THERE are few names in the French Revolution which have figured so much as that of the Abbé Siéyes; and hardly any which is better known in connexion with this great chapter of modern story. Those who have only marked the space which he filled in debate, or the merits of his celebrated tracts at the convocation of the States General, or the failure of all his plans of constitutions, are apt to underrate the importance of his labours, and to suppose that his high place in the revolutionary Pantheon had been inconsiderately awarded by the public voice. A personal acquaintance with him would certainly have led to the same conclusion. But near observers, belonging to the times in which he figured, entirely dissent from this opinion, and give reasons, apparently satisfactory, for taking the more ordinary view of his services and his importance. I have frequently discussed the subject both with General Carnot and Prince Talleyrand, neither of them at all likely to be deceived by a mere theorist, both of them entertaining very little respect for a metaphysical politician, and from all their own tastes and habits sure to regard with somewhat of disdain a purely speculative statesman. Yet both agreed in affirming the great merit of the Abbé, and they appealed to the extreme importance of the mea
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III. Volume: 3. Contributors: Lord Henry Brougham - Author. Publisher: C. Knight. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1839. Page number: 111.