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They made no submission; but opposed to the and have drawn up a proclamation announcing hatred of mankind, at first a fierce resistance, their guilt and their punishment to all France, and afterwards a dogged and sullen endurance. were by no means disposed to acquiesce in his Barère, on the other hand, as soon as he began claims. He was reminded that, only forty-eight to understand the real nature of the revolution hours before the decisive conflict, he had, in the of Thermidor, attempted to abandon the Moun-tribune, been profuse of adulation to Robes tain, and to obtain admission among his old pierre. His answer to this reproach is worthy friends of the moderate party. He declared of himself. It was necessary," he said, "to everywhere that he had never been in favour dissemble. It was necessary to flatter Robesof severe measures; that he was a Girondist; pierre's vanity, and, by panegyrie, to impe! him that he had always condemned and lamented to the attack. This was the motive which inthe manner in which the Brissotine deputies duced me to load him with those praises of had been treated. He now preached mercy which you complain. Who ever blamed Brufrom that tribune from which he had recently tus for dissembling with Tarquin?" preached extermination. "The time," he said, The accused triumvirs had only one chance "has come at which our clemency may be in- of escaping punishment. There was severe dulged without danger. We may now safely distress at that moment among the working consider temporary imprisonment as an ade- people of the capital. This distress the Jacoquate punishment for political misdemeanors." bins attributed to the reaction of Thermider, It was only a fortnight since, from the same to the lenity with which the aristocrats were place, he had declaimed against the moderation now treated, and to the measures which had which dared even to talk of clemency; it was been adopted against the chiefs of the late only a fortnight since he had ceased to send administration. Nothing is too absurd to be men and women to the guillotine of Paris, at believed by a populace which has not breakthe rate of three hundred a week. He now fasted, and which does not know how it is to wished to make his peace with the moderate dine. The rabble of the Faubourg St. Anparty at the expense of the Terrorists, as he toine rose, menaced the deputies, and dehad, a year before, made his peace with the manded with loud cries the liberation of the Terrorists at the expense of the moderate party. persecuted patriots. But the Convention was But he was disappointed. He had left himself no longer such as it had been, when similar no retreat. His face, his voice, his rants, his means were employed too successfully against jokes, had become hateful to the Convention. the Girondists. Its spirit was roused. Its When he spoke, he was interrupted by mur-strength had been proved. Military means murs. Bitter reflections were daily cast on his were at its command. The tumult was supcowardice and perfidy. On one occasion Car-pressed, and it was decreed that same evening not rose to give an account of a victory, and so far forgot the gravity of his character as to indulge in the sort of oratory which Barère had affected on similar occasions. He was interrupted by cries of "No more Carmagnoles!" "No more of Barère's puns!"
At length, five months after the revolution of Thermidor, the Convention resolved that a committee of twenty-one members should be appointed to examine into the conduct of Billaud, Collot, and Barère. In some weeks the report was made. From that report we learn that a paper had been discovered, signed by Barère, and containing a proposition for adding the last improvement to the system of terror. France was to be divided into circuits; itinerant revolutionary tribunals, composed of trusty Jacobins, were to move from department to department; and the guillotine was to travel in their train.
Barère, in his defence, insisted that no speech or motion which he had made in the Convention could, without a violation of the freedom of debate, be treated as a crime. He was asked how he could resort to such a mode of defence, after putting to death so many deputies on account of opinions expressed in the Convention. He had nothing to say, but that it was much to be regretted that the sound principle had ever been violated.
He arrogated to himself a large share of the merit of the revolution of Thermidor. The men who had risked their lives to effect that revolation, and who knew that, if they had failed, Barère would, in all probability, have moved the decree for beheading them without a trial,
that Collot, Billaud, and Barère should instantly be removed to a distant place of confinement.
The next day the order of the Convention was executed. The account which Barère has given of his journey is the most interesting and the most trustworthy part of these memoirs. There is no witness so infamous that a court of justice will not take his word against himself; and even Barère may be believed when he tells us how much he was hated and despised.
