1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Carrel, Jean Baptiste Nicolas Armand

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CARREL, JEAN BAPTISTE NICOLAS ARMAND (1800–1836), French publicist, was born at Rouen on the 8th of May 1800. His father was a merchant in good circumstances, and he received a liberal education at the college of Rouen, afterwards attending the military school at St Cyr. He had an intense admiration for the great generals of Napoleon, and his uncompromising spirit, bold uprightness and independent views marked him as a man to be suspected. Entering the army as sub-lieutenant he took a secret but active part in the unsuccessful conspiracy of Belfort. On the outbreak of war with Spain in 1823, Carrel, whose sympathies were altogether with the liberal cause, sent in his resignation, and succeeded in effecting his escape to Barcelona. He enrolled himself in the foreign legion and fought gallantly against his former comrades. Near Figuières the legion was compelled to surrender, and Carrel became the prisoner of his old general, Damas. There was considerable difficulty about the terms of capitulation, and one council of war condemned Carrel to death. Fortunately some informality prevented the sentence being executed, and he was soon afterwards acquitted and set at liberty. His career as a soldier being then finally closed, Carrel resolved to devote himself to literature. He came to Paris and began as secretary to Augustin Thierry, the historian. His services were found to be of great value, and he not only obtained admirable training in habits of composition, but was led to investigate for himself some of the most interesting portions of English history. His first work of importance (he had already written one or two historical abstracts) was the History of the Counter-Revolution in England, an exceedingly able political study of the events which culminated in the Revolution of 1688. He gradually became known as a skilful writer in various periodicals; but it was not till he formed his connexion with the National that he became a power in France. The National was at first conducted by Thiers, Mignet and Carrel in conjunction; but after the revolution of July, Thiers and Mignet assumed office, and the whole management fell into the hands of Carrel. Under his direction this journal became the first political organ in Paris. His judgment was unusually clear, his principles solid and well founded, his sincerity and honesty beyond question; and to these qualities he united an admirable style, lucid, precise and well balanced. As the defender of democracy he had frequently to face serious dangers. He was once in Ste Pelagie, and several times before the tribunal to answer for his journal. Nor was he in less danger from private enmities. Before his last fatal encounter he was twice engaged in duels with editors of rival papers. The dispute which led to the duel with Émile de Girardin was one of small moment, and might have been amicably arranged had it not been for some slight obstinacy on Carrel’s part. The meeting took place on the morning of the 22nd of July 1836. De Girardin was wounded in the thigh, Carrel in the groin. The wound was at once seen to be dangerous, and Carrel was conveyed to the house of a friend, where he died after two days’ suffering.

His works, with biographical notice by Littré, were published in five volumes (Paris, 1858), A fine estimate of his character will be found in Mill’s Dissertations, vol. i.