With these men full of passion, were mingled men full of dreams. The Utopia was there in all its forms; in its warlike form, which admitted the scaffold, and in its innocent form which abolished capital punishment; a spectre when facing thrones, an angel when facing the people. Opposed to the fighting minds were the brooding minds. The first had war in their heads; the others, peace; one brain, Carnot, gave birth to fourteen armies; another brain, Jean Derby, meditated an universal democratic confederation. In the midst of this furious eloquence, among these voices howling and raging, there were fecund silences. Lakanal was silent, and thought out public national education; Lanthenas was silent, and created the primary schools; Revellière-Lepaux was silent, and dreamed of elevating philosophy to the dignity of religion. Others busied themselves with questions of detail, less pretentious and more practical. Guyton-Morveaux studied the salubrity of hospitals; Maire, the abolition of actual servitude; Jean-Bon-Saint-André, the suppression of arrest and imprisonment for debt; Romme, the proposition of Chappe; Duboë, the ordering of the archives; Coren-Fustier, the creation of the cabinet of Anatomy and the Museum of Natural History; Guyomard, river navigation and the damming of the Escaut.
Art had its monomaniacs; January 21st, while the head of the monarchy was falling in the place de la Revolution, Bézard, representative from l'Oise, went to see a picture by Rubens, found in a garret in Rue Saint-Lazare. Artists, orators, prophets, great men like Danton, petty men like Cloots, gladiators and philosophers, all were striving for the same end,—progress. Nothing disconcerted them. The grandeur of the Convention lay in finding out how much reality there was in what men called impossible. At one extreme, Robespierre had his eye fixed on Law; at the other extreme, Condorcet had his eye fixed on Duty.
Condorcet was a dreamer and a clear-sighted man; Robespierre was a man of executive ability; and sometimes in the final crises of worn-out societies, execution means extermination. Revolutions have two slopes, ascent