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[137] massacres. Mobs always filled him with abhorrence; he opposed the war with the allies and took every occasion to protest against a standing army on the highest moral grounds. He was noted as a friend of the Church, even when his friendliness compromised his power, and the Girondists attacked him on account of his belief in God. In debate he was particularly fair minded, insisting on obtaining a hearing for his opponents, and never indulging in personalities. It was with reluctance that he became a member of the terror committee, and he invariably avoided signing the guillotine lists when he could. Again and again he denounced the punishment of men for their opinions, no matter what those opinions might be. When the Gironde fell, it was Robespierre who saved the Right from extermination, and, in short, he was, as his last biographer, Hilaire Belloc, says, “A man by nature opposed to the Terror.” Throughout these fearful times he maintained unaltered a dream of a perfect state in which all should be happy and all virtuous. And yet this man gradually gave his consent to the Terror in order that he might maintain his power and realize his vision, until, familiar with its frightful mien, he seized upon it as a means to his end, and was finally destroyed by the extremists whom he intended to kill. It is an

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Hilaire Belloc (1)
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