties of pleasure, or commercial industry, but by Deputies
of the Convention,* agents of subsistence,** committee men, Jacobin
missionaries,*** troops posting from places where insurrection is just
quelled to where it has just begun, besides the great and never-failing
source of activity, that of conveying suspected people from their homes
to prison, and from one prison to another.--

     * Every department was infested by one, two, or more of these
     strolling Deputies; and, it must be confessed, the constant tendency
     of the people to revolt in many places afforded them sufficient
     employment.  Sometimes they acted as legislators, making laws on the
     spot--sometimes, both as judges and constables--or, if occasion
     required, they amused themselves in assisting the executioner.--The
     migrations of obscure men, armed with unlimited powers, and whose
     persons were unknown, was a strong temptation to imposture, and in
     several places adventurers were detected assuming the character of
     Deputies, for various purposes of fraud and depredation.--The
     following instance may appear ludicrous, but I shall be excused
     mentioning it, as it is a fact on record, and conveys an idea of
     what the people supposed a Deputy might do, consistent with the
     "dignity" of his executive functions.

     An itinerant of this sort, whose object seems to have been no more
     than to procure a daily maintenance, arriving hungry in a village,
     entered the first farm-house that presented itself, and immediately
     put a pig in requisition, ordered it to be killed, and some sausages
     to be made, with all speed.  In the meanwhile our mock-legislator,
     who seems to have acted his part perfectly well, talked of liberty,
     l'amour de la Patrie, of Pitt and the coalesced tyrants, of
     arresting suspicious people and rewarding patriots; so that the
     whole village thought themselves highly fortunate in the presence of
     a Deputy who did no worse than harangue and put their pork in
     requisiton.--Unfortunately, however, before the repast of sausages
     could be prepared, a hue and cry reached the place, that this
     gracious Representant was an impostor!  He was bereft of his
     dignities, conveyed to prison, and afterwards tried by the Tribunal
     Revolutionnaire at Paris; but his Counsel, by insisting on the
     mildness with which he had "borne his faculties," contrived to get
     his punishment mitigated to a short imprisonment.--Another suffered
     death on a somewhat similar account; or, as the sentence expressed
     it, for degrading the character of a National Representative.--Just
     Heaven! for degrading the character of a National Representative!!!
     --and this too after the return of Carrier from Nantes, and the
     publication of Collot d'Herbois' massacres at Lyons!

     **The agents employed by government in the purchase of subsistence
     amounted, by official confession, to ten thousand.  In all parts
     they were to be seen, rivalling each other, and creating scarcity
     and famine, by requisitions and exactions, which they did not
     convert to the profit of the republic, but to their own.--These
     privileged locusts, besides what they seized upon, occasioned a
     total stagnation of commerce, by laying embargoes on what they did
     not want; so that it frequently occurred that an unfortunate
     tradesman might have half the articles in his shop under requisition
     for a month together, and sometimes under different requisitions
     from deputies, commissaries of war, and agents of subsistence, all
     at once; nor could any thing be disposed of till such claims were
     satisfied or relinquished.

     *** Jacobin missionaries were sent from Paris, and other great
     towns, to keep up the spirits of the people, to explain the benefits
     of the revolution, (which, indeed, were not very apparent,) and to
     maintain the connection between the provincial and metropolitan
     societies.--I remember the Deputies on mission at Perpignan writing
     to the Club at Paris for a reinforcement of civic apostles, _"pour
     evangeliser les habitans et les mettre dans la voie de salut"_--("to
     convert the inhabitants, and put them in the road to salvation").

--These movements are almost entirely confined to the official travellers
of the republic; for, besides the scarcity of horses, the increase of
expence, and the diminution of means, few people are willing to incur the
suspicion or hazard* attendant on quitting their homes, and every
possible obstacle is thrown in the way of a too general intercourse
between the inhabitants of large towns.

     * There were moments when an application for a passport was certain
     of being followed by a mandat d'arret--(a writ of arrest).  The
     applicant was examined minutely as to the business he was going
     upon, the persons he was to transact it with, and whether the
     journey was to be performed on horseback or in a carriage, and any
     signs of impatience or distaste at those democratic ceremonies were
     sufficient to constitute _"un homme suspect"_--("a suspicious
     person"), or at least one _"soupconne d'etre suspect,"_ that is, a man
     suspected of being suspicious.  In either case it was usually deemed
     expedient to prevent the dissemination of his supposed principles,
     by laying an embargo on his person.--I knew a man under persecution
     six months together, for having gone from one department to another
     to see his family.

The committee of Public Welfare is making rapid advances to an absolute
concentration of the supreme power, and the convention, while they are
the instruments of oppressing the whole country, are themselves become
insignificant, and, perhaps, less secure than those over whom they
tyrannize.  They cease to debate, or even to speak; but if a member of
the Committee ascends the tribune, they overwhelm him with applauses
before they know what he has to say, and then pass all the decrees
presented to them more implicitly than the most obsequious Parliament
ever enregistered an arrete of the Court; happy if, by way of
compensation, they attract a smile from Barrere, or escape the ominous
glances of Robespierre.*

     * When a member of the committee looked inauspiciously at a
     subordinate accomplice, the latter scarce ventured to approach his
     home for some time.--Legendre, who has since boasted so continually
     about his courage, is said to have kept his bed, and Bourdon de
     l'Oise, to have lost his senses for a considerable time, from
     frights, the consequence of such menaces.

Having so far described the situation of public affairs, I proceed as
usual, and for which I have the example of Pope, who never quits a
subject without introducing himself, to some notice of my own.  It is not
only bad in itself, but worse in perspective than ever: yet I learn not
to murmur, and derive patience from the certainty, that almost every part
of France is more oppressed and wretched than we are.--Yours, etc.

June 3, 1794.

The individual sufferings of the French may perhaps yet admit of
increase; but their humiliation as a people can go no farther; and if it
were not certain that the acts of the government are congenial to its
principles, one might suppose this tyranny rather a moral experiment on
the extent of human endurance, than a political system.

Either the vanity or cowardice of Robespierre is continually suggesting
to him plots for his assassination; and on pretexts, at once absurd and
atrocious, a whole family, with near seventy other innocent people as
accomplices, have been sentenced to death by a formal decree of the

One might be inclined to pity a people obliged to suppress their
indignation on such an event, but the mind revolts when addresses are
presented from all quarters to congratulate this monster's pretended
escape, and to solicit a farther sacrifice of victims to his revenge.--
The assassins of Henry the Fourth had all the benefit of the laws, and
suffered only after a legal condemnation; yet the unfortunate Cecilia
Renaud, though evidently in a state of mental derangement, was hurried to
the scaffold without a hearing, for the vague utterance of a truth, to
which every heart in France, not lost to humanity, must assent.  Brooding
over the miseries of her country, till her imagination became heated and
disordered, this young woman seems to have conceived some hopeless plan
of redress from expostulation with Robespierre, whom she regarded as a
principal in all the evils she deplored.  The difficulty of obtaining an
audience of him irritated her to make some comparison between an
hereditary sovereign and a republican despot; and she avowed, that, in
desiring to see Robespierre, she was actuated only by a curiosity to
"contemplate the features of a tyrant."--On being examined by the
Committee, she still persisted that her design was "seulement pour voir
comment etoit fait un tyrant;" and no instrument nor possible means of
destruction was found upon her to justify a charge of any thing more than
the wild and enthusiastic attachment to royalism, which she did not
attempt to disguise.  The influence of a feminine propensity, which often
survives even the wreck of reason and beauty, had induced her to dress
with peculiar neatness, when she went in search of Robespierre; and, from
the complexion of the times, supposing it very probable a visit of this
nature might end in imprisonment and death, she had also provided herself
with a change of clothes to wear in her last moments.

Such an attention in a beautiful girl of eighteen was not very unnatural;
yet the mean and cruel wretches who were her judges, had the littleness
to endeavour at mortifying, by divesting her of her ornaments, and
covering her with the most loathsome rags.  But a mind tortured to
madness by the sufferings of her country, was not likely to be shaken by
such puerile malice; and, when interrogated under this disguise, she
still preserved the same firmness, mingled with contempt, which she had
displayed when first apprehended.  No accusation, nor even implication,
of any person could be drawn from her, and her only confession was that
of a passionate loyalty: yet an universal conspiracy was nevertheless
decreed by the Convention to exist, and Miss Renaud, with sixty-nine
others,* were sentenced to the guillotine, without farther trial than
merely calling over their names.

     * It is worthy of remark, that the sixty-nine people executed as
     accomplices of Miss Renaud, except her father, mother, and aunt,
     were totally unconnected with her, or with each other, and had been
     collected from different prisons, between which no communication
     could have subsisted.

--They were conducted to the scaffold in a sort of red frocks, intended,
as was alleged, to mark them as assassins--but, in reality, to prevent
the crowd from distinguishing or receiving any impression from the number
of young and interesting females who were comprised in this dreadful
slaughter.--They met death with a courage which seemed almost to
disappoint the malice of their tyrants, who, in an original excess of
barbarity, are said to have lamented that their power of inflicting could
not reach those mental faculties which enabled their victims to suffer
with fortitude.*

     * Fouquier Tinville, public accuser of the Revolutionary Tribunal,
     enraged at the courage with which his victims submitted to their
     fate, had formed the design of having them bled previous to their
     execution; hoping by this means to weaken their spirits, and that
     they might, by a pusillanimous behaviour in their last moments,
     appear less interesting to the people.

Such are the horrors now common to almost every part of France: the
prisons are daily thinned by the ravages of the executioner, and again
repeopled by inhabitants destined to the fate of their predecessors.  A
gloomy reserve, and a sort of uncertain foreboding, have taken possession
of every body--no one ventures to communicate his thoughts, even to his
nearest friend--relations avoid each other--and the whole social system
seems on the point of being dissolved.  Those who have yet preserved
their freedom take the longest circuit, rather than pass a republican
Bastille; or, if obliged by necessity to approach one, it is with
downcast or averted looks, which bespeak their dread of incurring the
suspicion of humanity.

I say little of my own feelings; they are not of a nature to be relieved
by pathetic expressions: "I am e'en sick at heart."  For some time I have
struggled both against my own evils, and the share I take in the general
calamity, but my mortal part gives way, and I can no longer resist the
despondency which at times depresses me, and which indeed, more than the
danger attending it, has occasioned my abandoning my pen for the last
month.--Several circumstances have occurred within these few days, to add
to the uneasiness of our situation, and my own apprehensions.  Le Bon,*
whose cruelties at Arras seem to have endeared him to his colleagues in
the Convention, has had his powers extended to this department, and Andre
Dumont is recalled; so that we are hourly menaced with the presence of a
monster, compared to whom our own representative is amiable.--

     * I have already noticed the cruel and ferocious temper of Le Bon,
     and the massacres of his tribunals are already well known.  I will
     only add some circumstances which not only may be considered as
     characteristic of this tyrant, but of the times--and I fear I may
     add of the people, who suffered and even applauded them.  They are
     selected from many others not susceptible of being described in
     language fit for an English reader.

     As he was one day enjoying his customary amusement of superintending
     an execution, where several had already suffered, one of the victims
     having, from a very natural emotion, averted his eyes while he
     placed his body in the posture required, the executioner perceived
     it, and going to the sack which contained the heads of those just
     sacrificed, took one out, and with the most horrible imprecations
     obliged the unhappy wretch to kiss it: yet Le Bon not only
     permitted, but sanctioned this, by dining daily with the hangman.
     He was afterwards reproached with this familiarity in the
     Convention, but defended himself by saying, "A similar act of
     Lequinio's was inserted by your orders in the bulletin with
     'honourable mention;' and your decrees have invariably consecrated
     the principles on which I acted."  They all felt for a moment the
     dominion of conscience, and were silent.--On another occasion he
     suspended an execution, while the savages he kept in pay threw dirt
     on the prisoners, and even got on the scaffold and insulted them
     previous to their suffering.

     When any of his colleagues passed through Arras, he always proposed
     their joining with him in a _"partie de Guillotine,"_ and the
     executions were perpetrated on a small square at Arras, rather than
     the great one, that he, his wife, and relations might more
     commodiously enjoy the spectacle from the balcony of the theatre,
     where they took their coffee, attended by a band of music, which
     played while this human butchery lasted.

     The following circumstance, though something less horrid, yet
     sufficiently so to excite the indignation of feeling people,
     happened to some friends of my own.--They had been brought with many
     others from a distant town in open carts to Arras, and, worn out
     with fatigue, were going to be deposited in the prison to which they
     were destined.  At the moment of their arrival several persons were
     on the point of being executed.  Le Bon, presiding as usual at the
     spectacle, observed the cavalcade passing, and ordered it to stop,
     that the prisoners might likewise be witnesses.  He was, of course,
     obeyed; and my terrified friends and their companions were obliged
     not only to appear attentive to the scene before them, but to join
     in the cry of _"Vive la Republique!"_ at the severing of each head.--
     One of them, a young lady, did not recover the shock she received
     for months.

     The Convention, the Committees, all France, were well acquainted
     with the conduct of Le Bon.  He himself began to fear he might have
     exceeded the limits of his commission; and, upon communicating some
     scruples of this kind to his employers, received the following
     letters, which, though they do not exculpate him, certainly render
     the Committee of Public Welfare more criminal than himself.


     "The Committee of Public Welfare approve the measures you have
     adopted, at the same time that they judge the warrant you solicit
     unnecessary--such measures being not only allowable, but enjoined by
     the very nature of your mission.  No consideration ought to stand in
     the way of your revolutionary progress--give free scope therefore to
     your energy; the powers you are invested with are unlimited, and
     whatever you may deem conducive to the public good, you are free,
     you are even called upon by duty, to carry into execution without
     delay.--We here transmit you an order of the Committee, by which
     your powers are extended to the neighbouring departments.  Armed
     with such means, and with your energy, you will go on to confound
     the enemies of the republic, with the very schemes they have
     projected for its destruction.

     "R. Lindet."

     Extract from another letter, signed Billaud Varenne, Carnot,

     "There is no commutation for offences against a republic.  Death
     alone can expiate them!--Pursue the traitors with fire and sword,
     and continue to march with courage in the revolutionary track you
     have described."

--Merciful Heaven! are there yet positive distinctions betwixt bad and
worse that we thus regret a Dumont, and deem ourselves fortunate in being
at the mercy of a tyrant who is only brutal and profligate?  But so it
is; and Dumont himself, fearful that he has not exercised his mission
with sufficient severity, has ordered every kind of indulgence to cease,
the prisons to be more strictly guarded, and, if possible, more crowded;
and he is now gone to Paris, trembling lest he should be accused of
justice or moderation!

The pretended plots for assassinating Robespierre are, as usual,
attributed to Mr. Pitt; and a decree has just passed, that no quarter
shall be given to English prisoners.  I know not what such inhuman
politics tend to, but my contempt, and the conscious pride of national
superiority; certain, that when Providence sees fit to vindicate itself,
by bestowing victory on our countrymen, the most welcome

               "Laurels that adorn their brows
               "Will be from living, not dead boughs."

The recollection of England, and its generous inhabitants, has animated
me with pleasure; yet I must for the present quit this agreeable
contemplation, to take precautions which remind me that I am separated
from both, and in a land of despotism and misery!

--Yours affectionately.

June 11, 1794.

The immorality of Hebert, and the base compliances of the Convention, for
some months turned the churches into "temples of reason."--The ambition,
perhaps the vanity, of Robespierre, has now permitted them to be
dedicated to the "Supreme Being," and the people, under such auspices,
are to be conducted from atheism to deism.  Desirous of distinguishing
his presidency, and of exhibiting himself in a conspicuous and
interesting light, Robespierre, on the last decade, appeared as the hero
of a ceremony which we are told is to restore morals, destroy all the
mischiefs introduced by the abolition of religion, and finally to defeat
the machinations of Mr. Pitt.  A gay and splendid festival has been
exhibited at Paris, and imitated in the provinces: flags of the
republican colours, branches of trees, and wreaths of flowers, were
ordered to be suspended from the houses--every countenance was to wear
the prescribed smile, and the whole country, forgetting the pressure of
sorrow and famine, was to rejoice.  A sort of monster was prepared,
which, by some unaccountable ingenuity, at once represented Atheism and
the English, Cobourg and the Austrians--in short, all the enemies of the
Convention.--This external phantom, being burned with proper form,
discovered a statue, which was understood to be that of Liberty, and the
inauguration of this divinity, with placing the busts of Chalier* and
Marat in the temple of the Supreme Being, by way of attendant saints,
concluded the ceremony.--

     * Chalier had been sent from the municipality of Paris after the
     dethronement of the King, to revolutionize the people of Lyons, and
     to excite a massacre.  In consequence, the first days of September
     presented the same scenes at Lyons as were presented in the capital.
     For near a year he continued to scourge this unfortunate city, by
     urging the lower classes of people to murder and pillage; till, at
     the insurrection which took place in the spring of 1793, he was
     arrested by the insurgents, tried, and sentenced to the guillotine.
     --The Convention, however, whose calendar of saints is as
     extraordinary as their criminal code, chose to beatify Chalier,
     while they executed Malesherbes; and, accordingly, decreed him a
     lodging in the Pantheon, pensioning his mistress, and set up his
     bust in their own Hall as an associate for Brutus, whom, by the way,
     one should not have expected to find in such company.

The good citizens of the republic, not to be behind hand with their
representatives, placed Chalier in the cathedrals, in their
public-houses, on fans and snuff-boxes--in short, wherever they thought
his appearance would proclaim their patriotism.--I can only exclaim as
Poultier, a deputy, did, on a similar occasion--"Francais, Francais,
serez vous toujours Francais?"--(Frenchmen, Frenchmen, will you never
cease to be Frenchmen?)

--But the mandates for such celebrations reach not the heart: flowers
were gathered, and flags planted, with the scrupulous exactitude of
fear;* yet all was cold and heavy, and a discerning government must have
read in this anxious and literal obedience the indication of terror and

     * I have more than once had occasion to remark the singularity of
     popular festivities solemnized on the part of the people with no
     other intention but that of exact obedience to the edicts of
     government.  This is so generally understood, that Richard, a deputy
     on mission at Lyons, writes to the Convention, as a circumstance
     extraordinary, and worthy of remark, that, at the repeal of a decree
     which was to have razed their city to the ground, a rejoicing took
     place, _"dirigee et executee par le peuple, les autorites
     constitutees n'ayant fait en quelque sorte qu'y assister,"_--
     (directed and executed by the people, the constituted authorities
     having merely assisted at the ceremony).

--Even the prisons were insultingly decorated with the mockery of
colours, which, we are told, are the emblems of freedom; and those whose
relations have expired on the scaffold, or who are pining in dungeons for
having heard a mass, were obliged to listen with apparent admiration to a
discourse on the charms of religious liberty.--The people, who, for the
most part, took little interest in the rest of this pantomime, and
insensible of the national disgrace it implied, beheld with stupid
satisfaction* the inscription on the temple of reason replaced by a
legend, signifying that, in this age of science and information, the
French find it necessary to declare their acknowledgment of a God, and
their belief in the immortality of the soul.

     * Much has been said of the partial ignorance of the unfortunate
     inhabitants of La Vendee, and divers republican scribblers attribute
     their attachment to religion and monarchy to that cause: yet at
     Havre, a sea-port, where, from commercial communication, I should
     suppose the people as informed and civilized as in any other part of
     France, the ears of piety and decency were assailed, during the
     celebration above-mentioned, by the acclamations of, _"Vive le Pere
     Eternel!"--"Vive l'etre Supreme!"_--(I entreat that I may not be
     suspected of levity when I translate this; in English it would be
     "God Almighty for ever!  The Supreme Being for ever!")

--At Avignon the public understanding seems to have been equally
enlightened, if we may judge from the report of a Paris missionary, who
writes in these terms:--"The celebration in honour of the Supreme Being
was performed here yesterday with all possible pomp: all our
country-folks were present, and unspeakably content that there was still
a God--What a fine decree (cried they all) is this!"

My last letter was a record of the most odious barbarities--to-day I am
describing a festival.  At one period I have to remark the destruction of
the saints--at another the adoration of Marat.  One half of the newspaper
is filled with a list of names of the guillotined, and the other with
that of places of amusement; and every thing now more than ever marks
that detestable association of cruelty and levity, of impiety and
absurdity, which has uniformly characterized the French revolution.  It
is become a crime to feel, and a mode to affect a brutality incapable of
feeling--the persecution of Christianity has made atheism a boast, and
the danger of respecting traditional virtues has hurried the weak and
timid into the apotheosis of the most abominable vices.  Conscious that
they are no longer animated by enthusiasm,* the Parisians hope to imitate
it by savage fury or ferocious mirth--their patriotism is signalized only
by their zeal to destroy, and their attachment to their government only
by applauding its cruelties.--If Robespierre, St. Just, Collot d'Herbois,
and the Convention as their instruments, desolate and massacre half
France, we may lament, but we can scarcely wonder at it.  How should a
set of base and needy adventurers refrain from an abuse of power more
unlimited than that of the most despotic monarch; or how distinguish the
general abhorrence, amid addresses of adulation, which Louis the
Fourteenth would have blushed to appropriate?*

     * Louis the Fourteenth, aguerri (steeled) as he was by sixty years
     of adulation and prosperity, had yet modesty sufficient to reject a
     "dose of incense which he thought too strong."  (See D'Alembert's
     Apology for Clermont Tonnerre.)  Republicanism, it should seem, has
     not diminished the national compliasance for men in power, thought
     it has lessened the modesty of those who exercise it.--If Louis the
     Fourteenth repressed the zeal of the academicians, the Convention
     publish, without scruple, addresses more hyperbolical than the
     praises that monarch refused.--Letters are addressed to Robespierre
     under the appellation of the Messiah, sent by the almighty for the
     reform of all things!  He is the apostle of one, and the tutelar
     deity of another.  He is by turns the representative of the virtues
     individually, and a compendium of them altogether: and this monster,
     whose features are the counterpart of his soul, find republican
     parasites who congratulate themselves on resembling him.

The bulletins of the Convention announce, that the whole republic is in a
sort of revolutionary transport at the escape of Robespierre and his
colleague, Collot d'Herbois, from assassination; and that we may not
suppose the legislators at large deficient in sensibility, we learn also
that they not only shed their grateful tears on this affecting occasion,
but have settled a pension on the man who was instrumental in rescuing
the benign Collot.

The members of the Committee are not, however, the exclusive objects of
public adoration--the whole Convention are at times incensed in a style
truly oriental; and if this be sometimes done with more zeal than
judgment, it does not appear to be less acceptable on that account.  A
petition from an incarcerated poet assimilates the mountain of the
Jacobins to that of Parnassus--a state-creditor importunes for a small
payment from the Gods of Olympus--and congratulations on the abolition of
Christianity are offered to the legislators of Mount Sinai!  Every
instance of baseness calls forth an eulogium on their magnanimity.  A
score of orators harangue them daily on their courage, while they are
over-awed by despots as mean as themselves and whom they continue to
reinstal at the stated period with clamorous approbation.  They
proscribe, devastate, burn, and massacre--and permit themselves to be
addressed by the title of "Fathers of their Country!"

All this would be inexplicable, if we did not contemplate in the French a
nation where every faculty is absorbed by a terror which involves a
thousand contradictions.  The rich now seek protection by becoming
members of clubs,* and are happy if, after various mortifications, they
are finally admitted by the mob who compose them; while families, that
heretofore piqued themselves on a voluminous and illustrious genealogy,**
eagerly endeavour to prove they have no claim to either.

     * _Le diplome de Jacobin etait une espece d'amulette, dont les
     inities etaient jaloux, et qui frappoit de prestiges ceux qui ne
     l'etaient pas_--"The Jacobin diploma was a kind of amulet, which the
     initiated were jealous of preserving, and which struck as it were
     with witchcraft, those who were not of the number."

     Rapport de Courtois sur les Papiers de Robespierre.

     ** Besides those who, being really noble, were anxious to procure
     certificates of sans-cullotism, many who had assumed such honours
     without pretensions now relinquished them, except indeed some few,
     whose vanity even surmounted their fears.  But an express law
     included all these seceders in the general proscription; alledging,
     with a candour not usual, that those who assumed rank were, in fact,
     more criminal than such as were guilty of being born to it.

     --Places and employments, which are in most countries the objects of
     intrigue and ambition, are here refused or relinquished with such
     perfect sincerity, that a decree became requisite to oblige every
     one, under pain of durance, to preserve the station to which his ill
     stars, mistaken politics, or affectation of patriotism, had called
     him.  Were it not for this law, such is the dreadful responsibility
     and danger attending offices under the government, that even low and
     ignorant people, who have got possession of them merely for support,
     would prefer their original poverty to emoluments which are
     perpetually liable to the commutation of the guillotine.--Some
     members of a neighbouring district told me to-day, when I asked them
     if they came to release any of our fellow-prisoners, that so far
     from it, they had not only brought more, but were not certain twelve
     hours together of not being brought themselves.

The visionary equality of metaphysical impostors is become a substantial
one--not constituted by abundance and freedom, but by want and
oppression.  The disparities of nature are not repaired, but its whole
surface is levelled by a storm.  The rich are become poor, but the poor
still remain so; and both are conducted indiscriminately to the scaffold.
The prisons of the former government were "petty to the ends" of this.
Convents, colleges, palaces, and every building which could any how be
adapted to such a purpose, have been filled with people deemed
suspicious;* and a plan of destruction seems resolved on, more certain
and more execrable than even the general massacre of September 1792.

     * Now multiplied to more than four hundred thousand!--The prisons of
     Paris and the environs were supposed to contain twenty-seven
     thousand.  The public papers stated but about seven thousand,
     because they included the official returns of Paris only.

--Agents of the police are, under some pretended accusation, sent to the
different prisons; and, from lists previously furnished them, make daily
information of plots and conspiracies, which they alledge to be carrying
on by the persons confined.  This charge and this evidence suffice: the
prisoners are sent to the tribunal, their names read over, and they are
conveyed by cart's-full to the republican butchery.  Many whom I have
known, and been in habits of intimacy with, have perished in this manner;
and the expectation of Le Bon,* with our numbers which make us of too
much consequence to be forgotten, all contribute to depress and alarm me.

     * Le Bon had at this period sent for lists of the prisoners in the
     department of the Somme--which lists are said to have been since
     found, and many of the names in them marked for destruction.

--Even the levity of the French character yields to this terrible
despotism, and nothing is observed but weariness, silence, and sorrow:--
_"O triste loisir, poids affreux du tems."_ [St. Lambert.] The season
returns with the year, but not to us--the sun shines, but to add to our
miseries that of insupportable heat--and the vicissitudes of nature only
awaken our regret that we cannot enjoy them--

          "Now gentle gales o'er all the vallies play,
          "Breathe on each flow'r, and bear their sweets away."

Yet what are fresh air and green fields to us, who are immured amidst a
thousand ill scents, and have no prospect but filth and stone walls?  It
is difficult to describe how much the mind is depressed by this state of
passive suffering.  In common evils, the necessity of action half
relieves them, as a vessel may reach her port by the agitation of a
storm; but this stagnant listless existence is terrible.

