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Selected Writings and Speeches of Maximillian

Robespierre
1791-1794

Contents
On the King’s Flight, Speech given at the Jacobin Club, June 22, 1791.......................................................................................................3
On the Death Penalty - Speech at the Constituent Assembly, June 22, 1791.............................................................................................6
On Subsistence Goods, 1792....................................................................................................................................................................................8
Prospectus for “Le Défenseur de la Constitution”, 1792.................................................................................................................................12
Notice to Subscribers, 1792...................................................................................................................................................................................13
For the Defense of the Committee of Public Safety, 1793..............................................................................................................................14
The Festival of the Supreme Being. Receuil d'hymnes Républicaines. Paris, Chez Barba, Year 2 of the Republic [1793]..........18
First Speech........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 18
Second Speech................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 18
Report upon the Principles of Political Morality Which Are to Form the Basis of the Administration of the Interior Concerns of
the Republic, Speech to the Convention February 5, 1794...........................................................................................................................20
On the Enemies of the Nation, Speech given from the tribune of the Convention 7 Prairial, Year II (May 26, 1794)..................24

as well as through the ridiculous distinctions established between full citizens. everyone has the same face. . it’s in this capital. This day could have been the most beautiful of the revolution.org by Mitch Abidor. He chose the moment when treacherous priests have. these are facts of which I am certain. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. You know that 3 million men armed for freedom would be invincible. all of our enemies speak the same language as us. all hopes. He chose the moment when the first legislature. and I seize a moment where they are not in session to speak to you of the measures it seems should have been taken and that I wasn’t permitted to propose. is the very thing that seems to reassure everyone. stirred up fanaticism. then. who still had the most beautiful and the most secure crown on his head. It is. Everyone is united.On the King’s Flight. by orders and bulls. June 22. Messieurs. Speech given at the Jacobin Club. Read that protest by the king and you will grasp the entire plot. But look around you and share my fear in considering that everyone wears the same mask of patriotism These are not conjectures that I am making. But these aren’t the circumstances that frighten me: let all of Europe league against us and Europe will be defeated. and all parties. He waited for the moment when the emperor and the king of Sweden would have arrived at Brussels to receive him. And here I need to be listened to until the end. What frightens me. The king chose the moment to desert his post when the opening of the primary assemblies was going to awaken all ambitions. it could still become so. I am going to reveal all to you. sees approaching it — with the eye one uses to look on an heir — the legislature that is going to chase it and exercise the national veto in reversing some of its acts.org 2004. at the end of its labors. torch in hand. what frightens me is the very thing that seems to reassure everyone else: it’s that since this morning. and nevertheless it’s clear that a king who had a pension of 40 million. But for this other measures must be taken than those adopted by the National Assembly. You know the memorandum that Louis XVI left on departing. you noted how he marks in the constitution those things that wound him and those that have the happiness of pleasing him. and provoked against the constitution all that philosophy has left behind of idiots in the eighty-three departments. and the gain of 40 million in support that the royal individual cost would be the least of the benefits of this day. that the fugitive king left those supports upon which he counts for his triumphal re-entry. in our midst. 1791 Translated: for marxists. who still disposed of all places. Once again. and I defy those who will speak after me to respond to me. half citizens and quarter citizens. could not have renounced so many advantages without being sure of recovering them. So he couldn’t have based his hopes on the support of Leopold and the King of Sweden and on the army from beyond the Rhine: let all the brigands of Europe league together and they will again be defeated. could have starved the nation. and arm half the nation against the other by the application of the decree of the marc d'argent. Otherwise his flight would be too foolish. and when France would be covered with harvests so that a small band of brigands. It’s not to me that the flight of the first public functionary should appear to be a disastrous event. he thus has a powerful party of great intelligence in our midst.

and where one of whose members told me that a man of good will. like that of the emperor when he re-conquered Brabant. And what is the Minister of War? It’s a man who I have never ceased denouncing to you. by d'Artois. perfidious. A paternal manifesto will appear. the Constitutional Committee had you tolerate so many nation-icide decrees. under the oversight of the Diplomatic Committee. Louis XVI wrote to the Assembly in his own hand. and the same for the other ministers. I need only their works to unmask them. since this lie tended to preserve to the king his quality and the right to dictate to us. It’s to this traitor that you abandon foreign relations! Under whose oversight? Of the Diplomatic Committee. Will the chiefs who had you give votes of thanks to Bouillé for the St Bartholomew’s massacre of patriots in Nancy have any difficulty in the short term in bringing to a transaction a worn out people. We can guess for what reason. could not put his feet. If. of this committee where reigns an André. fraternity. a month ago.” The sweetness of peace and even that of liberty will be vaunted in it. since it could call things by their name in the middle of 3 million bayonets. amnesty. with whom this project is coordinated. Do you want any other proofs that the National Assembly betrays the interests of the nation? What measures did it take this morning? Here are the principal ones: The Minister of War will continue in office. two weeks ago. The decrees most fatal for liberty have come from the Military Committee. At the same time the chiefs in the capital and in the departments. by the King of Sweden. and how the National Assembly itself marches to this goal in concert. Lessart no more has my confidence than does Necker. nor enemy armies on your frontiers. and naming aristocratic officers. when you had no more harvests to preserve from arson. answered you saying that the king adored the constitution. Citizens. I won’t continue this review. a man who wasn’t a traitor to his country. have I demonstrated enough the depths of the abyss that is going to swallow up our freedom? . I leave so that I can return to subjugate you. who has constantly followed in the steps of his predecessors. the decrees that would please him. while it was effected to weigh upon them all the charges. since the king had the impudence to write: I am not being abducted. A transaction will be proposed with the émigrés: eternal peace. assisted by Leopold. who left him his coat. he signs that he is fleeing and the Assembly in a lie that is: cowardly. one with whom great pains have been taken to wean them of the beauties of freedom. Why kill each other in a war between brothers who all want to be free? For Bender and Condé will speak of themselves as more patriotic than us. their preservation impose? And see how everything works together to execute this plan. What is the Minister of Foreign Affairs? It’s a Montmorin who. arms in hand. The National Assembly. by Condé. would you hesitate to cede to the insinuations of your chiefs when you are only asked to make slight sacrifices in order to bring about a general reconciliation? I know well the character of the nation.The king is going to reappear on the frontiers. and to make them feel all the privations. persecuting the patriotic soldiers. on their side will paint the horrors of civil war. has today in twenty decrees called the king’s flight an abduction. In their eyes the ranks will be even more swelled. crude. The king will say in it: “My people can always count on my love. by all the fugitives and all the brigands whose ranks the common cause of kings would have swollen. I say. What is the Military Committee that is charged with watching over him? It’s a committee entirely made up of disguised aristocratic colonels and our most dangerous enemies.

Bur when Antony camped around Lepidus and also spoke of unity there was soon nothing but the camp of Antony. and there was nothing left for Brutus and Cassius but to kill themselves. it is said. when too much indulgence. and when I was barely glimpsed in the National Assembly. I know that soon a reunion with your best known enemies is going to be proposed to you. some from ignorance. others by wounded pride. At least I would have predicted everything to you. if not all. among you. I know that by a denunciation — dangerous for me to make but not dangerous for the public thing. And here. I dare it to do the same to me. I have just put the National Assembly on trial. I offer myself to all the hatred. recognition and attachment have paid me well for my sacrifice. I will have traced the march of your enemies. But if in the beginnings of the revolution. I sharpen a thousand daggers. are going to arrive here! How can we escape? Antony commands the legions that are going to avenge Caesar! And it’s Octavian who commands the legions of the republic. when universal benevolence. which deigns to better look after freedom than your chiefs. and I cannot be reproached for anything. Do you see that coalition with your committees. many because they are corrupt. if when only my conscience was seen I sacrificed my life to the truth. I know the lot that is reserved for me. others from terror. others from resentment.Do you see clearly enough the coalition of ministers of the king. to freedom. with the National Assembly? And as if this coalition wasn’t strong enough. I swear that all I have just said is the exact truth. . then today. I will never believe did not know of his flight? Do you see clearly enough the coalition of your civil and military chiefs? It is such that I can’t not believe that it didn’t favor that escape. I know that in thus accusing almost all of my colleagues. They talk bout unity. You well know you would never hear it in the National Assembly. But I wanted to at least depose in your transcript a monument of all that is going to happen. some of whom. when the suffrage of my fellow citizens. of the need to gather around the same men. I feel that these truths will not save the nation without a miracle of Providence. almost all the members of the Assembly of being counter-revolutionary. to the fatherland. which they confess to have known about. others from a blind confidence. in a moment all 89. I raise up against me all the prideful. the ministers. the judge. the mayor. the general. I would receive death almost as a benefit that would prevent me from witnessing the evils that I see to be inevitable.

