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❝ rounded us, and is pressing us more and more closely every day. We speak boldly from the Tribune, but all our courage is assumed. The Directory treats us with the con"tempt which is due to weakness; it knows that immediate despotism is within its grasp, and it cares not what may "follow. The legislative body will not attack, "resist, it will lie down to be trampled on. "advise? - Nothing. The triumph of crime Republicans have only to draw round them their cloaks and "fall decorously.""
it will not What do I is, at hand.
Schiller compares the state of Brussels, during the anxious interval between the entry of Alva and the beginning of his persecution, to that of a man who has just emptied a cup of poison, and is waiting for the first symptoms of its working. Such, too, was the state of Du Coudray and of his friends. An enemy whom they could neither escape nor resist was watching for the most convenient opportunity to spring on them.
Barras, to whom La Reviellere and Rewbell had entrusted the enterprise, at first proposed to act on the 16 Fructidor; but this was the 2nd of September, -a date associated with too much horror to be selected for another insurrection.
On the morning of the 17th the Directors met as usual. At four, when they rose, Barras took La Reviellere and Rewbell aside, and told them that the time was come, and that Augereau had his orders. The ministers were now summoned to Rewbell's apartment; the three Directors joined them there; sentinels were placed at the doors and windows to prevent egress or communication; and they waited the result.
At midnight Augereau surrounded the Tuileries with his troops. The guard, partly bribed and partly intimidated, gave up their posts without resistance. A detachment was sent to seize the two opposing directors; Barthélemy was taken in bed, Carnot escaped through the garden of the Luxembourg. So silently had all been done, that on the morning of the 18th Fructidor, many of the obnoxious members went as usual to their respective halls in the Tuileries, and were arrested as they entered the building; others, among whom was Tronson du Coudray, after having been driven from the Tuileries were seized in a house in which they had met to deliberate and protest: all were sent to the Temple. The remnant of the two legislative bodies, deprived of all those to whom they owed their vigour, or courage, or intelligence, met to ratify the violence of the night and of the morning, to re-enact with aggravations the laws of the 3rd Brumaire, to extinguish the liberty of the press, and to sentence to transportation for life the two directors,
The Deportations to Cayenne.
Carnot and Barthélemy, all the proprietors, publishers, and editors of forty-two newspapers, and more than fifty of the most eminent members of the Legislature, among whom was of course Tronson du Coudray.
Barthélemy, Tronson du Coudray, Pichegru, and thirteen others, as the most important victims, were sent off the very same evening towards Rochefort on their road to the tropical marshes of Guiana. They were carried in what were called, and indeed really were, cages de fer; that is to say, carts surmounted by an iron grating instead of a tilt, with one small iron door closed by a padlock. The journey lasted thirteen days. The prisoners passed the nights in the frightful dungeons which disgrace the provinces of France. They passed the days exposed to the brutalities of their escort and of the low revolutionary populace of the towns, to whose outrages they were pointed out as royalists and traitors. Once Du Coudray's patience seems to have been worn out. It was as they were passing through Etampes, one of the principal towns of a department in which, not two years before, he had been returned by a triumphal majority. Yes,' he cried to the crowd that was insulting him, it is I, it is your representative, whom you 'see in this iron cage; it is I, whom you sent to defend your rights, and it is in my person that they are violated. They ' are dragging me to the place of punishment, untried, unaccused. My crime is, that I have protected liberty and pro6 perty, that I have striven to restore peace to the country and the soldier to his family; that I have kept my oath to the • Constitution. These are the crimes for which you league with 'the Government to torture me.'
The voyage lasted seven weeks, and appears to have resembled the celebrated middle passage of the slave trade, except that the sufferings of the negroes were the result merely of the indifference of the slave traders to the misery of their cargo, those of the deportés were intentionally inflicted. To want of space and want of air was added want of food. By the eighth day only three out of the sixteen were able to stand, and it is difficult, when we read the journal of Ramel, to understand how any of them reached Cayenne alive.
The coast of French Guiana is among the most unhealthy portions of the globe. It is alluvial, intersected by almost a network of sluggish rivers, covered with rank vegetation, infested even beyond the average of that coast by the flying and creeping and crawling pests of tropical jungles, streams and marshes, and enjoys no variation of season, except that the heat
is accompanied by constant drought for one half of the year, and by constant rain for the other half.
The prison selected for the exiles was the fort of Sinnamary, situated on the river of that name, about seventy miles from the town of Cayenne. It is a solitary square wooden building, about 140 yards each way, surrounded by a deep and wide ditch. Before it runs the river, immediately behind and on each side is an impenetrable forest. In the court-yard were eight huts, built to serve as prisons for the negroes. One of them was occupied by the Terrorist Billaud-Varennes, who had been transported some months before. The new comers were distributed in the seven that remained. Tronson du Coudray had for his companions, Lafond, the ex-president of the Conseil des Anciens, and Barthélemy, the ex-director.
The first who sank under the climate was General de Murinais. His health, indeed, had been destroyed by the hardships of the voyage. He was a man of high character and family, whose crime was that he belonged to the majority of the Conseil des Anciens, and was one of its inspectors. Tronson du Coudray pronounced his funeral eulogium: Ramel tells us that it drew tears from the garrison and the negroes. A strong testimony to its eloquence was an order from Jeannot, the governor, a nephew of Danton's, that whoever in future tried to excite compassion for the deportés should be instantly shot.
