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which all society rests. The independence and Girondists refused to listen. 'They therefore, honour of Ftance were indeed to be vindicated, by voting for the death of the king, conceded but to be vindicated by triumphs and not by to the Mountain the chief point at issue be. murders.
tween the two parties. Had they given a Opposed to the Girondists was a party which, manful vote against the capital sentence, the having been long execrated throughout the regicides would have been in a minority. It civilized world, has of late-such is the ebb and is probable that there would have been an imflow of opinion-found not only apologists, but mediate appeal to force. The Girondists might even eulogists. We are not disposed to deny have been victorious. In the worst event, that some members of the Mountain were sin- they would have fallen with unblemished cere and public-spirited men. But even the honour. Thus much is certain, that their best of them, Carnot, for example, and Cambon, boldness and honesty could not possibly have were far too unscrupulous as to the means produced a worse effect than was actually prowhich they employed for the purpose of attain- duced by their timidity and their stratagems. ing great ends. In the train of these enthusiasts Barère, as we have said, sided with the followed a crowd, composed of all who, from Mountain on this occasion. He voted against sensual, sordid or malignant motives, wished the appeal to the people, and against the refor a period of boundless license.
spite. His demeanour and his language also When the Convention met, the majority was were widely different from those of the Gironwith the Girondists, and Barère was with the dists. Their hearts were heavy, and their de. majority. On the king's trial, indeed, he quit- portment was that of men oppressed by sorrow, ted the party with which he ordinarily acted, It was Vergniand's duty to proclaim the result voted with the Mountain, and spoke against of the roll-call. His face was pale, and he the prisoner with a violence such as few mem- trembled with emotion, as in a low and broken bers even of the Mountain showed.
voice he announced that Louis was condemned The conduct of the leading Girondists on to death. Barère had not, it is true, yet atthat occasion was little to their honoar. or tained to full perfection in the art of mingling cruelty, indeed, we fully acquit them; but it is jests and conceits with words of death; but impossible to acquit them of criminal irreso- he already gave promise of his future excel. lation and disingenuousness. They were far, lence in this high department of Jacobin oraindeed, far from thirsting for the blood of Louis; tory. He concluded his speech with a sentence ou the contrary, they were most desirous to worthy of his head and heart. The tree of protect him. But they were afraid that, if they liberty," he said, “as an ancient author rewent straight forward to their object, the sin- marks, flourishes when it is watered with the cerity of their attachment to republican insti- blood of all classes of tyrants.” M. Hippolyte tations would be suspected. They wished to Carnot has quoted this passage, in order, as save the king's life, and yet to obtain all the we suppose, to do honour to his hero. We credit of having been regicides. Accordingly, wish that a note had been added to inform us they traced out for themselves a crooked from what ancient author Barère quoted. In course, by which they hoped to attain both the course of our own small reading among their objects. They first voted the king guilty. the Greek and Latin writers, we have not hapThey then voted for referring the question re- pened to fall in with trees of liberty and waspecting his fate to the whole body of the people. tering-pots full of blood; nor can we, such is Defeated in this attempt to rescue him, they our ignorance of classical antiquity, even reluctantly, ard with ill-suppressed shame and imagine an Attic or Roman orator employing concern, voted for the capital sentence. Then imagery of that sort. In plain words, when they made a last attempt in his favour, and Barère talked about an ancient author, he was voted for respiting the execution. These zig- lying, as he generally was when he asserted zag politics produced the effect which any man any fact, great or small. Why he lied on this conversant with public affairs might have fore- occasion we cannot guess, unless, indeed, it seen. The Girondists, instead of attaining was to keep his hand in. both their ends, failed of both. The Mountain It is not improbable that, but for one circumjustly charged them with having attempted to stance, Barère would, like most of those with save the king by underhand means. "Their whom he ordinarily acted, have voted for the own consciences told them, with equal justice, appeal to the people and for the respite. Bat, that iheir hands had been dipped in the blood just before the commencement of the trial, of the most inoffensive and most unfortunate papers had been discovered which proved that, of men. The direct path was here, as usual, while a member of the National Assembly, he the path not only of honour but of safety. The had been in communication with the court reprinciple on which the Girondists stood as a specting his reports on the woods and forests. party was, that the season for revolutionary He was acquitted of all criminality by the violence was over, and that the reign of law Convention; but the fiercer republicans conand order ought now to commence. But the sidered him as a tool of the fallen monarch; proceeding against the king was clearly revo- and this reproach was long repeated in the lutionary in its nature. It was not in confor journal of Marat, and in the speeches at the mity with the laws. The only plea for it was, Jacobin club. It was natural that a man like that all ordinary rules of jurisprudence and Barère should, under such circumstances, try morality were suspended by the extreme public to distinguish himself among the crowd of redanger. This was the very plea which the gicides by peculiar ferocity. It was because Mountain urged in defence of the massacre of he had been a royalist that he was one of the September, and to which, when so urged, the foremost in sheddiug blood.
