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citizen. Was it possible that the member of himself conspicuous even among the crowd the committee of public safety, the king-killer, of flatterers by the peculiar fulsomeness of his the queen-killer, could in earnest mean to de- adulation. He translated into French a conliver his old confederates, his bosom friends, temptible volume of Italian verses, entitled, to the executioner, solely because they had "The Poetic Crown, composed on the glorious planned an act which, if there were any truth accession of Napoleon the First, by the Shepin his own Carmagnoles, was in the highest herds of Arcadia." He commenced a new Regree virtuous and glorious?, Was it not series of Carmagnoles very different from more probable that he was really concerned in those which had charmed the Mountain. The the plot, and that the information which he title of Emperor of the French, he said, was gave was merely intended to lull or to mislead mean; Napoleon ought to be Emperor of Euthe police? Accordingly spies were set on the rope. King of Italy was too humble an appelspy. He was ordered to quit Paris, and not to lation; Napoleon's style ought to be King of come within twenty leagues till he received Kings. further orders. Nay, he ran no small risk of being sent, with some of his old friends, to Madagascar.
But Barère laboured to small purpose in both his vocations. Neither as a writer nor as a spy was he of much use. He complains bitterly that his paper did not sell. While the Journal des Debats, then flourishing under the able management of Geoffroy, had a circulation of at least twenty thousand copies, the Memorial Antibritannique never, in its most pros perous times, had more than fifteen hundred subscribers; and these subscribers were, with scarcely an exception, persons residing far from Paris, probably Gascons, among whom the name of Barère had not yet lost its influence.
A writer who cannot find readers, generally attributes the public neglect to any cause rather than to the true one; and Barère was no exception to the general rule. His old hatred to Paris revived in all its fury. That city, he says, has no sympathy with France. No Parisian cares to subscribe to a journal which dwells on the real wants and interests of the country. To a Parisian nothing is so ridiculous as patriotism. The higher classes of the capital have always been devoted to England. A corporal from London is better received among them than a French general A journal, therefore, which attacks England has no chance of their support.
He made his peace, however, with the government so far, that he was not only permitted, during some years, to live unmolested, but was employed in the lowest sort of political drudgery. In the summer of 1803, while he was preparing to visit the south of France, he received a letter which deserves to be inserted. It was from Duroc, who is well known to have enjoyed a large share of Napoleon's confidence and favour.
"The First Consul, having been informed that Citizen Barère is about to set out for the country, desires that he will stay at Paris.
"Citizen Barère will every week draw up a report of the state of public opinion on the proceedings of the government, and generally on every thing which, in his judgment, it will be interesting to the First Consul to learn.
"He may write with perfect freedom. "He will deliver his reports under seal into General Duroc's own hand, and General Duroc will deliver them to the First Consul. But it is absolutely necessary that nobody should suspect that this species of communication takes place; and. should any such suspicion get abroad, the First Consul will cease to receive the reports of Citizen Barère.
"It will also be proper that Citizen Barère should frequently insert in the journals articles tending to animate the public mind, particularly against the English."
A much better explanation of the failure of the Memorial, was given by Bonaparte at St Helena. "Barère," said he to Barry O'Meara, "had the reputation of being a man of talent; but I did not find him so. I employed him to write; but he did not display ability. He used many flowers of rhetoric, but no solid argu ment; nothing but coglionerie wrapped up in high-scunding language."
