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would be absurd to suppose that it does not be brought to trial before the Revolutionary relute every serious charge which admitted of Tribunal. He would have been better em relutation. How many serious charges, then, ployed in concerting military measures which are here refuted ? Not a single one. Most of might have repaired our disasters in Belgium, the imputations which have been thrown on and might have arrested the progress of the Barère he does not even notice. In such cases, enemies of the Revolution in the west."-(Vol. of course, judgment must go against him by ii. p. 312.) default. The fact is, that nothing can be more Now it is notorious that Marie Antoinette meagre and uninteresting than his account of was sent before the Revolutionary Tribunal, the great public transactions in which he was not at Rubespierre's instance, but in direct opengaged. He gives us hardly a word of new position to Robespierre's wishes. We will information respecting the proceedings of the cite a single authority, which is quite decisive. Committee of Public Safety; and, by way of Buonaparte, who had no conceivable motive compensation, tells us long stories about things to disguise the truth, who had the best oppor. which happened before he emerged from ob- tunities of knowing the truth, and who, alter scurity, and after he had again sunk into it. his marriage with the Archduchess, naturally Nor is this the worst. As soon as he ceases felt an interest in the fate of his wife's kins. to write trifles, he begins to write lies; and woman, distinctly affirmed that Robespierre such lies! A man who has never been within opposed the trying of the queen.* Who, then, the tropics does not know what a thunder-storm was the person who really did propose that the means; a man who has never looked on Nia- Capet family should be banished, and that gara has but a faint idea of a cataract; and he Marie Antoinette should be tried ? Full infor. who has not read Barère's Memoirs may be mation will be found in the Moniteur.t From said not to know what it is to lie. Among the that valuable record it appears that, on the first numerous classes which make up the great of August 1793, an orator deputed by the Com. genus Mendacium, the Mendacium Vasconicum, or mittee of Public Safety addressed the Conven. Gascon lie, has, during some centuries, been tion in a long and elaborate discourse. He highly esteemed as peculiarly circumstantial asked, in passionate language, how it happened and peculiarly impudent; and among the Men- that the enemies of the Republic still continued dacia Vasconica, the Mendacium Barerianum is, to hope for success. “Is it," he cried, "be. without doubt, the finest species. It is, indeed, cause we have too long forgotten the crimes a superb variety, and quite throws into the of the Austrian woman? Is it because we shade some Mendacia which we were used to have shown so strange an indulgence to the regard with admiration. The Mendacium Wrar. race of our ancient tyrants ? It is time that allianum, for example, though by no means to this unwise apathy should cease; it is time to be despised, will not sustain the comparison extirpate from the soil of the Republic the last for a moment. Seriously, we think that M. roots of royalty. As for the children of Louis Hippolyte Carnot is much to blame in this the conspirator, they are hostages for the Re. matter. We can hardly suppose him to be public. The charge of their maintenance shall worse read than ourselves in the history of the be reduced to what is necessary for the food Convention, a history which must interest him and keep of two individuals.

The public deeply, not only as a Frenchman, but also as a treasure shall no longer be lavished on crea. son. He must, therefore, he perfectly aware that tures who have too long been considered as many of the most important statements which privileged. But behind them lurks a woman these volumes contain are falsehoods, such who has been the cause of all the disasters of as Corneille's Dorante, or Molière's Scapin, France, and whose share in eve:y project ad. or Colin d'Harleville's Monsieur de Crac would verse to the Revolution has long been known have been ashamed to utter. We are far, in- National justice claims its rigtiover ker. It is deed, from holding M. Hippolyte Carnot an- to the tribunal appoiuted for the trial of conswerable for Barère's want of veracity. But spirators that she ougnt to be sent. It is only M. Hippolyte Carnot has arranged these Me by striking the Austrian woman thal you can moirs, has introduced them to the world by a make Francis and George, Charles and Wil. laudatory preface, has described them as docu- liam, sensible of the crimes which their minis. ments of great historical value, and has illus-ters and their armies have committed." "The trated them by notes. We cannot but think speaker concluded' by moving that Marie An. that, by acting thus, he contracted some obli- toinette should be brought to judgment, and gations of which he does not seem to have should, for that end, be forthwith transferred been at all aware ; and that he ought not to to the Conciergerie ; and that all the members have suffered any monstrous fiction to go forth of the house of Capet, with the cxception of under the sanction of his name, without adding those who were under the sword of the law, a line at the foot of the page for the purpose of and of the two children of Louis, should be cautioning the reader.

