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tution, and which was at irreconcilable variance with every clause of that constitution. They annihilated in a single night privileges, many of which partook of the nature of property, and ought therefore to have been most delicately handled.

They are called the Constituent Assembly. Never was a name less appropriate. They were not constituent, but the very reverse of constituent. They constituted nothing that stood, or that deserved to last. They had not, and they could not possibly have, the information or the habits of mind which are necessary for the framing of that most exquisite of all machines, a government. The metaphysical cant with which they prefaced their constitution has long been the scoff of all parties. Their constitution itself, that constitution which they described as absolutely perfect, and to which they predicted immortality, disappeared in a few months, and left no trace behind it. They were great only in the work of destruction.

The glory of the National Assembly is this, that they were in truth, what Mr. Burke called them in austere irony, the ablest architects of ruin that ever the world saw. They were utterly incompetent to perform any work which required a discriminating eye and a skilful hand. But the work which was then to be done was a work of devastation. They had to deal with abuses so horrible and so deeply rooted, that the highest political wisdom could scarcely have produced greater good to mankind than was produced by their fierce and senseless temerity. Demolition is undoubtedly a vulgar task; the highest glory of the statesman is to construct. But there is a time for everything, a time to set up, and a time to pull down. The talents of revolutionary leaders, and those of the legislator, have equally their use and their season. It is the natural, the almost universal law, that the age of insurrections and proscriptions shall precede the age of good government, of temperate liberty, and liberal order.

And how should it be otherwise? It is not in swaddlingbands that we learn to walk. It is not in the dark that we learn to distinguish colours. It is not under oppression that we learn how to use freedom. The ordinary sophism by which misrule is defended is, when truly stated, this: The people must continue in slavery, because slavery has generated in them all the vices of slaves. Because they are

ignorant, they must remain under a power which has made and which keeps them ignorant. Because they have been made ferocious by misgovernment, they must be misgoverned for ever. If the system under which they live were so mild and liberal, that under its operation they had become humane and enlightened, it would be safe to venture on a change. But as this system has destroyed morality, and prevented the development of the intellect; as it has turned men who might, under different training, have formed a virtuous and happy community, into savage and stupid wild beasts, therefore it ought to last for ever. The English Rcvolution, it is said, was truly a glorious revolution. Practical evils were redressed; no excesses were committed; no sweeping confiscations took place; the authority of the laws was scarcely for a moment suspended; the fullest and freest discussion was tolerated in Parliament; the nation showed by the calm and temperate manner in which it asserted its liberty, that it was fit to enjoy liberty. The French Revolution was, on the other hand, the most horrible event recorded in history, all madness and wickedness, absurdity in theory, and atrocity in practice. What folly and injustice in the revolutionary laws! What grotesque affectation in the revolutionary ceremonies! What fanaticism! What licentiousness! What cruelty! Anacharsis Clootz and Marat, feasts of the Supreme Being, and marriages of the Loire, trees of liberty, and heads dancing on pikes-the whole forms a kind of infernal farce, made up of everything ridiculous and everything frightful. This it is to give freedom to those who have neither wisdom nor virtue. It is not only by bad men interested in the defence of abuses, that arguments like these have been urged against all schemes of political improvement. Some of the highest and purest of human beings conceived such scorn and aversion for the follies and crimes of the French Revolution, that they recanted, in the moment of triumph, those liberal opinions to which they had clung in defiance of persecution. And if we inquire why it was that they began to doubt whether liberty were a blessing, we shall find that it was only because events had proved, in the clearest manner, that liberty is the parent of virtue and of order. They ceased to abhor tyranny merely because it had been signally shown, that the effect of tyranny on the hearts and understandings of men is more

demoralizing and more stupefying than had ever been imagined by the most zealous friend of popular rights. The truth is, that a stronger argument against the old monarchy of France may be drawn from the noyades and the fusilades, than from the Bastille and the Parc-aux-cerfs. We believe it to be a rule without an exception, that the violence of a revolution corresponds to the degree of misgovernment which has produced that revolution. Why was the French Revolution so bloody and destructive? Why was our revolution of 1641 comparatively mild? Why was our revolu tion of 1688 milder still? Why was the American Revolution, considered as an internal movement, the mildest of all? There is an obvious and complete solution of the problem. The English under James the First and Charles the First were less oppressed than the French under Louis the Fifteenth and Louis the Sixteenth. The English were less oppressed after the Restoration than before the great Rebellion. And America, under George the Third, was less oppressed than England under the Stuarts. The reaction was exactly proportioned to the pressure-the vengeance to the provocation.

