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rect judgment. He was not a great general z singularly applicable, both in its literal and in he was not a great statesman; but he was, in its metaphorical sense, to Louis the Four. one sense of the words, a great king. Never teenth : was there so consummate a master of what

"Mors sola fatetur

Quantula sint hominum corpuscula." our James the First would have called kingcraft-of all those arts which most advantage- His person and his government have had ously display the merits of a prince, and most the same fate. He had the art of making completely hide his defects. Though his in- both appear grand and august, in spite of the ternal administration was bad, though the mi- clearest evidence that both were below the litary triumphs which gave splendour to the ordinary standard. Death and time have exearly part of his reign were not achieved by posed both the deceptions. The body of the himself, though his later years were crowded great king has been measured more justly than with defeats and humiliations, though he was it was measured by the courtiers who were so ignorant that he scarcely understood the afraid to look above his shoe-lie.

His public Latin of his massbook, though he fell under character has been scrutinized by men free the control of a cunning Jesuit and of a more from the hopes and fears of Boileau and cunning old woman, he succeeded in passing Molière. In the grave, the most majestic of himself off on his people as a being above princes is only five feet eight. In history, the humanity. And this is the more extraordinary, hero and the politician dwindles into a vain and because he did not seclude himself from the feeble tyrant, the slave of priests and women, public gaze like those Oriental despots whose little in war, little in government, little in faces are never seen, and whose very names every thing but the art of simulating great it is a crime to pronounce lightly. It has been ness. said that no man is a hero to his valet; and He left to his infant successor a famished all the world saw as muclı of Louis the Four- and miserable people, a beaten and humbled teenth as his valet could see. Five hundred army, provinces turned into deserts by misgopeople assembled to see him shave and put on vernment and persecution, factions dividing his breeches in the morning. He then kneeled the court, a schism raging in the church, an down at the side of his bed, and said his prayer, immense debt, an empty treasury, immeasurawhile the whole assembly awaited the end in ble palaces, an innumerable household, ines. solemn silence, the ecclesiastics on their knees, timable jewels and furniture. All the sap and and the laymen with their hats before their nutrimont of the state seemed to have been faces. He walked about his gardens with a drawn to feed one bloated and unwholesome train of two hundred courtiers at his heels. excrescence. The nation was withered. The All Versailles came to see him dine and sup. court was morbidly tlourishing. Yet it does He was put to bed at night in the midst of a not appear that the associations which attach. crowd as great as that which had met to see ed the people to the monarchy had lost strength him rise in the morning. He took his very during his reign. He had neglected or sacri. emetics in state, and vomited majestically in ficed their dearest interests; but he had struck the presence of all the grandes and pélites en their imaginations. The very things which trées. Yet though he constantly exposed him- ought to have made him most unpopular—the self to the public gaze in situations in which prodigies of luxury and magnificence with it is scarcely possible for any man to preserve which his person was surrounded, while, bemuch personal dignity, he to the last impress yond the enclosure of his parks, nothing was ed those who surrounded him with the deepest to be seen but starvation and despair-seemed awe and reverence. The illusion which he to increase the respectful attachment which produced on his worshippers can be compared his subjects felt for him. That governmeriis only to those illusions to which lovers are exist only for the good of the people, appears proverbially subject during the season of to be the most obvious and simple of all courtship. It was an illusion which affected truths. Yet history proves that it is one of even the senses. The contemporaries of the most recondite. We can scarcely wonder Louis thought him tall. Voltaire, who might that it should be so seldom present to the have seen him, and who had lived with some minds of rulers, when we see how slowly, and of the most distinguished members of his through how much suffering, nations arrive at court, speaks repeatedly of his majestic sta- the knowledge of it. ture. Yet it is as certain as any fact can be, There was indeed one Frenchman who had that he was rather below than above the middle discovered those principles which it now size. He had, it seems, a way of holding him- seems impossible to miss—that the many are sell, a way of walking, a way of swelling his not made for the use of one; that the iruly chest and rearing his head, which deceived good government is not that which concen. the eyes of the multitude. Eighty years after trates magnificence in a court, but that which his death, the royal cemetery was violated by diffuses happiness among a people; that a the revolutionists; his coffin was opened; his king who gains victory after victory, and adols body was dragged out; and it appeared that province to province, may deserve, not the the prince, whose majestic figure had been so admiration, but the abhorrence and contempt long and loudly extolled, was in truth a little of mankind. These were the doctrines whuch man. That fine expression of Juvenal is Fénélon taught. Considered as an Epic Poem,

