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The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay.

Part 8 out of 8

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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
race is well-known, and was never more numerous, more greedy,
more cunning, or more savage, than under the government of

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
refrain 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 boulevards 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 without 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.

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 unlearned the Thee
and Thou, and who still subscribes his letters with "Health and
Fraternity." Into the ears of this sturdy politician our friend
pours forth a long series of complaints. What evil times! What
a change since the days when the Mountain governed France! What
is the First Consul but a king under a new name? What is this
Legion of Honour but a new aristocracy? The old superstition is
reviving with the old tyranny. There is a treaty with the Pope,
and a provision for the clergy. Emigrant nobles are returning in
crowds, and are better received at the Tuileries than the men of
the 10th of August. This cannot last. What is life without
liberty? What terrors has death to the true patriot? The old
Jacobin catches fire, bestows and receives the fraternal hug, 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

To this vocation, a vocation compared with which the life of a
beggar, of a pickpocket, of a pimp, is honourable, did Barere now
descend. It was his constant practice, as often as he enrolled
himself in a new party, to pay his footing 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 Gensonne. He fawned on Robespierre up to the eighth of
Thermidor; and he made atonement by moving, on the ninth, that
Robespierre should be beheaded without a trial. He was now
enlisted in the service of the new monarchy; and he proceeded to
atone for his republican heresies by sending republican throats
to the guillotine.

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
enthusiasts of the same class, formed a design against the First
Consul. A hint of this design escaped him in conversation with
Barere. Barere 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 Barere.

The account which Barere has given of these transactions is
studiously 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 had, in times not very remote, zealously
preached the Jacobin doctrine, that he who smites a tyrant
deserves higher praise than he who saves a citizen. Was it
possible that the member of the Committee of Public Safety, the
king-killer, the queen-killer, could in earnest mean to deliver
his old confederates, his bosom friends, to the executioner,
solely because they had planned an act which, if there were any
truth in his own Carmagnoles, was in the highest degree virtuous
and glorious? Was it not more probable that he was really
concerned in the plot, and that the information which he gave was
merely intended to lull or to mislead the police? Accordingly,
spies were set on the spy. He was ordered to quit Paris, and not
to come within twenty leagues till he received further orders.
Nay, he ran no small risk of being sent, with some of his old
friends, to Madagascar.

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 Barere is
about to set out for the country, desires that he will stay at

"Citizen Barere will every week draw up a report on the state of
public opinion on the proceedings of the government, and
generally on everything 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 Barere.

"It will also be proper that Citizen Barere should frequently
insert in the journals articles tending to animate the public
mind, particularly against the English."

During some years Barere 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 his fault if Napoleon was not apprised of every murmur and
every sarcasm which old marquesses who had lost their estates,
and old clergymen who had lost their benefices, uttered against
the imperial system. M. Hippolyte Carnot, we grieve to say, is
so much blinded by party spirit that he seems to reckon this
dirty wickedness among his hero's titles to public esteem.

Barere 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
himself conspicuous even among the crowd of flatterers by the
peculiar fulsomeness of his adulation. He translated into French
a contemptible volume of Italian verses, entitled, "The Poetic
Crown, composed on the glorious accession of Napoleon the First,
by the Shepherds of Arcadia." He commenced a new series of
Carmagnoles very different from those which had charmed the
Mountain. The title of Emperor of the French, he said, was mean;
Napoleon ought to be Emperor of Europe. King of Italy was too
humble an appellation; Napoleon's style ought to be King of

But Barere 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
prosperous 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
Barere 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 Barere 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.

A much better explanation of the failure of the "Memorial" was
given by Bonaparte at St Helena. "Barere," 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
argument; nothing but coglionerie wrapped up in high-sounding

The truth is that, though Barere was a man of quick parts, and
could do with ease what he could do at all, he had never been a
good writer. In the day of his power he had been in the habit of
haranguing an excitable audience on exciting topics. The faults
of his style passed uncensured; for it was a time of literary as
well as of civil lawlessness, and a patriot was licensed to
violate the ordinary rules of composition as well as the ordinary
rules of jurisprudence and of social morality. But there had now
been a literary as well as a 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. Honour was again paid
to the prose of Pascal and Massillon, and to the verse of Racine
and La Fontaine. The oratory which had delighted the galleries
of the Convention was not only as much out of date as the
language of 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.

Bonaparte, who had never loved the men of the Reign of Terror,
had now ceased to fear them. He was all-powerful and at the
height of glory; they were weak and universally abhorred. He was
a sovereign; and it is probable that he already meditated a
matrimonial alliance with sovereigns. He was naturally
unwilling, in his new position, to hold any intercourse with the
worst class of Jacobins. Had Barere's literary assistance been
important to the government, personal aversion might have yielded
to considerations of policy; but there was no motive for keeping
terms with a worthless man who had also proved a worthless
writer. Bonaparte, therefore, gave loose to his feelings.
Barere was not gently dropped, not sent into an honourable
retirement, but 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 drily 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 colleges 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 body. The inhabitants of the Upper Pyrenees were
still strangely partial to Barere. In the year 1805, they were
disposed to present him as a candidate for the senate. On this
Napoleon expressed the highest displeasure; and the president of
the electoral college was directed to tell the voters, in plain
terms, that such a choice would be disgraceful to the department.
All thought of naming Barere a candidate for the senate was
consequently dropped. But the people of Argeles ventured to name
him a candidate for the legislative body. That body was
altogether destitute of weight and dignity; it was not permitted
to debate; its only function was to vote in silence for whatever
the government proposed. It is not easy to understand how any
man who had sat in free and powerful deliberative assemblies
could condescend to bear a part in such a mummery. Barere,
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.

