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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

I fear the people reason like Chabot


* Chabot, Fabre d'Eglantine, (author of "l'Intrigue Epistolaire," and several other admired dramatic pieces,) Delaunay d'Angers, Julien de Toulouse, and Bazire, were bribed to procure the passing certain decrees, tending to enrich particular people, by defrauding the East India Company.--Delaunay and Julien (both re-elected into the present Assembly) escaped by flight, the rest were guillotined. --It is probable, that these little peculations might have passed unnoticed in patriots of such note, but that the intrigues and popular character of Chabot made it necessary to dispose of him, and his accomplices suffered to give a countenance to the measure.

--Chabot, with great reason, insisted on his claim to an extra share, on account, as he expressed it, of having the reputation of one of the first patriots in Europe. Now this I look upon to be a very useful hint, as it tends to establish a tariff of reputations, rather than of talents. In England, you distinguish too much in favour of the latter; and, in a question of purchase, a Minister often prefers a "commodity" of rhetoricians, to one of "good names."--I confess, I am of Chabot's opinion; and think a vote from a member who has some reputation for honesty, ought to be better paid for than the eloquence which, weakened by the vices of the orator, ceases to persuade. How it is that the patriotic harangues at St. Stephen's serve only to amuse

the auditors, who identify the sentiments they express as little with the speaker, as they would those of Cato's soliloquy with the actor who personates the character for the night? I fear the people reason like Chabot, and are "fools to fame." Perhaps it is fortunate for England, that those whose talents and principles would make them most dangerous, are become least so, because both are counteracted by the public contempt. Ought it not to humble the pride, and correct the errors, which too often accompany great genius, that the meanest capacity can distinguish between talents and virtue; and that even in the moment our wonder is excited by the one, a sort of intrinsic preference is given to the other?--Yours, &c.

Providence, April 15, 1794.

"The friendship of bad men turns to fear:" and in this single phrase of our popular bard is comprized the history of all the parties who have succeeded each other during the revolution.--Danton has been sacrificed to Robespierre's jealousy,* and Camille Desmoulins to support his popularity;** and both, after sharing in the crimes, and contributing to the punishment, of Hebert and his associates, have followed them to the same scaffold.

* The ferocious courage of Danton had, on the 10th of August, the 2d of September, the 31st of May, and other occasions, been the ductile instrument of Robespierre; but, in the course of their iniquitous connection, it should seem, they had committed themselves too much to each other. Danton had betrayed a desire of more exclusively profiting by his crimes; and Robespierre's views been equally ambitious, though less daring, their mutual jealousies had risen to a height which rendered the sacrifice of one party necessary--and Robespierre had the address to secure himself, by striking the first blow. They had supped in the country, and returned together to Paris, on the night Danton was arrested; and, it may be supposed, that in this interview, which was intended to produce a reconciliation, they had been convinced that neither was to be trusted by the other.


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