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his ordinary recreation was, we believe, working in a smithy; and in his visits to the theatre, he displayed no relish for the works of Corneille and Racine, while he exhibited the most extravagant delight at farcical and grotesque performances. The very excellencies of his character were injurious to him; and those qualities which would have made him amiable and respectable as a private individual, were destructive of his authority as a monarch. Nor was he happy in his choice of ministers. The selfish levity of Maurepas, the systematic restlessness of Brienne, the splendid charlatanism of Calonne, the vanity and ministerial insignificance of Necker, all, and each, contributed to the sure and terrible progress of the gathering storm. M. Lavallee describes the present king of France, as leading a retired and literary life; the count D'Artois as merely a man of pleasure; the house of Conde enjoying the otium cum dignitate at Chantilli; the prince of Conti distinguishing himself by an honourable frankness, censuring without reserve both men and things, and reproving even his own son, whose pliant disposition rendered him more subservient to the royal will.'
But the most popular member of the royal family, was the miserable Orleans; tall and well made, but betraying in his carbuncled countenance the irregularities of his life; seeking popularity by the basest and most detestable means; and collecting around him debauchees and intriguers of the lowest and most desperate class, until men of higher talents and wider aims, found it convenient to make him their tool and their victim. The fortune which he inherited from his father, was immense; and yet so despicable was his rapacity, as to lead him into the grossest acts of meanness throughout the whole of his career. He began by seizing the plate and jewels of his father's widow, and carried his baseness to the incredible extent of stealing the very brilliants in which his father's portrait was set when presented to her. The whole of his life was worthy of its outset; and the only redeeming virtue which for a moment mingled itself with the mass of infamy, was manifested in the calmness and dignity with which he met his merited fate. The first of the factions which, in long and appalling succession, afflicted France, put this wretched man forward, as its ostensible hero, and would probably have placed him, for a time at least, upon the throne; but so excessive was his cowardice, that it compelled them to abandon him, at the very moment when his interest and their own seemed inseparably blended.
In the early scenes of the revolution, while there was much of turbulence, much enthusiasm, and much practical ignorance, displayed on the part of the new legislators, it seems to us impossible to deny that there was also, especially in the national assembly, much genuine patriotism and political integrity, and in not a few individuals commanding superiority of talent. Of the two principal leaders of the opposite parties, Mirabeau, the Brutus of patriotism,' and Maury, the Joad of royalty,' M. Lavallee sketches the characters at length; but the first is so well known, that we shall confine ourselves to the portrait of the second.
«In these stormy discussions appeared a man whose name, during four-and-twenty years, has never ceased to be famous; a priest whose portrait has never yet been drawn, except by passion; long boasted as their Demosthenes by the friends of royalty; long insulted as a Zoilus by the pretended friends of the people; invested with the purple, and the saintly halo, (l'aureole des saints,) by Pius VI.; now made to sit in sackcloth by Pius VII. by that pope who was in turn the creature, courtier, friend, chief-priest, and evil genius of Napoleon, but always infallible, because always pope. It is already perceived that I speak of the abbé Maury..... Born in the Comtat Venaissin, at Vaureas. .he came while still a young man, to Paris. He there attempted to tread in the steps of Bourdaloue, but he followed with a halting pace. He preached, and preached badly......he introduced himself to Diderot, and told him his failure; his provincial forwardness, his levitical airs, his antipathy to prejudice, pleased the philosopher, and he thought it a marvellous good joke to correct, adorn, and even to compose discourses to be delivered by a priest from the pulpit of truth. Diderot thus metamorphosed into a divine, puffed his pupil. Maury was intimate with d'Alembert, Marmontel, Helvetius, the baron d'Holbach, and others of the same stamp; the women especially assisted to bring him forward-such was the school in which he was educated. The panegyric of St. Vincent de Paule, a master-piece in its kind, was the result of this training. But he was poor, and it is a very necessary thing to be rich. His friends laid siege to the simplicity of the abbé Boismont, and persuaded him that a handsome pension would give him less trouble than the management of his official possessions; he was old, he loved ease and quiet, and he resigned his numerous benefices in favour of the abbé Maury; the abbey of Lyons was one of these. This abbey is near Peronne, and Maury was resident there, while the election to the States General were going forward. The curé of Danevoisin was elected, but after having excused himself as long as he could, he consented, only provided they would give him Maury for his colleague.'
We are told that sir Walter Raleigh burned part of his History of the World, on discovering his inability to ascertain the particulars of a transaction which took place before his eyes; and Henry IV. listening to the varying and contradictory accounts given by his officers, of a battle in which they had just
been engaged, is reported to have exclaimed— So much for the truth of history. But we believe that there never was a greater difference of opinion and statement on any subject, than on the action of the prince De Lambesc, when commanding a detachment in the Tuilleries. One account states him to have charged the multitude and wantonly sabred a helpless old man.
No, says another version; it was a young man who was trying to cut off his retreat by shutting the pont tournant.' Then we have the assurance of the committee of investigation, that two men were killed, one old, and the other young. A fourth authority affirms, that no one was killed, nor even wounded, but that a few blows were struck with the flat of the sabre. Now we have the deposition of M. Lavallee, that the prince galloped against an old man, threw him down, and hurt him severely
If it were our intention to give our readers the story of the revolution, we should not select the disjointed narratives of M. L. for the subject of a connected abstract. He sadly neglects the intermediate gradations; he passes from one series of facts to another, without any kind of connexion. He frequently astonishes his readers with passages of which it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the meaning, and sometimes impossible to admit the truth. Of the latter description, there is in the first volume, a strange, rambling tirade, full of words, and hints, and mysteries; but, as we guess,“ signifying nothing.' He says, or seems to say, that the fesuits had a principal share in the turbulent and sanguinary scenes of the revolution; that they were the secret agents in all the marking events; and that their mysterious missionaries were intermingled with all classes, clergy, nobles, patriots, demagogues, and whispering mischief to them all. This is very fine and very frightful for two or three pages, but it requires an amazing deal of evidence to make it plausible, and M. Lavallee gives none.