The truth is, that though Barère was a man of quick parts, and could do with ease what he could do at all, he had never been a good
During some years Barère continued to discharge the functions assigned to him by his master. Secret reports, filled with the talk of coffee-houses, were carried by him every week to the Tuileries. His friends assure us that he took especial pains to do all the harm in his power to the returned emigrants. It was not writer. In the day of his power, he had been his fault if Napoleon was not apprised of every in the habit of haranguing an excitable and murmur and every sarcasm which old mar-ence on exciting topics. The faults of his quesses who had lost their estates, and old cler-style passed uncensured; for it was a time of gymen who had lost their benefices, uttered literary as well as of civil lawlessness, and a against the imperial system. M. Hippolyte patriot was licensed to violate the ordinary Carnot, we grieve to say, is so much blinded rules of composition as well as the ordinary by party spirit, that he seems to reckon this rules of jurisprudence and of social morality. dirty wickedness among his hero's titles to But there had now been a literary as well as a public esteem. civil reaction. As there was again a throne and a court, a magistracy, a chivalry, and a hierarchy, so was there a revival of classical taste. Honor was again paid to the prose of Pascal and Masillon, and to the verse of Racine and La Fontaine. The oratory which had de lighted the galleries of the Convention, was not only as much out of date the language of
Barère was, at the same time, an indefatigable journalist and pamphleteer. He set up a paper directed against England, and called the Memorial Antibritannique. He planned a work entitled, "France made great and illustrious by Napoleon." When the imperial government was established, the old regicide made
Villehardouin and Joinville, but was associated in the public mind with images of horror. All the peculiarities of the Anacreon of the guillotine, his words unknown to the Dictionary of the Academy, his conceits and his jokes, his Gascon idioms and his Gascon hyperboles, had become as odious as the cant of the Puritans was in England after the Restoration.
weekly to the Tuileries till the year 1807. At length, while he was actually writing the two hundred and twenty-third of the series, a note was put into his hands. It was from Duroc, and was much more perspicuous than polite. Barère was requested to send no more of his reports to the palace, as the emperor was too busy to read them.
Bonaparte, who had never loved the men of Contempt, says the Indian proverb, pierces the Reign of Terror, had now ceased to fear even the shell of the tortoise; and the contempt them. He was all-powerful and at the height of the court was felt to the quick even by the of glory; they were weak and universally ab- callous heart of Barère. He had humbled horred. He was a sovereign, and it is probable himself to the dust; and he had humbled him. that he already meditated a matrimonial alli- self in vain. Having been eminent among the ance with sovereigns. He was naturally un-rulers of a great and victorious state, he had willing, in his new position, to hold any inter- stooped to serve a master in the vilest capaci course with the worst class of Jacobins. Had ties; and he had been told that, even in those Barère's literary assistance been important to capacities, he was not worthy of the pittance the government, personal aversion might have which had been disdainfully flung to him. He yielded to considerations of policy; but there was now degraded below the level even of the was no motive for keeping terms with a worth-hirelings whom the government employed in less man who had also proved a worthless the most infamous offices. He stood idle in writer. Bonaparte, therefore, gave loose to the market-place, not because he thought any his feelings. Barère was not gently dropped, office too infamous; but because none would not sent into an honourable retirement, but hire him. spurned and scourged away like a troublesome dog. He had been in the habit of sending six copies of his journal on fine paper daily to the Tuileries. Instead of receiving the thanks and praises which he expected, he was dryly told that the great man had ordered five copies to be sent back. Still he toiled on; still he cherished a hope that at last Napoleon would relent, and that at last some share in the honours of the state would reward so much assiduity and so much obsequiousness. He was bitterly undeceived. Under the imperial constitution the electoral college of the departments did not possess the right of choosing senators or deputies, but merely that of presenting candidates. From among these candidates the emperor named members of the senate, and the senate named members of the legislative bodies. The inhabitants of the Upper Pyrenees were still strangely partial to Barère. In the year 1805, they were disposed to present him as a candidate for the senate. On this Napoleon expressed the highest dis-relations which he took the greatest pains to pleasure; and the president of the electoral conceal from his own government; that they college was directed to tell the voters, in plain met twice a day, and that their conversation terms, that such a choice would be disgraceful chiefly turned on the vices of Napoleon, on to the department. All thought of naming his designs against Spain, and on the best Barère a candidate for the senate was conse- mode of rendering those designs abortive. In quently dropped. But the people of Argelès truth, Barère's baseness was unfathomable. ventured to name him a candidate for the In the lowest deeps of shame he found out legislative body. That body was altogether lower deeps. It is bad to be a sycophant; it destitute of weight and dignity; it was not is bad to be a spy. But even among syco. permitted to debate; its only function was to phants and spies there are degrees of meanvote in silence for whatever the government ness. The vilest sycophant is he who privily proposed. It is not easy to understand how slanders the master on whom he fawns; the any man, who had sat in free and powerful vilest spy is he who serves foreigners against deliberative assemblies, could condescend to the government of his native land. bear a part in such a mummery. Barère, however, was desirous of a place even in this mock legislature; and a place even in this mock legislature was refused to him. In the whole senate he had not a single vote.
