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Marie Antoinette was, from this moment, under the charm that this man diffused over all who approached him. Our author thinks that, after this interview, Mirabeau was true to the king. His friend, Mounier, had a different, and, we trust, an unfounded opinion of him. His testimony is "I have certainly never known a man of a more enlightened understanding and consummate knowledge of politics; nor of a character more venal, or a heart more depraved. His restless ambition, thirst for fame, power and riches made him, at once, the slave of every party in the state." Be this as it may, Mirabeau, soon after this, became an object of suspicion, as he had always been of fear and hatred to Robespierre, Marat, and the rest of that sanguinary crew. In a conversation which our author had with Robespierre (with whom 'he was intimate from his youth) he accused Mirabeau with being a traitor, who had sold himself to the court, and who had now become more dangerous than useful. These men wishing the destruction of the king, which they feared they could not accomplish whilst Mirabeau lived, conspired against his life. As Robespierre in 1793, in a moment of great exultation boastingly confessed, they resolved to poison him, as the easiest mode of disposing of him, and Marat undertook to have the drug prepared. “They did not know at first,” says our author, “ how to administer it; at last they thought that in the confusion of a large dinner they might dispose of the venemous ingredients either in the bread or in the wine, or even in two or three disies which they knew Mirabeau preferred. Robespierre and Petion undertook to accomplish this execrable design, and they were assisted by Fabre d'Eglantine and two or three Orleanists in waiting. Mirabeau had no suspicion of this perfidy. The poison manifested itself internally at a party of pleasure, which he attended after this fatal dinner, and where he made himself remarkable by all sorts of intemperance. He soon recognized the effects of the poison, and said to his intimate friends, particularly to Cabanis, 'you seek the cause of my death in my excesses; you will find it rather in the hatred which those bear me who wish to overturn France, or those who distrust my ascendency over the minds of the king and queen.' * Tell the queen,' added he, to my uncle, who went to see him, 'that I die her devoted servant-that all the advice I can give her is to confide in no one; she has none about her but the foolish or the malevolent.'",
All France was interested in the illness of this extraordinary man, and his death occasioned a general mourning. His was an irreparable loss to the monarchy; and well might the queen, when she heard of it, shed tears and exclaim, “into what a
state of wretchedness have I fallen, who am now weeping for Count Mirabeau ! He had done us much harm, and at the moment he is about saving us, he dies!"
There are many estimable characters sketched in this book, but not one more so, than that of our old acquaintance, the president of the trers-etat, and first mayor of Paris, John Sylvan Bailly. He, it is well known, enjoyed a distinguished reputation, and richly deserved it, as an eloquent orator, a learned astronomer, and a virtuous man. He was among those reformers who preceded the Jacobins, and who were really desirous of their country's welfare and a limited monarchy. He wanted reform rather than revolution, and he could scarcely have anticipated the anarchy which unhappily ensued, during which, he and all the good men who had taken a prominent part in public affairs, were sufferers. That he and they were blameable for the manner in which they carried their designs into execution; for their apparent disregard of all the existing institutions of their country; and for the intemperate haste with which they endeavoured to effect their purposes of reform, we are free to admit :—they have paid the penalty of their rashness, but posterity will do justice to their virtues. In Bailly's Memoirs, by his own hand, (which we are surprised our author has not mentioned) he says he had no idea of what was likely to happen till December, 1786, when, at a dinner party, he heard for the first time that the Notables were to be called. This made him reflect on the state of affairs, when he foresaw not revolution, but a series of important changes, which would, probably, be advantageous to the country. When he was told he would be named a deputy from Paris, he thanked his informer for his good opinion, but thought no more of it, till chosen ; and he says he mentions it only to show, that he was carried on by no exertion of his own to the stations he filled. He says he was attached to the tranquillity and mediocrity of his condition, and was of opinion the States-General could do very well without him. “Destitute of talents for oratory, (says he, modestly, though mistakenly) and overwhelmed with timidity, I thought it would not be difficult to find in another the same zeal and integrity, united with more suitable qualifications."
Our author bears witness to his eloquence and virtue. His sketch of him is as follows:
“ He was a member of the Academies of the Sciences, Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, and also of the French Academy. He united to the treasures of knowledge the graces of an harmonious and elegant style : he joined the qualities of a superior man to those of the most amiable gentleman. He preferred retirement to society ; but although he with
drew from our homage, he was followed into his solitude, and his name was on every tongue. There was no passage of his life which was not, at the same time, glorious and honourable. Grave and reserved in public, in private he made amends for it by an ingenuous gaiety: he was the best of human beings, and it gave him pain to believe in the wickedness of others : though repeatedly deceived, he suffered himself to be so again in a moment after. On one occasion, his wife endeavoured to put him on his guard against a person who, she rightly suspected, wished to impose on him, and he answered her, 'I should too much
regret the loss of an opportunity of obliging an honest man, were I restrained by the fear of doing a service only to a scoundrel."
Bailly did not seek the revolution-it sought him when he was nominated a deputy to the States-General, and made him play a part in politics in spite of himself: but, from the hour in which he thought he might be useful to his country, he never refused to serve her. He consecrated to her “momerts that were invaluable to science ;" and when we deplored the suspension of his labours, “I am in the first place,” said he to us, “ in my whole soul a Frenchman, and if, as you say, I am learned, the duties which that quality imposes, ought to follow after those of a citizen : if I can assist in making one good law, it is preferable to one hundred astronomical calculations."*
This is the true and holy spirit of patriotism ; and it led the martyred Bailly to the scaffold. It is this spirit which exalts him whom it inspires, above even the conception of ordinary mortals. It tears from his heart the low and debasing interests of self, the love of money, the fear of danger, and fills their place with one ennobling and absorbing passion, the welfare of his country. It was this spirit, in a purity which has called forth the admiration of the world, and which we delight to recur to, that enabled our ancestors, under God, to deliver us from the tyranny of our British brethren; and we hope and trust that when the time shall arrive again to require it, it will be found to burn as brightly and warmly in the hearts of their posterity.