Those most to be envied here are the victims of their religious opinions.
The nuns, who are more distressed than any of us,* employ themselves
patiently, and seem to look beyond this world; whilst the once gay deist
wanders about with a volume of philosophy in his hand, unable to endure
the present, and dreading still more the future.

     * These poor women, deprived of the little which the rapacity of the
     Convention had left them, by it subordinate agents, were in want of
     every thing; and though in most prisons they were employed for the
     republican armies, they could scarcely procure more than bread and
     water.  Yet this was not all: they were objects of the meanest and
     most cruel persecution.--I knew one who was put in a dungeon, up to
     her waist in putrid water, for twelve hours altogether, without
     losing her resolution or serenity.

I have already written you a long letter, and bid you adieu with the
reluctance which precedes an uncertain separation.  Uneasiness, ill
health, and confinement, besides the danger I am exposed to, render my
life at present more precarious than "the ordinary of nature's tenures."
--God knows when I may address you again!--My friend Mad. de ____ is
returned from the hospital, and I yield to her fears by ceasing to write,
though I am nevertheless determined not to part with what I have hitherto
preserved; being convinced, that if evil be intended us, it will be as
soon without a pretext as with one.--Adieu.

Providence, Aug. 11, 1794.

I have for some days contemplated the fall of Robespierre and his
adherents, only as one of those dispensations of Providence, which were
gradually to pursue all who had engaged in the French revolution.  The
late change of parties has, however, taken a turn I did not expect; and,
contrary to what has hitherto occurred, there is a manifest disposition
in the people to avail themselves of the weakness which is necessarily
occasioned by the contentions of their governors.

When the news of this extraordinary event first became public, it was
ever where received with great gravity--I might say, coldness.--Not a
comment was uttered, nor a glance of approbation seen.  Things might be
yet in equilibrium, and popular commotions are always uncertain.
Prudence was, therefore, deemed, indispensable; and, until the contest
was finally decided, no one ventured to give an opinion; and many, to be
certain of guarding against verbal indiscretion, abstained from all
intercourse whatever.

By degrees, the execution of Robespierre and above an hundred of his
partizans, convinced even the most timid; the murmurs of suppressed
discontent began to be heard; and all thought they might now with safety
relieve their fears and their sufferings, by execrating the memory of the
departed tyrants.  The prisons, which had hitherto been avoided as
endangering all who approached them, were soon visited with less
apprehension; and friendship or affection, no longer exanimate by terror,
solicited, though still with trepidation, the release of those for whom
they were interested.  Some of our associates have already left us in
consequence of such intercessions, and we all hope that the tide of
opinion, now avowedly inimical to the detestable system to which we are
victims, will enforce a general liberation.--We are guarded but slightly;
and I think I perceive in the behaviour of the Jacobin Commissaries
something of civility and respect not usual.

Thus an event, which I beheld merely as the justice which one set of
banditti were made the instruments of exercising upon another, may
finally tend to introduce a more humane system of government; or, at
least, suspend proscription and massacre, and give this harassed country
a little repose.

I am in arrears with my epistolary chronicle, and the hope of so
desirable a change will now give me courage to resume it from the
conclusion of my last.  To-morrow shall be dedicated to this purpose.--

August 12.

My letters, previous to the time when I judged it necessary to desist
from writing, will have given you some faint sketch of the situation of
the country, and the sufferings of its inhabitants--I say a faint sketch,
because a thousand horrors and iniquities, which are now daily
disclosing, were then confined to the scenes where they were perpetrated;
and we knew little more of them than what we collected from the reports
of the Convention, where they excited a laugh as pleasantries, or
applause as acts of patriotism.

France had become one vast prison, executions were daily multiplied, and
a minute and comprehensive oppression seemed to have placed the lives,
liberty, and fortune of all within the grasp of the single Committee.
Despair itself was subdued, and the people were gradually sinking into a
gloomy and stupid obedience.

     * The words despotism and tyranny are sufficiently expressive of the
     nature of the government to which they are applied; yet still they
     are words rendered familiar to us only by history, and convey no
     precise idea, except that of a bad political system.  The condition
     of the French at this time, besides its wretchedness, had something
     so strange, so original in it, that even those who beheld it with
     attention must be content to wonder, without pretending to offer any
     description as adequate.

--The following extract from a speech of Bailleul, a member of the
Convention, exhibits a picture nearer the original than I have yet seen--

     _"La terreur dominait tous les esprits, comprimait tous les couers--
     elle etait la force du gouvernement, et ce gouvernement etait tel,
     que les nombreux habitans d'un vaste territoire semblaient avoir
     perdu les qualites qui distinguent l'homme de l'animal domestique:
     ils semblaient meme n'avoir de vie que ce que le gouvernement
     voulait bien leur en accorder.--Le moi humain n'existoit plus;
     chaque individu n'etait qu'une machine, allant, venant, pensant ou
     ne pensant pas, felon que la tyrannie le pressait ou l'animait."_

     Discours de Bailleul, 19 March 1795.

     "The minds of all were subdued by terror, and every heart was
     compressed beneath its influence.--In this consisted the strength of
     the government; and that government was such, that the immense
     population of a vast territory, seemed to have lost all the
     qualities which distinguish man from the animals attached to him.--
     They appeared to exhibit no signs of life but such as their rulers
     condescended to permit--the very sense of existence seemed doubtful
     or extinct, and each individual was reduced to a mere machine, going
     or coming, thinking or not thinking, according as the impulse of
     tyranny gave him force or animation."
                          Speech of Bailleul, 19 March 1795.

On the twenty-second of Prairial, (June 10,) a law, consisting of a
variety of articles for the regulation of the Revolutionary Tribunal, was
introduced to the convention by Couthon, a member of the government; and,
as usual adopted with very little previous discussion.--Though there was
no clause of this act but ought to have given the alarm to humanity,
"knocked at the heart, and bid it not be quiet;" yet the whole appeared
perfectly unexceptionable to the Assembly in general: till, on farther
examination, they found it contained an implied repeal of the law
hitherto observed, according to which, no representative could be
arrested without a preliminary decree for that purpose.--This discovery
awakened their suspicions, and the next day Bourdon de l'Oise, a man of
unsteady principles, (even as a revolutionist,) was spirited up to demand
an explicit renunciation of any power in the Committee to attack the
legislative inviolability except in the accustomed forms.--The clauses
which elected a jury of murderers, that bereft all but guilt of hope, and
offered no prospect to innocence but death, were passed with no other
comment than the usual one of applause.*--

     * The baseness, cruelty, and cowardice of the Convention are neither
     to be denied, nor palliated.  For several months they not only
     passed decrees of proscription and murder which might reach every
     individual in France except themselves, but they even sacrificed
     numbers of their own body; and if, instead of proposing an article
     affecting the whole Convention, the Committee had demanded the heads
     of as many Deputies as they had occasion for by name, I am persuaded
     they would have met no resistance.--This single example of
     opposition only renders the convention still more an object of
     abhorrence, because it marks that they could subdue their
     pusillanimity when their own safety was menaced, and that their
     previous acquiescence was voluntary.

--This, and this only, by involving their personal safety, excited their
courage through their fears.--Merlin de Douay, originally a worthless
character, and become yet more so by way of obviating the imputation of
bribery from the court, seconded Bourdon's motion, and the obnoxious
article was repealed instantaneously.

This first and only instance of opposition was highly displeasing to the
Committee, and, on the twenty-fourth, Robespierre, Barrere, Couthon, and
Billaud, animadverted with such severity on the promoters of it, that the
terrified Bourdon* declared, the repeal he had solicited was unnecessary,
and that he believed the Committee were destined to be the saviours of
the country; while Merlin de Douay disclaimed all share in the business--
and, in fine, it was determined, that the law of the twenty-second of
Prairial should remain as first presented to the Convention, and that the
qualification of the succeeding day was void.

     * It was on this occasion that the "intrepid" Bourdon kept his bed a
     whole month with fear.

So dangerous an infringement on the privileges of the representative
body, dwelt on minds insensible to every other consideration; the
principal members caballed secretly on the perils by which they were
surrounded; and the sullen concord which now marked their deliberations,
was beheld by the Committee rather as the prelude to revolt, than the
indication of continued obedience.  In the mean while it was openly
proposed to concentrate still more the functions of government.  The
circulation of newspapers was insinuated to be useless; and Robespierre
gave some hints of suppressing all but one, which should be under
particular and official controul.*

     * This intended restriction was unnecessary; for the newspapers were
     all, not indeed paid by government, but so much subject to the
     censure of the guillotine, that they had become, under an "unlimited
     freedom of the press," more cautious and insipid than the gazettes
     of the proscribed court.  Poor Duplain, editor of the "Petit
     Courier," and subsequently of the "Echo," whom I remember one of the
     first partizans of the revolution, narrowly escaped the massacre of
     August 1792, and was afterwards guillotined for publishing the
     surrender of Landrecy three days before it was announced officially.

A rumour prevailed, that the refractory members who had excited the late
rebellion were to be sacrificed, a general purification of the Assembly
to take place, and that the committee and a few select adherents were to
be invested with the whole national authority.  Lists of proscription
were said to be made; and one of them was secretly communicated as having
been found among the papers of a juryman of the Revolutionary Tribunal
lately arrested.--These apprehensions left the members implicated no
alternative but to anticipate hostilities, or fall a sacrifice; for they
knew the instant of attack would be that of destruction, and that the
people were too indifferent to take any part in the contest.

Things were in this state, when two circumstances of a very different
nature assisted in promoting the final explosion, which so much
astonished, not only the rest of Europe, but France itself.

It is rare that a number of men, however well meaning, perfectly agree in
the exercise of power; and the combinations of the selfish and wicked
must be peculiarly subject to discord and dissolution.  The Committee of
Public Welfare, while it enslaved the convention and the people, was torn
by feuds, and undermined by the jealousies of its members.  Robespierre,
Couthon, and St. Just, were opposed by Collot and Billaud Varennes; while
Barrere endeavoured to deceive both parties; and Carnot, Lindet, the two
Prieurs, and St. Andre, laboured in the cause of the common tyranny, in
the hope of still dividing it with the conquerors.

For some months this enmity was restrained, by the necessity of
preserving appearances, and conciliated, by a general agreement in the
principles of administration, till Robespierre, relying on his superior
popularity, began to take an ascendant, which alarmed such of his
colleagues as were not his partisans, both for their power and their
safety.  Animosities daily increased, and their debates at length became
so violent and noisy, that it was found necessary to remove the business
of the Committee to an upper room, lest people passing under the windows
should overhear these scandalous scenes.  Every means were taken to keep
these disputes a profound secret--the revilings which accompanied their
private conferences were turned into smooth panegyrics of each other when
they ascended the tribune, and their unanimity was a favourite theme in
all their reports to the Convention.*

     * So late as on the seventh of Thermidor, (25th July,) Barrere made
     a pompous eulogium on the virtues of Robespierre; and, in a long
     account of the state of the country, he acknowledges "some little
     clouds hang over the political horizon, but they will soon be
     dispersed, by the union which subsists in the Committees;--above
     all, by a more speedy trial and execution of revolutionary
     criminals."  It is difficult to imagine what new means of dispatch
     this airy barbarian had contrived, for in the six weeks preceding
     this harangue, twelve hundred and fifty had been guillotined in
     Paris only.

The impatience of Robespierre to be released from associates whose views
too much resembled his own to leave him an undivided authority, at length
overcame his prudence; and, after absenting himself for six weeks from
the Committee, on the 8th of Thermidor, (26th July,) he threw off the
mask, and in a speech full of mystery and implications, but containing no
direct charges, proclaimed the divisions which existed in the
government.--On the same evening he repeated this harangue at the
Jacobins, while St. Just, by his orders, menaced the obnoxious part of
the Committee with a formal denunciation to the Convention.--From this
moment Billaud Varennes and Collot d'Herbois concluded their destruction
to be certain.  In vain they soothed, expostulated with, and endeavoured
to mollify St. Just, so as to avert an open rupture.  The latter, who
probably knew it was not Robespierre's intention to accede to any
arrangement, left them to make his report.

On the morning of the ninth the Convention met, and with internal dread
and affected composure proceeded to their ordinary business.--St. Just
then ascended the tribune, and the curiosity or indecision of the greater
number permitted him to expatiate at large on the intrigues and guilt of
every kind which he imputed to a "part" of the Committee.--At the
conclusion of this speech, Tallien, one of the devoted members, and
Billaud Varennes, the leader of the rival party, opened the trenches, by
some severe remarks on the oration of St. Just, and the conduct of those
with whom he was leagued.  This attack encouraged others: the whole
Convention joined in accusing Robespierre of tyranny; and Barrere, who
perceived the business now deciding, ranged himself on the side of the
strongest, though the remaining members of the Committee still appeared
to preserve their neutrality.  Robespierre was, for the first time,
refused a hearing, yet, the influence he so lately possessed still seemed
to protect him.  The Assembly launched decrees against various of his
subordinate agents, without daring to proceed against himself; and had
not the indignant fury with which he was seized, at the desertion of
those by whom he had been most flattered, urged him to call for arrest
and death, it is probable the whole would have ended in the punishment of
his enemies, and a greater accession of power to himself.

But at this crisis all Robespierre's circumspection abandoned him.
Having provoked the decree for arresting his person, instead of
submitting to it until his party should be able to rally, he resisted;
and by so doing gave the Convention a pretext for putting him out of the
law; or, in other words, to destroy him, without the delay or hazard of a
previous trial.

Having been rescued from the Gens d'Armes, and taken in triumph to the
municipality, the news spread, the Jacobins assembled, and Henriot, the
commander of the National Guard, (who had likewise been arrested, and
again set at liberty by force,) all prepared to act in his defence.  But
while they should have secured the Convention, they employed themselves
at the Hotel de Ville in passing frivolous resolutions; and Henriot, with
all the cannoneers decidedly in his favour, exhibited an useless
defiance, by stalking before the windows of the Committee of General
Safety, when he should have been engaged in arresting its members.

All these imprudences gave the Convention time to proclaim that
Robespierre, the municipality, and their adherents, were decreed out of
the protection of the laws, and in circumstances of this nature such a
step has usually been decisive--for however odious a government, if it
does but seem to act on a presumption of its own strength, it has always
an advantage over its enemies; and the timid, the doubtful, or
indifferent, for the most part, determine in favour of whatever wears the
appearance of established authority.  The people, indeed, remained
perfectly neuter; but the Jacobins, the Committees of the Sections, and
their dependents, might have composed a force more than sufficient to
oppose the few guards which surrounded the National Palace, had not the
publication of this summary outlawry at once paralyzed all their hopes
and efforts.--They had seen multitudes hurried to the Guillotine, because
they were "hors de la loi;" and this impression now operated so forcibly,
that the cannoneers, the national guard, and those who before were most
devoted to the cause, laid down their arms, and precipitately abandoned
their chiefs to the fate which awaited them.  Robespierre was taken at
the Hotel de Ville, after being severely wounded in the face; his brother
broke his thigh, in attempting to escape from a window; Henriot was
dragged from concealment, deprived of an eye; and Couthon, whom nature
had before rendered a cripple, now exhibited a most hideous spectacle,
from an ineffectual effort to shoot himself.--Their wounds were dressed
to prolong their suffering, and their sentence being contained in the
decree that outlawed them, their persons were identified by the same
tribunal which had been the instrument of their crimes.
--On the night of the tenth they were conveyed to the scaffold, amidst
the insults and execrations of a mob, which a few hours before beheld
them with trembling and adoration.--Lebas, also a member of the
convention, and a principal agent of Robespierre, fell by his own hand;
and Couthon, St. Just, and seventeen others, suffered with the two
Robespierres.--The municipality of Paris, &c. to the number of
seventy-two, were guillotined the succeeding day, and about twelve
more the day after.

The fate of these men may be ranked as one of the most dreadful of those
examples which history vainly transmits to discourage the pursuits of
ambition.  The tyrant who perishes amidst the imposing fallaciousness of
military glory, mingles admiration with abhorrence, and rescues his
memory from contempt, if not from hatred.  Even he who expiates his
crimes on the scaffold, if he die with fortitude, becomes the object of
involuntary compassion, and the award of justice is not often rendered
more terrible by popular outrage.  But the fall of Robespierre and his
accomplices was accompanied by every circumstance that could add
poignancy to suffering, or dread to death.  The ambitious spirit which
had impelled them to tyrannize over a submissive and defenceless people,
abandoned them in their last moments.  Depressed by anguish, exhausted by
fatigue, and without courage, religion, or virtue, to support them, they
were dragged through the savage multitude, wounded and helpless, to
receive that stroke, from which even the pious and the brave sometimes
shrink with dismay.

Robespierre possessed neither the talents nor merits of Nicolas Riezi;
but they are both conspicuous instances of the mutability of popular
support, and there is a striking similitude in the last events of their
history.  They both degraded their ambition by cowardice--they were both
deserted by the populace, whom they began by flattering, and ended by
oppressing; and the death of both was painful and ignominious--borne
without dignity, and embittered by reproach and insult.*

     * Robespierre lay for some hours in one of the committee-rooms,
     writhing with the pain of his wound, and abandoned to despair; while
     many of his colleagues, perhaps those who had been the particular
     agents and applauders of his crimes, passed and repassed him,
     glorying and jesting at his sufferings.  The reader may compare the
     death of Robespierre with that of Rienzi; but if the people of Rome
     revenged the tyranny of the Tribune, they were neither so mean nor
     so ferocious as the Parisians.

You will perceive by this summary that the overthrow of Robespierre was
chiefly occasioned by the rivalship of his colleagues in the Committee,
assisted by the fears of the Convention at large for themselves.--Another
circumstance, at which I have already hinted, as having some share in
this event, shall be the subject of my next letter.

Providence, Aug. 13, 1794.

_Amour, tu perdis Troye_ [Love! thou occasionedst the destruction of
Troy.]:--yet, among the various mischiefs ascribed to the influence of
this capricious Sovereign, amidst the wrecks of sieges, and the slaughter
of battles, perhaps we may not unjustly record in his praise, that he was
instrumental to the solace of humanity, by contributing to the overthrow
of Robespierre.  It is at least pleasing to turn from the general horrors
of the revolution, and suppose, for a moment, that the social affections
were not yet entirely banished, and that gallantry still retained some
empire, when every other vestige of civilization was almost annihilated.

After such an exordium, I feel a little ashamed of my hero, and could
wish, for the credit of my tale, it were not more necessary to invoke the
historic muse of Fielding, than that of Homer or Tasso; but imperious
Truth obliges me to confess, that Tallien, who is to be the subject of
this letter, was first introduced to celebrity by circumstances not
favourable for the comment of my poetical text.

At the beginning of the revolution he was known only as an eminent orator
en plain vent; that is, as a preacher of sedition to the mob, whom he
used to harangue with great applause at the Palais Royal.  Having no
profession or means of subsistence, he, as Dr. Johnson observes of one of
our poets, necessarily became an author.  He was, however, no farther
entitled to this appellation, than as a periodical scribbler in the cause
of insurrection; but in this he was so successful, that it recommended
him to the care of Petion and the municipality, to whom his talents and
principles were so acceptable, that they made him Secretary to the

On the second and third of September 1792, he superintended the massacre
of the prisons, and is alledged to have paid the assassins according to
the number of victims they dispatched with great regularity; and he
himself seems to have little to say in his defence, except that he acted
officially.  Yet even the imputation of such a claim could not be
overlooked by the citizens of Paris; and at the election of the
Convention he was distinguished by being chosen one of their

It is needless to describe his political career in the Assembly otherwise
than by adding, that when the revolutionary furor was at its acme, he was
deemed by the Committee of Public Welfare worthy of an important mission
in the South.  The people of Bourdeaux were, accordingly, for some time
harassed by the usual effects of these visitations--imprisonments and the
Guillotine; and Tallien, though eclipsed by Maignet and Carrier, was by
no means deficient in the patriotic energies of the day.

I think I must before have mentioned to you a Madame de Fontenay, the
wife of an emigrant, whom I occasionally saw at Mad. de C____'s.  I then
remarked her for the uncommon attraction of her features, and the
elegance of her person; but was so much disgusted at a tendency to
republicanism I observed in her, and which, in a young woman, I thought
unbecoming, that I did not promote the acquaintance, and our different
pursuits soon separated us entirely.  Since this period I have learned,
that her conduct became exceedingly imprudent, or at least suspicious,
and that at the general persecution, finding her republicanism would not
protect her, she fled to Bourdeaux, with the hope of being able to
proceed to Spain.  Here, however, being a Spaniard by birth, and the wife
of an emigrant, she was arrested and thrown into prison, where she
remained till the arrival of Tallien on his mission.

The miscellaneous occupations of a deputy-errant, naturally include an
introduction to the female prisoners; and Tallien's presence afforded
Mad. de Fontenay an occasion of pleading her cause with all the success
which such a pleader might, in other times, be supposed to obtain from a
judge of Tallien's age.  The effect of the scenes Tallien had been an
actor in, was counteracted by youth, and his heart was not yet
indifferent to the charms of beauty--Mad. de Fontenay was released by the
captivation of her liberator, and a reciprocal attachment ensued.

We must not, however, conclude, all this merely a business of romance.
Mad. de Fontenay was rich, and had connexions in Spain, which might
hereafter procure an asylum, when a regicide may with difficulty find
one: and on the part of the lady, though Tallien's person is agreeable, a
desire of protecting herself and her fortune might be allowed to have
some influence.

From this time the revolutionist is said to have given way: Bourdeaux
became the Capua of Tallien; and its inhabitants were, perhaps, indebted
for a more moderate exercise of his power, to the smiles of Mad. de
Fontenay.--From hanging loose on society, he had now the prospect of
marrying a wife with a large fortune; and Tallien very wisely considered,
that having something at stake, a sort of comparative reputation among
the higher class of people at Bourdeaux, might be of more importance to
him in future, than all the applause the Convention could bestow on a
liberal use of the Guillotine.--The relaxed system which was the
consequence of such policy, soon reached the Committee of Public Welfare,
to whom it was highly displeasing, and Tallien was recalled.

A youth of the name of Julien, particularly in the confidence of
Robespierre, was then sent to Bourdeaux, not officially as his successor,
but as a spy, to collect information concerning him, as well as to watch
the operations of other missionaries, and prevent their imitating
Tallien's schemes of personal advantage, at the expence of scandalizing
the republic by an appearance of lenity.--The disastrous state of Lyons,
the persecutions of Carrier, the conflagrations of Maignet, and the
crimes of various other Deputies, had obliterated the minor
revolutionisms of Tallien:* The citizens of Bourdeaux spoke of him
without horror, which in these times was equal to eulogium; and Julien
transmitted such accounts of his conduct to Robespierre,** as were
equally alarming to the jealousy of his spirit, and repugnant to the
cruelty of his principles.

     * It was Tallien's boast to have guillotined only aristocrats, and
     of this part of his merit I am willing to leave him in possession.
     At Toulon he was charged with the punishment of those who had given
     up the town to the English; but finding, as he alledged, nearly all
     the inhabitants involved, he selected about two hundred of the
     richest, and that the horrid business might wear an appearance of
     regularity, the patriots, that is, the most notorious Jacobins, were
     ordered to give their opinion on the guilt of these victims, who
     were brought out into an open field for that purpose.  With such
     judges the sentence was soon passed, and a fusillade took place on
     the spot.--It was on this occasion that Tallien made particular
     boast of his humanity; and in the same publication where he relates
     the circumstance, he exposes the "atrocious conduct" of the English
     at the surrender of Toulon.  The cruelty of these barbarians not
     being sufficiently gratified by dispatching the patriots the
     shortest way, they hung up many of them by their chins on hooks at
     the shambles, and left them to die at their leisure.--See
     "Mitraillades, Fusillades," a recriminating pamphlet, addressed by
     Tallien to Collot d'Herbois.--The title alludes to Collot's exploits
     at Lyons.

     ** It is not out of the usual course of things that Tallien's
     moderation at Bourdeaux might have been profitable; and the wife or
     mistress of a Deputy was, on such occasions, a useful medium,
     through which the grateful offerings of a rich and favoured
     aristocrat might be conveyed, without committing the legislative
     reputation.--The following passage from Julien's correspondence with
     Robespierre seems to allude to some little arrangements of this

     "I think it my duty to transmit you an extract from a letter of
     Tallien's, [Which had been intercepted.] to the National Club.--It
     coincides with the departure of La Fontenay, whom the Committee of
     General Safety have doubtless had arrested.  I find some very
     curious political details regarding her; and Bourdeaux seems to have
     been, until this moment, a labyrinth of intrigue and peculation."

It appears from Robespierre's papers, that not only Tallien, but
Legendre, Bourdon de l'Oise, Thuriot, and others, were incessantly
watched by the spies of the Committee.  The profession must have improved
wonderfully under the auspices of the republic, for I doubt if _Mons. le
Noir's Mouchards_ [The spies of the old police, so called in derision.--
Brissot, in this act of accusation, is described as having been an agent
of the Police under the monarchy.--I cannot decide on the certainty of
this, or whether his occupation was immediately that of a spy, but I have
respectable authority for saying, that antecedent to the revolution, his
character was very slightly estimated, and himself considered as "hanging
loose on society."] were as able as Robespierre's.--The reader may judge
from the following specimens:

     "The 6th instant, the deputy Thuriot, on quitting the Convention,
     went to No. 35, Rue Jaques, section of the Pantheon, to the house of
     a pocket-book maker, where he staid talking with a female about ten
     minutes.  He then went to No. 1220, Rue Fosse St. Bernard, section
     of the Sans-Culottes, and dined there at a quarter past two.  At a
     quarter past seven he left the last place, and meeting a citizen on
     the Quay de l'Ecole, section of the Museum, near le Cafe Manoury,
     they went in there together, and drank a bottle of beer.  From
     thence he proceeded to la Maison Memblee de la Providence, No. 16,
     Rue d'Orleans Honore, section de la Halle au Bled, whence, after
     staying about five-and-twenty minutes, he came out with a citoyenne,
     who had on a puce Levite, a great bordered shawl of Japan cotton,
     and on her head a white handkerchief, made to look like a cap.  They
     went together to No. 163, Place Egalite, where after stopping an
     instant, they took a turn in the galleries, and then returned to
     sup.--They went in at half past nine, and were still there at eleven
     o'clock, when we came away, not being certain if they would come out

     "Bourdon de l'Oise, on entering the Assembly, shook hands with four
     or five Deputies.  He was observed to gape while good news was

Tallien was already popular among the Jacobins of Paris; and his
connexion with a beautiful woman, who might enable him to keep a domestic
establishment, and to display any wealth he had acquired, without
endangering his reputation, was a circumstance not to be overlooked; for
Robespierre well knew the efficacy of female intrigue, and dinners,* in
gaining partizans among the subordinate members of the Convention.

     * Whoever reads attentively, and in detail, the debates of the
     Convention, will observe the influence and envy created by a
     superior style of living in any particular member.  His dress, his
     lodging, or dinners, are a perpetual subject of malignant reproach.
     --This is not to be wondered at, when we consider the description of
     men the Convention is composed of;--men who, never having been
     accustomed to the elegancies of life, behold with a grudging eye the
     gay apparel or luxurious table of a colleague, who arrived at Paris
     with no other treasure but his patriotism, and has no ostensible
     means beyond his eighteen livres a day, now increased to thirty-six.

