CHAPTER XX: Death of Mirabeau. - Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.) 
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, newly revised translation of the 1818 English edition, edited, with an introduction and notes by Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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- A Thinker For Our Times: Madame De Staël, Her Life and Works
- Life of Madame De Staël
- Works of Madame De Staël
- Madame De Staël and Napoléon
- The Ideas of Considerations
- The Reception of Considerations
- Madame De Staël and America
- Note On the Present Edition
- Considerations On the Principal Events of the French Revolution
- Notice By the Editors 1
- Advertisement of the Author
- Part I
- Chapter I: General Reflections.
- Chapter II: Considerations On the History of France.
- Chapter III: On the State of Public Opinion In France At the Accession of Louis XVI.
- Chapter IV: Of the Character of M. Necker As a Public Man.
- Chapter V: M. Necker’s Plans of Finance.
- Chapter VI: M. Necker’s Plans of Administration.
- Chapter VII: Of the American War.
- Chapter VIII: M. Necker’s Retirement From Office In 1781.
- Chapter IX: The Circumstances That Led to the Assembling of the Estates General.—ministry of M. De Calonne.
- Chapter X: Sequel of the Preceding.—ministry of the Archbishop of Toulouse.
- Chapter XI: Did France Possess a Constitution Before the Revolution? 1
- Chapter XII: On the Recall of M. Necker In 1788.
- Chapter XIII: Conduct of the Last Estates General, Held At Paris In 1614.
- Chapter XIV: The Division of the Estates General Into Orders.
- Chapter XV: What Was the Public Feeling of Europe At the Time of Convening the Estates General?
- Chapter XVI: Opening of the Estates General On the 5th of May, 1789.
- Chapter XVII: Of the Resistance of the Privileged Orders to the Demands of the Third Estate In 1789.
- Chapter XVIII: Conduct of the Third Estate During the First Two Months of the Session of the Estates General.
- Chapter XIX: Means Possessed By the Crown In 1789 of Opposing the Revolution.
- Chapter XX: The Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXI: Events Caused By the Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXII: Revolution of the 14th of July (1789).
- Chapter XXIII: Return of M. Necker.
- Part Ii
- Chapter I: Mirabeau.
- Chapter II: Of the Constituent Assembly After the 14th of July.
- Chapter III: General La Fayette.
- Chapter IV: Of the Good Effected By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter V: Liberty of the Press, and State of the Police, During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VI: Of the Different Parties Conspicuous In the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VII: Of the Errors of the Constituent Assembly In Matters of Administration.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Errors of the National Assembly In Regard to the Constitution.
- Chapter IX: Efforts Made By M. Necker With the Popular Party In the Constituent Assembly to Induce It to Establish the English Constitution In France.
- Chapter X: Did the English Government Give Money to Foment Troubles In France?
- Chapter XI: Events of the 5th and 6th of October, 1789.
- Chapter XII: The Constituent Assembly At Paris.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Decrees of the Constituent Assembly In Regard to the Clergy.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Suppression of Titles of Nobility.
- Chapter XV: Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVI: Federation of 14th July, 1790.
- Chapter XVII: Of the State of Society In Paris During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVIII: The Introduction of Assignats, and Retirement of M. Necker.
- Chapter XIX: State of Affairs and of Political Parties In the Winter of 1790–91.
- Chapter XX: Death of Mirabeau.
- Chapter XXI: Departure of the King On the 21st of June, 1791.
- Chapter XXII: Revision of the Constitution.
- Chapter XXIII: Acceptance of the Constitution, Called the Constitution of 1791.
- Part Iii
- Chapter I: On the Emigration.
- Chapter II: Prediction of M. Necker On the Fate of the Constitution of 1791.
- Chapter III: Of the Different Parties Which Composed the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter IV: Spirit of the Decrees of the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter V: Of the First War Between France and Europe.
- Chapter VI: Of the Means Employed In 1792 to Establish the Republic.
- Chapter VII: Anniversary of 14th July Celebrated In 1792.
- Chapter VIII: Manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick.
- Chapter IX: Revolution of the 10th of August, 1792—overthrow of the Monarchy.
- Chapter X: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XI: The Foreign Troops Driven From France In 1792.
- Chapter XII: Trial of Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIII: Charles I and Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIV: War Between France and England. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox.
- Chapter XV: Of Political Fanaticism.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Government Called the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XVII: The French Army During the Reign of Terror; the Federalists and La Vendée.
- Chapter XVIII: Of the Situation of the Friends of Liberty Out of France During the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XIX: Fall of Robespierre, and Change of System In the Government.