but in order to prevent crime by the fear of incurring them. when it conceived in its delirium the project of avenging god himself. Translated: for Marxists. is the overwhelming sight of public execration.org 2004. Who told you this? Have you calculated all the gears by which penal laws can act on human sensibility? Alas. are nothing but cowardly assassinations. I come to ask. this was the law the people passed.that it isn’t the most repressive of penalties and that it multiplies crimes more than it prevents them. he returns again to ravage the field that I cultivated with my own hands. in the eyes of truth and justice these scenes of death that it orders with so much ceremony.Speech at the Constituent Assembly. The legislator who prefers death and atrocious penalties to the gentler means in his power outrages public feeling and weakens the moral sentiment among the people he governs. 2. they were written in blood. nothing but solemn crimes committed not by individuals but by entire nations using legal forms. It was a crime worthy of death under Tiberius to praise Brutus. and the law of natural defense justifies and approves me. but legislators — who should be the organs and the interpreters of the eternal laws that the divinity dictated to men — to erase from the code of the French the blood laws that command judicial murders. by the frequent use of cruel punishments. June 22. people ran to the temples. do not be surprised: they are the work of a few tyrants.org by Mitch Abidor. The news having been brought to Athens that citizens had been condemned to death in the city of Argos. I want to prove to them: 1. Thus. But Scylla was victorious and said: All those who bore arms against me are worthy of death. and that their morals and their new constitution reject.that the death penalty is essentially unjust and. Octavian and his companions in crime confirmed this law. before death how much physical and moral pain can man endure? The desire to live cedes before pride. if a bitter enemy makes an attempt on my life or. what principle of justice could authorize it to kill him? What necessity can absolve it? A victor who kills his captive enemies is called a barbarian! A grown man who kills a child that he could disarm and punish seems to us a monster! An accused man condemned by society is nothing else for it but a defeated and powerless enemy. born of the monstrous union of ignorance and despotism. pushed away twenty times. However cruel. Outside of civil society. however extravagant the laws. where the gods were called upon to turn Athenians away from such cruel and dire thoughts. why would he reduce himself to employing the death penalty? Punishments aren’t imposed to torment the guilty. like a clumsy preceptor who. not the gods. stupefies and degrades the soul of his student. they are the chains with which they weigh down the human race. when the force of all is armed against only one. invented in its turn the crime of divine lèsemajesté. Without it there is no brake strong enough for crime.On the Death Penalty . 1791. was it not necessary that it offer him blood. Before it. The most terrible of all punishments for social man is opprobrium. he wears out and weakens the springs of government by wanting . since I have only my individual strength to oppose to his I must either perish or kill him. Caligula condemned to death those who were so sacrilegious as to undress before the image of the emperor. When the legislator can strike the citizen in so many sensitive places and in so many ways. It isn’t permitted to put to death a Roman citizen. the most imperious of all the passions that master the heart of man. say the partisans of ancient and barbarous routine. he is weaker than a child before a grown man. they are the arms with which they subjugate it. But in society. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. Once tyranny invented the crime of lèse-majesté — which were actions either indifferent or heroic — who could have dared to think that it merited a penalty more gentle than death without rendering himself guilty of lèse-majesté? When fanaticism. and that they bring him down to the level of the monsters who said they were his image? The death penalty is necessary.

so to speak. But the facts are precisely the contrary. Man is no longer for man so sacred an object: we have a less grand idea of his dignity when public authority puts his life at risk. It cries out to you that human judgements are never certain enough to justify a society of men subject to error dealing death to another man. the Porcian Laws wiped out the severe laws carried out by kings and decimvirs. illusory reparations matter to a vain shadow. the laws are just. I thus conclude that the death penalty should be abrogated. and under the emperors. All ideas hold together. into the tomb still covered by the recent stain of his crime is. then they should then have been most rare among the peoples who adopted and used it. The death penalty is necessary. by themselves. and openly contradicts the goal of penal laws. The horror of crime is diminished when it is punished by another crime. then why have several peoples done without it? By what fatality were these people the wisest. to insensible ash? They are the sad testimony of the barbaric temerity of your penal laws. rush his descent. The legislator who establishes this penalty renounces the salutary principle that the must effective way to repress crimes is to adapt the punishment to the character of the different passions that produce it. The first obligation of a legislator is to form and preserve public morals. the most horrible refinement in cruelty. who carried their rigor to a point of excess worthy of their infamous tyranny. everything conspires against cruel laws. Take from a man the possibility to expiate his crime by repentance or acts of virtue.to wind them up too strongly. so to say. who revived them. Did the Greek republics. in my eyes. It confounds all ideas. the happiest and the freest? If the death penalty is the most apt to prevent great crimes. Has Russia been in turmoil since the despot who governs it entirely suppressed the death penalty. where penalties were moderate and where the death penalty was either infinitely rare or absolutely unknown. Free countries are those where the rights of man are respected and where. calm and moderate severity that should characterize it they place anger and vengeance. Witness Japan: the death penalty and tortures are nowhere more widely used. It is a proof that the legislator is nothing but a master who commands slaves and who pitilessly punishes them according to his whim. pitilessly close off to him any return to virtue. consequently. source of all social happiness. that that of the citizen doesn’t exist. than it was under Scylla. self-esteem. One might almost say that the Japanese want to dispute in ferocity the barbaric laws that outrage and irritate them. It has been observed that in free countries crime was more rare and penal laws more gentle. it troubles all relations. and nowhere are crimes so frequent and so atrocious. If in place of this powerful. there would still remain some room for error or caution. if they spill human blood that they could spare and that they have no right to spread. the source of all freedom. it then alters in the hearts of citizens the ideas of the just and the unjust. Everything seconds moderate laws. even if you had found the most upright and enlightened judges. Do not confuse the effectiveness of a penalty with the excess of severity: the one is absolutely opposed to the other. they plant the seed in the midst of society of ferocious prejudices that will produce others in their turn. . When in running to a particular goal he turns away from this general and essential goal he commits the most vulgar and dire of errors. Why forbid yourselves the means of repairing them? Why condemn yourselves to the inability to lend a helping hand to oppressed innocence? What do sterile regrets. you say. The king must thus present to the people the purest model of justice and reason. offer more crime and less virtue than the countries governed by blood laws? Do you think that Rome was soiled with more crimes when in the days of its glory. Even if you could imagine the most perfect judicial order. and to punish them. The idea of murder inspires less fear when the law itself gives the example and the spectacle. If this is true. Where they offend humanity by an excess of rigor this is a proof that the dignity of man is not known there. if they spread out before the people cruel scenes and cadavers wounded by torture. as if by this act of humanity and philosophy he wanted to expiate the crime of holding millions of men in the yoke of absolute power? Listen to the voice of justice and reason.

You should at least submit to a severe examination all laws made under aristocratic despotism. I will only indicate simple measures that have already been proposed. one where no one has preceded you. from whom it was forbidden to ask for an accounting. shortages can only be imputed to the vices of administrations or laws themselves. it hasn’t changed up to this moment. be it noble. and bayonets to calm fear or to oppress hunger: this was the policy vaunted by our first legislators. 1792 Source: Robespierre. since the interests and prejudices that were the basis have not changed. but of the most precious of their interests.On Subsistence Goods. You are not made to drag yourselves in a servile fashion in the ruts of tyrannical prejudices traced by those who came before you. 1988. Bad laws and bad administration have their source in false principles and bad morals. To speak to the representatives of the people of the means of providing for its subsistence is not only to speak to them about the most sacred of their obligations. Translated: for marxists. but this isn’t the moment to flatter ourselves. ecclesiastic or bourgeois. who governed. I saw the birth of the legislation of the Constituent Assembly on the commerce in grains. At the time of this same Assembly I saw the same events that are being renewed in this era. and for almost nothing the lives of men. The bonuses can be discussed. and haven’t made any differentiation between the commerce in wheat. rather you are beginning a new career. Discours et rapports a la Convention. And for having failed to allow this fact to enter into their calculations they have made a false application of principles evident in general. And why? It was the great. The consequence of this fact and of the principle I proposed could be troubling. who they called agitators and anarchists. the unlimited freedom of commerce. it is to you that the glory to make true principles triumph is reserved. In every country where nature furnishes man’s needs with prodigality. and that the current shortages are man-made shortages. bonuses for the profit of the blood-suckers of the people. Paris. and up till now you have had no other.org 2004. but that of landowners and merchants themselves.org by Mitch Abidor. If it had been the people it’s probable that the system would have . It is this mixture of true and false which has loaned something specious to an erroneous system. The authors of the theory have only considered the goods necessary for life as a form of ordinary merchandise. the freedom of commerce is necessary up to the point where homicidal cupidity becomes an abuse. the ministers. I will restrict myself to recalling some obvious principles that seem to have been forgotten. and that of indigo. for without a doubt they are mixed in with it. They have even less adapted it to the stormy circumstances brought about by revolutions. I saw an impudent minister whose virtue was allowed to be suspected. They have counted for much the profits of merchants and landowners. and if their vague theory were good in ordinary times it would find no application in the rapid measures that moments of crisis demand of us. and to give just laws to the world. It is a fact generally recognized that the soil of France produces much beyond what is necessary to feed its inhabitants. It is not the cause of the indigent alone that I want to plead. The errors we have fallen into in this regard seem to come from two principal causes. from the midst of these criminal intrigues I saw tyranny emerge armed with martial law in order to legally bathe in the blood of starving citizens. I saw hypocritical intriguers impute their own crimes to the defenders of freedom. combated by another minister of the same tyrant. for it is a matter less of creating brilliant theories than of returning to first notions of good sense. Citizens. Union Générale d'Editions. The system is essentially incomplete because it doesn’t bear upon the true principle. it was nothing but that of the time that had preceded it. the rich who wrote. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. Millions for the minister. The most imposing authority cited is that of a minister of Louis XVI. demand adorations of France while ruining it. they have spoken more on the commerce in grains than on the people’s subsistence. for example. I saw aristocracy accuse the people. the use of bayonets is an atrocity.

