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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Leon Gambetta: To The Delegates From Alsace

Leon Gambetta [1838-1882], French lawyer and statesman, was a man of unusual ability and eloquence. His brilliant defense of a political prisoner of Napoleon III made him famous. He was elected deputy; and when the empire fell, it was Gambetta who proclaimed the third French republic. When the Germans surrounded Paris in 1870, Gambetta escaped in a balloon—a dramatic feat in those days. When peace and order came, he turned over his powers to the new republic. This speech was delivered in 1873.

On receiving from your hands this testimonial of the indissoluble bonds of solidarity which unite to each other the various members of the great French family—for the moment, alas, separated as you say—I know not which feeling touches me more poignantly, the sentiment of gratitude or that of grief.

It is truly terrible to think that it is on the day on which we are negotiating, for a golden price,—hard and necessary results of our defeats the evacuation of our departments,—to think that this lesson, this last exhortation, are given us by you. I feel all the grief which you experience in being obliged to count, to weigh, to postpone your hopes. I realize that you have need, as we have, to tell yourselves that you will not give way to it. I well know that you are right in repeating to yourselves that constancy is one of the qualities of your race. Ah! it is from that very circumstance that our dear Alsace was particularly necessary to French unity. She represented among us, by the side of that mobility and lightness, which, unfortunately, at certain moments mar our national character, she represented, I say, an invincible energy. And on this great pathway of invasion she was always found the first and the last to defend the fatherland!

It is for that reason, that as long as she returns not to the family, we may justly say there is neither a France nor a Europe.

But the hour is serious and full of difficulties, and it is greatly to be feared that if we give ear only to things which excite our patriotism and to bitter remembrances which recall us to impossible struggles, to the sentiment of our isolation in the world, to the memory of the weaknesses which have overwhelmed us—we shall go to some extreme, and compromise a cause which we might better serve.

Yes, in our present meeting, what ought to be reported and repeated to the constituents who have chosen me—who have saluted in me, the last one to protest, and to defend their rights and their honor,—is by no means a word of excitement or enthusiasm, but rather a message of resignation, albeit of active resignation.

We must take account of the state of France, we must look it squarely in the face. At the present hour the Republic, which you associate and always have associated not only with the defense of the fatherland, but also with her upraising and regeneration, the Republic, I say, claims the allegiance of some from necessity, of others from interest, and, of the generality of sensible people, from sentiments of patriotism.

To-day, under the stress of events and the great struggles of which we have been the victims, France has learned—so, at least, we may believe from recent and decisive manifestations—that the Republic is henceforward to be regarded as the common pledge of the rebirth of our nation’s material and moral forces.

This great result could only have been obtained by means of reserve and prudence. The Republic could gain intellectual assent, conciliate interests, make progress in the general conscience, only by means of moderation among republicans, by proving to the majority of the indifferent, that only in this way is the spirit of order, of civil peace, and of progress peacefully and rationally to be obtained.

This demonstration is now merely commencing. We must follow it up, continue it. Especially must tardy convictions be made absolute. These have assisted us for some time, but in their turn may confirm the convictions of others, on which we have not counted, and which, gradually, under the influence of a continuous republican agitation, are transformed and enlarged, and become the general convictions of all.

We are favored by the circumstances of the hour. I do not mean that we ought to count on this to do everything, but we must take account of the fact and use it to solicit from all the spirit of concord, the spirit of union, and above all, the spirit of resignation and sacrifice. Ah! it is indeed cruel to ask of these brothers, harshly abandoned, the spirit of sacrifice and resignation, and yet it is of these that we make the supreme demand that they will not harass the country in her travail of reconstruction. And just as yours has been the section in which the greatest numbers have taken arms for the national defense, just as you have given your children and your gold, just as you have borne for the longest period, bullets, fire, bombs, and the exactions of the enemy, so during this unhappy peace you must give to France the example of a population able to preserve its sentiments without rushing to extremes, without provoking an intervention.

Ah! how strongly those who struggled felt that there was no other resource, and no other honor for France, than to make the flag of the Republic the flag of the nation. There was something in this spectacle to urge us to retire within ourselves and to seek by starting fresh, by yielding to a new impulse, to impress the French mind, whatever the true means of restoring our moral and scientific greatness, financial probity, and military strength. And when we have in all the work-yards of construction rebuilt France piece by piece, do you believe that this will be ignored by Europe, and that nations will fail to think twice before approving and ratifying the outrageous gospel of force? Do you believe that that barbarous and Gothic axiom that might makes right will remain inscribed in the annals of international law? No! No!

If an ill-omened silence has greeted such a theory, it is because France was cast down. But there is not another country in Europe that does not think France should renew herself. They are not thinking of assisting her—they have not arrived at that—to that position our best wishers and those who sympathize with us the most desire for her. We have not received, and we shall not for a long time receive, either aid or cooperation, but the sentiment of the neighboring nations is plainly seen. They feel that the storm may not have spent all its strength on us, and that it may visit other countries and strike other peoples. The sentiment of general self-preservation is springing up. They are looking from France, and they see the occidental world empty.

Let us show our strength to those who are examining our morality, our internal power, and avoid displaying, as we have till now too often done, the spectacle of dynastic quarrels or dissension about chimeras.

Let us give this pledge to Europe, that we have no other aim than to take all the time necessary to arrive at that moral and material position where there is no need of drawing the sword, where people yield to right all that is her due, because they feel that there is force behind.

But let us neither be unduly elated, nor depressed by discouragement.

Let us take to the letter—and this is a reflection that you will permit me to make in the presence of this bronze group which you have been so good as to offer me—let us take to the letter the thought which has animated the artist and the patriot. As this mother, who, extending her hand over the body of her fallen son, and feeling her bosom pressed by her babe, as yet too feeble to bear arms, counts only on the future, let us take the only course worthy of people truly animated by a wise and steadfast purpose. Let us not talk of revenge or speak rash words. Let us collect ourselves. Let us ever work to acquire that quality which we lack, that quality of which you have so admirably spoken—patience that nothing discourages, tenacity which wears out even time itself.

Then, gentlemen, when we have undergone this necessary renovation, time enough will have passed to bring about changes in the world around us. For this world which surrounds us is not, even now, in a very enviable situation. The din of arms, because it has ceased in France, has not ceased elsewhere.

One need not travel very far among his neighbors to perceive that on all sides preparations are being made, that the match is lighted. The only activity that prevails amid the operations of governments is military activity.

I do not say that from this we should draw delusive inferences. We should simply understand that the true program for every good Frenchman is, above all, to discipline himself at home, to devote himself to making of each citizen a soldier, and, if it be possible, an educated man, and leaving the rest to come to us in the process of our national growth.

Our enemies have given us examples on this point, which you know better than we do. For you, dwelling just on the frontiers, between them and us, have derived from intercourse with them a greater intellectual culture, have learnt the application of scientific ideas to promote the interests of practical life, at the same time that you still possess that fire, that energy, that vigor, which are characteristic of the French race.

It is with you and like you that we wish to labor, without letting ourselves be turned from our end by monarchical conspiracies. You can repeat to your brothers of Alsace that there is nothing to be feared from that quarter. That fear would be of a nature singularly alarming to your patriotic hopes. And again I say, gentlemen, now that sophists on all sides are declaring that if we remain a Republic we shall lack alliances outside and that we shall find no cooperation nor aid in the governments of Europe, again I say that if there be a régime, a system of government which has above all a horror of the spirit of conquest and annexation, it is the Republican. Any other political combination than the Republic would lead to civil war and foreign occupation. And we should have but one passion, one aim—to get rid of that. We ought to repeat the cry of Italy, “Out with the foreigners!”

Be persuaded, be sure, that under a government which is resolved to follow a truly national policy you can wait and need never despair.

As for me, you know the sentiments I have avowed to you; you know how completely I am yours. I have no other ambition than to remain faithful to the charge you have given me, and which I shall consider as the law and honor of my life.

Let those among you, gentlemen, who have the sorrowful honor of rejoining your compatriots of Alsace, say that after I had seen you I could not find in my heart a single word which would express, as I would have it do, the profound gratitude that I feel toward you.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Louis Kossuth: America’s Welcome

On his arrival in New York City in 1851 as a political exile, Louis Kossuth [1802-1894], Hungarian patriot and revolutionary leader, delivered this fervent and eloquent tribute to the people of the United States.

Let me, before I go to work, have some hours of rest upon this soil of freedom, your happy home. Freedom and home; what heavenly music in those two words! Alas! I have no home, and the freedom of my people is downtrodden. Young Giant of free America, do not tell me that thy shores are an asylum to the oppressed and a home to the homeless exile. An asylum it is; but all the blessings of your glorious country, can they drown into oblivion the longing of the heart and the fond desires for our native land? My beloved native land! thy very sufferings make thee but dearer to my heart; thy bleeding image dwells with me when I wake, as it rests with me in the short moments of my restless sleep. It has accompanied me over the waves. It will accompany me when I go back to fight over again the battle of thy freedom once more. I have no idea but thee; I have no feeling but thee.