The carriage in which he was to travel passed, surrounded by armed men, along the street of S. Honore. A crowd soon gathered round it, and increased every moment. On the long flight of steps before the church of St. Roch stood rows of eager spectators. It was with difficulty that the coach could make its way through those who hung upon it, hooting, cursing, and striving to burst the doors. Barère thought his life in danger, and was conducted at his own request to a public office, where he hoped that he might find shelter till the crowd should disperse. In the mean time, another discussion on his fate took place in the Convention. It was proposed to deal with him as he had dealt with better men, to put him out of the pale of the law, and to deliver him at once without any trial to the headsman. But the humanity which, since the ninth Thermidor, had generally directed the public counsels, restrained the deputies from taking this course It was now night; and the streets gradually became quiet. The clock struck twelve; ani Barère, under a strong guard, again set forth on his journey. He was conducted over the
river to the place where the Orleans road ever. These events strengthened the aversion branches off from the southern boulevard. with which the system of Terror and the Two travelling carriages stood there. In one authors of that system were regarded. One of them was Billaud, attended by two officers; member of the Convention had moved, that in the other, two more officers were waiting to the three prisoners of Oléron should be put to receive Barère. Collot was already on the road. death; another, that they should be brought At Orleans, a city which had suffered cruelly back to Paris, and tried by a council of war. from the Jacobin tyranny, the three deputies These propositions were rejected. But somewere surrounded by a mob bent on tearing thing was conceded to the party which called them to pieces. All the national guards of the for severity. A vessel which had been fitted neighbourhood were assembled; and this force out with great expedition at Rochefort touched was not greater than the emergency required; at Oléron, and it was announced to Collot and or the multitude pursued the carriages far on Billaud that they must instantly go on board. the road to Blois. They were forthwith conveyed to Guiana, where Collot soon drank himself to death with brandy. Billaud lived many years, shunning his fellow creatures and shunned by them; and diverted his lonely hours by teaching parrots to talk. Why a distinction was made between Barère and his companions in guilt, neither he nor any other writer, as far as we know, has explained. It does not appear that the distinction was meant to be at all in his favour; for orders soon arrived from Paris, that he should be brought to trial for his crimes before the criminal court of the department of the Upper Charente. He was accordingly brought back to the Continent, and confined during some months at Saintes, in an old convent which had lately been turned into the jail.
At Amboise the prisoners learned that Tours was ready to receive them. The stately bridge was occupied by a throng of people, who swore that the men under whose rule the Loire had been choked with corpses, should have full personal experience of the nature of a noyade. In consequence of this news, the officers who had charge of the criminals made such arrangements that the carriages reached Tours at two in the morning, and drove straight to the posthouse. Fresh horses were instantly ordered, and the travellers started again at full gallop. They had in truth not a moment to lose; for the alarm had been given: lights were seen in motion; and the yells of a great multitude, disappointed of its revenge, mingled with the sound of the departing wheels.
At Poitiers there was another narrow escape. As the prisoners quitted the post-house, they saw the whole population pouring in fury down the steep declivity on which the city is built. They passed near Niort, but could not venture to enter it. The inhabitants came forth with threatening aspect, and vehemently cried to the postilions to stop; but the postilions urged the horses to full speed, and soon left the town behind. Through such dangers the men of blood were brought in safety to Rochelle.
While he lingered here, the reaction which had followed the great crisis of Thermidor met with a temporary check. The friends of the house of Bourbon, presuming on the indul gence with which they had been treated after the fall of Robespierre, not only ventured to avow their opinions with little disguise, but at length took arms against the Convention, and were not put down till much blood had been shed in the streets of Paris. The vigilance of the public authorities was therefore now di rected chiefly against the royalists, and the Oléron was the place of their destination, a rigour with which the Jacobins had lately been dreary island beaten by the raging waves of treated was somewhat relaxed. The Conventhe Bay of Biscay. The prisoners were con- tion, indeed, again resolved that Barère should fined in the castle; each had a single chamber, be sent to Guiana. But this decree was not at the door of which a guard was placed; and carried into effect. The prisoner, probably each was allowed the ration of a single soldier. with the connivance of some powerful per They were not allowed to communicate either sons, made his escape from Saintes and fled to with the garrison or with the population of the Bordeaux, where he remained in concealment island: and soon after their arrival they were during some years. There seems to have been denied the indulgence of walking on the ram- a kind of understanding between him and the parts. The only place where they were suf-government, that, as long as he hid himself, he fered to take exercise was the esplanade where the troops were drilled.
