In early March 1795 deputy Jean-Baptiste Saladin presented the report of the Committee of Twenty-One to the National Convention. The committee had been called into being to answer demands for justice after the Terror and charged with examining the conduct of four legislators charged with excesses. That it existed at all is testimony to revolutionaries' commitment to political accountability. That it issued indictments signaled the official determination to assign responsibility for the Terror.1 At the same time, however, Saladin's language suggested more than a simple wish to pursue justice and prosecute particular acts. Abandoning any pretense of impartiality, he damned the government under Robespierre—a government in which he and his colleagues had shared—as a corruption of all that revolutionaries fought for.2 How was it possible to promise equitable punishment while preemptively condemning the entire system in which defendants and...

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