The French Revolution eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,095 pages of information about The French Revolution.

Poor Guadet and Salles were both taken, ere long; they died by the Guillotine in Bourdeaux; drums beating to drown their voice.  Valady also is caught, and guillotined.  Barbaroux and his two comrades weathered it longer, into the summer of 1794; but not long enough.  One July morning, changing their hiding place, as they have often to do, ’about a league from Saint-Emilion, they observe a great crowd of country-people;’ doubtless Jacobins come to take them?  Barbaroux draws a pistol, shoots himself dead.  Alas, and it was not Jacobins; it was harmless villagers going to a village wake.  Two days afterwards, Buzot and Petion were found in a Cornfield, their bodies half-eaten with dogs. (Recherches Historiques sur les Girondins in Memoires de Buzot, p. 107.)

Such was the end of Girondism.  They arose to regenerate France, these men; and have accomplished this.  Alas, whatever quarrel we had with them, has not their cruel fate abolished it?  Pity only survives.  So many excellent souls of heroes sent down to Hades; they themselves given as a prey of dogs and all manner of birds!  But, here too, the will of the Supreme Power was accomplished.  As Vergniaud said:  ’The Revolution, like Saturn, is devouring its own children.’

BOOK 3.V.

TERROR THE ORDER OF THE DAY

Chapter 3.5.I.

Rushing down.

We are now, therefore, got to that black precipitous Abyss; whither all things have long been tending; where, having now arrived on the giddy verge, they hurl down, in confused ruin; headlong, pellmell, down, down;—­till Sansculottism have consummated itself; and in this wondrous French Revolution, as in a Doomsday, a World have been rapidly, if not born again, yet destroyed and engulphed.  Terror has long been terrible:  but to the actors themselves it has now become manifest that their appointed course is one of Terror; and they say, Be it so.  “Que la Terreur soit a l’ordre du jour.”

So many centuries, say only from Hugh Capet downwards, had been adding together, century transmitting it with increase to century, the sum of Wickedness, of Falsehood, Oppression of man by man.  Kings were sinners, and Priests were, and People.  Open-Scoundrels rode triumphant, bediademed, becoronetted, bemitred; or the still fataller species of Secret-Scoundrels, in their fair-sounding formulas, speciosities, respectabilities, hollow within:  the race of Quacks was grown many as the sands of the sea.  Till at length such a sum of Quackery had accumulated itself as, in brief, the Earth and the Heavens were weary of.  Slow seemed the Day of Settlement:  coming on, all imperceptible, across the bluster and fanfaronade of Courtierisms, Conquering-Heroisms, Most-Christian Grand Monarque-isms.  Well-beloved Pompadourisms:  yet behold it was always coming; behold it has come, suddenly, unlooked for by any man!  The harvest of long centuries

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The French Revolution from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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