Mad. de Fontenay, was, therefore, on her arrival at Paris, whither she
had followed Tallien, (probably in order to procure a divorce and marry
him,) arrested, and conveyed to prison.

An injury of this kind was not to be forgiven; and Robespierre seems to
have acted on the presumption that it could not.  He beset Tallien with
spies, menaced him in the Convention, and made Mad. de Fontenay an offer
of liberty, if she would produce a substantial charge against him, which
he imagined her knowledge of his conduct at Bourdeaux might furnish her
grounds for doing.  A refusal must doubtless have irritated the tyrant;
and Tallien had every reason to fear she would soon be included in one of
the lists of victims who were daily sacrificed as conspirators in the
prisons.  He was himself in continual expectation of being arrested; and
it was generally believed Robespierre would soon openly accuse him.--Thus
situated, he eagerly embraced the opportunity which the schism in the
Committee presented of attacking his adversary, and we certainly must
allow him the merit of being the first who dared to move for the arrest
of Robespierre.--I need not add, that la belle was one of the first whose
prison doors were opened; and I understand that, being divorced from
Mons. de Fontenay, she is either married, or on the point of being so, to

This conclusion spoils my story as a moral one; and had I been the
disposer of events, the Septembriser, the regicide, and the cold assassin
of the Toulonais, should have found other rewards than affluence, and a
wife who might represent one of Mahomet's Houris.  Yet, surely, "the time
will come, though it come ne'er so slowly," when Heaven shall separate
guilt from prosperity, and when Tallien and his accomplices shall be
remembered only as monuments of eternal justice.  For the lady, her
faults are amply punished in the disgrace of such an alliance--

               "A cut-purse of the empire and the rule;
               "____ a King of shreds and patches."

Providence, Aug. 14, 1794.

The thirty members whom Robespierre intended to sacrifice, might perhaps
have formed some design of resisting, but it appears evident that the
Convention in general acted without plan, union, or confidence.*--

     * The base and selfish timidity of the Convention is strongly
     evinced by their suffering fifty innocent people to be guillotined
     on the very ninth of Thermidor, for a pretended conspiracy in the
     prison of St. Lazare.--A single word from any member might at this
     crisis have suspended the execution of the sentence, but that word
     no one had the courage or the humanity to utter.

--Tallien and Billaud were rendered desperate by their situation, and it
is likely that, when they ventured to attack Robespierre, they did not
themselves expect to be successful--it was the consternation of the
latter which encouraged them to persist, and the Assembly to support

               "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
               "Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

And to have been lucky enough to seize on this crisis, is, doubtless, the
whole merit of the convention.  There has, it is true, been many
allusions to the dagger of Brutus, and several Deputies are said to have
conceived very heroic projects for the destruction of the tyrant; but as
he was dead before these projects were brought to light, we cannot justly
ascribe any effect to them.

The remains of the Brissotin faction, still at liberty, from whom some
exertions might have been expected, were cautiously inactive; and those
who had been most in the habit of appreciating themselves for their
valour, were now conspicuous only for that discretion which Falstaff
calls the better part of it.--Dubois Crance, who had been at the expence
of buying a Spanish poniard at St. Malo, for the purpose of assassinating
Robespierre, seems to have been calmed by the journey, and to have
finally recovered his temper, before he reached the Convention.--Merlin
de Thionville, Merlin de Douay, and others of equal note, were among the
"passive valiant;" and Bourdon de l'Oise had already experienced such
disastrous effects from inconsiderate exhibitions of courage, that he now
restrained his ardour till the victory should be determined.  Even
Legendre, who is occasionally the Brutus, the Curtius, and all the
patriots whose names he has been able to learn, confined his prowess to
an assault on the club-room of the Jacobins, when it was empty, and
carrying off the key, which no one disputed with him, so that he can at
most claim an ovation.  It is, in short, remarkable, that all the members
who at present affect to be most vehement against Robespierre's
principles, [And where was the all-politic Sieyes?--At home, writing his
own eulogium.]  were the least active in attacking his person; and it is
indisputable, that to Tallien, Billaud, Louchet, Elie Lacoste, Collot
d'Herbois, and a few of the more violent Jacobins, were due those first
efforts which determined his fall.--Had Robespierre, instead of a
querelous harangue, addressed the convention in his usual tone of
authority, and ended by moving for a decree against a few only of those
obnoxious to him, the rest might have been glad to compound for their own
safety, by abandoning a cause no longer personal: but his impolicy, not
his wickedness, hastened his fate; and it is so far fortunate for France,
that it has at least suspended the system of government which is ascribed
to him.

The first days of victory were passed in receiving congratulations, and
taking precautions; and though men do not often adapt their claims to
their merits, yet the members of the Convention seemed in general to be
conscious that none amongst them had very decided pretensions to the
spoils of the vanquished.--Of twelve, which originally composed the
Committee of Public Welfare, seven only remained; yet no one ventured to
suggest a completion of the number, till Barrere, after previously
insinuating how adequate he and his colleagues were to the task of
"saving the country," proposed, in his flippant way, and merely as a
matter of form, that certain persons whom he recommended, should fill up
the vacancies in the government.

This modest Carmagnole* was received with great coolness; the late
implicit acquiescence was changed to demur, and an adjournment
unanimously called for.

     * A ludicrous appellation, which Barrere used to give to his reports
     in the presence of those who were in the secret of his Charlatanry.
     The air of "La Carmagnole" was originally composed when the town of
     that name was taken by Prince Eugene, and was adapted to the
     indecent words now sung by the French after the 10th of August 1792.

--Such unusual temerity susprised and alarmed the remains of the
Committee, and Billaud Varennes sternly reminded the Convention of the
abject state they were so lately released from.  This produced retort and
replication, and the partners of Robespierre's enormities, who had hoped
to be the tranquil inheritors of his power, found, that in destroying a
rival, they had raised themselves masters.

The Assembly persisted in not adopting the members offered to be imposed
upon them; but, as it was easier to reject than to choose, the Committee
were ordered to present a new plan for this part of the executive branch,
and the election of those to be entrusted with it was postponed for
farther consideration.

Having now felt their strength, they next proceeded to renew a part of
the committee of General Safety, several of its members being inculpated
as partizans of Robespierre, and though this Committee had become
entirely subordinate to that of Public Welfare, yet its functions were
too important for it to be neglected, more especially as they comprised a
very favourite branch of the republican government, that of issuing writs
of arrest at pleasure.--The law of the twenty-second of Prairial is also
repealed, but the Revolutionary Tribunal is preserved, and the necessity
of suspending the old jury, as being the creatures of Robespierre, has
not prevented the tender solicitude of the Convention for a renovated
activity in the establishment itself.

This assumption of power has become every day more confirmed, and the
addresses which are received by the Assembly, though yet in a strain of
gross adulation,* express such an abhorrence of the late system, as must
suffice to convince them the people are not disposed to see such a system

     * A collection of addresses, presented to the Convention at various
     periods, might form a curious history of the progress of despotism.
     These effusions of zeal were not, however, all in the "sublime"
     style: the legislative dignity sometimes condescended to unbend
     itself, and listen to metrical compositions, enlivened by the
     accompaniment of fiddles; but the manly and ferocious Danton, to
     whom such sprightly interruptions were not congenial, proposed a
     decree, that the citizens should, in future, express their
     adorations in plain prose, and without any musical accessories.

Billaud Varennes, Collot, and other members of the old Committee, view
these innovations with sullen acquiescence; but Barrere, whose frivolous
and facile spirit is incapable of consistency, even in wickedness,
perseveres and flourishes at the tribune as gaily as ever.--Unabashed by
detection, insensible to contempt, he details his epigrams and antitheses
against Catilines and Cromwells with as much self-sufficiency as when, in
the same tinsel eloquence, he promulgated the murderous edicts of

Many of the prisoners at Paris continue daily to obtain their release,
and, by the exertions of his personal enemies, particularly of our
quondam sovereign, Andre Dumont, (now a member of the Committee of
General Safety,) an examination into the atrocities committed by Le Bon
is decreed.--But, amidst these appearances of justice, a versatility of
principle, or rather an evident tendency to the decried system, is
perceptible.  Upon the slightest allusion to the revolutionary
government, the whole Convention rise in a mass to vociferate their
adherence to it:* the tribunal, which was its offspring and support, is
anxiously reinstalled; and the low insolence with which Barrere announces
their victories in the Netherlands, is, as usual, loudly applauded.

     * The most moderate, as well as the most violent, were always united
     on the subject of this irrational tyranny.--_"Toujours en menageant,
     comme la prunelle de ses yeux, le gouvernement revolutionnaire."_--
     "Careful always of the revolutionary government, as of the apple of
     their eye."  _Fragment pour servir a l'Hist. de la Convention, par
     J. J. Dussault_.

The brothers of Cecile Renaud, who were sent for by Robespierre from the
army to Paris, in order to follow her to the scaffold, did not arrive
until their persecutor was no more, and a change of government was
avowed.  They have presented themselves at the bar of the Convention, to
entreat a revisal of their father's sentence, and some compensation for
his property, so unjustly confiscated.--You will, perhaps, imagine, that,
at the name of these unfortunate young men, every heart anticipated a
consent to their claims, even before the mind could examine the justice
of them, and that one of those bursts of sensibility for which this
legislature is so remarkable instantaneously accorded the petition.
Alas! this was not an occasion to excite the enthusiasm of the
Convention: Coupilleau de Fontenay, one of the "mild and moderate party",
repulsed the petitioners with harshness, and their claim was silenced by
a call for the order of the day.  The poor Renauds were afterwards coldly
referred to the Committee of Relief, for a pittance, by way of charity,
instead of the property they have a right to, and which they have been
deprived of, by the base compliance of the Convention with the caprice of
a monster.

Such relapses and aberrations are not consolatory, but the times and
circumstances seem to oppose them--the whole fabric of despotism is
shaken, and we have reason to hope the efforts of tyranny will be
counteracted by its weakness.

We do not yet derive any advantage from the early maturity of the
harvest, and it is still with difficulty we obtain a limited portion of
bad bread.  Severe decrees are enacted to defeat the avarice of the
farmers, and prevent monopolies of the new corn; but these people are
invulnerable: they have already been at issue with the system of terror--
and it was found necessary, even before the death of Robespierre, to
release them from prison, or risk the destruction of the harvest for want
of hands to get it in.  It is now discovered, that natural causes, and
the selfishness of individuals, are adequate to the creation of a
temporary scarcity; yet when this happened under the King, it was always
ascribed to the machinations of government.--How have the people been
deceived, irritated, and driven to rebellion, by a degree of want, less,
much less, insupportable than that they are obliged to suffer at present,
without daring even to complain!

I have now been in confinement almost twelve months, and my health is
considerably impaired.  The weather is oppressively warm, and we have no
shade in the garden but under a mulberry-tree, which is so surrounded by
filth, that it is not approachable.  I am, however, told, that in a few
days, on account of my indisposition, I shall be permitted to go home,
though with a proviso of being guarded at my own expence.--My friends are
still at Arras; and if this indulgence be extended to Mad. de la F____,
she will accompany me.  Personal accommodation, and an opportunity of
restoring my health, render this desirable; but I associate no idea of
freedom with my residence in this country.  The boundary may be extended,
but it is still a prison.--Yours.

Providence, Aug. 15, 1794.

To-morrow I expect to quit this place, and have been wandering over it
for the last time.  You will imagine I can have no attachment to it: yet
a retrospect of my sensations when I first arrived, of all I have
experienced, and still more of what I have apprehended since that period,
makes me look forward to my departure with a satisfaction that I might
almost call melancholy.  This cell, where I have shivered through the
winter--the long passages, which I have so often traversed in bitter
rumination--the garden, where I have painfully breathed a purer air, at
the risk of sinking beneath the fervid rays of an unmitigated sun, are
not scenes to excite regret; but when I think that I am still subject to
the tyranny which has so long condemned me to them, this reflection, with
a sentiment perhaps of national pride, which is wounded by accepting as a
favour what I have been unjustly deprived of, renders me composed, if not
indifferent, at the prospect of my release.

This dreary epoch of my life has not been without its alleviations.  I
have found a chearful companion in Mad. de M____, who, at sixty, was
brought here, because she happened to be the daughter of Count L____, who
has been dead these thirty years!--The graces and silver accents of
Madame de B____, might have assisted in beguiling severer captivity; and
the Countess de C____, and her charming daughters (the eldest of whom is
not to be described in the common place of panegyric), who, though they
have borne their own afflictions with dignity, have been sensible to the
misfortunes of others, and whom I must, in justice, except from all the
imputations of meanness or levity, which I have sometimes had occasion to
notice in those who, like themselves, were objects of republican
persecution, have essentially contributed to diminish the horrors of
confinement.--I reckon it likewise among my satisfactions, that, with the
exception of the Marechalle de Biron,* and General O'Moran, none of our
fellow-prisoners have suffered on the scaffold.--

     * The Marechalle de Biron, a very old and infirm woman, was taken
     from hence to the Luxembourg at Paris, where her daughter-in-law,
     the Duchess, was also confined.  A cart arriving at that prison to
     convey a number of victims to the tribunal, the list, in the coarse
     dialect of republicanism, contained the name of la femme Biron. "But
     there are two of them," said the keeper.  "Then bring them both."--
     The aged Marechalle, who was at supper, finished her meal while the
     rest were preparing, then took up her book of devotion, and departed
     chearfully.--The next day both mother and daughter were guillotined.

--Dumont has, indeed, virtually occasioned the death of several; in
particular the Duc du Chatelet, the Comte de Bethune, Mons. de
Mancheville, &c.--and it is no merit in him that Mr. Luttrell, with a
poor nun of the name of Pitt,* whom he took from hence to Paris, as a
capture which might give him importance, were not massacred either by the
mob or the tribunal.

     * This poor woman, whose intellects, as I am informed, appeared in a
     state of derangement, was taken from a convent at Abbeville, and
     brought to the Providence, as a relation of Mr. Pitt, though I
     believe she has no pretensions to that honour.  But the name of Pitt
     gave her importance; she was sent to Paris under a military escort,
     and Dumont announced the arrival of this miserable victim with all
     the airs of a conqueror.  I have been since told, she was lodged at
     St. Pelagie, where she suffered innumerable hardships, and did not
     recover her liberty for many months after the fall of Robespierre.

--If the persecution of this department has not been sanguinary,* it
should be remembered, that it has been covered with prisons; and that the
extreme submission of its inhabitants would scarcely have furnished the
most merciless tyrant with a pretext for a severer regimen.--

     * There were some priests guillotined at Amiens, but the
     circumstance was concealed from me for some months after it

--Dumont, I know, expects to establish a reputation by not having
guillotined as an amusement, and hopes that he may here find a retreat
when his revolutionary labours shall be finished.

The Convention have not yet chosen the members who are to form the new
Committee.  They were yesterday solemnly employed in receiving the
American Ambassador; likewise a brass medal of the tyrant Louis the
Fourteenth, and some marvellous information about the unfortunate
Princess' having dressed herself in mourning at the death of Robespierre.
These legislators remind me of one of Swift's female attendants, who, in
spite of the literary taste he endeavoured to inspire her with, never
could be divested of her original housewifely propensities, but would
quit the most curious anecdote, as he expresses it, "to go seek an old
rag in a closet."  Their projects for the revival of their navy seldom go
farther than a transposal in the stripes of the flag, and their vengeance
against regal anthropophagi, and proud islanders, is infallibly diverted
by a denunciation of an aristocratic quartrain, or some new mode, whose
general adoption renders it suspected as the badge of a party.--If,
according to Cardinal de Retz' opinion, elaborate attention to trifles
denote a little mind, these are true Lilliputian sages.--Yours, &c.

August, 1794.

I did not leave the Providence until some days after the date of my last:
there were so many precautions to be taken, and so many formalities to be
observed--such references from the municipality to the district, and from
the district to the Revolutionary Committee, that it is evident
Robespierre's death has not banished the usual apprehension of danger
from the minds of those who became responsible for acts of justice or
humanity.  At length, after procuring a house-keeper to answer with his
life and property for our re-appearance, and for our attempting nothing
against the "unity and indivisibility" of the republic, we bade (I hope)
a long adieu to our prison.

Madame de ____ is to remain with me till her house can be repaired; for
it has been in requisition so often, that there is now, we are told,
scarcely a bed left, or a room habitable.  We have an old man placed with
us by way of a guard, but he is civil, and is not intended to be a
restraint upon us.  In fact, he has a son, a member of the Jacobin club,
and this opportunity is taken to compliment him, by taxing us with the
maintenance of his father.  It does not prevent us from seeing our
acquaintance, and we might, I suppose, go out, though we have not yet

The politics of the Convention are fluctuating and versatile, as will
ever be the case where men are impelled by necessity to act in opposition
to their principles.  In their eagerness to attribute all the past
excesses to Robespierre, they have, unawares, involved themselves in the
obligation of not continuing the same system.  They doubtless expected,
by the fall of the tyrant, to become his successors; but the people,
weary of being dupes, and of hearing that tyrants were fallen, without
feeling any diminution of tyranny, have every where manifested a temper,
which the Convention, in the present relaxed state of its power, is
fearful of making experiments upon.  Hence, great numbers of prisoners
are liberated, those that remain are treated more indulgently, and the
fury of revolutionary despotism is in general abated.

The Deputies who most readily assent to these changes have assumed the
appellation of Moderates; (Heaven knows how much they are indebted to
comparison;) and the popularity they have acquired has both offended and
alarmed the more inflexible Jacobins.  A motion has just been made by one
Louchet, that a list of all persons lately enlarged should be printed,
with the names of those Deputies who solicited in their favour, annexed;
and that such aristocrats as were thus discovered to have regained their
liberty, should be re-imprisoned.--The decree passed, but was so ill
received by the people, that it was judged prudent to repeal it the next

This circumstance seems to be the signal of dissention between the
Assembly and the Club: the former, apprehensive of revolting the public
opinion on the one hand, and desirous of conciliating the Jacobins on the
other, waver between indulgence and severity; but it is easy to discover,
that their variance with the Jacobins is more a matter of expediency than
principle, and that, were it not for other considerations, they would not
suffer the imprisonment of a few thousand harmless people to interrupt
the amity which has so long subsisted between themselves and their
ancient allies.--It is written, "from their works you shall know them;"
and reasoning from this tenet, which is our best authority, (for who can
boast a science in the human heart?) I am justified in my opinion, and I
know it to be that of many persons more competent to decide than myself.
If I could have had doubts on the subject, the occurrences of the last
few days would have amply satisfied them.

However rejoiced the nation at large might be at the overthrow of
Robespierre, no one was deceived as to the motives which actuated his
colleagues in the Committee.  Every day produced new indications not only
of their general concurrence in the enormities of the government, but of
their own personal guilt.  The Convention, though it could not be
insensible of this, was willing, with a complaisant prudence, to avoid
the scandal of a public discussion, which must irritate the Jacobins, and
expose its own weakness by a retrospect of the crimes it had applauded
and supported.  Laurent Lecointre,* alone, and apparently unconnected
with party, has had the courage to exhibit an accusation against Billaud,
Collot, Barrere, and those of Robespierre's accomplices who were members
of the Committee of General Safety.  He gave notice of his design on the
eleventh of Fructidor (28th of August).

     * Lecointre is a linen-draper at Versailles, an original
     revolutionist, and I believe of more decent character than most
     included in that description.  If we could be persuaded that there
     were any real fanatics in the Convention, I should give Lecointre
     the credit of being among the number.  He seems, at least, to have
     some material circumstances in his favour--such as possessing the
     means of living; of not having, in appearance, enriched himself by
     the revolution; and, of being the only member who, after a score of
     decrees to that purpose, has ventured to produce an account of his
     fortune to the public.

--It was received everywhere but in the Convention with applause; and the
public was flattered with the hope that justice would attain another
faction of its oppressors.  On the succeeding day, Lecointre appeared at
the tribune to read his charges.  They conveyed, even to the most
prejudiced mind, an entire conviction, that the members he accused were
sole authors of a part, and accomplices in all the crimes which had
desolated their country.  Each charge was supported by material proof,
which he deposited for the information of his colleagues.  But this was
unnecessary--his colleagues had no desire to be convinced; and, after
overpowering him with ridicule and insult, they declared, without
entering into any discussion, that they rejected the charges with
indignation, and that the members implicated had uniformly acted
according to their [own] wishes, and those of the nation.

As soon as this result was known in Paris, the people became enraged and
disgusted, the public walks resounded with murmurs, the fermentation grew
general, and some menaces were uttered of forcing the Convention to give
Lecointre a more respectful hearing.--Intimidated by such unequivocal
proofs of disapprobation, when the Assembly met on the thirteenth, it was
decreed, after much opposition from Tallien, that Lecointre should be
allowed to reproduce his charges, and that they should be solemnly

After all this, Lecointre, whose figure is almost ludicrous, and who is
no orator, was to repeat a voluminous denunciation, amidst the clamour,
abuse, chicane, and derision of the whole Convention.  But there are
occasions when the keenest ridicule is pointless; when the mind, armed by
truth and elevated by humanity, rejects its insidious efforts--and,
absorbed by more laudable feelings, despises even the smile of contempt.
The justice of Lecointre's cause supplied his want of external
advantages: and his arguments were so clear and so unanswerable, that the
plain diction in which they were conveyed was more impressive than the
most finished eloquence; and neither the malice nor sarcasms of his
enemies had any effect but on those who were interested in silencing or
confounding him.  Yet, in proportion as the force of Lecointre's
denunciation became evident, the Assembly appeared anxious to suppress
it; and, after some hours' scandalous debate, during which it was
frequently asserted that these charges could not be encouraged without
criminating the entire legislative body, they decreed the whole to be
false and defamatory.

The accused members defended themselves with the assurance of delinquents
tried by their avowed accomplices, and who are previously certain of
favour and acquittal; while Lecointre's conduct in the business seems to
have been that of a man determined to persevere in an act of duty, which
he has little reason to hope will be successful.*

     * It is said, that, at the conclusion of this disgraceful business,
     the members of the convention crouded about the delinquents with
     their habitual servility, and appeared gratified that their services
     on the occasion had given them a claim to notice and familiarity.

Though the galleries of the Convention were more than usually furnished
on the day with applauders, yet this decision has been universally ill
received.  The time is passed when the voice of reason could be silenced
by decrees.  The stupendous tyranny of the government, though not
meliorated in principle, is relaxed in practice; and this vote, far from
operating in favour of the culprits, has only served to excite the public
indignation, and to render them more odious.  Those who cannot judge of
the logical precision of Lecointre's arguments, or the justness of his
inferences, can feel that his charges are merited.  Every heart, every
tongue, acknowledges the guilt of those he has attacked.  They are
certain France has been the prey of numberless atrocities--they are
certain, that these were perpetrated by order of the committee; that
eleven members composed it; and that Robespierre and his associates being
but three, did not constitute a majority.

These facts are now commented on with as much freedom as can be expected
among a people whose imaginations are yet haunted by revolutionary
tribunals and Bastilles, and the conclusions are not favourable to the
Convention.  The national discontent is, however, suspended by the
hostilities between the legislature and the Jacobin club: the latter
still persists in demanding the revolutionary system in its primitive
severity, while the former are restrained from compliance, not only by
the odium it must draw on them, but from a certainty that it cannot be
supported but through the agency of the popular societies, who would thus
again become their dictators.  I believe it is not unlikely that the
people and the Convention are both endeavouring to make instruments of
each other to destroy the common enemy; for the little popularity the
Convention enjoy is doubtless owing to a superior hatred of the Jacobins:
and the moderation which the former affect towards the people, is equally
influenced by a view of forming a powerful balance against these
obnoxious societies.--While a sort of necessity for this temporizing
continues, we shall go on very tranquilly, and it is become a mode to say
the Convention is "adorable."

Tallien, who has been wrestling with his ill fame for a transient
popularity, has thought it advisable to revive the public attention by
the farce of Pisistratus--at least, an attempt to assassinate him, in
which there seems to have been more eclat than danger, has given rise to
such an opinion.  Bulletins of his health are delivered every day in form
to the Convention, and some of the provincial clubs have sent
congratulations on his escape.  But the sneers of the incredulous, and
perhaps an internal admonition of the ridicule and disgrace attendant on
the worship of an idol whose reputation is so unpropitious, have much
repressed the customary ardour, and will, I think, prevent these
"hair-breadth 'scapes" from continuing fashionable.--Yours, &c.

[No Date Given]

When I describe the French as a people bending meekly beneath the most
absurd and cruel oppression, transmitted from one set of tyrants to
another, without personal security, without commerce--menaced by famine,
and desolated by a government whose ordinary resources are pillage and
murder; you may perhaps read with some surprize the progress and
successes of their armies.  But, divest yourself of the notions you may
have imbibed from interested misrepresentations--forget the revolutionary
common-place of "enthusiams", "soldiers of freedom," and "defenders of
their country"--examine the French armies as acting under the motives
which usually influence such bodies, and I am inclined to believe you
will see nothing very wonderful or supernatural in their victories.

The greater part of the French troops are now composed of young men taken
indiscriminately from all classes, and forced into the service by the
first requisition.  They arrive at the army ill-disposed, or at best
indifferent, for it must not be forgotten, that all who could be
prevailed on to go voluntarily had departed before recourse was had to
the measure of a general levy.  They are then distributed into different
corps, so that no local connections remain: the natives of the North are
mingled with those of the South, and all provincial combinations are

It is well known that the military branch of espionage is as extended as
the civil, and the certainty of this destroys confidence, and leaves even
the unwilling soldier no resource but to go through his professional duty
with as much zeal as though it were his choice.  On the one hand, the
discipline is severe--on the other, licentiousness is permitted beyond
all example; and, half-terrified, half-seduced, principles the most
inimical, and morals the least corrupt, become habituated to fear nothing
but the government, and to relish a life of military indulgence.--The
armies were some time since ill clothed, and often ill fed; but the
requisitions, which are the scourge of the country, supply them, for the
moment, with profusion: the manufacturers, the shops, and the private
individual, are robbed to keep them in good humour--the best wines, the
best clothes, the prime of every thing, is destined to their use; and
men, who before laboured hard to procure a scanty subsistence, now revel
in luxury and comparative idleness.

The rapid promotion acquired in the French army is likewise another cause
of its adherence to the government.  Every one is eager to be advanced;
for, by means of requisitions, pillage and perquisites, the most trifling
command is very lucrative.--Vast sums of money are expended in supplying
the camps with newspapers written nearly for that purpose, and no others
are permitted to be publicly circulated.--When troops are quartered in a
town, instead of that cold reception which it is usual to accord such
inmates, the system of terror acts as an excellent Marechal de Logis, and
procures them, if not a cordial, at least a substantial one; and it is
indubitable, that they are no where so well entertained as at the houses
of professed aristocrats.  The officers and men live in a familiarity
highly gratifying to the latter; and, indeed, neither are distinguishable
by their language, manners, or appearance.  There is, properly speaking,
no subordination except in the field, and a soldier has only to avoid
politics, and cry "Vive la Convention!" to secure plenary indulgence on
all other occasions.--Many who entered the army with regret, continue
there willingly for the sake of a maintenance; besides that a decree
exists, which subjects the parents of those who return, to heavy
punishments.  In a word, whatever can operate on the fears, or interests,
or passions, is employed to preserve the allegiance of the armies to the
government, and attach them to their profession.

