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dismissed his physicians, and calmly prepared | snares of vice; who had made his cup run himself to die. over with worldly blessings; who had doubled the value of those blessings, by bestowing a thankful heart to enjoy them, and dear friends to partake them; who had rebuked the waves of the Ligurian gulf, had purified the autumnal air of the Campagna, and had restrained the avalanches of Mont Cenis. Of the Psalms, his favourite was that which represents the Ruler of all things under the endearing image of a shepherd, whose crook guides the flock safe, through gloomy and desolate glens, to meadows well watered and rich with herbage. On that goodness to which he ascribed all the happiness of his life, he relied in the hour of death with the love which casteth out fear. He died on the 17th of June, 1719. He had just entered on his forty-eighth year.
His works he intrusted to the care of Tickell; and dedicated them a very few days before his death to Craggs, in a letter written with the sweet and graceful eloquence of a Saturday's Spectator. In this, his last composition, he alluded to his approaching end in words so manly, so cheerful, and so tender, that it is difficult to read them without tears. At the same time he earnestly recommended the interests of Tickell to the care of Craggs.
Within a few hours of the time at which this dedication was written, Addison sent to beg Gay, who was then living by his wits about town, to come to Hoiland House. Gay went and was received with great kindness. To his amazement his forgiveness was implored by the dying man. Poor Gay, the most goodnatured and simple of mankind, could not imagine what he had to forgive. There was, however, some wrong, the remembrance of which weighed on Addison's mind, and which he declared himself anxious to repair. He was in a state of extreme exhaustion; and the parting was doubtless a friendly one on both sides. Gay supposed that some plan to serve him had been in agitation at court, and had been frustrated by Addison's influence. Nor is this improbable. Gay had paid assiduous court to the royal family. But in the queen's days he had been the eulogist of Bolingbroke, and was still connected with many tories. It is not strange that Addison, while heated by conflict, should have thought himself justified in obstructing the preferment of one whom he might regard as a political enemy. Neither is it strange that, when reviewing his whole life, and earnestly scrutinizing all his motives, he should think that he had acted an unkind and ungenerous part, in using his power against a distressed man of letters, who was as harmless and as helpless as a child.
Many tributes were paid to the memory of Addison. But one alone is now remembered. Tickell bewailed his friend in an elegy which would do honour to the greatest name in our literature; and which unites the energy and magnificence of Dryden to the tenderness and purity of Cowper. This fine poem was prefixed to a superb edition of Addison's works, which was published in 1721, by subscription.
One inference may be drawn from this anecdote. It appears that Addison, on his death-The names of the subscribers proved how bed, called himself to a strict account; and was widely his fame had been spread. That his not at ease till he had asked pardon for an in-countrymen should be eager to possess his jury which it was not even suspected that he writings, even in a costly form, is not wonderhad committed-for an injury which would ful. But it is wonderful that, though English have caused disquiet only to a very tender literature was then little studied on the Conticonscience. Is it not then reasonable to infer nent, Spanish grandees, Italian prelates, mar that, if he had really been guilty of forming a shals of France, should be found in the list. base conspiracy against the fame and fortunes Among the most remarkable names are those of a rival, he would have expressed some re- of the Queen of Sweden, of Prince Eugene, of morse for so serious a crime? But it is unne- the Grand Duke of Tuscany, of the Dukes of cessary to multiply arguments and evidence Parma, Modena, and Guastalla, of the Doge of for the defence, when there is neither argument Genoa, of the Regent Orleans, and of Cardinal nor evidence for the accusation. Dubois. We ought to add, that this edition, though eminently beautiful, is in some impor tant points defective: nor, indeed, do we yet possess a complete collection of Addison's writings.
The last moments of Addison were perfectly serene. His interview with his son-in-law is universally known. See," he said, "how a Christian can die!" The piety of Addison was, in truth, of a singularly cheerful character. The feeling which predominates in all his devotional writings, is gratitude. God was to him the all-wise and all-powerful friend, who had watched over his cradle with more than maternal tenderness; who had listened to his cries before they could form themselves in prayer; who had preserved his youth from the
His body lay in state in the Jerusalem Chamber, and was borne thence to the Abbey at dead of night. The choir sang a funeral hymn. Bishop Atterbury, one of those tories who had loved and honoured the most accomplished of the whigs, met the corpse, and led the procession by torch-light, round the shrine of Saint Edward and the graves of the Plantagenets, to the chapel of Henry the Seventh. On the north side of that chapel, in the vault of the house of Albemarle, the coffin of Addison lies next to the coffin of Montagu. Yet a few months-and the same mourners passed again along the same aisle. The same sad anthem was again chanted. The same vault was again opened; and the coffin of Craggs was placed close to the coffin of Addison.
