The reign of terror - PDF book - (1880) - by Samuel Copeland

The reign of terror

The reign of terror


the diary of a volunteer of the year 2 of the French Republic

From the preface:
The following volume gives a faithful illustration of the working of the French Convention during the reign of terror, and fully bears out the description given by the writers of that period, of the character of the men who composed that formi- dable and extraordinary body. 

The utility of the narrative consists in the truthfulness of its vivid details, in its importance as a beacon to warn the present and future generations of the danger of entrusting irresponsible power, whether to the hands of an individual, or of a public constituent assembly ; and in proving that the name of Liberty may rest on the lips of a whole people, without their possessing either the enjoy- ment af its blessings, or even a knowledge of what it is.

 A gentleman once congratulated Edmund Burke on the apparent prospect of the winding up of the Revolution. "The termination of the Revolution, to be sure ! exclaimed the orator, " The Revolution over, why sir, it is not begun. As yet you have heard only the first music, you'll see the actors presently, but neither you nor I shall see the end of the drama.

" The outburst of 1789 was the opening of the 'drama,' of which all Europe is eventually destined to become the theatre. The title of the piece was 'libeety,' and the plot was admi- rably laid ; the prologue pronounced in the Champ de Mai, was a visionary programme of what ought to and might hav^e been, if the chief performer had not afterwards broken down. In the first exhibition of national enthusiasm, the actors were all purity and patriotism. Was the scene which foUow'ed, a tragical representation, or the second act of the drama? Whatever it was, when the king proved false, or pusillanimous, or both, the national convention "rose in the ascendant," took the direction, and the real tragedy began. 

The weakness of Louis XVI, transferred the semblance of power which he previously held, to the Convention, which possessed the reality, and he lost both his throne and his life. What followed finds no parallel in history, and cannot be accounted for on any of those principles upon which the power of executive administration is founded. " No assembly says the Annual Eegister, for the year 1793, ever displayed a more astonishing mixture of shining qualities and of atrocious vices; ambitious, cruel, unprincipled, are epithets inadequate to convey an apposite idea of their enormities. 

They were true to their character from the very beginning ; overturning with- out scruple or remorse, whatever stood in their way, and compassing their ruin without ever adverting to the rectitude or moral impropriety, or turpitude of the means employed ; the only qualifications on which they seemed to set a substan- tial value, were courage and capacity, boldness and expedition.

 These divested of all virtuous or sentimental feelings, appear to have been the real attributes of those extraordinary, but not respectable names, that continued for three years, to keep all Europe in uncertain alarms, that made kings tremble on their thrones, that progressively overcame all their enemies, that changed the face of all Christendom in some of the most essential respects, that introduced systems which if, through the hand of power they may be repressed, will never be eradicated, that found in short, an ejjoch from which may be dated events that are only beginning to unfold themselves, and the ultimate issue of which it is not within the compass of the profoundest j^olitics to ascertain, but which will probably^ if not certainly, be felt in the remotest ages to come

Some contents:


CHAPTER I.
My Birth and Parentage. — My llepublican views, — And those of the Counsellor. — A Compromise.— Going to be married. — " Many a slip 'tvvixt the cup and the lip." — The Eequisition. —Parting from Home. — An awkward squad. — Arrival at Moulins. — Am drilled at Lyons. — Defence of the Clergy. — A forcible ejectment — A Dom- inican turned soldier.-— My friend Anselme. — A suspicious person. — A discovery. — "We are false to our principles.— Chevrieres — Unaccountable mysteries. — A phantom supper. — A night adven- ture. — More mysteries. — A phantom breakfast. — The baker and the assignats. —The Revolationary Committee and their Appetites. — Arrival at Vienue, — "Wanted a billet. — A complaisant mayor. 1


CHAPTER II.
Arrive at Rousillon. — Free quarters. — Am quartered on a nobleman. — Cavalier reception. — Flunkey valour. — True nobility. — The domestic home of an aristocrat in revolutionary times. — I live in clover. — Confidences of my host. — Arrive at Valence. — The one- eyed tailor and the guillotine. — The registrar of Montmerlian. — His great peril. — Anselme saves him. — His gratitude. — Arrive at Orange. — A prosperous butcher. — The old Royalist. — Military orgies. — Throwing off the mask. — I am made Sergeant and then Adjutant. — Scene in a cabaret. — A double duel. — M. Marcotte of Avignon. — Pistache Carotte. 43

CHAPTER III.