I am far from intending to detract from the national bravery--the annals
of the French Monarchy abound with the most splendid instances of it--I
only wish you to understand, what I am fully convinced of myself, that
liberty and republicanism have no share in the present successes.  The
battle of Gemappe was gained when the Brissotin faction had enthroned
itself on the ruins of a constitution, which the armies were said to
adore with enthusiasm: by what sudden inspiration were their affections
transferred to another form of government? or will any one pretend that
they really understood the democratic Machiavelism which they were to
propagate in Brabant?  At the battle of Maubeuge, France was in the first
paroxysm of revolutionary terror--at that of Fleurus, she had become a
scene of carnage and proscription, at once the most wretched and the most
detestable of nations, the sport and the prey of despots so contemptible,
that neither the excess of their crimes, nor the sufferings they
inflicted, could efface the ridicule which was incurred by a submission
to them.  Were the French then fighting for liberty, or did they only
move on professionally, with the enemy in front, the Guillotine in the
rear, and the intermediate space filled up with the licentiousness of a
camp?--If the name alone of liberty suffices to animate the French troops
to conquest, and they could imagine it was enjoyed under Brissot or
Robespierre, this is at least a proof that they are rather amateurs than
connoisseurs; and I see no reason why the same impulse might not be given
to an army of Janizaries, or the the legions of Tippoo Saib.

After all, it may be permitted to doubt, whether the sort of enthusiasm
so liberally ascribed to the French, would really contribute more to
their successes, than the thoughtless courage I am willing to allow
them.--It is, I believe, the opinion of military men, that the best
soldiers are those who are most disposed to act mechanically; and we are
certain that the most brilliant victories have been obtained where this
ardour, said to be produced by the new doctrines, could have had no
influence.--The heroes of Pavia, of Narva, or those who administered to
the vain-glory of Louis the Fourteenth, by ravaging the Palatinate, we
may suppose little acquainted with it.  The fate of battles frequently
depends on causes which the General, the Statesman, or the Philosopher,
are equally unable to decide upon; and the laurel, "meed of mighty
conquerors," seems oftener to fall at the caprice of the wind, than to be
gathered.  It is sometimes the lot of the ablest tactician, at others of
the most voluminous muster-roll; but, I believe, there are few examples
where these political elevations have had an effect, when unaccompanied
by advantages of situation, superior skill, or superior numbers.--_"La
plupart des gens de guerre_ (says Fontenelle) _sont leur metier avec
beaucoup de courage.  Il en est peu qui y pensent; leurs bras agissent
aussi vigoureusement que l'on veut, leurs tetes se reposent, et ne
prennent presque part a rieu"_*--

     * "Military men in general do their duty with much courage, but few
     make it a subject of reflection.  With all the bodily activity that
     can be expected of them, their minds remain at rest, and partake but
     little of the business they are engaged in."

--If this can be applied with truth to any armies, it must be to those of
France.  We have seen them successively and implicitly adopting all the
new constitutions and strange gods which faction and extravagance could
devise--we have seen them alternately the dupes and slaves of all
parties: at one period abandoning their King and their religion: at
another adulating Robespierre, and deifying Marat.--These, I confess are
dispositions to make good soldiers, but convey to me no idea of
enthusiasts or republicans.

The bulletin of the Convention is periodically furnished with splendid
feats of heroism performed by individuals of their armies, and I have no
doubt but some of them are true.  There are, however, many which have
been very peaceably culled from old memoirs, and that so unskilfully,
that the hero of the present year loses a leg or an arm in the same
exploit, and uttering the self-same sentences, as one who lived two
centuries ago.  There is likewise a sort of jobbing in the edifying
scenes which occasionally occur in the Convention--if a soldier happen to
be wounded who has relationship, acquaintance, or connexion, with a
Deputy, a tale of extraordinary valour and extraordinary devotion to the
cause is invented or adopted; the invalid is presented in form at the bar
of the Assembly, receives the fraternal embrace and the promise of a
pension, and the feats of the hero, along with the munificence of the
Convention, are ordered to circulate in the next bulletin.  Yet many of
the deeds recorded very deservedly in these annals of glory, have been
performed by men who abhor republican principles, and lament the
disasters their partizans have occasioned.  I have known even notorious
aristocrats introduced to the Convention as martyrs to liberty, and who
have, in fact, behaved as gallantly as though they had been so.--These
are paradoxes which a military man may easily reconcile.

Independently of the various secondary causes that contribute to the
success of the French armies, there is one which those persons who wish
to exalt every thing they denominate republican seem to exclude--I mean,
the immense advantage they possess in point of numbers.  There has
scarcely been an engagement of importance, in which the French have not
profited by this in a very extraordinary degree.*

     * This has been confessed to me by many republicans themselves; and
     a disproportion of two or three to one must add considerably to
     republican enthusiasm.

--Whenever a point is to be gained, the sacrifice of men is not a matter
of hesitation.  One body is dispatched after another; and fresh troops
thus succeeding to oppose those of the enemy already harassed, we must
not wonder that the event has so often proved favourable to them.

A republican, who passes for highly informed, once defended this mode of
warfare by observing, that in the course of several campaigns more troops
perished by sickness than the sword.  If then an object could be attained
by such means, so much time was saved, and the loss eventually the same:
but the Generals of other countries dare not risk such philosophical
calculations, and would be accountable to the laws of humanity for their
destructive conquests.

When you estimate the numbers that compose the French armies, you are not
to consider them as an undisciplined multitude, whose sole force is in
their numbers.  From the beginning of the revolution, many of them have
been exercised in the National Guard; and though they might not make a
figure on the parade at Potsdam, their inferiority is not so great as to
render the German exactitude a counterbalance for the substantial
inequality of numbers.  Yet, powerfully as these considerations favour
the military triumphs of France, there is a period when we may expect
both cause and effect will terminate.  That period may still be far
removed, but whenever the assignats* become totally discredited, and it
shall be found requisite to economize in the war department, adieu la
gloire, a bas les armes, and perhaps bon soir la republique; for I do not
reckon it possible, that armies so constituted can ever be persuaded to
subject themselves to the restraints and privations which must be
indispensible, as soon as the government ceases to have the disposal of
an unlimited fund.

     * The mandats were, in fact, but a continuation of the assignats,
     under another name.  The last decree for the emission of assignats,
     limited the quantity circulated to forty milliards, which taken at
     par, is only about sixteen hundred millions of pounds sterling!

What I have hitherto written you will understand as applicable only to
the troops employed on the frontiers.  There are some of another
description, more cherished and not less serviceable, who act as a sort
of police militant and errant, and defend the republic against her
internal enemies--the republicans.  Almost every town of importance is
occasionally infested by these servile instruments of despotism, who are
maintained in insolent profusion, to overawe those whom misery and famine
might tempt to revolt.  When a government, after imprisoning some hundred
thousands of the most distinguished in every class of life, and disarming
all the rest, is yet obliged to employ such a force for its protection,
we may justifiably conclude, it does not presume on the attachment of the
people.  It is not impossible that the agents of different descriptions,
destined to the service of conciliating the interior to republicanism,
might alone form an army equal to that of the Allies; but this is a task,
where the numbers employed only serve to render it more difficult.  They,
however, procure submission, if they do not create affection; and the
Convention is not delicate.

Amiens, Sept. 30, 1794.

The domestic politics of France are replete with novelties: the
Convention is at war with the Jacobins--and the people, even to the most
decided aristocrats, have become partizans of the Convention.--My last
letters have explained the origin of these phaenomena, and I will now add
a few words on their progress.

You have seen that, at the fall of Robespierre, the revolutionary
government had reached the very summit of despotism, and that the
Convention found themselves under the necessity of appearing to be
directed by a new impulse, or of acknowledging their participation in the
crimes they affected to deplore.--In consequence, almost without the
direct repeal of any law, (except some which affected their own
security,) a more moderate system has been gradually adopted, or, to
speak more correctly, the revolutionary one is suffered to relax.  The
Jacobins behold these popular measures with extreme jealousy, as a means
which may in time render the legislature independent of them; and it is
certainly not the least of their discontents, that, after all their
labours in the common cause, they find themselves excluded both from
power and emoluments.  Accustomed to carry every thing by violence, and
more ferocious than politic, they have, by insisting on the
reincarceration of suspected people, attached a numerous party to the
Convention, which is thus warned that its own safety depends on
repressing the influence of clubs, which not only loudly demand that the
prisons may be again filled, but frequently debate on the project of
transporting all the "enemies of the republic" together.

The liberty of the press, also, is a theme of discord not less important
than the emancipation of aristocrats.  The Jacobins are decidedly adverse
to it; and it is a sort of revolutionary solecism, that those who boast
of having been the original destroyers of despotism, are now the
advocates of arbitrary imprisonment, and restraints on the freedom of the
press.  The Convention itself is divided on the latter subject; and,
after a revolution of five years, founded on the doctrine of the rights
of man, it has become matter of dispute--whether so principal an article
of them ought really to exist or not.  They seem, indeed, willing to
allow it, provided restrictions can be devised which may prevent calumny
from reaching their own persons; but as that cannot easily be atchieved,
they not only contend against the liberty of the press in practice, but
have hitherto refused to sanction it by decree, even as a principle.

It is perhaps reluctantly that the Convention opposes these powerful and
extended combinations which have so long been its support, and it may
dread the consequences of being left without the means of overawing or
influencing the people; but the example of the Brissotins, who, by
attempting to profit by the services of the Jacobins, without submitting
to their domination, fell a sacrifice, has warned their survivors of the
danger of employing such instruments.  It is evident that the clubs will
not act subordinately, and that they must either be subdued to
insignificance, or regain their authority entirely; and as neither the
people nor Convention are disposed to acquiesce in the latter, they are
politicly joining their efforts to accelerate the former.

Yet, notwithstanding these reciprocal cajoleries, the return of justice
is slow and mutable; an instinctive or habitual preference of evil
appears at times to direct the Convention, even in opposition to their
own interests.  They have as yet done little towards repairing the
calamities of which they are the authors; and we welcome the little they
have done, not for its intrinsic value, but as we do the first spring
flowers--which, though of no great sweetness or beauty, we consider as
pledges that the storms of winter are over, and that a milder season is
approaching.--It is true, the revolutionary Committees are diminished in
number, the prisons are disencumbered, and a man is not liable to be
arrested because a Jacobin suspects his features: yet there is a wide
difference between such toleration and freedom and security; and it is a
circumstance not favourable to those who look beyond the moment, that the
tyrannical laws which authorized all the late enormities are still
unrepealed.  The Revolutionary Tribunal continues to sentence people to
death, on pretexts as frivolous as those which were employed in the time
of Robespierre; they have only the advantage of being tried more
formally, and of forfeiting their lives upon proof, instead of without
it, for actions that a strictly administered justice would not punish by
a month's imprisonment.*

     * For instance, a young monk, for writing fanatic letters, and
     signing resolutions in favour of foederalism--a hosier, for
     facilitating the return of an emigrant--a man of ninety, for
     speaking against the revolution, and discrediting the assignats--a
     contractor, for embezzling forage--people of various descriptions,
     for obstructing the recruitment, or insulting the tree of liberty.
     These, and many similar condemnations, will be found in the
     proceedings of the Revolutionary Tribunal, long after the death of
     Robespierre, and when justice and humanity were said to be restored.

A ceremony has lately taken place, the object of which was to deposit the
ashes of Marat in the Pantheon, and to dislodge the bust of Mirabeau--
who, notwithstanding two years notice to quit this mansion of
immortality, still remained there.  The ashes of Marat being escorted to
the Convention by a detachment of Jacobins, and the President having
properly descanted on the virtues which once animated the said ashes,
they were conveyed to the place destined for their reception; and the
excommunicated Mirabeau being delivered over to the secular arm of a
beadle, these remains of the divine Marat were placed among the rest of
the republican deities.  To have obliged the Convention in a body to
attend and consecrate the crimes of this monster, though it could not
degrade them, was a momentary triumph for the Jacobins, nor could the
royalists behold without satisfaction the same men deploring the death of
Marat, who, a month before, had celebrated the fall of Louis the
Sixteenth!  To have been so deplored, and so celebrated, are, methinks,
the very extremes of infamy and glory.

I must explain to you, that the Jacobins have lately been composed of two
parties--the avowed adherents of Collot, Billaud, &c. and the concealed
remains of those attached to Robespierre; but party has now given way to
principle, a circumstance not usual; and the whole club of Paris, with
several of the affiliated ones, join in censuring the innovating
tendencies of the Convention.--It is curious to read the debates of the
parent society, which pass in afflicting details of the persecutions
experienced by the patriots on the parts of the moderates and
aristocrats, who, they assert, are become so daring as even to call in
question the purity of the immortal Marat.  You will suppose, of course,
that this cruel persecution is nothing more than an interdiction to
persecute others; and their notions of patriotism and moderation may be
conceived by their having just expelled Tallien and Freron as moderates.*

     * Freron endeavoured, on this occasion, to disculpate himself from
     the charge of "moderantisme," by alledging he had opposed
     Lecointre's denunciation of Barrere, &c.--and certainly one who
     piques himself on being the pupil of the divine Marat, was worthy of
     remaining in the fraternity from which he was now expelled.--Freron
     is a veteran journalist of the revolution, of better talents, though
     not of better fame, than the generality of his contemporaries: or,
     rather, his early efforts in exciting the people to rebellion
     entitle him to a preeminence of infamy.

Amiens, October 4, 1794.

We have had our guard withdrawn for some days; and I am just now returned
from Peronne, where we had been in order to see the seals taken off the
papers, &c. which I left there last year.  I am much struck with the
alteration observable in people's countenances.  Every person I meet
seems to have contracted a sort of revolutionary aspect: many walk with
their heads down, and with half-shut eyes measure the whole length of a
street, as though they were still intent on avoiding greetings from the
suspicious; some look grave and sorrow-worn; some apprehensive, as if in
hourly expectation of a _mandat d'arret;_ and others absolutely ferocious,
from a habit of affecting the barbarity of the times.

Their language is nearly as much changed as their appearance--the
revolutionary jargon is universal, and the most distinguished aristocrats
converse in the style of Barrere's reports.  The common people are not
less proficients in this fashionable dialect, than their superiors; and,
as far as I can judge, are become so from similar motives.  While I was
waiting this morning at a shop-door, I listened to a beggar who was
cheapening a slice of pumpkin, and on some disagreement about the price,
the beggar told the old _revendeuse_ [Market-woman.]  that she was
_"gangrenee d'aristocratie."_ ["Eat up with aristocracy."]   _"Je vous en
defie,"_ ["I defy you."] retorted the pumpkin-merchant; but turning pale
as she spoke, _"Mon civisme est a toute epreuve, mais prenez donc ta
citrouille,"_ ["My civism is unquestionable; but here take your pumpkin."]
take it then." _"Ah, te voila bonne republicaine,_ ["Ah! Now I see you
are a good republican."] says the beggar, carrying off her bargain; while
the old woman muttered, _"Oui, oui, l'on a beau etre republicaine tandis
qu'on n'a pas de pain a manger."_ ["Yes, in troth, it's a fine thing to
be a republican, and have no bread to eat."]

I hear little of the positive merits of the convention, but the hope is
general that they will soon suppress the Jacobin clubs; yet their attacks
continue so cold and cautious, that their intentions are at least
doubtful: they know the voice of the nation at large would be in favour
of such a measure, and they might, if sincere, act more decisively,
without risk to themselves.--The truth is, they would willingly proscribe
the persons of the Jacobins, while they cling to their principles, and
still hesitate whether they shall confide in a people whose resentment
they have so much deserved, and have so much reason to dread.  Conscious
guilt appears to shackle all their proceedings, and though the punishment
of some subordinate agents cannot, in the present state of things, be
dispensed with, yet the Assembly unveil the register of their crimes very
reluctantly, as if each member expected to see his own name inscribed on
it.  Thus, even delinquents, who would otherwise be sacrificed
voluntarily to public justice, are in a manner protected by delays and
chicane, because an investigation might implicate the Convention as the
example and authoriser of their enormities.--Fouquier Tinville devoted a
thousand innocent people to death in less time than it has already taken
to bring him to a trial, where he will benefit by all those judicial
forms which he has so often refused to others.  This man, who is much the
subject of conversation at present, was Public Accuser to the
Revolutionary Tribunal--an office which, at best, in this instance, only
served to give an air of regularity to assassination: but, by a sort of
genius in turpitude, he contrived to render it odious beyond its original
perversion, in giving to the most elaborate and revolting cruelties a
turn of spontaneous pleasantry, or legal procedure.--The prisoners were
insulted with sarcasms, intimidated by threats, and still oftener
silenced by arbitrary declarations, that they were not entitled to speak;
and those who were taken to the scaffold, after no other ceremony than
calling over their names, had less reason to complain, than if they had
previously been exposed to the barbarities of such trials.--Yet this
wretch might, for a time at least, have escaped punishment, had he not,
in defending himself, criminated the remains of the Committee, whom it
was intended to screen.  When he appeared at the bar of the Convention,
every word he uttered seemed to fill its members with alarm, and he was
ordered away before he could finish his declaration.  It must be
acknowledged, that, however he may be condemned by justice and humanity,
nothing could legally attach to him: he was only the agent of the
Convention, and the utmost horrors of the Tribunal were not merely
sanctioned, but enjoined by specific decrees.

I have been told by a gentleman who was at school with Fouquier, and has
had frequent occasions of observing him at different periods since, that
he always appeared to him to be a man of mild manners, and by no means
likely to become the instrument of these atrocities; but a strong
addiction to gaming having involved him in embarrassments, he was induced
to accept the office of Public Accuser to the Tribunal, and was
progressively led on from administering to the iniquity of his employers,
to find a gratification in it himself.

I have often thought, that the habit of watching with selfish avidity for
those turns of fortune which enrich one individual by the misery of
another, must imperceptibly tend to harden the heart.  How can the
gamester, accustomed both to suffer and inflict ruin with indifference,
preserve that benevolent frame of mind, which, in the ordinary and less
censurable pursuits of common life, is but too prone to become impaired,
and to leave humanity more a duty than a feeling?

The conduct of Fouquier Tinville has led me to some reflections on a
subject which I know the French consider as matter of triumph, and as a
peculiar advantage which their national character enjoys over the
English--I mean that smoothness of manner and guardedness of expression
which they call "aimable," and which they have the faculty of attaining
and preserving distinctly from a correspondent temper of the mind.  It
accompanies them through the most irritating vicissitudes, and enables
them to deceive, even without deceit: for though this suavity is
habitual, of course frequently undesigning, the stranger is nevertheless
thrown off his guard by it, and tempted to place confidence, or expect
services, which a less conciliating deportment would not have been
suggested.  A Frenchman may be an unkind husband, a severe parent, or an
arrogant master, yet never contract his features, or asperate his voice,
and for this reason is, in the national sense, "un homme bien doux."  His
heart may become corrupt, his principles immoral, and his disposition
ferocious--yet he shall still retain his equability of tone and
complacent phraseology, and be "un homme bien aimable."

The revolution has tended much to develope this peculiarity of the French
character, and has, by various examples in public life, confirmed the
opinions I had formed from previous observation.  Fouquier Tinville, as I
have already noticed, was a man of gentle exterior.--Couthon, the
execrable associate of Robespierre, was mildness itself--Robespierre's
harangues are in a style of distinguished sensibility--and even Carrier,
the destroyer of thirty thousand Nantais, is attested by his
fellow-students to have been of an amiable disposition.  I know a man of
most insinuating address, who has been the means of conducting his own
brother to the Guillotine; and another nearly as prepossessing, who,
without losing his courteous demeanor, was, during the late
revolutionary excesses, the intimate of an executioner.

     *It would be too voluminous to enumerate all the contrasts of
     manners and character exhibited during the French revolution--The
     philosophic Condorcet, pursuing with malignancy his patron, the Duc
     de la Rochefoucault, and hesitating with atrocious mildness on the
     sentence of the King--The massacres of the prisons connived at by
     the gentle Petion--Collot d'Herbois dispatching, by one discharge of
     cannon, three hundred people together, "to spare his sensibility"
     the talk of executions in detail--And St. Just, the deviser of a
     thousand enormities, when he left the Committee, after his last
     interview, with the project of sending them all to the Guillotine,
     telling them, in a tone of tender reproach, like a lover of romance,
     "Vous avez fletri mon coeur, je vais l'ouvrir a la Convention."--
     Madame Roland, in spite of the tenderness of her sex, could coldly
     reason on the expediency of a civil war, which she acknowledged
     might become necessary to establish the republic.  Let those who
     disapprove this censure of a female, whom it is a sort of mode to
     lament, recollect that Madame Roland was the victim of a celebrity
     she had acquired in assisting the efforts of faction to dethrone the
     King--that her literary bureau was dedicated to the purpose of
     exasperating the people against him--and that she was considerably
     instrumental to the events which occasioned his death.  If her
     talents and accomplishments make her an object of regret, it was to
     the unnatural misapplication of those talents and accomplishments in
     the service of party, that she owed her fate.  Her own opinion was,
     that thousands might justifiably be devoted to the establishment of
     a favourite system; or, to speak truly, to the aggrandisement of
     those who were its partizans.  The same selfish principle actuated
     an opposite faction, and she became the sacrifice.--"Oh even-handed

I do not pretend to decide whether the English are virtually more gentle
in their nature than the French; but I am persuaded this douceur, on
which the latter pride themselves, affords no proof of the contrary.  An
Englishman is seldom out of humour, without proclaiming it to all the
world; and the most forcible motives of interest, or expediency, cannot
always prevail on him to assume a more engaging external than that which
delineates his feelings.

If he has a matter to refuse, he usually begins by fortifying himself
with a little ruggedness of manner, by way of prefacing a denial he might
otherwise not have resolution to persevere in.  "The hows and whens of
life" corrugate his features, and disharmonize his periods; contradiction
sours, and passion ruffles him--and, in short, an Englishman displeased,
from whatever cause, is neither "un homme bien doux," nor "un homme bien
aimable;" but such as nature has made him, subject to infirmities and
sorrows, and unable to disguise the one, or appear indifferent to the
other.  Our country, like every other, has doubtless produced too many
examples of human depravity; but I scarcely recollect any, where a
ferocious disposition was not accompanied by corresponding manners--or
where men, who would plunder or massacre, affected to retain at the same
time habits of softness, and a conciliating physiognomy.

We are, I think, on the whole, authorized to conclude, that, in
determining the claims to national superiority, the boasted and unvarying
controul which the French exercise over their features and accents, is
not a merit; nor those indications of what passes within, to which the
English are subject, an imperfection.  If the French sometimes supply
their want of kindness, or render disappointment less acute at the
moment, by a sterile complacency, the English harshness is often only the
alloy to an efficient benevolence, and a sympathizing mind.  In France
they have no humourists who seem impelled by their nature to do good, in
spite of their temperament--nor have we in England many people who are
cold and unfeeling, yet systematically aimable: but I must still persist
in not thinking it a defect that we are too impetuous, or perhaps too
ingenuous, to unite contradictions.

There is a cause, that doubtless has its effects in representing the
English disadvantageously, and which I have never heard properly allowed
for.  The liberty of the press, and the great interest taken by all ranks
of people in public affairs, have occasioned a more numerous circulation
of periodical prints of every kind in England, than in any other country
in Europe.  Now, as it is impossible to fill them constantly with
politics, and as the taste of different readers must be consulted, every
barbarous adventure, suicide, murder, robbery, domestic fracas, assaults,
and batteries of the lower orders, with the duels and divorces of the
higher, are all chronicled in various publications, disseminated over
Europe, and convey an idea that we are a very miserable, ferocious, and
dissolute nation.  The foreign gazettes being chiefly appropriated to
public affairs, seldom record either the vices, the crimes, or
misfortunes of individuals; so that they are thereby at least prevented
from fixing an unfavourable judgement on the national character.

Mercier observes, that the number of suicides committed in Paris was
supposed to exceed greatly that of similar disasters in London; and that
murders in France were always accompanied by circumstances of peculiar
horror, though policy and custom had rendered the publication of such
events less general than with us.--Our divorces, at which the Gallic
purity of manners used to be so much scandalized, are, no doubt, to be
regretted; but that such separations were not then allowed, or desired in
France, may perhaps be attributed, at least as justly, to the
complaisance of husbands, as to the discretion of wives, or the national

     * At present, in the monthly statement, the number of divorces in
     France, is often nearly equal to that of the marriages.

I should reproach myself if I could feel impartial when I contemplate the
English character; yet I certainly endeavour to write as though I were
so.  If I have erred, it has been rather in allowing too much to received
opinions on the subject of this country, than in suffering my affections
to make me unjust; for though I am far from affecting the fashion of the
day, which censures all prejudices as illiberal, except those in
disfavour of our own country, yet I am warranted, I hope, in saying, that
however partial I may appear to England, I have not been so at the
expence of truth.--Yours, &c.

October 6, 1794.

The sufferings of individuals have often been the means of destroying or
reforming the most powerful tyrannies; reason has been convinced by
argument, and passion appealed to by declamation in vain--when some
unvarnished tale, or simple exposure of facts, has at once rouzed the
feelings, and conquered the supineness of an oppressed people.

The revolutionary government, in spite of the clamorous and weekly
swearings of the Convention to perpetuate it, has received a check from
an event of this nature, which I trust it will never recover.--By an
order of the Revolutionary Committee of Nantes, in November 1793, all
prisoners accused of political crimes were to be transferred to Paris,
where the tribunal being more immediately under the direction of
government, there would be no chance of their acquittal.  In consequence
of this order, an hundred and thirty-two inhabitants of Nantes, arrested
on the usual pretexts of foederalism, or as suspected, or being
Muscadins, were, some months after, conducted to Paris.  Forty of the
number died through the hardships and ill treatment they encountered on
the way, the rest remained in prison until after the death of

The evidence produced on their trial, which lately took place, has
revealed but too circumstantially all the horrors of the revolutionary
system.  Destruction in every form, most shocking to morals or humanity,
has depopulated the countries of the Loire; and republican Pizarro's and
Almagro's seem to have rivalled each other in the invention and
perpetration of crimes.

