Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/70

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55
THE TENTH OF AUGUST.

volting exemplification of that peculiarly French proverb—les vaincus ont toujours tort. For while the two hostile parties—Girondists and Jacobins—that divided the Assembly were each claiming to themselves the exclusive merit of having concerted and conducted that glorious day, they for a moment suspended their mutual enmities and recriminations to create a special Tribunal to punish the Royalists as being, forsooth, the instigators and perpetrators of those very events which they zealously claimed as the result of their own patriotic councils and exertions.

The Legislative Assembly, indeed, at first showed some prudent apprehension of this extraordinary tribunal, and seemed inclined to limit its powers to the single question of what it called the "Crimes of the 10th of August"—but this hesitation was not to the taste of the victorious populace, and produced a supplementary insurrection, which menaced the Manège[1] with the fate of the Château. Robespierre (who was not of this Assembly) headed a deputation of the Commune of Paris, and threatened the legislators in plain terms with the vengeance of the people if they did not institute a tribunal with, what he called, adequate powers: the inconsistent and intimidated Assembly submitted; and Vergniaud and Brissot, already cowering under the superior art and

  1. The Constituant and Legislative Assemblies (as well as the Convention, for a few months) sat in what had been the manège or riding-house of the Château des Tuileries. This manege stood in the centre of what is now the Rue de Rivoli, nearly in front of the site pf the well-known Hôtel Meurice.