DOI link for THE TURNING-POINT
THE TURNING-POINT book
The mood of the new deputies seemed in favour of conciliation, for 264 at once joined the Feuillant Club and another 70 followed them within a couple of months. The Jacobins began with no more than 136 deputies, including only 5 of the Paris deputation of 24, and the sympathies of those who joined neither club were perhaps more likely to lie with the Right than with the Left. This predominance of moderate deputies was, however, offset by the fact that the most talented members of the Assembly came from its Left wing, notably from those who were to become known as Girondins.1 The nucleus of this group, as its name implied, came from the Gironde. Vergniaud, Guadet, and Gensonne were Bordeaux lawyers and Ducos was the son of a wealthy business man. These able young men-Vergniaud, at 38, was the oldest, and Ducos was only 26-had come to Paris to exercise on the national stage the capacity for political leadership of which their local successes had convinced them. Associated with them was a man of a very different stamp, Brissot, the editor of the Patriote Franfais. Brissot's varied career, which had included a debtor's gaol in England as well as the Bastille, had at one time brought him into the employment of the due d'Orl£ans. He impressed his contemporaries by his activity rather than by proof of firm political convictions. There could be no doubt as to his ambition, but his previous record inspired little confidence in either his disinterestedness or his ability to subordinate his impulsive temperament to the requirements of statesmanship. The third element in the loose agglomeration of the Girondins was centred round thie salon of Madame Roland, the ambitious wife of an elderly and selfrighteous Civil Servant. Madame Roland, fired with the vision of transforming France into a modern replica of the ancient Rome that filled her impassioned imagination, was debarred by her sex from taking any direct part in politics, but her salon served her as a kind of personal club.