Such treatment was sufficient, it might have been thought, to
move the most abject of mankind to resentment. Still, however,
Barere cringed and fawned on. His letters came 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. Barere was requested to send no more of
his Reports to the palace, as the Emperor was too busy to read

Contempt, says the Indian proverb, pierces even the shell of the
tortoise; and the contempt of the Court was felt to the quick
even by the callous heart of Barere. He had humbled himself to
the dust; and he had humbled himself in vain. Having been
eminent among the rulers of a great and victorious state, he had
stooped to serve a master in the vilest capacities; and he had
been told that, even in those capacities, he was not worthy of
the pittance which had been disdainfully flung to him. He was
now degraded below the level even of the hirelings whom the
government employed in the most infamous offices. He stood idle
in the market-place, not because he thought any office too
infamous, but because none would hire him.

Yet he had reason to think himself fortunate; for, had all that
is avowed in these Memoirs been known, he would have received
very different tokens of the Imperial displeasure. 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 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, Barere, 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 relations which he took the greatest pains to
conceal from his own government; that they met twice a day; and
that their conversation chiefly turned on the vices of Napoleon;
on his designs against Spain, and on the best mode of rendering
those designs abortive. In truth, Barere's baseness was
unfathomable. In the lowest deeps of shame he found out lower
deeps. It is bad to be a sycophant; it is bad to be a spy. But
even among sycophants and spies there are degrees of meanness.
The vilest sycophant is he who privily slanders the master on
whom he fawns; and the vilest spy is he who serves foreigners
against the government of his native land.

From 1807 to 1814 Barere 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 have been
expected, became a royalist, and wrote a pamphlet setting forth
the horrors of the system from which the Restoration 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
apostasy 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. Barere requested a hearing, a deep and indignant murmur
ran round the benches. After the battle of Waterloo, Barere
proposed that the Chamber should save France from the victorious
enemy, by putting forth a proclamation about the pass of
Thermopylae and the Lacedaemonian 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, after 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 opinion unjustifiable, were few and lenient when compared
with those which were demanded 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
concession. 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 Bonaparte
during the hundred days should be banished for life from France.
Barere fell 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 Barere'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, Barere continued Barere 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 Perier, M. De
Broglie, M. Guizot, and M. Thiers, in particular, are honoured
with his abuse; and the King himself is held up to execration as
a hypocritical tyrant. Nevertheless, Barere had no scruple about
accepting a charitable donation 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 renowned Committee of Public
Safety, and almost all his colleagues of the Convention, he died
in January 1841. He had attained his eighty-sixth year.

We have now laid before our readers what we believe to be a just
account of this man's life. Can it be necessary for us to add
anything for the purpose of assisting their judgment of his
character? If we were writing about any of his colleagues in the
Committee of Public Safety, about Carnot, about Robespierre, or
Saint 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 excuse the system of
Terror. We could, we think, show that France was saved from her
foreign enemies, not by the system of Terror, but in spite of it;
and that the perils which were made the plea of the violent
policy of the Mountain were to a great extent created by that
very policy. We could, we think, also show that the evils
produced by the Jacobin administration did not terminate when it
fell; that it bequeathed a long series of calamities to France
and to Europe; that public opinion, which had during two
generations been constantly becoming more and more favourable to
civil and religious freedom, underwent, during the days of
Terror, a change of which the traces are still to be distinctly
perceived. It was natural that there should be such a change,
when men saw that those who called themselves the champions of
popular rights had compressed into the space of twelve months
more crimes than the Kings of France, Merovingian, Carlovingian,
and Capetian, had perpetrated in twelve centuries. Freedom was
regarded as a great delusion. Men were willing to submit to the
government of hereditary princes, of fortunate soldiers, of
nobles, of priests; to any government but that of philosophers
and philanthropists. Hence the imperial despotism, with its
enslaved press and its silent tribune, its dungeons stronger than
the old Bastile, and its tribunals more obsequious than the old
parliaments. Hence the restoration of the Bourbons and of the
Jesuits, the Chamber of 1815 with its categories of proscription,
the revival of the feudal spirit, the encroachments of the
clergy, the persecution of the Protestants, the appearance of a
new breed of De Montforts and Dominics in the full light of the
nineteenth century. Hence the admission of France into the Holy
Alliance, and the war waged by the old soldiers of the tricolor
against the liberties of Spain. Hence, too, the apprehensions
with which, even at the present day, the most temperate plans for
widening the narrow basis of the French representation are
regarded by those who are especially interested in the security
of property and maintenance of order. Half a century has not
sufficed to obliterate the stain which one year of depravity and
madness has left on the noblest of causes.