Even here, with this prodigious view of greatness, freedom, and happiness which spreads before my astonished eyes, my thoughts are wandering toward home; and when I look over these thousands of thousands before me, the happy inheritance of yonder freedom for which your fathers fought and bled—and when I turn to you, citizens, to bow before the majesty of the United States, and to thank the people of New York for their generous share in my liberation, and for the unparalleled honor of this reception—I see, out of the very midst of this great assemblage, rise the bleeding image of Hungary, looking to you with anxiety, whether there be in the luster of your eyes a ray of hope for her; whether there be in the thunder of your huzzas a trumpet-call of resurrection. If there were no such ray of hope in your eyes, and no such trumpet-call in your cheers, then woe to Europe’s oppressed nations. They will stand alone in the hour of need. Less fortunate than you were, they will meet no brother’s hand to help them in the approaching giant struggle against the leagued despots of the world; and woe, also, to me. I will feel no joy even here; and the days of my stay here will turn out to be lost to my fatherland— lost at the very time when every moment is teeming in the decision of Europe’s destiny.

Gentlemen, I have to thank the people, Congress, and government of the United States for my liberation from captivity. Human tongue has no words to express the bliss which I felt, when I—the downtrodden Hungary’s wandering chief—saw the glorious flag of the Stripes and Stars fluttering over my head—when I first bowed before it with deep respect—when I saw around me the gallant officers and the crew of the Mississippi frigate—the most of them the worthiest representatives of true American principles, American greatness, American generosity—and to think that it was not a mere chance which cast the Star-spangled Banner around me, but that it was your protecting will—to know that the United States of America, conscious of their glorious calling, as well as of their power, declared, by this unparalleled act, to be resolved to become the protectors of human rights—to see a powerful vessel of America coming to far Asia to break the chains by which the mightiest despots of Europe fettered the activity of an exiled Magyar, whose very name disturbed the proud security of their sleep—to feel restored by such a protection, and, in such a way, to freedom, and by freedom to activity; you may be well aware of what I have felt, and still feel, at the remembrance of this proud moment of my life. Others spoke—you acted; and I was free! You acted; and at this act of yours, tyrants trembled; humanity shouted out with joy; the downtrodden people of Magyars—the downtrodden, but not broken—raised their heads with resolution and with hope, and the brilliancy of your Stars was greeted by Europe’s oppressed nations as the morning star of rising liberty. Now, gentlemen, you must be aware how boundless the gratitude must be which I feel for you.

Humble as I am, God, the Almighty, has selected me to represent the cause of humanity before you. My warrant to this capacity is written in the sympathy and confidence of all who are oppressed, and of all who, as your elder brother, the people of Britain, sympathize with the oppressed—my warrant to this capacity is written in the hopes and expectations you have entitled the world to entertain, by liberating me out of my prison, and by restoring me to activity. But it has pleased the Almighty to make out of my humble self yet another opportunity for a thing which may prove a happy turning-point in the destinies of the world. I bring you a brotherly greeting from the people of Great Britain. I speak not in official character, imparted by diplomacy, whose secrecy is the curse of the world, but I am the harbinger of the public spirit of the people, which has the right to impart a direction to its government, and which I witnessed, pronouncing itself in the most decided manner, openly—that the people of England, united to you with enlightened brotherly love, as it is united in blood—conscious of your strength, as it is conscious of its own, has forever abandoned every sentiment of irritation and rivalry, and desires the brotherly alliance of the United States to secure to every nation the sovereign right to dispose of itself, and to protect the sovereign right of nations against the encroaching arrogance of despots; and leagued to you against the league of despots, to stand together, with you, godfather to the approaching baptism of European liberty.

I came not to your glorious shores to enjoy a happy rest—I came not with the intention to gather triumphs of personal distinction, but because a humble petitioner, in my country’s name, as its freely chosen constitutional chief, humbly to entreat your generous aid; and then it is to this aim that I will devote every moment of my time, with the more assiduity, with the more restlessness, as every moment may bring a report of events which may call me to hasten to my place on the battle-field, where the great, and I hope, the last battle will be fought between liberty and despotism—a moment marked by the finger of God to be so near that every hour of delay of your generous aid may prove fatally disastrous to oppressed humanity. And, thus having stated my position to be that of a humble petitioner in the name of my oppressed country, let me respect­fully ask: Do you not regret to have bestowed upon me the high honor of this glorious reception, unparalleled in history?

I say unparalleled in history, though I know that your fathers have welcomed Lafayette in a similar way; but Lafayette had mighty claims to your country’s gratitude. He had fought in your ranks for your freedom and independence; and, what was still more, in the hour of your need he was the link of your friendly connection with France—a connection the results of which were two French fleets of more than thirty-eight men-of-war and three thousand gallant men, who fought side by side with you against Cornwallis, before Yorktown; the precious gift of twenty-four thousand muskets; a loan of nineteen millions of dollars; and even the preliminary treaties of your glorious peace negotiated at Paris by your immortal Franklin. I hope the people of the United States, now itself in the happy condition to aid those who are in need of aid, as itself was once in need, will kindly remember these facts; and you, citizens of New York, you will yourselves become the Lafayettes of Hungary. Lafayette had great claims to your love and sympathy, but I have none. I came a humble petitioner, with no other claims than those which the oppressed have to the sympathy of freemen who have the power to help, with the claim which the unfortunate has to the happy, and the downtrodden has to the protection of eternal justice and of human rights. In a word, I have no other claims than those which the oppressed principle of freedom has to the aid of victorious liberty.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cavour: Rome and Italy

Count Camillo Benso di Cavour [1810-1861], “the regenerator of Italy,” was for many years Premier of his country. Under his leadership the cause of Italian unity was greatly advanced, the clerical question was settled and the first Italian parliament established. The following speech was made in 1861, and appears here in abridged form.

Rome should be the capital of Italy. There can be no solution of the Roman question without the acceptance of this premise by Italy and by all Europe. If any one could conceive of a united Italy with any degree of stability, and without Rome for its capital, I would declare the Roman question difficult, if not impossible, of solution. And why have we the right, the duty, of insisting that Rome shall be united to Italy? Because without Rome as the capital of Italy, Italy cannot exist.

But here begin the difficulties of the problem. We must go to Rome, but there are two conditions: We must go there in concert with France, otherwise the union of Rome with the rest of Italy will be interpreted by the great mass of Catholics, within Italy and without, as the signal of the slavery of the church. We must go, therefore, to Rome in such a way that the true independence of the pontiff will not be diminished. We must go to Rome, but the civil power must not extend to spiritual things. These are the two conditions that must be fulfilled if this united Italy is to exist.

As to the first, it would be folly, in the present condition of affairs in Europe, to think of going to Rome in the face of the opposition of France. Yet more: even if, through events which I believe improbable and impossible, France were reduced to a condition which forbade material interference with our actions, we should none the less avoid uniting Rome to the rest of Italy, if, by so doing, we caused loss to our allies.

We have contracted a great debt toward France. I do not claim that the narrow moral code which affects individual actions should be applied ad literam to international relations. Still there are certain moral principles which even nations may not violate with impunity.

I know that many diplomats profess contrary views. I remember hearing a famous Austrian statesman applauded a few years ago when he laugh­ingly declared that in a short time Austria would astound Europe by her ingratitude to Russia. As a matter of fact, Austria kept her word; you already know, and if you do not I can testify to the fact, that at the Congress of Paris no power showed more hostility to Russia or tried harder to aggravate the conditions of peace than Austria, whose sword had done nothing toward imposing peace upon her old ally. But, gentlemen, the violation of that great moral principle did not go unpunished. After a few years Russia had her revenge; and we should be glad of it, for I do not hesitate to attribute to the unforgotten ingratitude of Austria the facility with which friendly relations were established between Russia and ourselves, relations now unfortunately interrupted, but, I hope, with­out changing the feelings of Russia for Italy, and without any alteration of the sympathy for us which has always dwelt in the bosom of the Czar.

Gentlemen, we have an even graver motive for cooperating with France. When, in 1859, we invoked French aid, when the emperor consented to descend into Italy at the head of his legions, he made no secret of his pledges to the court of Rome. We accepted his aid without protest against those pledges. Now, after reaping such advantages from that alliance, we can protest against the pledges only to a certain point. But then, you will object, the solution of the Roman question is impossible!

I answer: If the second of our conditions is fulfilled, the first will offer few obstacles. That is, if we can so act that the reunion of Rome to Italy does not cause alarm to Catholic society. By Catholic society I mean the great mass of people who profess religious belief from conviction and not for political ends, and who are free from vulgar prejudices. If, I say, we can persuade the great mass of Catholics that the uniting of Rome to Italy can be accomplished without sacrificing the liberty of the church, the problem will, I think, be solved.

We must not deceive ourselves; there are many who, while not prejudiced against Italy nor against liberal ideas, yet fear that, if Rome were united to Italy, the seat of Italian government established there and the king seated in the Quirinal, the pontiff would lose both dignity and independence; they fear that the pope, instead of being the head of Catholicism, would be reduced to the rank of grand almoner or head chaplain.

If these fears were well founded, if the fall of the temporal power would really have this consequence, I would not hesitate to say that the union of Rome to the Italian state would be fatal not only to Catholicism, but to the existence of Italy itself. Yet further, I can imagine no greater misfortune for a cultured people than to see in the hands of its rulers not only the civil, but also the religious power.

The history of centuries proves to us that wherever this union was consummated civilization immediately ceased to advance and, therefore, necessarily began to retrograde; the most detestable of despotisms fol­lowed, and this whether a caste of priests usurped the temporal power, or a caliph or sultan seized control of things spiritual. Everywhere this fatal union has produced the same result; God forbid that it should ever be so here! ...

When these doctrines have received the solemn sanction of the national parliament, when it will be no longer lawful to doubt the feelings of Italians, when it is clear to the world that they are not hostile to the religion of their fathers, but wish to preserve this religion in their country, when it is no longer necessary to show them how to prosper and to develop their resources by combating a power which was an obstacle, not only to the reorganization of Italy but also to the spread of Catholicity, I believe that the greater part of Catholic society will absolve the Italians, and will place where it belongs the responsibility of the fatal struggle which the pope insists upon waging against the country in whose midst he lives.