It isn’t necessary that I be able to buy brilliant material. The aliments necessary to man are as sacred as life itself. The momentary shortage that might be felt is always a bearable inconvenience. What is the first object of society? It is to maintain the inviolable rights of man.received a few modifications! For example. but no man has the right to pile up stacks of wheat while next to him his like dies of hunger. It is not true that property can ever be in opposition with men’s subsistence. but brigandage and fratricide. and it is enough that in general the unlimited freedom of the market works to the greater profit of and state and individuals. But if it’s true that avarice can speculate on poverty. if cupidity was never tempted to devour the people’s substance. I say that they don’t harm neither the interests of commerce nor the rights of property. as it does that of the ordinary assassin? Why wouldn’t it occupy itself with the existence of the people after having occupied itself for such a long time of the enjoyments of the great and the power of despots? What then are the means of repressing these abuses? It’s claimed that they are impractical. Property was only instituted or guaranteed to cement it. any kind of rule. I say that they present no difficulty to good sense and good faith. Only the surplus is private property and is abandoned to the industry of merchants. if it’s true that all the passions declare war on suffering humanity. and tyranny itself on the despair of the people. What is the first of these rights? The right to exist. I say that they are as simple as they are infallible. but I do have to be rich enough to buy bread for myself and my children. But the lives of men cannot be subject to the same chance. It is claimed that they offer an insoluble problem. or as the brothers of the poor it would be possible to recognize no other law than that of the most unlimited liberty. docile to the voice of reason and nature. about the sale of wheat was an attack on property and how could this barbarous system be disguised under the specious name of freedom of commerce? Don’t the authors of this system see that they are necessarily contradicting themselves? Why are you forced to approve the prohibition of the exportation of grains to the exterior every time abundance isn’t assured for the interior? You yourselves fix the price of bread. unless they openly declare that they understand by this word the right to despoil and assassinate their like. The first social law is thus that which guarantees to all society’s members the means of existence. Everything that is indispensable for its preservation is a property common to all of society. I defy the most scrupulous defender of property to contest these principles. It is in order to live that we have property in the first case. Any mercantile speculation that I make at the cost of the life of my like is not a traffic. good sense indicates this truth: that the commodities that are not essential can be abandoned to the most unlimited speculations of the merchant. why would the laws not repress these abuses? Why wouldn’t it stop the homicidal hand of the monopolizer. . or of the brilliant products of India? What is the cause of all these exceptions if it isn’t the very obviousness of the principles I have just expounded upon? What am I saying? The government sometimes subjects the very commerce of luxury items to the modifications that healthy policy calls for. do you fix that of spices. even for those of genius. and the delivery of the excess to the freedom of commerce. if the rich. In accordance with this principle. How then could it have been claimed that any kind of hindrance or rather. Why would that which deals with the subsistence of the people be necessarily freed of this? Doubtless if all men were just and virtuous. The merchant can very well keep in his storehouse the merchandise that vanity and luxury desire up till the moment when he can sell them at the highest possible price. looked upon themselves as the economists of society. what is the problem to be resolved in the matter of legislation on subsistence? It is this: to assure to all members of society the enjoyment of the portion of the fruits of the earth that is necessary to their existence: The price of their industry for landowners and cultivators. all others are subordinated to it.

that all your wisdom and circumspection are necessary. by what strange privilege does it alone obtain the right to be protected? What limits would the pitiless vampires who speculate on public misery put on their attacks if bayonets and the absolute order to believe in the purity and beneficence of the monopolists were opposed to any demand? Unlimited freedom is nothing but the excuse. everything is in favor of the grain merchants. Simple methods. When he can fraudulently make it disappear and transport it either to foreign countries or to storehouses in the interior. Does public subsistence circulate when greedy speculators keep it piled up in their granaries? Does it circulate when it is accumulated in the hands of a small number of millionaires who remove it from commerce in order to render it more precious and rare. Is it their legitimacy? But how could we look upon rules of general policy. are proposed: the first is to take the necessary precaution of learning the amount of grain produced by each region and the amount harvested by each landowner or cultivator. are the obstacles put before circulation under the pretext of rendering it unlimited. It is here. who coldly calculate how many families must perish before the merchandise has reached the time fixed by their atrocious avarice? Does it circulate when it only crosses the regions that produced it. but let the necessary precautions be taken so that circulation take place. and its free circulation is no less necessary to the health of the social body than that of blood to the life of the human body. commanded by society’s interests as attacks on property? Who then is the good citizen who could complain of being obliged to act with loyalty in broad daylight? Who are the shadows necessary for if not monopolists and rascals? In any event. the safeguard and the cause of this abuse. haven’t I proved to you that society has the right to demand that portion that is necessary for the subsistence of citizens? What am I saying? It is the most sacred of obligations. Either the crime of monopoly is impossible. It is even more dangerous to be . then. Secrecy: when each can hide the quantity of public subsistence which he deprives all of society of. and the certainty of impunity. that monopolists are humanity’s benefactors. freedom without restraint. Does blood circulate when it is engorged in the brain or the breast? It circulates when it freely flows through the body. legislators. What more certain way to encourage cupidity and to free it from any hindrance than to pose as a principle that the law doesn’t even have the right to oversight in order to impose the slightest constraint? That the only rule prescribed for it is the power to dare to do anything with impunity? What am I saying? Such is the degree of perfection to which this theory has been taken that it has almost been established that those who corner markets are impeccable. for neither is contested. or at least the ills it could not prevent. the needy citizen languishes for not being able to give a piece of gold or a piece of paper precious enough to obtain a parcel? Circulation is that which puts products of premier necessity within the reach of all men and brings abundance and life to the hearthside. It is dangerous to redouble the fears of the people and to even seem to authorize its discontent. It’s precisely the lack of circulation that I complain of. Neither the possibility nor the utility of these precautions needs to be proven. In this system everything is against society. that in the quarrels that arise between them and the people it is the people who are always wrong. For the plague of the people. How then could the laws necessary to assure its exercise be unjust? I said that the other causes of the disastrous operations of monopoly were unrestricted freedom and impunity. before the eyes of indigent citizens who suffer the torture of Tantalus before filling the unknown abyss of some entrepreneur of public starvation? Does it circulate when. Favor then the free circulation of grain by preventing all harmful engorgements. the sources of shortages. And what remedy is proposed? The current system. next to the most abundant harvests. Subsistence is the blood of the people. Such a subject is always delicate to deal with. or it is real. How could it be the remedy? What is complained of? Precisely those ills that the current system has produced. If it’s a chimera how is it that this chimera has always been believed in? Why have we felt the ravages since the first moments of the revolution? Why do credible reports and incontestable facts denounce these guilty maneuvers to us? If it is real. The second consists in forcing grain merchants to sell them in the market and to forbid any transporting of purchases during the night.Let circulation throughout the entire extent of the republic be protected. Three causes favor this: secrecy. I denounce to you the assassins of the people and you respond: let them be. What is the means of fulfilling this object? Remove from greed the interest and the ability to carry it out.

