Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/81

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an engine as this ready-constituted and well-organized tribunal, and both therefore concurred in its abolition, almost sub silentio, while on every other subject their contention was maintained with increasing animosity.

The first advantage in this struggle was to the Jacobins—when the Girondins were terrified into voting the death of the King, contrary to their pledges, their principles, their honour, and their consciences: that base and cruel cowardice was their own death-warrant. The next advantage was still more immediately decisive in favour of the Jacobins—it was the revival of the first Tribunal, by a decree of the 10th March, 1793, extorted from the Convention under the instant terror of wholesale assassination, and on which subsequently, under the more comprehensive title of Revolutionary Tribunal, unlimited jurisdiction and extravagant powers were conferred. Though the Girondins struggled on for a few weeks more, this blow was decisive and prophetic of their ultimate fate. Let us add that this iniquitous proceeding was carried on the motion and under the sanguinary menaces of Danton—the same Danton who a year after was led to execution, exclaiming, "This time twelvemonth I proposed that infamous tribunal by which we die, and for which I beg pardon of God and men."

In the midst of these contentions came the execution of the King. In the centre of the Place Louis Quinze[1]—then called Place de la Révolution, and

  1. We have again to wonder that Mr. Alison does not make any