* The king was no more. The leading Giron- and would gladly have seen the Convention dists had, by their conduct towards him, lowered removed for a time to some provincial town, or their character in the eyes both of friends and placed under the protection of a trusty guard, foes. They still, however, maintained the con- which might have overawed the Parisian test against the Mountain, called for vengeance mob; but there is not the slightest reason to on the assassins of September, and protested suspect them of any design against the unity against the anarchical and sanguinary doc. of the state. Barère, however, really was a trines of Marat. For a time they seemed likely federalist, and, we are inclined to believe, the to prevail. As publicists and orators they had only federalist in the Convention. As far as a no rivals in the Convention. They had with man so unstable and servile can be said to have them, beyond all doubt, the great majority both felt any preference for any form of government, of the deputies and of the French nation, he felt a preference for federal government. These advantages, it should seem, ought to He was born under the Pyrenees; he was a have decided the event of the struggle. But Gascon of the Gascons, one of a people strongthe opposite party had compensating advanta- ly distinguished by intellectual and moral chages of a different kind. The chiefs of the racter, by manners, by modes of speech, by Mountain, though not eminently distinguished accent, and by physiognomy, from the French by eloquence or knowledge, had great audacity, of the Seine and of the Loire; and he had many activity, and determination. The Convention of the peculiarities of the race to which he beand France were against them; but the mob longed. When he first left his own province of Paris, the clubs of Paris, and the municipal he had attained his thirty-fourth year, and had government of Paris, were on their side. acquired a high local reputation for eloquence
The policy of the Jacobins, in this situation, and literature. He had then visited Paris for was to subject France to an aristocracy in the first time. He had found himself in a new finitely worse than that aristocracy which world. His feelings were those of a banished had emigrated with the Count of Artois man. It is clear also that he had been by no to an aristocracy not of birth, not of wealth, means without his share of the small disapnot of education, but of mere locality - pointments and humiliations so often experiThey would not hear of privileged orders; but enced by men of letters who, elated by provinthey wished to have a privileged city. That cial applause, venture to display their powers twenty-five millions of Frenchmen should before the fastidious critics of a capital. On be ruled by a hundred thousand gentlemen the other hand, whenever he revisited the and clergymen was insufferable; but that mountains among which he had been born, he twenty-five millions of Frenchmen should be found himself an object of general admiration. ruled by a hundred thousand Parisians, was as His dislike of Paris, and his partiality to his it should be. The qualification of a member native district, were therefore as strong and of the new oligarchy was simply that he should durable as any sentiments of a mind like his live near the hall where the Convention met, could be. He long continued to maintain that and should be able to squeeze himself daily the ascendency of one great city was the bane into the gallery during a debate, and now and of France; that the superiority of taste and inthen to attend with a pike for the purpose of telligence which it was the fashion to ascribe blockading the doors. It was quite agreeable to the inhabitants of that city were wholly imato the maxims of the Mountain, that a score ginary; and that the nation would never enjoy of draymen from Santerre's brewery, or of a really good government till the Alsatian peodevils from Hébert's printing-house, should be ple, the Breton people, the people of Bearn, the permitted to drown the voices of men commis- people of Provence, should have each an indesioned to speak the sense of such cities as pendent existence, and laws suited to its own Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Lyons; and that a tastes and habits. These communities he prorabble of half-naked porters from the Faubourg posed to unite by a lie similar to that which St. Antoine, should have power to annul de binds together the grave Puritans of Conneccrees for which the representatives of fifty or ticut, and the dissolute slave-drivers of New sixiy departments had voted. It was necessary Orleans. To Paris he was unwilling to grant to find