banished from the French territory. The noWe will content ourselves at present with lion was carried without debate. pointing out two instances of Barère's wilful Now, who was the person who made this and deliberate mendacity; namely, his account speech and this motion? It was Barère him. of the death of Marie Antoinette, and his ac- self. It is clear, then, that Barère attributed his count of the death of the Girondists. His acown mean insolence and barbarity to one who count of the death of Marie Antoinette is as whatever his crimes may have been, was in follows:--" Robespierre in his turn proposed that the members of the Capet family should

* O'Meara's Voice from St. Helena, ii. 170. De banished, and that Marie Antoinette should

+ Moniteur, 2d, 7th, and 9th, of August, 1793.

this matter innocent. The only question re- lor made a report against any, or drew up an maining is, whether Barère was misled by his impeachment against any."* memory, or wrote a deliberate falsehood.

Now, we affirm that this is a lie. We affirm We are convinced that he wrote a deliberate that Barère himself took the lead in the profalsehood. His memory is described by editors ceedings of the convention against the Gironas remarkably good, and must have been bad dists. We affirm that he, on the twenty-eighth inrleed if he could not remember such a fact of July, 1793, proposed a decree for bringing as this. It is true that the number of murders nine Girondist deputies to trial, and for putting in which he subsequently bore a part was so to death sixteen other Girondist deputies withgreat, that he might well confound one without any trial at all. We affirm that, when the another, that he might well forget what part of accused deputies had been brought to trial, and the daily hecatomb was consigned to death by when some apprehension arose that their elohimself, and what part by his colleagues. But quence might produce an effect even on the retwo circumstances make it quite incredible voluntary tribunal, Barère did, on the 8th of that the share which he took in the death of Brumaire, second a motion for a decree auMarie Antoinette should have escaped his re- thorizing the tribunal to decide without hearing collection. She was one of his earliest vic. out the defence; and, for the truth of every one tims. She was one of his most illustrious of these things so affirmed by us, we appeal to victims. The most hardened assassin remem. that very Moniteur to which Barère has dared bers the first time that he shed blood; and the to appeal.t widow of Louis was no ordinary sufferer. If What M. Hyppolyte Carnot, knowing, as he the question had been about some milliner must know, that this book contains such falsebutchered for hiding in her garret her brother hoods as those which we have exposed, can who had let drop a word against the Jacobin have meant, when he described it as a valuable club, if the question had been about some old addition to our stock of historical information, nun, dragged to death for having mumbled passes our comprehension. When a man is what were called fanatical words over her not ashamed to tell lies about events which beads-Barère's memory might well have de- took place before hundreds of witnesses, and ceived him. It would be as unreasonable to which are recorded in well-known and accesexpect him to remember all the wretches whom sible books, what credit can we give to his ache slew, as all the pinches of snuff that he count of things done in corners ? No historian took. But though Barère murdered many who does not wish to be laughed at will ever hundreds of human beings, he murdered only cite the unsupported authority of Barère as one queen. That he, a small country lawyer, sufficient to prove any fact whatever. The only who, a few years before, would have thought thing, as far as we can see, on which these himself honoured by a glance or a word from volumes throw any light, is the exceeding basethe daughter of so many Cæsars, should call ness of the author. her the Austrian woman, should send her from So much for the veracity of the Memoirs. In jail to jail, should deliver her over to the exe- a literary point of view, they are beneath criticutioner, was surely a great event in his life. cism. They are as shallow, flippant and afWhether he had reason to be proud of it or fected as Barère's oratory in the convention. ashamed of it, is a question on which we may They are also, what his oratory in the convenperhaps differ from his editors; but they will tion was not, utterly insipid. In fact, they are admit, we think, that he could not have forgot- the mere dregs and rinsings of a bottle, of which ten it.

even the first froth was but of very questionWe, therefore, confidently charge Barère able flavour. with having written a deliberate falsehood; We will now try to present our readers with and we have no hesitation in saying that we a sketch of this man's life. We shall, of course, never, in the course of any historical re. make very sparing use, indeed, of his own searches that we have happened to make, fell memoirs; and never without distrust, except in with a falsehood so audacious, except only where they are confirmed by other evidence. the falsehood which we are about to expose.