Yet he had reason to think himself fortunate; for, had all that is avowed in these Memoirs been then known, he would have received very different tokens of the imperial displea sure. We learn from himself, that while publishing daily columns of flattery on Bonaparte, and while carrying weekly budgets of calumny to the Tuileries, he was in close connection with the agents whom the Emperor Alexander, then by no means favourably disposed towards France, employed to watch all that passed at Paris; was permitted to read all their secret despatches; was consulted by them as to the temper of the public mind and the character of Napoleon; and did his best to persuade them that the government was in a tottering condition, and that the new sovereign was not, as the world supposed, a great statesman and soldier. Next, Barère, still the flatterer and talebearer of the imperial court, connected himself in the same manner with the Spanish envoy. He owns that with that envoy he had
Such treatment was sufficient, it might have been thought, to move the most abject of mankind to resentment. Still, however, Barère cringed and fawned on. His letters came
From 1807 to 1814 Barère lived in obscurity, railing as bitterly as his craven cowardice would permit against the imperial administration, and coming sometimes unpleasantly across the police. When the Bourbons returned, he, as might be expected, became a royalist, and wrote a pamphlet setting forth the horrors of the system from which the Restora tion had delivered France, and magnifying the
wisdom and goodness which had dictated the charter. He who had voted for the death of Louis, he who had moved the decree for the trial of Marie Antoinette, he whose hatred of monarchy had led him to make war even upon the sepulchres of ancient monarchs, assures us with great complacency, that “in this work monarchical principles and attachment to the House of Bourbon are nobly expressed." By this apostacy he got nothing, not even any additional infamy; for his character was already too black to be blackened.
During the hundred days he again emerged for a very short time into public life; he was chosen by his native district a member of the Chamber of Representatives. But though that assembly was composed in a great measure of men who regarded the excesses of the Jacobins with indulgence, he found himself an object of general aversion. When the President first informed the Chamber that M. Barère requested a hearing, a deep and indignant murmur ran round the benches. After the battle of Waterloo, Barère proposed that the Chamber should save France from the victorious enemy, by putting forth a proclamation about the pass of Thermopyla, and the Lacedæinonian custom of wearing flowers in times of extreme danger. Whether this composition, if it had then appeared, would have stopped the English and Prussian armies, is a question respecting which we are left to conjecture. The Chamber refused to adopt this last of the Carmagnoles.
The Emperor had abdicated. The Bourbons returned. The Chamber of Representatives, af.er burlesquing during a few weeks the proceedings of the National Convention, retired with the well-earned character of having been the silliest political assembly that had met in France. Those dreaming pedants and praters never for a moment comprehended their position. They could never understand that Europe must be either conciliated or vanquished; that Europe could be conciliated only by the restoration of Louis, and vanquished only by means of a dictatorial power entrusted to Napoleon. They would not hear of Louis; yet they would not hear of the only measures which could keep him out. They incurred the enmity of all foreign powers by putting Napoleon at their head; yet they shackled him, thwarted him, quarrelled with him about every trifle, abandoned him on the first reverse. They then opposed declamations and disquisitions to eight hundred thousand bayonets; played at making a constitution for their country, when it depended on the indulgence of the victor whether they should have a country; and were at last interrupted in the midst of their babble about the rights of man and the Sovereignty of the people, by the soldiers of Wellington and Blucher.
