The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook

By Philip G. Dwyer; Peter McPhee | Go to book overview

17

LAW AND ORDER

Crushing the rebels in the Vendée, 14 January 1800

In order to consolidate his régime, it was important to bring the civil unrest that had torn the country apart for so many years to an end. Measures of repression were thus carried out in the provinces where 'Military Tribunals' were used to put an end to what was commonly referred to as 'brigandage'. In the Vendée, General Brune (1763-1815) was charged with annihilating the last of the Chouans. It was, of course, a continuation of the policy already adopted by the Directory, but it also fell within the logic of Bonaparte's attitude towards peoples in insurrection first expressed in Italy: an exemplary punishment had to be meted out.

To General Brune, commander-in-chief of the Army of the West
…The government will do no more than it already has done for the departments of the west.

The Army of the West is made up of 60,000 men under arms. You will pursue the brigands with energy, you will put yourself in a position to quickly end this war. The peace of Europe is dependent on its end.

…The suspension of hostilities concluded between General Hédouville and the Chouans will only last until 1 Pluviôse [21 January]. Georges, who commands the rebels in the Morbihan, is not included.

I calculate that on the evening of the 27th [Pluviôse, or 16 February] you will arrive in Angers; only remain there long enough to order the 60th half-brigade and the troops you can relieve from this department to march for the Morbihan, and then leave for Nantes.

From there, march to the Morbihan where you will find the 22nd and the 72nd. Disperse Georges's assemblies. Take his cannon, his stores of grain (he has a great quantity on the coast which he sells to England). Finally, begin to make the whole weight and horror of war come down on the rebels of the Morbihan. At the beginning of Pluviôse, make sure:

-140-

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The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • A Note on the Revolutionary Calendar xv
  • Chronology xvi
  • 1 - The Ancien RÉgime Challenged 1
  • 2 - Revolutionary Action 16
  • 3 - Creating a Regenerated France 24
  • 4 - Exclusions and Inclusions 35
  • 5 - The Church and the Revolutionary State 43
  • 6 - Monarchy and Revolution 51
  • 7 - The Revolution at War 60
  • 8 - The End of the Monarchy 68
  • 9 - The Peasantry and the Rural Environment 80
  • 10 - A New Civic Culture 84
  • 11 - The Republic at War 90
  • 12 - Revolt in the VendÉe 97
  • 13 - The Terror at Work 103
  • 14 - The Thermidorian Reaction 115
  • 15 - The Directory 121
  • 16 - Bonaparte 128
  • 17 - Law and Order 140
  • 18 - Rule by Plebiscite 149
  • 19 - Governing the Empire 155
  • 20 - Resistance and Repression 169
  • 21 - The Russian Catastrophe 175
  • 22 - Collapse 187
  • 23 - The Hundred Days 193
  • 24 - French Men and Women Reflect 202
  • Index 209
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