They had not been long in this situation when news came that the Jacobins of Paris had made a last attempt to regain ascendency in the state, that the hall of the Convention had been forced by a furious crowd, that one of the deputies had been murdered and his head fixed on a pike, that the life of the President had been for a time in imminent danger, and that some members of the legislature had not been ashamed to join the rioters. But troops had arrived in time to prevent a massacre. The insurgents had been put to flight; the inhabitants of the disaffected quarters of the capital had been disarmed; the guilty deputies had suffered the just punishment of their treason; and the power of the Mountain was broken for
should not be found, but that, if he obtruded himself on the public eye, he must take the consequences of his rashness.
While the constitution of 1795, with its Executive Directory, its Council of Elders, and its Council of Five Hundred, was in operation, he continued to live under the ban of the law. It was in vain that he solicited, even at moments when the politics of the Mountain seemed to be again in the ascendant, a remis sion of the sentence pronounced by the Convention. Even his fellow regicides, even the authors of the slaughter of Vendémiaire and of the arrests of Fructidor, were ashamed of him.
About eighteen months after his escape from prison, his name was again brought before the world. In his own province he still retained
some of his early popularity. He had, indeed, never been in that province since the downfall of the monarchy. The mountaineers of Gascony were far removed from the seat of government, and were but imperfectly informed of what passed there. They knew that their countryman had played an important part, and that| he had on some occasions promoted their local interests; and they stood by him in his adversity and in his disgrace, with a constancy which presents a singular contrast to his own abject fickleness. All France was amazed to learn, that the department of the Upper Pyrenees had chosen the proscribed tyrant a member of the Council of Five Hundred. The council which, like our House of Commons, was the judge of the election of its own members, refused to admit him. When his name was read from the roll, a cry of indignation rose from the benches. "Which of you," exclaimed one of the members, "would sit by the side of such a monster?"—“ Not I, not I!" answered a crowd of voices. One deputy declared that he would vacate his seat if the hall were polluted by the presence of such a wretch. The election was declared null, on the ground that the person elected was a criminal skulking from justice; and many severe reflections were thrown on the lenity which suffered him to be still at large.
himself at the head of a coalition of discontented parties, covered his designs with the authority of the Elders, drove the Five Hundred out of their hall at the point of the bayonet, and became absolute monarch of France under the name of First Consul.
Barère assures us that these events almost broke his heart; that he could not bear to see France again subject to a master; and that, if the representatives had been worthy of that honourable name, they would have arrested the ambitious general who insulted them. These feelings, however, did not prevent him from soliciting the protection of the new government, and from sending to the First Consul a handsome copy of the Essay on the Liberty of the Seas.
The policy of Bonaparte was to cover al the past with a general oblivion. He belonged half to the Revolution and half to the reaction. He was an upstart, and a sovereign; and had, therefore, something in common with the Jacobin, and something in common with the royalist. All, whether Jacobins or royalists, who were disposed to support his government, were readily received-all, whether Jacobins or royalists, who showed hostility to his govern ment, were put down and punished. who had borne a part in the worst crimes of the Reign of Terror, and men who had fought in the army of Condé, were to be found close together, both in his antechambers and in his dungeons. He decorated Fouché and Maury with the same cross. He sent Aréna and
He tried to make his peace with the Directory by writing a bulky libel on England, entitled, The Liberty of the Seas. He seems to have confidently expected that this work would produce a great effect. He printed three thou-Georges Cadoudal to the same scaffold. From sand copies, and, in order to defray the expense of publication, sold one of his farms for the sum of ten thousand francs. The book came out; but nobody bought it, in consequence, if Barère is to be believed, of the villainy of Mr. Pitt, who bribed the Directory to order the reviewers not to notice so formidable an attack on the maritime greatness of perfidious Albion.
a government acting on such principles Barère easily obtained the indulgence which the Directory had constantly refused to grant. The sentence passed by the Convention was remit ted, and he was allowed to reside at Paris. His pardon, it is true, was not granted in the most honourable form; and he remained, during some time, under the special supervision of the police. He hastened, however, to pay his court at the Luxembourg palace, where Bonaparte then resided, and was honoured with a few dry and careless words by the master of France.