When the prisons of Nantes overflowed, many hundreds of their miserable
inhabitants had been conducted by night, and chained together, to the
river side; where, being first stripped of their clothes, they were
crouded into vessels with false bottoms, constructed for the purpose, and

     * Though the horror excited by such atrocious details must be
     serviceable to humanity, I am constrained by decency to spare the
     reader a part of them.  Let the imagination, however repugnant,
     pause for a moment over these scenes--Five, eight hundred people of
     different sexes, ages, and conditions, are taken from their prisons,
     in the dreary months of December and January, and conducted, during
     the silence of the night, to the banks of the Loire.  The agents of
     the Republic there despoil them of their clothes, and force them,
     shivering and defenceless, to enter the machines prepared for their
     destruction--they are chained down, to prevent their escape by
     swimming, and then the bottom is detached for the upper part, and
     sunk.--On some occasions the miserable victims contrived to loose
     themselves, and clinging to the boards near them, shrieked in the
     agonies of despair and death, "O save us! it is not even now too
     late: in mercy save us!"  But they appealed to wretches to whom
     mercy was a stranger; and, being cut away from their hold by strokes
     of the sabre, perished with their companions.  That nothing might be
     wanting to these outrages against nature, they were escribed as
     jests, and called "Noyades, water parties," and "civic baptisms"!
     Carrier, a Deputy of the Convention, used to dine and make parties
     of pleasure, accompanied by music and every species of gross luxury,
     on board the barges appropriated to these execrable purposes.

--At one time, six hundred children appear to have been destroyed in this
manner;--young people of different sexes were tied in pairs and thrown
into the river;--thousands were shot in the high roads and in the fields;
and vast numbers were guillotined, without a trial!*

     * Six young women, (the _Mesdemoiselles la Meterie,_) in particular,
     sisters, and all under four-and-twenty, were ordered to the
     Guillotine together: the youngest died instantly of fear, the rest
     were executed successively.--A child eleven years old, who had
     previously told the executioner, with affecting simplicity, that he
     hoped he would not hurt him much, received three strokes of the
     Guillotine before his head was severed from his body.

--Two thousand died, in less than two months, of a pestilence, occasioned
by this carnage: the air became infected, and the waters of the Loire
empoisoned, by dead bodies; and those whom tyranny yet spared, perished
by the elements which nature intended for their support.*

     * Vast sums were exacted from the Nantais for purifying the air, and
     taking precautions against epidemical disorders.

But I will not dwell on horrors, which, if not already known to all
Europe, I should be unequal to describe: suffice it to say, that whatever
could disgrace or afflict mankind, whatever could add disgust to
detestation, and render cruelty, if possible, less odious than the
circumstances by which it was accompanied, has been exhibited in this
unfortunate city.--Both the accused and their witnesses were at first
timid through apprehension, but by degrees the monstrous mysteries of the
government were laid open, and it appeared, beyond denial or palliation,
that these enormities were either devised, assisted, or connived at, by
Deputies of the Convention, celebrated for their ardent republicanism and
revolutionary zeal.--The danger of confiding unlimited power to such men
as composed the majority of the Assembly, was now displayed in a manner
that penetrated the dullest imagination, and the coldest heart; and it
was found, that, armed with decrees, aided by revolutionary committees,
revolutionary troops, and revolutionary vehicles of destruction,*
missionaries selected by choice from the whole representation, had, in
the city of Nantes alone, and under the mask of enthusiastic patriotism,
sacrificed thirty thousand people!

     * A company was formed of all the ruffians that could be collected
     together.  They were styled the Company of Marat, and were specially
     empowered to arrest whomsoever they chose, and to enter houses by
     night or day--in fine, to proscribe and pillage at their pleasure.

Facts like these require no comment.  The nation may be intimidated, and
habits of obedience, or despair of redress, prolong its submission; but
it can no longer be deceived: and patriotism, revolutionary liberty, and
philosophy, are for ever associated with the drowning machines of
Carrier, and the precepts and calculations of a Herault de Sechelles,* or
a Lequinio.**--

     * Herault de Sechelles was distinguished by birth, talents, and
     fortune, above most of his colleagues in the Convention; yet we find
     him in correspondence with Carrier, applauding his enormities, and
     advising him how to continue them with effect.--Herault was of a
     noble family, and had been a president in the Parliament of Paris.
     He was one of Robespierre's Committee of Public Welfare, and being
     in some way implicated in a charge of treachery brought against
     Simon, another Deputy, was guillotined at the same time with Danton.

     ** Lequinio is a philosopher by profession, who has endeavoured to
     enlighten his countrymen by a publication entitled "_Les Prejuges
     Detruits,_" and since by proving it advantageous to make no prisoners
     of war.

--The ninety Nantais, against whom there existed no serious charge, and
who had already suffered more than death, were acquitted.  Yet, though
the people were gratified by this verdict, and the general indignation
appeased by an immediate arrest of those who had been most notoriously
active in these dreadful operations, a deep and salutary impression
remains, and we may hope it will be found impracticable either to renew
the same scenes, or for the Convention to shelter (as they seemed
disposed to do) the principal criminals, who are members of their own
body.  Yet, how are these delinquents to be brought to condemnation?
They all acted under competent authority, and their dispatches to the
Convention, which sufficiently indicated their proceedings, were always
sanctioned by circulation, and applauded, according to the excess of
their flagitiousness.

It is worthy of remark, that Nantes, the principal theatre of these
persecutions and murders, had been early distinguished by the attachment
of its inhabitants to the revolution; insomuch, that, at the memorable
epoch when the short-sighted policy of the Court excluded the Constituent
Assembly from their Hall at Versailles, and they took refuge in the Jeu
de Paume, with a resolution fatal to their country, never to separate
until they had obtained their purposes, an express was sent to Nantes, as
the place they should make choice of, if any violence obliged them to
quit the neighbourhood of Paris.

But it was not only by its principles that Nantes had signalized itself;
at every period of the war, it had contributed largely both in men and
money, and its riches and commerce still rendered it one of the most
important towns of the republic.--What has been its reward?--Barbarous
envoys from the Convention, sent expressly to level the aristocracy of
wealth, to crush its mercantile spirit, and decimate its inhabitants.*--

     * When Nantes was reduced almost to a state of famine by the
     destruction of commerce, and the supplies drawn for the maintenance
     of the armies, Commissioners were sent to Paris, to solicit a supply
     of provisions.  They applied to Carrier, as being best acquainted
     with their distress, and were answered in this language:--_"Demandez,
     pour Nantes! je solliciterai qu'on porte le fer et la flamme dans
     cette abominable ville.  Vous etes tous des coquins, des contre-
     revolutionnaires, des brigands, des scelerats, je ferai nommer une
     commission par la Convention Nationale.--J'irai moi meme a la tete
     de cette commission.--Scelerats, je serai rouler les tetes dans
     Nantes--je regenererai Nantes."_--"Is it for Nantes that you
     petition?  I'll exert my influence to have fire and sword carried
     into that abominable city.  You are all scoundrels, counter-
     revolutionists, thieves, miscreants.--I'll have a commission
     appointed by the Convention, and go myself at the head of it.--
     Villains, I'll set your heads a rolling about Nantes--I'll
     regenerate Nantes."
     Report of the Commission of Twenty-one, on the conduct of Carrier.

--Terrible lesson for those discontented and mistaken people, who,
enriched by commerce, are not content with freedom and independence, but
seek for visionary benefits, by becoming the partizans of innovation, or
the tools of faction!*

     * The disasters of Nantes ought not to be lost to the republicans of
     Birmingham, Manchester, and other great commercial towns, where "men
     fall out they know not why;" and where their increasing wealth and
     prosperity are the best eulogiums on the constitution they attempt
     to undermine.

I have hitherto said little of La Vendee; but the fate of Nantes is so
nearly connected with it, that I shall make it the subject of my next

[No Date or Place Given.]

It appears, that the greater part of the inhabitants of Poitou, Anjou,
and the Southern divisions of Brittany, now distinguished by the general
appellation of the people of La Vendee, (though they include those of
several other departments,) never either comprehended or adopted the
principles of the French revolution.  Many different causes contributed
to increase their original aversion from the new system, and to give
their resistance that consistency, which has since become so formidable.
A partiality for their ancient customs, an attachment to their Noblesse,
and a deference for their Priests, are said to characterize the brave
and simple natives of La Vendee.  Hence republican writers, with
self-complacent decision, always treat this war as the effect of
ignorance, slavery, and superstition.

The modern reformist, who calls the labourer from the plough, and the
artizan from the loom, to make them statesmen or philosophers, and who
has invaded the abodes of contented industry with the rights of man, that
our fields may be cultivated, and our garments wove, by metaphysicians,
will readily assent to this opinion.--Yet a more enlightened and liberal
philosophy may be tempted to examine how far the Vendeans have really
merited the contempt and persecution of which they have been the objects.
By the confession of the republicans themselves, they are religious,
hospitable, and frugal, humane and merciful towards their enemies, and
easily persuaded to whatever is just and reasonable.

I do not pretend to combat the narrow prejudices of those who suppose the
worth or happiness of mankind compatible but with one set of opinions;
and who, confounding the adventitious with the essential, appreciate only
book learning: but surely, qualities which imply a knowledge of what is
due both to God and man, and information sufficient to yield to what is
right or rational, are not descriptive of barbarians; or at least, we may
say with Phyrrhus, "there is nothing barbarous in their discipline."*

     *"The husbandmen of this country are in general men of simple
     manners, naturally well inclined, or at least not addicted to
     serious vices."  Lequinio, Guerre de La Vendee.

     Dubois de Crance, speaking of the inhabitants of La Vendee, says,
     "They are the most hospitable people I ever saw, and always disposed
     to listen to what is just and reasonable, if proffered with mildness
     and humanity."

     "This unpolished people, whom, however, it is much less difficult to
     persuade than to fight."  Lequinio, G. de La V.

     "They affected towards our prisoners a deceitful humanity,
     neglecting no means to draw them over to their own party, and often
     sending them back to us with only a simple prohibition to bear arms
     against the King or religion."
     Report of Richard and Choudieu.

     The ignorant Vendeans then could give lessons of policy and
     humanity, which the "enlightened" republicans were not capable of
     profiting by.

--Their adherence to their ancient institutions, and attachment to their
Gentry and Clergy, when the former were abolished and the latter
proscribed, might warrant a presumption that they were happy under the
one, and kindly treated by the other: for though individuals may
sometimes persevere in affections or habits from which they derive
neither felicity nor advantage, whole bodies of men can scarcely be
supposed eager to risk their lives in defence of privileges that have
oppressed them, or of a religion from which they draw no consolation.

But whatever the cause, the new doctrines, both civil and religious, were
received in La Vendee with a disgust, which was not only expressed by
murmurs, but occasionally by little revolts, by disobedience to the
constitutional authorities, and a rejection of the constitutional clergy.

Some time previous to the deposition of the King, Commissioners were sent
to suppress these disorders; and though I doubt not but all possible
means were taken to conciliate, I can easily believe, that neither the
King nor his Ministers might be desirous of subduing by force a people
who erred only from piety or loyalty.  What effect this system of
indulgence might have produced cannot now be decided; because the
subsequent overthrow of the monarchy, and the massacre or banishment of
the priests, must have totally alienated their minds, and precluded all
hope of reconcilement.--Disaffection, therefore, continued to increase,
and the Brissotines are suspected of having rather fostered than
repressed these intestine commotions,* for the same purpose which induced
them to provoke the war with England, and to extend that of the

     * Le Brun, one of the Brissotin Ministers, concealed the progress of
     this war for six months before he thought fit to report it to the

--It is impossible to assign a good motive to any act of this literary

--Perhaps, while they determined to establish their faction by "braving
all Europe," they might think it equally politic to perplex and overawe
Paris by a near and dangerous enemy, which would render their continuance
in power necessary, or whom they might join, if expelled from it.*

     * This last reason might afterwards have given way to their
     apprehensions, and the Brissotins have preferred the creation of new
     civil wars, to a confidence in the royalists.  These men, who
     condemned the King for a supposed intention of defending an
     authority transmitted to him through whole ages, and recently
     sanctioned by the voice of the people, did not scruple to excite a
     civil war in defence of their six months' sovereignty over a
     republic, proclaimed by a ferocious comedian, and certainly without
     the assent of the nation.  Had the ill-fated Monarch dared thus to
     trifle with the lives of his subjects, he might have saved France
     and himself from ruin.

When men gratify their ambition by means so sanguinary and atrocious as
those resorted to by the Brissotines, we are authorized in concluding
they will not be more scrupulous in the use or preservation of power,
than they were in attaining it; and we can have no doubt but that the
fomenting or suppressing the progress of civil discord, was, with them,
a mere question of expediency.

The decree which took place in March, 1793, for raising three hundred
thousand men in the departments, changed the partial insurrections of La
Vendee to an open and connected rebellion; and every where the young
people refused going, and joined in preference the standard of revolt.
In the beginning of the summer, the brigands* (as they were called) grew
so numerous, that the government, now in the hands of Robespierre and his
party, began to take serious measures to combat them.

     * Robbers--_banditti_--The name was first given, probably, to the
     insurgents of La Vendee, in order to insinuate a belief that the
     disorders were but of a slight and predatory nature.

--One body of troops were dispatched after another, who were all
successively defeated, and every where fled before the royalists.

It is not unusual in political concerns to attribute to deep-laid plans
and abstruse combinations, effects which are the natural result of
private passions and isolated interests.  Robespierre is said to have
promoted both the destruction of the republican armies and those of La
Vendee, in order to reduce the national population.  That he was capable
of imagining such a project is probable--yet we need not, in tracing the
conduct of the war, look farther than to the character of the agents who
were, almost necessarily, employed in it.  Nearly every officer qualified
for the command of an army, had either emigrated, or was on service at
the frontiers; and the task of reducing by violence a people who resisted
only because they deemed themselves injured, and who, even in the
estimation of the republicans, could only be mistaken, was naturally
avoided by all men who were not mere adventurers.  It might likewise be
the policy of the government to prefer the services of those, who, having
neither reputation nor property, would be more dependent, and whom,
whether they became dangerous by their successes or defeats, it would be
easy to sacrifice.

Either, then, from necessity or choice, the republican armies in La
Vendee were conducted by dissolute and rapacious wretches, at all times
more eager to pillage than fight, and who were engaged in securing their
plunder, when they should have been in pursuit of the enemy.  On every
occasion they seemed to retreat, that their ill success might afford them
a pretext for declaring that the next town or village was confederated
with the insurgents, and for delivering it up, in consequence, to murder
and rapine.  Such of the soldiers as could fill their pocket-books with
assignats, left their less successful companions, and retired as invalids
to the hospitals: the battalions of Paris (and particularly "the
conquerors of the Bastille") had such ardour for pillage, that every
person possessed of property was, in their sense, an aristocrat, whom it
was lawful to despoil.*

     * _"Le pillage a ete porte a son comble--les militaires au lieu de
     songer a ce qu'ils avoient a faire, n'ont pense qu'a remplir leurs
     sacs, et a voir se perpetuer une guerre aussi avantageuse a leur
     interet--beaucoup de simples soldats ont acquis cinquante mille
     francs et plus; on en a vu couverts de bijoux, et faisant dans tous
     les genres des depenses d'une produgaloite, monstreuse."
     Lequinio, Guerre de la Vendee._

     "The most unbridled pillage prevailed--officers, instead of
     attending to their duty, thought only of filling their portmanteaus,
     and of the means to perpetuate a war they found so profitable.--Many
     private soldiers made fifty thousand livres, and they have been seen
     loaded with trinkets, and exercising the most abominable
     prodigalities of every kind."
     Lequinio, War of La Vendee.

     "The conquerors of the Bastille had unluckily a most unbridled
     ardour for pillage--one would have supposed they had come for the
     express purpose of plunder, rather than fighting.  The stage coaches
     for Paris were entirely loaded with their booty."
     Report of Benaben, Commissioner of the Department of Maine and

--The carriages of the army were entirely appropriated to the conveyance
of their booty; till, at last, the administrators of some departments
were under the necessity of forbidding such incumbrances: but the
officers, with whom restrictions of this sort were unavailing, put all
the horses and waggons of the country in requisition for similar
purposes, while they relaxed themselves from the serious business of the
war, (which indeed was nearly confined to burning, plundering, and
massacring the defenceless inhabitants,) by a numerous retinue of
mistresses and musicians.

It is not surprizing that generals and troops of this description were
constantly defeated; and their reiterated disasters might probably have
first suggested the idea of totally exterminating a people it was found
so difficult to subdue, and so impracticable to conciliate.--On the first
of October 1793, Barrere, after inveighing against the excessive
population of La Vendee, which he termed "frightful," proposed to the
Convention to proclaim by a decree, that the war of La Vendee "should be
terminated" by the twentieth of the same month.  The Convention, with
barbarous folly, obeyed; and the enlightened Parisians, accustomed to
think with contempt on the ignorance of the Vendeans, believed that a
war, which had baffled the efforts of government for so many months, was
to end on a precise day--which Barrere had fixed with as much assurance
as though he had only been ordering a fete.

But the Convention and the government understood this decree in a very
different sense from the good people of Paris.  The war was, indeed, to
be ended; not by the usual mode of combating armies, but by a total
extinction of all the inhabitants of the country, both innocent and
guilty--and Merlin de Thionville, with other members, so perfectly
comprehended this detestable project, that they already began to devise
schemes for repeopling La Vendee, when its miserable natives should be

     * It is for the credit of humanity to believe, that the decree was
     not understood according to its real intention; but the nation has
     to choose between the imputation of cruelty, stupidity, or slavery--
     for they either approved the sense of the decree, believed what was
     not possible, or were obliged to put on an appearance of both, in
     spite of their senses and their feelings.  A proclamation, in
     consequence, to the army, is more explicit--"All the brigands of La
     Vendee must be exterminated before the end of October."

From this time, the representatives on mission, commissaries of war,
officers, soldiers, and agents of every kind, vied with each other in the
most abominable outrages.  Carrier superintended the fusillades and
noyades at Nantes, while Lequinio dispatched with his own hands a part of
the prisoners taken at La Fontenay, and projected the destruction of the
rest.--After the evacuation of Mans by the insurgents, women were brought
by twenties and thirties, and shot before the house where the deputies
Tureau and Bourbotte had taken up their residence; and it appears to have
been considered as a compliment to these republican Molochs, to surround
their habitation with mountains of the dead.  A compliment of the like
nature was paid to the representative Prieur de la Marne,* by a
volunteer, who having learned that his own brother was taken amongst the
enemy, requested, by way of recommending himself to notice, a formal
permission to be his executioner.--The Roman stoicism of Prieur accepted
the implied homage, and granted the request!!

     * This representative, who was also a member of the Committee of
     Public Welfare, was not only the Brutus, but the Antony of La
     Vendee; for we learn from the report of Benaben, that his stern
     virtues were accompanied, through the whole of his mission in this
     afflicted country, by a cortege of thirty strolling fiddlers!

Fourteen hundred prisoners, who had surrendered at Savenay, among whom
were many women and children, were shot, by order of the deputy
Francastel, who, together with Hentz, Richard, Choudieu, Carpentier, and
others of their colleagues, set an example of rapine and cruelty, but too
zealously imitated by their subordinate agents.  In some places, the
inhabitants, without distinction of age or sex, were put indiscriminately
to the sword; in others, they were forced to carry the pillage collected
from their own dwellings, which, after being thus stripped, were
consigned to the flames.*

     * "This conflagration accomplished, they had no sooner arrived in
     the midst of our army, than the volunteers, in imitation of their
     commanders, seized what little they had preserved, and massacred
     them.--But this is not all: a whole municipality, in their scarfs of
     office, were sacrificed; and at a little village, inhabited by about
     fifty good patriots, who had been uniform in their resistance of the
     insurgents, news is brought that their brother soldiers are coming
     to assist them, and to revenge the wrongs they have suffered.  A
     friendly repast is provided, the military arrive, embrace their
     ill-fated hosts, and devour what they have provided; which is no
     sooner done, than they drive all these poor people into the
     churchyard, and stab them one after another."
     Report of Faure, Vice-President of a Military Commission at

--The heads of the prisoners served occasionally as marks for the
officers to shoot at for trifling wagers, and the soldiers, who imitated
these heinous examples, used to conduct whole hundreds to the place of
execution, singing _"allons enfans de la patrie."_*

     * Woe to those who were unable to walk, for, under pretext that
     carriages could not be found to convey them, they were shot without

The insurgents had lost Cholet, Chatillon, Mortagne, &c.  Yet, far from
being vanquished by the day appointed, they had crossed the Loire in
great force, and, having traversed Brittany, were preparing to make an
attack on Granville.  But this did not prevent Barrere from announcing to
the convention, that La Vendee was no more, and the galleries echoed with
applauses, when they were told that the highways were impassable, from
the numbers of the dead, and that a considerable part of France was one
vast cemetery.  This intelligence also tranquillized the paternal
solicitude of the legislature, and, for many months, while the system of
depopulation was pursued with the most barbarous fury, it was not
permissible even to suspect that the war was yet unextinguished.

It is only since the trial of the Nantais, that the state of La Vendee
has again become a subject of discussion: truth has now forced its way,
and we learn, that, whatever may be the strength of these unhappy people,
their minds, embittered by suffering, and animated by revenge, are still
less than ever disposed to submit to the republican government.  The
design of total extirpation, once so much insisted on, is at present said
to be relinquished, and a plan of instruction and conversion is to be
substituted for bayonets and conflagrations.  The revolted countries are
to be enlightened by the doctrines of liberty, fanaticism is to be
exposed, and a love of the republic to succeed the prejudices in favour
of Kings and Nobles.--To promote these objects, is, undoubtedly, the real
interest of the Convention; but a moralist, who observes through another
medium, may compare with regret and indignation the instructors with the
people they are to illumine, and the advantages of philosophy over

Lequinio, one of the most determined reformers of the barbarism of La
Vendee, proposes two methods: the first is, a general massacre of all the
natives--and the only objection it seems susceptible of in his opinion
is, their numbers; but as he thinks on this account it may be attended
with difficulty, he is for establishing a sort of perpetual mission of
Representatives, who, by the influence of good living and a company of
fiddlers and singers, are to restore the whole country to peace.*--

     *"The only difficulty that presents itself is, to determine whether
     recourse shall be had to the alternative of indulgence, or if it
     will not be more advantageous to persist in the plan of total

     "If the people that still remain were not more than thirty or forty
     thousand, the shortest way would doubtless be, to cut all their
     throats (egorger), agreeably to my first opinion; but the population
     is immense, amounting still to four hundred thousand souls.--If
     there were no hope of succeeding by any other methods, certainly it
     were better to kill all (egorger), even were there five hundred

     "But what are we to understand by measures of rigour?  Is there no
     distinction to be made between rigorous and barbarous measures?  The
     utmost severity is justified on the plea of the general good, but
     nothing can justify barbarity.  If the welfare of France
     necessitated the sacrifice of the four hundred thousand inhabitants
     of La Vendee, and the countries in rebellion adjoining, they ought
     to be sacrificed: but, even in this case, there would be no excuse
     for those atrocities which revolt nature, which are an outrage to
     social order, and repugnant equally to feeling (sentiment) and
     reason; and in cutting off so many entire generations for the good
     of the country, we ought not to suffer the use of barbarous means in
     a single instance.

     "Now the most effectual way to arrive at this end (converting the
     people), would be by joyous and fraternal missions, frank and
     familiar harangues, civic repasts, and, above all, dancing.

     "I could wish, too, that during their circuits in these countries,
     the Representatives were always attended by musicians.  The expence
     would be trifling, compared with the good effect; if, as I am
     strongly persuaded, we could thus succeed in giving a turn to the
     public mind, and close the bleeding arteries of these fertile and
     unhappy provinces."
     Lequinio, Guerre de La Vendee.

     And this people, who were either to have their throats cut, or be
     republicanized by means of singing, dancing, and revolutionary Pans
     and Silenus's, already beheld their property devastated by pillage
     or conflagration, and were in danger of a pestilence from the
     unburied bodies of their families.--Let the reader, who has seen
     Lequinio's pamphlet, compare his account of the sufferings of the
     Vendeans, and his project for conciliating them.  They convey a
     strong idea of the levity of the national character; but, in this
     instance, I must suppose, that nature would be superior to local
     influence; and I doubt if Lequinio's jocund philosophy will ever
     succeed in attaching the Vendeans to the republic.

--Camille Desmouins, a republican reformer, nearly as sanguinary, though
not more liberal, thought the guillotine disgraced by such ignorant prey,
and that it were better to hunt them down like wild beasts; or, if made
prisoners, to exchange them against the cattle of their country!--The
eminently informed Herault de Sechelles was the patron and confidant of
the exterminating reforms of Carrier; and Carnot, when the mode of
reforming by noyades and fusillades was debated at the Committee, pleaded
the cause of Carrier, whom he describes as a good, nay, an excellent
patriot.--Merlin de Thionville, whose philosophy is of a more martial
cast, was desirous that the natives of La Vendee should be completely
annihilated, in order to furnish in their territory and habitations a
recompence for the armies.--Almost every member of the Convention has
individually avowed principles, or committed acts, from which common
turpitude would recoil, and, as a legislative body, their whole code has
been one unvarying subversion of morals and humanity.  Such are the men
who value themselves on possessing all the advantages the Vendeans are
pretended to be in want of.--We will now examine what disciples they have
produced, and the benefits which have been derived from their

Every part of France remarkable for an early proselytism to the
revolutionary doctrines has been the theatre of crimes unparalleled in
the annals of human nature.  Those who have most boasted their contempt
for religious superstition have been degraded by an idolatry as gross as
any ever practiced on the Nile; and the most enthusiastic republicans
have, without daring to murmur, submitted for two years successively to a
horde of cruel and immoral tyrants.--A pretended enfranchisement from
political and ecclesiastical slavery has been the signal of the lowest
debasement, and the most cruel profligacy: the very Catechumens of
freedom and philosophy have, while yet in their first rudiments,
distinguished themselves as proficients in the arts of oppression and
servility, of intolerance and licentiousness.--Paris, the rendezvous of
all the persecuted patriots and philosophers in Europe, the centre of the
revolutionary system, whose inhabitants were illumined by the first rays
of modern republicanism, and who claim a sort of property in the rights
of man, as being the original inventors, may fairly be quoted as an
example of the benefits that would accrue from a farther dissemination of
the new tenets.

Without reverting to the events of August and September, 1792, presided
by the founders of liberty, and executed by their too apt sectaries, it
is notorious that the legions of Paris, sent to chastise the
unenlightened Vendeans, were the most cruel and rapacious banditti that
ever were let loose to afflict the world.  Yet, while they exercised this
savage oppression in the countries near the Loire, their fellow-citizens
on the banks of the Seine crouched at the frown of paltry tyrants, and
were unresistingly dragged to dungeons, or butchered by hundreds on the
scaffold.--At Marseilles, Lyons, Bourdeaux, Arras, wherever these baleful
principles have made converts, they have made criminals and victims; and
those who have been most eager in imbibing or propagating them have, by a
natural and just retribution, been the first sacrificed.  The new
discoveries in politics have produced some in ethics not less novel, and
until the adoption of revolutionary doctrines, the extent of human
submission or human depravity was fortunately unknown.

In this source of guilt and misery the people of La Vendee are now to be
instructed--that people, who are acknowledged to be hospitable, humane,
and laborious, and whose ideas of freedom may be better estimated by
their resistance to a despotism which the rest of France has sunk under,
than by the jargon of pretended reformers.--I could wish, that not only
the peasants of La Vendee, but those of all other countries, might for
ever remain strangers to such pernicious knowledge.  It is sufficient for
this useful class of men to be taught the simple precepts of religion and
morality, and those who would teach them more, are not their benefactors.
Our age is, indeed, a literary age, and such pursuits are both liberal
and laudable in the rich and idle; but why should volumes of politics or
philosophy be mutilated and frittered into pamphlets, to inspire a
disgust for labour, and a taste for study or pleasure, in those to whom
such disgusts or inclinations are fatal.  The spirit of one author is
extracted, and the beauties of another are selected, only to bewilder the
understanding, and engross the time, of those who might be more
profitably employed.

