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below, upon the general principle of gravitation—the same by reference to which the mathematician speaks of letting fall rather than raising a perpendicular; and held, consequently, the vertical lines of the Parthenon AB, CD, as they appear in the accompanying section of the opposite flanks of the building, (where I have slightly exaggerated the peculiarity, for the better illustration of the principle,) to incline outwards, not inwards, with respect to the plumb line EF, or centre of gravity of the whole structure.
• I should have expressed myself differently had I been treating of the solid material parts, rather than of the geometrical lines of the plan of the building; the bearings of a column or wall being calculated, with obvious propriety, from the base to the summit; and for the same reason that an opposite mode appeared to me preferable in respect to vertical lines-viz., that their commencement or starting-point of the former is assumed to be from their lower, as that of the latter is from their upper extremity. So that, while I should not have hesitated to describe the inclination of the columns of the Parthenon as inwards, that of their vertical lines I conceived, would, with equal propriety, be defined as outwards.
· These remarks, however, must be understood as offered in the way of explanation, rather than justification, of my mode of expressing myself. As the question was evidently one of technical definition rather than literary style, I have been at pains to submit it to the judgment of a scientific friend, whose verdict in any such case it were presumptuous in me to dispute, and which has been given against me.
As I am therefore no longer prepared to maintain the point, I shall not consider it necessary to specify at length the grounds on which I have been induced to concede it. To the man of science they would probably be superfluous. To the general reader, the following, which I here subjoin, will probably in itself appear sufficiently conclusive: that “the best mode of elucidating any such matter is an appeal to the general apprehension,” the result of which, with so many and various authorities on the other side, must, I readily admit, be considered as in favour of the Reviewer's, and against my own view of
I am, dear Sir,
The Editor may mention, that the Writer of the Article above referred to, has since found, that he had misunderstood another VOL. LXXXIX. NO. CLIX.
very important part of Colonel Mure's description of the Parthenon, namely, the upward curvature of the lines of the architrave and basement. He supposed the term 'curved upwards' to be the same as concave upwards, while Colonel Mure means convex upwards. With this correction the reader will be able to understand the observations made in pages 320 and 321 of the Article.
Erratum.-In p. 318, line 29, of the Article referred to, for classification read combination.
NOTE to the Article on Ireland.
Since the above-mentioned Article was written, we have received a copy of a Pamphlet about to appear, under the not very happy title of What is TO BE DONE? OR PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE ; in which the author discusses, at considerable length, the conduct of the present Ministry with respect to Ireland, and some other topics connected with that subject, which it did not fall within the scope of our Article to examine. We have therefore thought it right to refer our readers to its statements, but without in all points identifying our own with his views and opinions; and as it is written throughout with much spirit, point, and political intelligence, we have great pleasure in recommend ing it, as highly creditable to its author, who is evidently not unpractised in such compositions.
No. CLX. will be published in April.
Edinburgh : Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.
Art. I.— Mémoires de Bertrand Barère ; publiés par MM. Hir
POLYTE CARNOT, Membre de la Chambre des Députés, et David d'Angers, Membre de l'Institut: précédés d'une Notice Historique par H. CARNOT. 4 Tomes. Paris : 1843.
It is an appeal, solemnly made to posterity by a man who played a conspicuous part in great events, and who represents himself as deeply aggrieved by the rash and malevolent censure of his contemporaries. To such an appeal we shall always give ready audience. We can perform no duty more useful to society, or more agreeable to our own feelings, than that of making, as far as our power extends, reparation
to the slandered and persecuted benefactors of mankind. We therefore promptly took into our consideration this copious apology for the life of Bertrand Barère. We have made up our minds; and we now purpose to do him, by the blessing of God, full and signal justice.