Barère had been about three years at Bordeaux when he received intelligence that the mob of the town designed him the honour of a visit on the ninth of Thermidor, and would probably administer to him what he Here begins a new chapter of Barère's hishad, in his defence of his friend Lebon, de- tory. What passed between him and the con scribed as substantia! justice under forms a sular government cannot, of course, be so little harsh. It was necessary for him to dis- accurately known to us as the speeches and guise himself in clothes such as were worn by reports which he made in the Convention. It the carpenters of the dock. In this garb, with is, however, not difficult, from notorious facts, a bundle of wood shavings under his arm, he and from the admissions scattered over these made his escape into the vineyards which sur- lying Memoirs, to form a tolerably accurate round the city. lurked during some days in a notion of what took place. Bonaparte wantpeasant's hut, and, when the dreaded anniver-ed to buy Barère: Barère wanted to sell himsary was over, stole back into the city. A few self to Bonaparte. The only question was months later he was again in danger. He one of price; and there was an immense innow thought that he should be nowhere so safe terval between what was offered and what was as in the neighbourhood of Paris. He quitted demanded. Bordeaux, hastened undetected through those towns where four years before his life had been in extreme danger, passed through the capital in the morning twilight, when none were in the streets except shopboys taking down the shutters, and arrived safe at the pleasant village of St. Ouen on the Seine. Here he remained in seclusion during some months. In the mean time Bonaparte returned from Egypt, placed VOL. V.-82
Bonaparte, whose vehemence of will, fixedness of purpose, and reliance on his own genius, were not only great, but extravagant, looked with scorn on the most effeminate and dependent of human minds. He was quite capable of perpetrating crimes under the influ ence either of ambition or of revenge; but he had no touch of that accursed monomania, that craving for blood and tears, which raged
and Sylla, with Eccelino and Borgia; not with hireling scribblers and police runners.
in some of the Jacobin chiefs. To proscribe | When depravity is placed so high as his, the the Terrorists would have been wholly incon-hatred which it inspires is mingled with awe. sistent with his policy; but of all the classes His place was with great tyrants, with Critias of men whom his comprehensive system included, he liked them the least; and Barère was the worst of them. This wretch had been "Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast; branded with infamy, first by the Convention, But shall the dignity of vice be lost?" and then by the Council of Five Hundred. So sang Pope; and so felt Barère. When it The inhabitants of four or five great cities had was proposed to him to publish a journal in attempted to tear him limb from limb. Nor defence of the consular government, rage and were his vices redeemed by eminent talents for shame inspired him for the first and last time administration or legislation. It would be un- with something like courage. He had filled as wise to place in any honourable or important large a space in the eyes of mankind as Mr. post a man so wicked, so odious, and so little Pitt or General Washington; and he was coolly qualified to discharge high political duties. At invited to descend at once to the level of Mr. the same time, there was a way in which it Lewis Goldsmith. He saw, too, with agonies seemed likely that he might be of use to the of envy, that a wide distinction was made be government. The First Consul, as he after-tween himself and the other statesmen of the wards acknowledged, greatly overrated Ba- Revolution who were summoned to the aid of rère's powers as a writer. The effect which the government. Those statesmen were rethe reports of the committee of public safety |quired, indeed, to make large sacrifices of prin had produced by the camp-fires of the republi- ciple; but they were not called on to sacrifice can armies had been great. Napoleon himself, what, in the opinion of the vulgar, constitutes when a young soldier, had been delighted by personal dignity. They were made tribunes those compositions, which had much in com- and legislators, ambassadors and counsellors mon with the rhapsodies of his