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 Terror.
Violence, and more violence, blood, and more blood, made up their
whole policy. In a few months these poor creatures succeeded in
bringing about a reaction, of which none of them saw, and of
which none of us may see the close; and, having brought it about,
they marvelled at it; they bewailed it; they execrated it; they
ascribed it to everything but the real cause--their own
immortality and their own profound incapacity for the conduct of
great affairs.

These, however, are considerations to which, on the present
occasion, it is hardly necessary for us to advert; for, be the
defence which has been set up for the Jacobin policy good or bad,
it is a defence which cannot avail Barere. From his own life,
from his own pen, from his own mouth, we can prove that the part
which he took in the work of blood is to be attributed, not even
to sincere fanaticism, not even to misdirected and ill-regulated
patriotism, but either to cowardice, or to delight in human
misery. Will it be pretended that it was from public spirit that
he murdered the Girondists? In these very Memoirs he tells us
that he always regarded their death as the greatest calamity that
could befall France. Will it be pretended that it was from
public spirit that he raved for the head of the Austrian woman?
In these very Memoirs he tells us that the time spent in
attacking her was ill spent, and ought to have been employed in
concerting measures of national defence. Will it be pretended
that he was induced by sincere and earnest abhorrence of kingly
government to butcher the living and to outrage the dead; he who
invited Napoleon to take the title of King of Kings, he who
assures us that after the Restoration he expressed in noble
language his attachment to monarchy, and to the house of Bourbon?
Had he been less mean, something might have been said in
extenuation of his cruelty. Had he been less cruel, something
might have been said in extenuation of his meanness. But for
him, regicide and court-spy, for him who patronised Lebon and
betrayed Demerville, for him who wantoned alternately in
gasconades of Jacobinism and gasconades of servility, what excuse
has the largest charity to offer?

We cannot conclude without saying something about two parts of
his character, which his biographer appears to consider as
deserving of high admiration. Barere, 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

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 Greaten, and that not less eminent
philosopher Mr Mackensie Coefhis. In spite, however, of his
connection with these well-known ornaments of our country, he was
so ill-informed about us as to fancy that our government was
always laying plans to torment him. If he was hooted at Saintes,
probably by people whose relations he had murdered, it was
because the cabinet of St James's had hired the mob. If nobody
would read his bad books it was because the cabinet of St James's
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 pounds for the purpose. This,
however, is exclusive of the cost of the frescoes, which were
also paid for out of the public purse. Mr Canning was the first
Englishman whose death Europe had reason to lament; for the death
of Lord Ward, a relation, we presume, of Lord Greaten and Mr
Coefhis, had been an immense benefit to mankind.

Ignorant, however, as Barere was, he knew enough of us to hate
us; and we persuade ourselves that, had he known us better, he
would have hated us more. The nation which has combined, beyond
all example and all hope, the blessings of liberty with those of
order, might well be an object of aversion to one who had been
false alike to the cause of order and to the cause of liberty.
We have had amongst 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 Barere of
1794, or as the Barere 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
Doddington; and you are still far from having Barere. 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 horror, and 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 therefore like his invectives against us much better than
anything else that he has written; and dwell on them, not merely
with complacency, but with a feeling akin to gratitude. It was
but little that he could do to promote the honour of our country;
but that little he did strenuously and constantly. Renegade,
traitor, slave, coward, liar, slanderer, murderer, hack writer,
police-spy--the one small service which he could render to
England was to hate her: and such as he was may all who hate her

We cannot say that we contemplate with equal satisfaction that
fervent and constant zeal for religion which, according to M.
Hippolyte Carnot, distinguished Barere; for, as we think that
whatever brings dishonour on religion is a serious evil, we had,
we own, indulged a hope that Barere 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 several 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.

This makes the character complete. Whatsoever things are false,
whatsoever things are dishonest, whatsoever things are unjust,
whatsoever things are impure, whatsoever things are hateful,
whatsoever things are of evil report, if there be any vice, and
if there be any infamy, all these things, we knew, were blended
in Barere. But one thing was still wanting; and that M.
Hippolyte Carnot has supplied. When to such an assemblage of
qualities a high profession of piety is added, the effect becomes
overpowering. We sink under the contemplation of such exquisite
and manifold perfection; and feel, with deep humility, how
presumptuous it was in us to think of composing the legend of
this beatified athlete of the faith, St Bertrand of the

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
call themselves his friends had not forced him on our notice we
should never have vouchsafed to him more than a passing word of
scorn and abhorrence, such as we might fling at his brethren,
Hebert and Fouquier Tinville, and Carrier and Lebon. We have no
pleasure in seeing human nature thus degraded. We turn with
disgust from the filthy and spiteful Yahoos of the fiction; and
the filthiest and most spiteful Yahoo of the fiction was a noble
creature when compared with the Barere of history. But what is
no pleasure M. Hippolyte 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. Hippolyte Carnot has done. By attempting to
enshrine this Jacobin carrion, he has forced us to gibbet it; and
we venture to say that, from the eminence of infamy on which we
have placed it, he will not easily take it down.

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