A would-be Don Juan. — A civic fete.. — The feast of reason. — A mor- tal squeeze. — An auto da fe. — Saving a relic. — Character and doings of Pistache. — Constituents of the revolutionary committee. — The house of detention at Avignon. — Pistache out-witted and out- bullied. — Escape of his victim. — Great news. — General hypocrisy. — Departure from Avignon.— A conspirator. — Arrival at Fayencer 79

CHAPTER IV.
A chase. — Arrive at Grasse. — Yerdier the perfumer. — An unpleasant surprise. — A marriage feast. — M. Edmond, — His history. — Gerard. — A committee extraordinary. — Charity of demagogues. — A rival in trrde. — Agatha Lautier, — Her history, trial, condemnation, and execution. — The advocate of Marseilles. — Horrible spectacle at the scaffold.

CHAPTER V.
Edmond and Gerard again. — Their hiding place. — Gerard's narrative. — The chateau of Grand-boeuf. — Its attack and gallant defence. — A revolutionary peasantry. — The chateau abandoned and burnt. — Escape and revenge of Gerard. — He enlists. — Anselme meditates a change of pa'rty. — The camp at Saorgio. — "We are reviewed by the general. — I smell powder for the first time. — Queer feelings. — I come off conqueror. — Life in the camp. — A deserter. — His dinner and death. — A secret expedition. — Surprise and slaughter of the Piedmontese. — Anselme wounded. — I leave the camp on furlough. — Arrive at Messins. — Return to Grasse. — Transforma- tion of Verdier. — Arrive at Toulon. — Massacre of a workman. — My own narrow escape. 145

CHAPTER VI.
I enter Marseilles. — The theatre in revolution. — My cousin Jouveau. — His character and present occupation. — The sweets of political life. — The illustrious N . — The laceman. Levite. — I dine with the Representative. — Revolutionary viands. — The gilder. — Jouveau's petitioners,— He refuses to be merciful, and I leave him. — Feast of reason at Aix. — Adventure at St. Cuna. — I am taken for a great unknown. — A practical philosopher in an aristocrat. — I revisit Avignon. — Revolutions, — A company of honourable men- dicants, — I visit Nismes. — Fete to the Supreme Being. 178

CHAPTER VII.

The Ex-Criminal Judge and his family. — His high principle. — His nephew Maurice. — "Open in the name of the Law." — Arrest of N . — His imprisonment at Sauve. — Scene in the house of Detention. — A protesting prisoner. — A quarrel for horses.— Jou- veau again. — I bargain with him for the release of the Ex-Crim- inal Judge. — I arrive at Saint Hypollite. — A sanguinary barber. — I wander among the mountains of Cevennes. — A fortunate encoun- ter. — Supper, bed, and breakfast for nothing. — Citizen Eose, and the conyent of Saint Benoit. — Arrival at Mende. — My father's friend. — Citizen Larouvrette. — Charrier. — A royalist victory and subsequent defeat. — Fate of Charrier. — A proposed excursion. 228

CHAPTER VIII. 
The mountain solitddes. — A houseless republic. — Everything al-fresh — The wounded Count. — Brother Peter and the Spy. — Confession of the assassin. — The Count's story. — Laura and the ex-cartwright. — I leave the encampment. — Saint Flour. — Durand and his wife. — Poison. — Marital tenderness. — The Count's fearful revenge. — I am arrested and marched off to prison. — An awkward recontre. — A mean vengeance. — Loclced up in my cell, 268

the book details :
  • Translator: Samuel Copeland
  • Publication date : 1880
  • Company:  London : W. & F.G. Cash

  • Download 19 MB

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