When Mr. Burke was reminded in his later years of the zeal which he had displayed in the cause of the Americans, he vindicated himself from the charge of inconsistency, by contrasting the wisdom and moderation of the colonial insurgents of 1776, with the fanaticism and wickedness of the Jacobins of 1792. He was in fact bringing an argument à fortiori against himself. The circumstances on which he rested his vindication fully proved that the old government of France stood in far more need of a complete change than the old government of America. The difference between Washington and Robespierre, the difference between Franklin and Barrère, the difference between the destruction of a few barrels of tea and the confiscation of thousands of square miles, the difference between the tarring and feathering of a tax-gatherer and the massacres of September, measure the difference between the government of America under the rule of England, and the government of France under the rule of the Bourbons.

Louis the Sixteenth made great voluntary concessions tc his people; and they sent him to the scaffold. Charles the Tenth violated the fundamental laws of the state, established

a despotism, and butchered his subjects for not submitting quietly to that despotism. He failed in his wicked attempt. He was at the mercy of those whom he had injured. The pavements of Paris were still heaped up in barricades; the hospitals were still full of the wounded; the dead were still unburied; a thousand families were in mourning; a hundred thousand citizens were in arms. The crime was recent; the life of the criminal was in the hands of the sufferers; and they touched not one hair of his head. In the first revolution, victims were sent to death by scores for the most trifling acts proved by the lowest testimony, before the most partial tribunals. After the second revolution, those ministers who had signed the ordinances-those ministers, whose guilt, as it was of the foulest kind, was proved by the clearest evidence-were punished only with imprisonment. In the first revolution, property was attacked. In the second, it was held sacred. Both revolutions, it is true, left the public mind of France in an unsettled state. Both revolutions were followed by insurrectionary movements. But after the first revolution, the insurgents were almost always stronger than the law; and since the second revolution, the law has invariably been found stronger than the insurgents. There is, indeed, much in the present state of France which may well excite the uneasiness of those who desire to see her free, happy, powerful, and secure. Yet if we compare the present state of France with the state in which she was forty years ago, how vast a change for the better has taken place. How little effect, for example, during the first revolution, would the sentence of a judicial body have produced on an armed and victorious party! If, after the tenth of August, or after the proscription of the Gironde, or after the ninth of Thermidor, or after the carnage of Vendémiaire, or after the arrests of Fructidor, any tribunal had decided against the conquerors in favour of the conquered, with what contempt, with what derision, would its award have been received! The judges would have lost their heads, or would have been sent to die in some unwholesome colony. The fate of the victim whom they had endeavoured to save would only have been made darker and more hopeless by their interference. We have lately seen a signal proof that in France, the law is now stronger than the sword. We have seen a government, in the very moment of triumph and revenge

submitting itself to the authority of a court of law. A just and independent sentence has been pronounced;-a sentence worthy of the ancient renown of that magistracy, to which belong the noblest recollections of French history; which, in an age of presecutors, produced L'Hopital; which, in an age of courtiers, produced D'Aguesseau; which, in an age of wickedness and madness, exhibited to mankind a pattern of every virtue in the life and in the death of Malesherbes. The respectful manner in which that sentence has been received, is alone sufficient to show how widely the French of this generation differ from their fathers. And how is the difference to be explained? The race, the soil, the climate, are the same. If those dull, honest Englishmen, who explain the events of 1793 and 1794, by saying that the French are naturally frivolous and cruel, were in the right, why is the guillotine now standing idle? Not surely for want of Carlists, of aristocrats, of people guilty of incivism, of people suspected of being suspicious characters. Is not the true explanation this, that the Frenchman of 1832 has been far better governed than the Frenchman of 1789, that his soul has never been galled by the oppressive privileges of a separate caste, that he has been in some degree accustomed to discuss political questions, and to perform political functions, that he has lived for seventeen or eighteen years under institutions which, however defective, have yet been far superior to any institutions that had before existed in France?

As the second French Revolution has been far milder than the first, so that great change which has just been effected in England, has been milder even than the second French Revolution; milder than any revolution recorded in history. Some orators have described the reform of the House of Commons as a revolution. Others have denied the propriety of the term. The question, though in seeming merely a question of definition, suggests much curious and inte resting matter for reflection. If we look at the magnitude of the reform, it may well be called a revolution. If we look at the means by which it has been effected, it is merely ⚫ an act of Parliament, regularly brought in, read, committed, and passed. In the whole history of England, there is no prouder circumstance than this; that a change which could not, in any other age, or in any other country, have

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