But God avert this fatal chance! At the risk of being considered utopian, I believe that when the proclamation of the principles which I have just declared, and when the indorsement of them that you will give, are known and considered at Rome and in the Vatican, I believe, I say, that those Italian fibers which the reactionary party has, as yet, been unable to remove from the heart of Pius IX. will again vibrate, and there will be accomplished the greatest act that any people have yet performed. And so it will be given to the same generation to have restored a nation, and to have done what is yet greater, yet more sublime, an act of which the influence is incalculable, that is, to have reconciled the papacy with the civil power, to have made peace between church and state, between the spirit of religion and the great principles of liberty. Yes, I hope that it will be given us to compass these two great acts, which will most assuredly carry to the most distant posterity the worthiness of the present generation of Italians.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Giuseppe Garibaldi: To His Soldiers

This eloquent appeal to his soldiers was made, in 1860, by Giuseppe Garibaldi, celebrated Italian patriot, who fought the Austrians for the liberation and unification of Italy.

We must now consider the period which is just drawing to a close as almost the last stage of our national resurrection, and prepare ourselves to finish worthily the marvelous design of the elect of twenty generations, the completion of which Providence has reserved for this fortunate age.

Yes, young men, Italy owes to you an undertaking which has merited the applause of the universe. You have conquered and you will conquer still, because you are prepared for the tactics that decide the fate of battles. You are not unworthy the men who entered the ranks of a Macedonian phalanx, and who contended not in vain with the proud conquerors of Asia. To this wonderful page in our country’s history another more glorious still will be added, and the slave shall show at last to his free brothers a sharpened sword forged from the links of his fetters.

To arms, then, all of you! all of you! And the oppressors and the mighty shall disappear like dust. You, too, women, cast away all the cowards from your embraces; they will give you only cowards for children, and you who are the daughters of the land of beauty must bear children who are noble and brave. Let timid doctrinaires depart from among us to carry their servility and their miserable fears elsewhere. This people is its own master. It wishes to be the brother of other peoples, but to look on the insolent with a proud glance, not to grovel before them imploring its own freedom. It will no longer follow in the trail of men whose hearts are foul. No! No! No!

Providence has presented Italy with Victor Emmanuel. Every Italian should rally round him. By the side of Victor Emmanuel every quarrel should be forgotten, all rancor depart. Once more I repeat my battle-cry: “To arms, all—all of you!” If March, 1861, does not find one million of Italians in arms, then alas for liberty, alas for the life of Italy. Ah, no, far be from me a thought which I loathe like poison. March of 1861, or if need be February, will find us all at our post—Italians of Calatafimi, Palermo, Ancona, the Volturno, Castelfidardo, and Isernia, and with us every man of this land who is not a coward or a slave. Let all of us rally round the glorious hero of Palestro and give the last blow to the crumbling edifice of tyranny. Receive, then, my gallant young volunteers, at the honored conclusion of ten battles, one word of farewell from me.

I utter this word with deepest affection and from the very bottom of my heart. To-day I am obliged to retire, but for a few days only. The hour of battle will find me with you again, by the side of the champions of Italian liberty. Let those only return to their homes who are called by the imperative duties which they owe to their families, and those who by their glorious wounds have deserved the credit of their country. These, indeed, will serve Italy in their homes by their counsel, by the very aspect of the scars which adorn their youthful brows. Apart from these, let all others remain to guard our glorious banners. We shall meet again before long to march together to the redemption of our brothers who are still slaves of the stranger. We shall meet again before long to march to new triumphs.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Giuseppe Mazzini: To The Young Men Of Italy

One of Italy’s greatest sons was Giuseppe Mazzini [1805-1872], who devoted his life to the achievement of the freedom and union of his country under a republican form of government. Here is part of a fervent address made by Mazzini at Milan, in 1848, in memory of two young Italian patriots, executed by the Austrian oppressors.

When I was commissioned by you, young men, to proffer in this temple a few words sacred to the memory of the brothers Bandiera and their fellow martyrs at Cosenza, I thought that some of those who heard me might exclaim with noble indignation: “Wherefore lament over the dead? The martyrs of liberty are only worthily honored by winning the battle they have begun; Cosenza, the land where they fell, is enslaved; Venice, the city of their birth, is begirt by foreign foes. Let us emancipate them, and until that moment let no words pass our lips save words of war.” But another thought arose: “Why have we not conquered? Why is it that, while we are fighting for independence in the north of Italy, liberty is perishing in the south? Why is it that a war, which should have sprung to the Alps with the bound of a lion, has dragged itself along for four months, with the slow uncertain motion of the scorpion surrounded by a circle of fire? How has the rapid and powerful intuition of a people newly arisen to life been converted into the weary, helpless effort of the sick man turning from side to side? Ah! had we all arisen in the sanctity of the idea for which our martyrs died; had the holy standard of their faith preceded our youth to battle; had we reached that unity of life which was in them so powerful, and made of our every action a thought, and of our every thought an action; had we devoutly gathered up their last words in our hearts, and learned from them that liberty and independence are one; that God and the people, the fatherland and humanity, are the two inseparable terms of the device of every people striving to become a nation; that Italy can have no true life till she be one, holy in the equality and love of all her children, great in the worship of eternal truth, and consecrated to a lofty mission, a moral priesthood among the peoples of Europe—we should now have had, not war, but victory; Cosenza would not be compelled to venerate the memory of her martyrs in secret, nor Venice be restrained from honoring them with a monument; and we, gathered here together, might gladly invoke their sacred names, without uncertainty as to our future destiny, or a cloud of sadness on our brows, and say to those precursor souls: ‘Rejoice! for your spirit is incarnate in your brethren, and they are worthy of you.’ ” The idea which they worshiped, young men, does not as yet shine forth in its full purity and integrity upon your banner. The sublime program which they, dying, bequeathed to the rising Italian generation, is yours; but mutilated, broken up into fragments by the false doctrines, which, elsewhere overthrown, have taken refuge amongst us. I look around, and I see the struggles of desperate populations, an alternation of generous rage and of unworthy repose; of shouts for freedom and of formulae of servitude, throughout all parts of our peninsula; but the soul of the country, where is it? What unity is there in this unequal and manifold movement—where is the word that should dominate the hundred diverse and opposing counsels which mislead or seduce the multitude? I hear phrases usurping the national omnipotence—“the Italy of the north—the league of the states—federative compacts between princes,”—but Italy, where is it? Where is the common country, the country which the Bandiera hailed as thrice initiatrix of a new era of European civilization?

Intoxicated with our first victories, improvident for the future, we forgot the idea revealed by God to those who suffered; and God has punished our forgetfulness by deferring our triumph. The Italian movement, my countrymen, is, by decree of Providence, that of Europe. We arise to give a pledge of moral progress to the European world. But neither political fictions, nor dynastic aggrandizements, nor theories of expediency, can transform or renovate the life of the peoples. Humanity lives and moves through faith; great principles are the guiding stars that lead Europe towards the future. Let us turn to the graves of our martyrs, and ask inspiration of those who died for us all, and we shall find the secret of victory in the adoration of a faith. The angel of martyrdom and the angel of victory are brothers; but the one looks up to heaven, and the other looks down to earth; and it is when, from epoch to epoch, their glances meet between earth and heaven, that creation is embellished with a new life, and a people arises from the cradle or the tomb, evangelist or prophet.

I will sum up for you in a few words this faith of our martyrs; their external life is known to you all; it is now a matter of history and I need not recall it to you.

The faith of the brothers Bandiera, which was and is our own, was based upon a few simple uncontrovertible truths, which few, indeed, venture to declare false, but which are nevertheless forgotten or betrayed by most:—

God and the People.

God at the summit of the social edifice; the people, the universality of our brethren, at the base. God, the Father and Educator; the people, the progressive interpreter of his law.

No true society can exist without a common belief and a common aim. Religion declares the belief and the aim. Politics regulate society in the practical realization of that belief, and prepare the means of attaining that aim. Religion represents the principle, politics the application. There is but one sun in heaven for all the earth. There is one law for all those who people the earth. It is alike the law of the human being and of collective humanity. We are placed here below, not for the capricious exercise of our own individual faculties,—our faculties and liberty are the means, not the end,—not to work out our own happiness upon earth; happiness can only be reached elsewhere, and there God works for us; but to consecrate our existence to the discovery of a portion of the Divine law; to practice it as far as our individual circumstances and powers allow, and to diffuse the knowledge and love of it among our brethren.

We are here below to labor fraternally to build up the unity of the human family, so that the day may come when it shall represent a single sheepfold with a single shepherd,—the spirit of God, the Law.

To aid our search after truth, God has given to us tradition and the voice of our own conscience. Wherever they are opposed, is error. To attain harmony and consistence between the conscience of the individual and the conscience of humanity, no sacrifice is too great. The family, the city, the fatherland, and humanity, are but different spheres in which to exercise our activity and our power of sacrifice towards this great aim. God watches from above the inevitable progress of humanity, and from time to time he raises up the great in genius, in love, in thought, or in action, as priests of His truth, and guides to the multitude on their way.

