Viscount Paul Francois de Barras wrote a four volume memoir, called Memoirs of Barras, which is a detailed explanation of the Directory period of France along with very interesting details about the most well known personalities of that era. Barras sent certain members of his family to safety in Louisiana where their descendants remain to this day. It appears that during the revolutionary period he was much more popular than Napoleon, so much so, that Napoleon’s attempts to have him poisoned or otherwise arrested or assassinated could never be brought to fruition because the populace protected him and there would have been swift retaliation.
Napoleon’s rise was predicated on his betrayal of Barras, who had been his mentor and supporter all along. Napoleon and his family lived in the most dire poverty, and so Barras was simply trying to help out a friend in need. The only conspiracy was Napoleon’s conspiracy against his good friend Barras. His close personal friendship with Napoleon and Josephine allows him to give a portrait of this self-crowned Emperor and Empress that is unique, and explains why it took over 100 years before Barras’ memoirs could be published and even then, there are obvious deletions from the manuscript. Barras could have easily made himself Emperor it seems, and he was a friend of the Bourbons, being one himself through his mother’s side, but he adamantly refused this role, and instead insisted on representative government. For this reason he was the most dangerous possible deterrent to Napoleon’s plans.
Barras was a descendant of the leaders of the first Crusade, the Counts of Toulouse, Count Raymond de Barras being the full name. His wife was a member of the family of King Francois I, the Chatillon family centered in Alsace Lorraine and the Chateau of Blois. His family credentials were impeccable, though the family was not extremely wealthy in his youth and he entered the military at around the age of 16. His memoirs begin with a military adventure to Pondicherry and shipwrecks and wars against the French by the English. Though he was an excellent soldier, slanderous propaganda portrays him as an effete snob. Both facts and his memoirs contradict this portrayal and in fact he was the most military, reasonable and natural leader of the whole bunch of revolutionaries, most of whom grabbed up the titles and lands of the guillotined Catholic nobility with genocidal gusto, while he voluntarily relinquished his title of nobility and became ‘Citoyen’.
He is one of the most slandered of all the revolutionary characters, leading one to understand that he stood in the way of the Jewish bankers who fomented the revolution and profited by it, but whose censorship of the truth lasts to this day. Apparently, he foiled a number of their plans, and in fact, literally died laughing at an old age, when Napoleon’s henchmen (Fouche) confiscated his red leather portfolio which they thought contained his memoirs. The very thought of these fearful censors opening the portfolio and finding a stack of his old laundry bills gave him such a fit of laughter that he passed away in his mirth.
Barras was responsible for the King’s family who were being kept in the ‘Temple’ as prisoners. The disappearance of the young son of Marie Antoinette could be attributed to Barras, as he was actively helping a number of people escape the guillotine. I personally believe he sent the King and Queen’s son to Louisiana along with the rest of Barras’ family, and possibly the Queen was sent there to safetly as well. The place where they were sent in Louisiana was known as ‘Petite Paris’ in those days, for all the French nobility who had escaped there to safety, and many of the inhabitants carry the surnames of the French nobility to this day, though the titles have either been dropped or transformed into names that are quite common and widespread.