Barnave, Ant. Pierre Joseph Marie

, one of the active agents in the French revolution, was born in 1761, the son of an opulent attorney of Grenoble. He was educated to the profession of the law, and being appointed deputy to the States-General in 1789, became one of the most implacable enemies of the court, and in other respects betrayed that sanguinary spirit which at that time raised many more obscure men into popular reputation. He joined in most of the extravagant measures of the assembly, and argued in particular for confiscating the property of the clergy, and abolishing religious orders. In order to catch popularity from whatever quarter, he declared himself the advocate of protestants, actors, Jews, and executioners, and solicited their admission to the rights of citizenship. He was likewise for the suppression of all feudal rights and titles, and in general for all the measures of the Jacobin party but amidst all this violence, he ventured to think for himself on some points, which proved his ruin. On one occasion, he insisted that no law shouJd be passed concerning people of colour, until the motion had been made by the colonies and pointed out the certain resistance of the planters to innovations of this nature. Such an appearance of justice could not be acceptable at that time. It was even attributed to corruption, of which a more direct proof appeared soon after. On the news of the king’s being arrested in his flight, Barnave, with Petion, and another, were appointed to escort the royal family to Paris. He returned in the carriage of their majesties, and conducted himself with all proper respect and attention. What had happened to produce this change is not | known it might be compunction, or he might have discovered that the unfortunate monarch was not the monster he had represented him but from this hour Barnave became a suspected character; and he increased this suspicion, by giving in the assembly a simple recital of his mission, without adding any reflection. He did worse he even spoke for the inviolability of the king’s person, and repelled, with looks of contempt, the hootings of the populace. He still continued, however, to enjoy some influence in the assembly, to which his talents justly entitled him, and even was powerful enough to procure a repeal of the decree respecting the colonies, which he had before opposed against the voice of the majority. At the end of the session he was appointed mayor of Grenoble, where he married the only daughter of a lawyer, who brought him a fortune of 700,000 livres but all this he did not enjoy long. When the jacobin party obtained possession of the court, in consequence of the events of August 1792, they found, or created, proofs of his connection with the cabinet of the Thuileries. After a long imprisonment at Grenoble, he was brought before the revolutionary tribunal of Paris, where he made an able defence, and probably impressed even his enemies with a favourable opinion of his conduct. He was, however, condemned to be guillotined, which was executed Nov. 29, 1793. Barnave was unquestionably a man of abilities, whatever may be thought of their direction. Mirabeau, to whom he was a rival, and whom he often opposed, was astonished that a young man should speak so rapidly, so long, and so eloquently and said of him, “It is a young tree, which will mount high if it be let to grow.1

1 Dict. Hist.—Biographie Moderne.