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and a nucleus was formed of a military guard for the Convention.
Thus the Girondists became conservative after the September massacres, as far as lay in their power; quite as much so indeed as the Feuillants a year earlier. They rose against the consequences of their own principles, and succeeded for the moment in producing a certain police effect. But it was impossible for them to attain any lasting political result, because they themselves did not change their principles, and therefore kept the sources of anarchy still open. They complained incessantly of the immorality of their opponents, but they decreed, according to Condorcet's wishes, freedom of divorce on a simple declaration of the parties. They had regarded themselves incompetent to proclaim the Republic by a decree of the National Assembly, but as individuals they all took the oath of eternal hatred to the King and the Monarchy. We say nothing about the moral value of such an oath; but even political prudence might have told them that by taking it they rendered every other alliance impossible, than that with their deadly enemies Robespierre and Marat. They imagined indeed that they were lost, if the people began to consider them as reactionists: they little knew what an infinite amount of sympathy and hope was eagerly looking for a liberator from the tyranny of the Jacobins!
And thus on the 21st September the National Convention was opened, and the proclamation of the Republic followed as a matter of course.
In deference to the new majority, the two leaders of the Mountain, Robespierre, and Danton, began their operations by a disavowal of their acts in September. Couthon, the most intimate friend of Robespierre, proposed a recognition on oath of the sovereignty of the people; "in order," he said, “to calm the minds of men respecting a report that a party in the Convention were meditating dictatorship, triumvirate and tyranny.” Danton proposed a practical recognition of the people's sovereignty, according to which no constitution should be valid without the confirmation of the People. He further proposed a declaration on oath of the sacredness of all kinds of property, to dissipate the rumours that another party in the Convention were aiming at carrying liberty to the extreme of license.
Both these men well knew what was expected of them. Cambon, who hoped to continue his financial artifices in this assembly also, considered it unwise to give an irrevocable guarantee of property. But the Girondist Lasource explained to him, that property was the essential prerequisite and basis of all law, and thereby succeeded in carrying both resolutions.
The Gironde having thus shown its conservative side, hastened to obtain pardon for its boldness by a redoubled revolutionary zeal.
After the provisional continuance of all unrepealed laws, powers and taxes had been decreed on the motion of Philippeaux, Collot d'Herbois rose to propose the formal abolition of the monarchy. Bishop Gregoire, a so-called independent Deputy, who belonged to no party, but generally voted, like Cambon, with the Gironde, demanded, in consideration of the importance of the question, a formal enactment, with a statement of motives, - in other words, inquiry, reports, and discussion. Upon which one of the most zealous Girondists, Ducos, briefly replied; “The motives are contained in the well-known history of the crimes of Louis XVI." After this, no one dared to raise any further objection, and the Convention decreed amidst solemn silence; “Monarchy is abolished in France.” The Assembly then broke out into a shout of triumph, while a troop of 150 Chasseurs defiled through the Hall to the sound of trumpets, and took an oath upon their swords not to return until they had annihilated all the enemies of liberty. The enthusiasm excited by this resolution unfitted the Convention for the
consideration of any other subject, and the sitting was adjourned amidst thunders of applause from the galleries.
It was no mere unmeaning form, that this debate of the Convention was accompanied by military music and the crash of arms, for it decided not only the continuance of terrorism at home, but of war in Europe.
ONSET OF THE ALLIES.
WEAKNESS OF THE GERMAN ARMY CAUSED BY THE SMALL AMOUNT OF THE
AUSTRIAN FORCES.-WEAKNESS OF THE FRENCH RESULTING FROM ANARCHY.
The King of Prussia passed down the Rhine on the 23rd of July from Mayence to Coblenz, where the Elector of Treves amused him with a continuance of the Mayence festivities, and the Emigrés overwhelmed him with promises of the happiest omen for the coming campaign. The army was collected in its full strength of 42,000 in the camp at Rübenach-excellent and magnificent troops, full of confidence in themselves and their leaders, and a joyful eagerness for battle. With such means and prospects, it seemed impossible that the enterprise could fail; the Emigrés rose in royal favour by their descriptions of the state of France; and on observing this they enhanced the colouring of their pictures. They dwelt most strongly on the monarchical sentiments of the People, and boasted of their own good understanding with the enemy's officers. “I," said Bouillé, "can answer for the taking of the fortresses, for I have the keys of all of them in my pocket.”i Under these circumstances it was unanim
1 Minutoli, 141.
Ch. IV.] THE DUKE OF BRUNSWICK AND THE EMIGRÉS.
ously agreed that there was no necessity for wasting time over the plans of sieges drawn up at Potsdam; that in fact there was nothing to do but to march straight upon Paris amidst the plaudits of loyal Frenchmen. The King listened to these promises with eager ears, for they inspired the hope of a glorious, and yet not tediously protracted, campaign.
The thoughts of the Duke of Brunswick, meanwhile, took a very different direction. He hated the whole mass of Emigrés, and amidst their buzzing swarm in Coblentz he was almost at his wits' end. “Ile could scarcely find elbow room in the crowd of them; he paid compliment after compliment, and made obeisances to the very ground, but his cheeks glowed, and his eyes glittered like a tiger’s.” His vexation increased when he saw the nature of their equipment for war, and observed that of the 8,000 men for whom he had to find supplies, about half were combatants, and the rest lackeys, hairdressers, cooks and vivandiéres. He suspected the truth of their reports, because they were the authors of them; and the more exaggerated the terms in which they described the longing of the French for the presence of their German deliverers, the more fully was he convinced of the contrary. And if the aspect of his protégés did not tend to render the prospect of war more pleasing, the intelligence which he received from his allies irrevocably determined his judgment. His head-quarters were visited at this juncture by the Austrian General Pfau from the Breisgau, and the Prussian Major Tauenzien from Belgium.' We may remember that according to the stipulations of Sanssouci, Austria was to maintain 50,000 in the Breisgau, of whom 23,000 were to join the main army; while 56,000 men were to be kept in Belgium, the larger portion of whom were to support the Duke of Brunswick by besieging the border fortresses, or by direct cooperation with him. But
1 Tauenzien had been since the 21st of May at the Austrian headquarters in Belgium, and was afterwards attached to Clerfait's corps. Concerning Pfau, conf. Massenbach and Valentini.