I’m writing this letter with the hope that it will clear my conscious or at least help me cope with what is happening. It has been two short months since the convention came to the decision that terror was the order of the day and it has already become difficult to justify the killing of innocent citizens. The idea that anyone can be determined an enemy and killed on the spot is ludicrous. However despite how crazy this all is and how much I despise it I cannot take action or speak my mind for that maniac Robespierre would kill me on the spot. I cannot live with a clear conscious knowing that this bloodshed is taking place. For now I’ll continue my duty of running the revolutionary army.
This document, written on September 5th 1793, holds the recorded minutes of the last meeting of the convention before the Reign of Terror officially began. The Parisian citizens were fed up with the state of the revolution and wanted change, so Robespierre and the committee gave it to them. It was during this meeting that the convention, led by Robespierre, decided that anyone in France could be determined a threat or an enemy to the country and be punished to the full extent of the law. Lazare Carnot was put in charge of rearranging the Revolutionary Army, and recruited nearly 300,000 citizens to become soldiers. He also changed the way that the revolutionary army fought which gave a large advantage over enemies.
“Every day we learn of new betrayals and new crimes. Every day we become upset at the discovery and the reappearance of new conspiracies. Every day new disturbances stir up the Republic, ready to drag it into their stormy whirlwinds, hurling it into the bottomless abyss of the centuries to come. But where is that powerful being whose terrible cry will reawaken sleeping justiceÑor rather justice that has been paralyzed, dazed by the clamor of factionsÑand force it at last to strike off criminal heads? Where is that powerful being who will crush all these reptiles who corrupt everything they touch and whose venomous stings stir up our citizens, transforming political gatherings into gladiatorial arenas where each passion, each interest, finds apologists and armies?” -Chaumette
Read “Terror Is the Order of the Day” Here.