Puisaye to the Central Catholic Committee

The fall of Robespierre and the Mountain in the summer of 1794 also reinvigorated counterrevolutionary forces, especially those hoping to restore royal authority in the person of the son of the "martyr" Louis XVI. We see evidence of efforts to coordinate royalist military action against the Republic in the letter below, by the Chouan leader Puisaye to the "Catholic Central Committee."


Above all, increase the number of civil commissioners and the commissioners for correspondence and for distributing printed works, of which I will again be sending you many copies of all types, as well as commissioners for the distribution of assignats [bank notes], munitions, weapons, clothes, etc., that I will be sending you. Remember well that all of these effects, mostly second-rate, should be evenly distributed, and should be always given to those farthest away, because you are closer to receive them.

I hope that Théobald has made every effort to succeed in the negotiations with the republican general. We are waiting for news of it here with the utmost impatience. If he has been successful, he will have accomplished everything in one blow. . . .

I have not been able to find the officers for whom Théobald gave me the letters. They are stationed far away. I am forming a small body of artillery and engineers here that shall be a great help to you. My manufacturing will soon be in full swing. I already have seventy workers, and before long, you will have a million a day, then two, etc. You can see how this method can be effective in any situation. Make good use of them. Let them enrich the countryside, win over the cities, etc.

In this package you will be receiving about 10 million francs, uniforms, coats, pants, white scarves, undergarments, leather belts, (similar to those of Perchais), two printed letters from the Count of Artois [the future Charles X], one of which is addressed to you. . . .

(The riding coats are not ready yet), the red uniform, buttoned across the chest with the white scarf slung over the shoulder, the pale-green coat, the undergarment, the green pants with sheepskin patches, the green riding coat, the round hat with the white foxtail and white plume. To this I am adding sixty pairs of boots, and soon you will have everything you need. I have placed several uniform buttons in this package, and I will try to send a large number of them so that each of our soldiers will have at least one that they can place on their hat while we are waiting for the rest for their uniforms. You will receive these in bulk when the door is opened. Ask for anything you are missing, or that I have not thought of. I am having twenty pairs of large-caliber double-barrel pistols made, but there will only be twenty because they are terribly expensive. Divide them, as well as the rest of the items, between yourself and Morbihan. Especially make sure that our friends from Fougères, Vitré, etc., receive something often. These few items will keep them, and the hope of a larger service coming their way, should protect everyone against the proclamations and amnesties which are the sign of the fright and powerlessness of the [National] Convention, against which we preparing a campaign which shall be stronger than the others. They will not have the means to fight this one, and that we will be assisting it. . . .

Delay the day of revenge, and let those who repent become our friends. You will certainly come across some unhappy republicans, and they are the most useful. As soon as I can, I shall send you a picture of the blessed Louis [XVI], martyr, and of his son [Louis XVII], our King—which will please our good friends.

Source: Anonymous, Correspondance secrète de Charette, vol. 1 (Paris, 1798–99), 113–21. 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), 421–23.