These principles,—indicated in their letters, in their proclamations, and in their conversation,—with a profound sense of the mission intrusted by God to the individual and to humanity, were to Attilio and Emilio Bandiera and their fellow martyrs the guide and comfort of a weary life; and, when men and circumstances had alike betrayed them, these principles sustained them in death, in religious serenity and calm certainty of the realization of their immortal hopes for the future of Italy. The immense energy of their souls arose from the intense love which informed their faith. And could they now arise from the grave and speak to you, they would, believe me, address you, though with a power very different from that which is given to me, in counsel not unlike this which I now offer to you.

Love! love is the flight of the soul towards God; towards the great, the sublime, and the beautiful, which are the shadow of God upon earth. Love your family, the partner of your life, those around you ready to share your joys and sorrows; love the dead who were dear to you and to whom you were dear. But let your love be the love taught you by Dante and by us—the love of souls that aspire together; do not grovel on the earth in search of a felicity which it is not the destiny of the creature to reach here below; do not yield to a delusion which inevitably would degrade you into egotism. To love is to give and take a promise for the future. God has given us love, that the weary soul may give and receive support upon the way of life. It is a flower springing up on the path of duty; but it cannot change its course. Purify, strengthen, and improve yourselves by loving. Act always—even at the price of increasing her earthly trials—so that the sister soul united to your own may never need, here or elsewhere, to blush through you or for you. The time will come when, from the height of a new life, embracing the whole past and comprehending its secret, you will smile together at the sorrows you have endured, the trials you have overcome.

Love your country. Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you, that by striving to perfect yourselves therein, you may prepare to ascend to Him. It is your name, your glory, your sign among the people. Give to it your thoughts, your counsels, your blood. Raise it up, great and beautiful as it was foretold by our great men, and see that you leave it uncontaminated by any trace of falsehood or of servitude; unpro­faned by dismemberment. Let it be one, as the thought of God. You are twenty-five millions of men, endowed with active, splendid faculties; possessing a tradition of glory the envy of the nations of Europe. An immense future is before you; you lift your eyes to the loveliest heaven, and around you smiles the loveliest land in Europe; you are encircled by the Alps and the sea, boundaries traced out by the finger of God for a people of giants—you are bound to be such, or nothing. Let not a man of that twenty-five millions remain excluded from the fraternal bond destined to join you together; let not a glance be raised to that heaven which is not the glance of a free man. Let Rome be the ark of your redemption, the temple of your nation. Has she not twice been the temple of the destinies of Europe? In Rome two extinct worlds, the Pagan and the Papal, are superposed like the double jewels of a diadem; draw from these a third world greater than the two. From Rome, the holy city, the city of love (Amor), the purest and wisest among you, elected by the vote and fortified by the inspiration of a whole people, shall dictate the pact that shall make us one, and represent us in the future alliance of the peoples. Until then you will either have no country or have her contaminated or profaned.

Love humanity. You can only ascertain your own mission from the aim set by God before humanity at large. God has given you your country as cradle, and humanity as mother; you cannot rightly love your brethren of the cradle if you love not the common mother. Beyond the Alps, beyond the sea, are other peoples now fighting or preparing to fight the holy fight of independence, of nationality, of liberty; other peoples striving by different routes to reach the same goal—improvement, association, and the foundation of an authority which shall put an end to moral anarchy and re-link earth to heaven; an authority which mankind may love and obey without remorse or shame. Unite with them; they will unite with you. Do not invoke their aid where your single arm will suffice to conquer; but say to them that the hour will shortly sound for a terrible struggle between right and blind force, and that in that hour you will ever be found with those who have raised the same banner as yourselves.

And love, young men, love and venerate the ideal. The ideal is the word of God. High above every country, high above humanity, is the country of the spirit, the city of the soul, in which all are brethren who believe in the inviolability of thought and in the dignity of our immortal soul; and the baptism of this fraternity is martyrdom. From that high sphere spring the principles which alone can redeem the peoples. Arise for the sake of these, and not from impatience of suffering or dread of evil. Anger, pride, ambition, and the desire of material prosperity are arms common alike to the peoples and their oppressors, and even should you conquer with these to-day, you would fall again to-morrow; but principles belong to the peoples alone, and their oppressors can find no arms to oppose them. Adore enthusiasm, the dreams of the virgin soul, and the visions of early youth, for they are a perfume of paradise which the soul retains in issuing from the hands of its Creator. Respect above all things your conscience; have upon your lips the truth implanted by God in your hearts, and, while laboring in harmony, even with those who differ from you, in all that tends to the emancipation of our soil, yet ever bear your own banner erect and boldly promulgate your own faith.

Such words, young men, would the martyrs of Cosenza have spoken, had they been living amongst you; and here, where it may be that, invoked by our love, their holy spirits hover near us, I call upon you to gather them up in your hearts and to make of them a treasure amid the storms that yet threaten you; storms which, with the name of our martyrs on your lips and their faith in your hearts, you will overcome.

God be with you, and bless Italy!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Victor Hugo: Voltaire

On the one hundredth anniversary of Voltaire’s death, Victor Marie Hugo, the famous French author and poet, delivered this eloquent tribute in memory of the great French wit, dramatist and philosopher.

A hundred years to-day a man died. He died immortal. He departed laden with years, laden with works, laden with the most illustrious and the most fearful of responsibilities, the responsibility of the human conscience informed and rectified. He went cursed and blessed, cursed by the past, blessed by the future; and these are the two superb forms of glory. On the death-bed he had, on the one hand, the acclaim of contemporaries and of posterity; on the other, that triumph of hooting and of hate which the implacable past bestows upon those who have combated it. He was more than a man; he was an age. He had exercised a function and fulfilled a mission. He had been evidently chosen for the work which he had done by the Supreme Will, which manifests itself as visibly in the laws of destiny as in the laws of nature.

The eighty-four years which this man lived span the interval between the Monarchy at its apogee and the Revolution at its dawn. When he was born, Louis XIV still reigned; when he died, Louis XVI already wore the crown; so that his cradle saw the last rays of the great throne, and his coffin the first gleams from the great abyss.

Before going further, let us come to an understanding upon the word abyss. There are good abysses: such are the abysses in which evil is engulfed.

Since I have interrupted myself, allow me to complete my thought. No word imprudent or unsound will be pronounced here. We are here to perform an act of civilization. We are here to make affirmation of progress, to pay respect to philosophers for the benefits of philosophy, to bring to the Eighteenth century the testimony of the Nineteenth, to honor magnanimous combatants and good servants, to felicitate the noble effort of people, industry, science, the valiant march in advance, the toil to cement human concord; in one word, to glorify peace, that sublime, universal desire. Peace is the virtue of civilization; war is its crime. We are here, at this grand moment, in this solemn hour, to bow religiously before the moral law, and to say to the world, which hears France, this: There is only one power, conscience in the service of justice; and there is only one glory, genius in the service of truth. That said’ I continue.

Before the Revolution the social structure was this:—

At the base, the people;

Above the people, religion represented by the clergy;

By the side of religion, justice represented by the magistracy.

And, at that period of human society, what was the people? It was ignorance. What was religion? It was intolerance. And what was justice? It was injustice. Am I going too far in my words? Judge.

I will confine myself to the citation of two facts, but decisive.

At Toulouse, October 13, 1761, there was found in the lower story of a house a young man hanged. The crowd gathered, the clergy fulminated, the magistracy investigated. It was a suicide; they made of it an assassination. In what interest? In the interest of religion. And who was accused? The father. He was a Huguenot, and he wished to hinder his son from becoming a Catholic. There was here a moral monstrosity and a material impossibility; no matter! This father had killed his son; this old man had hanged this young man. Justice travailed, and this was the result. In the month of March, 1762, a man with white hair, Jean Calas, was conducted to a public place, stripped naked, stretched upon a wheel, the members bound upon it, the head hanging. Three men are there upon a scaffold, a magistrate named David, charged to superintend the punishment, a priest to hold the crucifix, and the executioner with a bar of iron in his hand. The patient, stupefied and terrible, regards not the priest, and looks at the executioner. The executioner lifts the bar of iron, and breaks one of his arms. The victim groans and swoons. The magistrate comes forward; they make the condemned inhale salts; he returns to life. Then another stroke of the bar; another groan. Calas loses consciousness; they revive him and the executioner begins again; and, as each limb before being broken in two places receives two blows, that makes eight punishments. After the eighth swooning the priest offers him the crucifix to kiss; Calas turns away his head, and the executioner gives him the coup de grâce; that is to say, crushes in his chest with the thick end of the bar of iron. So died Jean Calas.

That lasted two hours. After his death the evidence of the suicide came to light. But an assassination had been committed. By whom? By the judges.

Another fact. After the old man, the young man. Three years later, in 17655 at Abbeville, the day after a night of storm and high wind, there was found upon the pavement of a bridge an old crucifix of worm-eaten wood, which for three centuries had been fastened to the parapet. Who had thrown down this crucifix? Who committed this sacrilege? It is not known. Perhaps a passer-by. Perhaps the wind. Who is the guilty one? The Bishop of Amiens launches a monitoire. Not what a monitoire was: it was an order to all the faithful, on pain of hell, to declare what they knew or believed they knew of such or such a fact; a murderous injunction, when addressed by fanaticism to ignorance. The monitoire of the Bishop of Amiens does its work; the town gossip assumes the character of the crime charged. Justice discovers, or believes it discovers, that on the night when the crucifix was thrown down, two men, two officers, one named La Barre, the other D’Etallonde, passed over the bridge of Abbeville, that they were drunk, and that they sang a guard-room song.

