The Law of Suspects (1793)


The Law of Suspects, passed by the National Convention in September 1793, ordered the arrest of persons suspected of opposing the revolution:


“1. Immediately after the publication of the present decree, all suspects within the territory of the Republic and still at large, shall be placed in custody.

2. The following are deemed suspects:

i. those who, by their conduct, associations, comments, or writings have shown themselves partisans of tyranny or federalism and enemies of liberty;

ii. those who are unable to justify, in the manner prescribed by the decree of March 21st, their means of existence and the performance of their civic duties;

iii. those to whom certificates of patriotism have been refused;

iv. civil servants suspended or dismissed from their positions by the National Convention or by its commissioners, and not reinstated, especially those who have been or are to be dismissed by virtue of the decree of August 14th;

v. those former nobles, together with husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, and agents of the émigrés, who have not constantly demonstrated their devotion to the Revolution;

vi. those who have emigrated between July 1st 1789, and the publication of the decree of March 30th, even though they may have returned to France within the period established by said decree…

The Surveillance Committees established in accordance with the law of March 21st last are responsible for drawing up lists of suspects, with issuing warrants of arrest against them, and with placing their papers under seal.