* Even M. de Chateaubriand, to whom, we should Berri, "de croire que Louis XIV. étoit d'une have sia have thought, all the Pourbons would have seemed at ture. Une cuirasse qui nous reste de lui, et les exluma least six feet high, admits this fact. " C'est une er- tions de St. Denys, n'ont laissé sur ce point aucun reur," says he in his strange memoirs of the Duke of doute."


Telemachus can scarcely be placed above temain to us of that extraordinary man. The Glover's Leonidas or Wilkie's Epigoniad. fierce and impetuous temper which he showed Considered as a treatise on politics and mo- in early youth, the complete change which a rals, it abounds with errors of detail, and the judicious education produced in his character, truths which it inculcates seem trite to a his fervid piety, his large benevolence, the modern reader. But if we compare the spirit strictness with which he judged himself, the in which it is written with the spirit which liberality with which he judged others, the pervades the rest of the French literature of fortitude with which alone, in the whole court, that age, we shall perceive that, though in ap- he stood up against the commands of Louis, pearance trite, it was in truth one of the most when a religious scruple was concerned, the original works that have ever appeared. The charity with which alone, in the whole couri, fundamental principles of Fénélon's political he defended the profligate Orleans against morality, the tests by which he judged of in- calumniators, his great projects for the good stitutions and of men, were absolutely new to of the people, his activity in business, his taste his countrymen. He had taught them, indeed, forletters, his strong domestic attachments, even with the happiest effect, to his royal pupil. the ungraceful person and the shy and awkBut how incomprehensible they were to most ward manner, which concealed from the eyes people, we learn from Saint Simon. That of the sneering courtiers of his grandfather so amusing writer tells us, as a thing almost in- many rare endowments-make his character credible, that the Duke of Burgundy declared the most interesting that is to be found in the it to be his opinion, that kings existed for the arnals of his house. He had resolved, if he good of the people, and not the people for the came to the throne, to disperse that ostentagood of kings. Saint Simon is delighted with | tious court, which was supported at an the benevolence of this saying; but startled pense ruinous to the nation; to preserve peace; by its novelty and terrified by its boldness. to correct the abuses which were found in Indeed he distinctly says, that it was not safe every part of the system of revenue; to aboto repeat the sentiment in the court of Louis. lish or modify oppressive privileges; to reform Saint Simon was, of all the members of that the administration of justice; to revive the court, the least courtly. He was as nearly an institution of the States-General. I! he had oppositionist as any man of his time. His ruled over France during forty or fifty years, disposition was proud, bitter, and cynical. In that great movement of the human mind religion he was a Jansenist; in politics, a less which no government could have arrested, hearty royalist than most of his neighbours. which bad government only rendered more His opinions and his temper had preserved violent, would, we are inclined to think, have him from the illusions which the demeanour been conducted, by peaceable means, to a of Louis produced on others. He neither happy termination. loved nor respected the king. Yet even this Disease and sorrow removed from the world man, one of the most liberal men in France, that wisdom and virtue of which it was not was struck dumb with astonishment at hear-worthy. During two generations France was ing the fundamental axiom of all government ruled by men who, with all the vices of Louis propounded-an axiom which, in our time, the Fourteenth, had none of the art by whics nobody in England or France would dispute that magnificent prince passed off his vices for which the stoutest Tory takes for granted as virtues. The people had now to see tyranny much as the fiercest Radical, and concerning naked. That foul Duessa was stripped of her which the Carlist would agree with the most gorgeous ornaments.