It is strange that neither his opulent and noble widow, nor any of his powerful and attached friends, should have thought of placing even a simple tablet, inscribed with his name, on the walls of the Abbey. It was not till three generations had laughed and wept over his pages that the omission was supplied by the public veneration. At length, in our own
time, his image, skilfully graven, appeared in Poet's Corner. It represents him, as we can conceive him, clad in his dressing-gown, and freed from his wig, stepping from his parlour at Chelsea into his trim little garden, with the account of the Everlasting Club, or the Loves of Hilpa and Shalum, just finished for the next day's Spectator, in his hand. Such a mark of national respect was due to the unsullied statesman, to the accomplished scholar, to the
master of pure English eloquence, to the consummate painter of life and manners. It was due, above all, to the great satirist, who alone knew how to use ridicule without abusing it, who, without inflicting a wound, cffected a great social reform, and who reconciled wit and virtue, after a long and disastrous separa tion, during which wit had been led astray by profligacy, and virtue by fanaticism.
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, APRIL, 1844.]
This book has more than one title to our | aware that temptations such as those to which rerious attention. It is an appeal, solemnly the members of the Convention and of the made to posterity by a man who played a con- committee of public safety were exposed, musi spicuous part in great events, and who repre- try severely the strength of the firmest virtue sents himself as deeply aggrieved by the rash Indeed, our inclination has always been to and malevolent censure of his contemporaries. regard with an indulgence, which to some rigid To such an appeal we shall always give ready moralists appears excessive, those faults into audience. We can perform no duty more use- which gentle and noble spirits are sometimes ful to society, or more agreeable to our own hurried by the excitement of conflict, by the feelings, than that of making, as far as our maddening influence of sympathy, and by ill power extends, reparation to the slandered and regulated zeal for a public cause. persecuted benefactors to mankind. We therefore promptly took into our consideration this copious apology for the life of Bertrand Barère. We have made up our minds; and we now propose to do him, by the blessing of God, full and signal justice.
With such feelings we read this book, and compared it with other accounts of the events in which Barère bore a part. It is now our duty to express the opinion to which this in vestigation has led us.
Our opinion then is this, that Barère ap proached nearer than any person mentioned in history or fiction, whether man or devil, to the idea of consummate and universal deprav ity. In him the qualities which are the proper objects of hatred, and the qualities which are the proper objects of contempt, preserve an exqui
It is to be observed that the appellant in this case does not come into court alone. He is attended to the bar of public opinion by two compurgators who occupy highly honourable stations. One of these is M. David of Angers, member of the Institute, an eminent sculptor, and, if we have been rightly informed, a favour-site and absolute harmony. In almost every ite pupil, though not kinsman, of the painter particular sort of wickedness he has had rivals, who bore the same name. The other, to whom His sensuality was immoderate; but this was a we owe the biographical preface, is M. Hippo- failing common to him with many grea: and Ayte Carnot, member of the Chamber of Depu- amiable men. There have been many men as ties, and son of the celebrated Director. In the cowardly as he, some as cruel, a few as mean, judgment of M. David, and of M. Hippolyte a few as impudent. There may also have been Carnot, Barère was a deserving and an ill-used as great liars, though we never met with them man, a man who, though by no means faultless, or read of them. But when we put every must yet, when due allowance is made for the thing together, sensuality, poltroonery, baseness, force of circumstances and the infirmity of effrontery, mendacity, barbarity, the resuit is human nature, he considered as on the whole something which in a novel we should con. entitled to our esteem. It will be for the public demn as caricature, and to which we venture to determine, after a full hearing, whether the to say, no parallel can be found in history. editors have, by thus connecting their names with that of Barère, raised his character or lowered their own.
It would be grossly unjust, we acknowledge, to try a man situated as Barère was by a severe standard. Nor have we done so. We have We are not conscious that, when we opened formed our opinion of him by comparing him, this book, we were under the influence of any not with politicians of stainless character, not feeling likely to pervert our judgment. Un-with Chancellor D'Aguesseau, or General Wash doubtedly we had long entertained a most ington, or Mr. Wilberforce, or Earl Gray, but unfavourable opinion of Barère; but to this with his own colleagues of the Mountain. That opinion we were not tied by any passion or by party included a considerable number of the any interest. Our dislike was a reasonable worst men that ever lived; but we see in it dislike, and might have been removed by reason. nothing like Barère. Compared with him, Indeed, our expectation was, that these Me-Fouché seems honest; Billaud seems humane; moirs would in some measure clear Barère's Hébert seems to rise into dignity. Every other fame. That he could vindicate himself from chief of a party, says M. Hippolyte Carnot, all the charges which had been brought against has found apologists; one set of men exalu him, we knew to be impossible: and his editors the Girondists; another set justifies Danton; a admit that he has not done so. But we thought third deifies Robespierre; but Barère remains it highly probable that some grave accusations without a defender. We venture to suggest a would be refuted, and that many offences to very simple solution of this phenomenon. All which he would have been forced to plead the other chiefs of parties had some good guilty would be greatly extenuated. We were qualities, and Barère had none. The genius, not disposed to be severe. We were fully courage, patriotism, and humanity of the Giron dist statesmen, more than atoned for what was culpable in their conduct, and should have
*Mémoires de Bertrand Berère; publiés par MM. HIPPOLYTE CARNOT. Membre de la Chambre des Députés, et DAVID d'Angers, Membre de l'Institut: pré-protected them from the insult of being com édés d'une Notice Historique par II. CARNOT. 4 pared with such a thing as Barère. Danton Tomes. Paris: 1843.
