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CHAP objecting to the unjust condemnation of the Girond
He had most votes. Barras and Rewbell were Therm dorians, friends of Tallien. Barras was noble; had serve as an officer, and subsequently, as a terrorist pro-consi He and Rewbell had soon all the jobbers and contractor the corrupt of society, attracted to them. The fema portion especially flocked round Barras. Letournei was chosen as a military man, and at the same time harmless one. Sièyes was the only member elected f his brains. But he at once declined to form a gover ment with men in whom he had no confidence.* became thus necessary to choose another Director. T! newly elected third of the assemblies, all moderate ai anti-conventionalists, were for nominating Cambacérè He was a moderate man and an able jurisconsult, w as member of the Convention had laid the foundation the future code. To defeat Cambacérès, Carnot, w] had been elected by fourteen departments, was put fo ward and was named the fifth Director, although by : very large majority of the Ancients.
The Luxemburg, by turns throughout the revoluti a prison and a palace, had been designed as the re dence of the Directors. They found with difficulty chair and table, to write the proclamation announci: their assumption of power. There was not a livre the treasury. And their first act was to demand of t t councils the permission to issue 3,000,000l. of assigna or about 120,000,0001. sterling, which, exchanged i coin, would produce 1,000,0001. Having obtained t] the Directory, or its finance minister, Faypoult, dr up an elaborate financial report. From eighteen twenty milliards of assignats had been issued since t commencement of the revolution. The governme proposed completing the sum of thirty milliards, a
* According to Carnot, he and Rewbell were declared enemies, and Rewbell a passionate man, with
whom Sièyes would have had et nal war.
then prohibiting further issues. They estimated that there were upwards of seven milliards’ worth of confiscated property to be disposed of, which, as the assignat had fallen to one hundred and fiftieth part of its value, might be made to satisfy the holders of paper. Such a proposal terrified the Council of Ancients, with whom lay the final voting of all laws. The bankruptcy which it declared displeased the revolutionists, and even they were alarmed at the prospect of destroying the assignat and its fabric without any other money forthcoming. The scheme was accordingly rejected, and the Directory obliged to substitute for it the right revolutionary levy of a forced loan of 600,000,000 on the rich. It was to be progressive. Assignats were to be taken at onehundredth part of their nominal value, and the issue was allowed to the amount of forty, not thirty, milliards. A new kind of assignat was subsequently invented, with a peculiar portion of land or houses mortgaged and inserted in it. The scheme had no success. So that in July, 1796, the Directory found itself obliged to decree that all taxes should be paid in coin, or in assignats, only at the current value. The ordinary expenses were at the same time estimated at 450,000,000 of livres, the war expenses 550,000,000 in addition.*
The budget of 1797 was fixed ceived such praise for consolidating. at 450 millions ordinary, 650 extra In that consolidation he had comordinary expenses. It was proposed prised 89 millions of rentes or into meet these with
terest annually due, 415 millions of 250 millions of land tax.
capital in debts to be reimbursed at do. of personal tax. fixed epochs; other debts, equal to 150 do. of customs and 625 millions, arising from liquida
other taxes. tion. Cambon fixed the annual inThus, leaving the extraordinary or terest due at 200 millions. In 1798 war expenses to be met by extra- the interest was 258 millions, when ordinary means, such as the sale of two-thirds were cancelled by the national property or loans.
Directory, or nominally allowed to It will be remarked, that in this be received in payment of national account of revenue and expenditure property. The remaining third conthere is no mention of the publicstituted the debt at 5 per cent. One debt, that debt which Cambon re- hundred francs of it did not pro
The finances, however entangled and exhausted, did not form the chief difficulty of the new government.
It was like so many of the ignorant attempts of the revolution to frame a constitution, in which the executive, isolated from all other powers, and antagonistic to them, was still expected to rule by their support. The Directors, however objectionable and obscure, entered upon office with a laudable desire to avoid and keep down the extravagance of contending parties. On one side were the Moderates, comprising the new third of the assemblies, with some few Royalists amongst them, but the greater numbers merely bent upon closing the revolution, and weaning the government from arbitrary ways.