- Chapter XX: Of the State of Minds At the Moment When the Directorial Republic Was Established In France.
- Chapter XXI: Of the Twenty Months During Which the Republic Existed In France, From November 1795 to the 18th of Fructidor (4th of September) 1797.
- Chapter XXII: Two Singular Predictions Drawn From the History of the Revolution, By M. Necker.
- Chapter XXIII: Of the Army of Italy.
- Chapter XXIV: Of the Introduction of Military Government Into France By the Occurrences of the 18th of Fructidor.
- Chapter XXV: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XXVI: Treaty of Campo Formio In 1797. Arrival of General Bonaparte At Paris.
- Chapter XXVII: Preparations of General Bonaparte For Proceeding to Egypt. His Opinion On the Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXVIII: The Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXIX: Of the Termination of the Directory.
- Part Iv
- Chapter I: News From Egypt: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter II: Revolution of the 18th of Brumaire.
- Chapter III: Of the Establishment of the Consular Constitution.
- Chapter IV: Progress of Bonaparte to Absolute Power.
- Chapter V: Should England Have Made Peace With Bonaparte At His Accession to the Consulate?
- Chapter VI: Of the Solemn Celebration of the Concordat At Nôtre-dame.
- Chapter VII: M. Necker’s Last Work Under the Consulship of Bonaparte.
- Chapter VIII: Of Exile.
- Chapter IX: Of the Last Days of M. Necker.
- Chapter X: Abstract of M. Necker’s Principles On Government.
- Chapter XI: Bonaparte Emperor. the Counter-revolution Effected By Him.
- Chapter XII: Of the Conduct of Napoléon Toward the Continent of Europe.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Means Employed By Bonaparte to Attack England.
- Chapter XIV: On the Spirit of the French Army.
- Chapter XV: Of the Legislation and Administration Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of Literature Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVII: A Saying of Bonaparte Printed In the Moniteur.
- Chapter XVIII: On the Political Doctrine of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIX: Intoxication of Power; Reverses and Abdication of Bonaparte.
- Part V *
- Chapter I: Of What Constitutes Legitimate Royalty.
- Chapter II: Of the Political Doctrine of Some French Emigrants and Their Adherents.
- Chapter III: Of the Circumstances That Render the Representative Government At This Time More Necessary In France Than In Any Other Country.
- Chapter IV: Of the Entry of the Allies Into Paris, and the Different Parties Which Then Existed In France.
- Chapter V: Of the Circumstances Which Accompanied the First Return of the House of Bourbon In 1814.
- Chapter VI: Of the Aspect of France and of Paris During Its First Occupation By the Allies.
- Chapter VII: Of the Constitutional Charter Granted By the King In 1814.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Conduct of the Ministry During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter IX: Of the Obstacles Which Government Encountered During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Society On Political Affairs In France.
- Chapter XI: Of the System Which Ought to Have Been Followed In 1814, to Maintain the House of Bourbon On the Throne of France.
- Chapter XII: What Should Have Been the Conduct of the Friends of Liberty In 1814?
- Chapter XIII: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Conduct of Bonaparte On His Return.
- Chapter XV: Of the Fall of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Declaration of Rights Proclaimed By the Chamber of Representatives, 5th of July, 1815.
- Part Vi
- Chapter I: Are Frenchmen Made to Be Free?
- Chapter II: Cursory View of the History of England.
- Chapter III: Of the Prosperity of England, and the Causes By Which It Has Been Hitherto Promoted.
- Chapter IV: Of Liberty and Public Spirit Among the English.
- Chapter V: Of Knowledge, Religion, and Morals Among the English.
- Chapter VI: Of Society In England, and of Its Connection With Social Order.
- Chapter VII: Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England.
- Chapter VIII: Will Not the English Hereafter Lose Their Liberty?
- Chapter IX: Can a Limited Monarchy Have Other Foundations Than That of the English Constitution?
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Arbitrary Power On the Spirit and Character of a Nation.
- Chapter XI: Of the Mixture of Religion With Politics.
- Chapter XII: Of the Love of Liberty.
Death of Mirabeau.
A man of great family from Brabant, of a sagacious and penetrating mind, acted as the medium between the Court and Mirabeau: he had prevailed on him to correspond secretly with the Marquis de Bouillé, the General in whom the royal family had the most confidence. The project of Mirabeau was, it seems, to accompany the King to Compiègne in the midst of the regiments of whose obedience M. de Bouillé was certain, and to call thither the Constituent Assembly in order to disengage it from the influence of Paris and bring it under that of the Court. But Mirabeau had, at the same time, the intention of causing the English constitution to be adopted; for never will a truly superior man desire the re-establishment of arbitrary power. An ambitious character might take pleasure in such power if assured of holding it during the whole of his life; but Mirabeau was perfectly aware that if he succeeded in re-establishing an unlimited monarchy in France, the direction of such a government would not long be granted him by the Court; he desired, therefore, a representative government, in which men of talent, being always necessary, would always be of weight.