The next victim was Bourdon de l'Oise, the hero of the 9th Thermidor, to whose courage and decision it was owing that the Directors themselves were not bound to the plank of the guillotine.
A few days after, the fever of the country seized Tronson du Coudray. He appears to have borne his imprisonment more impatiently than his companions. He did not, says Ramel, complain of his physical sufferings, but of the manner in which they had been inflicted. The illegality and violence of the coup d'état affected him more than its cruelty. He was always crying out for a trial and a judge; and, even in his last illness, was as much irritated by the injustice of his treatment as he had been on the first night that he spent in the Temple. His friends, however, persuaded him to apply to be removed to the hospital of Cayenne. The governor's answer is so characteristic of the feelings and language of the Revolutionary proconsuls that we insert it verbatim:
Je ne sais pourquoi ces messieurs ne cessent de m'importuner. Ils doivent savoir qu'ils n'ont pas été envoyés à Sinnamary pour vivre éternellement.'
He died on the 27th of May, 1798, six months after his arri
Louis Napoleon: and the Directory.
val at Sinnamary, about seventeen months before the base despotism of the Directory made way for the glorious despotism of the Consulate. When that event recalled the exiles from Sinnamary, only two were found there ;-Barbé-Marbois and Lafond-Ladebat. Eight had escaped almost miraculously in an open boat; the rest had died.
More than half a century has passed since this tragedy was enacted on the shores of French Guiana. It is now to be repeated on a much grander scale. Among the defects of character which must destroy, at no distant period, the present tyrant of France, one of the most certainly fatal is the want of originality. He is essentially a copyist. He can originate nothing; his opinions, his theories, his maxims, even his plots, all are borrowed, either from the Convention or from the Directory, or from a still more dangerous model from a man who, though he possessed genius and industry, such as are not seen coupled, or indeed single, once in a thousand years, yet ruined himself by the extravagance of his attempts. It would be well for him if he could utterly forget the whole history of the Revolution. He might then trust to his own sense or to that of his advisers. It is true that neither the one nor the other would be a good guide, but either would probably lead him into fewer dangers than a blind imitation of what was done fifty or sixty years ago, by men very unlike him, and in a state of society, both in France and in Europe, very unlike any thing which now exists.
In the meantime, like all bad imitators, he exaggerates all that is monstrous in his monstrous originals. The 2nd of December was a parody of the 18th Fructidor, only in larger proportions. Instead of 10,000 troops, which was the whole force of Augereau, Louis Napoleon occupied Paris with about 60,000. The Directory, on that night, arrested sixteen of their opponents; Louis Napoleon, seventy-eight. The whole number of persons whom the Directory sent to Guiana was 335. Those whom Louis Napoleon has seized, and has either already sent away or detains in the frightful prisons of Rochefort and Brest, and the other ports on the Atlantic, are already counted by thousands: the lowest estimate that we have heard is 8000; the highest 12,000; and we believe the latter to be the nearer to the truth. A single department, the Nièvre, has furnished more than a thousand. A traveller through the middle of France in the latter part of February, found the roads swarming with prisoners on their way to the coast. Some in long strings on foot, others piled together in diligences, in caleches, and in carts. The Directory published the names of their victims; those of
Louis Napoleon are known only to himself or to his agents; among them may be many of the persons supposed to have perished in the massacre of the 5th of December. All that is known is, that about 3200 have since disappeared from Paris: they may have been killed on the Boulevards, and thrown into the large pits in which those who fell on that day were promiscuously interred; they may have been among the hundreds who were put to death in the court-yards of the barracks, or in the subterraneous passages of the Tuileries; they may be in the casemates of Fort Bicêtre or in the bagnes of Rochefort, or they may be at sea on their way to Cayenne.
The story of one we will relate, for we know it. It is that of Hippolyte Magen, the young author of the successful tragedy of Spartacus. He was arrested on the 2nd of December, but his friends were told not to make themselves uneasy; that his liberal opinions were known, and that he was imprisoned merely to prevent his compromising himself. Week, however, after week went on, during which his place of confinement, the casemates of Fort Bicêtre, was gradually filled with 3000 prisoners. His friends were thinking with great anxiety of the influence which the cold of a Parisian winter, endured in damp dark vaults, and the pestilential air produced by the crowds which have been thrust into them, might produce on a constitution unaccustomed to hardship. At length they found that he had quitted Fort Bicêtre, but that he had quitted it on his road to Cayenne. Untried, indeed unaccused; but sentenced to a death in comparison of which the Noyades were merciful. Those who are shocked only by the arbitrary violence of the deportations, who see in them only the exile of 10,000 persons, without public, or, as far as we know, without even private inquiry, on the evidence of secret informers, probably the pri vate enemies, or the debtors, or perhaps the heirs of those whom they denounce; those who see only this, horrible as it is, see only a portion of the horrors that are going on. They see their injustice and their oppression, but only a part of their cruelty. Even if Cayenne were prepared for the reception of the deportés, -if there were barracks or even prisons to lodge them, wholesome food to support them, and the other provisions made for them which are necessary to the existence of an European under the tropics, the climate alone would destroy them. The whole number of those who were transported to Cayenne in the end of 1797 and 1798 was only 335. So small a number was easily provided for. Yet of those 335 there were living in 1800 only 115, including 23 who had escaped soon after their arrival. Of the 312 who remained in the colony, 210 died in two years.