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of a high nilitary reputation, which always -Till all was quieted by iron bonds gives a better grace to the exercise of abso. Of military sway. The shifting aims, lute power. M. Necker enjoyed the great. The moral interests, the creative might, est popularity ever known in France; the The varied functions, and high attributes, Earl of Strafford was always the object of Of civil action, yielded to a power popular animosity; yet each was the victim Formal, and odious, and contemptible."* of a revolution, and each was sacrificed by The character of Napoleon is reprehis master : the former because he was de. nounced by the Commons, the latter because sented by our author as it must be the courtiers demanded his dismissal.
conceived of by every one who is ca“ Lastly (and this is the most striking pable of comprehending the power point of contrast), Louis XVI. has been without being dazzled by the success always 'blamed for not having taken the of evil genius. The enmity which he field, for not having repelled force by force, felt and expressed towards her as an and for his insuperable dread of civil war.
individual, has not been allowed to Charles I. began the civil war with motives tinge the colours under which she has doubtless very plausible, but still he began wished to paint him to posterity. She it. He quitted London, repaired to the has done justice to his nature, and country, and put himself at the head of an army, which defended the royal authority condemned his wickedness. Comparto the last extremity. Charles I. refused to ing, calmly and deliberately, what he recognise the competency of the tribunal might have done with what he did, which condemned him ; Louis XVI. never it is no wonder that she has at last made a single objection to the authority of closed her eyes upon him more in sorhis judges. Charles was infinitely superior row than in anger. to Louis in capacity, in address, and in mi. litary talents ;-every thing, in short, form- voted to a description of the events of
The closing part of the work is deed a contrast between these two monarchs, except their unhappy catastrophe.”
of the life of the author, We suspect that the mere temper
-the causes, circumstances, and efof either monarch, and it was in tem- fects, of those almost momentary and per chiefly that they differed, was not miraculous revolutions by which the a matter of so very great importance exiled heir of the Bourbons has been as many reasoners have appeared in- recalled, expelled, and once again reclined to imagine. They were both called, to take possession of the throne placed in a situation which implies been filled by his fathers. Equally
which for nearly a thousand years had difficulties, such as most probably not even the iron decision of a Bonaparte
free from the haughty and ignorant could have overcome.
Each had to prejudices of the long expatriated oppose to the stream of an age the fee courtiers, and the meaner bigotries'
of ble barrier of a simple will; and we
the military aristocracy created by Bona suspect that we should be over-rating aparte, Madame de Stael was not athe power of human nature, were we
shamed to contemplate the return of to suppose that the inherent inefficacy the son of St Lewis as the best omen of such resistance could be much of a quiet and happy termination to mended by any infusion of vigour such all the troubles of her country. She as one individual above another might is in no danger of being suspected to command. The hard and the soft ma
wish the restoration of discarded fol. terial were found equally unavailing lies, vices, tyrannies; but she was against the weight of waters: it is well, wise enough to separate these things that in either instance, after the fury from much of good, noble, and geneof the flood had gone by, it has been rous, which had originally been swept found possible to rebuild a new bar- away along with them, but which were rier out of the best and most endur- well worthy of being gathered and ing fragments of the venerable pile in brought back from the common shipwhose ruin they had been disunited.