excited by either the real or man-made shortages of wheat. It is up to the representatives themselves to bear witness to the confidence given them and to disconcert aristocratic evil by taking care of the people’s needs and calming their fears. They profit from discontent more than cause it. that the surest guarantee of public tranquility is the happiness of citizens. using subsistence goods as the pretext. The pleasure of relieving his like and the glory of serving the fatherland are easily worth this deplorable advantage. It is in vain that the enemies of freedom act to tear at their fatherland’s breast. but that of the French people. Learn to appreciate the charms of equality and the pleasures of virtue. and the principles upon which they are founded. were necessary to the people. Whoever knows men. I only condemn them to the penalty of letting their like live. What use could the unlimited freedom of their odious traffic be to the greediest of speculators? To be either oppressed or oppressors. And you. But if you follow them all inconveniences disappear: principles alone can dry up the sources of evil. Sometimes it is the same men who excite the people in order to find the pretext to slaughter them and to render freedom itself terrible in the eyes of week and selfish men. and that the long convulsions that tear states apart are nothing but the combat of prejudices against principles. any legitimate property. of egoism against general interest. I will content myself here with demanding priority for the projected decree that proposes precautionary measures against monopoly. Or at least content yourselves with the advantages fortune gives you and leave the people bread. I don’t take from them any honest profit. it’s only because they are predisposed to receive these impressions by oppression and poverty. legislators. I well know that when we examine the circumstances of this or that particular riot. of the pride and passions of powerful men against the rights and needs of the weak. Cowardice will not triumph over courage. The very fears of the people must be respected. even if they weren’t as necessary as we think. How can they be calmed if you remain inactive? The very measures proposed. whoever especially knows the French people. A happy people has never been a turbulent people. I have already proved that these measures. rather the brigandage of the monopolist. . and when they bring the people to illconsidered actions. Man’s greatest interest is not to amass treasure. it’s enough that they prove in their eyes your attachment to their interests in order to determine you to adopt them. I don’t at all destroy commerce. But it is nonetheless true that the people are naturally upright and peaceful. egoists: know how to prevent and prevent in advance the terrible results of the struggle of pride and cowardly passions carry out against justice and humanity. This latter destiny is atrocious. reserving to myself the right to propose modifications if it is adopted. I have already indicated the nature and the spirit of these laws. The genius of intrigue must flee before the genius of freedom. They can no more stop the course of human reason than that of the sun. knows that it is not in the power of a fool or a bad citizen to rise the people up without any reason against the laws they love. the influence of a foreign cause can sometimes be recognized. I only take from them the right to attack that of others. and the sweetest property is not to devour the subsistence of a hundred unfortunate families. Ambition and intrigue feel the need to stir up troubles. Nothing then could be more advantageous to them: the greatest service that a legislator can render men is to force them to be honest men. don’t forget that justice is the source of order. even less against its elected representatives and the freedom it has conquered. Let the example of nobles and kings teach you.silent about the truth and to hide principles. I am going to prove that they are useful to the rich and all landowners. Rich men. they are always guided by pure intentions: those with evil intentions can not move them unless they present a motive both powerful and legitimate in its eyes. labor and morality. it is enough that the people desire them. remember that you are not representatives of a privileged caste.

acts slowly and fruitlessly. the apostle of reason and truth must be neither less pure nor less courageous than the legislator himself. each issue will be three or four pages long. It is thus that public opinion is excited and becomes disorganized. the last hope of freedom is annihilated. A periodical that would fulfill this project seemed to me to be the occupation most worthy of friends of the Fatherland and humanity. and the consequences of the political operations that have an influence over the fate of the State and its liberty. In this situation one means alone is left to us to save the public thing.” Placed since the beginning of our revolution at the center of political events. having descended from the tribune of the French Senate one can still climb to that of the universe and speak. But when opinion is degraded. Reason and the public interest began the revolution. I dare to undertake this. I saw from up close the tortuous march of tyranny. whose interest is that of reason and general happiness. intrigue and ambition have halted it. The majority of the nation wants to rest under the auspices of the new Constitution. and one has a more certain judgment on men and things.org 2004. and his ideas expand with the horizon. I saw that the most dangerous of our enemies are not those who openly declared themselves such. I need not say that only the love of justice and truth will guide my pen: it’s on this condition alone that. The errors of the latter leave a great resource to public spirit and opinion.Prospectus for “Le Défenseur de la Constitution”. At the very least it seems that once having escaped the maelstrom of affairs one breathes in an atmosphere more peaceful and pure. Though this last occupation sufficed in keeping me completely occupied when it was confided to me. I nevertheless applauded those legislators who rendered that striking homage to the necessity for — and the dignity of — the ministry of philosophical and political writers. and that’s the enlightenment of the zeal of good citizens in order to lead them towards a common goal. The spirit that guides it is announced by its title: “The Defender of the Constitution. The majority desires the good. This is without a doubt the greatest service a Citizen can render the public cause. . the general view. recount and appraise in their writings the next day the operations in which they participated the day before in the National Assembly.org by Mitch Abidor. I even believe that they have a double right to the esteem of their fellows if they fulfill both tasks with the same integrity. Perhaps when once one has left the theatre to sit among the spectators one can better judge the stage and the actors. He who declares himself the censor of vice. the general will becomes powerless and invalid and patriotism. more criminal than even the representative who sells out the rights of the people. who bring together two functions of almost equal importance. to develop in the eyes of the Nation the reasons. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. when public spirit is twisted. through blind impetuosity. not to the assembly — which can be agitated by the shock of diverse interests — but to humankind. much like he who flees the tumult of the city to climb to the summit of the mountain feels the calm of nature penetrate his soul. or sometimes seconds. 1792 Translated: for marxists. to bring into broad daylight the true causes of our ills and to indicate the remedies. such will be the spirit and objective of the work that I consecrate to the freedom of my country. without a plan. on the breast of freedom and peace. discord and false principles. to cite before the tribunal of opinion and truth those who with ease escaped from the tribunal of the laws and who can decide the destiny of France and the Universe. and without a determined objective. but it neither knows the means to reach this goal nor the obstacles that distance them from it. without a system. and I will work to see that this knowledge be made useful for the salvation of my country. To rally all of them to the principles of the Constitution and the general interest. All the enemies of the Constitution borrow the name and language of patriotism to spread error. Even the best intentioned of men differ on the questions most strictly related to the general happiness. The vices of tyrants and slaves have changed it into a painful state of trouble and crisis. What causes have deprived it of this double advantage up till now? Ignorance and division. Such is my profession of faith. to despotism or corruption — betraying the cause of patriotism and humanity — is more vile than the prevaricating magistrate. The writer who prostitutes his pen to hatred. I have seen well-known members of the legislature. Writers prostitute their venal pens in this odious enterprise. to analyze the public conduct of the personalities who play the principle roles in the theatre of the revolution. This work will appear every Thursday. the evil projects of the enemies of our freedom.

1792 Source: Le Defenseur de la Constitution no 12.org 2004. Current circumstances and the approach of the National Convention seem to warn us that the title of “Defender of the Constitution” is no longer appropriate for this work. we will repair this as soon as possible. but against the court and against all the enemies of freedom who wanted to destroy it or have it deteriorate.Notice to Subscribers.org by Mitch Abidor. . even though we declared from the beginning that it wasn’t its defects we wanted to defend but its principles. Translated: for marxists. We will henceforth continue this work under a title more analogous to the conjuncture in which we find ourselves. Since pressing circumstances have caused a certain delay in the issuing of issues. Though our wish was never to defend it against the wishes of the people who could and should perfect it. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.