I know I may be censured as illiberal; but I have, during my abode in
this country, sufficiently witnessed the disastrous effects of corrupting
a people through their amusements or curiosity, and of making men neglect
their useful callings to become patriots and philosophers.*--

     *This right of directing public affairs, and neglecting their own,
     we may suppose essential to republicans of the lower orders, since
     we find the following sentence of transportation in the registers of
     a popular commission:

     "Bergeron, a dealer in skins--suspected--having done nothing in
     favour of the revolution--extremely selfish (egoiste,) and blaming
     the Sans-Culottes for neglecting their callings, that they may
     attend only to public concerns."--Signed by the members of the
     Commission and the two Committees.

--_"Il est dangereux d'apprendre au peuple a raisonner: il ne faut pas
l'eclairer trop, parce qu'il n'est pas possible de l'eclairer assez."_
["It is dangerous to teach the people to reason--they should not be too
much enlightened, because it is not possible to enlighten them
sufficiently."]--When the enthusiasm of Rousseau's genius was thus
usefully submitted to his good sense and knowledge of mankind, he little
expected every hamlet in France would be inundated with scraps of the
contrat social, and thousands of inoffensive peasants massacred for not
understanding the Profession de Foi.

The arguments of mistaken philanthropists or designing politicians may
divert the order of things, but they cannot change our nature--they may
create an universal taste for literature, but they will never unite it
with habits of industry; and until they prove how men are to live without
labour, they have no right to banish the chearful vacuity which usually
accompanies it, by substituting reflections to make it irksome, and
propensities with which it is incompatible.

The situation of France has amply demonstrated the folly of attempting to
make a whole people reasoners and politicians--there seems to be no
medium; and as it is impossible to make a nation of sages, you let loose
a horde of savages: for the philosophy which teaches a contempt for
accustomed restraints, is not difficult to propagate; but that superior
kind, which enables men to supply them, by subduing the passions that
render restraints necessary, is of slow progress, and never can be

I have made the war of La Vendee more a subject of reflection than
narrative, and have purposely avoided military details, which would be
not only uninteresting, but disgusting.  You would learn no more from
these desultory hostilities, than that the defeats of the republican
armies were, if possible, more sanguinary than their victories; that the
royalists, who began the war with humanity, were at length irritated to
reprisals; and that more than two hundred thousand lives have already
been sacrificed in the contest, yet undecided.

Amiens, Oct. 24, 1794.

Revolutions, like every thing else in France, are a mode, and the
Convention already commemorate four since 1789: that of July 1789, which
rendered the monarchical power nugatory; that of August the 10th, 1792,
which subverted it; the expulsion of the Brissotins, in May 1793; and the
death of Robespierre, in July 1794.

The people, accustomed, from their earliest knowledge, to respect the
person and authority of the King, felt that the events of the two first
epochs, which disgraced the one and annihilated the other, were violent
and important revolutions; and, as language which expresses the public
sentiment is readily adopted, it soon became usual to speak of these
events as the revolutions of July and August.

The thirty-first of May has always been viewed in a very different light,
for it was not easy to make the people at large comprehend how the
succession of Robespierre and Danton to Brissot and Roland could be
considered as a revolution, more especially as it appeared evident that
the principles of one party actuated the government of the other.  Every
town had its many-headed monster to represent the defeat of the
Foederalists, and its mountain to proclaim the triumph of their enemies
the Mountaineers; but these political hieroglyphics were little
understood, and the merits of the factions they alluded to little
distinguished--so that the revolution of the thirty-first of May was
rather a party aera, than a popular one.

The fall of Robespierre would have made as little impression as that of
the Girondists, if some melioration of the revolutionary system had not
succeeded it; and it is in fact only since the public voice, and the
interest of the Convention, have occasioned a change approaching to
reform, that the death of Robespierre is really considered as a benefit.

But what was in itself no more than a warfare of factions, may now, if
estimated by its consequences, be pronounced a revolution of infinite
importance.  The Jacobins, whom their declining power only rendered more
insolent and daring, have at length obliged the Convention to take
decided measures against them, and they are now subject to such
regulations as must effectually diminish their influence, and, in the
end, dissolve their whole combination.  They can no longer correspond as
societies, and the mischievous union which constituted their chief force,
can scarcely be supported for any time under the present restrictions.*

     * "All affiliations, aggregations, and foederations, as well as
     correspondences carried on collectively between societies, under
     whatever denomination they may exist, are henceforth prohibited, as
     being subversive of government, and contrary to the unity of the

     "Those persons who sign as presidents or secretaries, petitions or
     addresses in a collective form, shall be arrested and confined as
     suspicious, &c. &c.--Whoever offends in any shape against the
     present law, will incur the same penalty."

     The whole of the decree is in the same spirit.  The immediate and
     avowed pretext for this measure was, that the popular societies, who
     have of late only sent petitions disagreeable to the Convention, did
     not express the sense of the people.  Yet the deposition of the
     King, and the establishment of the republic, had no other sanction
     than the adherence of these clubs, who are now allowed not to be the
     nation, and whose very existence as then constituted is declared to
     be subversive of government.

It is not improbable, that the Convention, by suffering the clubs still
to exist, after reducing them to nullity, may hope to preserve the
institution as a future resource against the people, while it represses
their immediate efforts against itself.  The Brissotins would have
attempted a similar policy, but they had nothing to oppose to the
Jacobins, except their personal influence.  Brissot and Roland took part
with the clubs, as they approved the massacres of August and September,
just as far as it answered their purpose; and when they were abandoned by
the one, and the other were found to incur an unprofitable odium, they
acted the part which Tallien and Freron act now under the same
circumstances, and would willingly have promoted the destruction of a
power which had become inimical to them.*--

     * Brissot and Roland were more pernicious as Jacobins than the most
     furious of their successors.  If they did not in person excite the
     people to the commission of crimes, they corrupted them, and made
     them fit instruments for the crimes of others.  Brissot might affect
     to condemn the massacres of September in the gross, but he is known
     to have enquired with eager impatience, and in a tone which implied
     he had reasons for expecting it, whether De Morande, an enemy he
     wished to be released from, was among the murdered.

--Their imitators, without possessing more honesty, either political or
moral, are more fortunate; and not only Tallien and Freron, who since
their expulsion from the Jacobins have become their most active enemies,
are now in a manner popular, but even the whole Convention is much less
detested than it was before.

It is the singular felicity of the Assembly to derive a sort of
popularity from the very excesses it has occasioned or sanctioned, and
which, it was natural to suppose, would have consigned it for ever to
vengeance or obloquy; but the past sufferings of the people have taught
them to be moderate in their expectations; and the name of their
representation has been so connected with tyranny of every sort, that it
appears an extraordinary forbearance when the usual operations of
guillotines and mandates of arrest are suspended.

Thus, though the Convention have not in effect repaired a thousandth part
of their own acts of injustice, or done any good except from necessity,
they are overwhelmed with applauding addresses, and affectionate
injunctions not to quit their post.  What is still more wonderful, many
of these are sincere; and Tallien, Freron, Legendre, &c. with all their
revolutionary enormities on their heads, are now the heroes of the
reviving aristocrats.

Situated as things are at present, there is much sound policy in
flattering the Convention into a proper use of their power, rather than
making a convulsive effort to deprive them of it.  The Jacobins would
doubtless avail themselves of such a movement; and this is so much
apprehended, that it has given rise to a general though tacit agreement
to foment the divisions between the Legislature and the Clubs, and to
support the first, at least until it shall have destroyed the latter.

The late decrees, which obstruct the intercourse and affiliation of
popular societies, may be regarded as an event not only beneficial to
this country, but to the world in general; because it is confessed, that
these combinations, by means of which the French monarchy was subverted,
and the King brought to the scaffold, are only reconcileable with a
barbarous and anarchical government.

The Convention are now much occupied on two affairs, which call forth all
their "natural propensities," and afford a farther confirmation of this
fact--that their feelings and principles are always instinctively at war
with justice, however they may find it expedient to affect a regard for
it--_C'est la chatte metamorphosee en femme_ [The cat turned into a

               _"En vain de son train ordinaire"
               "On la veut desaccoutumer,
               "Quelque chose qu'on puisse faire
               "On ne fauroit la reformer."_
                         La Fontaine.

The Deputies who were imprisoned as accomplices of the Girondists, and on
other different pretexts, have petitioned either to be brought to trial
or released; and the abominable conduct of Carrier at Nantes is so fully
substantiated, that the whole country is impatient to have some steps
taken towards bringing him to punishment: yet the Convention are averse
from both these measures--they procrastinate and elude the demand of
their seventy-two colleagues, who were arrested without a specific
charge; while they almost protect Carrier, and declare, that in cases
which tend to deprive a Representative of his liberty, it is better to
reflect thirty times than once.  This is curious doctrine with men who
have sent so many people arbitrarily to the scaffold, and who now detain
seventy-two Deputies in confinement, they know not why.

The ashes of Rousseau have recently been deposited with the same
ceremonies, and in the same place, as those of Marat.  We should feel for
such a degradation of genius, had not the talents of Rousseau been
frequently misapplied; and it is their misapplication which has levelled
him to an association with Marat.  Rousseau might be really a fanatic,
and, though eccentric, honest; yet his power of adorning impracticable
systems, it must be acknowledged, has been more mischievous to society
than a thousand such gross impostors as Marat.

I have learned since my return from the Providence, the death of Madame
Elizabeth.  I was ill when it happened, and my friends took some pains to
conceal an event which they knew would affect me.  In tracing the motives
of the government for this horrid action, it may perhaps be sufficiently
accounted for in the known piety and virtues of this Princess; but
reasons of another kind have been suggested to me, and which, in all
likelihood, contributed to hasten it.  She was the only person of the
royal family of an age competent for political transactions who had not
emigrated, and her character extorted respect even from her enemies. [The
Prince of Conti was too insignificant to be an object of jealousy in this
way.] She must therefore, of course, since the death of the Queen, have
been an object of jealousy to all parties.  Robespierre might fear that
she would be led to consent to some arrangement with a rival faction for
placing the King on the throne--the Convention were under similar
apprehensions with regard to him; so that the fate of this illustrious
sufferer was probably gratifying to every part of the republicans.

I find, on reading her trial, (if so it may be called,) a repetition of
one of the principal charges against the Queen--that of trampling on the
national colours at Versailles, during an entertainment given to some
newly-arrived troops.  Yet I have been assured by two gentlemen,
perfectly informed on the subject, and who were totally unacquainted with
each other, that this circumstance, which has been so usefully enlarged
upon, is false,* and that the whole calumny originated in the jealousy of
a part of the national guard who had not been invited.

     * This infamous calumny (originally fabricated by Lecointre the
     linen draper, then an officer of the National Guard, now a member of
     the council of 500) was amply confuted by M. Mounier, who was
     President of the States-General at the time, in a publication
     intitled "_Expose de ma Conduite,_" which appeared soon after the
     event--in the autumn of 1789.--Editor.

But this, as well as the taking of the Bastille, and other revolutionary
falsehoods, will, I trust, be elucidated.  The people are now undeceived
only by their calamities--the time may come, when it will be safe to
produce their conviction by truth.  Heroes of the fourteenth of July, and
patriots of the tenth of August, how will ye shrink from it!--Yours, &c.

Amiens, Nov. 2, 1794.

Every post now brings me letters from England; but I perceive, by the
suppressed congratulations of my friends, that, though they rejoice to
find I am still alive, they are far from thinking me in a state of
security.  You, my dear Brother, must more particularly have lamented the
tedious confinement I have endured, and the inconveniencies to which I
have been subjected; I am, however, persuaded that you would not wish me
to have been exempt from a persecution in which all the natives of
England, who are not a disgrace to their country, as well as some that
are so, have shared.  Such an exemption would now be deemed a reproach;
for, though it must be confessed that few of us have been voluntary
sufferers, we still claim the honour of martyrdom, and are not very
tolerant towards those who, exposed by their situation, may be supposed
to have owed their protection to their principles.

There are, indeed, many known revolutionists and republicans, who, from
party disputes, personal jealousies, or from being comprised in some
general measure, have undergone a short imprisonment; and these men now
wish to be confounded with their companions who are of a different
description.  But such persons are carefully distinguished;* and the
aristocrats have, in their turn, a catalogue of suspicious people--that
is, of people suspected of not having been suspicious.

     * Mr. Thomas Paine, for instance, notwithstanding his sufferings, is
     still thought more worthy of a seat in the Convention or the
     Jacobins, than of an apartment in the Luxembourg.--Indeed I have
     generally remarked, that the French of all parties hold an English
     republican in peculiar abhorrence.

It is now the fashion to talk of a sojourn in a maison d'arret with
triumph; and the more decent people, who from prudence or fear had been
forced to seek refuge in the Jacobin clubs, are now solicitous to
proclaim their real motives.  The red cap no longer "rears its hideous
front" by day, but is modestly converted into a night-cap; and the bearer
of a diplome de Jacobin, instead of swinging along, to the annoyance of
all the passengers he meets, paces soberly with a diminished height, and
an air not unlike what in England we call sneaking.  The bonnet rouge
begins likewise to be effaced from flags at the doors; and, as though
this emblem of liberty were a very bad neighbour to property, its
relegation seems to encourage the re-appearance of silver forks and
spoons, which are gradually drawn forth from their hiding-places, and
resume their stations at table.  The Jacobins represent themselves as
being under the most cruel oppression, declare that the members of the
Convention are aristocrats and royalists, and lament bitterly, that,
instead of fish-women, or female patriots of republican external, the
galleries are filled with auditors in flounces and anti-civic top-knots,
femmes a fontanges.

These imputations and grievances of the Jacobins are not altogether
without foundation.  People in general are strongly impressed with an
idea that the Assembly are veering towards royalism; and it is equally
true, that the speeches of Tallien and Freron are occasionally heard and
applauded by fair elegantes, who, two years ago, would have recoiled at
the name of either.  It is not that their former deeds are forgotten, but
the French are grown wise by suffering; and it is politic, when bad men
act well, whatever the motive, to give them credit for it, as nothing is
so likely to make them persevere, as the hope that their reputation is
yet retrievable. On this principle the aristocrats are the eulogists of
Tallien, while the Jacobins remind him hourly of the massacres of the
priests, and his official conduct as Secretary to the municipality or

     * Tallien was Seecretary to the Commune of Paris in 1792, and on the
     thirty-first of August he appeared at the bar of the Legislative
     Assembly with an address, in which he told them "he had caused the
     refractory priests to be arrested and confined, and that in a few
     days the Land of Liberty should be freed of them."--The massacres of
     the prisons began two days after!

As soon as a Representative is convicted of harbouring an opinion
unfavourable to pillage or murder, he is immediately declared an
aristocrat; or, if the Convention happen for a moment to be influenced by
reason or justice, the hopes and fears of both parties are awakened by
suspicions that the members are converts to royalism.--For my own part,
I believe they are and will be just what their personal security and
personal interest may suggest, though it is but a sorry sort of panegyric
on republican ethics to conclude, that every one who manifests the least
symptom of probity or decency, must of course be a royalist or an

Notwithstanding the harmony which appears to subsist between the
Convention and the people, the former is much less popular in detail than
in the gross.  Almost every member who has been on mission, is accused of
dilapidations and cruelties so heinous, that, if they had not been
committed by Representans du Peuple, the criminal courts would find no
difficulty in deciding upon them.--But as theft or murder does not
deprive a member of his privileges, complaints of this nature are only
cognizable by the Assembly, which, being yet in its first days of
regeneration, is rather scrupulous of defending such amusements overtly.
Alarmed, however, at the number, and averse from the precedent of these
denunciations, it has now passed a variety of decrees, which are termed a
guarantee of the national representation, and which in fact guarantee it
so effectually, that a Deputy may do any thing in future with impunity,
provided it does not affect his colleagues.  There are now so many forms,
reports, and examinations, that several months may be employed before the
person of a delinquent, however notorious his guilt, can be secured.  The
existence of a fellow-creature should, doubtless, be attacked with
caution; for, though he may have forfeited his claims on our esteem, and
even our pity, religion has preserved him others, of which he should not
be deprived.--But when we recollect that all these merciful ceremonies
are in favour of a Carrier or a Le Bon, and that the King, Madame
Elizabeth, and thousands of innocent people, were hurried to execution,
without being allowed the consolations of piety or affection, which only
a mockery of justice might have afforded them; when, even now, priests
are guillotined for celebrating masses in private, and thoughtless people
for speaking disrespectfully of the Convention--the heart is at variance
with religion and principle, and we regret that mercy is to be the
exclusive portion of those who were never accessible to its dictates.*

     * The denunciation being first presented to the Assembly, they are
     to decide whether it shall be received.  If they determine in the
     affirmative, it is sent to the three Committees of Legislation,
     Public Welfare, and General Safety, to report whether there may be
     room for farther examination.  In that case, a commission of
     twenty-one members is appointed to receive the proofs of the accuser,
     and the defence of the accused.  These Commissioners, after as long a
     delay as they may think fit to interpose, make known their opinion;
     and if it be against the accused, the Convention proceed to
     determine finally whether the matter shall be referred to the
     ordinary tribunal.  All this time the culprit is at large, or, at
     worst, and merely for the form, carelessly guarded at his own

I would not "pick bad from bad," but it irks one's spirit to see these
miscreants making "assurance doubly sure," and providing for their own
safety with such solicitude, after sacrificing, without remorse, whatever
was most interesting or respectable in the country.--Yours, &c.

Basse-ville, Arras, Nov. 6, 1794.

Since my own liberation, I have been incessantly employed in endeavouring
to procure the return of my friends to Amiens; who, though released from
prison some time, could not obtain passports to quit Arras.  After
numerous difficulties and vexations, we have at length succeeded, and I
am now here to accompany them home.

I found Mr. and Mrs. D____ much altered by the hardships they have
undergone: Mrs. D____, in particular, has been confined some months in a
noisome prison called the Providence, originally intended as a house of
correction, and in which, though built to contain an hundred and fifty
persons, were crouded near five hundred females, chiefly ladies of Arras
and the environs.--The superintendance of this miserable place was
entrusted to a couple of vulgar and vicious women, who, having
distinguished themselves as patriots from the beginning of the
revolution, were now rewarded by Le Bon with an office as profitable
as it was congenial to their natures.

I know not whether it is to be imputed to the national character, or to
that of the French republicans only, but the cruelties which have been
committed are usually so mixed with licentiousness, as to preclude
description.  I have already noticed the conduct of Le Bon, and it must
suffice to say, his agents were worthy of him, and that the female
prisoners suffered every thing which brutality, rapaciousness, and
indecency, could inflict.  Mr. D____ was, in the mean time, transferred
from prison to prison--the distress of separation was augmented by their
mutual apprehensions and pecuniary embarrassments--and I much fear, the
health and spirits of both are irretrievably injured.

I regret my impatience in coming here, rather than waiting the arrival of
my friends at home; for the changes I observe, and the recollections they
give birth to, oppress my heart, and render the place hateful to me.--All
the families I knew are diminished by executions, and their property is
confiscated--those whom I left in elegant hotels are now in obscure
lodgings, subsisting upon the superfluities of better days--and the
sorrows of the widows and orphans are increased by penury; while the
Convention, which affects to condemn the crimes of Le Bon, is profiting
by the spoils of his victims.

I am the more deeply impressed by these circumstances, because, when I
was here in 1792, several who have thus fallen, though they had nothing
to reproach themselves with, were yet so much intimidated as to propose
emigrating; and I then was of opinion, that such a step would be
impolitic and unnecessary.  I hope and believe this opinion did not
influence them, but I lament having given it, for the event has proved
that a great part of the emigrants are justifiable.  It always appeared
to me so serious and great an evil to abandon one's country, that when I
have seen it done with indifference or levity, I may perhaps have
sometimes transferred to the measure itself a sentiment of
disapprobation, excited originally by the manner of its adoption.  When I
saw people expatiate with calmness, and heard them speak of it as a means
of distinguishing themselves, I did not sufficiently allow for the
tendency of the French to make the best of every thing, or the influence
of vanity on men who allow it to make part of the national
characteristic: and surely, if ever vanity were laudable, that of marking
a detestation for revolutionary principles, and an attachment to loyalty
and religion, may justly be considered so.  Many whom I then accused of
being too lightly affected by the prospect of exile, might be animated by
the hope of personally contributing to the establishment of peace and
order, and rescuing their country from the banditti who were oppressing
it; and it is not surprising that such objects should dazzle the
imagination and deceive the judgment in the choice of measures by which
they were to be obtained.

The number of emigrants from fashion or caprice is probably not great;
and whom shall we now dare to include under this description, when the
humble artizan, the laborious peasant, and the village priest, have
ensanguined the scaffold destined for the prince or the prelate?--But if
the emigrants be justifiable, the refugees are yet more so.

By Emigrants, I mean all who, without being immediately in danger, left
their country through apprehension of the future--from attachment to the
persons of the Princes, or to join companions in the army whom they might
deem it a disgrace to abandon.--Those whom I think may with truth be
styled Refugees, are the Nobility and Priests who fled when the people,
irritated by the literary terrorists of the day, the Brissots, Rolands,
Camille Desmoulins, &c. were burning their chateaux and proscribing their
persons, and in whom expatriation cannot properly be deemed the effect of
choice.  These, wherever they have sought an asylum, are entitled to our
respect and sympathy.

Yet, I repeat, we are not authorized to discriminate.  There is no
reasoning coldly on the subject.  The most cautious prudence, the most
liberal sacrifices, and the meanest condescensions, have not insured the
lives and fortunes of those who ventured to remain; and I know not that
the absent require any other apology than the desolation of the country
they have quitted.  Had my friends who have been slaughtered by Le Bon's
tribunal persisted in endeavouring to escape, they might have lived, and
their families, though despoiled by the rapacity of the government, have
been comparatively happy.*

     * The first horrors of the revolution are well known, and I have
     seen no accounts which exaggerate them.  The niece of a lady of my
     acquaintance, a young woman only seventeen, escaped from her
     country-house (whilst already in flames) with her infant at her
     breast, and literally without clothes to cover her.  In this state
     she wandered a whole night, and when she at length reached a place
     where she procured assistance, was so exhausted that her life was in
     danger.--Another lady, whom I knew, was wounded in the arm by some
     peasants assembled to force from her the writings of her husband's
     estates.  Even after this they still remained in France, submitted
     with cheerfulness to all the demands of patriotic gifts, forced
     loans, requisitions and impositions of every kind; yet her husband
     was nevertheless guillotined, and the whole of their immense
     property confiscated.

Retrospections, like these, obliterate many of my former notions on the
subject of the Emigrants; and if I yet condemn emigration, it is only as
a general measure, impolitic, and inadequate to the purposes for which it
was undertaken.  But errors of judgment, in circumstances so
unprecedented, cannot be censured consistently with candour, through we
may venture to mark them as a discouragement to imitation; for if any
nation should yet be menaced by the revolutionary scourge, let it beware
of seeking external redress by a temporary abandonment of its interests
to the madness of systemists, or the rapine of needy adventurers.  We
must, we ought to, lament the fate of the many gallant men who have
fallen, and the calamities of those who survive; but what in them has
been a mistaken policy, will become guilt in those who, on a similar
occasion, shall not be warned by their example.  I am concerned when I
hear these unhappy fugitives are any where objects of suspicion or
persecution, as it is not likely that those who really emigrated from
principle can merit such treatment: and I doubt not, that most of the
instances of treachery or misconduct ascribed to the Emigrants originated
in republican emissaries, who have assumed that character for the double
purpose of discrediting it, and of exercising their trade as spies.

The common people here, who were retained by Le Bon for several months to
attend and applaud his executions, are still dissolute and ferocious, and
openly regret the loss of their pay, and the disuse of the guillotine.

--I came to Arras in mourning, which I have worn since the receipt of
your first letter, but was informed by the lady with whom my friends
lodge, that I must not attempt to walk the streets in black, for that it
was customary to insult those who did so, on a supposition that they were
related to some persons who had been executed; I therefore borrowed a
white undress, and stole out by night to visit my unfortunate
acquaintance, as I found it was also dangerous to be seen entering houses
known to contain the remains of those families which had been dismembered
by Le Bon's cruelties.

We return to Amiens to-morrow, though you must not imagine so formidable
a person as myself is permitted to wander about the republic without due
precaution; and I had much difficulty in being allowed to come, even
attended by a guard, who has put me to a considerable expence; but the
man is civil, and as he has business of his own to transact in the town,
he is no embarrassment to me.

Amiens, Nov. 26, 1794.

The Constituent Assembly, the Legislative Assembly, and the National
Convention, all seem to have acted from a persuasion, that their sole
duty as revolutionists was comprised in the destruction of whatever
existed under the monarchy.  If an institution were discovered to have
the slightest defect in principle, or to have degenerated a little in
practice, their first step was to abolish it entirely, and leave the
replacing it for the present to chance, and for the future to their
successors.  In return for the many new words which they have introduced
into the French language, they have expunged that of reform; and the
havock and devastation, which a Mahometan conqueror might have performed
as successfully, are as yet the only effects of philosophy and

This system of ignorance and violence seems to have persecuted with
peculiar hostility all the ancient establishments for education; and the
same plan of suppressing daily what they have neither leisure nor
abilities to supply, which I remarked to you two years ago, has directed
the Convention ever since.  It is true, the interval has produced much
dissertation, and engendered many projects; but those who were so
unanimous in rejecting, were extremely discordant in adopting, and their
own disputes and indecision might have convinced them of their
presumption in condemning what they now found it so difficult to excel.
Some decided in favour of public schools, after the example of Sparta--
this was objected to by others, because, said they, if you have public
schools you must have edifices, and governors, and professors, who will,
to a certainty, be aristocrats, or become so; and, in short, this will
only be a revival of the colleges of the old government--A third party
proposed private seminaries, or that people might be at liberty to
educate their children in the way they thought best; but this, it was
declared, would have a still greater tendency to aristocracy; for the
rich, being better able to pay than the poor, would engross all the
learning to themselves.  The Jacobins were of opinion, that there should
be no schools, either public or private, but that the children should
merely be taken to hear the debates of the Clubs, where they would
acquire all the knowledge necessary for republicans; and a few spirits of
a yet sublimer cast were adverse both to schools or clubs, and
recommended, that the rising generation should "study the great book of
Nature alone."  It is, however, at length concluded, that there shall be
a certain number of public establishments, and that people shall even be
allowed to have their children instructed at home, under the inspection
of the constituted authorities, who are to prevent the instillation of
aristocratic principles.*

     * We may judge of the competency of many of these people to be
     official censors of education by the following specimens from a
     report of Gregoire's.  Since the rage for destruction has a little
     subsided, circular letters have been sent to the administrators of
     the departments, districts, &c. enquiring what antiquities, or other
     objects of curiosity, remain in their neighbourhood.--"From one,
     (says Gregoire,) we are informed, that they are possessed of nothing
     in this way except four vases, which, as they have been told, are of
     porphyry.  From a second we learn, that, not having either forge or
     manufactory in the neighbourhood, no monument of the arts is to be
     found there: and a third announces, that the completion of its
     library cataloges has been retarded, because the person employed at
     them ne fait pas la diplomatique!"--("does not understand the
     science of diplomacy.")