favourite poet, of state, ministers, senators, and consuls. They Macpherson. The taste, indeed, of the great might reasonably expect to rise with the rising warrior and statesman was never very pure. fortunes of their master; and, in truth, many His bulletins, his general orders, and his pro- of them were destined to wear the badge of clamations, are sometimes, it is true, master- his Legion of Honour and of his order of the pieces in their kind; but we too often detect, Iron Crown; to be arch-chancellors and archeven in his best writing, traces of Fingal, and treasurers, counts, dukes, and princes. Ba of the Carmagnoles. It is not strange, there- rère, only six years before, had been far more fore, that he should have been desirous to se- powerful, far more widely renowned, than any cure the aid of Barère's pen. Nor was this of them; and now, while they were thought the only kind of assistance which the old worthy to represent the majesty of France at member of the committee of public safety foreign courts, while they received crowds of might render to the consular government. He suitors in gilded ante-chambers, he was to pass was likely to find admission into the gloomy his life in measuring paragraphs, and scolding dens in which those Jacobins whose constancy correctors of the press. It was too much. was to be overcome by no reverse, or whose Those lips which had never before been able crimes admitted of no expiation, hid them-to fashion themselves to a No, now murmared selves from the curses of mankind. No en-expostulation and refusal. "I could not"terprise was too bold or too atrocious for minds crazed by fanaticism, and familiar with misery and death. The government was anxious to have information of what passed in their secret councils; and no man was better qualified to furnish such information than Barère.
government of upstarts."
This outbreak of spirit was of short duration Napoleon was inexorable. It is said indeed that he was. for a moment, half inclined to ad mit Barère into the Council of State; but the members of that body remonstrated in the strongest terms, and declared that such a nomi
these are his own words-"abase myself to such a point as to serve the First Consul merely in the capacity of a journalist, while so many insignificant, low, and servile people, such as the Treilhards, the Roederers, the Le bruns, the Marets, and others whom it is super. For these reasons the First Consul was dis-fluous to name, held the first place in this posed to employ Barère as a writer and as a spy. But Barère-was it possible that he would submit to such a degradation? Bad as he was, he had played a great part. He had belonged to that class of criminals who fill the world with the renown of their crimes; he had been one of a cabinet which had ruled France with absolute power, and made war on all Eu-nation would be a disgrace to them all. This rope with signal success. Nav, he had been. though no the most powerful, yet, with the single exception of Robespierre, the most conspicuous member of that cabinet. His name had been a household word at Moscow and at Philadelphia, at Edinburgh and at Cadiz. The blood of the Queen of France, the blood of the greatest orators and philosophers of France, was on his hands. He had spoken; and it had been decreed, that the plough should pass over the great city of Lyons. He had spoken again, and it had been decreed, that the streets of Toulon should be razed to the ground.
plan was therefore relinquished. Thenceforth Barère's only chance of obtaining the pairs age of the government was to subdue his pride, to forget that there had been a time when, with three words, he might have had the heads of the three consuls, and to betake himself, hum• bly and industriously, to the task of compos ing lampoons on England and panegyrics on Bonaparte.
It has often been asserted, we know not on what grounds, that Barère was employed by the government, not only as a writer, but as a censor of the writings of other men. This im
putation he vehemently denies in his Memoirs; but our readers will probably agree with us in thinking, that his denial leaves the question exactly where it was,
patriot? The old Jacobin catches fire, bestows and receives the fraternal hng, and hints that there will soon be great news, and that the breed of Harmodius and Brutus is not quite extinct. The next day he is close prisoner, and all his papers are in the hands of the government.