She had always been republican deputy of the “extreme left.” No hideous; but a strange enchantment had made person will do justice to Fénélon, who does her seem fair and glorious in the eyes of her not wastantly keep in mind that Telemachus willing slaves. The spell was now broken; was written in an age and nation in which the deformity was made manifest; and the bold and independent thinkers stared to hear lovers, lately so happy and so proud, turned that twenty millions of human beings did not away loathing and horror-struck. exist for the gratification of one. That work First came the regency. The strictness with is commonly considered as a school-book, which Louis had, towards the close of his life, sery fit for children, because its style is easy exacted from those around him an outward and its morality blameless; but unworthy of attention to religious duties, produced an effect the attention of statesmen and philosophers. similar to that which the rigour of the Puritans We can distinguish in it, if we are not greatly had produced in England. It was the boast of mistaken, the first faint dawn of a long and Madame de Maintenon, in the time of her greatsp adid day of intellectual light, the dim pro- ness, that devotion had become the fashion. A mise of a great deliverance, the undeveloped fashion indeed it was, and, like a fashion, it germ of the charter and of the code.

passed away. The austerity of the tyrant's old What mighty interests were staked on the age had injured the morality of the higher life of the Duke of Burgundy! and how dif-orders more than even the licentiousness of his ferent an aspect might the history of France youth. Not only had he not reformed their have borne, if he had attained the age of his vices, but, by forcing them to be hypocrites, he grandfather or of his son; if he had been had shaken their belief in virtue. They had permitted to show how much could be done found it so easy to perform the grimace of for hu manity by the highest virtue in the highest piety, that it was natural for them to consider fortune! There is scarcely any thing in history all piety as grimace. The times were changed. mule remarkable, than the descriptions which Pensions, regiments, and abbeys were



longer to be obtained by regular confession and ties, had reverenced the co. eror. She de severe penance; and the obsequious courtiers, spised the swindler. who had kept Lent like monks of La Trappe, When Orleans and the wretched Dubois had and who had turned up the whites of their eyes disappeared, the power passed to the Duke of at the edifying parts of sermons preached be- Bourbon; a prince degraded in the public eye fore the king, aspired to the title of roué as | by the infamously lucrative part which he had ardently as they had aspired to that of devot; taken in the juggles of the System, and by the and went, during Passion Week, to the revels humility with which he bore the caprices of a of the Palais Royal as readily as they had loose and imperious woman. It seemed to be formerly repaired to the sermons of Massil- decreed that every branch of the royal family lon.

should successively incur the abhorrence and The Regent was in many respects the fac- contempt of the nation. simile of our Charles the Second. Like Charles, Between the fall of the Duke of Bourbon and he was a good-natured man, utterly destitute the death of Fleury, a few years of frugal and of sensibility. Like Charles, he had good na moderate government intervened. Then retural talents, which a deplorable indolence commenced the downward progress of the rendered useless to the state. Like Charles, monarchy. Profligacy in the court, extravahe thought all men corrupt and interested, and gance in the finances, schism in the church, yet did not dislike them for being so. His opi- faction in the Parliaments, unjust war terminion of human nature was Gulliver's; but he nated by ignominious peace all that indicates did not regard human nature with Gulliver's and all that produces the ruin of great empires, horror. thought tha he and his fellow- make up the history of that miserable period. creatures were Yahoos; and he thought a Abroad, the French were beaten and humbled Yahoo a very agreeable kind of animal. No everywhere, by land and by sea, on the Elbe princes were ever more social than Charles and on the Rhine, in Asia and in America. At and Philip of Orleans; yet no princes ever had home, they were turned over from vizier to less capacity for friendship. "The tempers of vizier, and from sultan to sultan, till they had these clever cynics were so easy and their reached that point beneath which there was no minds so languid, that habit supplied in them lower abyss of infamy, till the yoke of Maupeou the place of affection, and made them the had made them pine for Choiseul, till Madame tools of people for whom they cared not one du Barri had taught them to regret Madame de