I have had in my hands a letter of Mirabeau written for the purpose of being shown to the King: in it he offered all his means of restoring to France an efficient and respected, but a limited, monarchy; he made use, among others, of this remarkable expression: “I would not want to have worked only toward a vast destruction.” The whole letter did honor to the justness of his views. His death was a great misfortune at the time it happened; a transcendant superiority in the career of thought always offers great resources. “You have too much capacity,” said M. Necker one day to Mirabeau, “not to acknowledge, sooner or later, that morality is in the nature of things.” Mirabeau was not altogether a man of genius; but he was not far from being one by the force of talent.
I will confess, then, notwithstanding the frightful faults of Mirabeau, notwithstanding the just resentment which I felt for the attacks that he allowed himself to make on my father in public (for, in private, he never spoke of him but with admiration), that his death struck me with grief, and all Paris experienced the same sensation. During his illness an immense crowd gathered daily and hourly before his door: that crowd made not the smallest noise, from dread of disturbing him; it was frequently renewed in the course of the twenty-four hours, and persons of different classes all behaved with equal respect. A young man, having heard it said that on introducing fresh blood into the veins of a dying man a recovery might be effected, came forward and offered to save the life of Mirabeau at the expense of his own. We cannot, without emotion, see homage rendered to talent: so much does it differ from that which is lavished on power!
Mirabeau knew that his death was approaching. At that moment, far from sinking under affliction, he had a feeling of pride: the cannon were firing for a public ceremony; he called out, “I hear already the funeral of Achilles.” In truth, an intrepid orator, who should defend with constancy the cause of liberty, might compare himself to a hero. “After my death,” said he again, “the factious will share among themselves the shreds of the monarchy.” He had conceived the plan of repairing a great many evils; but it was not given to him to be the expiator of his faults. He suffered cruelly in the last days of his life; and, when no longer able to speak, wrote to Cabanis, his physician, for a dose of opium, in these words of Hamlet: “to die—to sleep.” He received no consolation from religion; he was struck by death in the fullness of the interests of this world and when he thought himself near the object to which his ambition aspired. There is in the destiny of almost all men, when we take the trouble of examining it, a manifest proof of a moral and religious object, of which they themselves are not always aware, and toward which they advance unconsciously.
All the parties at that time regretted Mirabeau. The Court flattered itself with having gained him; the friends of liberty reckoned on his aid. Some said that, with such distinguished talents, he could not want anarchy, as he had no need of confusion to be the first man in the state; and others were certain that he wished for free institutions, because personal value cannot find its place where these do not exist. In fine, he died in the most brilliant moment of his career, and the tears of the people who followed him to the grave made the ceremony very affecting: it was the first time in France that a man indebted for celebrity to his writings and his eloquence received those honors which had heretofore been granted only to men of high birth or to distinguished commanders. The day after his death no member of the Constituent Assembly cast an unmoved eye toward the place where Mirabeau was accustomed to sit. The great oak had fallen; the rest were no longer to be distinguished.
I cannot but blame myself for expressing such regret for a character little entitled to esteem; but talent like his is so rare; and it is, unfortunately, so likely that one will see nothing equal to it in the course of one’s life, that it is impossible to restrain a sigh when death closes his brazen gates on a man lately so eloquent, so animated; in short, so strongly and so firmly in possession of life.
Auguste de La Marck (1750–1833), a friend of Mirabeau’s.
Mirabeau’s physician, Dr. Cabanis, recorded the following sentence: “I carry in my heart the death of the monarchy, the corpse of which will become the prey of the factions.” (quoted in Luttrell, Mirabeau, 270–71)
The exact cause of Mirabeau’s death is unknown. It was rumored that he was poisoned or that his death was precipitated by a sexual orgy, but it is likely that he died of natural causes, perhaps of pericarditis or gallstones. For more information, see Luttrell, Mirabeau, 265–73. On the occasion of Mirabeau’s death, Marat wrote in Ami du peuple: “People, give thanks to the gods! Your greatest enemy has been cut down by the scythe of fate! . . . But what do I see? Already clever cheats are trying to work on your feelings, . . . they have represented his death as a public calamity, and you weep for him as a hero who has been sacrificed for you, as the savior of the nation.” (quoted in Luttrell, Mirabeau, 273)