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the Edict of Nantes would not then stand an eternal record of intolerance; nor would Mad. de Maintenon be classed among the doubly guilty persecutors of their early faith. (See St. Simon, xiii., 118.) Justice, however, surely entitles her to the fair consideration of the many extenuating circumstances authentically adduced in her favor by the Duke of Noailles in his publication on the subject. Her great talents cannot be questioned; and Napoleon preferred her letters to those of Madame de Sévigné.
As for NAPOLEON, he cannot surely be considered entitled to the indulgence for errors, which the birth, the early possession of despotic authority, when its abuse is hardly avoidable, a defective or perverse education, with the seductions to evil to which his position and associations exposed him, claim for Louis, independently of a vastly superior capacity, impossible to deny Napoleon, the architect of his own fortune, involving, of course, a commensurate degree of responsibility. No similar extenuating plea can, I repeat, be offered for his aberrances; and it is therefore, a saddening ground of contemplation, a deeply mortifying source of reflection, to behold such transcendant faculties as Providence had bestowed in unsurpassed abundance on this supremely gifted personage, mainly, if not exclusively, devoted to the furtherance of his personal views. Principle and conscience were unfelt or unheeded, when opposed to his ambition; and though we may believe, as I certainly do, that he was by no means of inbred, uncontrollable depravity, or perverse nature, yet we know that he never recoiled from the commission of any act necessary, in his conception, to the accomplishment of
his high aspirations. Nothing, in a word, was sacred that stood in the way of a cherished project, while it must be allowed that he sought not evil merely for the pleasure of its perpetration. Apart, however, from the myriads sacrificed to his thirst of conquest, the deaths of a royal duke, of the bookseller Palm, or indirectly of Toussaint Louverture, impressed themselves with more or less prominence of guilt on his memory, as ever will his barbarous cruelty to the Pope, and treachery to the Bourbons of Spain, independently of the minor objects of his despotic treatment, Madame de Stäel, Madame Recamier, Chateaubriand, and many more. We are also told by the Comte d'Hauterive, in his Memoirs, how deeply he regretted not having burned Vienna to the ground, in 1809, and so crippled the Austrian empire, as he had done Prussia, as to incapacitate it from renewing the war in 1813. That, however, may appear no unpardonable source of regret, but when Marshal Suchet announced to him the capture of the duke of Angoulême, "Let him be instantly shot." "Que le prince soit fusilé sur le champ," was his fearful command. On Suchet's remonstrance, however, he acquiesced in the impolicy of the act, and replied, "Eh bien, qu'il parte, mais exigez de lui qu'il rende les diamants de la couronne." No doubt, on the other hand, if Napoleon had at the time fallen into the power of the royal forces, his life would have been forfeited. He might, we are likewise told, have escaped to America, he said, but then he would, like his brother Joseph, have been wholly overlooked, whereas in England, or in her detention, his captivity would keep alive and embitter the hatred of France
against her. "Mon martyre à Ste. Heléne assurera la couronne à mon fils," he added. His son's premature death precluded, of course, all chance of this predestined succession, which, though in a minor degree, has devolved on his nephew.
Still, as previously in these volumes, and more than once asserted, when his great mind had the good fortune to contemplate any beneficent object, its mighty energies were displayed in equal fulness of exertion, and accomplishment of purpose, as his Codes of jurisprudence (more especially the "Code Civil,”) the restoration of the national and general freedom of worship-the magnificent roads-the moral control and decency of the theatre, as well as of his own court, &c., attest. "Si sic omnia,”—may we well say! Constituted alike, in supremacy of power and strength of will-"la volonté la plus énergique des temps modernes," as characterised by Madame de Stäel, and of whom it was said-" vouloir c'est pouvoir," equally puissant, in a word, with perfect freedom of choice,
*At page 357, (ante) Napoleon's condemnation of Molière's Tartuffe, and declaration that he would never have allowed it to be represented, so dangerously did it exhibit religious devotion, are strongly expressed. Indeed Europe has adopted this name as the symbol or impersonation of hypocrisy. In the play itself Molière converts it into a verb, (as we have lately done that of the miscreant Burke,) when he makes Marianne's suivante, Dorine, exclaim to her young mistress, (Acte ii., sc. 3.)
"Vous serez, ma foi, tartuffiée."
Shakspere, in like manner, creates a new word, where Bianca says of her sister Katharine, that—
"Being mad herself, she's madly mated;"
to which Gremio replies—
"I warrant him, Petruchio is Kated."
Taming of the Shrew, Act iii., sc. 2.
We thus, too, find Madame de Sévigné, in her letter, dated the 29th August 1679, to Bussi-Rabutin, coining a novel expression-Rabutinade, to signify the family readiness of wit.
for good or evil action, a noble opportunity lay open to him of perpetuating his name in illustrious association with the benefactors of his species; but another source of renown, unhappily, in dazzling his imagination, perverted his better and sounder feelings, and he preferred the fame of a blood-stained conqueror, now become the melancholy but special and most distinctive character adherent to his memory.
THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE FRENCH TONGUE.
Cork, September, 1844.
The "UNIVERSALITY of the French tongue" is a cherished assumption; and the boast, if narrowed in its construction to the popular use of the epithet, (see Gentleman's Magazine for September, 1843, page 259,) or applied in space to Europe, is not without foundation. In 1784, on the command of Frederick of Prussia, whose predilection for the language was always so partially evinced, the subject was proposed as a prize essay by the academy of Berlin, which that same year crowned the discourses of J. C. Schwab, and of Rivarol, now forming the second volume of the collection called "L'Esprit de Rivarol," (1808, 2 vols., 12mo.) It is a brilliant, yet rather superficial discourse, not unlike himself, who, with Champfort and Champcenetz, composed the dazzling triumvirate of Parisian wits, as indicated in the review of Swinburne's work, (page 349, ante,) and were competitors for colloquial fame, when sparkling thoughts, bright effusions, and liveliness of repartee, constituted primary claims to social admiration. And never, truly, did the French