In love, both were mere sensualists, Pompadour. without delicacy or tenderness. In politics, But unpopular as the monarchy had become. both were utterly careless of faith and of na- the aristocracy was more unpopular still; and tional honour. Charles shut up the Exchequer. not without reason. The tyranny of an indiPhilip patronised the System. The councils vidual is far more supportable than the tyranny of Charles were swayed by the gold of Baril- of a caste. The old privileges were galling lon; the councils of Philip by the gold of Wal- and hateful to the new wealth and the new pole. Charles for private objects made war knowledge. Every thing indicated the apon Holland, the natural ally of England. Philip proach of no common revolution; of a revolufor private objects made war on the Spanish tion destined to change, not merely the form branch of the house of Bourbon, the natural of government, but the distribution of property ally, indeed the creature of France. Even in and the whole social system; of a revolution trifling circumstances the parallel might be the effects of which were to be felt at every carried on. Both these princes were fond of fireside in France; of a new Jaquerie, in which experimental philosophy; and passed in the the victory was to remain with Jaques bonhomme. laboratory much time which would have been in the van of the movement were the moneyed more advantageously passed at the council- men and the men of letters—the wounded table. Both were more strongly attached to pride of wealth and the wounded pride of intheir female relatives than to any other human tellect. An immense multitude, made ignorant being; and in both cases it was suspected that and cruel by oppression, was raging in the this attachment was not perfectly innocent. In rear. personal courage, and in all the virtues which We greatly doubt whether any course which are connected with personal courage, the could have been pursued by Louis the SixRegent was indisputably superior to Charles. teenth could have averted a great convulsion. Indeed Charles but narrowly escaped the stain But we are sure that, if there was such a of cowardice. Philip was eminently brave, course, it was the course recommended by M. and, like most brave men, was generally open Turgot. The church and the aristocracy, with and sincere. Charles added dissimulation to that blindness to danger, that incapacity of his other vices.

believing that any thing can be except what The administration of the Regent was has been, which the long possession of power scarcely less pernicious, and infinitely more seldom fails to generate, mocked at the counsel scandalous, than that of the deceased monarch. which might have saved them. They woula It was by magnificent public works, and by not have reform ; and they had revolution. wars conducted on a gigantic scale, that Louis They would not pay a small contribution in had brought distress on his people. The Re- place of the odious corvées; and they lived to gent aggravated that distress by frauds, of see their castles demolished, and their lands which a lame duck on the stock-exchange sold to strangers. They would not endure would have been ashamed. France, even Turgot; and they were forced to endure Ro while suffering under the most severe calami- | bespierre.


Then the rulers of France, as if smitten with country they found nothing to love or to adjudicial blindness, plunged headlong into the mire. As far back as they could look, they American war. They thus committed at once saw only the tyranny of one class and the de. iwo great errors. They encouraged the spirit gradation of another-Frank and Gaul, knight of revolution. They augmented at the same and villein, gentleman and roturier. They hated time those public burdens, the pressure of the monarchy, the church, the nobility. They which is generally the immediate cause of cared nothing for the States or the Parliament. revolutions. The event of the war carried to It was long the fashion to ascribe all the follies the height the enthusiasm of speculative demo- which they committed to the writings of the crats. The financial difficulties produced by philosophers. We believe that it was misrule, the war carried to the height the discontent and nothing but misrule, that put the sting into of that larger body of people who cared little those writings. It is not true that the French about theories, and much about taxes.

