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FrRevol_351-400.indd 46 3/16/12 1:10 PM CHAPTER XXIV Ofthe Introduction ofMilitary Government into France by the Occurrences ofthe z8th ofFructidor. No epoch ofthe Revolution was more disastrous than that which substituted military rule for the well-founded hope ofa representative government . I am, however, anticipating events; for the sway ofa military chief was not as yet proclaimed when the Directory sent grenadiers to the two Chambers: but this tyrannical proceeding, of which the soldiers were the instruments, prepared the way for the revolution that was effected two years afterward by Bonaparte himself, when it appeared not at all strange that a military chief should have recourse to a measure in which magistrates had indulged themselves. The Directors, however, entertained no apprehensions ofthe inevitable consequences of the resolution which they adopted. Their situation was dangerous; they had, as I have endeavored to show, too much arbitrary power and too little legal power. They had been invested with all the means of persecution which excite hatred, but with none of the constitutional rights which would have enabled them to defend themselves. At the moment when the second third of the Chambers was renewed by the election of 1797, the public mind became a second time impatient to remove the members of the Conventions1 from the administration; but a second time also, instead of waiting a year, during which the majority of the Directory would have been changed and the last third ofthe Chambers renewed, the French vivacity urged the enemies of the government to endeavor to overturn it without delay. The opposition to the Directory r. Former members of the Convention. FrRevol_351-400.indd 47 3/16/12 1:10 PM cHAPTER X X I v. Introduction ofMilitary Government was not at first formed by pure royalists; but they gradually mingled themselves with it. Besides, in civil discord, men always end by adopting the opinions ofwhich they are accused; and the party which attacked the Directory was thus powerfully impelled to a counter-revolution. In every quarter a spirit ofintolerable reaction appeared: at Lyons, at Marseilles, assassinations took place: the victims, it is true, were men covered with guilt; still it was assassination. The journals, in their daily proclamations of vengeance, armed themselves with calumny and announced openly a counter-revolution. In the interior, as abroad, there were two projects; one party was resolved to bring back the old regime, and General Pichegru2 was one of their principal instruments. The Directory, as preserver of its own political existence, had strong reasons for putting itselfin a state ofdefense; but how could it? Thedefects in the constitution which M. Necker had so well pointed out rendered it very difficult for the government to make a legal resistance to the attacks of the councils. The Council of Ancients was inclined to defend the Directors , only because it occupied, though very imperfectly, the place ofa chamber of peers; but as the deputies of this council were not named for life, they were afraid of rendering themselves unpopular by supporting magistrates whom the public opinion rejected. Ifthe government had possessed the right ofdissolving the Five Hundred,the mere threat ofexerting this prerogative would have restrained them within bounds. In short, if the executive power had been able to oppose even a suspending veto to the decrees of the councils, it would have been satisfied with the means with which the law had armed it for its protection. But these very magistrates , whose authority was so limited, had great power as a revolutionary faction; and they were not scrupulous enough to confine themselves to the rules of constitutional warfare when, to get rid of their opponents, they needed only to have recourse to force. The personal interest ofsome individuals was seen on this occasion, as it always will be, to overturn the 2. General Pichegru (r76r-r8o4) commanded the army ofRhin-et-Moselle in 179i-96 and was later elected to the Council of Five Hundred. He was arrested because of his collaboration with the royalist emigres and the Austrians bur managed to escape to London. In 1804 he returned to France and was involved in a coup against Napoleon. He was arrested and later died in prison. 397 FrRevol_351-400.indd 48 3/16/12 1:10 PM PART III barriers of the law, if these barriers are not constructed in such a way as to maintain themselves.3 Two directors, Barthelemy and Carnot, were on the side of the representative councils. Carnot...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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