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graphical preface, is M. Hippolyte Carnot, member of the Chamber of Deputies, and son of the celebrated Director. In the judgment of M. David and of M. Hippolyte Carnot, Barère was a deserving and an illused man, a man who, though by no means faultless, must yet, when due allowance is made for the force of circumstances and the infirmity of human nature, be considered as on the whole entitled to our esteem. It will be for the public to determine, after a full hearing, whether the editors have, by thus connecting their names with that of Barère, raised his character or lowered their own.

We are not conscious that, when we opened this book, we were under the influence of any feeling likely to pervert our judgment. Undoubtedly, we had long entertained a most unfavorable opinion of Barère; but to this opinion we were not tied by any passion or by any interest. Our dislike was a reasonable dislike, and night have been removed by reason. Indeed our expectation was, that these Memoirs would in some measure clear Barère's fame. That he could vindicate himself from all the charges which had been brought against him, we knew to be impossible; and his editors admit that he has not done so. But we thought it nighly probable that some grave accusations would be .'efuted, and that many offences to which he would have been forced to plead guilty would be greatly extenuated. We were not disposed to be severe. We were fully aware that temptations such as those to which the members of the Convention and of the Committee of l'ublic Safety were exposed must try severely the strength of the firmest virtue. Indeed our inclination has always been to regard with an indulgence, which to some rigid moralists appears excessive, those faults into

which gentle and noble spirits are sometimes hurried by the excitement of conflict, by the maddening influence of sympathy, and by ill-regulated zeal for a public cause.

With such feelings we read this book, and compare 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 investigation has led us.

Our opinion then is this: that Barère approached nearer than any person mentioned in history or fiction, whether man or devil, to the idea of consummate and universal depravity. In him the qualities which are the proper objects of hatred, and the qualities which are the proper objects of contempt, preserve an exquisite and absolute harmony. In almost every particular sort of wickedness he has had rivals. His sensuality was immoderate; but this was a failing common to him with many great and amiable men. There have been many men as cowardly as he, some as cruel, a few as mean, a few as impudent. There may also have been as great liars, though we never met with them or read of them. But when we put every thing together, sensuality, poltroonery, baseness, effrontery, mendacity, barbarity, the result is something which in a novel we should condemn as caricature, and to which, we venure to say, no parallel can be found in history.

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 formed our opinion of him by comparing him, not with politicians of stainless haracter, not with Chancellor D'Aguésseau, or General Washington, or Mr. Wilberforce, or Earl Grey, but with his own colleagues of the Mountain. That party mc uded a considerable number of the worst men that

ever lived; but we see in it nothing like Barère, Compared with him, Fouché seems honest; Billaud seeins humane; Hébert seems to rise into dignity. Every other chief of a party, says M. Hippolyte Carnot, has found apologists: one set of men exalts the Girondists ; another set justifies Danton; a third deifies Robespierre but Barère has remained without a defender. We venture to suggest a very simple solution of this phenomenon. All the other chiefs of parties had some good qualities; and Barère had none. The genius, courage, patriotism, and humanity of the Girondist statesmen more than atoned for what was culpable in their conduct, and should have protected them from the insult of being compared with such a thing as Barère. Danton and Robespierre were indeed bad inen; but in both of them some important parts of the mind remained sound. Danton was brave and resolute, 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. Robespierre 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.

It is true that he was not, as far as we are able to

judge, originally of a savage disposition; but this circumstance seems to us only to aggravate his guilt. There are some unhappy men constitutionally prone to tle darker passions, men all whose blood is gall, and to whom bitter words and harsh actions are as natural as snarling and biting to a ferocious dog. To come into the world with this wretched mental disease is a greater calamity than to be born blind or deaf. A man who, having such a temper, keeps it in subjection, and constrains himself to behave habitually with justice and humanity towards those who are in his power, seems to us worthy of the highest admiration. There have been instances of this self-command; and they are among the most signal triumphs of philosophy and religion. On the other hand, a man who, having been blessed by nature with a bland disposition, gradually brings himself to inflict misery on his fellow-creatures with indifference, with satisfaction, and at length with a hideous rapture, deserves to be regarded as a portent of wickedness; and such a man was Barère. The history of his downward progress is full of instruction. Weakness, cowardice, and fickleness were born with him; the best quality which he received from nature was a good temper. These, it is true, are not very promising materials; yet, out of materials as unpromising, high sentiments of piety and of honour have sometimes made martyrs and heroes. Rigid principles often do for feeble minds what stays do for feeble bodies. 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 acquainted with any mind so unstable, so atterly destitute of tone, so incapable of independent thought and earnest preference, so ready to take im

pressions and so ready to lose them. He resemblea those creepers which must lean on something, and which, as soon as their prop is removed, fall' down in utter helplessness. He could no more stand up, erect and self-supported, in any cause, than the ivy can rear itself like the oak, or the wild vine shoot to heaven 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 unseaworthy 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 was cast away. The weakest and most servile of human beings found himself on a sudden an actor in a Revolution which convulsed the whole civ ilised 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. lle 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 apid was the degeneracy of his nature, that, within a very few months after the time when he had passed for

good-natured man, he had brought himself to look on the despair and misery of his fellow-creatures with a glee resembling that of the fiends whom Dante saw watching the pool of seething pitch in Malebolge. He had many associates in guilt; but he distinguished himself from them all by the Bacchanalian exultation

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