Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 3

By Lord Henry Brougham | Go to book overview

ROBESPIERRE.

IT would be difficult to point out within the whole range of history, ancient or modern, any person who played so great a part as Robespierre with so little genius. Those who were not brilliant, whose parts were not such as dazzle the vulgar, and thus, by bestowing fame and influence, smooth the way to power, have generally possessed some depth of intellect, some mental force which compensated, and far more than compensated, the want of shining faculties; or, if their intellectual endowments were moderate, tehy have by a splendid courage struck awe into the hearts of mankind; or at least by extraordinary vigour and constitutional firmness of purpose, they have overpowered, though more slowly, all resistance to their will, and with constancy won their way to the head of affairs. Nor are instances wanting, and perhaps Henry IV. of France is the most remarkable, of amiable dispositions gaining the affections of men, and making up for the want of any very extraordinary gifts either of a moral or an intellectual kind. But in Robespierre we can trace not a vestige of any such kinds of excellence, if it be not that he was unremitting in his pursuit of aggrandisement, and had as much firmness in this regard as was consistent with a feeble and cowardly nature. Nor is the secret of his rise to be found in the circum-

-51-

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Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction. vii
  • Contents ix
  • The French Revolution. 1
  • Robespierre. 51
  • Danton. 72
  • Camille Desmoulins.--St. Just. 87
  • Siéyes. 111
  • John, Fourth Duke of Bedford. 133
  • Earl Camden. 156
  • Lord Ellenborough. 198
  • Lord Chief Justice Bushe. 223
  • Thomas Jefferson. 237
  • Marquess Wellesley. 266
  • Lord Holland. 325
  • Appendix. 349
  • Erratum *
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