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schemes for the subjection of Poland and France; and lastly, the important effect of her Polish policy on the relation between Prussia and Austria in the autumn of 1792. The more completely the attention of the States of Central Europe were occupied by the Revolution, the more boldly and vigorously did the Russian Cabinet press forward towards the fulfilment of its all-grasping ambition. The French war and the partition of Poland-events of equal importance to Europe, and exercising a reciprocal influence upon each other, were simultaneously carried finto effect. While the other States of Europe became every day more and more dependent on political events, these events were more and more completely under the control of the only two great potentates, the French Committee of Public Safety and the Empress Catharine. .
Before entering on the details of these events, therefore, it is necessary to get as clear an idea of the internal nature and traditional policy of the great Slavonian military monarchy, as of the origin of the equally warlike government of France. It is not a little interesting to trace the internal changes of the Russian constitution, which rendered the continuance of peace in Russia simply unnatural and intolerable. From highly dissimilar causes, exactly similar results appear on the Seine and the Neva. As long as an internal condition-produced in one country by the Revolution and in the other by the events of centuries of despotism-continued, there was no hope of legal security or peace in Europe.
RESOURCES OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT.-NOVEMBER 1792.-STATE OF PARIS.
-FINANCES.- GENERAL DESIRE FOR WAR.-PLANS AGAINST SPAIN, ITALY
When Dumouriez had driven the Prussian army over the borders, the position of the Republic seemed tolerably secure. The Government was unquestionably stronger than any which had preceded it since 1789; the different parties by which it was surrounded had mutually weakened one another; and the foreign war had invested the Ministry with a hitherto unknown éclàt. In spite of party feuds there were few men in France who did not rejoice at the retreat of the Prussians; and in spite of all oratorical phrases, there was not one who did not know that the enemy had been conquered, neither by the daggers of the September assassins, nor the orations of the Gironde, but by the army under Dumouriez's command. The Ministry therefore derived all the more strength from the prestige which a great military success always confers, because warlike and national honour appeared to be the only living sentiment in the public mind of France. The excitement of political contest had completely passed away. No one could now be found who would incur a danger, or who even cherished a wish, for any particular form of government, or any idea of internal political life. Since the 10th of August, when the mob`had triumphed over King, Assembly and Constitution, the period of intellectual triumphs was gone. Gone were the days in which a success in the rostra was a political act, and a movement on the part of the press, a political event! Even the struggles of parties in the Hall of the Convention had but little serious importance. They were for the most part only the official expression of resolutions taken long before by the real possessors of power; or at most a noisy signal of some impending deeds of violence. He who would attain any real success must have the disposal of the means of material power -money and the sword.
The Government at this juncture had the two strongest levers of despotism in their hands—the avarice and the fear of men. They were assured of the attachment of the army, both by the party politics of the Generals, and the patriotic zeal of the troops, who were not likely to desert the colours under which they had resisted half Europe. The organization of the Home Administration was in ruins; the Departmental governments had just been submitted to a new election under revolutionary auspices; and all regular and equable influence on the country from above was out of the question. But we must remember how weak and untrustworthy were the arrangements made in 1790, and it will then be evident that their decay was rather a gain to the Government than a cause of weakness. For in all the Departments there were, by the side of the dilapidated local Authorities, Government Commissioners, into whose hands the general confusion had thrown the greater part of the local business, and who were at the same time completely above the control of the citizens, and absolutely dependent on the Ministers. From the fact that most of the offices were hereditary, even the ancient Monarchy had nothing approaching to the extent of influence now possessed by the Government; and when compared with the utter helplessness of the central Authority in 1790, the difference is immeasurable. There was, moreover, the necessity of filling up afresh all the principal posts in the Administrations themselves. Then again the great in
crease in the army gave continual opportunities for making new appointments; while the general disorder rendered it easy to enhance indefinitely the gains of every office by embezzlement and extortion. From these sources the Ministers derived an almost inexhaustible supply of patronage, which secured them the services of a whole army of expectant adventurers, and candidates for office; a state of things which had a most important effect on the relation between the Cabinet and the Convention. For, as we have already observed, the majority in the Assembly was by no means made up by a party founded on political principle. The several party chiefs had but a very small body of trustworthy adherents, while the great mass, in whose hands the decision lay, was composed of a Centre, destitute of political sentiments, and of daily decreasing political morality. Careless of principles, they aimed solely at the enjoyment of political power, and found little difficulty, therefore, in traversing within the space of three years nearly the whole circle of the political compass. Whoever obtained the upper hand in Paris, whether by the arms of the Proletaries, the National Guard, or the troops of the line, was sure to find a compliant Convention.
The state of Paris continued to be, what it had been since the beginning of the Revolution, the vital question for all parties. At that period the following characteristics of this mighty city were easily distinguishable. The great mass of the population was in a state of apathetic exhaustion, into which the massacres of September, the reaction which followed them, and the dangers of war, had successively thrown all classes. No one felt any lively compassion for the fallen cause—for the King and the throne. Few retained
Morris, the American Minister in change of Ministry brought with it Paris, several times dwells on this comprehensive épurations, and every circumstance in his despatches; nor party pursued their opponents in power is it difficult to follow him in the with the reproach of multiplying occurrences of this period. Every offices.
any zeal for the Republic with its ever-growing burdens; enthusiasm and public feeling in short had vanished, and the sole prevailing sentiment was the desire of each individual to steer a safe course for himself through the coming storms." This applies to the highest as well as to the lowest class of the citizens,-to the democratic artizans of St. Antoine, to whom the massacres of September had been rather too horrible, as well as to the wealthy inhabitants of the more elegant quarters of the city, to whom even the Gironde seemed much too revolutionary and democratic.3 To take an active part in public business was thought a disagreeable task. While every body withdrew from service in the National Guard,4 there was so little feeling of personal safety, that a large number of Deputies always went armed with sword-sticks or pocket pistols. Even the assemblies of the Sections showed no greater zeal, although these, according to the official theory, were to be the proper seat of the popular sovereignty. The average number of voters in each Section was about 4,000; but in the assemblies themselves, only a thin and ragged company of 150, 100, or even fewer, were to be seen, who made decrees in the name of the Sovereign People according to their pleasure. The elections by which the Municipality was at this time renewed were carried on in a similar manner. At the most important—the election of the Mayor-only 11,000 voters could be brought together, that is, about a ninth of those entitled to vote; and 7,000 of these, as we have seen above, first elected Péthion, and, after his resignation in December, a physician
i Moore, Journal, II. 450. 2 Gadol to Roland; Buchez, XXVIII, 93. – 3 Beaulieu, Essais, IV. 193, Gadol to Mad. Roland, Oct. 19. – • Report of the Commune to the Convention, Jan. 5. - 6 Moore, Journal, II. 235. — Moniteur, Oct.
25. The Fédérés spoke on this subject in the Convention, Dec. 23rd. Birotean, on the 29th, Gadol to Roland (Buchez, XXVIII. 91); Il n'y a quelquefois pas 60 personnes; dont 10 du parti agitateur, le reste écoute et lève la main machinalement,