mitting a certain degree of violence in favour of that system. The Jacobins had in view a system of government which man and nature could not endure, and they were ready conscientiously to perpetrate any crime which gave their theory a chance of realization. "De l'audace, de l'audace, et encore de l'audace," said Danton. "Il n'y a que les morts qui ne reviennent pas," said Barrère. "Plus le corps social transpire plus il devient sain," said Collot d'Herbois-and in the midst of massacres and executions, by scaffolds and through prisons, over the dead bodies of their friends, their countrymen, and their colleagues, these legislative frenetics marched with a cool and determined step towards the terrible Liberty, whose temple, like that of Juggernaut, was to be known by the immolated victims with which its road was overlain.

It is impossible to deny these men a daring disposition, a stern intelligence, which, if under the influence of a less horrible delirium, would have rendered them dear to France, as her national defenders. Threatened at once by foreign and civil war-rebellion in the east, rebellion in the south, the Girondists, the royalists in arms-the white flag flying from Toulon, and an English fleet in the harbour,-they

never for a moment doubted, hesitated, or feared; -proving the assurance of Machiavel, which Montesquieu has repeated, viz. that a nation is never so powerful to a foreign enemy as when torn by civil dissensions-in the midst of enemies at home, they daringly threw down the gauntlet to Europe, and proved by 1,200,000 men in arms, that their means and their boasts were equal.

There are two historians, who, dazzled, as it appears to me, by the courage and character which these men displayed, in circumstances so critical, have veiled their crimes under a pedantic fatalism, have connected by a horrid necessity their massacres with their victories, and imagined that the new principles of liberty could not have been defended at that time from the hostile cabals of the aristocracy, but by the most infernal system of illegality, espionage, and blood. I respect the character, I respect the valour of the French nation more than either of these authors: I do not think that the descendants of those men who fought under Bayard and du Guesclin-I do not think that the same race which furnished the brave soldiers of Henry IV. and filled the armies in the brilliant days of Louis the Great-I do not-I cannot think that the French, known in every period of their history, for their bravery, their enthu

siasm, their hatred of a foreign yoke,-were obliged to derive their valour from their fears. The Romans were better judges of the sentiment which animates, and ought to animate, an army-when they left honour even to defeat. They felt that we humiliate those whom we threaten, or whom we punish, and that the way to make men capable of great actions, is to show a great generosity for their weaknesses.

As for liberty, it does not consist in planting trees, and signing decrees with the names symbolic of a republic. When Danton said, "We are few in number-we must show no mercy, for the sake of liberty, to those who are opposed to us," he did not simply establish a momentary despotism among his fellow citizens; he said that which will favour despotism through all ages-he did not merely inflict an injury upon his countrymen, he inflicted a severer injury upon his principles, upon the principles professed by him and his; for he sullied and rendered suspicious those great words which the Romans had left us, and which up to that time were fresh in all their antique purity-and thus it is hardly wonderful that the crimes of Jacobinism were said to be paid by royal gold.

No one would willingly pause long upon the events of this mysterious and awful epoch. I pass them gladly by-but there was one man who,

when politics were a game at which the loser laid down his head, took a prominent part in that terrible amusement.

You who declaim against the vice and venality of Mirabeau, will be delighted to know that this man was surnamed the pure, the incorruptible, the just. No follies had disfigured his youth; severe, neat, careful in his carriage and his costume, there was none of that easy negligence, of that nervous susceptibility in his character or his person, which marks and makes a man forgetful of himself. In the preciseness of his dress, you saw what was uppermost in his opinion. In every thing about him you read the egotism which reigned in his heart, and that firm and unconquerable will, superior to all things, even to genius, which elevated him above Vergniaud and Danton, chiefs of a party like himself-more capable of great enterprizes—but less active, less intriguingtheir views were more vast than his, but their views were also more obscure, for they knew not frequently at what they aimed.

He never doubted, never for one moment doubted as to the object of his endeavours. It was circumscribed, concentrated, clear : amidst all the misery, all the terror, all the victories, and all the glories which stupified



the world, that man saw nothing but the success, the power of one little individual-that individual was himself, was Robespierre. More evil has been said of this triumvir than perhaps he merited. The most powerful of the terrible mountain, he has frequently been taken as its representative. The slayer of those by whom so many had been slaughtered; the sole possessor for a time of the terrible machine which then dictated the law; the vanquisher of the Gironde which had vanquished the monarchy; the vanquisher of C. Desmoulins, who had commenced the revolution, of Danton whose name was so terrible in its annals; he has been considered as a person at once more marvellous and more monstrous than he really was.

Robespierre had this great advantage in the revolution, he arrived late in it. Too insignificant in the national assembly for the part he took there, to be attached to his career, he entered the convention at the head of a new party, whose ungratified ambition panted for action, when the Girondists, having succeeded in their object, were disposed to enjoy in quiet the fruits of the victory they had obtained. But the Girondists could not have gone so far as they had gone, without strongly exciting the passions of the people: and

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