A new Chamber of Deputies was elected, so bitterly hostile to the Revolution, that there was no small risk of a new reign of terror. It is just, however, to say that the king, his ministers, and his allies, exerted themselves to restrain the violence of the fanatical royalists, and that the punishments inflicted, though in our opirjon unjustifiable, were few and lenient
when compared with those which were de manded by M. de Labourdonnaye and M. Hyde de Neuville. We have always heard, and are inclined to believe, that the government was not disposed to treat even the regicides with severity. But on this point the feeling of the Chamber of Deputies was so strong, that it was thought necessary to make some conces sion. It was enacted, therefore, that whoever, having voted in January 1793 for the death of Louis the Sixteenth, had in any manner given in an adhesion to the government of Buonaparte during the hundred days, should be banished for life from France. Barère sell within this description. He had voted for the death of Louis; and he had sat in the Chamber of Representatives during the hundred days.
He accordingly retired to Belgium, and resided there, forgotten by all mankind, till the year 1830. After the Revolution of July he was at liberty to return to France, and he fixed his residence in his native province. But he was soon involved in a succession of lawsuits with his nearest relations—“ three fatal sisters and an ungrateful brother," to use his own words. Who was in the right is a question about which we have no means of judging, and certainly shall not take Barère's word The courts appear to have decided some points in his favour and some against him. The natural inference is, that there were faults on all sides. The result of this litigation was, that the old man was reduced to extreme poverty, and was forced to sell his paternal house.
As far as we can judge from the few facts which remain to be mentioned, Barère continued Barère to the last. After his exile he turned Jacobin again, and, when he came back to France, joined the party of the extreme left in railing at Louis Philippe, and at all Louis Philippe's ministers. M. Casimir Périer, M. de Broglie, M. Guizot, and M. Thiers, in par ticular, are honoured with his abuse; and the king himself is held up to execration as a hy pocritical tyrant. Nevertheless, Barère had no scruple about accepting a charitable dona tion of a thousand francs a year from the privy purse of the sovereign whom he hated and reviled. This pension, together with some small sums occasionally doled out to him by the department of the Interior, on the ground that he was a distressed man of letters, and by the department of Justice, on the ground that he had formerly held a high judicial office, saved him from the necessity of begging his bread. Having survived all his colleagues of the re nowned committee of public safety, and almost all his colleagues of the Convention, he died in January 1841. He had attained his eightysixth year.
We have now laid before our readers what we believe to be a just account of this maa's life. Can it be necessary for us to add any thing for the purpose of assisting their judg ment of his character? If we were writing about any of his colleagues in the committee of public safety, about Carnot, about Robes pierre, or St. Just, nay, even about Couthon, Collot, or Billaud, we might feel it necessary to go into a full examination of the arguments
which have been employed to vindicate or to | Terror. Violence, and more violence, bloed, excuse the system of Terror. We could, we and more blood, made up their whole policy. think, show that France was saved from her In a few months these poor creatures succeeded foreign enemies, not by the system of Terror, in bringing about a reaction, of which none of but in spite of it; and that the perils which them saw, and of which none of us may see, were made the plea for the violent policy of the the close; and, having brought it about, they Mountain, were, to a great extent, created by marvelled at it; they bewailed it; they exe that very policy. We could, we think, also crated it; they ascribed it to every thing but show that the evils produced by the Jacobin the real cause-their own immorality and their administration did not terminate when it fell; own profound incapacity for the conduct of that it bequeathed a long series of calamities great affairs. to France and to Europe; that public opinion, These, however, are considerations to which, which had during two generations been con- on the present occasion, it is hardly necessary stantly becoming more and more favourable for us to advert; for, the defence which has to civil and religious freedom, underwent, dur- been set up for the Jacobin policy, good or bad, ing the days of Terror, a change of which the it is a defence which cannot avail Barère. traces are still to be distinctly perceived. It From his own life, from his own pen, from his was natural that there should be such a change, own mouth, we can prove that the part which when men saw that those who called them- he took in the work of blood is to be attributed, selves the champions of popular rights had not even to sincere fanaticism, not even to