Gracchus Babeuf 1796

Creation of an Insurrectionary Directory

Source: Pieces relatives a la conspiration trouvées chez Babeuf [Paris? 1796?];
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

This partial plan for a conspiratorial organization was found among Babeuf’s papers when he was arrested.

French democrats, painfully affected, profoundly indignant, justly revolted by the sad spectacle offered by the unheard of state of misery and oppression of their country;

Penetrated by the memory that when a democratic constitution was given to the people and accepted by it, it was placed under the guard of all virtues;

Consequently, considering that the initiative for undertaking the avenging of the people when, like today, its rights are usurped, its freedom stolen and even its existence compromised, belongs to those of purest and most courageous virtue;

Recognizing that it is an unfair reproach to accuse the people of cowardice, and that the people have only postponed justice till now because it lacked good leaders to appear at its head;

Recognizing that the overflowing measure of a usurping authority has ripened the disposition of all souls in favor of a revolutionary explosion, and this to such a point that in order to render it fruitful it would perhaps be necessary to temper rather than accelerate the impulse of free men in order to put the regulators in a position to assure its success;

They have resolved the following:

First Article
From this moment an Insurrectional Directory is formed, under the name of Secret Directorate of Public Salvation. In that quality they take the initiative of guiding all the movements that will lead the people to regain its sovereignty.

II. This Directory has four members

III. This Directory shall be secret; the names of its members will not even be known by the principal agents. Between the latter and the members of the Directorate there shall be intermediary members to effectuate communications between the former and the latter.

IV. The Secret Directory of Public Safety commits itself to fulfilling the immense scope of the obligations imposed by this great title.

V. A distinctive mark shall be placed on those written instructions that it will be indispensable to give to principal agents, and this mark shall serve to protect against any surprise through false instructions; it will guarantee, despite the lack of a signature, the authenticity of the acts they will receive from the Secret Directorate.