presented with guile. The truth is the only weapon that remains in the hands of the intrepid defenders of freedom in order to bring down the perfidious agents of aristocracy. without secrecy in its operations. of slandering their conduct are not enemies of the fatherland. to divide. and even more by its intrigues. Only the most extreme ignorance. everywhere we must level the obstacles and hindrances to the execution of the wisest measures. The Committee of Public Safety sees treason in the midst of a victory. emissaries bribed by the gold of foreign powers to foil. then I must abdicate it this instant. It dismisses a general still garbed in the splendor of an apparent victory. everywhere there are traitors to unmask. Briez. But the Convention is attached to the Committee of Public Safety. should be treated like vile protectors of aristocracy? We will brave calumnies and intrigues. Discours et rapports a la Convention. in the clubs that claim to be more than patriotic. If my quality as member of the Committee of Public Safety must prevent me from explaining myself with entire independence on what has happened. This operation required secrecy in order to be completely successful. unfaithful administrators to watch over. Union Générale d'Editions. We took all the necessary measures so that secrecy should be guarded. we are denounced at the National Convention. who defended himself and the actions of the Committee.org 2004. Paris.org by Mitch Abidor. 1988. And after having separated myself from my colleagues. all the conspirators to intimidate. We are accused of doing nothing. your glory is tied to the success of those who you have garbed in national confidence. to paralyze the Convention is an enemy of the fatherland. of hindering their operations. Can it then be that the Citizens you have charged with the most difficult functions have lost the title of imperturbable defenders of freedom because they've accepted this burden? Are those who attack them more patriotic because they haven’t received this mark of confidence? Do you claim that those who defended freedom here at the risk of their lives. In 1793 the Committee of Public Safety replaced many generals. And what is most deplorable is that this cowardly system has partisans here. It is not with impunity that you will leave aside the necessary force of opinion. they want us to divulge the Republic’s secrets. all the tyrants to combat. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. But this project of debasement exists in the very places where patriotism should reign. at the moment in which we are impatient to know the result of these measures. War is made on the Convention in the persons of all the defenders of freedom. those who can almost always be found in a caste once so powerful because of its riches. and his very courage is called a crime! It expels traitors and casts its gaze on the officers who showed the most civisme. He who seeks to debase. who I esteem and honor (and it’s well-known that I am not prodigal in the sentiment) I will tell my country the necessary truths. to pursue.For the Defense of the Committee of Public Safety. are brought here. even if it was only in relation to other armies. Whether he acts by stupidity or perversity he is of the party of the tyrants who make war upon us. No other proof is necessary than the discussions that have just taken place. It chooses them after having consulted the representatives of the people who had particular knowledge of the characters of each of them. these are our functions. written denunciations. While it is busy day and night with the great interests of the Fatherland. whether he sits in this hall or is a foreigner (applause). but has our position been thought on? Eleven armies to direct. representative on mission with the Armies of the North attacked Robespierre. 1793 Source: Robespierre. the safety of the fatherland demanded it. without the certainty of finding support within the Convention that the government could triumph over so many obstacles and so many enemies? No. Translated: for marxists. reorganized headquarters and carried out military operations in secret. our work is criticized without knowledge our motives. in the midst of daggers. only the most profound perversity could claim that in such circumstances those who play the cruel game of vilifying those who are at the helm of affairs. For a long time the Committee of Public Safety has put up with a war made on it by several members who are more envious than just. the weight of all of Europe to bear. Do you believe that without unity in action. that . And now.

But when one must support a republic surrounded by enemies. and where it was surprised by the discharge of a frightening artillery. It is that officer who. And we are denounced! We have made the same changes in the armies of the Moselle and the Rhine. those must suspect by their former relations with the court. we replaced him by a man whose talents and patriotism were attested to by all the commissioners. that the serpents of the Marais have not yet all been crushed (applause. and we bring to it all possible consideration. it is certainly those which we have followed in these operations. which made his courage pass to the rest of the army. We chose those whose new exploits in the affairs at Bergues and Dunkirk designated them for national recognition.) The men who perpetually declaim. whether here or elsewhere. for the attack of Hondschoote should have wiped out the French army. that is. that they will even be disposed to respect the authorities that you will afterwards establish? It is thus important that the government be consistent. We have just dismissed two nobles. moral . render void individual efforts against the public interest. who deployed the greatest talent. it is Jourdan who at the head of a battalion took off into the enemy camp. who won despite Houchard.000 well-entrenched men. And if I am contested on this I will remind everyone how perfidious. it is hoped to strike with disfavor the new choices. it is impossible for the Committee to save the public thing. dividing us. which forced the raising of the siege of Dunkirk. and another known for his ties and his zeal with foreign nobles. do you think that they will have more respect for the Convention that chose us. how widespread is the system to vilify and dissolve us. and the taking of Hondschoote was the effect of his able dispositions and the ardor he knew how to inspire. arm reason in favor of freedom. So we're accused of disorganizing everything. when we execute this great revolutionary measure. We're told that we wanted to see only true sans-culottes at the head of the armies. The head of headquarters being justly suspect. All of our choices were made for men of the character of he I just depicted to you. What success can he claim if it is not the annihilation of the national Government established by the Convention. one of the men of this proscribed caste. The nobles are ceaselessly declaimed against. What is then the cause for this denunciation? I dare say that that day was worth three victories for Pitt. at the moment when the army didn’t expect to find 18. His name is Ernould. it’s a question of the fatherland and of principles. And we are still accused! If there are some moral presumptions that can guide the government and serve as rules for legislators.we give traitors the time to escape. I will recall that the faction is not dead. Why then do they want to debase us? Which of our acts have deserved this ignominy? I know that we cannot flatter ourselves that we have attained perfection. by a strange coincidence. It’s not a question here of individuals. and that you replace a committee that has successfully been denounced in your midst (No! No! the assembly cries out with unanimity). It’s principally to Jourdan that the amazing success that honored that army is due. destroy prejudices. I declare this: in the current state of affairs. it is said that they must be dismissed and. that it conspires in the depths of its cells. doubtless in order to prevent the reestablishment of confidence. a man known by exploits that signaled him at the very time when the most odious treasons sacrificed that army. we are denounced. He distinguished himself in the last affair and was even wounded. how many paid agents foreigners and internal enemies have to this effect. and making us tear ourselves apart with our own hands? And if in Europe we pass for imbeciles or traitors. against those men who are at the head of the government have themselves given proof of lack of civisme and baseness. the one and the other pronouncedly aristocratic.

I thus think that the fatherland is lost if the Committee doesn’t enjoy unlimited confidence. and I will unmask the conduct of two or three traitors who have here been the artisans of discord and dissension (applause). but I don’t include among the patriots those who only wear the mask. Jep commits to never dividing the patriots. the author of this report is an assistant on the Committee he denounces. if you don’t believe in its zeal. denounced by him. a report was delivered to you about Valenciennes. The explanations that have been given are insufficient. but the real object of which was to indict the Committee of Public Safety. As price for his vague accusation. who in this session have worsened your reverses in order to worsen their accusations? The first declared himself the partisan of Custine and Lamorliére. in this discussion the Convention has not shown all the energy it should have. A member has said that everyone should be able to give his opinion on the operations of the Committee of Public safety. the apparent goal of which was to instruct you on all the circumstances surrounding the surrender of that place. whose inhabitants. It means giving the advantage to those men who slandered it. and if it isn’t composed of men who deserve it. defend themselves with energy against the fanatics and the English. The order of the day is demanded. and lately he dared to advise the abandonment of a territory united with the republic. I promised you the whole truth and I'm going to tell it. great virtues. he who was at Valenciennes when the enemy entered there is not fit to be member of the Committee of Public Safety (lively applause). But this freedom should not go so far that a deputy recalled from the depths of the departments because he has been judged to have ceased serving the people well should go on the attack and accuse the Committee (applause). But who are these men who rise up against the conduct of the Committee. To pass to the order of the day is to open the door to all the misfortunes that I just exposed. Well I say to you. in a way all the more perfidious for having seemed to applaud it before you when it made its reports. they are going to become the accused (applause). The Convention cannot be silent on that which tends to paralyze the government. He was the persecutor of patriots in an important fortress. But before doing so. The Committee has earned the hatred of kings and rascals. I demand that that the Committee of Public Safety be renewed (No! No! is cried out throughout the assembly) Interventions by Briez. if such men manage to prove that the Committee isn’t composed of good men. Without a doubt. I don’t disagree. The second has not yet repaired the shame with which he covered himself in returning from a place whose defense was confided in him after having surrendered it to the Austrians. Jeanbon Saint-André and Billaud Varenne.and physical forces are necessary that nature has perhaps refused both to those who denounce us and those we combat. but secretly. Without a doubt everyone is free to express his opinion about the Committee. Citizens. Men are needed who have the courage to propose strong measures. and you haven’t pronounced. The functions of the Committee of Public Safety are arduous. examine the circumstances in which you find yourselves. From the accusers they are today. then liberty is lost. For I say to you that the most painful sentiment I felt was having seen Barére applauded by the very men who have never ceased indiscriminately slandering all the members of the Committee. The only result is that the members of the Committee of Public Safety who have spoken seemed to be defending their cause. who even dare to attack the pride of individuals (applause). This member will never respond to this question: Are you dead? (applause repeated several times). and it is because of this that it cannot save the fatherland without the Convention. not always here. by those very men who would perhaps like to see us with a dagger in the breast (applause). smash this instrument. in the services it has rendered to the public thing. In order to save the fatherland one must have a great deal of character. Those who denounce us have themselves been denounced to the committee. If I had been in Valenciennes under those circumstances I would never have . for it will doubtless not be to them that enlightened opinion will give its confidence and hand over the reins of government! And don’t think that it is my intention to render imputation for imputation.