compressed into the space of twelve months misdirected and ill-regulated patriotism, but more crimes than the kings of France, Mero- either to cowardice, or to delight in human vingian, Carlovingian, and Capetian, had per- misery. Will it be pretended that it was from petrated in twelve centuries. Freedom was public spirit that he murdered the Girondists? regarded as a great delusion. Men were will- In these very Memoirs he tells us that he al ing to submit to the government of hereditary ways regarded their death as the greatest princes, of fortunate soldiers, of nobles, of calamity that could befall France. Will it be priests; to any government but that of philo- pretended that it was from public spirit that he sophers and philanthropists. Hence the im- raved for the head of the Austrian woman? perial despotism, with its enslaved press and In these very Memoirs he tells us that the time its silent tribune, its dungeons stronger than spent in attacking her was ill-spent, and ought the old Bastile, and its tribunals more obse- to have been employed in concerting measures quious than the old parliaments. Hence the of national defence. Will it be pretended that restoration of the Bourbons and of the Jesuits, he was induced by sincere and earnest abhorthe Chamber of 1815, with its categories of rence of kingly government to butcher the living proscription, the revival of the feudal spirit, and to outrage the dead; he who invited Nathe encroachments of the clergy, the persecu-poleon to take the title of King of Kings, he tion of the Protestants, the appearance of a new who assures us, that after the Restoration he breed of De Montforts and Dominics in the full expressed in noble language his attachment to light of the nineteenth century. Hence the monarchy, and to the house of Bourbon? Had admission of France into the Holy Alliance, he been less mean, something might have been and the war waged by the old soldiers of the said in extenuation of his cruelty. Had he tri-colour against the liberties of Spain. Hence, been less cruel, something might have been too, the apprehensions with which, even at the said in extenuation of his meanness. But for present day, the most temperate plans for widen- him, regicide and court-spy, for him who paing the narrow basis of the French represen- tronized Lebon and betrayed Demerville, for tation are regarded by those who are especially him who wantoned alternately in gasconades interested in the security of property and the of Jacobinism, and gasconades of servility, maintenance of order. Half a century has not what excuse has the largest charity to offer? sufficed to obliterate the stain which one year of depravity and madness has left on the noblest of causes.
We cannot conclude without saying something about two parts of his character, which his biographer appears to consider as deserving of high admiration. Barère, it is admitted, was somewhat fickle; but in two things he was consistent, in his love of Christianity, and in his hatred to England. If this were so, we must say that England is much more beholden to him than Christianity.
It is possible that our inclinations may bias our judgment; but we think that we do not flatter ourselves when we say, that Barere's aversion to our country was a sentiment as deep and constant as his mind was capable of entertaining. The value of this compliment is, indeed, somewhat diminished by the circumstance, that he knew very little about us. His ignorance of our institutions, manners, and history, is the less excusable, because, according to his own account, he consorted much, during the peace of Amiens, with Englishmen of note, such as that eminent nobleman Lord
Nothing is more ridiculous than the manner in which writers like M. Hippolyte Carnot defend or excuse the Jacobin administration, while they declaim against the reaction which followed. That the reaction has produced and is still producing much evil, is perfectly true. But what produced the reaction? The spring flies up with a force proportioned to that with which it has been pressed down. The pendulum which is drawn far in one direction swings as far in the other. The joyous madness of intoxication in the evening is followed by languor and nausea on the morrow. And so, in politics, it is the sure law that every excess shall generate its opposite; nor does he deserve the name of a statesman who strikes a great blow without fully calculating the effect of the rebound. But such calculation was infinitely beyond the reach of the authors of the Reign of