Bertrand Barère was born in the year 1755, of the proceeding against the Girondists, at Tarbes in Gascony. His father was the Barère speaks with just severity. He calls it proprietor of a small estate at Vieuzac, in the an atrocious injustice perpetrated against the beautiful vale of Argelès. Bertrand always legislators of the Republic. He complains loved to be called Barère de Vieuzac, and flatthat distinguished deputies, who ought to have tered himself with the hope that, by the help of been re-admitted to their seats in the Conven- this feudal addition to his name, he might pass tion, were sent to the scaffold as conspirators. for a gentleman. He was educated for the bar The day, he exclaims, was a day of mourning at Toulouse, the seat of one of the most celefor France. It mutilated the national repre. brated parliaments of the kingdom, practised sentation ; it weakened the sacred principle, as an advocate with considerable success, and that the delegates of the people were inviola- wrote some small pieces, which he sent to the ble. He protests that he had no share in the principal literary societies in the south of guilt. “I have had,” he says, “the patience France. Among provincial towns, Toulouse to go through the Moniteur, extracting all the seems to have been remarkably rich in indiffe. charges brought against deputies, and all the rent versifiers and critics. It gloried especially decrees for arresting and impeaching deputies. Nowhere will you find my name. I never

* Vol. ii. 407. brought a charge against any of my colleagues, I of Brumaire, in the year 2,

+ Moniteur, 31st of July, 1793, and Nonidl, first Decade

in one venerable institution, called the Acade- ed his domestic life till some time after he bemy of the Floral Games. This body held every came a husband. Our own guess is, that his year a grand meeting, which was a subject of wife was, as he says, a virtuous and amiable intense interest to the whole city, and at which woman, and that she did her best to make himflowers of gold and silver were given as prizes happy during some years. It seems clear that, for odes, for idyls, and for something that was when circumstances developed the latent airecalled eloquence. These bounties produced of city of his character, she could no longer encourse the ordinary effect of bounties, and turn- dure him, refused to see him, and sent back his ed people who might have been thriving attor- letters unopened. Then it was, we imagine, neys and useful apothecaries into small wits that he invented the fable about his distress on and bad poets. Barère does not appear to have his wedding-day. been so lucky as to obtain any of these preci- In 1788, Barère paid his first visit to Paris, ous flowers; but one of his performances was attended reviews, heard Laharpe at the Lycæmentioned with honour. At Montauban he um, and Condorcet at the Academy of Sciences, was more fortunate. The academy of that stared at the envoys of Tippoo Saib, savr the town bestowed on him several prizes, one for royal family dine at Versailles, and kept a joura panegyric on Louis the Twelfth, in which the nal in which he noted down adventures and blessings of monarchy and the loyalty of the speculations. Some parts of this journal are French nation were set forth; and another for printed in the first volume of the work before a panegyric on poor Franc de Pompignan, in us, and are certainly most characteristic. The which, as may easily be supposed, the philo- worst vices of the writer had not yet shown sophy of the eighteenth century was sharply themselves; but the weakness which was the assailed. Then Barère found an old stone in- parent of those vices appears in every line. scribed with three Latin words, and wrote a His levity, his inconsistency, his servility, were dissertation upon it, which procured him a seat already what they were to the last. All his in a learned assembly, called the Toulouse opinions, all his feelings, spin round and round Academy of Sciences, Inscriptions, and Polite like a weathercock in a whirlwind. Nay, the Literature. At length the doors of the Acade- very impressions which he receives through my of the Floral Games were opened to so his senses are not the same two days togetber. much merit. Barère, in his thirty-third year, He sees Louis the Sixteenth, and is so much took his seat as one of that illustrious brother- blinded by loyally as to find his majesty handhood, and made an inaugural oration which some. “I fixed my eyes," he says, “ with a was greatly admired. He apologizes for re- lively curiosity on his fine countenance, whicb counting these triumphs of his youthful genius. I thought open and noble.” The next time that We own that we cannot blame him for dwell- the king appears, all is altered. His majesty's ing long on the least disgraceful portion of his eyes are wiihout the smallest expression ; he existence. To send in declamations for prizes has a vulgar laugh which seems like idiocy, offered by provincial academies, is indeed no an ignoble figure, an awkward gait, and the very useful or dignified employment for a look of a big boy ill brought up. It is the same bearded man; but it would have been well if with more important questions. Barère is for Barère had always been so employed. the parliaments on the Monday and against the