On the other was the disappointed herd of Anarchists, crushed since Thermidor, but partly resuscitated by the aid which they were called to give, and did give, in the struggle against the sections.
Of these parties the Directors thought the Moderates the most formidable. Their opening proclamation announced their peculiar mission and care to be for the extinction of royalism. That they fell short of the cannibalism of the terrorists they showed by releasing from the Temple the daughter of Louis the Sixteenth, and handing her over to the Austrians upon the Rhine, in exchange for the French deputies in their hands, Camus, Drouet, and Beurnonville, together with Maret and Semonville, seized during a diplomatic journey through north Italy. Yet lest this should be considered a weakness, Barras and his colleagues proposed a fête to celebrate the 21st of January, the anniversary of the late king's execution. This was intended as a mortification to the supposed Royalists of the Cinq Cents.
The chief strength and security of the Directory lay
duce more in the market than 17 frs., was the end of republican credit
at first in the publicity and freedom which accompanied CHAP. its installation. The public felt as free as in 1789, and showed it by the formation of clubs and the issuing of journals representing every party. The reactionists or Royalists, as some of them no doubt were, met in the Rue de Clichy, which gave its name to their club. The anti-Jacobins, who did not go such lengths, formed a constitutional club in the Hôtel de Salm, of which Barbé Marbois, Tronson Du Coudray, Thibaudeau, and Talleyrand were members. The sans-culottes met in the refectory of the Genovéfan Convent, long after the public library of the Pantheon, behind which it was situated. Here were renewed the eloquence and the politics of the Jacobins and Cordeliers.*
To such menaces and obstructions the Convention had not only opposed the guillotine and the terror, but latterly the successes of its armies. Both these resources at first failed the Directory. The true strength of the republic lay indeed in the army, the members of which had gained more by the revolution than any other class. The lowly-born saw the privilege of birth disappear before them; military talent found a quick reward. The royalist princes of ancient France were in the ranks of their enemies, and whether on the Rhine or on La Vendée, were the inveterate foes of the modern French soldier such as the revolution had made. With the generals, however, this attachment of the military masses to the existing government did not hold. The Convention had been cruel and unjust to them. The Directory promised no better. And although the far greater number remained true to the faith and fortune of the republican colours, there were some who, like Dumourier, foresaw the restoration of royalty as a necessity, and were ready to be the instruments of that change. Amongst these was Pichegru, the conqueror
Thibaudeau, Dumas Souvenirs.
of Holland, who first a soldier, before the revolution, had been promoted, and made a sergeant by the Prince of Condé. They thus knew each other. In August, 1795, the prince by an agent sounded Pichegru, who appeared but too ready to serve the Bourbons. He could have done so at once but for the hesitation of Condé. The French general consented to conduct the operations of his army in concert with the general of the enemy.* He repassed the Rhine; Jourdan, who was on the right bank farther north, being thus left unsupported, was obliged to withdraw. The French were subsequently beaten from their lines before Mayence. The Directory warned, recalled Pichegru in time, but the reverses of the campaign could not be prevented.
To discover and defeat the underground efforts of the Royalists and Jacobins, the Directory in December, 1795, established what became a permanent institution of the country, a ministry of police. Cochon first held the office, and it was certainly no sinecure. Royalist agents were ubiquitous and active; the Anarchists at first more menacing and open. As of old, they addressed most furious petitions to the assembly. One, drawn up and presented by the sans-culottes of the south, aroused all the passions of the Cinq Cents. The petitioners were not without cause of complaint. The terrible excesses of the Anarchists in the towns of the Rhone and Mediterranean had, as may well be supposed, created a host of vindictive enemies, the relations of the thousands despoiled and murdered. These relatives, since Thermidor, had returned from emigration or raised their heads from terrified submission. They found Jacobins in possession of their lands and houses, living in the presbyteries, and tilling the confiscated property of the churches. The anti-terrorists formed societies for the purpose of vengeance, called Compagnons de Jésus et du
* Memoirs of Montgaillard, of + For their doings see Souvenirs Faucheborel, and Gouvion St. Cyr. de Charles Nodier.