Imatges de pÓgina
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the nation dreaded a second revolutionary crisis, remembered with terror the crimes and miseries which it brought in its train, and were by no means prepared to stake their property and tranquillity against empty words and maxims of false philosophy. They were, therefore, no jacobins. Neither did they look back with any regret to the reign of Buonaparte, since, though they may have felt with others the occasional glow of vanity inspired by his conquests, they deemed them, on reflection, severely bought by his constant wars, his blood-thirsty conscriptions, his oppressive system of taxation, and the consciousness that, while he was at the head of affairs, there could never be a lasting peace in Europe. From this class the members of the legislative bodies were in a principal degree composed, as we are informed by the Count de BarruelBeauvert, a zealous royalist, whose fidelity we admire, although we cannot adopt his prejudices. He assures us that the rich proprietors of France were almost all friendly to the Revolution which had made them such, and were enemies to the re-establishment of the ancient monarchy, in which alone he saw salvation. Upon the whole, this class of Frenchmen, and it contained the great bulk of the men of property, substance, and education, hoped well of the king's government. His good sense, humanity, love of justice, moderation, and other valuable qualities, recommended him to their esteem, and his restoration might be considered as the guarantee of a lasting peace with the other nations of Europe. But they dreaded and deprecated that counter-revolutionary re-action, as the established phrase was, which was considered as the object of the princes of the blood, the nobility, and the clergy. The property of many of the constitutionalists was vested in national domains,

and they watched with doubt and fear every step which the emigrant nobility and clergy seemed disposed to take for recovery of their former rights.

An unfortunate and hasty promise of Monsieur, that the severe and pressing taxes called les droits reunis should be abolished, had been made when he first entered France, and while, betwixt hope and despair, he essayed every inducement for the purpose of drawing adherents to the royal cause, On the other hand, the king, upon ascending the throne, had engaged himself, with perhaps too much latitude, to pay all the engagements which the state had contracted under the preceding government. To redeem both of these pledges was impossible, for without continuing this very obnoxious and oppressive tax, the crown could not have the means of discharging the national debt. A plan was in vain proposed by Jalabert to replace this oppressive excise by a duty on wines; it was referred to a committee of the Chamber of Representatives, but the substitution seems to have been found impossible. Louis naturally made the promise of his brother give way to his own more deliberate engagement. But it is not the less true, that in continuing to levy les droits reunis, many, not otherwise disinclined to his government than as it affected their purses, charged the king with breach of faith towards his subjects, and would listen to no defence upon a topic on which few people are disposed to hear reason against their own interest. These jealousies, fears, and resentments, balanced the king's popularity with the constitutionalists. They remained indeed inactive, not only from doubt, but from the inditference and vis inertia, which is the characteristic of all whose politics are of a moderate description, and who wish to see things go well, but without the zeal which would incur hazard even to, keep them

so, much less to put them again right when they have gone wrong. The constitutionalists, therefore, in the approaching collision of parties, might be considered, in a great measure, as neutrals, whom each party endeavoured to draw to their side, who were in many cases suspended in opinion by the contradictory arguments addressed to them, and were, generally speaking, decided by the prudential considerations which render it more safe to adhere to the party which happens to gain the superiority.

Such was the state of parties in France, in which it was obvious they could not long continue, without some violent and probably fatal collision. Let not the reader suppose, with the natural feelings of English pride, that versatility of disposition, ingratitude for the great blessing of Providence in the restoration of a lawful monarch, military insolence, and popular disaffection, are attributes peculiarly flowing from the national character of the French. These are weeds which, in every country and climate, rush up after the cessation of such a tornado as preceded the restoration of the Bourbons, and the faithful page of Clarendon exhibits them as rising in their fatal luxuriance after that of Charles II. There is not a point of his narrative which has not a corresponding feature with that of France at this period. It describes the selfish and greedy egotism of those called the king's party, who, instead of waiting until the public disorders were appeased, and the peace of the kingdom settled, embittered the first moment of the king's return by pressing on him their unreasonable, or unseasonable requests for offices and titles, until they compelled him to lament even the happy restoration that rendered him liable to such persecution. Again, the noble historian informs us, that, notwithstanding the general joy with

which Charles was received on his entry into his metropolis, there were in the House of Commons many of various factions, "who did all promise themselves some liberty and indulgence for their several parties." Nor was there wanting a discontented army, which the king could not new model, and dared hardly venture to disband. And if, instead of that Lambert, to whom most of them looked as their natural head, Cromwell himself had been alive, and exercising the protec torate of the isle of Jersey, the following passage in Clarendon would be an exact description of the state of the French army. But the coincidence, as it exists, is sufficiently striking.