some pretext for so odious and absurd even the rank which Washington holds in the a tyranny. Such a pretext was found. To the United States. He thought it desirable that old phrases of liberty and equality were added the congress of the French federation should the sonorous watchwords, unity and indivisi- have no fixed place of meeting, but should sit bility. A new crime was invented, and called sometimes at Rouen, sometimes at Bordeaux, by the name of federalism. The object of the sometimes at his own Toulouse. Girondists, it was asserted, was to break up Animated by such feelings, he was, till the the great nation into little independent com- close of May, 1793, a Girondist, if not an ultramonwealths, bound together only by a league Girondist. He exclaimed against those impure like that which connects the Swiss cantons or and blood-thirsty men who wished to make the the United States of America. The great ob public danger a pretext for cruelty and rapine, stacle in the way of this pernicious design “Peril," he said, “could be no excuse for was the influence of Paris. To strengthen the crime. It is when the wind blows hard, and influence of Paris ought, therefore, to be the the waves run high, that the anchor is most chief object of every patriot.
needed; it is when a revolution is raging, that The accusation brought against the leaders the great laws of morality are most necessary of the Girondist party was a mere calumny. to the safety of a state." OC Maral he spoke They were undoubtedly desirous to prevent the with abhorrence and contempt; of the munici. capital from domineering over the Republic, / pal authorities of Paris with just severity. He luidly complained that there were Frenchmen turally considered, by persons who lived at a who paid to the Mountain that homage which distance from the seat of government, and was due to the Convention alone. When the above all by foreigners who, while the war establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunal raged, knew France only from journals, as the was first proposed, he joined himself to Verg. head of that administration of which, in truth, niaud and Buzot, who strongly objected to that he was only the secretary and the spokesman. odious measure. “It cannot bę,” exclaimed The author of the History of Europe, in our Barère," that men really attached to liberty will own Annual Registers, appears to have been imitate the most frightful excesses of despo- completely under this delusion. tism !” He proved to the Convention, after his The conflict between the hostile parties was fashion, out of Sallust, that such arbitrary meanwhile fast approaching to a crisis. The courts may indeed, for a time, be severe only temper of Paris grew daily fiercer and fiercer. on real criminals, but must inevitably degene- Delegates appointed by thirty-five of the fortyrate into instruments of private cupidity and eight wards of the city appeared at the bar of revenge. When, on the tenth of March, the the Convention, and demanded that Vergniaud, worst part of the population of Paris made the Brissot, Gaudet, Gensonné, Barbaronx, Buzot, first unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Giron- Pétion, Louvet, and many other deputies, should dists, Barère eagerly called for vigorous mea- be expelled. This demand was disapproved by sures of repression and punishment. On the at least three-fourths of the Assembly, and, second of April, another attempt of the Jaco- when known in the departments, called forth a bins of Paris to usurp supreme dominion over general cry of indignation. Bordeaux declared the Republic, was brought to the knowledge of that it would stand by its representatives, and the Convention; and again Barère spoke with would, if necessary, defend them by the sword warmth against the new tyranny which afflict- against the tyranny of Paris. Lyons and Mared France, and declared that the people of the seilles were animated by a similar spirit. These departments would never crouch beneath the manifestations of public opinion gave courage tyranny of one ambitious city. He even pro- to the majority of the Convention. Thanks posed a resolution to the effect, that the Con- were voted to the people of Bordeaux for their vention would exert against the demagogues patriotic declaration, and a commission conof the capital the same energy which had been sisting of twelve members was appointed for exerted against the tyrant Louis. We are as the purpose of investigating the conduct of the sured that, in private as in public, he at this municipal authorities of Paris; and was em. time uniformly spoke with strong aversion of powered to place under arrest such persons as the Mountain.