abandoned experience for theories. They took The meeting of the States-General was the up with theories because they had no expesignal for the explosion of all the hoarded pas-rience of good government. It was because sions of a century. In that assembly there they had no charter that they ranted about the were undoubtedly very able men. But they original contract. As soon as tolerable instihad no practical knowledge of the art of go-tutions were given to them, they began to luok vernment. All the great English revolutions to those institutions. In 1830 their rallying. have been conducted by practical statesmen. cry was Vive la Charie. In 1789 they had noThe French Revolution was conducted by thing but theories round which to rally. They mere speculators. Our constitution has never had seen social distinctions only in a bad form; been so far behind the age as to have become and it was therefore natural that they should an object of aversion to the people. The Eng- be deluded by sophisms about the equality of lish revolutions have therefore been undertaken men. They had experienced so much evil for the purpose of correcting, defending, and from the sovereignty of kings, that they might restoring; never for the mere purpose of de- be excused for lending a ready ear to those stroying. Our countrymen have always, even who preached, in an exaggerated form, the in times of the greatest excitement, spoken doctrine of the sovereignty of the people. reverently of the form of government under The English, content with their own nation which they lived, and attacked only what they al recollections and names, have never sought regarded as its corruptions. In the very act for models in the institutions of Greece or of innovating they have constantly appealed Rome. T'he French, having nothing in their to ancient prescription; they have seldom own history to which they could look back looked abroad for models; they have seldom with pleasure, had recourse to the history of troubled themselves with Utopian theories; the great ancient commonwealths: they drew they have not been anxious to prove that li- their notions of those commonwealths, not berty is a natural right of men; they have been from contemporary writers, but from romances content to regard it as the lawful birthright of written by pedantic moralists long after the Englishmen. Their social contract is no fic- extinction of public liberty. They neglected tion. It is still extant on the original parch- Thucydides for Plutarch. Blind themselves, ment, sealed with wax which was asfixed at they took blind guides. They had no expeRunnymede, and attested by the lordly names rience of freedom, and they took their opinions of the Marischals and Fitzherberts. No gene- concerning it from men who had no more er. ral arguments about the original equality of perience of it than themselves, and whose imamen, no fine stories out of Plutarch and Cor- ginations, inflamed by mystery and privation, nelius Nepos, have ever affected them so much exaggerated the unknown enjoyment; from as their own familiar words, Magna Charta, men who raved about patriotism without hav. Habeas Corpus, Trial hy Jury, Bill of Rights. ing ever had a country, and eulogized tyranni This part of our national character has un- cide while crouching before tyrants. The doubtedly its disadvantages. An Englishman maxims which the French legislators learned too often reasons on politics in the spirit rather in this school were, that political liberty is an of a lawyer than of a philosopher. There is end, and not a means; that it is not merely too often something narrow, something exclu- valuable as the great safeguard of order, of sive, something Je vish, if we may use the property, and of morality, but that it is in itself word, in his love of freedom. He is disposed a high and exquisite happiness, to which order, to consider popular rights as the special heri- property, and morality ought without one scrntage of the chosen race to which he belongs.ple to be sacrificed. The lessons which may 'lle is inclined rather to repel than to encou- be learned from ancient history are indeed rage the alien proselyte who aspires to a share most useful and important; but they were not of his privileges. Very different was the spirit likely to be learned by men who, in all their of the Constituent Assembly. They had none rhapsodies about the Athenian democracy, of our narrowness; but they had none of our seemed utterly to forget that in that democracy practical skill in the management of affairs there were ren slaves to one citizen; and who They did rot understand how to regulate the constantly decorated their invectives against order of their own debates; and they thought the aristocrats with panegyrics on Brutus and themselves able to legislate for the whole world. Cato, two aristocrats, fiercer, prouder, and All the past was loathsome to them. All their more exclusive than any that emigrated with agreeable associations were connected with the Count of Artois. :ne future. Hopes were to them all that recol- We have never met with so vivid and inte. rctions are to us. In the institutions of their resting a picture of the National Assembly as