wreck. The period which elapsed beIt is not our purpose to trace the tween the death of Louis XVI. and progress of Madame de Stael in her the restoration of Louis XVIII. and animated and terrible description of the studies and experience of her own the subsequent workings of
life, were sufficient to convince Ma
dame de Stael, that without some re“ The exasperated spirit of that land Which turned an angry beak against the derided and despised, without some
turn to what the first Revolutionists doron Of its own breast, as if it hoped thereby To disercumber its impatient wings
reclaiming of the old recollections, and interests of Europe, made a part of this uni. feelings, and pride, of the ages that versal coalition. During several years the had gone by, her countrymen might respectable monarch of Great Britain was no formidable association of human be- and Pox, were now no more, and no one indeed become a skilful, powerful, and longer in possession of his intellectual facul
ties. The great men in the civil career,
Pitt ings, but they could never gain pos- had yet succeeded to their reputation. No session of that generous consciousness historical name could be cited at the head of of old ancestral growth and greatness, affairs, and Wellington alone attracted the which constitutes the true nobility, attention of Europe. Some ministers, seloftiness, and essence of a nation. In veral members of the Opposition, lawyers, ber mature view, it was a thing not to men of science and literature, enjoyed a be thought of, that Christianity should great share of the public esteem ; and if, on be banished because it had been linked the one hand, France, in bending beneath with superstition, or that France tion of individuals disappear; on the other,
the yoke of one man, had seen the reputashould blot out her heroic history, and there was so much ability, information, and consent to be a bare naked mother merit, among the English, that it had be. of mushrooms, merely because the corne very difficult to take the first rank a. prerogatives of her hereditary kings, midst this illustrious crowd. and the privilege of her time-hallowed “ On my arrival in England, no parti. nobility had been unjustly and un- cular person was present to my thoughts : I wisely extended and abused. To one
knew scarcely any one in that country ; who felt and understood the value of but I went with confidence. I was persecu. the nobler part of man, it could not believed myself sure of an honourable sym.
ted by an enemy of liberty, and therefore appear less than sacrilege to tear down pathy in a country where every institution from the halls of her country,
was in harmony with my political senti. “ The armoury of the invincible knights of ments. I reckoned also greatly on my fa
ther's memory as a protection, and I was
not deceived. The billows of the North or to pluck from the soil in which they Sea, which I crossed in going from Sweden, had thriven for centuries, the stems still filled me with dread, when I perceived of that venerable faith without which at a distance the verdant isle that had alone human nature is undignified, and hu- resisted the subjugation of Europe. Yet it man hopes are barren.
contained only a population of twelve mil. It is from the powerful impression lions ; for the five or six additional millions of such thoughts as these, that our
which compose the population of Ireland, authoress turns on every occasion to
had often, during the course of the last war, our happy island, and points it out to
been a prey to intestine divisions. Those her own countrymen as the model of liberty in the power of England are perpetu
who will not acknowledge the ascendency of their emulation, the mistress of their ally repeating that the English would have wisdom. She regards England as have been vanquished by Bonaparte, like every ing been, during the whole of the re- continental nation, if they had not been provolutionary tempest, the single solitary tected by the sea. This opinion cannot be planet, which sent a blessed beam of refuted by experience ; but I have no doubt light and hope
that if, by a stroke of the Leviathan, Great
Britain had been joined to the European “ To all that on the wide deep wandering continent, she would indeed have suffered were.”
more; her wealth would, no doubt, have She thanks us in the name of hu- been diminished; but the public spirit of a manity, and is proud, on the grounds free nation is such, that it would never have of that largest and noblest of connex
submitted to the yoke of foreigners.
“ When I landed in England, in the month ions, to claim a share in our virtuous of June 1813, intelligence had just arrived and unselfish triumphs. She looks of the armistice concluded between the Alup to the calm star of our freedom lied Powers and Napoleon. He was at like a worshipper, and rejoices like a Dresden, and it was still in his power to rechild in beholding the splendour of duce himself to the miserable lot of being her
Emperor of France as far as the Rhine, and « Glorious crest
King of Italy. It is probable that England Conspicuous to the nations.
would not subscribe to this treaty; her po
sition was therefore far from being favour. “ In the year 1813, the English had been able. A long war menaced her anew; her twenty-one years at war with France, and finances appeared exhausted ; at least if we for some time the whole Continent had been were to judge of her resources according to in arms against them. Even America, those of every other country of the world. from political circumstances foreign to the The bank-note, serving instead of coin, had fallen one-fourth on the Continent ; and if orders were, because he found himself sur. this paper had not been supported by the rounded only by men, dressed like the betpatriotic spirit of the nation, it would have ter class in other countries. The extent of involved the ruin of public and private af- what is done in England by private sub. fairs. The French newspapers, comparing scription is enormous : hospitals, houses of the state of the finances of the two countries, education, missions, Christian societies, were always represented England as overwhelm- not only supported but multiplied during the ed with debt, and France as mistress of con- war ; and foreign countries who felt its dissiderable treasure. The comparison was asters, the Swiss, the Germans, and the true; but it was necessary to add, that Dutch, were perpetually receiving from England had the disposal of unbounded re- England private aid, the produce of volunsources by her credit, while the French Go- tary gifts. When the town of Leyden was vernment possessed only the gold which it almost half destroyed by the explosion of a held in its hands. France could levy mil- vessel laden with gunpowder, the English lions in contributions on oppressed Europe ; flag was soon after seen to appear on the but her despotic Sovereign could not have coast of Holland ; and as the Continental succeeded in a voluntary loan.