like the cedar of Lebanon. It is barely possible that, under good guidance and in favourable circumstances, such a man might have slipped through life without discredit. But the unsea worthy craft, which even in still water would have been in danger of going down from its own rottenness, was launched on a raging ocean, amidst a storm in which a whole armada of gallant ships were cast away. The weakest and most servile of human beings found himself on a sudden an actor in a Revolution which convulsed the whole civilized world. At first he fell under the influence of humane and moderate men, and talked the language of humanity and moderation. But he soon found himself surrounded by fierce and resolute spirits, scared by no danger and restrained by no scruple. He had to choose whether he would be their victim or their accomplice. His choice was soon made. He tasted blood, and felt no loathing: he tasted it again, and liked it well, Cruelty became with him, first a habit, then a passion, at last a madness. So complete and It is true that he was not, as far as we are rapid was the degeneracy of his nature, that able to judge, originally of a savage disposi- within a very few months after the time when tion; but this circumstance seems to us only he passed for a good-natured man, he had to aggravate his guilt. There are some un- brought himself to look on the despair and happy men constitutionally prone to the darker misery of his fellow-creatures with a glee passions, men all whose blood is gall, and to resembling that of the fiends whom Dante saw whom bitter words and harsh actions are as watching the pool of seething pitch in Malenatural as snarling and biting to a ferocious bolge. He had many associates in guilt; but dog. To come into the world with this wretched he distinguished himself from them all by the mental disease is a greater calamity than to be Bacchanalian exultation which he seemed to born blind or deaf. A man who, having such feel in the work of death. He was drunk with a temper, keeps it in subjection, and constrains innocent and noble blood, laughed and shouted himself to behave habitually with justice and as he butchered, and howled strange songs and humanity towards those who are in his power, reeled in strange dances amidst the carnage. seems to us worthy of the highest admiration. Then came a sudden and violent turn of fortune. There have been instances of this self-com-The miserable man was hurled down from the mand; and they are among the most signal height of power to hopeless ruin and infamy. triumphs of philosophy and religion. On the The shock sobered him at once. The fumes other hand, a man who, having been blessed | of his horrible intoxication passed away. But by nature with a bland disposition, gradually he was now so irrecoverably depraved, that the brings himself to inflict misery on his fellow-discipline of adversity only drove him further creatures with indifference, with satisfaction, into wickedness. Ferocious vices, of which he and at length with a hideous rapture, deserves had never been suspected, had been developed to be regarded as a portent of wickedness; and in him by power. Another class of vices, less such a man was Barère. The history of his hateful, perhaps, but more despicable, was now downward progress is full of instruction. Weak-developed in him by poverty and disgrace. ness, cowardice, and fickleness were born with Having appalled the whole world by great him; the best quality which he received from crimes perpetrated under tho pretence of zeal nature was a good temper. These, it is true, for liberty, he became the meanest of all the are not very promising materials; yet out of tools of despotism. It is not easy to settle the materials as unpromising, high sentiments of order of precedence among his vices; but we piety and of honour have sometimes made are inclined to think that his baseness was, on martyrs and heroes. Rigid principles often do the whole, a rarer and more marvellous thing for feeble minds what stays do for feeble bodies. than his cruelty. But Barère had no principles at all. His character was equally destitute of natural and of acquired strength. Neither in the commerce of life, nor in books, did we ever become ac-dence which becomes a judge who has heard quainted with any mind so unstable, so utterly only one side. The case seemed strong, and in destitute of tone, so incapable of independent parts unanswerable; yet we did not know what thought and earnest preference, so ready to take the accused party might have to say for him impressions and so ready to lose them. He self; and, not being much inclined to take our resembled those creepers which must lean on fellow-creatures either for angels of light or something, and which as soon as their prop is for angels of darkness, we could not but fees removed, fall down in utter helplessness. He some suspicion that his offences had been ex could no more stand up, erect and self-support-aggerated. That suspicion is now at an end ed, in any cause, than the ivy can rear itself The vindication is before us. It occupies ions. like the oak, or the wild vine shoot to heaven volumes. It was the work of forty years. 4 VOL. V-79 3 G
This is the view which we have long taken of Barère's character; but, till we read these Memoirs, we held our opinion with the diff
and Robespierre were, indeed, bad men; but in both of them some important parts of the mind remained sound. Danton was brave and resclute, fond of pleasure, of power, and of distinction, with vehement passions, with lax principles, but with some kind and manly feelings, capable of great crimes, but capable also of friendship and of compassion. He, therefore, naturally finds admirers among persons of bold and sanguine dispositions. Robes pierre was a vain, envious, and suspicious man, with a hard heart, weak nerves, and a gloomy temper. But we cannot with truth deny that he was, in the vulgar sense of the word, disinterested, that his private life was correct, or that he was sincerely zealous for his own system of politics and morals. He therefore naturally finds admirers among honest but moody and bitter democrats. If no class has taken the reputation of Barère under its patronage, the reason is plain: Barère had not a single virtue, nor even the semblance of one.
