Page:Englishmen in the French Revolution.djvu/266
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
way for Mackintosh. Perhaps after all this was as well, considering that Mackintosh had altogether changed his opinion of the Revolution, and had two years previously written to George Moore—
"I abhor, abjure, and for ever renounce the French Revolution, with all its sanguinary history, its abominable principles, and for ever execrable leaders. I hope I shall be able [in forthcoming lectures] to wipe off the disgrace of having been once betrayed into an approbation of that conspiracy against God and man, the greatest scourge of the world, and the chief stain upon human annals."
Mackintosh's revulsion of feeling, laudable as it was, had carried him a little too far, by making him forget that the crimes of the Revolution were in part the result of the old régime. Yet his corrected opinion was probably identical with that really held by Bonaparte himself, who, when married to Marie Antoinette's great-niece, would actually speak of poor Louis XVI. as "my uncle." Neither the Consul nor Mackintosh could foresee that a year later Mackintosh would be defending Peltier for libels on Bonaparte, who meanwhile had become life consul. Jeremy Bentham, by the way, exercised the citizenship conferred on him in 1792 by voting for that consulate. The man in whose eyes the English constitution was a mockery and delusion, thus helped to rivet the chains of despotism on France.
- "Life," by his son, ii. 167.