should appear to have been concerned in any His apparent zeal for the cause of humanity plot against the authority of the Convention. and order had its reward. Early in April, This measure was adopied on the motion of came the tidings of Dumourier's defection. Barère. This was a heavy blow to the Girondists. Du- A few days of stormy excitement and promourier was their general. His victories had found anxiety followed; and then came the thrown a lustre on the whole party; his army, crash. On the thirty-first of May, the mob of it had been hoped, would, in the worst event, Paris rose; the Palace of the Tuileries was protect the deputies of the nation against the besieged by a vast array of pikes; the majority ragged pikemen of the garrets of Paris. He of the deputies, alter vain strugg.es and rewas now a deserter and an exile; and those monstrances, yielded to violence, and suffered who had lately placed their chief reliance on the Mountain to carry a decree for the suspenhis support, were compelled to join with their sion and arrest of the deputies whom the wards deadliest enemies in execrating his treason. of the capital had accused. At this perilous conjuncture, it was resolved to During this contest, Barère had been tossed appoint a committee of public safety, and to backwards and forwards between the two rag. arm that committee with powers, small indeed ing factions. His feelings, languid and unwhen compared with those which it afterwards steady as they always were, drew him to the crew to itself, but still great and formidable. Girondists; but he was awed by the vigour The moderate party, regarding Barère as a and determination of the Mountain. At one representative of their feelings and opinions, moment he held high and firm language, comelected hiin a member. In his new situation plained that the Convention was not free, and he soon began to make himself useful. He protested against the validity of any vote passbrought to the deliberations of the committee, ed under coercion. At another moment he not indeed the knowledge or the ability of a proposed to concilitate the Parisians by abogreat statesman, but a tongue and a pen which, Iishing that commission of twelve which he if others would only supply ideas, never paused had himself proposed only a few days before; for want of words. His mind was a mere and himself drew up a paper condemning the organ of communication between other minds. very measures which had been adopted at his It originated nothing; it retained nothing; but own instance, and eulogizing the public spirit it transmitted every thing. The post assigned of the insurgents. To do him justice, it was w him by his colleagues was not really of the not without some symptoms of shame that he highest importance; but it was prominent, and read this document from the tribune, where hc drew the attention of all Europe. When a had so often expressed very different sentigreat measure was to be brought forward, when ments. It is said that, at some passages, he an account was to be rendered of an important was even seen to blush. It may have been so; event, he was generally the mouthpiece of the he was still in his noviciate of infamy: administration. He was therefore not unna! Some days later he proposed that hostag.se
for the personal safety of the accused deputies Barère. The curse of Canaan was upon him. should be sent to the departments, and offered He was born a slave. Baseness was an in. to be himself one of those hostages. Nor do stinct in him. The impulse which drove him we in the least doubt that the offer was sincere. from a party in adversity to a party in pros. He would, we firmly believe, have thought him- perity, was as irresistible as that which drives sell far safer at Bordeaux or Marseilles than at the cuckoo and the swallow towards the sun Paris. His proposition, however, was not car- when the dark and cold months are approach. ried into effect; and he remained in the hands ing. The law which doomed him to be the of the victorious Mountain.