The tribunal was the Seneschalcy of Abbeville. The Seneschalcy of Abbeville was equivalent to the court of the Capitouls of Toulouse. It was not less just. Two orders for arrest were issued. D’Etallonde escaped, La Barre was taken. Him they delivered to judicial examination. He denied having crossed the bridge; he confessed to having sung the song. The Seneschalcy of Abbeville condemned him; he appealed to the Parliament of Paris. He was conducted to Paris; the sentence was found good and confirmed. He was conducted back to Abbeville in chains. I abridge. The monstrous hour arrives. They begin by subjecting the Chevalier de la Barre to the torture ordinary, and extraordinary, to make him reveal his accomplices. Accomplices in what? In having crossed a bridge and sung a song. During the torture one of his knees was broken; his confessor, on hearing the bones crack, fainted away. The next day, June 5, 1766, La Barre was drawn to the great square of Abbeville, where flamed a penitential fire; the sentence was read to La Barre; then they cut off one of his hands, then they tore out his tongue with iron pincers; then, in mercy, his head was cut off and thrown into the fire. So died the Chevalier de la Barre. He was nineteen years of age.

Then, O Voltaire; thou didst utter a cry of horror, and it will be thine eternal glory!

Then didst thou enter upon the appalling trial of the past; thou didst plead, against tyrants and monsters, the cause of the human race, and thou didst gain it. Great man, blessed be thou forever!

The frightful things which I have recalled were accomplished in the midst of a polite society; its life was gay and light; people went and came; they looked neither above nor below themselves; their indifference had become carelessness; graceful poets, Saint Aulaire, Boufflers, Gentil-Bernard, composed pretty verses; the court was all festival; Versailles was brilliant; Paris ignored what was passing; and then it was that, through religious ferocity, the judges made an old man die upon the wheel and the priests tore out a child’s tongue for a song.

In the presence of this society, frivolous and dismal, Voltaire alone, having before his eyes those united forces, the court, the nobility, capital; that unconscious power, the blind multitude; that terrible magistracy, so severe to subjects, so docile to the master, crushing and flattering, kneeling upon the people before the king; that clergy, vile mélange of hypocrisy and fanaticism; Voltaire alone, I repeat, declared war against that coalition of all the social iniquities, against that enormous and terrible world, and he accepted battle with it. And what was his weapon? That which has the lightness of the wind and the power of the thunderbolt—a pen.

With that weapon he fought; with that weapon he conquered.

Let us salute that memory.

Voltaire conquered; Voltaire waged the splendid kind of warfare, the war of one alone against all; that is to say, the grand warfare. The war of thought against matter, the war of reason against prejudice, the war of the just against the unjust, the war for the oppressed against the oppressor, the war of goodness, the war of kindness. He had the tenderness of a woman and the wrath of a hero. He was a great mind and an immense heart.

He conquered the old code and the old dogma. He conquered the feudal lord, the Gothic judge, the Roman priest. He raised the populace to the dignity of people. He taught, pacificated, and civilized. He fought for Sirven and Montbailly, as for Calas and La Barre; he accepted all the menaces, all the outrages, all the persecutions, calumny, and exile. He was indefatigable and immovable. He conquered violence by a smile, despotism by sarcasm, infallibility by irony, obstinacy by perseverance, ignorance by truth.

I have just pronounced the word smile. I pause at it. Smile! It is Voltaire.

Let us say it, pacification is the great side of the philosopher: in Voltaire the equilibrium always reestablishes itself at last. Whatever may be his just wrath, it passes, and the irritated Voltaire always gives place to the Voltaire calmed. Then in that profound eye the smile appears.

That smile is wisdom. That smile, I repeat, is Voltaire. That smile sometimes becomes laughter, but the philosophic sadness tempers it. Toward the strong it is mockery; toward the weak it is a caress. It disquiets the oppressor, and reassures the oppressed. Against the great it is raillery; for the little it is pity. Ah, let us be moved by that smile! It had in it the rays of the dawn. It illuminated the true, the just, the good, and what there is of worthy in the useful. It lighted up the interior of superstitions. Those ugly things it is salutary to see, he has shown. Luminous, that smile was fruitful also. The new society, the desire for equality and concession and that beginning of fraternity which called itself tolerance, reciprocal good-will, the just accord of men and right, reason recognized as the supreme law, the annihilation of prejudices and prescribed opinions, the serenity of souls, the spirit of indulgence and of pardon, harmony, peace—behold what has come from that great smile!

On the day—very near, without any doubt—when the identity of wisdom and clemency will be recognized, when the amnesty will be proclaimed, I affirm it! up there in the stars Voltaire will smile.

Between two servants of humanity, who appeared eighteen hundred years apart, there is a mysterious relation.

To combat Pharisaism; to unmask imposture; to overthrow tyrannies, usurpations, prejudices, falsehoods, superstitions; to demolish the temple in order to rebuild it, that is to say, to replace the false by the true; to attack a ferocious magistracy, a sanguinary priesthood; to take a whip and drive the money-changers from the sanctuary; to reclaim the heritage of the disinherited; to protect the weak, the poor, the suffering, the overwhelmed, to struggle for the persecuted and oppressed—that was the war of Jesus Christ! And who waged that war? It was Voltaire.

The completion of the evangelical work is the philosophical work; the spirit of mercy began, the spirit of tolerance continued. Let us say it with a sentiment of profound respect: Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. Of that divine tear and that human smile is composed the sweetness of the present civilization.

Did Voltaire always smile? No. He was often indignant. You remarked it in my first words.

Certainly measure, reserve, proportion are reason’s supreme law. We can say that moderation is the very respiration of the philosopher. That effort of the wise man ought to be to condense into a sort of serene certainty all the approximations of which philosophy is composed. But at certain moments the passion for the true rises powerful and violent, and it is within its right in so doing, like the stormy winds which purify. Never, I insist upon it, will any wise man shake those two august supports of social labor, justice and hope; and all will respect the judge if he is embodied justice, and all will venerate the priest if he represents hope. But if the magistracy calls itself torture, if the Church calls itself Inquisition, then Humanity looks them in the face, and says to the judge: I will none of thy law! and says to the priest: I will none of thy dogma! I will none of thy fire upon the earth and thy hell in the future! Then philosophy rises in wrath, and arraigns the judge before justice, and the priest before God!

That is what Voltaire did. It was grand.

What Voltaire was, I have said; what his age was, I am about to say.

Great men rarely come alone; large trees seem larger when they dominate a forest; there they are at home. There was a forest of minds around Voltaire; that forest was the Eighteenth century. Among those minds there were summits, Montesquieu, Buffon, Beaumarchais, and among others, two the highest after Voltaire—Rousseau and Diderot. Those thinkers taught men to reason; reasoning well leads to acting well; justness in the mind becomes justice in the heart. Those toilers for progress labored usefully. Buffon founded naturalism; Beaumarchais discovered, outside of Molière, a kind of comedy till then almost unknown, the social comedy; Montesquieu made in law some excavations so profound that he succeeded in exhuming the right. As to Rousseau, as to Diderot, let us pronounce those two names apart; Diderot, a vast intelligence, inquisitive, a tender heart, athirst for justice, wished to give certain notions as the foundation of true ideas, and created the encyclopedia. Rousseau rendered to woman an admirable service, completing the mother by the nurse, placing near one another those two majesties of the cradle. Rousseau, a writer, eloquent and pathetic, a profound oratorical dreamer, often divined and proclaimed political truth; his ideal borders upon the real; he had the glory of being the first man in France who called himself citizen. The civic fiber vibrates in Rousseau; that which vibrates in Voltaire is the universal fiber. One can say that in the fruitful Eighteenth century, Rousseau represented the people; Voltaire, still more vast, represented Man. Those powerful writers disappeared, but they left us their soul, the Revolution.

Yes, the French Revolution was their soul. It was their radiant manifestation. It came from them; we find them everywhere in that blest and superb catastrophe, which formed the conclusion of the past and the opening of the future. In that clear light, which is peculiar to revolutions, and which beyond causes permits us to perceive effects, and beyond the first plan the second, we see behind Danton, Diderot, behind Robespierre, Rousseau, and behind Mirabeau, Voltaire. These formed those.

To sum up epochs, by giving them the names of men, to name ages, to make of them in some sort human personages, has only been done by three peoples, Greece, Italy, France. We say, the Age of Pericles, the Age of Augustus, the Age of Leo X, the Age of Louis XIV, the Age of Voltaire. These appellations have a great significance. This privilege of giving names to periods belonging exclusively to Greece, to Italy, and to France, is the highest mark of civilization. Until Voltaire, they were the names of the chiefs of states; Voltaire is more than the chief of a state; he is a chief of ideas; with Voltaire a new cycle begins. We feel that henceforth the supreme governmental power is to be thought. Civilization obeyed force; it will obey the ideal. It was the scepter and the sword broken, to be replaced by the ray of light; that is to say, authority transfigured into liberty. Henceforth, no other sovereignty than the law for the people, and the conscience for the individual. For each of us, the two aspects of progress separate themselves clearly, and they are these: to exercise one’s right; that is to say, to be a man; to perform one’s duty; that is to say, to be a citizen.

Such is the signification of that word, the Age of Voltaire; such is the meaning of that august event, the French Revolution.

The two memorable centuries which preceded the Eighteenth, prepared for it; Rabelais warned royalty in “Gargantua,” and Molière warned the Church in “Tartuffe.” Hatred of force and respect for right are visible in those two illustrious spirits.

Whoever says to-day, might makes right, performs an act of the Middle Ages, and speaks to men three hundred years behind their time.

The Nineteenth century glorifies the Eighteenth century. The Eighteenth proposed, the Nineteenth concludes. And my last word will be the declaration, tranquil but inflexible, of progress.

