Barras' Complicity in the Coup D'Etat

Geroge Duruy, the editor of the Memoirs of Barras, suggests that Barras was complicit in Napoleon's coup d'état of 18th Brumaire, Year VIII. Duruy suggests that Barras had been bribed by Royalist sympathizers to engineer a coup whereby the Bourbon monarchy would be restored. According to Duruy, Barras was apprised of Napoleon's intended coup, and played along with it, all the while planning to effect a Royalist coup in lieu of Napoleon's coup. Duruy quotes the memoirs of Director Gohier:

"Is it true that there existed two traitors among the five members of the Directorate; that the Directorial government was placed between two equally formidable conspiracies; that, while Sieyès was prepared to sell the Republic to the highest bidder, Barras, resolved upon selling himself, was accepting propositions long since prepared? If one is to believe men as hostile to the power he exercised as to his person . . . the day on which this Director was to hoist the royal standard had been fixed upon; the day for the breaking out of the conspiracy had been set; and if it failed, it was because that of Sieyès had forestalled it . . . ." [citing Mémoires de Gohier, vol. ii, p. 326]."

Mémoirs of Barras, vol. 4, pp. xxii - xxiii (1895 Harper & Brothers).

Richard R. Orsinger

Copyright © 1996 Richard R. Orsinger
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Most recent revision November 17, 1996