nor any of those who. coldly proposed the abandonment of Mont-Blanc to the Piedmontese. 100. I attach no importance to it. This might seem harsh. at this tribune. a committee that serves the fatherland well should be slandered with impunity by those who. on pretext of the freedom of opinion.) As for the proposal of Billaud-Varenne. this I can conceive. towards those who deliver the fatherland to the enemy’s steel. We can hold the slanderers in contempt. it is weakness before traitors that harms us. But it’s not up to us to ward off such charges and respond to them. that the National Convention must proclaim that it maintains its confidence in the Committee of Public Safety. I say that it is not necessary to believe in probity in order to suspect the Committee of Public Safety (applause). That the tyrants who hate us. their salaried slanderers. I summarize and I say that all the explanations that have been given are insufficient. and I don’t find this impolitic. which is great and sublime. did not do so due to an excess of weakness. It’s enough for me to hold in contempt all the tyrants and the rascals who second them (applause). I say to you that I wouldn’t be member of a committee in which such a man could participate. . I only know how to be moved by the fate of a generous people who are slaughtered with so much villainy (applause). but what is harsher still for a patriot is that for two years. it’s to ward off their impostures. I add a word on our accusers: it cannot be that.000 men have been killed by treason or weakness. If the 50 million put at the disposal of the Committee could fix the attention of the Convention one instant it wouldn’t be worthy of working for the salvation of the fatherland. We are tender towards the most criminal men. being able to crush one of the hydra heads of federalism. I would have wanted to share the fate of the brave defenders who preferred an honorable death to a shameful capitulation (applause). since one must have energy. It’s enough that I feel in my heart the strength to defend unto death the cause of the people. (applause. but the agents of the tyrants who surround us observe us and gather all they can to vilify the defenders of the people. And since one must be republican.been in a position to deliver a report on the events of the siege. the journalists who serve them so well spread those falsehoods to vilify us. It’s for them.

The author of nature ties together all mortals in an immense chain of love and felicity. traced there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not he who. to the just transports of a pure happiness. The world that he created has never offered a spectacle so worthy of his regard. it is up to you to purify the land they have soiled and to recall the justice they have banished. Year 2 of the Republic [1793] Translated: for marxists. Décadi 20 Prairial. decreed the republic and placed on the order of the day. from the beginning of time. perfidy. It is he who silences the most imperious and tender passions before the sublime love of the fatherland. Generous people. Is it not he whose immortal hand. debauch. he didn’t create priests to harness us like vile animals to the chariot of kings and to give an example of baseness. People. It has finally arrived. for all centuries and all peoples. and calm and pride in the heart of the innocent oppressed. It is he who makes maternal entrails palpitate with tenderness and joy. we will give the world the example of republican virtues. and the wicked to respect the just man. by engraving in the heart of man the code of justice and equality. Paris. Receuil d'hymnes Républicaines. and one cannot remain among men without the other. today let us give ourselves over. or is him. under its auspices. one and indivisible. and falsehood. He created the universe to make known his might. First Speech Of Maximilien Robespierre. He has seen tyranny . It is he who placed remorse and fear in the breast of the triumphant oppressor. Evil belongs to the depraved man who oppresses or allows his like to be oppressed. It is he who covered nature with charms. All that is good is his work. liberty.org by Mitchell Abidor. avarice. Liberty and virtue sprang together from the breast of the divinity. the forever fortunate day that the French people consecrate to the Supreme Being. Chez Barba. good faith. selfish pride. do you want to triumph over your enemies? Practice justice and render the divinity the only cult worthy of it. It is he who adorned the face of beauty with modesty. riches and majesty. to the people gathered for the festival of the Supreme Being. May the tyrants who dared break it perish! Republican Frenchmen. And in doing this we honor it again. and justice? He did not create kings to devour humankind. president of the national convention. It is he who bathes with delicious tears the eyes of a son pressed against his mother’s breast. Tomorrow we will again combat vices and tyrants.The Festival of the Supreme Being. crime and imposture reign on earth: at this moment he sees an entire nation that is combating all the oppressors of humankind suspend the course of its heroic labors in order to raise its thoughts and its vows towards the great being who gave it the mission to undertake and the strength to execute it. It is he who forces the just man to hate the wicked. Second Speech . the year 2 of the French Republic. He created men to mutually assist and love each other. and to arrive at happiness by the path of virtue. so as to make it even more beautiful.

We must not count on an unalloyed prosperity or triumphs without obstacles. and Wisdom appears in its place to be gazed upon by the People. this monster that the genius of kings vomited onto France. Sole. The hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts along with the love of justice and the fatherland. has disappeared. author of nature.Of the president of the National Convention. Let us be generous towards the good. modest and vigilant in success. it is for it to guarantee us the fruits of our courage. People. like men who are stipulating the interests of the world. we don’t have to address you unjust prayers. the perfidious and cruel aristocrat insults you by invoking you. Let us be serious and discreet in all our deliberations. But the defenders of liberty can abandon themselves with confidence within your paternal breast. these are our sacrifices. They can no more tear the world from the breast of its author than the remorse from their own hearts. Late nature take on again its entire éclat and wisdom all its empire. It is up to wisdom alone to solidify the prosperity of empires. This is the cult we offer you. their needs no more escape your gaze than do their most secret thoughts. your generous devotion is not a brilliant folly. kings always conspire to assassinate humanity. you are fighting kings. you can yet conceive high thoughts on your own. terrible in reverses. If they can no longer disfigure the divinity by superstition so as to associate it to their misdeeds. but infallible guarantors of our independence. Unfortunates. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity. the stupefied slave. imperturbable in the midst of danger. . You know the creatures who have come from your hands. It is above all wisdom that our enemies wanted to chase from the republic. We should only rest upon our steadfastness and our virtue. If the henchmen of tyranny can assassinate you it is not in their power to entirely obliterate you. May all the crimes and misfortunes of the world disappear along with it. Heroes of the fatherland. It has vanished into nothingness. Man. you can attach your fleeting life to God Himself and immortality. just towards all. or on whatever depends on the fortune or perversity of others. Being of beings. at the moment when atheism. patient in labor. you can still raise your eyes to heaven with impunity. We must associate it then to all our enterprises. consumed in flames. Frenchmen. Being of beings. and so you are worthy of honoring the divinity. raise up your beaten down heads. Armed either with the daggers of fanaticism or the poisons of atheism. the vile henchman of despotism. fear no more their sacrilegious plots. The Supreme Being is not obliterated. whoever you might be. inexorable towards the wicked. they strive to banish him from earth in order to reign their alone with crime. This is our prayer. Let us be ardent and tenacious in our anger against leagued tyranny. compassionate towards the unfortunate. let us crush the unholy league of kings more through the grandeur of our character than by the force of our arms.

according to the natural course of things. where distinctions are born only of equality itself. the reign of that eternal justice whose laws have been inscribed. and of the means we ought to adopt to attain it: a simple and important idea which seems never to have been noticed… For ourselves. where our country assures the well-being of each individual. by the love of good and by the awareness of our country's needs rather than by an exact theory and by precise rules of conduct. even in that of the slave who forgets them and in that of the tyrant who denies them. today we come to expound the principles of our internal policy. A sudden change in the nation's fortune announced to Europe the regeneration that had been effected in the national representation. and so that every new faction will discover death in the mere thought of crime… What is the goal toward which we are heading? The peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality. Speech to the Convention February 5.Report upon the Principles of Political Morality Which Are to Form the Basis of the Administration of the Interior Concerns of the Republic. swept along by the movement of opposing factions. we come today to make the world privy to your political secrets. so that the French nation and its representatives will be respected in all the countries of the world where the knowledge of their real principles can penetrate. and the end we want to reach. After having proceeded haphazardly for a long time. scorn of vice of scorn of the unlucky. it must be agreed that we have been guided. so that all our country's friends can rally to the voice of reason and the public interest. 1794 Citizens. self- . amid such stormy circumstances. We must take far-sighted precautions to return the destiny of liberty into the hands of the truth. it is time for us to take account both of the obstacles that still keep us from it. who are transitory. integrity for formal codes of honor. But up to the very moment when I am speaking. rather than into those of men. the rule of reason for the tyranny of fashion. so that the intriguers who seek always to replace other intriguers will be judged by sure and easy rules. where ambition becomes the desire to merit glory and to serve our country. In our land we want to substitute morality for egotism. and where each individual proudly enjoys our country's prosperity and glory. which is eternal. the magistrate to the people. the representatives of the French people have finally demonstrated a character and a government. all the beneficent and generous passions are awakened by the laws. where the citizen is subject to the magistrate. and by the need of deserving the esteem of a great people. a sense of duty for one of mere propriety. but in the hearts of all men. which we did not have even leisure enough to lay out It is time to mark clearly the goal of the revolution. where every soul grows greater through the continual flow of republican sentiments. Representatives of the People: Some time ago we set forth the principles of our foreign policy. not in marble and stone. or if it lapses into the hands of the corrupt individuals. principles for customs. so that if the government forgets the interests of the people. and the people to justice. the light of recognized principles will illuminate their treachery. We seek an order of things in which all the base and cruel passions are enchained. where the arts are the adornments of the liberty which ennobles them and commerce the source of public wealth rather than solely the monstrous opulence of a few families.

