During the draft riots in July he proclaimed the city and county of New York in a state of insurrection, but in a speech to the rioters adopted a tone of conciliation - a political error which injured his career.
During the month of August bands of fanatical rioters in various parts of the country made havoc in the churches and religious houses, wrecking the altars, smashing the images and pictures, and carrying off the sacred vessels and other treasures on which they could lay their hands.
Acts of wild and sacrilegious destruction reached their climax a Antwerp (August 16 and 17), where a small body of rioters forced their way into the cathedral and were permitted without xix.
Disturbances at Buggeru in Sardinia and Castelluzzo in Sicily, in both of which places the troops were compelled to use their arms and several persons were killed and wounded; at a demonstration at Sestri Ponente in Liguria to protest against what was called the Buggeru massacre, four carabineers and eleven rioters were injured.
On the 12th Germinal he was in the tribune, reading a report on the food supplies, when the hall of the Convention was invaded by the rioters, and when they withdrew he quietly continued where he had been interrupted.