be brought to trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal. He would have been better em ployed in concerting military measures which might have repaired our disasters in Belgium, and might have arrested the progress of the enemies of the Revolution in the west."—(Vol ii. p. 312.)
Now it is notorious that Marie Antoinette was sent before the Revolutionary Tribunal, not at Robespierre's instance, but in direct opposition to Robespierre's wishes. We will cite a single authority, which is quite decisive. Buonaparte, who had no conceivable motive to disguise the truth, who had the best oppor. tunities of knowing the truth, and who, after his marriage with the Archduchess, naturally felt an interest in the fate of his wife's kins woman, distinctly affirmed that Robespierre opposed the trying of the queen. Who, then, was the person who really did propose that the Capet family should be banished, and that Marie Antoinette should be tried! Full information will be found in the Moniteur. From that valuable record it appears that, on the first of August 1793, an orator deputed by the Committee of Public Safety addressed the Convention in a long and elaborate discourse. He asked, in passionate language, how it happened that the enemies of the Republic still continued to hope for success. "Is it," he cried, "be cause we have too long forgotten the crimes
would be absurd to suppose that it does not refute every serious charge which admitted of refutation. How many serious charges, then, are here refuted? Not a single one. Most of the imputations which have been thrown on Barere he does not even notice. In such cases, of course, judgment must go against him by default. The fact is, that nothing can be more meagre and uninteresting than his account of the great public transactions in which he was engaged. He gives us hardly a word of new information respecting the proceedings of the Committee of Public Safety; and, by way of compensation, tells us long stories about things which happened before he emerged from obscurity, and after he had again sunk into it. Nor is this the worst. As soon as he ceases to write trifles, he begins to write lies; and such lies! A man who has never been within the tropics does not know what a thunder-storm means; a man who has never looked on Niagara has but a faint idea of a cataract; and he who has not read Barère's Memoirs may be said not to know what it is to lie. Among the numerous classes which make up the great genus Mendacium, the Mendacium Vasconicum, or Gascon hie, has, during some centuries, been highly esteemed as peculiarly circumstantial and peculiarly impudent; and among the Mendaria Vasconica, the Mendacium Burerianum is, without doubt, the finest species. It is, indeed, a superb variety, and quite throws into the of the Austrian woman? Is it because we shade some Mendaria which we were used to have shown so strange an indulgence to the regard with admiration. The Mendacium Wrax-race of our ancient tyrants? It is time that allunum, 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 Rematter. 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 creason. He must, therefore, be 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 every 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 tight over her. It is deed, from holding M. Hippolyte Carnot an- to the tribunal appointed for the trial of conswerable for Barère's want of veracity. But spirators that she ought to be sent. It is only M. Hippolyte Carnot has arranged these Me- by striking the Austrian woman that 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 minisments 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 Mare ADthat, 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 exception 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 mo tion was carried without debate.
We will content ourselves at present with pointing out two instances of Barère's wilful and deliberate mendacity; namely, his account of the death of Marie Antoinette, and his account of the death of the Girondists. His account of the death of Marie Antoinette is as follows:-"Robespierre in his turn proposed that the members of the Capet family should be banished, and that Marie Antoinette should
Now, who was the person who made this speech and this motion? It was Barère him. self. It is clear, then, that Barère attributed his own mean insolence and barbarity to one who, whatever his crimes may have been, was in
* O'Meara's Voice from St. Helena, ii. 170.