The time has come. The right has found its formula: human federation.

To-day force is called violence, and begins to be judged; war is arraigned. Civilization, upon the complaint of the human race, orders the trial, and draws up the great criminal indictment of conquerors and captains. This witness, History, is summoned. The reality appears. The factitious brilliancy is dissipated. In many cases, the hero is a species of assassin. 1 he peoples begin to comprehend that increasing the magnitude of a crime cannot be its diminution; that, if to kill is a crime, to kill much cannot be an extenuating circumstance; that, if to steal is a shame, to invade cannot be a glory; that Te Deums do not count for much in this matter; that homicide is homicide; that bloodshed is bloodshed; that it serves nothing to call one’s self Cæsar or Napoleon; and that in the eyes of the eternal God, the figure of a murderer is not changed because, instead of a gallows-cap, there is placed upon his head an emperor’s crown.

Ah! let us proclaim absolute truths. Let us dishonor war. No; glorious war does not exist. No; it is not good, and it is not useful, to make corpses. No; it cannot be that life travails for death. No; O mothers who surround me, it cannot be that war, the robber, should continue to take from you your children. No; it cannot be that woman should bear children in pain, that men should be born, that people should plow and sow, that the farmer should fertilize the fields, and the workmen enrich the city, that industry should produce marvels, that genius should produce prodigies, that the vast human activity should in presence of the starry sky, multiply efforts and creations, all to result in that frightful international exposition which is called a field of battle.

The true field of battle, behold it here! It is this rendezvous [at the Exposition, then open] of the masterpieces of human labor which Paris offers the world at this moment. The true victory is the victory of Paris.

Alas! we cannot hide it from ourselves that the present hour, worthy as it is of admiration and respect, has still some mournful aspects; there are still clouds upon the horizon; the tragedy of the peoples is not finished; war, wicked war, is still there, and it has the audacity to lift its head in the midst of this august festival of peace. Princes, for two years past, obstinately adhere to a fatal misunderstanding; their discord forms an obstacle to our concord, and they are ill-inspired to condemn us to the statement of such a contrast. Let this contrast lead us back to Voltaire. In the presence of menacing possibilities, let us be more pacific than ever. Let us turn toward that great death, toward that great life, toward that great spirit. Let us bend before the venerated sepulcher. Let us take counsel of him whose life, useful to men, was extinguished a hundred years ago, but whose work is immortal. Let us take counsel of the other powerful thinkers, the auxiliaries of this glorious Voltaire—of Jean Jacques, of Diderot, of Montesquieu. Let us give the word to those great voices. Let us stop the shedding of human blood. Enough! enough! despots. Ah! barbarism persists; very well, let civilization be indignant. Let the Eighteenth century come to the help of the Nineteenth. The philosophers, our predecessors, are the apostles of the true; let us invoke those illustrious shades; let them, before monarchies meditating war, proclaim the right of man to life, the right of conscience to liberty, the sovereignty of reason, the holiness of labor, the blessedness of peace; and since night issues from the thrones, let light come from the tombs.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Carnot: Against Imperialism

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot [1753-1823] was the military genius of the French Revolution, the real organizer of victory for the revolutionary armies. He was a sincere republican and fought vigorously against dictatorship and imperialism. The speech, reproduced in part here, was delivered by Carnot in the National Assembly in 1802.

I am far from desiring to diminish the praises accorded the first consul; if we owed him but the code civil, his name would worthily be immortalized to posterity. But whatever the services a citizen has rendered his country, he must expect honors but in the extent of the national recognition of his work. If the citizen has restored public liberty, if he has been a benefactor to his country, would it be a proper recompense to offer him. the sacrifice of that liberty? Nay! Would it not be an annulment of his own work to convert that country into his private patrimony?

From the very moment it was proposed to the French people to vote to make the consulate an office for life, each easily judged there was a mental reservation, and saw the ulterior purpose and end of the proposal. In effect, there was seen the rapid succession of a series of institutions evidently monarchical; but at each move anxiety was manifested to reassure disturbed and inquiring spirits on the score of liberty, that these new institutions and arrangements were conceived only to procure the highest protection that could be desired for liberty.

To-day is uncovered and developed in the most positive manner the meaning of so many of these preliminary measures. We are asked to declare ourselves upon a formal proposition to reestablish the monarchical system, and to confer an imperial and hereditary dignity on the first consul.

At that time I voted against a life consulate; I shall vote now against any reestablishment of a monarchy, as I believe it my duty to do. But it was done with no desire to evoke partisanship; without personal feeling; without any sentiment save a passion for the public good, which always impels me to the defense of the popular cause.

I always fully submit to existing laws, even when they are most displeasing. More than once I have been a victim to my devotion to law, and I shall not begin to retrograde to-day. I declare, therefore, that while I combat this proposition, from the moment that a new order of things shall have been established, which shall have received the assent of the mass of our citizens, I shall be first to conform my actions; to give to the supreme authority all the marks of deference commanded by the constitutional oligarchy. Can every member of society record a vow as sincere and disinterested as my own?

I shall not force into the discussion my preference for the general merits of any one system of government over another. On these subjects there are numberless volumes written. I shall charge myself with examining in few words, and in the simplest terms, the particular case in which present circumstances place us. All the arguments thus far made for the reestablishment of monarchy in France are reduced to the statement that it is the only method of assuring the stability of the government and the public tranquillity, the only escape from internal disorder, the sole bond of union against external enemies, that the republican system has been vainly essayed in all possible manners; and that from all these efforts only anarchy has resulted. A prolonged and ceaseless revolution has reawakened a perpetual fear of new disorders, and consequently a deep and universal desire to see reestablished the old hereditary government, changing only the dynasty. To this we must make reply.

I remark here that the government of a single person is no assurance of a stable and tranquil government. The duration of the Roman empire was no longer than that of the Roman republic. Their internecine troubles were greater, their crimes more multiplied. The pride of republicanism, the heroism, and the masculine virtues were replaced by the most ridiculous vanity, the vilest adulation, the boldest cupidity, the most absolute indifference to the national prosperity. Where was any remedy in the heredity of the throne? Was it not regarded as the legitimate heritage of the house of Augustus? Was a Domitian not the son of Vespasian, a Caligula the son of Germanicus, a Commodus the son of Marcus Aurelius? In France, it is true, the last dynasty maintained itself for eight hundred years, but were the people any the less tormented? What have been the internal dissensions? What the foreign wars undertaken for pretensions and rights of succession, which gave birth to the alliances of this dynasty with foreign nations? From the moment that a nation espouses the particular interests of one family, she is compelled to intervene in a multitude of matters which but for this would be to her of uttermost indifference. We have hardly succeeded in establishing a republic among us, notwithstanding that we have essayed it under various forms, more or less democratic.

After the peace of Amiens, Napoleon had choice between the republican and monarchical systems; he could do as he pleased. He would have met but the slightest opposition. The citadel of liberty was confided to him; he swore to defend it; and, holding his promise, he should have fulfilled the desire of the nation which judged him alone capable of solving the grand problem of public liberty in its vast extent. He might have covered himself with an incomparable glory. Instead of that, what is being done to-day? They propose to make for him an absolute and hereditary property of a great power of which he was made the administrator. Is this the real desire and to the real interest of the first consul himself? I do not believe it.

It is true the state was falling into dissolution, and that absolutism pulled it from the edge of the abyss. But what do we conclude from that? What all the world knows—that political bodies are subject to affections which can be cured but by violent remedies; that sometimes a dictator is necessary for a moment to save liberty. The Romans, who were so jealous of it, nevertheless recognized the necessity of this supreme power at intervals. But because a violent remedy has saved a patient, must there be a daily administration of violent remedies? Fabius, Cincinnatus, Camillus saved Rome by the exercise of absolute power, but they relinquished this power as soon as practicable; they would have killed Rome had they continued to wield it. Caesar was the first who desired to keep this power: he became its victim, but liberty was lost for futurity. Thus everything that has ever been said up to this date on absolute government proves only the necessity for temporary dictatorships in crises of the state, but not the establishment of a permanent and irresponsible power.

It is not from the character of their government that great republics have lacked stability; it is because, having been born in the breasts of storms, it is always in a state of exaltation that they are established. One only was the labor of philosophy, organized calmly. That republic, the United States of America, full of wisdom and of strength, exhibits this phenomenon, and each day their prosperity shows an increase which astonishes other nations. Thus it was reserved for the New World to teach the Old that existence is possible and peaceable under the rule of liberty and equality. Yes, I state this proposition, that when a new order of things can be established without fearing partisan influences, as the first consul has done, principally after the peace of Amiens, and as he can still do, it becomes much easier to form a republic without anarchy than a monarchy without despotism. For how can we conceive a limitation which would not be illusory in a government of which the chief had all the executive power in his hand and all the places to bestow?

They have spoken of institutions to produce all these good effects. But before we propose to establish a monarchy, should we not first assure ourselves and demonstrate to those who are to vote on the question, that these institutions proposed are in the order of possible things, and not metaphysical obstructions, which have been held a reproach to the opposite system? Up to this moment nothing has been successfully invented to curb supreme power but what are called intermediary bodies or privileges. Is it, then, of a new nobility you would speak when you allude to institutions? But such remedies—are they not worse than the disease? For the absolute power of a monarch takes but our liberty, while the institution of privileged classes robs us at the same time of our liberty and our equality. And if even at the commencement dignities and ranks were but personal, we know they would finish always as the fiefs of other times, in becoming hereditary.