that which M. Dumont has set before us. His oratorical power both of Chatham and of Mira Mirabeau, in particular, is incomparable. All beau. There have been far greater speakers the former Mirabeaus were daubs in compari- and far greater statesmen than either of them; son. Some were merely painted from the ima- but we doubt whether any men have, in mo gination, others were gross caricatures; this dern times, exercised such vast personal in is the very individual, neither god nor demon, fluence over stormy and divided assemblies but a man, a Frenchman, a Frenchman of the The power of both was as inuch moral as in eighteenth century, with great talents, with tellectual. In true dignity of character, in strong passions, depraved by bad education, priv and public virtue, it may seem absurd surrounded by temptations of every kind, made to institute any comparison between them; but desperate at one time by disgrace, and then they had the same haughtiness and vehemence again intoxicated by fame. All his opposite of temper. In their language and manner and seemingly inconsistent qualities are in this there was a disdainful self-confidence, an imrepresentation so blended together as to make periousness, a fierceness of passion, before up a harmonious and natural whole. Till now, which all common minds quailed. Even MurMirabeau was to us, and, we believe, to most ray and Charles Townshend, though intellecreaders of history, not a man, but a string of tually not inferior to Chatham, were always antitheses. Henceforth he will be a real hu- cowed by him. Barnave, in the same manner, man being, a remarkable and eccentric being though the best debater in the National Assemindeed, but perfectly conceivable.

bly, Alinched before the energy of Mirabeau. He was fond, M. Dumont tells us, of giving Men, except in bad novels, are not all good or odd compound nicknames. Thus, M. de La- all evil. It can scarcely be denied that the fayette was Grandison-Cromwell; the King of virtue of Lord Chatham was a little theatrical. Prussia was Alaric-Cottin ; D'Espremenil was On the other hand, there was in Mirabeau, not Crispin-Catiline. We think that Mirabeau indeed any thing deserving the name of virtue, himself might be described, after his own but that imperfect substitute for virtue which fashion, as a Wilkes-Chatham. He had is found in almost all superior minds, a sensiWilkes's sensuality, Wilkes's levity, Wilkes's bility to the beautiful and the good, which insensibility to shame. Like Wilkes, he had sometimes amounted to sincere enthusiasm, brought on himself the censure even of men and which, mingled with the desire of admiraof pleasure by the peculiar grossness of his tion, sometimes gave to his character a lustre immorality, and by the obscenity of his writ- resembling the lustre of true goodness; as the ings. Like Wilkes, he was heedless, not only “faded splendour wan” which lingered round of the laws of morality, but of the laws of ho- the fallen archangel, resembled the exceeding nour. Yet he affected, like Wilkes, to unite brightness of those spirits who had kept the:r the character of the demagogue to that of the first estate. fine gentleman. Like Wilkes, he conciliated, There are several other admirable p'rtraits by his good-humour and his high spirits, the of eminent men in these Memoirs. That of regard of many who despised his character. Sieyes in particular, and that of Talleyrand, Like Wilkes, he was hideously ugly; like are masterpieces, full of life and expression Wilkes, he made a jest of his own ugliness; But nothing in the book has interested us more and, like Wilkes, he was, in spite of his ugli- than the view which M. Dumont has presented ness, very attentive to his dress, and very suc- to us, unostentatiously, and, we may say, uncessiul in affairs of gallantry.

consciously, of his own character. The sturdy Resembling Wilkes in the lower and grosser rectitude, the large charity, the good-nature, parts of his character, he had, in his the modesty, the independent spirit, the ardent qualities, some affinities to Chatham. His elo- philanthropy, the unaffected indifference to quence, as far as we can judge of it, bore no money and to fame, make up a character inconsiderable resemblance to that of the great which, while it has nothing unnatural, seems English minister. He was not eminently suc- to us to approach nearer to perfection than cessful in long set speeches. He was not, on any of the Grandisons and Allworthys of ficthe other hand, a close and ready debater. tion. The work is not indeed precisely such Sudden bursts, which seemed to be the effect a work as we had anticipated; it is more lively, of inspiration ; short sentences, which came more picturesque, more amusing than we had like lightning, dazzling, burning, striking down promised ourselves, and it is, on the other every thing before them; sentences which, hand, less profound and philosophic. But if spoken at critical moments, decided the fate it is not, in all respects, such as might have of great questions; sentences which at once been expected from the intellect of M. Dumon!. became proverbs; sentences which everybody it is assuredly such as might have been es sti?) knows by heart; in these chiefly lay the pected from his heart


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