The difficulty as to the mode in which children were to be taught being
got over, another remained, not less liable to dispute--which was, the
choice of what they were to learn.  Almost every member had a favourite
article---music, physic, prophylactics, geography, geometry, astronomy,
arithmetic, natural history, and botany, were all pronounced to be
requisites in an eleemosynary system of education, specified to be
chiefly intended for the country people; but as this debate regarded only
the primary schools for children in their earliest years, and as one man
for a stipend of twelve hundred livres a year, was to do it all, a
compromise became necessary, and it has been agreed for the present, that
infants of six years shall be taught only reading, writing, gymnastics,
geometry, geography, natural philosophy, and history of all free nations,
and that of all the tyrants, the rights of man, and the patriotic songs.
--Yet, after these years of consideration, and days of debate, the
Assembly has done no more than a parish-clerk, or an old woman with a
primer, and "a twig whilom of small regard to see," would do better
without its interference.

The students of a more advanced age are still to be disposed of, and the
task of devising an institution will not be easy; because, perhaps a
Collot d'Herbois or a Duhem is not satisfied with the system which
perfectioned the genius of Montesquieu or Descartes.  Change, not
improvement, is the object--whatever bears a resemblance to the past must
be proscribed; and while other people study to simplify modes of
instruction, the French legislature is intent on rendering them as
difficult and complex as possible; and at the moment they decree that the
whole country shall become learned, they make it an unfathomable science
to teach urchins of half a dozen years old their letters.

Foreigners, indeed, who judge only from the public prints, may suppose
the French far advanced towards becoming the most erudite nation in
Europe: unfortunately, all these schools, primary, and secondary, and
centrical, and divergent, and normal,* exist as yet but in the
repertories of the Convention, and perhaps may not add "a local
habitation" to their names, till the present race** shall be unfit to
reap the benefit of them.

     * _Les Ecoles Normales_ were schools where masters were to be
     instructed in the art of teaching.  Certain deputies objected to
     them, as being of feudal institution, supposing that Normale had
     some reference to Normandy.

     ** This was a mistake, for the French seem to have adopted the
     maxim, "that man is never too old to learn;" and, accordingly, at
     the opening of the Normal schools, the celebrated Bougainville, now
     eighty years of age, became a pupil.  This Normal project was,
     however, soon relinquished--for by that fatality which has hitherto
     attended all the republican institutions, it was found to have
     become a mere nursery for aristocrats.

But this revolutionary barbarism, not content with stopping the progress
of the rising generation, has ravaged without mercy the monuments of
departed genius, and persecuted with senseless despotism those who were
capable of replacing them.  Pictures have been defaced, statues
mutilated, and libraries burnt, because they reminded the people of their
Kings or their religion; while artists, and men of science or literature,
were wasting their valuable hours in prison, or expiring on the
scaffold.--The moral and gentle Florian died of vexation.  A life of
abstraction and utility could not save the celebrated chymist, Lavoisier,
from the Guillotine.  La Harpe languished in confinement, probably, that
he might not eclipse Chenier, who writes tragedies himself; and every
author that refused to degrade his talents by the adulation of tyranny
has been proscribed and persecuted.  Palissot,* at sixty years old, was
destined to expiate in a prison a satire upon Rousseau, written when he
was only twenty, and escaped, not by the interposition of justice, but by
the efficacity of a bon mot.

     * Palissot was author of "The Philosophers," a comedy, written
     thirty years ago, to ridicule Rousseau.  He wrote to the
     municipality, acknowledged his own error, and the merits of
     Rousseau; yet, says he, if Rousseau were a god, you ought not to
     sacrifice human victims to him.--The expression, which in French is
     well tuned, pleased the municipality, and Palissot, I believe, was
     not afterwards molested.

--A similar fate would have been awarded Dorat, [Author of "Les Malheurs
de l'Inconstance," and other novels.] for styling himself Chevalier in
the title-pages of his novels, had he not commuted his punishment for
base eulogiums on the Convention, and with the same pen, which has been
the delight of the French boudoir, celebrated Carrier's murders on the
Loire under the appellation of "baptemes civiques."  Every province in
France, we are informed by the eloquent pedantry of Gregoire, exhibits
traces of these modern Huns, which, though now exclusively attributed to
the agents of Robespierre and Mr. Pitt,* it is very certain were
authorized by the decrees of the Convention, and executed under the
sanction of Deputies on mission, or their subordinates.

     * _"Soyez sur que ces destructions se sont pour la plupart a
     l'instigation de nos ennemis--quel triomphe pour l'Anglais si il eul
     pu ecraser notre commerce par l'aneantissement des arts dont la
     culture enrichit le sien."_--"Rest assured that these demolitions
     were, for the most part, effected at the instigation of our enemies
     --what a triumph would it have been for the English, if they had
     succeeded in crushing our commerce by the annihilation of the arts,
     the culture of which enriched their own."

--If the principal monuments of art be yet preserved to gratify the
national taste or vanity, it is owing to the courage and devotion of
individuals, who obeyed with a protecting dilatoriness the destructive
mandates of government.

At some places, orangeries were sold by the foot for fire-wood, because,
as it was alledged, that republicans had more occasion for apples and
potatoes than oranges.--At Mousseaux, the seals were put on the
hot-houses, and all the plants nearly destroyed.  Valuable remains of
sculpture were condemned for a crest, a fleur de lys, or a coronet
attached to them; and the deities of the Heathen mythology were made war
upon by the ignorance of the republican executioners, who could not
distinguish them from emblems of feodality.*

     * At Anet, a bronze stag, placed as a fountain in a large piece of
     water, was on the point of being demolished, because stags are
     beasts of chace, and hunting is a feodal privilege, and stags of
     course emblems of feodality.--It was with some difficulty preserved
     by an amateur, who insisted, that stags of bronze were not included
     in the decree.--By a decree of the Convention, which I have formerly
     mentioned, all emblems of royalty or feodality were to be demolished
     by a particular day; and as the law made no distinction, it could
     not be expected that municipalities, &c. often ignorant or timid,
     should either venture or desire to spare what in the eyes of the
     connoisseur might be precious.

     "At St. Dennis, (says the virtuoso Gregoire,) where the National
     Club justly struck at the tyrants even in their tombs, that of
     Turenne ought to have been spared; yet strokes of the sword are
     still visible on it."--He likewise complains, that at the Botanic
     Garden the bust of Linnaeus had been destroyed, on a presumption of
     its being that of Charles the Ninth; and if it had been that of
     Charles the Ninth, it is not easy to discern how the cause of
     liberty was served by its mutilation.--The artist or moralist
     contemplates with equal profit or curiosity the features of Pliny or
     Commodus; and History and Science will appreciate Linnaeus and
     Charles the Ninth, without regarding whether their resemblances
     occupy a palace, or are scattered in fragments by republican
     ignorance.--Long after the death of Robespierre, the people of
     Amiens humbly petitioned the Convention, that their cathedral,
     perhaps the most beautiful Gothic edifice in Europe, might be
     preserved; and to avoid giving offence by the mention of churches or
     cathedrals, they called it a Basilique.--But it is unnecessary to
     adduce any farther proof, that the spirit of what is now called
     Vandalism originated in the Convention.  Every one in France must
     recollect, that, when dispatches from all corners announced these
     ravages, they were heard with as much applause, as though they had
     related so many victories gained over the enemy.

--Quantities of curious medals have been melted down for the trifling
value of the metal; and at Abbeville, a silver St. George, of uncommon
workmanship, and which Mr. Garrick is said to have desired to purchase at
a very high price, was condemned to the crucible--

               _"----Sur tant de tresors
               "Antiques monumens respectes jusqu'alors,
               "Par la destruction signalant leur puissance,
               "Las barbares etendirent leur stupide vengeance."
               "La Religion,"_ Racine.

Yet the people in office who operated these mischiefs were all appointed
by the delegates of the Assembly; for the first towns of the republic
were not trusted even with the choice of a constable.  Instead,
therefore, of feeling either surprise or regret at this devastation, we
ought rather to rejoice that it has extended no farther; for such agents,
armed with such decrees, might have reduced France to the primitive state
of ancient Gaul.  Several valuable paintings are said to have been
conveyed to England, and it will be curious if the barbarism of France in
the eighteenth century should restore to us what we, with a fanaticism
and ignorance at least more prudent than theirs, sold them in the
seventeenth.  The zealots of the Barebones' Parliament are, however, more
respectable than the atheistical Vandals of the Convention; and, besides
the benefit of our example, the interval of a century and an half, with
the boast of a philosophy and a degree of illumination exceeding that of
any other people, have rendered the errors of the French at once more
unpardonable and more ridiculous; for, in assimilating their past
presentations to their present conduct and situation, we do not always
find it possible to regret without a mixture of contempt.

Amiens, Nov. 29, 1794.

The selfish policy of the Convention in affecting to respect and preserve
the Jacobin societies, while it deprived them of all power, and help up
the individuals who composed them to abhorrence, could neither satisfy
nor deceive men versed in revolutionary expedients, and more accustomed
to dictate laws than to submit to them.*

     * The Jacobins were at this time headed by Billaud Varenne, Collot,
     Thuriot, &c.--veterans, who were not likely to be deceived by

Supported by all the force of government, and intrinsically formidable by
their union, the Clubs had long existed in defiance of public
reprobation, and for some time they had braved not only the people, but
the government itself.  The instant they were disabled from corresponding
and communicating in that privileged sort of way which rendered them so
conspicuous, they felt their weakness; and their desultory and
unconnected efforts to regain their influence only served to complete its
annihilation.  While they pretended obedience to the regulations to which
the Convention had subjected them, they intrigued to promote a revolt,
and were strenuously exerting themselves to gain partizans among the idle
and dissolute, who, having subsisted for months as members of
revolutionary committees, and in other revolutionary offices, were
naturally averse from a more moderate government.  The numbers of these
were far from inconsiderable: and, when it is recollected that this
description of people only had been allowed to retain their arms, while
all who had any thing to defend were deprived of them, we cannot wonder
if the Jacobins entertained hopes of success.

The Convention, aware of these attempts, now employed against its ancient
accomplices the same arts that had proved so fatal to all those whom it
had considered as its enemies.  A correspondence was "opportunely"
intercepted between the Jacobins and the Emigrants in Switzerland, while
emissaries insinuated themselves into the Clubs, for the purpose of
exciting desperate motions; or, dispersed in public places, contrived, by
assuming the Jacobin costume, to throw on the faction the odium of those
seditious exclamations which they were employed to vociferate.

There is little doubt that the designs of the Jacobins were nearly such
as have been imputed to them.  They had, however, become more politic
than to act thus openly, without being prepared to repel their enemies,
or to support their friends; and there is every appearance that the Swiss
plots, and the insurrections of the _Palais Egalite,_ were the devices of
the government, to give a pretext for shutting up the Club altogether,
and to avert the real dangers with which it was menaced, by spreading an
alarm of fictitious ones.  A few idle people assembled (probably on
purpose) about the _Palais Egalite,_ and the place where the Jacobins held
their meetings, and the exclamation of "Down with the Convention!" served
as the signal for hostilities.  The aristocrats joined the partizans of
the Convention, the Jacobins were attacked in their hall, and an affray
ensued, in which several persons on each side were wounded.  Both parties
accused each other of being the aggressor, and a report of the business
was made to the Assembly; but the Assembly had already decided--and, on
the ninth of November, while the Jacobins were endeavouring to raise the
storm by a recapitulation of the rights of man, a decree was passed,
prohibiting their debates, and ordering the national seal to be put on
their doors and papers.  The society were not in force to make
resistance, and the decree was carried into execution as quietly as
though it had been levelled against the hotel of some devoted aristocrat.

When the news of this event reached the departments, it occasioned an
universal rejoicing--not such a rejoicing as is ordered for the successes
of the French arms, (which always seems to be a matter of great
indifference,) but a chearfulness of heart and of countenance; and many
persons whom I do not remember to have ever seen in the least degree
moved by political events, appeared sincerely delighted at this--

          "And those smile now, who never smil'd before,
          "And those who always smil'd, now smile the more."
          Parnell's Claudian.

The armies might proceed to Vienna, pillage the Escurial, or subjugate
all Europe, and I am convinced no emotion of pleasure would be excited
equal to that manifested at the downfall of the Jacobins of Paris.

Since this disgrace of the parent society, the Clubs in the departments
have, for the most part, dissolved themselves, or dwindled into peaceable
assemblies to hear the news read, and applaud the convention.--The few
Jacobin emblems which were yet remaining have totally disappeared, and no
vestige of Jacobinism is left, but the graves of its victims, and the
desolation of the country.

The profligate, the turbulent, the idle, and needy, of various countries
in Europe, have been tempted by the successes of the French Jacobins to
endeavour to establish similar institutions; but the same successes have
operated as a warning to people of a different description, and the fall
of these societies has drawn two confessions from their original
partizans, which ought never to be forgotten--namely, that they were
formed for the purpose of subverting the monarchy, and that their
existence is incompatible with regular government of any kind.--"While
the monarchy still existed, (says the most philosophic Lequinio, with
whose scheme of reforming La Vendee you are already acquainted,) it was
politic and necessary to encourage popular societies, as the most
efficacious means of operating its destruction; but now we have effected
a revolution, and have only to consolidate it by mild and philosophic
laws, these societies are dangerous, because they can produce only
confusion and disorder."--This is also the language of Brissot, who
admires the Jacobins from their origin till the end of 1792, but after
that period he admits they were only the instruments of faction, and
destructive of all property and order.*

     * The period of the Jacobin annals so much admired by Brissot,
     comprises the dethronement of the King, the massacres of the
     prisons, the banishment of the priests, &c.  That which he
     reprobates begins precisely at the period when the Jacobins disputed
     the claims of himself and his party to the exclusive direction of
     the government.--See Brissot's Address to his Constituents.

--We learn therefore, not from the abuses alone, but from the praises
bestowed on the Jacobins, how much such combinations are to be dreaded.
Their merit, it appears, consisted in the subversion of the monarchical
government, and their crime in ceasing to be useful as agents of tyranny,
the moment they ceased to be principals.

I am still sceptical as to the conversion of the Assembly, and little
disposed to expect good from it; yet whatever it may attempt in future,
or however its real principles may take an ascendant, this fortunate
concurrence of personal interests, coalition of aristocrats and
democrats, and political rivalry, have likewise secured France from a
return of that excess of despotism which could have been exercised only
by such means.  It is true, the spirit of the nation is so much
depressed, that an effort to revive these Clubs might meet no resistance;
but the ridicule and opprobrium to which they have latterly been subject,
and finally the manner of their being sacrificed by that very Convention,
of which they were the sole creators and support, will, I think, cool the
zeal, and diminish the numbers of their partizans too much for them ever
again to become formidable.

The conduct of Carrier has been examined according to the new forms, and
he is now on his trial--though not till the delays of the Convention had
given rise to a general suspicion that they intended either to exonerate
or afford him an opportunity of escaping; and the people were at last so
highly exasperated, that six thousand troops were added to the military
force of Paris, and an insurrection was seriously apprehended.  This
stimulated the diligence, or relaxed the indulgence, of the commission
appointed to make the report on Carrier's conduct; and it being decided
that there was room for accusation, the Assembly confirmed the decision,
and he was ordered into custody, to be tried along with the Revolutionary
Committee of Nantes which had been the instrument of his crimes.

It is a circumstance worth noting, that most of the Deputies who
explained the motives on which they thought Carrier guilty, were silent
on the subject of his drowning, shooting, and guillotining so many
thousands of innocent people, and only declared him guilty, as having
been wanting in respect towards Trehouard, one of his colleagues, and of
injuring the republican cause by his atrocities.

The fate of this monster exhibits a practical exposition of the enormous
absurdity of such a government.  He is himself tried for the exercise of
a power declared to be unbounded when entrusted to him.  The men tried
with him as his accomplices were obliged by the laws to obey him; and the
acts of which they are all accused were known, applauded, and held out
for imitation, by the Convention, who now declare those very acts to be
criminal!--There is certainly no way of reconciling justice but by
punishing both chiefs and subordinates, and the hour for this will yet

Amiens. [No date given.]

I do not yet venture to correspond with my Paris friends by the post, but
whenever the opportunity of private conveyance occurs, I receive long and
circumstantial letters, as well as packets, of all the publications most
read, and the theatrical pieces most applauded.  I have lately drudged
through great numbers of these last, and bestowed on them an attention
they did not in themselves deserve, because I considered it as one means
of judging both of the spirit of the government and the morals of the

The dramas produced at the beginning of the revolution were in general
calculated to corrupt the national taste and morals, and many of them
were written with skill enough to answer the purpose for which they were
intended; but those that have appeared during the last two years, are so
stupid and so depraved, that the circumstance of their being tolerated
even for a moment implies an extinction both of taste and of morals.*

     * _"Dans l'espace d'un an ils ont failli detruire le produit de
     plusieurs siecles de civilization."_--("In the space of a year they
     nearly destroyed the fruits of several ages of civilization.")

The principal cause of this is the despotism of the government in making
the stage a mere political engine, and suffering the performance of such
pieces only as a man of honesty or genius would not submit to write.*

     * The tragedy of Brutus was interdicted on account of these two

     _"Arreter un romain sur de simple soupcons,
     "C'est agir en tyrans, nous qui les punissons."_

     That of Mahomet for the following:

     _"Exterminez, grands dieux, de la terre ou nous sommes
     "Quiconque avec plaisir repand le sang des hommes."_

     It is to be remarked, that the last lines are only a simple axiom of
     humanity, and could not have been considered as implying a censure
     on any government except that of the French republic.

--Hence a croud of scribblers, without shame or talents, have become the
exclusive directors of public amusements, and, as far as the noise of a
theatre constitutes success, are perhaps more successful than ever was
Racine or Moliere.  Immorality and dulness have an infallible resource
against public disapprobation in the abuse of monarchy and religion, or a
niche for Mr. Pitt; and an indignant or impatient audience, losing their
other feelings in their fears, are glad to purchase the reputation of
patriotism by applauding trash they find it difficult to endure.  The
theatres swarm with spies, and to censure a revolutionary piece, however
detestable even as a composition, is dangerous, and few have courage to
be the critics of an author who is patronized by the superintendants of
the guillotine, or who may retaliate a comment on his poetry by the
significant prose of a mandat d'arret.

Men of literature, therefore, have wisely preferred the conservation of
their freedom to the vindication of their taste, and have deemed it
better to applaud at the Theatre de la Republique, than lodge at St.
Lazare or Duplessis.--Thus political slavery has assisted moral
depravation: the writer who is the advocate of despotism, may be dull and
licentious by privilege, and is alone exempt from the laws of Parnassus
and of decency.--One Sylvan Marechal, author of a work he calls
philosophie, has written a sort of farce, which has been performed very
generally, where all the Kings in Europe are brought together as so many
monsters; and when the King of France is enquired after as not being
among them, a Frenchman answers,--"Oh, he is not here--we have
guillotined him--we have cut off his head according to law."--In one
piece, the hero is a felon escaped from the galleys, and is represented
as a patriot of the most sublime principles; in another, he is the
virtuous conductor of a gang of banditti; and the principal character in
a third, is a ploughman turned deist and politician.

Yet, while these malevolent and mercenary scribblers are ransacking past
ages for the crimes of Kings or the abuses of religion, and imputing to
both many that never existed, they forget that neither their books nor
their imagination are able to furnish scenes of guilt and misery equal to
those which have been presented daily by republicans and philosophers.
What horror can their mock-tragedies excite in those who have
contemplated the Place de la Revolution? or who can smile at a farce in
ridicule of monarchy, that beholds the Convention, and knows the
characters of the men who compose it?--But in most of these wretched
productions the absurdity is luckily not less conspicuous than the
immoral intention: their Princes, their Priests, their Nobles, are all
tyrannical, vicious, and miserable; yet the common people, living under
these same vicious tyrants, are described as models of virtue,
hospitality, and happiness.  If, then, the auditors of such edifying
dramas were in the habit of reasoning, they might very justly conclude,
that the ignorance which republicanism is to banish is desirable, and
that the diffusion of riches with which they have been flattered, will
only increase their vices, and subtract from their felicity.

There are, however, some patriotic spirits, who, not insensible to this
degeneracy of the French theatre, and lamenting the evil, have lately
exercised much ingenuity in developing the cause.  They have at length
discovered, that all the republican tragedies, flat farces, and heavy
comedies, are attributable to Mr. Pitt, who has thought proper to corrupt
the authors, with a view to deprave the public taste.  There is,
certainly, no combating this charge; for as, according to the assertions
of the Convention, Mr. Pitt has succeeded in bribing nearly every other
description of men in the republic, we may suppose the consciences of
such scribblers not less flexible.  Mr. Pitt, indeed, stands accused,
sometimes in conjunction with the Prince of Cobourg, and sometimes on his
own account, of successively corrupting the officers of the fleet and
army, all the bankers and all the farmers, the priests who say masses,
and the people who attend them, the chiefs of the aristocrats, and the
leaders of the Jacobins.  The bakers who refuse to bake when they have no
flour, and the populace who murmur when they have no bread, besides the
merchants and shopkeepers who prefer coin to assignats, are notoriously
pensioned by him: and even a part of the Representatives, and all the
frail beauties, are said to be enlisted in his service.--These
multifarious charges will be found on the journals of the Assembly, and
we must of course infer, that Mr. Pitt is the ablest statesman, or the
French the most corrupt nation, existing.

But it is not only Barrere and his colleagues who suppose the whole
country bribeable--the notion is common to the French in general; and
vanity adding to the omnipotence of gold, whenever they speak of a battle
lost, or a town taken, they conclude it impossible to have occurred but
through the venal treachery of their officers.--The English, I have
observed, always judge differently, and would not think the national
honour sustained by a supposition that their commanders were vulnerable
only in the hand.  If a general or an admiral happen to be unfortunate,
it would be with the utmost reluctance that we should think of
attributing his mischance to a cause so degrading; yet whoever has been
used to French society will acknowledge, that the first suggestion on
such events is _"nos officiers ont ete gagnes,"_ [Our officers were
bought.] or _"sans la trahison ce ne seroit pas arrive."_ [This could not
have happened without treachery.]--Pope's hyperbole of

          "Just half the land would buy, and half be sold,"

is more than applicable here; for if we may credit the French themselves,
the buyers are by no means so well proportioned to the sellers.

As I have no new political intelligence to comment upon, I shall finish
my letter with a domestic adventure of the morning.--Our house was
yesterday assigned as the quarters of some officers, who, with part of a
regiment, were passing this way to join the Northern army.  As they spent
the evening out, we saw nothing of them, but finding one was a Colonel,
and the other a Captain, though we knew what republican colonels and
captains might be, we thought it civil, or rather necessary, to send them
an invitation to breakfast.  We therefore ordered some milk coffee early,
(for Frenchmen seldom take tea,) and were all assembled before the usual
time to receive our military guests.  As they did not, however, appear,
we were ringing to enquire for them, when Mr. D____ entered from his
morning walk, and desired us to be at ease on their account, for that in
passing the kitchen, he had perceived the Captain fraternizing over some
onions, bread, and beer, with our man; while the Colonel was in close
conference with the cook, and watching a pan of soup, which was warming
for his breakfast.  We have learned since, that these heroes were very
willing to accept of any thing the servants offered them, but could not
be prevailed upon to approach us; though, you are to understand, this was
not occasioned either by timidity or incivility, but by mere ignorance.
--Mr. D____ says, the Marquise and I have not divested ourselves of
aristocratic associations with our ideas of the military, and that our
deshabilles this morning were unusually coquetish.  Our projects of
conquest were, however, all frustrated by the unlucky intervention of
Bernardine's _soupe aux choux,_ [Cabbage-soup.] and Eustace's regale of
cheese and onions.

          "And with such beaux 'tis vain to be a belle."

Yours, &c.

Amiens, Dec. 10, 1794.

Your American friend passed through here yesterday, and delivered me the
two parcels.  As marks of your attention, they were very acceptable; but
on any other account, I assure you, I should have preferred a present of
a few pecks of wheat to all your fineries.

I have been used to conclude, when I saw such strange and unaccountable
absurdities given in the French papers as extracts from the debates in
either of your Houses of Parliament, that they were probably fabricated
here to serve the designs of the reigning factions: yet I perceive, by
some old papers which came with the muslins, that there are really
members so ill-informed or so unprincipled, as to use the language
attributed to them, and who assert that the French are attached to their
government, and call France "a land of republicans."

When it is said that a people are republicans, we must suppose they are
either partial to republicanism as a system, or that they prefer it in
practice.  A little retrospection, perhaps, will determine both these
points better than the eloquence of your orators.

A few men, of philosophic or restless minds, have, in various ages and
countries, endeavoured to enlighten or disturb the world by examinations
and disputes on forms of government; yet the best heads and the best
hearts have remained divided on the subject, and I never heard that any
writer was able to produce more than a partial conviction, even in the
most limited circle.  Whence, then, did it happen in France, where
information was avowedly confined, and where such discussions could not
have been general, that the people became suddenly inspired with this
political sagacity, which made them in one day the judges and converts of
a system they could scarcely have known before, even by name?--At the
deposition of the King, the French, (speaking at large,) had as
perspicuous a notion of republics, as they may be supposed to have of
mathematics, and would have understood Euclid's Elements as well as the
Social Contract.  Yet an assemblage of the worst and most daring men from
every faction, elected amidst massacres and proscription, the moment they
are collected together, declare, on the proposal of Collot d'Herbois, a
profligate strolling player, that France shall be a republic.--Admitting
that the French were desirous of altering their form of government, I
believe no one will venture to say such an inclination was ever
manifested, or that the Convention were elected in a manner to render
them competent to such a decision.  They were not the choice of the
people, but chiefly emissaries imposed on the departments by the Jacobins
and the municipality of Paris; and let those who are not acquainted with
the means by which the elections were obtained, examine the composition
of the Assembly itself, and then decide whether any people being free
could have selected such men as Petion, Tallien, Robespierre, Brissot,
Carrier, Taillefer, &c. &c. from the whole nation to be their
Representatives.--There must, in all large associations, be a mixture of
good and bad; but when it is incontrovertible that the principal members
of the Convention are monsters, who, we hope, are not to be paralleled--
that the rest are inferior rather in talents than wickedness, or cowards
and ideots, who have supported and applauded crimes they only wanted
opportunity to commit--it is not possible to conceive, that any people in
the world could make a similar choice.  Yet if the French were absolutely
unbiassed, and of their own free will made this collection, who would,
after such an example, be the advocates of general suffrage and popular
representation?--But, I repeat, the people were not free.  They were not,
indeed, influenced by bribes--they were intimidated by the horrors of the
moment; and along with the regulations for the new elections, were every
where circulated details of the assassinations of August and September.*

     * The influence of the municipality of Paris on the new elections is
     well known.  The following letter will show what instruments were
     employed, and the description of Representatives likely to be chosen
     under such auspices.