The constituent assembly having completed the constitution, resigned its delegation, and was followed by the legislative assembly which held its first sitting October 1, 1791. The former distinctions of royalist and patriot, were here lost, and three parties—the constitutional royalists, the republicans, and the anarchists, began their mortal strife. The most powerful speaker, and indeed in our opinion the only genuine orator, in this assembly, was Vergniaud, a man of brilliant talents, but incorrigibly indolent. It should seem, according to madame Roland, that he was not an extemporaneous speaker. In the translation of her · Appeal' (Johnson 1796) she is made to affirm that he did not speak without preparation, like Guadet; but his made speeches .... may still be read with the greatest pleasure. The original phrase, of which this is, notwithstanding, a just rendering, is somewhat more equivocal: • Il n' improvisat pas comme Guadet,' may possibly only mean that he was not equal to Guadet in off-hand speaking, though we have certainly always understood it in the sense of the translation. This idea is supported by the extraordinary fact that, though his intrepidity was unquestionable, he made no effort to defend himself in the convention when the decree of arrest was carried against him, while Lanjuinais displayed the utmost boldness and eloquence. M. Lavallee, however, speaks of him in the following terms, which are directly at variance with the statement we have just given.
• It was seldom that Vergniaux delivered a studied speech; he possessed the great art of extemporizing; his reasoning was perfect; the connexion of his ideas exact; his diction pure and unaffected...More frequently appealing to the passions than to the understanding- When he had succeeded in awakening them, his bold apostrophes, his terrible imprecations, wrested from enthusiasm, what wisdom would have withheld. Inaccessible to fear, firm against the abuse, the murmurs, the clamour of the opposite party, nothing disturbed his presence of mind: and watching the return of silence, seizing it with dexterity, he thundered, he lightened, he triumphed. .....His memory was prodigious. The eloquence of Mirabeau was more abrupt, (saccadee) that of Cazalés had in it more of effort. The abbé Maury was too parenthetical, and consequently his meaning not always obvious. The eloquence of Vergniaux was like a fine summer's day when the sun begins, pursues, and ends his career without a cloud, shedding light and heat in his brilliant course.'
Against this great man and his party, usually called collectively the Gironde, comprising nearly all the talents of the assembly, Robespierre and his satellites arrayed their formidable phalanx. Without either figure, voice, courage, or great powers, Maximilian Isidore Robespierre, by mere dint of steady cunning, destroyed nearly every obstacle in his way to empire, and failed, only by an accident as it appears, of obtaining the dictatorship of France. Instead of acting with energy and decision, the gironde wasted their time in secret consultations, and exhausted their own popularity and the patience of their auditors in public, by their incessant speaking. They were men of words, but their antagonists were men of deeds. The gironde had not resolute. virtue enough to secure the confidence of good men, nor were they atrocious enough to meet the jacobins on their own terms; they were without an effective party, and they felt it. They hesitated and compromised; they advanced and retired: they contributed to the ruin of the monarchy, and they did not long survive it. Under the iron rule of the anarchists, France became a scene of misery and blood; the best of her sons fell beneath the revolutionary axe; and the crushing sway of her tyrants has obtained a distinctive epithet of most expressive truth—the Reign of Terror.
It would be an interesting, but a too extensive task, to describe here the various struggles of these conflicting parties, the heroic but ineffectual resistance of the more moderate republicans, and the final ascendency of the jacobins. Nor can we venture on the detail of the various intrigues and contests which brought on the downfal of that tremendous power. We find, however, in the volumes before us, an account of the terrible debate which sealed the doom of Robespierre, more complete and interesting than we remember to have seen before. He had long convinced those with whom he had been accustomed to act, that he considered them only as the instruments of his elevation, and that whenever his timid jealousy should suspect in them any intention of rivalry, their fate was determined. After having raised himself to power by the assistance of Danton, he had sent him to the scaffold; others of his friends had at different periods shared the same destruction. Billaud de Varennes and Collot D'Herbois, his associates in crime, and members with him of the committee of public safety, apprehensive of the same fate, determined to make a desperate effort to anticipate it. After various maneuvres and transactions, in which the cowardice of Robespierre neutralized the desperate energy of his devoted partisans, the decisive day arrived—the ever famous 9 Thermidor.
Never since the trial of Louis XVI. had the convention been so numerous. At ten o'clock it was all assembled. The mob of Robespierre filled the tribunes. He appeared; murmurs announced his arrival; he entered elate with hope; he sat down depressed with fear. St. Just ascended the tribune, but he had uttered only a few sentences when he was interrupted by Tallien from the summit of the Mountain,' (a part of the hall so called.)
The speech which is quoted by M. Lavallee, as delivered by Tallien, is evidently from recollection only, and we shall therefore pass it by: but we have before us in another work a description of Tallien's person and manner on this occasion, which we shall insert.
• In how high a rank does that orator deserve to be placed, who, concealing a dagger in his vest, durst form the fearless resolution of sacrificing Robespierre in full senate, if his eloquence had failed to beat down the tyrant, and who overthrew him by the force of his words alone. Sufficient care has not been taken to record the terrible and vehement eloquence of Tallien in that decisive moment. Never perhaps did any orator combine such physical and