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triotism had long been pre-eminent. The execution of the principal of these men-the wanderings and miseries to which the fugitives were subjected—the persecutions against their relatives, their friends, and their constituents : such were the causes of the civil war which raged so long in the south, and in the west of France, whilst the armies of all the sovereigns of Europe were invading her frontiers. Whatever may be the opinion of modern liberals, we hold and we proclaim that the crimes which brought forth these unparalleled convulsions, and the crimes by which their subduing was purchased, can never be obliterated by the success with which they were attended. Let not their authors exclaim : 'Nous avons sauve la Patrie. The incendiaries who set one house on fire, and afterwards pull down two others, on each side of the first, so as to intercept the communication of the devouring element, might as well maintain that they are the preservers of a town.
Barère himself, not only admits the atrocious character of the measures adopted by the committee of public safety, but also agrees with us in our opinion upon their first causes, and upon their ultimate consequences, in many of the unconnected and frequently contradictory notes entitled Memoirs. He admits that he had a share in their adoption, in their enforcement, which share, he indefatigably labours to reduce to the minimum. He contends that he never originated any of those cruel measures; that he opposed most of them; but that, when introduced by one of the members, and adopted by the majority of the committee, he was bound, as the reporter, to abide by the decision of the majority, and to report accordingly, without alluding to the objections of the minority; without even hinting at any opposition. He gives as his reasons, for thus acting, that union and unanimity were the only elements of safety for France—that the shadow only of division, in the committee, would immediately have provoked a real division in the convention itself; and that the convention, morally and physically enfeebled, by these divisions, would not have been able to withstand the formidable assault of foreign and domestic enemies on the independence and on the liberties of France.
We scorn to discuss such worthless allegations, and we are sure, all our readers are ready to join us when we protest against these notions of official duty-against this theory of the revolutionary politicians. No doubt, all honest men reject those principles, and will look on Barère with contempt, for daring to avow them, and will have a firmer conviction of his culpability, since he had no better proof to offer of his innocence. And yet, these notions, this theory, these principles, are openly avowed, professed and acted upon by the committees of
public safety of our own times; for we cannot give another name to the would-be-constitutional governments of the greatest part of Europe. Even here, in England, under any administration, Whig or Tory, this system prevails. Lord Brougham admitted that, when in the ministry, he frequently differed from his colleagues, but that, in order not to enfeeble the government of the country, by the exposure of the divisions in the cabinet, he supported measures which he could not approve. We might adduce many instances of the same kind in the march of the present administration. It is a well-known fact, that Sir Robert Peel is far from approving many of the iniquitous and violent measures of the home secretary, but, for the public safety, he must advocate the Factories Bill, the Metropolitan Buildings Bill, and the Medical Reform Bill, and even the post-office abominations : in one word any bill, and any deed, which the apostate Whig may choose to offer to his present allies, as a token of the sincerity of his conversion, and of his zeal in the cause he has at length embraced. Thus, in the intricate and anomalous thing called political science, conservatism fetches its arms from the arsenals of the Montagne, and an excuse of Barère becomes a precept for Sir Robert !
A better excuse for Barère, and for the Committee of Public Safety, with regard to the accusation of having caused all the murders which were perpetrated during the reign of terror, would have been found in the acts of the Committee of Sureté Générale, from which emanated most of the orders for the commitments of suspected persons, commitments which were generally the precursors of immediate death. Yet we do not find even an allusion to it, in the writings of Barère, nor even in the biographic notice of Carnot. This omission surprises us the more as, a few days ago, looking in the Moniteur of 1794, to ascertain the accuracy of some of our statements in this article, we found Barère complaining that the Committee of Public Security arrogated to itself the exclusive privilege of setting persons at liberty. We must conclude from this fact, that Barère was jealous of exercising this privilege, and that he is entitled to some credit, when, in his own defence, he enumerates the victims saved by him, and expresses his deep regret at the failure of his efforts to save many more.
H. Carnot must have been strongly imbued with the idea of Barère's merciful disposition, when towards the end of his notice, he says: 'Quelles que soient les prétentions de ceux qui reclament pour eux seuls le privilège de la moderation, il y a dans toutes les opinions, dans tous les partis, des hommes modérés et des hommes violents. Barère appartient evidemment à la première classe. On cite de lui, quelques phrases tristement célèbres : les plus condamnables lui ont été
faussement attribuées, nous en avons la preuve ; d'autres sont simplement, qu'on nous passe l'expression, des gasconades terroristes, issues des habitudes de son esprit, bien plus que des fibres de son àme; et ces paroles là sont moins nombreuses dans la vie de Barère, que les actes d'humanité et les services personnels.
We cannot completely participate in this opinion of the moderation of Barère. As we have said before, he was a most impressible man, a man of impulse, and unfortunately too frequently spoke under violent impressions, and acted according to the sudden impulse of the dreadful circumstances in the midst of which he found himself. In all his speeches, as in all his acts, from the beginning of the revolution, he is, if we may say so, a mirror which reflects the prevalent ideas and feelings of the moment; and, almost constantly, as if he had no ideas, no feelings of his own. This was our judgment of him expressed long ago, and in corroboration of it we quote again the biographer :
Barère n'était point un homme de méditation, mais un homme de production. Chez lui, toute pensée se traduisait à l'instant en un écrit. De là tant d'ébauches informes, tant de plans peu mûris. Politique, legislation, administration, histoire, religion, morale, critique littéraire, beaux arts, romans et poësié, il a tout essayé. Mais ce qui mérite le plus d'attention, dans son héritage littéraire, c'est une série d’aumoins quarante volumes manuscrits, dans lesquels il consignait chaque jour ses observations, ses souvenirs, les fruits de ses lectures. Senilia : tel est la titre qu'il a donné aux derniers volumes de cette précieuse bibliothèque.'