     "Circular letter, written by the Committee of Inspection of the
     municipality of Paris to all the departments of the republic, dated
     the third of September, the second day of the massacres:

     "The municipality of Paris is impatient to inform their brethren of
     the departments, that a part of the ferocious conspirators detained
     in the prisons have been put to death by the people: an act of
     justice which appeared to them indispensable, to restrain by terror
     those legions of traitors whom they must have left behind when they
     departed for the army.  There is no doubt but the whole nation,
     after such multiplied treasons, will hasten to adopt the same
     salutary measure!"--Signed by the Commune of Paris and the Minister
     of Justice.

     Who, after this mandate, would venture to oppose a member
     recommended by the Commune of Paris?

--The French, then, neither chose the republican form of government,
nor the men who adopted it; and are, therefore, not republicans on
principle.--Let us now consider whether, not being republicans on
principle, experience may have rendered them such.

The first effects of the new system were an universal consternation,
the disappearance of all the specie, an extravagant rise in the price of
provisions, and many indications of scarcity.  The scandalous quarrels of
the legislature shocked the national vanity, by making France the
ridicule of all Europe, until ridicule was suppressed by detestation at
the subsequent murder of the King.  This was followed by the efforts of
one faction to strengthen itself against another, by means of a general
war--the leaders of the former presuming, that they alone were capable of
conducting it.

To the miseries of war were added revolutionary tribunals, revolutionary
armies and committees, forced loans, requisitions, maximums, and every
species of tyranny and iniquity man could devise or suffer; or, to use
the expression of Rewbell, [One of the Directory in 1796.] "France was in
mourning and desolation; all her families plunged in despair; her whole
surface covered with Bastilles, and the republican government become so
odious, that the most wretched slave, bending beneath the weight of his
chains, would have refused to live under it!"

Such were the means by which France was converted into a land of
republicans, and such the government to which your patriots assert the
French people were attached: yet so little was this attachment
appreciated here, that the mere institutions for watching and suppressing
disaffection amount, by the confession of Cambon, the financier, to
twenty-four millions six hundred and thirty-one thousand pounds sterling
a year!

To suppose, then, that the French are devoted to a system which has
served as a pretext for so many crimes, and has been the cause of so many
calamities, is to conclude them a nation of philosophers, who are able to
endure, yet incapable of reasoning; and who suffer evils of every kind in
defence of a principle with which they can be little acquainted, and
which, in practice, they have known only by the destruction it has

You may, perhaps, have been persuaded, that the people submit patiently
now, for the sake of an advantage in perspective; but it is not in the
disposition of unenlightened men (and the mass of a people must
necessarily be so) to give up the present for the future.  The individual
may sometimes atchieve this painful conquest over himself, and submit to
evil, on a calculation of future retribution, but the multitude will ever
prefer the good most immediately attainable, if not under the influence
of that terror which supersedes every other consideration.  Recollect,
then, the counsel of the first historian of our age, and "suspend your
belief of whatever deviates from the laws of nature and the character of
man;" and when you are told the French are attached to a government which
oppresses them, or to principles of which they are ignorant, suppose
their adoption of the one, and their submission to the other, are the
result of fear, and that those who make these assertions to the contrary,
are either interested or misinformed.

Excuse me if I have devoted a few pages to a subject which with you is
obsolete.  I am indignant at the perusal of such falsehoods; and though I
feel for the humiliation of great talents, I feel still more for the
disgrace such an abuse of them brings on our country.

It is not inapposite to mention a circumstance which happened to a friend
of Mr. D____'s, some little time since, at Paris.  He was passing through
France, in his way from Italy, at the time of the general arrest, and was
detained there till the other day.  As soon as he was released from
prison, he applied in person to a member of the Convention, to learn when
he might hope to return to England.  The Deputy replied, _"Ma soi je n'en
sais rien_ [Faith I can't tell you.]--If your Messieurs (naming some
members in the opposition) had succeeded in promoting a revolution, you
would not have been in your cage so long--_mais pour le coup il faut
attendre."_ [But now you must have patience.]  It is not probable the
members he named could have such designs, but Dumont once held the same
language to me; and it is mortifying to hear these miscreants suppose,
that factious or ambitious men, because they chance to possess talents,
can make revolutions in England as they have done in France.

In the papers which gave rise to these reflections, I observe that some
of your manufacturing towns are discontented, and attribute the
stagnation of their commerce to the war; but it is not unlikely, that the
stagnation and failures complained of might have taken place, though the
war had not happened.--When I came here in 1792, every shop and warehouse
were over-stocked with English goods.  I could purchase any article of
our manufacture at nearly the retail price of London; and some I sent for
from Paris, in the beginning of 1793, notwithstanding the reports of war,
were very little advanced.  Soon after the conclusion of the commercial
treaty, every thing English became fashionable; and so many people had
speculated in consequence, that similar speculations took place in
England.  But France was glutted before the war; and all speculations
entered into on a presumption of a demand equal to that of the first
years of the treaty, must have failed in a certain degree, though the two
countries had remained at peace.--Even after a two years cessation of
direct intercourse, British manufactures are every where to be procured,
which is a sufficient proof that either the country was previously over
supplied, or that they are still imported through neutral or indirect
channels.  Both these suppositions preclude the likelihood that the war
has so great a share in relaxing the activity of your commerce, as is

But whatever may be the effect of the war, there is no prospect of peace,
until the efforts of England, or the total ruin of the French finances,*
shall open the way for it.

     * By a report of Cambon's at this time, it appears the expences of
     France in 1792 were eighteen millions sterling--in 1793, near ninety
     millions--and, in the spring of 1794, twelve and a half millions per
     month!--The church bells, we learn from the same authority, cost in
     coinage, and the purchase of copper to mix with the metal, five or
     six millions of livres more than they produced as money.  The church
     plate, which was brought to the bar of the Convention with such
     eclat, and represented as an inexhaustible resource, amounted to
     scarcely a million sterling: for as the offering was every where
     involuntary, and promoted by its agents for the purposes of pillage,
     part was secreted, a still greater part stolen, and, as the
     conveyance to Paris was a sort of job, the expences often exceeded
     the worth--a patine, a censor, and a small chalice, were sent to the
     Convention, perhaps an hundred leagues, by a couple of Jacobin
     Commissioners in a coach and four, with a military escort.  Thus,
     the prejudices of the people were outraged, and their property
     wasted, without any benefit, even to those who suggested the

--The Convention, indeed, have partly relinquished their project of
destroying all the Kings of the earth, and forcing all the people to be
free.  But, though their schemes of reformation have failed, they still
adhere to those of extirpation; and the most moderate members talk
occasionally of "vile islanders," and "sailing up the Thames."*--

     * The Jacobins and the Moderates, who could agree in nothing else,
     were here perfectly in unison; so that on the same day we see the
     usual invectives of Barrere succeeded by menaces equally ridiculous
     from Pelet and Tallien--

     _"La seule chose dont nous devons nous occuper est d'ecraser ce
     gouvernement infame."_

     Discours de Pelet, 14 Nov.

     "The destruction of that infamous government is the only thing that
     ought to engage our attention."
     Pelet's Speech, 14 Nov. 1794.

     _"Aujourdhui que la France peut en se debarrassant d'une partie de
     ses ennemis reporter la gloire de ses armes sur les bordes de la
     Tamise, et ecraser le gouvernement Anglais."
     Discours de Tallien._

     "France, having now the opportunity of lessening the number of her
     enemies, may carry the glory of her arms to the banks of the Thames,
     and crush the English government."
     Tallien's Speech.

     _"Que le gouvernement prenne des mesures sages pour faire une paix
     honorable avec quelques uns de nos ennemis, et a l'aide des
     vaisseaux Hollandais et Espagnols, portons nous ensuite avec vigueur
     sur les bordes de la Tamise, et detruisons la nouvelle Carthage."
     Discours de Tallien, 14 Nov._

     "Let the government but adopt wise measures for making an honorable
     peace with a part of our enemies, and with the aid of the Dutch and
     Spanish navies, let us repair to the banks of the Thames, and
     destroy the modern Carthage."
     Tallien's Speech, 14 Nov. 1794.

No one is here ignorant of the source of Tallien's predilection for
Spain, and we may suppose the intrigue at this time far advanced.
Probably the charms of his wife (the daughter of Mons. Cabarrus, a French
speculator, formerly much encouraged by the Spanish government,
afterwards disgraced and imprisoned, but now liberated) might not be the
only means employed to procure his conversion.

--Tallien, Clauzel, and those who have newly assumed the character of
rational and decent people, still use the low and atrocious language of
Brissot, on the day he made his declaration of war; and perhaps hope, by
exciting a national spirit of vengeance against Great Britain, to secure
their lives and their pay, when they shall have been forced to make peace
on the Continent: for, be certain, the motives of these men are never to
be sought for in any great political object, but merely in expedients to
preserve their persons and their plunder.

Those who judge of the Convention by their daily harangues, and the
justice, virtue, or talents which they ascribe to themselves, must
believe them to be greatly regenerated: yet such is the dearth both of
abilities and of worth of any kind, that Andre Dumont has been
successively President of the Assembly, Member of the Committee of
General Safety, and is now in that of Public Welfare.--Adieu.

Amiens, Dec. 16, 1794.

The seventy-three Deputies who have been so long confined are now
liberated, and have resumed their seats.  Jealousy and fear for some time
rendered the Convention averse from the adoption of this measure; but the
public opinion was so determined in favour of it, that farther resistance
might not have been prudent.  The satisfaction created by this event is
general, though the same sentiment is the result of various conclusions,
which, however, all tend to one object--the re-establishment of monarchy.

The idea most prevalent is, that these deputies, when arrested, were

     * This opinion prevailed in many places where the proscribed
     deputies took refuge.  "The Normans (says Louvet) deceived by the
     imputations in the newspapers, assisted us, under the idea that we
     were royalists: but abandoned us when they found themselves
     mistaken."  In the same manner, on the appearance of these Deputies
     in other departments, armies were collecting very fast, but
     dispersed when they perceived these men were actuated only by
     personal fear or personal ambition, and that no one talked of
     restoring the monarchy.

--By some it is thought, persecution may have converted them; but the
reflecting part of the nation look on the greater number as adherents of
the Girondists, whom the fortunate violence of Robespierre excluded from
participating in many of the past crimes of their colleagues, and who
have, in that alone, a reason for not becoming accomplices in those which
may be attempted in future.

It is astonishing to see with what facility people daily take on trust
things which they have it in their power to ascertain.  The seventy-three
owe a great part of the interest they have excited to a persuasion of
their having voted either for a mild sentence on the King, or an appeal
to the nation: yet this is so far from being true, that many of them were
unfavourable to him on every question.  But supposing it to have been
otherwise, their merit is in reality little enhanced: they all voted him
guilty, without examining whether he was so or not; and in affecting
mercy while they refused justice, they only aimed at conciliating their
present views with their future safety.

The whole claim of this party, who are now the Moderates of the
Convention, is reducible to their having opposed the commission of crimes
which were intended to serve their adversaries, rather than themselves.
To effect the dethronement of the King, and the destruction of those
obnoxious to them, they approved of popular insurrections; but expected
that the people whom they had rendered proficients in cruelty, should
become gentle and obedient when urged to resist their own authority; yet
they now come forth as victims of their patriotism, and call the heads of
the faction who are fallen--martyrs to liberty!  But if they are victims,
it is to their folly or wickedness in becoming members of such an
assembly; and if their chiefs were martyrs, it was to the principles they

The trial of the Brissotins was justice, compared with that of the King.
If the former were condemned without proof, their partizans should
remember, that the revolutionary jury pretended to be influenced by the
same moral evidence they had themselves urged as the ground on which they
condemned the King; and if the people beheld with applause or
indifference the execution of their once-popular idols, they only put in
practice the barbarous lessons which those idols had taught them;--they
were forbidden to lament the fate of their Sovereign, and they rejoiced
in that of Brissot and his confederates.--These men, then, only found the
just retribution of their own guilt; and though it may be politic to
forget that their survivors were also their accomplices, they are not
objects of esteem--and the contemporary popularity, which a long
seclusion has obtained for them, will vanish, if their future conduct
should be directed by their original principles.*

     * Louvet's pamphlet had not at this time appeared, and the
     subsequent events proved, that the interest taken in these Deputies
     was founded on a supposition they had changed their principles; for
     before the close of the Convention they were as much objects of
     hatred and contempt as their colleagues.

Some of these Deputies were the hirelings of the Duke of Orleans, and
most of them are individuals of no better reputation than the rest of the
Assembly.  Lanjuinais has the merit of having acted with great courage in
defence of himself and his party on the thirty-first of May 1792; but the
following anecdote, recited by Gregoire* in the Convention a few days ago
will sufficiently explain both his character and Gregoire's, who are now,
however, looked up to as royalists, and as men comparatively honest.

     * Gregoire is one of the constitutional Clergy, and, from the habit
     of comparing bad with worse, is more esteemed than many of his
     colleagues; yet, in his report on the progress of Vandalism, he
     expresses himself with sanguinary indecency--"They have torn (says
     he) the prints which represented the execution of Charles the first,
     because there were coats of arms on them.  Ah, would to god we could
     behold, engraved in the same manner, the heads of all Kings, done
     from nature!  We might then reconcile ourselves to seeing a
     ridiculous embellishment of heraldry accompany them."

--"When I first arrived at Versailles, (says Gregoire,) as member of the
Constituent Assembly, (in 1789,) I met with Lanjuinais, and we took an
oath in concert to dethrone the King and abolish Nobility."  Now, this
was before the alledged provocations of the King and Nobility--before the
constitution was framed--before the flight of the royal family to
Varennes--and before the war.  But almost daily confessions of this sort
escape, which at once justify the King, and establish the infamy of the

These are circumstances not to be forgotten, did not the sad science of
discriminating the shades of wickedness, in which (as I have before
noticed) the French have been rendered such adepts, oblige them at
present to fix their hopes--not according to the degree of merit, but by
that of guilt.  They are reduced to distinguish between those who
sanction murders, and those who perpetrated them--between the sacrificer
of one thousand victims, and that of ten--between those who assassinate,
and those who only reward the assassin.*

     * Tallien is supposed, as agent of the municipality of paris, to
     have paid a million and a half of livres to the Septembrisers or
     assassins of the prisons!  I know not whether the sum was in
     assignats or specie.--If in the former, it was, according to the
     exchange then, about two and thirty thousand pounds sterling: but if
     estimated in proportion to what might be purchased with it, near
     fifty thousand.  Tallien has never denied the payment of the money--
     we may, therefore, conclude the charge to be true.

--Before the revolution, they would not have known how to select, where
all were objects of abhorrence; but now the most ignorant are casuists in
the gradations of turpitude, and prefer Tallien to Le Bon, and the Abbe
Sieyes to Barrere.

The crimes of Carrier have been terminated, not punished, by death.  He
met his fate with a courage which, when the effect of innocence, is
glorious to the sufferer, and consoling to humanity; but a career like
his, so ended, was only the confirmation of a brutal and ferocious mind.*

     * When Carrier was arrested, he attempted to shoot himself, and, on
     being prevented by the Gens-d'armes, he told them there were members
     of the Convention who would not forgive their having prevented his
     purpose--implying, that they apprehended the discoveries he might
     make on his trial.  While he was dressing himself, (for they took
     him in bed,) he added, "_Les Scelerats!_ (Meaning his more
     particular accomplices, who, he was told, had voted against him,)
     they deserved that I should be as dastardly as themselves."  He
     rested his defence entirely on the decrees of the Convention.

--Of thirty who were tried with him as his agents, and convicted of
assisting at the drownings, shootings, &c. two only were executed, the
rest were acquitted; because, though the facts were proved, the moral
latitude of the Revolutionary Jury* did not find the guilt of the
intention--that is, the culprits were indisputably the murderers of
several thousand people, but, according to the words of the verdict, they
did not act with a counter-revolutionary intention.

     * An English reader may be deceived by the name of Jury.  The
     Revolutionary Jury was not only instituted, but even appointed by
     the Convention.--The following is a literal translation of some of
     the verdicts given on this occasion:

     "That O'Sulivan is author and accomplice of several noyades
     (drownings) and unheard-of cruelties towards the victims delivered
     to the waves.

     "That Lefevre is proved to have ordered and caused to be executed a
     noyade of men, women, and children, and to have committed various
     arbitrary acts.

     "That General Heron is proved to have assassinated children, and
     worn publicly in his hat the ear of a man he had murdered.  That he
     also killed two children who were peaceably watching sheep.

     "That Bachelier is author and accomplice of the operations at
     Nantes, in signing arbitrary mandates of arrest, imposing vexatious
     taxes, and taking for himself plate, &c. found at the houses of
     citizens arrested on suspicion.

     "That Joly is guilty, &c. in executing the arbitrary orders of the
     Revolutionary Committee, of tying together the victims destined to
     be drowned or shot."

     There are thirty-one articles conceived nearly in the same terms,
     and which conclude thus--"All convicted as above, but not having
     acted with criminal or counter-revolutionary intentions, the
     Tribunal acquits and sets them at liberty."

     All France was indignant at those verdicts, and the people of Paris
     were so enraged, that the Convention ordered the acquitted culprits
     to be arrested again, perhaps rather for protection than punishment.
     They were sent from Paris, and I never heard the result; but I have
     seen the name of General Heron as being at large.

The Convention were certainly desirous that the atrocities of these men
(all zealous republicans) should be forgotten; for, independently of the
disgrace which their trial has brought on the cause, the sacrifice of
such agents might create a dangerous timidity in future, and deprive the
government of valuable partizans, who would fear to be the instruments of
crimes for which, after such a precedent, they might become responsible.
But the evil, which was unavoidable, has been palliated by the tenderness
or gratitude of a jury chosen by the Convention, who, by sacrificing two
only of this mass of monsters, and protecting the rest, hope to
consecrate the useful principle of indulgence for every act, whatever its
enormity, which has been the consequence of zeal or obedience to the

It is among the dreadful singularities of the revolution, that the
greatest crimes which have been committed were all in strict observance
of the laws.  Hence the Convention are perpetually embarrassed by
interest or shame, when it becomes necessary to punish them.  We have
only to compare the conduct of Carrier, le Bon, Maignet, &c. with the
decrees under which they acted, to be convinced that their chief guilt
lies in having been capable of obeying: and the convention, coldly
issuing forth their rescripts of extermination and conflagration, will
not, in the opinion of the moralist, be favorably distinguished from
those who carried these mandates into execution.

December 24, 1794.

I am now at a village a few miles from Amiens, where, upon giving
security in the usual form, we have been permitted to come for a few days
on a visit to some relations of my friend Mad. de ____.  On our arrival,
we found the lady of the house in a nankeen pierrot, knitting grey thread
stockings for herself, and the gentleman in a thick woollen jacket and
pantaloons, at work in the fields, and really labouring as hard as his
men.--They hope, by thus taking up the occupation and assuming the
appearance of farmers, to escape farther persecution; and this policy may
be available to those who have little to lose: but property is now a more
dangerous distinction than birth, and whoever possesses it, will always
be considered as the enemies of the republic, and treated accordingly.

We have been so much confined the last twelve months, that we were glad
to ride yesterday in spite of the cold; and our hosts having procured
asses for the females of the party, accompanied us themselves on foot.--
During our ramble, we entered into conversation with two old men and a
boy, who were at work in an open field near the road.  They told us, they
had not strength to labour, because they had not their usual quantity of
bread--that their good lady, whose chateau we saw at a distance, had been
guillotined, or else they should have wanted for nothing--_"Et ste pauvre
Javotte la n'auroit pas travaille quant elle est qualsiment prete a
mourir."_ ["And our poor Javotte there would not have had to work when she
is almost in her grave."]--_"Mon dieu,"_ (says one of the old men, who had
not yet spoke,) _"Je donnerais bien ma portion de sa terre pour la ravoir
notre bonne dame."_ ["God knows, I would willingly give up my share of
her estate to have our good lady amongst us again."]--_"Ah pour ca oui,"_
(returned the other,) _"mais j'crois que nous n'aurons ni l'une l'autre,
voila ste maudite nation qui s'empare de tout."_ ["Ah truly, but I fancy
we shall have neither one nor the other, for this cursed nation gets hold
of every thing."]

While they were going on in this style, a berline and four cabriolets,
with three-coloured flags at the windows, and a whole troop of national
guard, passed along the road.  _"Vive la Republique!"_--"Vive la Nation!"
cried our peasants, in an instant; and as soon as the cavalcade was out
of sight, _"Voyez ste gueusaille la, quel train, c'est vraiment quelque
depute de la Convention--ces brigands la, ils ne manquent de rien, ils
vivent comme des rois, et nous autres nous sommes cent sois plus
miserables que jamais."_ ["See there what a figure they make, those
beggarly fellows--it's some deputy of the convention I take it.  The
thieves want for nothing, they live like so many kings, and we are all a
hundred times worse off than ever."]--_"Tais toi, tais tois,"_ ["Be quiet,
I tell you."] (says the old man, who seemed the least garrulous of the
two.)--_"Ne crains rien,_ ["Never fear."] (replied the first,) _c'est de
braves gens;_ these ladies and gentlemen I'm sure are good people; they
have not the look of patriots."--And with this compliment to ourselves,
and the externals of patriotism, we took our leave of them.

I found, however, by this little conversation, that some of the peasants
still believe they are to have the lands of the gentry divided amongst
them, according to a decree for that purpose.  The lady, whom they
lamented, and whose estate they expected to share, was the Marquise de
B____, who had really left the country before the revolution, and had
gone to drink some of the German mineral waters, but not returning within
the time afterwards prescribed, was declared an emigrant.  By means of a
friend, she got an application made to Chabot, (then in high popularity,)
who for an hundred thousand livres procured a passport from the Executive
Council to enter France.  Upon the faith of this she ventured to return,
and was in consequence, notwithstanding her passport, executed as an

Mrs. D____, who is not yet well enough for such an expedition, and is,
besides, unaccustomed to our montures, remained at home.  We found she
had been much alarmed during our absence, every house in the village
having been searched, by order of the district, for corn, and two of the
horses taken to the next post to convey the retinue of the Deputy we had
seen in the morning.  Every thing, however, was tranquil on our arrival,
and rejoicing it was no worse, though Mons. ____ seemed to be under great
apprehension for his horses, we sat down to what in France is called a
late dinner.

Our host's brother, who left the army at the general exclusion of the
Noblesse, and was in confinement at the Luxembourg until after the death
of Robespierre, is a professed wit, writes couplets to popular airs, and
has dramatized one of Plutarch's Lives.  While we were at the desert, he
amused us with some of his compositions in prison, such as an epigram on
the Guillotine, half a dozen calembours on the bad fare at the _Gamelle,_
[Mess.] and an ode on the republican victory at Fleurus--the last written
under the hourly expectation of being sent off with the next _fournee_
(batch) of pretended conspirators, yet breathing the most ardent
attachment to the convention, and terminated by a full sounding line
about tyrants and liberty.--This may appear strange, but the Poets were,
for the most part, in durance, and the Muses must sing, though in a cage:
hope and fear too both inspire prescriptively, and freedom might be
obtained or death averted by these effusions of a devotion so profound as
not to be alienated by the sufferings of imprisonment, or the menace of
destruction.  Whole volumes of little jeux d'esprit, written under these
circumstances, might be collected from the different prisons; and, I
believe, it is only in France that such a collection could have been

     * Many of these poetical trifles have been published--some written
     even the night before their authors were executed.  There are
     several of great poetical merit, and, when considered relatively,
     are wonderful.--Among the various poets imprisoned, was one we
     should scarcely have expected--Rouget Delille, author of the
     Marseillois Hymn, who, while his muse was rouzing the citizens from
     one end of the republic to the other to arm against tyrants, was
     himself languishing obscurely a victim to the worst of all

Mr. D____, though he writes and speaks French admirably, does not love
French verses; and I found he could not depend on the government of his
features, while a French poet was reciting his own, but kept his eyes
fixed on a dried apple, which he pared very curiously, and when that was
atchieved, betook himself to breaking pralines, and extracting the
almonds with equal application.  We, however, complimented Monsieur's
poetry; and when we had taken our coffee, and the servants were entirely
withdrawn, he read us some trifles more agreeable to our principles, if
not to our taste, and in which the Convention was treated with more
sincerity than complaisance.  It seems the poet's zeal for the republic
had vanished at his departure from the Luxembourg, and that his wrath
against coalesced despots, and his passion for liberty, had entirely
evaporated.  In the evening we played a party of reversi with republican
cards,* and heard the children sing "Mourrons pour la Patrie."

     * The four Kings are replaced by four Genii, the Queens by four
     sorts of liberty, and the Knaves by four descriptions of equality.

--After these civic amusements, we closed our chairs round the fire,
conjecturing how long the republic might last, or whether we should all
pass another twelve months in prison, and, agreeing that both our fate
and that of the republic were very precarious, adjourned to rest.

While I was undressing, I observed Angelique looked extremely
discontented, and on my enquiring what was the matter, she answered,
_"C'est que je m'ennuie beaucoup ici,"_ ["I am quite tired of this
place."] "Mademoiselle," (for no state or calling is here exempt from this
polite sensation.)  "And why, pray?"--_"Ah quelle triste societe, tout le
monde est d'un patriotisme insoutenable, la maison est remplie d'images
republicaines, des Marat, des Voltaire, des Pelletier, que sais-moi? et
voila jusqu'au garcon de l'ecurie qui me traite de citoyenne."_ ["Oh,
they are a sad set--every body is so insufferably patriotic.  The house
is full from top to bottom of republican images, Marats, and Voltaires,
and Pelletiers, and I don't know who--and I am called Citizen even by the
stable boy."]  I did not think it right to satisfy her as to the real
principles of our friends, and went to bed ruminating on the improvements
which the revolution must have occasioned in the art of dissimulation.
Terror has drilled people of the most opposite sentiments into such an
uniformity of manner and expression, that an aristocrat who is ruined and
persecuted by the government is not distinguishable from the Jacobin who
has made his fortune under it.

In the morning Angelique's countenance was brightened, and I found she
had slept in the same room with Madame's _femme de chambre,_ when an
explanation of their political creeds had taken place, so that she now
assured me Mad. Augustine was _"fort honnete dans le fond,"_ [A very good
girl at heart.] though she was obliged to affect republicanism.--"All the
world's a stage," says our great dramatic moralist.  France is certainly
so at present, and we are not only necessitated to act a part, but a
sorry one too; for we have no choice but to exhibit in farce, or suffer
in tragedy.--Yours, &c.

December 27, 1794.

I took the opportunity of my being here to go about four leagues farther
to see an old convent acquaintance lately come to this part of the
country, and whom I have not met since I was at Orleans in 1789.

The time has been when I should have thought such a history as this
lady's a romance, but tales of woe are now become familiar to us, and, if
they create sympathy, they no longer excite surprize, and we hear of them