humble attendant of stronger spirits resembled This was the great crisis of his life. Hitherto the law which binds the pilot-fish to the shark. he had done nothing inexpiable, nothing which " Ken ye,” said a shrewd Scotch lord, who was marked him out as a much worse man than asked his opinion of James the First; “Ken that of his colleagues in the Convention. His ye a John Ape! If I have Jacko by the collar, voice had generally been on the side of mode- I can make him bite you; but if you have rate measures. Had he bravely cast in his Jacko, you can make him bite me.” Just such lot with the Girondists, and suffered with them, a creature was Barère. In the hands of the he would like them, have had a not dishonour- Girondists he would have been eager to proable place in history. Had he, like the great scribe the Jacobins; he was just as ready, in body of deputies who meant well, but who the gripe of the Jacobins, to proscribe the had not the courage to expose themselves to Girondists. On the fidelity of such a man, the martyrdom, crouched quietly under the domi- heads of the Mountain could not, of course, nion of the triumphant minority, and suffered reckon; but they valued their conquest as the every motion of Robespierre and Billaud to very easy and not very delicate lover in Conpass unopposed. he would have incurred no greve's lively song valued the conquest of a peculiar ignominy. But it is probable that this prostitute of a different kind. Barère was, course was not open to him. He had been too like Chloe, false and common; but he was, prominent among the adversaries of the Moun- like Chloe, constant while possessed; and they tain to be admitted to quarter without making asked no more. They needed a service which some atonement. It was necessary that, if he he was perfectly competent to perform. Des. hoped to find pardon from his new lords, he titute as he was of all the talents both of an should not be merely a silent and passive active and of a speculative statesman, he slave. What passed in private between him could with great facility draw up a report, or and them cannot be accurately related; but make a speech on any subject and on any the result was soon apparent. The committee side. If other people would furnish facts and of public safety was renewed. Several of the thoughts, he could always furnish phrases; fiercest of the dominant faction, Couthon for and this talent was absolutely at the command example, and St. Just, were substituted for of his owners for the time being. Nor had more moderate politicians; but Barère was he excited any angry passion among those to suffered to retain his seat at the board. whom he bad hitherto been opposed. They
The indulgence with which he was treated felt no more hatred to him than they fell to the excited the murmurs of some stern and ardent horses which dragged the cannon of the Duke zealots. Marat, in the very last words that he of Brunswick and of the Prince of Saxe-Cowrote, words not published till the dagger of burg. The horses had only done according to Charlotte Corday had avenged France and their kind, and would, if they fell into the mankind, complained that a man who had no hands of the French, drag with equal vigour principles, who was always on the side of the and equal docility the guns of the Republic, strongest, who had been a royalist, and who and therefore ought not merely to be spared, was ready, in case of a turn of forture, to be but to be well fed and curried. So was it with a royalist again, should be entrusted with an Barère. He was of a nature so low, that it important share in the administration. But might be doubted whether he could properly the chiefs of the Mountain judged more cor- be an object of the hostility of reasonable rectly. They knew indeed, as well as Marat, beings. He had not been an enemy; he was chat Barère was a man utterly without faith or not now a friend. But he had been an annoysteadiness; that, if he could be said to have ance; and he would now be a help. any political leaning, his leaning was not But though the heads of the Mountain partowards them; that he felt for the Girondist doned this man, and admitted him into partparty that faint and wavering sort of prefer- nership with themselves, it was not without ence of which alone his nature was suscepti- exacting pledges such as made it impossible ble; and that, if he had been at liberty to make for him, false and fickle as he was, ever again his choice, he would rather have murdered to find admission into the ranks which he had Robespierre and Danton, than Vergniaud and deserted. That was truly, a terrible sacrament Gensonné. But they justly appreciated that by which they admitted the apostate into their levity which made him incapable" alike of communion. They demanded of him that he earnest love and of earnest hatred, and that should himself take the most prominent part meanness which made it necessary to him to in murdering his old friends. To refuse was have a master. In truth; what the planters of as much as his life was worth. But what is Carolina and Louisiana say of black men with life worth when it is only one long agony of flat noses and woolly hair, was strictly true of remorse and shame? These, however, are
feelings of which it is idle to talk, when we • See the Publiciste of the 14th of July, 1793. Marat Barère. He undertook thu task, mounted
considering the conduct of such a man vas stabbed on the evening of the 13th.
tribune, and told the Convention that the time so much excited that he broke his plate in the was come for taking the stern attitude of jus- violence of his gesticulation. Barère exclaimed tice, and for striking at all conspirators without that the gallotine had cut a diplomatic knot distinction. He then moved that Buzot, Bar- which it might have been difficult to untie. In baroux, Pétion, and thirteen other deputies, the intervals between the Beaune and the should be placed out of the pale of the law, or, Champagne, between the ragout of thrushes in other words, beheaded without a trial; and and the partridge with trufles, he fervently that Vergniaud, Guadet, Gensonné, and six preached his new political creed. “The ves others, should be impeached. The motion was sel of the revolution," he said, “ can float into carried without debate.
port only on waves of blood. We must begin We have already seen with what effrontery with the members of the National Assembly Barère has denied, in these Memoirs, that he and of the Legislative Assembly. That rub took any part against the Girondists. This bish niust be swept away." denial, we think, was the only thing wanting As he talked at table he talked in the Conto make his infamy complete. The most im- vention. His peculiar style of oratory was now pudent of all lies was a fit companion for the formed. It was not altogether without ingefoulest of all murders.
