Memoirs of Barras, Member of the Directorate - Vol. 3

Memoirs of Barras, Member of the Directorate - Vol. 3

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Memoirs of Barras, Member of the Directorate - Vol. 3

Memoirs of Barras, Member of the Directorate - Vol. 3

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Excerpt

The third volume of the Memoirs of Barras comprises the period extending from the coup d'état of the 18th Fructidor, Year V. (4th September, 1797), to the coup d'étatof the 18th Brumaire, Year VIII. (9th November, 1799).

It has, like the second volume, been composed to some extent from the notes jotted down by Barras at the close of each sitting of the Directorate. These notes have been most faithfully reproduced by the editor. M. de Saint-Albin has indeed interspersed these analytical summaries with either supplementary particulars culled from Barras's dictation, fragments drawn up by the ex-Director himself, or again scraps from his recollection of the utterances made in his presence by his friend. But these addenda to the account proper of the Directorial sittings, already to be met with in the second volume, composed in the same fashion, do not change the nature of the documentary character of that portion of the Memoirs. On the contrary, they break upon the monotony and aridity which would doubtless characterize a purely analytical summary; they animate these reports with a breath of life and passion; they bring out in bolder relief all the figures of members of the Directorate, of Ministers, of political men, and of generals, who pass in turn before the reader's, eyes; and if, in connection with a sitting of the Year V. or of the Year VI., the editor of the Memoirs, coming across the name of any one of the contemporaries most cordially detested by Barras, such as Talleyrand, Fouché, Sieyès, or Réal, there and then wages war against him and tells us with a certain complacency of some misdeed committed . . .

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