"But the delay in disbanding the army, how unavoidable soever, did exceedingly afflict him, (the restored monarch), and the more, because for many reasons he could not urge it nor complain of it. He knew all the ill constitution of the army, the distemper and murmuring that was in it, and how many diseases and convulsions their infant loyalty was subject to; that how united soever their inclinations and accla⚫ mations seem to be at Blackheath, their affections were not the same; and the very countenance of many officers as well as soldiers did sufficiently manifest that they were drawn thither to a service they were not delighted in. The general (Monk) had dismissed many officers who he thought might be willing and able to cross his designs and purposes, when he should think fit to discover them, and conferred their charges and commands upon those who had been disfavoured by the late power; and after the parlia ment had declared for and proclaimed the king, he cashiered others and gave their offices to some eminent commanders who had served the king; and gave others of the loyal nobility leave to list volunteers in companies to appear with them at the reception

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of the king, who had all met and joined with the army upon Blackheath, in the head of their regiments and companies. Yet, notwithstanding all this providence, the old soldiers had little regard for their new officers, at least had no resignation for them, and it quickly appeared, by the select and affected mixtures of sullen and melancholic parties of officers and soldiers, that as ill-disposed men of other classes were left as had been disbanded, and that much the greater part so much abounded with ill humours, that it was not safe to administer a general purgation. How close soever Lambert himself was secured from doing mischief, his faction was at liberty, and very numerous; his disbanded officers and soldiers mingled and conversed with their old friends and companions, and found too many of them possessed with the same spirit." The disunion of those called the king's friends, with the importunities of the least deserving, and the neglect of those who had really sustained losses, and merited favour, existed in England among the Cavaliers of 1660, as well as in France among the Royal ists of 1815.

"They," says Clarendon, "who had suffered much in their fortune, and by frequent imprisonments, and sequestrations, and compositions, expected large recompences and reparations in honours which they could not support, or offices which they could not discharge, or lands and money which the king had not to give. They who had been without comparison the greatest sufferers in their fortunes, and in all respects had merited most, never made any inconvenient suits to the king, but modestly left the memory and consideration of all they had done, or undergone, to his majesty's own gracious reflections. They were observed to be most importunate who deserved least, and were least capable to perform any

notable service; and none had more esteem of themselves, and believed preferment to be more due to them, than a sort of men who had most loudly began the king's health in taverns, es pecially if, for any disorders which had accompanied it, they had suffered imprisonment, without any other pretence of merit or running any other hazard."

Neither had the revolutionary changes of the civil war, and the interregnum which set all selfish passions affloat, and taught most men the same indifference for his neighbour's misery, with which a sailor regards his drown ing comrades during a shipwreck, failed to produce its fatal and inevitable effects in depraving the national character. The words of the noble historian are so immediately applicable to the state of France, that they may be quoted at length, in order to complete this remarkable parallel.

"In a word, the nation was corrupted from that integrity, good nature, and generosity that had been peculiar to it, and for which it had been signal and celebrated throughout the world; in the room whereof the vilest craft and dissembling had succeeded. The tenderness of the bowels, which is the quintessence of justice and compassion, the very mention of good nature was laughed at, and looked upon as the mark and character of a fool; and a roughness of manner, or hard-heartedness and cruelty, was affected.

"In the place of generosity, a vile and sordid love of mor.ey was entertained as the truest wisdom, and any thing esteemed lawful that would contribute towards being rich. There was a total decay, or rather a final extinction of all friendship, and to dissuade a man from any thing he affected, or to reprove him for any thing he had done amiss, or to advise him to do any thing he had no mind to do, was thought an impertinence unworthy of a wise man,

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and received with reproach and contempt. These dilapidations and ruins of the ancient candour and discipline, were not taken enough at heart, and repaired with that early care and severity that they might have been, for they were not incorrigible; but by the remissness of applying remedies to some, and the unwariness in giving a kind of countenance to others, too much of that poison insinuated itself into minds not well fortified against such inflictions, so that much of the malignity was transplanted, instead of being extinguished, to the corruption of many wholesome bodies, which corruption spread the disease more powerfully and more mischievously."

