Yet, even now, the day might not have been wholly lost (or perhaps its outcome might have been postponed) if the Paris sections had rallied in support of the Jacobin leaders, as in August 1792 and June 1793. Not only the Jacobin Club but the Commune continued to voice support for the arrested men; Hanriot, Robespierrist chief of the National Guard, escaped from the squad sent to arrest him; and the turnkey of the prison to which Robespierre and his group were directed refused to acknowledge their escort’s mandate, so that they were free to seek refuge among their friends at the City Hall. Moreover, the conspirators acted with caution, being still uncertain which way the wind would finally blow. But, though urged by his companions to issue a call for insurrection, Robespierre hesitated too long - either through legalistic scruple or because he lacked the will to act. More important, perhaps, was the simple fact that, when it came to the point, the sans-culottes, estranged by his recent [economic] policies, showed little inclination to take up arms for a cause they no longer believed in. It was certainly not for lack of time or opportunity to make up their minds. All through the afternoon and evening, the two contending parties, based respectively on the Commune and the Convention, sent mutually conflicting orders, threats, pleas, and declarations to the sections and battalions of the National Guard, appealing to their loyalties. At one time, in response to the Commune’s summons, 3,000 armed men, supported by the thirty-two pieces of artillery, were drawn up outside the City Hall. But they lacked both leadership and purpose and, as the tide of the debate in the sectional assemblies and ‘revolutionary’ committees turned against the Robespierrists, the whole of his force gradually melted away.
George Rude, Robespierre: Portrait of a Revolutionary Democrat
Find your dream Ryan home in Carroll County!