blockade existed at that time in all its ri. “ From Harwich to London you travel gour, the people on the coast thought themby a high road of nearly seventy miles, selves obliged to fire on this perfidious veswhich is bordered, almost without interrup- sel : she then hoisted a flag of truce, and tion, by country houses on both sides ; it is made known that she brought a considerable a succession of habitations with gardens, in- sum for the people of Leyden, ruined by terrupted by towns; almost all the people their recent misfortune. are well clad ; scarcely a cottage is in decay, “ But to what are we to attribute all and even the animals have something peace these wonders of a generous prosperity ? to ful and comfortable about them, as if there liberty ; that is to the confidence of the nawere rights for them also in this great edi. tion in a government which makes the first fice of social order. The price of every principle of its finances consist in publicity; thing is necessarily very high ; but these in a government enlightened by discussion, prices are for the most part fixed : there is and by the liberty of the press.
The nasuch an aversion in that country to what is tion, which cannot be deceived under such arbitrary, that when there is no positive a state of things, knows the use of the taxes law, there is first a rule, and next a custom, which it pays, and public credit supports to secure, as far as possible, something po- the amazing weight of the English debt. If, sitive and fixed, even in the smallest details. without departing from proportions, any The dearness of provisions, occasioned by thing similar were tried in the governments enormous taxes, is, no doubt, a great evil ; the European Continent that are not rebut if the war was indispensable, what other presentative, not a second step could be than this nation, that is this constitution, made in such an enterprise. Five hundred could have sufficed for its expenses ? Mon- thousand proprietors of public stock form a tesquieu is right in remarking, that free great guarantee for the payment of the debt, countries pay far more taxes than those who in a country where the opinion and interest are governed despotically : but we have not of every man possess influence. Justice, yet ascertained, though the example of which in matters of credit is synonymous England might have taught us, the extent with ability, is carried so far in England, of the riches of a people who consent to that the dividends due to French proprietors what they give, and consider public affairs were not confiscated there, even when all as their own. Thus the Engl sh nation, far English property was seized in France. from having lost by twenty years of war, The foreign stockholder was not even made gained in every respect, even in the midst of to pay an income tax on his dividends, the Continental blockade. Industry, be- though that tax was paid by the English come more active and ingenious, made up themselves. This complete good faith, the in an astonishing manner for the want of perfection of policy, is the basis of the fithose productions which could no longer be
England ; and the confidence in drawn from the Continent. Capitals, ex- the duration of this good faith is connected eluded from commerce, were employed in with political institutions. "A change in the the cultivation of waste lands, and in agri- ministry, whatever it may be, occasions no cultural improvements in various counties. prejudice to credit, since the national repreThe number of houses was every where in- sentation and publicity render all dissimulacreased, and the extension of London, with. tion impracticable. Capitalists who lend in a few years, is scarcely credible. If one their money are of all people in the world branch of commerce fell, another rose forth- the most difficult to deceive. with. Men whose property was increased by the rise of land, appropriated a large “ In England, rank and equality are comportion of their revenue to establishments of bined in the manner most favourable to the public charity. When the Emperor Alex- prosperity of the state, and the happiness of ander arrived in England, surrounded by the nation is the object of all social distincthe multitude, who felt so natural an eager- tions. There, as every where else, historihess to see him, he inquired where the lower cal names inspire that respect of which
