Hello again, and welcome to week 5 of the course. You might remember that last week, I sketched out the great crisis that republicans faced in the middle of 1793, a crisis that it was at the same time, military, political, economic and social, and described the way in which, by the end of 1793, the emergency measures that had been put in place had reaped quite extraordinary gains. That the incursions of enemy troops in particular had been halted, and many of the really hotspots of counter-revolution had been dampened down. It was in that context that two of the great figures among French Republicans, first of all, Camille Desmoulins and secondly Georges Danton, launched a campaign to effectively wind down these emergency measures, arguing that the crisis was sufficiently under control, that suspects could be released from prison, that capital punishments for overt enemies of the revolution, and so on, could be wound back. At the end of 1793, they launched a newspaper, you'll remember called Le Vieux Cordelier, harking back to their earlier role in the revolution, at the Cordelier Club, campaigning for a full extension of manhood suffrage. And in the fourth edition of that newspaper addressed the committee of public safety directly and perhaps even Robspierre although not by name. ‘You want to remove all of your enemies by means of the guillotine!’ They exclaimed. ‘Has there ever been such great folly?’ ‘Could you make a single man perish on the scaffold, without making ten enemies for yourself from his family or his friends? I think quite differently from those who tell you that terror must remain the order of the day.’ This is a crucial moment, in the history of the French revolution. How is the Committee of Public Safety, the Jacobin dominated committee governing France, Robespierre in particular, likely to respond to this challenge to wind back, the emergency controls of the terror? Certainly within the Jacobin club, Danton and Desmoulins are very unpopular, and Robspierre in particular has to intervene to protect them from being expelled from that club. There were two particular problems that Desmoulins and Danton face in arguing their case. One is the military one. And that is, that while the incursions of enemy troops have been halted, there are still enemy troops on French soil along the borders. Way down here in the southernmost community of France for example, a small Pyrenean town called Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans - a place of a couple of thousand people that had lived from iron manufacture, from the pastoral industry and from a great deal of smuggling across the border with Spain. In this community, Spanish troops have been in there for more than six months, making it one of their headquarters in that part of France. If you up behind that town, and look through the Pyrenees, in fact you can make out the Spanish border through this pass, and it's there where Spanish troops had come through Saint-Laurent in April 1793. There are still Spanish troops in other words on on French soil, in many parts of the country. Interestingly, by the way, down that river valley, just across the border, in Spain, where the border is in fact a stream that one can step across, there is the ruins of a tiny chapel. It's there where the former parish priest of Saint-Lautrent-de-Cerdans had fled the revolution in 1792 once war broke out, and it had people construct this tiny little chapel in a field just across the border, just, a few meters across the border. And it's there where the devout used to bring their children to be baptised or where they used to come to marry, and celebrate mass with a nonjuring, a real member of the clergy. But certainly then one problem for the Danton-Desmoulins argument is that the military situation is not yet fully safe. And a second problem is the one that's pointed out by Robespierre himself, in what is really his most important speech of the Revolution, I think, and one of the most important speeches that anyone makes in the Revolution. A speech that he makes on the 5th of February 1794, 17 Pluviose according to the revolutionary calendar. Where he begins by saying ‘How frivolous it would be to regard a few victories achieved by patriotism, as the end of all of our dangers’. The military crisis is not over. And then he says, and this is a crucial point, ‘It's time to mark clearly the aim of the Revolution.’ Robespierre's saying it's more than just winning the war. ‘We seek an order of things in which all the base and cruel passions are enchained, all the beneficent and generous passions are awakened by the laws’. A regenerated society in other words. ‘We wish to substitute in our country, the empire of reason for the tyranny of custom… a people magnanimous, powerful and happy for people lovable, frivolous, and wretched - that's to say all the virtues and miracles of the Republic, for all the vices and puerilities of the monarchy.’ The point of the revolution Robespierre is arguing is the creation of a virtuous society, worthy of a republic, not simply military victory. In such a situation he argues, the Committee of Public Safety, the Convention, the Government of France needs to adopt a policy of both virtue and terror. ‘In this situation, the first maxim of your policy ought to be lead the people by reason and the people's enemies by terror. If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue, amid revolution it is at once virtue and terror. Virtue without which terror is fatal, terror without which virtue is impotent. And terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice.’ In time of peace therefore, a government must, above all, be virtuous. But in times of revolutionary crisis, it needs both virtue and terror. The logic of Robespierre's argument of course is that as he put's it, are not the enemies within the enemies of the allies without. In other words, is not the logic that those people who are undermining the Republic from within, Danton and Desmoulins are logically the allies of the counter revolutionary armies, they're on the same side. He identifies two factions. One the Danton-Desmoulins faction which would push us towards weakness but another faction which would lead towards excess. And in the following weeks, Robespierre and his allies within the convention, move against both of those factions. First of all, a faction connected with Jacques Hebert, who's effectively the town clerk, the municipal officer of the city of Paris, who with his allies, is pushing the Committee of Public Safety to take even more radical action on the economy and against counter revolutionaries. And in March, 1794, The Hebertistes as they're called, the most militant of the sans-culottes, are arrested, sent to the revolutionary tribunal, and effectively found guilty of being counter-revolutionary, in the sense that they're undermining the unity of the Republic and sent to the guillotine. And this remarkable contemporary image of the cart taking them towards the guillotine. And then immediately thereafter the revolutionary tribunal tries Danton and Desmoulins in the most famous political trials of the Revolution, where effectively they are accused of malpractice, of financial corruption, possibly in the case of Danton there was real veracity to that charge. But above all, they're accused of undermining the unity of the government, the unity of the Republic, of being in league objectively with the counter-revolution. Robspierre is most reluctant to sign their arrest warrants but in the end he does. And this sketch is done of Danton, on his way to the guillotine on the 6th of April, 1794. For Robespierre in particular, this is a difficult moment because Danton is a close friend and ally. A few years earlier at the marriage of Camille and Lucile Desmoulins, Robespierre had been the main witness at the marriage. He was young Horace's Godfather, but he argues that such is the situation in April 1794 that they effectively need to be placed on trial. It's a moment which has always been regarded as the great political crisis of this year of the terror. And one which is constantly reworked, through film, and plays even to the present day.