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Armand Carrel

Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Armand Carrel (May 8, 1800 - July 25, 1836) was a French writer.

He was born at Rouen. His father was a wealthy merchant, and he received a liberal education at the college of Rouen, afterwards attending the military school at St Cyr. He had an intense admiration for the great generals of Napoleon, and his uncompromising spirit and independent views marked him out. Entering the army as sub-lieutenant he took a secret but active part in the unsuccessful conspiracy of Belfort. On the outbreak of war with Spain in 1823, Carrel, whose sympathies were with the liberal cause, resigned, and succeeded in escaping to Barcelona. He enrolled in the foreign legion and fought gallantly against his former comrades. Near Figueres the legion was compelled to surrender, and Carrel was taken prisoner by his old general, Damas. There was considerable difficulty about the terms of capitulation, and one council of war condemned Carrel to death. The sentence was not carried out, and he was soon acquitted and freed.

His career as a soldier being finally over, Carrel decided to devote himself to literature. He came to Paris and began as secretary to Augustin Thierry, the historian. His services were found to be of great value, and he obtained admirable training in habits of composition, and was led to investigate for himself some of the most interesting portions of English history. His first work of importance (he had already written some historical abstracts) was the History of the Counter-Revolution in England, an exceedingly able political study of the events which culminated in the "Glorious Revolution".

He gradually became known as a writer in various periodicals; but it was not till he formed his connexion with the National that he became a power in France. The National was at first conducted by Adolphe Thiers, François Mignet and Carrel in collaboration; but after the revolution of July, Thiers and Mignet assumed office, and the whole management was left to Carrel. Under his direction the journal became the foremost political organ in Paris. His judgment was unusually clear, his principles solid and well founded, his sincerity and honesty beyond question; and to these qualities he united an admirable style, lucid, precise and well balanced.

As the defender of democracy he had to face serious dangers. He was once in Ste Pelagie, and several times before the tribunal to answer for his journal. He was in equal danger from private enmities. Before his last fatal encounter he was twice involved in duels with editors of rival papers. The dispute which led to the duel with Émile de Girardin was minor, and might have been amicably settled had it not been for Carrel's own obstinacy. The meeting took place on the morning of July 22 1836. De Girardin was wounded in the thigh, Carrel in the groin. The wound was at once seen to be dangerous, and Carrel was conveyed to the house of a friend, where he died after two days.

His works, with biographical notice by Littré, were published in five volumes (Paris, 1858).