despite the abuses in common speech. love of glory for the love of money. the greatness of man for the pettiness of the great. and the state of the revolution in which you find yourselves imposes upon you another task… We must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with them. in sealing our work with our blood. in a word. accomplish the destiny of humanity. We want. Within the scheme of the French revolution. the essential mainspring which sustains it and makes it move? It is virtue. in place of a kindly. in my judgment. do for themselves all that they can do well. by calling all men to equality and full rights of citizenship. But the tempest rages. in this situation.respect for insolence. amid revolution it is at the same time [both] virtue and terror: . become the model for the nations. Weakness. good people in place of good society. that which is corrupting is counter-revolutionary. What kind of government can realize these wonders? Only a democratic or republican government . a people who are magnanimous. formerly illustrious among the enslaved lands. vice. We wish to substitute merit for intrigue.. that which is immoral is impolitic. the charm of happiness for sensuous boredom. that is our goal. to fulfill natures's desires. Now. frivolous. it follows that the first rule of your political conduct ought to be to relate all your efforts to maintaining equality and developing virtue. is the true reason why all the tyrants in league against the Republic will be vanquished. and since your goal is to found. powerful. I speak of the public virtue which worked so many wonders in Greece and Rome and which ought to produce even more astonishing things in republican France .these two words are synonyms. equality.which is to say all the virtues and all the miracles of the republic in place of all the vices and all the absurdities of the monarchy. ought to be rejected or curbed by you. and prejudices are the road to royalty…. ought to be adopted or established by you. Everything which tends to concentrate them in the abjection of selfishness. Here the development of our theory would reach its limit. see at least the early dawn of the universal bliss -that is our ambition. and there. that is to say. We deduce from all this a great truth . If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue.. This everything that tends to excite love of country. Let France. genius for wit. to elevate souls. if you had only to steer the ship of the Republic through calm waters. to awaken enjoyment for petty things and scorn for great ones. absolve providence from the long reign of crime and tyranny. truth for glamour. and happy. because the first care of the legislator ought to be to fortify the principle of the government. Now. the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people's enemies by terror. Since the soul of the Republic is virtue. it follows that love of country necessarily embraces the love of equality… But the French are the first people of the world who have established real democracy. keep the promises of philosophy. to direct the passions of the human heart toward the public interest. the consolation of the oppressed the ornament of the world . because an aristocracy is no closer than a monarchy to being a republic. eclipsing the glory of all the free peoples who have existed. There are important consequences to be drawn immediately from the principles we have just explained. But as the essence of the republic or of democracy is equality. to consolidate the Republic. grandeur of soul over vanity. and miserable people . what is the fundamental principle of popular or democratic government. the terror of oppressors.and let us. guided by laws which are of their own making..that virtue which is nothing other than the love of the nation and its law. to purify morals. Democracy is a state in which the sovereign people. and by their delegates do all that they cannot do for themselves….that the characteristic of popular government is to be trustful towards the people and severe towards itself.

frightened. confusing the inevitable errors of civic conduct with the calculated errors of perfidy. Let the despot govern his brutalized subjects by terror. but have spread terror among the people by sowing the rumor that all children under ten and all old men over seventy are going to be killed? This rumor was spread particularly through the former province of Brittany and in the departements of the Rhine and the Moselle. with energy and vigilance.virtue. Everything you can do. even the truths which we come here to present this very day. the rigor of the republican government comes from charity. the counterrevolutionaries are not content with burdening religious observances under all the forms that could render them odious. as a despot. above all if you reflect that at the same time you have the tyrants of Europe to combat. as founders of the Republic. It has been said that terror was the mainspring of despotic government. the government's duty would be to seek him out vigorously and give him a dazzling revenge… How frivolous it would be to regard a few victories achieved by patriotism as the end of all our dangers. no doubt. has only covered its tracks with greater skill… You could never have imagined some of the excesses committed by hypocritical counter-revolutionaries in order to blight the cause of the revolution. Therefore.we are told that he even employed that method in selecting a wife. An unresponding ill-will everywhere opposes the operations of the government. Terror is nothing but prompt. to pardon them is barbarity. priests. Glance over our true situation. by the aristocracy. Would you believe that in the regions where superstition has held the greatest sway. a million and two hundred thousand men under arms to maintain. He pushed his delirium to the point of commandeering women for his own use . It is less a special principle than a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most pressing needs. in the name of philosophy. One senses that crime. or with conspirators' criminal attempts. all the injuries which the innumerable multitude of our enemies has prepared for us during the course of five years. inflexible justice. . resemble a despotism? Yes. The government of the revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny. The rigor of tyrants has only rigor for a principle. then. That man's tyrannical follies make everything that has been said of Caligula and Heliogabalus [cruel Roman emperors] credible. But if in all the Republic there existed only one virtuous man persecuted by the enemies of liberty. one cannot doubt it. noble. as the sword which glitters in the hands of liberty's heroes resembles the one with which tyranny's lackeys are armed. The inevitable influence of foreign courts is no less active for being more hidden. It has been exaggerated. Is force made only to protect crime? And is it not to strike the heads of the proud that lightning is destined?… To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency. woe to those who would dare to turn against the people the terror which ought to be felt only by its enemies! Woe to those who. Does your government. they will turn against you. and of the corruption of all the internal enemies of the Republic!… In deceitful hands all the remedies for our ills turn into poisons. a plan of counter-revolution which has only been stopped by the force of public reason? Execrable conception. or the redoubtable arms which liberty has entrusted to him. terror. and you will be right. without which terror is fatal. he is right to do this.… Such an internal situation ought to seem to you worthy of all your attention. It is one of the crimes imputed to [Schneider] the former public prosecutor of the criminal court of Strasbourg. You will become aware that vigilance and energy are more necessary for you than ever. worthy of the genius of foreign courts leagued against liberty. Subdue liberty's enemies by terror. leave the dangerous schemer to pursue the peaceful citizen! Perish the scoundrel who ventures to abuse the sacred name of liberty. in order to bring mourning or death into patriots' hearts! This abuse has existed. Whence came this sudden swarm of foreigners. despite the evidence. intriguer of all kinds. it is therefore an emanation of virtue. without which virtue is impotent. which at the same instant spread over the length and breadth of the Republic. and no less baneful. seeking to execute. everything you can say. one can scarcely believe it. severe. and that the government is obliged continually to repair.

What is the remedy for all these evils? We know no other than the development of that general motive force of the Republic – virtue. It is indeed true that the goal of all our enemies is to dissolve the Convention.… We are beginning a solemn debate upon all the objects of its [the Convention's] anxiety. But the people's representatives can avoid them both. Democracy perishes by two kinds of excess: either the aristocracy of those who govern. to annihilation or to the power of one man. The double task of the moderates and the false revolutionaries is to toss us back and forth perpetually between these two perils. it is sure of the confidence of the people. We adjure it not to permit any particular hidden interest to usurp ascendancy here over the general will of the assembly and the indestructible power of reason. . when it has that character. It is true that the tyrant of Great Britain and his allies promise their parliament and subjects that they will deprive you of your energy and of the public confidence which you have merited. or else the popular scorn for the authorities whom the people themselves have established. because government is always the master at being just and wise. and everything that can influence the progress of the revolution. that is the fist instruction for all their agents. and. each individual take unto himself the public power and bring the people through excessive disorders. scorn which makes each clique.