In 1785 he married a young lady of conside- parliaments on the Tuesday, for feudality in rable fortune. Whether she was in other re- ihe morning and against feudality in the afterspects qualified to make a home happy, is a noon. One day he admires the English constipoint respecting which we are imperfectly in- tution : then he shudders to think that, in the formed. In a little work, entitled Melancholy struggles by which that constitution had been Pages, which was written in 1797, Barère avers obtained, the barbarous islanders had murder. that his marriage was one of mere conveni- ed a king, and gives the preference to the conence, that at the altar his heart was heavy with stitution of Bearn. Bearn, he says, has a subsorrowful forebodings, that he turned pale as lime constitution, a beautiful constitution. he pronounced the solemn “Yes," that unbid. There the nobility and clergy meet in one house den tears rolled down his cheeks, that his mo- and the commons in another. If the houses ther shared his presentiment, and that the evil differ, the king has the casting voie. A few omen was accomplished. “My marriage," he weeks later we find him raving against the says, “was one of the most unhappy of mar- principles of this sublime and beautiful constiriages.” So romantic a tale, told by so noted a tution. To admit deputies of the nobility and liar, did not command our belief. We were, clergy into the legislature is, he says, neither therefore, not much surprised to discover that, more or less than to admit enemies of the pain his Memoirs, he calls his wife a most amia- tion into the legislature. ble woman, and declares that, after he had been In this state of mind, without one settled pur. united to her six years, he found her as amiable pose or opinion, the slave of the last word, as ever. He complains, indeed, that she was royalist, aristocrat, democrat, according to the loo much attached to royalty and to the old su- prevailing sentiment of the coffee house or perstition ; but he assures us that his respect drawing-room into which he had just looked, ior her virtues induced him to tolerate her pre- did Barère enter into public life. The statesjudices. Now Barère, at the time of his mar- general had been summoned. Barère went riage, was himself a royalist and a Catholic. down to his own province, was there elected He had gained one prize by flattering the one of the representatives of the Third Estate, throne, and another by defending the church. and returned to Paris in May 1789. It is hardly possible, therefore, that disputes A great crisis, often predicted, had at last about politics or religion should have embitter- arrived. In no country, we conceive, have in

tellectual freedom and political servitude ex- from bombast down to buffoonry, was not isted together so long as in France, during the wholly without force and vivacity. He ha: seventy or eighty years which preceded the also one quality which, in active life, often last convocation of the orders. Ancient abuses gives fourth-rate men an advantage over firstand new theories flourished in equal vigour rate men. Whatever he could do, he could do side by side. The people, having no constitu- without effort, at any moment, in any abuntional means of checking even the most flagi- dance, and on any side of any question. There tious misgovernment, were indemnified for op- was, indeed, a perfect harmony between his pression by being suffered to luxuriate in moral character and his intellectual character. anarchical speculation, and to deny or ridicule His temper was that of a slave; his abilities every principle on which the institutions of the were exactly those which qualified him to be a state reposed. Neither those who attribute the useful slave. Of thinking to purpose, he was downfall of the old French institutions to the utterly incapable; but he had wonderful readipublic grievances, nor those who attribute it to ness in arranging and expressing thoughts furthe doctrines of the philosophers, appear to us nished by others. to have taken into their view more than one- In the National Assembly he had no opporhalf of the subject. Grievances as heavy tunity of displaying the full extent either of his have often been endured without producing a talents or of his vices. He was indeed eclipsed revolution ; doctrines as bold have often been by much abler men. He went, as was his propounded without producing a revolution. habil