nuity and liveliness. But, in any other age or Barère, however, had not yet earned his par country, it would have been thought unfit for don. The Jacobin party contained one gang the deliberations of a grave assembly, and still which, even in that party, was pre-eminent in more unfit for state papers. It might, perhaps, every mean and every savage vice, a gang so succeed at a meeting of a Protestant associalow-minded and so inhuman, that, compared tion in Exeter Hall, at a repeal dinner in Irewith them, Robespierre might be called mag-land, after men bad well drunk, or in an Amerinanimous and merciful. Of these wretches can oration on the fourth of July. No legislative Hébert was perhaps the best representative. body would now endure it. But in France, duHis favourite amusement was to torment and ring the reign of the Convention, the old laws insult the miserable remains of that great of composition were held in as much contempt family which, having ruled France during as the old government or the old creed. Cor eight' hundred years, had now become an ob-rect and noble diction belonged, like the etiject of pity to the humblest artisan or peasant. quette of Versailles and the solemnities of Notre The influence of this man, and of men like Dame, to an age which had passed away. Just him, induced the committee of public safety to as a swarm of ephemeral constitutions, demodetermine that Marie Antoinette should be cratic, directorial, and consular, sprang from sent to the scaffold. Barère was again sum- the decay of the ancient monarchy; just as a moned to his duty. Only four days after he swarm of new superstitions, the worship of the had proposed the decrees against the Girondist Goddess of Reason, and the fooleries of the leputies, he again mounted the tribune, in Theophilanthropists, sprang from the decay of order to move that the queen should be brought the ancient church; even so, out of the decay before the Revolutionary Tribunal. He was of the ancient French eloquence, sprang new improving fast in the society of his new allies. fashions of eloquence, for the understanding of When he asked for the heads of Vergniaud which new grammars and dictionaries were and Pétion, he had spoken like a man who had necessary. The same innovating spirit which some slight sense of his own guilt and degra- altered the common phrases of salutation, which dation; he had said little, and that little had turned hundreds of Johns and Peters into Sce not been violent. The office of expatiating on volas and Aristogitops, and which expelled the guilt of his old friends he had left to St. Sunday and Monday, January and February, Just. Very different was Barère's second ap- Lady-day and Christmas, from the caiendar, in pearance in the character of an accuser. He order to substitute Decadi and Primidi, Nivose now cried out for blood in the eager tones of and Pluviose, Feasts of Opinwn and Feasts of the true and burning thirst, and raved against the Supreine Being, changed all the forms of the Austrian woman with the virulence natural official correspondence. For the calm, guarded, to a coward who finds himself at liberty to and sternly courteous language which governoutrage that which he has feared and envied. menis had long been accustomed to employ, We have already exposed the shameless men- were substituted puns, interjections, Ossianic dacity with which, in these Memoirs, he at- rants, rhetoric worthy only of a schoolboy, scurtempts to throw the blame of his own guilt on rility worthy only of a fishwife. Of the phrase the guiltless.
ology which was now thought to be peculiarly On the day on which the fallen queen was well suited to a report or a manifesto, Barère dragged, already more than half dead, to her had a greater command than any man of his doom, Barère regaled Robespierre and some time; and, during the short and sharp paroxother Jacobins at a tavern. Robespierre's ac- ysm of the revolutionary delirium, passed for ceptance of the invitation caused some sur-a great orator. . When the fit was over, he was prise to those who knew how long and how considered as what he really was, a man of bitterly it was his nature to hate. “ Robespierre quick apprehension and fluent elocution, with of the party!" muttered St. Just. “Barère is no originality, with little information, and with the only man whom Robespierre has forgiven." a taste as bad as his heart. His reports were We have an account of this singular repast popularly called Carmagnoles. A few months from one of the guests. Robespierre condemned ago, we should have had so me difficulty in conthe senseless brutality with which Hébert had veying to an English reader an exact notion of conducted the proceedings against the Austrian the state papers to which this appellation was woman, and in talking on that subject, became given. Fortunately a noble and distinguished