Of the Memoirs of Madame Campan, the queen's femme de chambre, our author speaks disparagingly. He says they are to be distrusted. Their being posthumous, is, of itself, an objection to their credit, unless it appears that they are wholly written in her own hand. These have undergone some strange alterations, for she always spoke of events in a manner totally different from what has been published; and one particular and extraordinary conversation which she reported to him, has been entirely omitted, as well as other very curious facts. The tone of the Memoirs too, is quite apologetical, which he thinks unnatu
• Vol. i. p. 317.
ral for one who was decidedly, though secretly, revolutionary in her opinions. He distrusts her fidelity to the queen, and gives a striking proof of her treachery, which General La Fayette can, if he pleases, verify or contradict. He says
“I saw, with pain, the queen give so much of her confidence to Madame Campan: I had a little suspicion of her sincerity, and thanks to my intimacy with the enemies of the court, I procured some light on the subject, which made me see clearly, what to others was in profound obscurity. This opinion of Madame Campan might, certainly, be esteemed calumnious, if that lady had really been what her Memoirs represent; but these, as I have already said, are not hers--the facts have been given, but with a new complexion. I am persuaded that the original, in her own hand, cannot be inspected, without discovering the remarkable difference between that and the book published.
“Madame Campan, at the period of which I speak, was imbued with the principles of the revolution. She dissembled as well as she could, and deceived the queen who confided in her: this princess did not even hesitate to intrust her with the secret of her intended flight; and, in consequence, M. de La Fayette was quickly informed of it; but far from profiting by it, to injure the royal family, he arranged every thing so that the attempt might succeed, and if it failed, it was from causes independent of his will." Vol. ii. p. 158.
Our author afterwards found Madame Campan in Bonaparte's family. The public voice accused her of having abandoned the interests of the queen for those of the revolution, which was, probably, true, for she spoke of her ancient mistress without much emotion, and satire oftener escaped from her lips than praise. She had a number of piquant and malignant anecdotes to tell, not one of which is to be found in her Memoirs. He regrets that they who superintended their publication, should have left out what she related, as well of the republic, as of the empire; for if these anecdotes could have been published entire, such as her son communicated to our author in 1814, we should, he says, have had some very curious details of the imperial family, for whom she had a more decided affection than she ever felt for the unfortunate queen.
Did our limits allow, we should take pleasure in showing from our author, the situation of Robespierre when his sanguinary power was felt to be slipping from him. His agony was like that of the wretch who is suspended by his hands over a precipice, suffering the bitter tortures of a dreadful death sometime before he falls! We should like too to mark the slow degrees by which Chenier, once an enlightened and humane man, was led by the unrestrained indulgence of party spirit, into the fatal gulph of crime, till he consummated the destruction of his virtues, and became a jacobin and regicide. The lessons might
be of service--but we must refer to our author for these interesting details.
During the reign of terror, our peer, though known to be a loyalist, was obliged, in order to save his life, io cultivate the good will of Robespierre; who, as an old acquaintance, professed for him some regard, and promised to watch over his safety. This promise, of course, he violated as soon as he found it inconvenient to keep it, and his protegé was saved by the interference of Chenier, and the suilden fall of the tyrant. Previous to this event, he accepted, though reluctantly, an invitation to dine with Robespierre at the Palais Royal, in company with Caritaf, ex-marquis of Condorcet, Barbaroux, Herault de Schelles, and others, among whom were the men-tigers, Couthon and Marat, whose figures, dress and conversation, be still recalls with peculiar horror. He says their hateful persons exhaled a fetid odour which was natural to them; it made the heart sick, and seemed to be a warning given by nature to guard mankind against these two monsters. At this dinner, he became personally acquainted with these bloody jacobins and their designs, of which they made no secret.
It is sufficient to say, their designs were executed to the letter, without harrowing the feelings of our readers by the recital. Our author has made a lively sketch of these different butchers of mankind, and we had proposed to exhibit them, but the subject is too shocking, and we refrain. We are tempted, however, to trespass a little upon their feelings, and bring this article to a close, by giving a slight sketch of a personal adventure of our peer, which has quite a dramatic interest, and in which, one of these monsters, like the serpent in Eden, played a distinguished par:.
One morning our nobleman's baker expressed to his assistant, (officieux, the title given by the republic to servants) a desire to see him, and as it would have been hazardous to refuse such a favour to one of the sovereign people, he was, of course, admitted and graciously received. The baker commenced his harangue very formally.
Citizen, though we may love the republic, we may, notwithstanding, have a tender heart for the unfortunate. There is in my house a young citoyenne who is very miserable—her brother has emigrated, and her mother died of grief–her poor father is in the prison of Luxembourg, expecting every day his trial and condemnation. He was a lodger of ours for twelve years, and we never heard any harm of himhe was a peaceable man and a republican as we all are; but they say he has offended somehow, and he has been in prison for a month. His young daughter is in despair; she cannot procure his liberty, nor even get a sight of him. I have thought, as you are intimate with our incorruptible Robespeirre, you would not refuse to ask permission for the citoyenne to visit her old father ?"