, with the stream, spoke occasionally The question, whether the French nation with some success, and edited a journal called was alienated from its old polity by the fol- the Point du Jour, in which the debates of the lies and vices of the viziers and sultanas Assembly were reported. who pillaged and disgraced it, or by the writ- He at first ranked by no means among the ings of Voltaire and Rousseau, seems to us as violent resormers. He was not friendly to idle as the question whether it was fire or gun- that new division of the French territory powder that blew up the mills at Hounslow. which was among the most importan! changes Neither cause would have sufficed alone. Ty- introduced by the Revolution, and was esperanny may last through ages where discussion cially unwilling to see his native province disis suppressed. Discussion may sasely be left membered. He was entrusted with the task free by rulers who act on popular principles. of framing reports on the woods and forests. But combine a press like that of London with Louis was exceedingly anxious about this a government like that of St. Petersburg, and matter; for his majesty was a keen sportsthe inevitable effect will be an explosion that man, and would much rather have gone withwill shake the world. So it was in France. out the veto, or the prerogative of making Despotism and license, mingling in unblessed peace and war, than without his hunting and union, engendered that mighty Revolution in shooting. Gentlemen of the royal household which the lineaments of both parents were were sent to Barère, in order to intercede for strangely blended. The long gestation was ac- the deer and pheasants. Nor was this intercomplished; and Europe saw, with mixed hope cession unsuccessful. The reports were so and terror, that agonizing travail and that por- drawn, that Barère was afterwards accused of tentous birth.

having dishonestly sacrificed the interests of Among the crowd of legislators which at this the public to the tastes of the court. To one conjuncture poured from all the provinces of of these reports he had the inconceivable folly France into Paris, Barère made no contempti- and bad taste to prefix a punning motto from Virble figure. The opinions which he for the mo- gil, fit only for such essays as he had been in ment professed were popular, yet not extreme. the habit of composing for the Floral GamesHis character was fair; his personal advantages are said to have been considerable; and,

“Si canimus sylvas, sylvæ sint Consule digne." from the portrait which is prefixed to these This literary foppery was one of the few things Memoirs, and which represents him as he ap- in which he was consistent. Royalist or Gipeared in the Convention, we should judge that rondist, Jacobin or Imperialist, he was always his features must have been strikingly hand- a Trissotin. some, though we think that we can read in them As the monarchical party became weaker cowardice and meanness very legibly written and weaker, Barère gradually estranged himby the hand of God. His conversation was self more and more from it, and drew closer lively and easy; his manners remarkably good and closer to the republicans. It would seem for a country lawyer. Women of rank and that, during this transition, he was for a time wit said that he was the only man who, on his closely connected with the family of Orleans. first arrival from a remote province, had that it is certain that he was entrusted with the indescribable air which it was supposed that guardianship of the celebrated Pamela, afterParis alone could give. His eloquence, in- wards Lady Edward Fitzgerald; and it was deed, was by no means so much admired in asserted that he received during some years a the capital as it had been by the ingenious pension of twelve thousand francs from the academicians of Montauban and Toulouse. Palais Royal. His style was thought very bad; and very bad, At the end of September 1791, the labouis if a foreigner may venture to judge, it con- of the National Assembly terminated, and tinued to the last. It would, however, be un- those of the first and last Legislative Assem. just to deny that he had some talents for bly commenced. speaking and writing. His rhetoric, though It had been enacted that no member of the deformed by every imaginable fault of tasie, National Assembly should sit in the legs