Next, the indefatigable servant of the state falls in with an old republican, who has not changed with the times, who regrets the red cap and the tree of liberty, who has not unThus much is certain, that he was not re-learned the Thee and Thou, and who still substrained from exercising the office of censor by scribes his letters with "Health and Fraterany scruple of conscience or honour; for he nity." Into the ears of this sturdy politician did accept an office, compared with which that our friend pours forth a long series of com of censor, odious as it is, may be called an plaints. What evil times! What a change august and beneficent magistracy. He began since the days when the Mountain governed to have what are delicately called relations France! What is the First Consul but a king with the police. We are not sure that we under a new name? What is this Legion of have formed, or that we can convey, an exact Honour but a new aristocracy? The old su notion of the nature of Barère's new calling. perstition is reviving with the old tyranny. It is a calling unknown in our country. It There is a treaty with the Pope, and a provi has, indeed, often happened in England, that a sion for the clergy. Emigrant nobles are replot has been revealed to the government by turning in crowds, and are better received at one of the conspirators. The informer has the Tuileries than the men of the tenth of Ausometimes been directed to carry it fair to-gust. This cannot last. What is life without wards his accomplices, and to let the evil de- liberty? What terrors has death to the true sign come to full maturity. As soon as his work is done, he is generally snatched from the public gaze, and sent to some obscure village, or to some remote colony. The use of spies, even to this extent, is in the highest degree unpopular in England; but a political spy by profession, is a creature from which our island is as free as it is from wolves. In France the To this vocation, a vocation compared with race is well known, and was never more nume- which the life of a beggar, of a pickpocket, of rous, more greedy, more cunning, or more sav-a pimp, is honourable, did Barere now descend. age, than under the government of Bonaparte. Our idea of a gentleman in relations with the consular and imperial police may perhaps be incorrect. Such as it is, we will try to convey it to our readers. We image to ourselves a well dressed person, with a soft voice and affable manners. His opinions are those of the society in which he finds himself, but a little stronger. He often complains, in the language of honest indignation, that what passes in private conversation finds its way strangely to the government, and cautions his associates to take care what they say when they are not sure of their company. As for himself, he owns that he is indiscreet. He can never re-throats to the guillotine. frain from speaking his mind; and that is the reason that he is not prefect of a department.
In a gallery of the Palais Royal he overhears two friends talking earnestly about the king and the Count of Artois. He follows them into a coffee-house, sits at the table next to them, calls for his half-dish and his small glass of cognac, takes up a journal, and seems occupied with the news. His neighbours go on talking without restraint, and in the style of persons warmly attached to the exiled family. They depart, and he follows them half round the Doulevards till he fairly tracks them to their apartments, and learns their names from the porters. From that day every letter addressed to either of them is sent from the post-office to the police, and opened. Their correspondents become known to the government, and are carefully watched. Six or eight honest families, in different parts of France, find themselves at once under the frown of power, with our being able to guess what offence they have given. One person is dismissed from a public office; another learns with dismay that his promising son has been turned out of the Polytechnic school.
It was his constant practice, as often as he enrolled himself in a new party, to pay his foot ing with the heads of old friends. He was at first a royalist; and he made atonement by watering the tree of liberty with the blood of Louis. He was then a Girondist; and he made atonement by murdering Vergniaud and Gensonné. He fawned on Robespierre up to the eighth of Thermidor; and he made atonemen: by moving, on the ninth, that Robespierre should be beheaded without a trial. He was now enlisted in the service of the new narchy; and he proceeded to atone for his republican heresies by sending republican
Among his most intimate associates was a Gascon named Demerville, who had been employed in an office of high trust under the committee of public safety. This man was fanatically attached to the Jacobin system of politics, and, in conjunction with other enthu siasts of the same class, formed a design against the First Consul. A hint of this design escaped him in conversation with Barère. Barère carried the intelligence to Lannes, who commanded the Consular Guards. Demerville was arrested, tried, and beheaded; and among the witnesses who appeared against him was his friend Barère.
The account which Barère has given of these transactions is studionsly confused and grossly dishonest. We think, however, that we can discern, through much falsehood and much artful obscurity, some truths which he labours to conceal. It is clear to us that the government suspected him of what the Italians call a double treason. It was natural that such a suspicion should attach to him. He hac, in times not very remote, zealously preached the Jacobiu doctrine, that he who smites a tyrant deserves higher praise than he who saves a