a grateful imagination cannot refuse the the committees meet, and an elevation from tribute ; but the titles remaining the same, which the speakers address the assembly. though passing from one family to another, “ I was present at one of these discussions, there results from this a salutary ignorance in which motives calculated to excite the in the minds of the people, which leads them generosity of the hearers were urged with to pay the same respect to the same titles, much energy. The question was, sending whatever may be the family name to which of relief to the inhabitants of Leipsic after they are attached. The great Marlborough the battle fought under the walls of that was called Churchill, and was certainly not town. The first who spoke was the Duke of so noble an origin as the ancient house of of York, the King's second son, and the first Spencer, to which the present Duke of person in the kingdom after the Prince ReMarlborough belongs ; but, without speak- gent, a man of ability, and much esteemed ing of the memory of a great man, which in the direction of his department ; but who would have sufficed to honour his descend. has neither the habit of, nor a taste for, ants, the people of the better classes only speaking in public. He, however, conquerknow that the Duke of Marlborough of our ed his natural timidity, because he was thus days is of more illustrious descent than the ' hopeful of giving useful encouragement. famous General, and the respect in which Courtiers in an absolute monarchy would he is held by the mass of the nation neither not have failed to insinuate to a king's son, gains nor loses from that circumstance. The first, that he ought not to do any thing Duke of Northumberland, on the contrary, which cost him trouble ; and, secondly, descends, by the female branch only, from that he was wrong to commit himself by the famous Percy Hotspur; and, neverthe- haranguing the public in the midst of merless, he is considered by every body as the chants, his colleagues in speaking. This true heir of that house. People exclaim idea never entered the Duke of York's against the regularity of ceremonials in mind, nor that of any Englishman, whatEngland ; the seniority of a single day, in ever might be his opinion. After the Duke point of nomination to the peerage, gives of York, the Duke of Sussex, the King's one peer precedence of another named some fifth son, who expresses himself with great hours later. The wife and daughter share ease and elegance, spoke in his turn; and the advantages of the husband or father ; the man the most respected and esteemed in but it is precisely this regularity of ranks all England, Mr Wilberforce, could scarcewhich prevents mortification to vanity ; forly make himself heard, so much was his it may happen that the last created peer is voice drowned in acclamations. Obscure of a nobler birth than he by whom he is pre- citizens, holding no other rank in society ceded; he may at least think so: and every than their fortune, or their zeal for humaone takes his share of self-love without in nity, succeeded these illustrious names ; every juring the public.
one, according to his powers, insisted on the
honourable necessity in which England was “ In England they have made respect for placed, of succouring those of her allies who ancestry serve to form a class which gives had suffered more than herself in the com. the power of flattering men of talents, by mon contest. The auditors subscribed beassociating them with it. In fact, we can- fore their departure, and considerable sums not too often ask, what folly can be greater were the result of this meeting. It is thus than that of arranging political associations that are formed the ties which strengthen in such a way as may lead a celebrated the unity of the nation ; and it is thus that man to regret that he is not his own grand- social order is founded on reason and hu. son ; for, once ennobled, his descendants of manity. the third generation obtained by his merit “ These respectable assemblies do not privileges that could not be granted to him- merely aim at encouraging acts of humani- : self. Thus, in France, all persons were ea- ty ; some of them serve particularly to conger to quit trade, and even the law, when- solidate the union between the great nobility ever they had money enough to purchase a and the commercial class, between the natitle. Hence it happened that no career, tion and the government; and these are the except that of arms, was ever carried as far most solemn.' as it might have been; and it has thus been impossible to judge how far the prosperity
Nothing, we think, can be more deof France would extend, if it enjoyed in lightful than such praise from such peace the advantages of a free constitution.
lips, ,—we shall make room for another “ All classes of respectable individuals passage. are accustomed to meet in England in dif- “ That which is particularly characterisferent committees, when engaged in any tic of England is a mixture of chivalrous public undertaking, in any act of charity, spirit with an enthusiasm for liberty, the supported by voluntary subscriptions. Pub- two most noble sentiments of which the hu. licity in business is a principle so generally man heart is susceptible. Circumstances admitted, that though the English are by have brought about this fortunate result, nature the most reserved of men, and the and we ought to admit that new institutions most averse to speak in company, there are would not suffice to produce it: the recolalways seats for spectators in the halls where lection of the past is necessary to consecrate
aristocratic ranks ; for if they were all of career, others to political eloquence; there the creation of power, they would be sub- is not one virtue, nor one kind of talent, ject, in part, to the inconveniences experi. which has not its place, or which may not enced in France under Bonaparte.