To these general principles I shall add a few special observations. I assume that all the French give assent to these proposed changes; but it will be the real free will and wish of Frenchmen which is produced from a register where each is obliged to individually sign his vote. Who does not know what is the influence in similar cases of the presiding authority? From all parties in France, it would be said, springs a universal desire of the citizens for the reestablishment of the hereditary monarchy; but can we not look suspiciously on an opinion, concentrated thus far almost exclusively among public functionaries, when we consider the inconvenience they would have to manifest any contrary opinion; when we know that the liberty of the press is so enfeebled that it is not possible to insert in any journal the most moderate and respectful protests?

Doubtless there will be no making any choice of the hereditary chief, if they declare it necessary to have one.

Is it hoped, in raising this new dynasty, to hasten the period of general peace? Will it not rather be a new obstacle? Are we assured that the other great powers of Europe will assent to this new title? And if they do not, do we take up arms to constrain them? Or after having sunk the title of first consul in that of emperor, will he be content to remain first consul to the rest of Europe while he is emperor only to Frenchmen, or shall we compromise by a vain title the security and the prosperity of the entire nation?

It appears, therefore, infinitely doubtful if the new order of things can give us the stability of the present state. There is for the government one method of consolidation and strength. It is to be just; that no favoritism or bias be of avail to influence its services; that there be a guaranty against robbery and fraud. It is far from me to desire to make any particular application of my language or to criticize the conduct of the government. It is against arbitrary power itself I appeal, and not against those in whose hands this power may reside. Has liberty then been shown to man that he shall never enjoy it? Shall it always be held to his gaze as a fruit, that when he extends the hand to grasp he must be stricken with death? And Nature, which has made liberty such a pressing need to us, does she really desire to betray our confidence? No! I shall never believe this good, so universally preferred to all others—without which all others are nothing—is a simple illusion. My heart tells me that liberty is possible, that its regime is easier and more stable than any arbitrary government, than any oligarchy.

But, nevertheless (I repeat it), I shall be always ready to sacrifice my dearest affections to the interest of our common country; I shall be satisfied to have once more caused to be heard the accents of an independent mind; and my respect for the law will be so much the more sure, as it is the fruit of long misfortunes, and of this reason, which commands us imperiously at this day to reunite as one body against the implacable enemy of one party as well as the other—of this enemy, which is always ready to foment discord, and to whom all means are lawful provided he can attain his end, namely—universal oppression and tyranny over the whole extent of the ocean.

I vote against the proposition.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Napoleon Bonaparte: On Entering Milan

Napoleon Bonaparte [1769-1821], great military genius and conqueror, knew the value of the spoken word. His addresses to the army illustrate his great gifts of oratory and his ability to select occasions when he could use his gifts most effectively.

Soldiers: You have rushed like a torrent from the top of the Apennines; you have overthrown and scattered all that opposed your march. Piedmont, delivered from Austrian tyranny, indulges her natural sentiments of peace and friendship toward France. Milan is yours, and the republican flag waves throughout Lombardy. The dukes of Parma and Modena owe their political existence to your generosity alone.

The army which so proudly threatened you can find no barrier to protect it against your courage; neither the Po, the Ticino, nor the Adda could stop you for a single day. These vaunted bulwarks of Italy opposed you in vain; you passed them as rapidly as the Apennines.

These great successes have filled the heart of your country with joy. Your representatives have ordered a festival to commemorate your victories, which has been held in every district of the republic. There your fathers, your mothers, your wives, sisters, and mistresses rejoiced in your good fortune and proudly boasted of belonging to you.

Yes, soldiers, you have done much—but remains there nothing more to do? Shall it be said of us that we knew how to conquer, but not how to make use of victory? Shall posterity reproach us with having found Capua in Lombardy?

But I see you already hasten to arms. An effeminate repose is tedious to you; the days which are lost to glory are lost to your happiness. Well, then, let us set forth!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Napoleon Bonaparte: At the Beginning Of The Italian Campaign

Napoleon Bonaparte [1769-1821], great military genius and conqueror, knew the value of the spoken word. His addresses to the army illustrate his great gifts of oratory and his ability to select occasions when he could use his gifts most effectively.

Soldiers: You are naked and ill-fed! Government owes you much and it can give you nothing. The patience and courage you have shown in the midst of this rocky wilderness are admirable; but they gain you no renown; no glory results to you from your endurance. It is my design to lead you into the most fertile plains of the world. Rich provinces and great cities will be in your power; there you will find honor, glory, and wealth. Soldiers of Italy, will you be wanting in courage or perseverance?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Robespierre: The Festival of the Supreme Being

Maximilien Marie Isidore Robespierre [1758-1794], one of the leaders and orators of the French Revolution, was one of the strongest advocates of the Reign of Terror which used the guillotine to settle all political differ­ences. In the end Robespierre himself became the victim of this policy when his political enemies gained control. The following speech was made in 1794, shortly before he was condemned and led to the guillotine.

The day forever fortunate has arrived, which the French people have consecrated to the Supreme Being. Never has the world which He created offered to Him a spectacle so worthy of His notice. He has seen reigning on the earth tyranny, crime, and imposture. He sees at this moment a whole nation, grappling with all the oppressions of the human race, suspend the course of its heroic labors to elevate its thoughts and vows toward the great Being who has given it the mission it has undertaken and the strength to accomplish it.

Is it not He whose immortal hand, engraving on the heart of man the code of justice and equality, has written there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not He who, from the beginning of time, decreed for all the ages and for all peoples liberty, good faith, and justice?

He did not create kings to devour the human race. He did not create priests to harness us, like vile animals, to the chariots of kings and to give to the world examples of baseness, pride, perfidy, avarice, debauchery, and falsehood. He created the universe to proclaim His power. He created men to help each other, to love each other mutually, and to attain to happiness by the way of virtue.

It is He who implanted in the breast of the triumphant oppressor remorse and terror, and in the heart of the oppressed and innocent calmness and fortitude. It is He who impels the just man to hate the evil one, and the evil man to respect the just one. It is He who adorns with modesty the brow of beauty, to make it yet more beautiful. It is He who makes the mother’s heart beat with tenderness and joy. It is He who bathes with delicious tears the eyes of the son pressed to the bosom of his mother. It is He who silences the most imperious and tender passions before the sublime love of the fatherland. It is He who has covered nature with charms, riches, and majesty. All that is good is His work, or is Himself. Evil belongs to the depraved man who oppresses his fellow man or suffers him to be oppressed.

The Author of Nature has bound all mortals by a boundless chain of love and happiness. Perish the tyrants who have dared to break it!

Republican Frenchmen, it is yours to purify the earth which they have soiled, and to recall to it the justice that they have banished! Liberty and virtue together came from the breast of Divinity. Neither can abide with mankind without the other.

O generous People, would you triumph over all your enemies? Practise justice, and render the Divinity the only worship worthy of Him. O People, let us deliver ourselves to-day, under His auspices, to the just transports of a pure festivity. To-morrow we shall return to the combat with vice and tyrants. We shall give to the world the example of republican virtues. And that will be to honor Him still.

The monster which the genius of kings had vomited over France has gone back into nothingness. May all the crimes and all the misfortunes of the world disappear with it! Armed in turn with the daggers of fanaticism and the poisons of atheism, kings have always conspired to assassinate humanity. If they are able no longer to disfigure Divinity by superstition, to associate it with their crimes, they try to banish it from the earth, so that they may reign there alone with crime.

O People, fear no more their sacrilegious plots! They can no more snatch the world from the breast of its Author than remorse from their own hearts. Unfortunate ones, uplift your eyes toward heaven! Heroes of the fatherland, your generous devotion is not a brilliant madness. If the satellites of tyranny can assassinate you, it is not in their power entirely to destroy you. Man, whoever thou mayest be, thou canst still conceive high thoughts for thyself. Thou canst bind thy fleeting life to God, and to immortality. Let nature seize again all her splendor, and wisdom all her empire! The Supreme Being has not been annihilated.

It is wisdom above all that our guilty enemies would drive from the republic. To wisdom alone it is given to strengthen the prosperity of empires. It is for her to guarantee to us the rewards of our courage. Let us associate wisdom, then, with all our enterprises. Let us be grave and discreet in all our deliberations, as men who are providing for the interests of the world. Let us be ardent and obstinate in our anger against conspiring tyrants, imperturbable in dangers, patient in labors, terrible in striking back, modest and vigilant in successes. Let us be generous toward the good, compassionate with the unfortunate, inexorable with the evil, just toward every one. Let us not count on an unmixed prosperity, and on triumphs without attacks, nor on all that depends on fortune or the perversity of others. Sole, but infallible guarantors of our independence, let us crush the impious league of kings by the grandeur of our character, even more than by the strength of our arms.

Frenchmen, you war against kings; you are therefore worthy to honor Divinity. Being of Beings, Author of Nature, the brutalized slave, the vile instrument of despotism, the perfidious and cruel aristocrat, outrages Thee by his very invocation of Thy name. But the defenders of liberty can give themselves up to Thee, and rest with confidence upon Thy paternal bosom. Being of Beings, we need not offer to Thee unjust prayers. Thou knowest Thy creatures, proceeding from Thy hands. Their needs do not escape Thy notice, more than their secret thoughts. Hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts, with love of justice and the fatherland. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity. Behold our prayer. Behold our sacrifices. Behold the worship we offer Thee.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Marat: Defense Against the Charges

Jean Paul Marat, fiery leader of the French Revolution, saved his head from the guillotine through his great gift of oratory. Arrested in 1793, he delivered the following speech in his defense before the Convention which tried him the same year. He was acquitted in triumph, only to be assassinated a few weeks later by Charlotte Corday, a woman who favored those opposed to him.