We cannot help expressing our astonishment, that, in the forty manuscript volumes mentioned in the foregoing extract, M. Carnot should have found nothing more interesting, more instructive, and more important, than the greatest part of the contents of the four volumes he has published, the last of which is a sort of biographical sketch of contemporaries, composed at different epochs, and which therefore presents a multitude of contradictions. We insist upon the point, which
have already touched, that this sketch had better have been omitted. A man, in the situation of Barère, so generally accused, not to say convicted, has no right to sit in judgment upon his fellow men, and above all, ought not to have dealt with them, not only with severity, but even with passionate injustice; as was the case with regard to Lafayette, Du Mourier, Camille Desmoulins, the Duke of Plaisance, and many others, who, in the opinion of all, have better claims than Barère to the gratitude of their country and to the esteem of posterity. H. Carnot was wrong in giving publicity to these renewed accusations; but it is not the only fault we find in his collection from the manuscripts of Barère.
The only subject on which Barère never altered his mind was England, and the only feeling which he constantly exhibited, from the beginning of his career to the end of his life was hatred of England, of which he knew absolutely nothing. We have in his Notice Historique five pages closely printed, which were written in July, 1840, six months before his decease, and which breathe all the aversion he had so frequently expressed towards Great Britain. That Barère, after the treaty of that date, and witnessing the indignation of the whole nation deceived by her own government, on the circumstances and causes of this treaty, should have, as at all former times, reflected public opinion, is for us as a matter of course, with which we cannot be angry. But that in 1844, Carnot should reproduce the passionate lucubrations of the man who was the least able to form an opinion upon the policy of England, that he should do it for no other object than to establish the constant nationality of Barère, and to give to his appeal to posterity the support of national prejudices—this is what we consider as unworthy of him. Liberal minded men, or people professing liberal opinions, ought never to pander to national prejudices, or stir up national jealousies. The greatest injury which can be done to the cause of freedom, is the revival of that hostile rivalry, which has existed too long, between England and France, and which, we hoped, had for ever been put an end to in July, 1830. At that epoch every one felt the want of, every one expressed the wish for, an intimate alliance between the two countries; for, every one clearly saw that the union of France and England could alone successfully terminate the struggle between intelligent and moral force, on one side, and physical force, with ignorance, on the other; the struggle, in fact, between liberty and despotism. Why, then, again sow the seeds of discord between the two nations prominent in Europe for their intellectual and moral power, when, all over the world, the unintelligent and physical powers are, every day, strengthening their unholy alliance? That, on the brink of his tomb, Barère should have done so, cannot surprise any one. The old Conventionel knew better than any body else that, had not England joined the coalition of the European absolutists in 1793, the war would not have been protracted for more than a few months, and the greatest part of the misfortunes of France, the internal dissensions, the reign of terror, would have been avoided. Barère himself would not have acquired his unenviable celebrity; he would not have made so many reports.
It is to those reports, most of which are upon the success of the republican armies, and in which his eloquence spared not the foreign governments, that Barère owes the rank which foreigners, and even his countrymen attribute to him among his fellow revolutionists. In his capacity of reporter of the committee, he every day ascended the tribune : his name was every day before the public: his speeches were read with extraordinary avidity, not only on account of the important events they related, but also because there were always in them some enthusiastic and striking sentences, not much in accordance with good taste indeed, but much in accordance with the taste of that epoch of irritation. He therefore obtained credit for being an actor, when he was merely a mouthpiece. Such was the opinion of a man who knew him well, (Jacquemont,) who, speaking of him, told us, * Barère serait regardé comme un excellent citoyen, s'il n'avait su ni parler, ni écrire.'
The revolution which overthrew Robespierre, the causes of which are still very little known, was not anticipated by Barère, who however contributed to it, so soon as the attack began : and its tendencies and consequences seem to have been equally unperceived by him. We find (not in his memoirs, but in the Moniteur) that at the sitting of the 11th Thermidor, two days after the revolution, Barère proposed to the convention to complete the committee of public safety, by appointing
Duval, Bernard de Saintes, and Eschasseriaux, in the room of Robespierre, Saint Just, and Couthon, who had been outlawed and guillotined. The assembly demurred to this proposal, the renewal of the whole committee was decreed, and on the 13th and 14th of Thermidor, the new members were appointed in the following order: Bréard, Eschasseriaux, Laloi, Thuriot, Treilhard, Tallien, Legendre, Goupilleau, Merlin de Thionville, André Dumont, Jean de Bry, and Bernard de Saintes. These names at once told Barère that the public safety would soon require his own head.
In the new committee were many of the late commissioners of the convention in the departments, who, in the exercise of their powers, had exhibited such a profligacy and dishonesty as well as cruelty, that the committee itself at last, awakened by the indignant voice of the population, was compelled, first to express its dissatisfaction, then to recall some of the perpetrators of those atrocities, and afterwards, in order to screen itself from the responsibility of those crimes, even to denounce their authors, and demand justice. Robespierre, who had observed this disposition, in some members of the committee, had determined to do so himself, and to do it alone, without even mentioning his design to his colleagues. He went farther than this : the better