Revolutionary Armies in the Provinces: Toulouse (September 1793)

At the demand of patriots in Paris and the provinces, the National Convention sent irregular units to the countryside and to cities where resistance to the Revolution had appeared. In this report from Toulouse, the Convention, through the medium of its Committee of Public Safety, learns that this strategy was highly effective in winning support for the government and, as the correspondent writes, "converting . . . political sinners."


Toulouse, September 28th of the Year II of the French Republic

The revolutionary march is in full swing in Toulouse. The enthusiasm of the local chapter of the Committee of Public Safety is continuous and fruitful. The constituted authorities are all newly elected, and the army, designed to spread and advance the Revolution, adds immeasurably to our speeches and to our civil institutions. Things will get to the point where our presence won't be needed anymore.

Montauban is set up on the same model as Toulouse, but has an advantage over Toulouse in that it has a larger number of educated patriots.

Through the use of a Committee and a revolutionary army, Castres, capital of the department of Tarn, made an about-face in two days. The administration is deftly trying out new ideas, and soon this town will be on the same track as Montauban and Toulouse.

I am leaving with my colleague Chaudron-Roussau for the [department of the] Ariège. The problems have dissipated entirely in that department. All of the administrative positions would have already been totally changed, and without any fuss, if only the educated patriots were equal in number to that of malicious administrators. And the shortage of education is at the point where we have to fill administrative positions with commissioners.

There remains the department of Aude, which is reportedly extremely bad. We will take our instruments of reform there, as we have elsewhere, and will turn the department around. Since the revolutionary army is the best tool to impose order, with it we can convert a thousand political sinners every minute. . . .

You know that Bordeaux is getting better every day, but it is not enough to be satisfied with a few attempts on behalf of the people. We have the correct means to take the Revolution to its end there. We should be going in on the 10th, and I assure you that the Republic will fully and entirely triumph there, if we are as strict as the circumstances require.

Godspeed, in fraternity,

M.-A Baudot

Source: Paul Mautouchet, Le gouvernement révolutionnaire (10 Août 1792–4 brumaire an IV (Paris: E. Cornely, 1912), 224–25. Translated by Exploring the French Revolution project staff from original documents in French found in John Hardman, French Revolution Documents 1792–95, vol. 2 (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1973), 152–53.