It is to be observed that the appellant in this case does not come into court alone. He is attended to the bar of public opinion by two compurgators who occupy highly honourable stations. One of these is M. David of Angers, member of the Institute, an eminent sculptor, and, if we have been rightly informed,
VOL. LXXIX. NO, CLX,
a favourite pupil, though not a kinsman, of the painter who bore the same name. The other, to whom we owe the biographical preface, is M. Hippolyte Carnot, member of the Chamber of Deputies, and son of the celebrated Director. In the judgment of M. David and of M. Hippolyte Carnot, Barère was a deserving and an ill-used man, a man who, though by no means faultless, must yet, when due allowance is made for the force of circumstances and the infirmity of human nature, be considered as on the whole entitled to our esteem. It will be for the public to determine, after a full hearing, whether the editors have, by thus connecting their names with that of Barère, raised his character or lowered their own.
We are not conscious that, when we opened this book, we were under the influence of any feeling likely to pervert our judgment. Undoubtedly we had long entertained a most unfavourable opinion of Barère ; but to this opinion we were not tied by any passion or by any interest. Our dislike was a reasonable dislike, and might have been removed by reason. Indeed our expectation was, that these Memoirs would in some measure clear Barère's fame. That he could vindicate himself from all the charges which had been brought against him, we knew to be impossible; and his editors admit that he has not done so. But we thought it highly probable that some grave accusations would be refuted, and that many offences to which he would have been forced to plead guilty would be greatly extenuated.
We were not disposed to be severe. We were fully aware that temptations such as those to which the members of the Convention and of the Committee of Public Safety were exposed must try severely the strength of the firmest virtue. Indeed our inclination has always been to regard with an indulgence, which to some rigid moralists appears excessive, those faults into which gentle and noble spirits are sometimes hurried by the excitement of conflict, by the maddening influence of sympathy, and by ill-regulated zeal for a public cause.
With such feelings we read this book, and compared it with other accounts of the events in which Barère bore a part. It is now our duty to express the opinion to which this investigation has led us.
Our opinion then is this, that Barère approached nearer than any person mentioned in history or fiction, whether man or devil, to the idea of consummate and universal depravity. In him the qualities which are the proper objects of hatred, and the qualities which are the proper objects of contempt, preserve an exquisite and absolute harmony. In almost every particular sort of wickedness he has had rivals. His sensuality was immoderate ; but this was a failing common to him with many great and amiable mnen. There have been many men as cowardly as he, some as cruel, a few as mean, a few as impudent. There may also have been as great liars, though we never met with them or read of them. But when we put every thing together, sensuality, poltroonery, baseness, effrontery, mendacity, barbarity, the result is something which in a novel we should condemn as caricature, and to which, we venture to say, no parallel can be found in history.
It would be grossly unjust, we acknowledge, to try a man situated as Barère was by a severe standard. Nor have we done
We have formed our opinion of him by comparing him, not with politicians of stainless character, not with Chancellor D'Aguesseau, or General Washington, or Mr Wilberforce, or Earl Grey, but with his own colleagues of the Mountain. That party included a considerable number of the worst men that ever lived; but we see in it nothing like Barère. Compared with him, Fouché seems honest; Billaud seems humane; Hébert seems to rise into dignity. Every other chief of a party, says M. Hippolyte Carnot, has found apologists : one set of men exalts the Girondists; another set justifies Danton ; a third deifies Robespierre : but Barère has remained without a defender. We venture to suggest a very simple solution of this phenomenon. All the other chiefs of parties had some good qualities, and Barère had none. The genius, courage, patriotism, and humanity of the Girondist statesmen, more than atoned for what was culpable in their conduct, and should have protected them from the insult of being compared with such a thing as Barère. Danton and Robespierre were indeed bad men; but in both of them some important parts of the mind remained sound. Danton was brave and resolute, fond of pleasure, of power, and of distinction, with vehement passions, with lax principles, but with some kind and manly feelings, capable of great crimes, but capable also of friendship and of compassion. He, therefore, naturally finds admirers among persons of bold and sanguine dispositions. Robespierre was a vain, envious, and suspicious man, with a hard heart, weak nerves, and a gloomy temper. But we cannot with truth deny that he was, in the vulgar sense of the word, disinterested, that his private life was correct, or that he was sincerely zealous for his own system of politics and morals. He, therefore, naturally finds admirers among honest but moody and bitter democrats. If no class has taken the reputation of Barère under its patronage, the reason is plain : Barère had not a single virtue, nor even the semblance of