Citizens, Members of the Revolutionary Tribunal: If Roland the patron of the clique of the Girondists had not wasted the public property in misleading the people and perverting the public mind; if the faction of statesmen had not flooded the whole republic with infamous libels of the Commune, the municipality, the sections, the committee of sur­veillance, and, above all, directed against the deputation of Paris; if they had not so long laid their heads together to defame Danton, Robespierre, and Marat; if they had not ceaselessly represented me as a factionist, an anarchist, a drinker of blood, an ambitious man, who looked for supreme power under the title of tribune, triumvir, and director; if the nation, completely undeceived, had recognized the perfidy of these impostures; if their guilty authors had been branded, I would have resisted the arbitrary

acts brought against me under the title of “Decree and Act of Accusation,” by a perfidious faction, which I had so often denounced as almost wholly composed of royalists, traitors, and plotters. I would moreover have waited till the constitution had been reinforced by the return of patriotic deputies, before presenting myself at the tribunal, and thus have overwhelmed the vile wretches who are persecuting me to-day with such odious rancor.

If, therefore, I appear before my judges, it is only to rise triumphant and confound imposture; it is to unseal the eyes of that part of the nation which is already led astray on my account; it is to go out a conqueror from this imbroglio, to reassure public opinion, to do a good service to the fatherland, and to strengthen the cause of liberty.

Full of confidence in the enlightenment, the equity, and the civic spirit of this tribunal, I myself urge the most rigorous examination of this affair. Strong in the testimony of my own conscience, in the rectitude of my intentions, in the purity of my civic spirit, I want no indulgence, but I demand strict justice.

I am ready to answer my judges. Nevertheless, before being examined I ought to place before you, citizens, a series of observations, which will put you in a position to judge of the crass ignorance, the absurdity, the iniquity, the perfidy, the implacableness, and the atrocity of my vile accusers.

The decree of accusation brought against me was carried without discussion, in violation of law and in contradiction of all the principles of order, liberty, and justice. For it is a principle of right that no citizen shall be censured without having first been heard. This decree of accusation was brought against me by two hundred and ten members of the faction of statesmen, contrary to the demand of ninety-two members of “the Mountain.” That is to say, by two hundred and ten enemies of the country against ninety-two defenders of liberty. It was issued amid the most scandalous uproar, during which the patriots covered the royalists with opprobrium, reproaching them with their lack of civic spirit, their baseness, their machinations. It was issued in spite of the most marked manifestation of public opinion, amid the noise of continuous hootings throughout the tribunes. It was issued in a manner so revolting that twenty members who had been deceived by this faction of statemen refused to vote for it, the decree not having been discussed, and while one of them, yielding to the movement of an honest friend, cried out: “I do not vote, and I greatly fear, after all I have seen, that I have been the dupe of a perfidious cabal.”

This decree, far from being the desire of the majority of the convention, as it is the work of a part of the members not making one-third of the assembly, can be regarded only as resulting from the implacable spirit of this faction of the statesmen. You will see that it is the outcome of a criminal plot, for it started after the reading of a certain address to the Jacobins which I had signed as president of the society. This patriotic address, however, was no longer to be attributed to me as a crime, when nearly all my colleagues of “the Mountain” hastened to the desk to sign it. The address was truly republican, and has just been signed by all sections of Paris, and will very soon be signed by all good citizens of France.

Leaving the denunciation of this address which suggested the call for the decree of accusation, the decree naturally came to naught; but it was revived with fury by our enemies when they saw me mount the tribune to renew the proposition to hale Louis Philippe D’Orleans before the Revolutionary Tribunal, and to put a price on the heads of the rebellious and fugitive Capets; a proposition which brought despair to the statesmen, forcing them to place a cord about their own necks if they adopted it, or to confess themselves the partisans of D’Orleans and the Capet rebels, the supporters of royalism, and the accomplices of Dumouriez, if they rejected it. You know with what violence they opposed it. Such a decree, therefore, is only an act of tyranny. It calls for resistance against oppres­sion; and it cannot fail to prove revolting to all good citizens when once it shall be as well known in the departments as it is in Paris.

I pass to the act of accusation. Originating with a committee of legislation almost entirely composed of my most mortal enemies, all members of the faction, it was drawn with such want of reflection that it bears on its face all the characteristics of dense ignorance, falsehood, madness, fury, and atrocity. That act, at a glance, may be seen to be filled with glaring inconsistency, or we should rather say with the spirit of contradiction to the “Decree of Accusation” of which it served as the basis; for it makes no mention of the address drawn up by the Jacobins, the signing of which they attributed to me as a crime; yet this address was what caused the Decree.

When I show how ridiculous and destitute of foundation this act is I feel ashamed of the committee. As the address of the Jacobins contains the sentiments of true republicans, and as it has been signed by nearly all of my colleagues of “the Mountain,” the committee, forced to abandon the fundamental count in the accusation, was reduced to the expedient of citing some of my writings which had lain neglected for many months in the dust of their cases, and it stupidly reproduced the denunciation of some others of my writings, a subject which the assembly refused to pursue, passing to the order of the day, as I shall prove in the sequel.

Let us prove now that that act is illegal. It rests wholly, as you have seen, on some of my political opinions. These opinions had almost all been enunciated from the tribune of the convention before being pub­lished in my writings. For my writings, whose constant aim is to reveal plots, to unmask traitors, to propose useful measures, are a supplement to what I cannot always explain in the midst of the assembly. Now, article number seven of the fifth section of the “Constitutional Act” states in express terms:—

“The representatives of the nation are inviolable: they cannot be sought, accused, nor judged at any time for what they have said, written, or done in the exercise of their functions as representatives.”

The “Act of Accusation” is, therefore, null and void, in that it is diametrically opposed to the fundamental law, which has not been and which cannot be repealed. It is null and void in that it attacks the most sacred right that belongs to a representative of the people.

I am quite aware that this right does not include that of plotting against the state, of attempting any enterprise against the interests of liberty, of attacking the rights of citizens, or of compromising public safety, but it certainly allows a citizen to say, write, or do anything which accords with the sincere purpose of serving the country, of procuring the general welfare, and causing the triumph of liberty. It is so essentially inherent in the functions of the nation’s representatives that without it it would be impossible for the faithful to defend the fatherland and themselves against the traitors who would oppress and enslave them.

The patriots of the Constituent Assembly so thoroughly felt the necessity of making the representatives inviolable and unassailable, capable of struggling with impunity against the despot and completing the revolution, that they hastened to consecrate this right by the famous decree of June 23, 1789, before they had even constituted themselves the National Assembly.

They felt so thoroughly that this right was inherent in every public function, that they stretched it to cover every judicial body, every administrative body, and even all citizens united in a primary assembly.

Without this inalienable right could liberty maintain itself a moment against the machinations of its conspiring enemies? Without it, how, in the midst of a corrupt senate, could a small number of deputies, invincibly attached to the fatherland, unmask the traitors who seek to oppress it or put it in fetters?

Without that essential right, how could a small number of far-seeing and determined patriots foil the plots of a numerous faction of schemers? One may judge of this by what happens to us. If the faction of statesmen can under false pretext attack me, expel me from its convention, hale me before a tribunal, hold me in captivity, cause me to perish; to-morrow under other pretexts it will attack Robespierre, Danton, Callot-d’Herbois, Panis, Lindet, Camille, David, Audoin, Laiguelit, Meaulle, Dupuis, Javougues, Granet, and all the other courageous deputies of the conven­tion. It will restrain the others by terror. It will usurp the sovereignty. It will call to its side Dumouriez, Cobourg, Clerfayt, its accomplices. Supported by Prussians, Austrians, and “Emigrants,” it will reestablish despotism in the hands of a Capet who will cut the throats of all the known patriots, and it will endow the first employments with the treasures of the state. The decree of accusation issued against me for my political opinions is therefore an attack on national representation, and I do not doubt that the convention, with its quota filled by the return of patriotic commissaries, will soon feel its dangerous consequences, its ill-boding results, and will blush that it should have been decreed in its name, and will hasten to repeal it as destructive of all public liberty.

The act of accusation is not only absurd in that it violates all constitutional liberty and attacks national representations, it is still more so in that the committee, contrary to all principle, turns the convention into a criminal tribunal, for it makes it pronounce without shame an iniquitous judgment, in deciding, without preliminary examination of a single document, without even having placed in question if such writings are mine, that I am found to have provoked murder and pillage, to have called up a power that threatens the sovereignty of the people, dishonored the convention, incited its dissolution, etc.

But what will appear incredible is that the committee calls down, without ceremony, without shame, and without remorse, capital punish­ment on my head, and cites articles of the penal code, which, according to it, condemned me to death. I doubt not that such is the object they have in view. How many statesmen have been tormented with despair of keeping me in prison, smothering my voice, and restraining my pen? Did not one of them, the atrocious Lacaze, have the impudence to ask the convention, as Dumouriez and Cobourg asked of the faction, that I should be outlawed? So that the act of accusation is a veritable “verdict rendered,” which has only now to be executed.

Finally, this act is a tissue of lies and fabrications. It accuses me of having incited to murder and pillage, of setting up a “Chief of State,” dishonoring and dissolving a convention, etc. The contrary was proved by the simple reading of my writings. I demand a consecutive reading of the denounced members; for it is not by garbling and mutilating passages that the ideas of an author are to be learnt, it is by reading the context that their meaning may be judged of.

If after the reading any doubts remain, I am here to remove them.