[The following passage comes from the conclusion of the author's Life of Maximilien Robespierre (1849) in the Hathi DigitalLibrary Trust web edition. — George P. Landow]
The great fabric of the middle ages, reared with so much toil, cemented with so much blood, was now crumbling to pieces, and a new-birth of society was at hand. 
e roi regne et ne gouverne pas: such is the strange political formula of the nineteenth century: a formula that would have justly astonished the thinking men of former generations. Is it not a striking evidence of the make-shift philosophy, to which this transition-age is condemned, that a powerless chief power should be tacitly accepted by the mass, and openly advocated by their teachers, as the one safeguard against anarchy and misrule? Our faith in royalty has expired: in its place Expediency suggests the constitutional fiction of a king who reigns but does not govern! . . .sweep away that and many other prejudices. The outbreak of that storm was accelerated by the faults of princes and nobles; though no virtue on their side could have done more than delay the crisis.
The French Revolution was only the bursting of a long-gathering storm which was to sweep away that and many other prejudices. The outbreak of that storm was accelerated by the faults of princes and nobles; though no virtue on their side could have done more than delay the crisis. . . . Born in happier times, Louis XVI. would have been an excellent King Log. No better man could better have realised our modern constitutional fiction of a king. Unhappily for him and his people, the times needed a ruler: . . . The disruption of society was at hand: the great social fabric, reared during centuries, was tottering to the base. No single hand could save it; weak hands could only accelerate its fall by their bungling.
The storm burst. From among the turbulent spirits of that epoch three men issued into something like sovereignty: Mirabeau—Robespierre—Napoleon.
Mirabeau was the genius of the Revolution.
Robespierre strove to be its king, and to rule it by metaphysical philosophy.
Napoleon was the soldier of the Revolution, and closed it by a despotism. [1-4]
Lewes, George Henry. The Life of Maximilien Robespierre; with extracts from his unpublished correspondence. London, Chapman and Hall, 1849. Hathi Digital Library Trust online version of a copy in the Harvard University Library. Web. 25 April 2017.
Last modified 22 April 2017