lative Assembly; a preposterous and mis- insight into politics, produce an effect very chievous regulation, to which the disasters similar to that of ipecacuanha. “Those," he which followed must in part be ascribed. In said, “ who have framed a constitution for their England, what would be thought of a parlia- country, are, so to speak, out of the pale of ment which did not contain one single person that social state of which they are the authors; who had ever sat in parliament before ? Yet for creative power is not in the same sphere it may safely be affirmed, that the number of with that which it has created." Englishmen who, never having taken any M. Hippolyte Carnot has noticed this untruth, share in public affairs, are yet well qualified, and attributes it to mere forgetfulness. We by knowledge and observation, to be members leave it to him to reconcile his very charitable of the legislature, is at least a hundred times as supposition with what he elsewhere says of the great as the number of Frenchmen who were remarkable excellence of Barère's memory. so qualified in 1791. How, indeed, should it Many members of the National Assembly have been otherwise? In England, centuries were indemnified for the sacrifice of legislative of representative government have made all power, by appointments in various departments educated people in some measure statesmen. of the public service. Of these fortunate perIn France, the National Assembly had pro- sons Barère was one. A high Court of Appeal bably been composed of as good materials as had just been instituted. The court was to sit were then to be found. It had undoubtedly at Paris ; but its jurisdiction was to extend over removed a vast mass of abuses; some of its the whole realm, and the departments were to members had read and thought much about choose the judges. Barère was nominated by theories of government; and others had shown the department of the Upper Pyrenees, and great oratorical talents. But that kind of skills took his seat in the Palace of Justice. He which is required for the constructing, launch- asserts, and our readers may, if they choose, ing, and steering of a polity was lamentably believe, that it was about this time in contemwanting; for it is a kind of skill to which plation to make him minister of the interior, practice contributes more than books. Books and that, in order to avoid so grave a responsiare indeed useful to the politician, as they are bility, he obtained permission to pay a visit to useful to the navigator and to the surgeon. his native place. It is certain that he left Paris But the real navigator is formed by the early in the year 1792, and passed some months waves; the real surgeon is formed at bedsides; in the south of France. and the conflicts of free states are the real In the mean time, it became clear that the school of constitutional statesmen. The Na- constitution of 1791 would not work. It was, tional Assembly had, however, now served an indeed, not to be expected that a constitution apprenticeship of two laborious and eventful new both in its principles and its details would years. It had, indeed, by no means finished at first work easily. Had the chief magistrate its education ; but it was no longer, as on the enjoyed the entire confidence of the people, day when it met, altogether rude to political had he performed his part with the utmost functions. Its later proceedings contain abun- zeal, fidelity and ability, had the representative dant proof that the members had profited by body included all the wisest statesmen of their experience. Beyond all doubt, there was France, the difficulties might still have been not in France any equal number of persons found insuperable. But, in fact, the experipossessing in an equal degree the qualities ne- ment was made under every disadvantage. cessary for the judicious direction of public The king, very naturally, hated the constituaffairs; and, just at this moment, these legisla- tion. In the Legislative Assembly were men tors, misled by a childish wisb to display their of genius and men of good intentions, but not own disinterestedness, deserted the duties which a single man of experience. Nevertheless, if they had half learned, and which nobody else France had been suffered to settle her own had learned at all, and left their hall to a se-affairs without foreign interference, it is possicond crowd of novices, who had still to master ble that the calamities which followed might the first rudiments of political business. When have been averted. The king who, with many Barère wrote his Memoirs, the absurdity of good qualities, was sluggish and sensual, might this self-denying ordinance had been proved have found compensation for his lost prerogaby events, and was, we believe, acknowledged tives in his immense civil list, in his palaces by all parties. He accordingly, with his usual and hunting-grounds, in soups, Perigord pies, mendacity, speaks of it in terms implying that and Champagne. The people, finding them. he had opposed it. There was, he tells us, no selves secure in the enjoyment of the valuable good citizen who did not regret this fatal vote. reforms which the National Assembly had, in Nay, all wise men, he says, wished the Na- the midst of all its errors, effected, would not tional Assembly to continue its sittings as the have been easily excited by demagogues to first Legislative Assembly. But no attention acts of atrocity; or, if acts of atrocity had was paid to the wishes of the enlightened friends been committed, those acts would probably of liberty; and the generous but fatal suicide have produced a speedy and violent reaction. was perpetrated. Now the fact is, that Barère, Had tolerable quiet been preserved during a far from opposing this ill-advised measure, few years, the constitution of 1791 might, perwas one of those who most eagerly supported haps, have taken root, might have gradually it; that he described it from the tribune as wise acquired the strength which time alone can and magnanimous; and that he assigned, as give, and might, with some modifications nis reasons for taking this view, some of those which were undoubtedly needed, have lasted phrases in which orators of his class delight, down to the present time. The European and which, on all men who have the smallest . coalition against the Revolution extinguished

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