Page:Englishmen in the French Revolution.djvu/31
DELIVERANCE TO CAPTIVES.
fortress. It is significant, but scarcely excusable, that in his "History of Jacobinism" he makes light of the capture of the Bastille, and does not hint that he was concerned in it. Indeed, the only reference to his having been in Paris at all is the remark, "I do not consider virtue to consist in the simple manners and republican phrases of a Brissot, and I have told him so to his face." A French pamphlet of 1790 on paper-money is attributed to him. It was he (not Pétion, as Carlyle represents) who courageously rescued D'Espréménil, an old acquaintance, when half killed by a mob in the Palais Royal gardens in February 1791. Pétion simply called on and condoled with the poor man after the rescue, in which Playfair was assisted by a brave National Guardsman, a horse-dealer, who afterwards pawned his uniform to give Playfair a dinner, and was with difficulty persuaded to accept a few louis.
Playfair speaking out too plainly on the excesses of the Revolution, Barère is said to have procured an order for his arrest, but he escaped to Holland, and thence to England.
By 1793 he was back in London, publishing pamphlets. One of these recommended that France, with the Bourbons restored, should be made permanently harmless by Savoy being given to Geneva, Dauphiny and Provence to Sardinia, a long strip drawn from Belfort to Abbeville to Austria and
- Playfair's "France as it is, not Lady Morgan's," 1819.