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ART. I.-1. La France nouvelle. Par M. PREVOST-PARA
1 DOL. 8vo. Paris: 1869. 2. Histoire des Classes rurales en France et de leurs progrès
dans l'Égalité civile et la Propriété. Par Henni Doniol.
Seconde édition. 8vo. Paris : 1867. 3. Monsieur Guizot à Messieurs les Membres du Gouvernement de la Défense nationale. Lisieux : 1er décembre 1870.
. TE NIE French Revolution has been, for a period of eighty
years, the admiration, the terror, and the wonder of the world. The wisest statesmen, the most eloquent writers, have exhausted the powers of thought and language in the attempt to examine its causes, to describe its progress, and to discover its consequences. Burke, Madame de Staël, and Joseph de Maistre were amongst the first and greatest prophets of this new order of things---prophets of evil as well as of good, conscious that the powers and the wrongs of former times were swept away as by a deluge, but incapable of discerning the ultimate results of the changes they witnessed and foretold. Three generations have passed across the stage of human affairs, but the problem is still unsolved. France has not reached that haven of freedom, good government, and peace which has been the object of so many virtuous aspirations and of so many fierce convulsions. Five dynasties of emperors or kings, and two or three republics have successively been proclaimed, accepted, abandoned, and overthrown within living memory. And, at last, we ourselves, in this our time, are witnesses of the most portentous and disastrous of this long series of calamities. The events passing before our eyes — the total momentary extinction of government in France—the occupation of a large portion of her territory by the forces of
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a triumphant invader--the annihilation of her armies, which reduced this war to a struggle between a highly organised force and an undisciplined people—the captivity of him who was her supreme ruler, of her marshals, and of her whole military staff--the reduction by famine of impregnable cities and arsenals--the disintegration of several parts of the realmthe unutterable confusion or collapse of her national resources —the strange but total absence of men of high character and authority to deal with events of such unparalleled magnitudeare phenomena which will never cease to occupy the philosopher and historian as long as the world endures. These too are incidents in the great tragedy which commenced in 1789. These are at once the results of former revolutions and the causes of future perturbations. And if it be possible to divert our gaze from the startling occurrences which mark every hour of so great and terrible a spectacle, we would endeavour to take a more comprehensive survey of this vast course of events, and to trace in the operation of the revolutionary principles which were let loose eighty years ago in France the true source of the present social, political, and military condition of that gallant but unfortunate people.
The Revolution of 1789 undoubtedly swept away abuses which had become intolerable—the feudal tenure of land, the privileges of the nobility, the prodigality and arbitrary power of the Court, the corruptions of an opulent and intolerant Church ; nor do we think that the destruction of these secular
1 evils was paid for at too high a price, great as that price was. The Revolution was unjustly accused by its enemies and detractors of having overthrown institutions necessary to the welfare, perhaps even to the existence, of society. The accusation was unjust, because these institutions perished, not so much by the attacks of the Revolution, as by their own vices and weakness: they were rotten before they fell : it was time they should be hewn down and cast into the fire. Nothing could save them, for they could not save themselves. The question we ask relates, therefore, not to what the Revolution destroyed, but to what it has created---not to what it overthrew, but to what it has established. When the work of reconstruction commenced, it was found that the spoliation of the Church and of the great landed proprietors, whose estates had been forced upon the market at a time when there was no money to
for them, had called into being an immense class of peasant proprietors, whose small holdings have since been further subdivided by the operation of the Civil Code. It was found that the traditions of hereditary monarchy had received a mortal