They were of absorbing interest to Paris, to France and to Europe; and upon them the Girondist leader at last, on the 31st of December 1792, broke silence, delivering one of his greatest orations, probably one of the greatest combinations of sound reasoning, sagacity and eloquence which has ever been displayed in the annals of French politics.
In politics Daunou was a Girondist without combativeness; a confirmed republican, who lent himself always to the policy of conciliation, but whose probity remained unchallenged.
At the opening of the Convention the Montagnard group comprised men of very diverse shades of opinion, and such cohesion as it subsequently acquired was due rather to the opposition of its leaders to the Girondist leaders than to any fundamental hostility between the two groups.
The action of the great Girondist was and will always remain inscrutable, but it was followed by a similar verdict from nearly the whole party which he led.
Then, through the Girondist minister Lebrun-Tondu, he entered the diplomatic service, went in May, 1792, as secretary of legation to Naples and was shortly afterwards sent, without official status, to Rome.
Pache had twice been minister of war in the Girondist government; but his incompetence had laid him open to strong criticism, and on the 4th of February he had been superseded by a vote of the Convention.
It seems to have been due to his Girondist ideas that the Ancients were given the right of convoking the corps legislatif outside Paris, an expedient which made possible Napoleon's coup d'etat of the 18th and 19th Brumaire.
The rupture had not yet been made evident between the Girondist party and that section still more extreme, that of the Mountain.
Guadet, a nephew of the Girondist orator, which was followed by his Les Girondins, leur vie privee, leur vie publique, leur proscription et leur mort (2 vols., Paris, 1861, new ed.