Greaten, and that not less eminent philosopher mote the honour of our country; but that little Mr Mackenzie Cofhis. In spite, however, of he did strenuously and constantly. Renegade, his connection with these well-known orna- traitor, slave, coward, liar, slanderer, murderer, ments of our country, he was so ill informed hack-writer, police-spy-the one small service about us as to fancy that our government was which he could render to England, was to hate always laying plans to torment him. If he her: and such as he was may all who hate was hooted at Saintes, probably by people her be. whose relations he had murdered, it was because the cabinet of St. James had hired the mob. If nobody would read his bad books, it was because the cabinet of St. James had secured the reviewers. His accounts of Mr. Fox, of Mr. Pitt, of the Duke of Wellington, of Mr. Canning, swarm with blunders, surpassing even the ordinary blunders committed by Frenchmen who write about England. Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt, he tells us, were ministers in two different reigns. Mr. Pitt's sinking fund was instituted in order to enable England to pay subsidies to the powers allied against the French Republic. The Duke of Wellington's house in Hyde Park was built by the nation, which twice voted the sum of £200,000 for the This makes the character complete. What purpose. This, however, is exclusive of the soever things are false, whatsoever things are cost of the frescoes, which were also paid for dishonest, whatsoever things are unjust, what out of the public purse. Mr. Canning was the soever things are impure, whatsoever things first Englishman whose death Europe had rea- are hateful, whatsoever things are of evil reson to lament; for the death of Lord Ward, a port, if there be any vice, and if there be any relation, we presume, of Lord Greaten and Mr. infamy, all these things, we knew, were blended Cref his, had been an immense benefit to man-in Barère. But one thing was still wanting, kind. and that M. Hyppolyte Carnot has supplied Ignorant, however, as Barère was, he knew When to such an assemblage of qualines a enough of us to hate us; and we persuade our-nigh profession of piety is added, the effect selves that, had he known us better, he would becomes overpowering. We sink under the have hated us more. The nation which has contemplation of such exquisite and mas combined, beyond all example and all hope, fold perfection; and feel, with deep humility, the blessings of liberty with those of order, how presumptuous it was in us to think of might well be an object of aversion to one who composing the legend of this beatified athlet had been false alike to the cause of order and of the faith, Saint Bertrand of the Carmag to the cause of liberty. We have had amongst noles. us intemperate zeal for popular rights; we have had amongst us also the intemperance of loyalty. But we have never been shocked by such a spectacle as the Barère of 1794, or as the Barère of 1804. Compared with him, our fiercest demagogues have been gentle; compared with him, our meanest courtiers have been manly. Mix together Thistlewood and Bubb Dodington, and you are still far from having Barère. The antipathy between him and us is such, that neither for the crimes of his earlier, nor for those of his later life, does our language, rich as it is, furnish us with adequate names. We have found it difficult to relate his history without having perpetual recourse to the French vocabulary of baseness. It is not easy to give a notion of his conduct in the Convention, without using those emphatic terms, guillotinade, noyade, fusillade, mitraillade. It is not easy to give a notion of his conduct under the consulate and the empire, without borrowing such words as mouchard and mouton.
We cannot say that we contemplate with equal satisfaction that fervent and constant zeal for religion, which, according to M. Hippolyte Carnot, distinguished Barère; for, as we think that whatever brings dishonour on religion is a serious evil, we had, we own, inda.gel a hope that Barère was an atheist. We now learn, however, that he was at no time even a sceptic, that he adhered to his faith through the whole Revolution, and that he has left severa! manuscript works on divinity. One of these is a pious treatise, entitled, "Of Christianity and of its Influence." Another consists of meditations on the Psalms, which will doubtless greatly console and edify the church.
Something more we had to say about him. But let him go. We did not seek him out, and will not keep him longer. If those who caï. themselves his friends had not forced him et our notice, we should never have vouchsafel to him more than a passing word of scorn and abhorrence, such as we might fling at his brethren, Hébert and Fouquier Tinville, and Carrier and Lebon. We have no pleasure in seeing human nature thus degraded. We tur with disgust from the filthy and spiteful Yahoos of the fiction; and the filthiest and most spite ful Yahoo of the fiction was a noble creature when compared with the Barère of history. But what is no pleasure, M. Hyppolyte Carnot has made a duty. It is no light thing, that a man in high and honourable public trust, a man who, from his connections and position, may not unnaturally be supposed to speak the sentiments of a large class of his countrymen, should come forward to demand approbation for a life, black with every sort of wickedness, and unredeemed by a single virtue. This M. We, therefore, like his invectives against us Hippolite Carnot has done. By attempting to much better than any thing else that he has enshrine this Jacobin carrion, he has forced written; and dwell on them, not merely with us to gibbet it; and we venture to say that, complacency, but with a feeling akin to grati- from the eminence of infamy on which we tude. It was but little that he could do to pro-have placed it, he will not easily take it down.