but assassination remains to them. the French people still lives and will survive all its enemies. You will not make peace. it’s already a spectacle worthy of heaven and Earth to see the Assembly of the people’s representatives placed upon the inexhaustible volcano of conspiracies bring to the feet of the Eternal Author of all things the homage of a great people with one hand. The Convention punished their accomplices and rose triumphant on the ruins of factions and under the aegis of the French people. They hoped to exterminate the national representation by bribed revolt. justice and nature among mortals. and they so counted on the success of this attack that they didn’t blush to announce it in advance to the wrath of Europe and to confess it in the English parliament. They thought they could overwhelm us by the efforts of their sacrilegious league. their artillery falls into our power. This project failed. Hebert and Danton would emerge triumphant to deliver you a second time to discord. they were wrong. 1794) Translated: for marxists. and especially by treason. their satellites flee before us. Nevertheless. What resource then remains to them? Assassination. They sought to dissolve the National Convention by degradation and corruption. This approaching prospect offered itself to the sight of the frightened tyrants. the National Convention. and they decided with their accomplices that the time had come to assassinate us. it was enough to assassinate those to whom you have especially confided the care of overseeing the salvation of the republic. Speech given from the tribune of the Convention 7 Prairial.org by Mitch Abidor. if they believed that in throwing us into the tomb the spirits of Brissot. all the factions that rely upon their power in order to destroy our freedom. to the empire of factions and to the mercy of traitors. already presents it abundance. Subsistence was assured. you would either complete your sublime enterprise or share our fate. and nature. we. What remains to them? Assassination. that in order to destroy your energy. found the first republic in the world and recall exiled freedom. but you will give it to the world. Without a doubt they are not foolish enough to believe that the death of a few representatives can assure their triumph. When we will have fallen under their blows. CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists. there is not one Frenchmen who would not want to stand over our bloody corpses to swear to exterminate the last of the enemies of the people. in fact. with the lives and the wrath of tyrants gathered against it. Or rather. The traitors tremble or perish.org 2004. Citizens: It would be a beautiful subject for conversation for posterity. their impious delirium attests both to their hope and their despair. for if they attack you now en masse and now individually you still recognize the same plan and the same enemies. If they believed. . that is. all of the tyrants armed against the French people! They will perish. and. with the other. faithful to Liberty. They once hoped to succeed in starving the French people. But assassination remains to them. or to change your principles. taking it from the hands of crime.On the Enemies of the Nation. They will perish. Year II (May 26.

I only hold to fleeting life by the love of the fatherland and the thirst for justice and. our debt to the fatherland. and France itself will furnish you soldiers to execute these noble exploits. it is thus that living a long time doesn’t enter into our calculations. atheism. the more independent they are of men’s evil.” And I was not in the least astonished to see my prophecy realized. treason. Yes. Assassination remains to them. We proclaimed the divinity and the immortality of the soul. we pay. for the more uncertain and precarious are the lives of the defenders of the fatherland. England. I myself find that the situation in which the enemies of the republic have placed me is not without its advantages.They attempted to deprave public morality and to extinguish the generous sentiments of which the love of freedom and of the fatherland are composed by banishing from the republic good sense. if we put down factions. separated more than ever from any personal considerations. assassinations. and the vigilance of the people’s representatives is more than ever necessary. Italy. and we recognize that it is worthy of your august prudence. famine. We have nothing to envy our brave brothers in arms. poisoning. no matter what lack of seriousness with its lack of foresight might think. if we unmask the traitors. it is easier to take our lives than to triumph over our principles and our armies. Oh kings and valets of kings! It is not we who will complain of the kind of war you make. we commanded virtue in the name of the republic. At least I will leave a testament whose reading will make tyrants and their accomplices tremble. I will tell what the salvation of my fatherland and the triumph of freedom depend upon. Germany. We thus have glorious dangers to run! The city offers as many such dangers as the battlefield. arson. In fact. When the powers of the earth league together to kill a feeble individual he must not insist on living. . in more than one way. I will leave to time the task of lifting the veil that covers them. and I will restrict myself to recalling those truths that alone can save this Republic. whatever perfidious counter-revolutionaries might say! The destiny of the republic is not yet fixed. If the same perfidious ones who guide the rage of the assassins aren’t yet visible to all eyes. They were lavish with these crimes: assassination and yet more assassination still remain to them. corruption. virtue and divinity. on all crimes. Finally. I will perhaps reveal redoubtable secrets that a pusillanimous prudence would have pushed me to hide. Surrounded by assassins I have already put myself in the new order of things where they want to send me. It’s not in order to live that we declare war on all tyrants and. The more they hurry to terminate my career down here. what is even more dangerous. they will assassinate us. I find myself better disposed to attack with energy the villains who conspire against us and humankind. What man on earth has ever defended the rights of humanity with impunity? A few months ago I said to my colleagues on the Committee of Public Safety: “If the armies of the Republic are victorious. Let us then rejoice and give thanks to heaven since we have so well served our country as to have been judged worthy of the daggers of tyranny. slander. the more I hasten to fulfill those actions useful to the happiness of my like.

who corrupt public morals: it was the march of the conspirators who fell under the mailed fist of the law. freedom would be lost. This a truth that applies to peoples as well as individuals. artificial people who show themselves everywhere. Perverse beings managed to throw the Republic and human reason into chaos. They are the successors of Brissot. of foreigners. The laws are to be made. The other is a mass of the ambitious and intriguers. who abuse the learning that the advantages of the ancien regime gave them in order to fool public opinion. Your concert and you energy have astonished and defeated Europe. The French people have two guarantors of the possibility of executing this heroic enterprise: the current principles of representation and its own virtues. ambitions and cupidity. the maxims of government to be assured. What is the reason for this? It’s that there are two peoples in France. pure. who grab onto the tribunes and often the public functions. passions. it is the wisdom of laws and especially the goodness of mores. of hypocritical counter-revolutionaries who place themselves between the people and their representatives in order to fool the one and slander the other.It is not the pomp of denominations. but it is perhaps unique. those who slander it every day among you by perfidious insinuations. and vice necessarily returns us to tyranny. charlatan. factions. of irascible pride. It’s up to you to deliver it by an imposing energy and an unalterable concert. Victory would fall to the factions and immorality. . not victory. to turn against the public good the most useful laws and the most salutary truths. If France were to be governed for a few months by a corrupted legislature. pride. As long as this impure race exists the Republic will be unhappy and precarious. Far from repressing vices the republic would then only allow them freer expansion. simple thirsting for justice and friends of liberty. If one of these things is missing there is in a state naught but errors. who execute attacks. Attested to by the entire revolution. They are foreign agents. of Danton. who persecute patriotism. If you come to know this as well as your enemies you will easily triumph. and the mores to be regenerated. It’s a matter now of pulling them from this in order to create the harmony of the moral and political worlds. Whoever is not master of himself is made to be the slave of others. nor riches nor fleeting enthusiasm that constitute the republic. those who seek to form against it a dangerous coalition of all the evil passions. In the state of equilibrium in which things are it is easy to consolidate liberty. It’s this people of rogues. and it is easy to lose it. I spoke of the virtue of the people. The one is the mass of citizens. If they were to reign one day the Fatherland would be lost. it is the purity and the stability of the maxims of government. Those who seek to divide us. to block their operations. The moment in which we find ourselves is favorable. it’s the chatting. Do you want to know who are the ambitious? Examine who they are who protect the rogues who encourage counter-revolutionaries. to favor crime is the path to the throne and the scaffold. those who stop the march of the government. of all the interests opposed to the public interest are your enemies and those of the fatherland. To make war on crime is the path to the tomb and to immortality. of Hebert. who hold virtue in contempt. this virtue would not alone suffice to reassure us against the factions who attempt without cease to corrupt and tear apart the republic. It is this virtuous people that spills all its blood to found the republic that is imposing to internal enemies and shakes the thrones of tyrants.

. Accomplish..In saying these things I sharpen daggers against myself. a marvel that monarchical corruption and the experience of the first period of our Revolution barely allowed to be seen as possible: an assembly invested with the strength of the French nation.. worthy of giving to the world the signal of Liberty and the example of all the virtues. we will be worthy of this honor. You will persevere in your principles and in your triumphal march. accomplish your sublime destiny. I saw the French people rise up from degradation and servitude to the heights of Glory and Freedom. and with our blood we will trace the route of immortality. You will put down crime and you will save the fatherland. and it is precisely for this that I say them. and to then enjoy in peace the benedictions of the people and of the fruits of your virtues. I saw a yet more astonishing marvel. devoted to the cause of the people and to the triumph of equality. I have lived long enough. . marching with a rapid and firm step towards public happiness. I saw the chains broken and the guilty thrones that weigh upon the earth near to being overthrown by triumphant hands. Citizens. You have placed us in the vanguard to bear up under the first efforts of the enemies of Liberty.. May you constantly deploy that unquenchable energy which you need to put down the monsters of the universe that conspire against you.