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´╗┐Title: A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part II., 1793 - 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, Part II., 1793 - 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.


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.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part II., 1793 - Described in a Series of Letters from an English Lady: with General - and Incidental Remarks on the French Character and Manners" ***

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