But Alatter itself with attaining it; and every what can be done in a country where the thing in the social edifice conduces to the nobility should be inimicable to liberty of glory of that constitution, which is as dear every kind ? The Tiers Etat could not to the Duke of Norfolk as to the meanest form a union with them; and, as it would porter in England, because it protects both be the stronger of the two, it would inces with the same equity, santly threaten the nobility until the latter “ Thee I account still happy, and the chief had submitted to the progress of reason. Among the nations, seeing thou art free,
“ The English aristocracy is of a more My native nook of earth! Thy clime is rude, mixed kind in the eyes of a genealogist than Replete with vapours, and disposes much that of France ; but the English nation All hearts to sorrow, and none more than seems, if we may say so, one entire body of
mine : gentlemen. You may see in every English citizen what he may one day become, Yet, being free, I love thee. since no rank lies beyond the reach of ta- These verses are by a poet of admirable lent, and since high ranks have always kept talents, but whose happiness was destroyed up their ancient splendour. It is true that by his extreme sensibility. He was labour. that which, above all, constitutes nobility, ing under a mortal disease of melancholy ; in the view of an enlightened mind, is the and when love, friendship, philosophy, every being free. An English nobleman or gen- thing, added to his sufferings, a free coun. tleman (taking the word gentleman in the try yet awakened in his soul an enthusiasm sense of a man of independent property) which nothing could extinguish. exercises, in his part of the country some “ All men are more or less attached to useful employment to which no salary is at- their country ; the recollections of infancy, tached : as a justice of the peace, sheriff, or the habits of youth, form that inexpressible lord lieutenant in the county, where his pro- love of the native soil which we must acperty is situated; he influences elections in a knowledge as a virtue, for all true feeling manner that is suitable, and that increases his constitutes its source. But in a great state, credit with the people; as a peer or member of liberty, and the happiness arising from that the House of Commons, he discharges a poli. liberty, can alone inspire true patriotism: ticalfunction, and possesses a real importance. nothing accordingly is comparable to public This is not the idle aristocracy of a French spirit in England. The English are accus. nobleman, who was of no consideration in ed of selfishness, and it is true that their the state whenever the king refused him his mode of life is so well regulated that they favour; it is a distinction founded on all generally confine themselves within the cirthe interests of the nation : and we cannot cle of their habits and domestic aftections ; avoid being surprised, that French gentle- but what sacrifice is too great for them when men should have preferred the life of a court- the interest of their country is at stake ? ier, moving on the road from Versailles to And among what people in the world are Paris, to the majestic stability of an Eng. services rendered, felt, and rewarded, with lish Peer on his estate, surrounded by men more enthusiasm. When we enter Westto whom he can do a thousand acts of kind- minster Abbey, all those tombs, sacred to ness, but over whom he can exercise no ar- the men who have been illustrious for cen. bitrary power. The authority of law is in turies past, seem to reproduce the spectacle England predominant over all the powers of of the greatness of England among the dead. the state, as Fate in ancient mythology was Kings and philosophers repose under the superior to the authority of the gods them- same roof: it is there that quarrels are apselves.
peased, as has been well observed by the “ To the political miracle of a respect for celebrated Walter Scott. f. You behold the the rights of every one founded on a senti- tombs of Pitt and Fox beside each other, ment of justice, we must add the equally and the same tears bedew both; for they skilful and fortunate union of equality, in both deserve the profound regret which gen. the eye of the law, to the advantages aris- erous minds ought to bestow on that noble ing from the separation of ranks. Every portion of our species, who serve to support one in that country stands in need of others our confidence in the immortality of the for his comfort, yet every one is there inde- soul. pendent of all by his rights. This Tiers " Let us recollect the funeral of Nelson, Etat, which has become so prodigiously ag- when nearly a million of persons, scattered grandized in France, and in the rest of Europe, this Tiers Etat, the increase of
Cowper. which necessitates successive changes in all of Genius, and taste, and talent gone, old institutions, is united in England to the For ever tomb'd beneath the stone, nobility, because the nobility itself is iden- Where, taming thought to human pride tified with the nation.
A great number of The mighty chiefs sleep side by side. Peers owe the origin of their dignity to the Drop upon Fox's grave the tear, 12w, some to commerce, others to a military
"Twill triokle to his rival's bier.