But although the state of England so nearly resembled that of France, at the same critical period of history, she was more fortunate in several points, which enabled her to resist the contagion, to which France so nearly fell a victim.

The death of Cromwell, and the existence of Bonaparte, we have already noticed as a marked point of distinction.

institutions, which served to balance, the power of the crown, and to distinguish between the government of Louis XV. and an absolute despotism, were irretrievably demolished. The ephemeral institutions of the revolution were still farther from affording a rallying point, and with the ruins of ten successive constitutions lying around them, the political architects could select little that might be useful as materials in a new structure. The charter, therefore, laboured under all the disadvantages of an experimental measure, the subject of criticism to all factions, and of reverence to none.

The high pretensions to religion among the English puritans, though in many instances hypocritical, served to keep one part of the kingdom strangers to gross and open profligacy, and if they did not restrain the egotism, pride, deceit, and avarice of the fathers, at least insured to the children the benefits of a sober, severe, and religious education, and prevented the manners of the nation from becoming utterly and openly depraved by license and sensuality. But above all, Louis XVIII. wanted-what he would have better known how to prize than Charles, the services of such a minister as the disinterested and the sagacious Clarendon, wise to foresee, firm to meet, and skilful to repress or elude the evils growing out of the overstrained expectations of some, the fears and jealousies of others, the discontent of a third class, and the general deterioration of national character, which he saw with the eye of an able statesman, and recorded with the pen of a faithful historian. The want of such a sage and disinterested minister was, in all human probability, the principal cause that the fortunes of France and of the House of Bourbon were a second time committed to the bloody arbitrement of the sword.

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The Cavaliers also, though ruined and impoverished, remained most of them in possession of their paternal estates, and the natural influence was attached to them, which had been transferred from the French royalists, and was vested in others, whom the very apprehension of the claims of the emigrants rendered hostile to the royal family.

The English also might at the Restoration of Charles rally around the ancient forms of their constitution, which had been violated indeed, but not obliterated, and still commanded the reverence due to the social system of their fathers. But in France there was no such resource. Even the most staunch royalist must have despaired to reinstate the ancient monarchy, since the parliaments, the privileges of the clergy and nobles, and all other Gothic

THOUGH the political atmosphere of France appeared to present symptoms of future tempestuous change, the first months of the restored monarch's reign were calm and undisturbed. There appeared even signs of reviving prosperity, which the royal ministers endeavoured to enhance by contrast ing them with the state of public affairs at the restoration of Louis the Desired.

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CHAP. VII.

Report on the State of France.-The Finance.-The War Establishment.—The Navy-Moral State of the Country.-Debate on the Liberty of the Press. Faure's Motion for a previous Censorship Opposed by Marshal Macdonald. -Adopted in a Modified State.-Reflections on these Restrictions.-Petition of Ferru, and other Booksellers, to the Chamber of Deputies.-Characters of some of the Censors. Conduct of Incendiary Authors and Publishers to evade the Law-Affairs of the Maire of Darnae, and the ancient Seigneur.Marshal Macdonald's Plan for granting Indemnities to the Emigrants, and paying the Pensions of the veteran Soldiers.

A report on the state of the nation, by the minister of the interior, painted in the strongest colours the miseries of Buonaparte's subjects, and may be long consulted as an antidote to the thirst of conquest. "War," said the Abbé de Montesquieu," was doubtless the principal cause of the ills of France. History presented not any example of a great nation incessantly precipitated against its will into enterprises constantly increasing in hazard and distress. The world saw with astonishment, mingled with terror, a civilized people compelled to exchange its happiness and repose for the wandering life of barbarous hordes. The ties of families were broken; fathers have grown old far from their children;

and children have been hurried off to die 400 leagues from their fathers. No hope of return soothed this frightful separation; habit had caused it to be regarded as eternal; and the peasants of Britany, after conducting their sons to the place of separation, have been seen to return to their churches to put up for them by anticipation the prayers for the dead!"

The details corresponding to this fearful exordium, the multiplication of levies, and the consumption of life had been such, that, including the levy en masse of 1814, to the number of 143,000 men, which had not been fully executed, the sum total of conscription amounted, in the course of about two years or little more, to no less than one million three hundred thousand souls. It is not too much, therefore, to suppose, that one million, the flower of the youth and manhood of France, perished by fatigue, disease, and the edge of the sword, within that brief space.

Notwithstanding this drain of population, the state of agriculture, which had received a strong impulse by the subdivision of great landed estates,

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