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with so much confidence the result of the Revolution ? how can he assure biniself that the labours, the courage, and the constancy of the French will not be thrown away, and that posterity will be made happy through the calamities and suffer.. ings of the present race?
- when nothing appears to have obtained any stability; and when neither external war nor internal commotion seem likely to have any end?
Though we cannot subscribe to many of the author's opinions, and must reprobate his violence and indecorum, he must be allowed to maintain his reputation as a very sprightly and entertaining writer : in whose hands even the stale subject of French revolutionary politics assumes peculiar interest.
The matter contained in these volumes, according to M. MERCIER's former practice, is thrown under a variety of heads or chapters. No regular method is pursued: but facts and observations, the serious and the comical, are blended together according to the fancy of the writer. We cannot pretend to give an account of all the articles in this miscellany, nor even to transcribe the titles of the chapters. Some cursory extracts must suffice.
Speaking of himself and his undertaking, he says:
• How shall I paint the extraordinary and eventful scene which presents itself to my view ? As I have been carried along on the boisterous element, my eyes, in the midst of the tempest, have not failed to notice some particular events:--but not all the stormy winds let loose from the Eolian cave, contending with each other, and overturning whatever opposes their course, can present more than a faint and imperfect image of those conflicts of human passions in which philosophers have been vanquished ; and in which the lowest and most contemptiblè have succeeded so as to dictate impure laws to the populace, who have received them as the decrees of heaven.'
From the usual sources of information he disdains to draw. That frightful chaos formed by the writers of the revolution, that enormous mass of journals and political pamphlets, in which rage, calumny, and obscurity prevail, he professes to reject : ' I will not (says he) open you, I will not consult you, I will give credit only to myself. Hence much original matter
be expected. Paris is considered by M. Mercier both as having formed the revolution and as having spoilt it. The graud evil of the revolution he declares to have been the basty and inconsiderate invitation of the multitude to the discussion of political matters, which are subjects in general beyond their reach.' We recognize with pleasure this sentiment in a republicau. A mob may be in a few moments 'worked up to madness, but it cannot so soon be instructed.
Of all revolutions, M. MERCIER deems that of France the most just. We will give his own words :
• De toutes les révolutions, la nôtre fut la plus juste, la plus legitime, la plus impérieusement commandée par toutes les circonstances. Il fallose tuer la cour de Versailles, pour qu'elle ne nous iuât point *.'
La revolution s'est faite parcequ'elle devoit se faire, parce que la capisale étoit mexacée par les satellites de la cour. L'immense population t de la grande cité a réagi, et bien à temps ; ce fut le coup de queue de la baleine qui renverse l'esquif du barponeur 8.'
Those writers are treated with a smile of contempt by our author, who endeavour to assign the causes of the revolution; and who would pretend that it resulted from an artfully contrived and deeply executed plant. Accident is supposed by him to have effected more than foresight. In the political world, one day brings forth ancher, and each day is perhaps a distinct revolution; as in an earthquake each shock has a direction peculiar to itself, and often opposite to the preceding one.
A cannon-ball fortunately cut in two the chain that held up the draw-bridge of the Bastile. This ball overthrew the monarch and the monarchy.'—He says farther in another place, that, " this ball would have been without effect had it been fired twelve hours sooner or later.'
The British government is weakly accused of having resolved on the death of the king of France; and, among other reasons, for this; that the English should not be the only nation to be reproached with having brought their monarch to the block ! We are blamed because the revolution did not terminate on the 13th July, when Louis XVI. kissed the national cockade in the balcony of the Hotel de Ville; and
* Of all revolutions, ours was the most just, the most legitimate, the most imperiously demanded by all circumstances. necessary to destroy the court of Versailles, or it would have destroyed us.'
+ The immense papulation' of Paris may strike the inhabitants. of 'smaller cities; and what M. MERCIER says of it, in another place, that a battle may be fought at one end of it and the people, at the other extremity know nothing about it, may excite a wonderful idea of its magnitude : but an inhabitant of the British capital, which contains at least 200,000 more inhabitants than Paris, will not be astonished at the immense population of the capital of France, and can judge how far this French writer's representation can be true.
# The revolution has been effected, because it was right to effect it, because the capital was threatened by the satellites of the court.' The immense population of the great city has retaliated, and in good time; it was the stroke from the whale's tail which querset the harpooner's boat.
all the maniac horrors which followed are attributed to and his accomplices. This is possibly an assertion acceptable to the French reader; it is therefore very often repeated; and the horrid effects of the English Guinées is a theme of animated declamation :--but we have no desire of detailing this strain of eloquence, though it would more frequently excite a smile than a frown.
Notwithstanding this author's admiration of the revolution, and his sanguine hopes of the good consequences which will result from it, we are glad to find him allowing that a most egregious error has been committed; and that his countrymen, in their demolition, did not distinguish, as they should have done, between what ought to be destroyed and what ought to have been preserved. We have, (stys lie,) in proscribing superstition, destroyed all religious sentiment but this is not the way to re-generate the world. What pity it is that some of the prominent agents of the revolution had not respected and encouraged this wise principle! It will continue to surprize men of sound and enlightened understandings, that religion should be discarded by legislators pretending to study the renovation and happiness of mankind. By some recent symptoms, the French seem to be coming to their senses in this respect; and though we have no reverence for the superstitions, of their old worship, we wish them the enjoyment of those institutions of christianity which tend to keep up the fear of God and the practice of religion.
In the chapter entitled Abasement of the Monarch, the author tells us that in 1788 there were in fact five or six kings of France; that the queen was king; that monsieur was king; and that they, with others of the court, embarrassed royalty, and, by degrading the monarch, contributed to his subsequent humiliation. I can attest that Louis XVI. was the perpetual theme of their raillery and contempt. Sarcasm, falsehood, and calumny, are weapons which they handled with a dexterity peculiar to themseives; and certainly they might boast that in no reign had the art of epigrammatizing the person of the monarch been carried to a greater degree of perfection.'
It is farther asserted that Monsieur was at the head of a party of the first nobility, who openly despised the king, and had it in contemplation (we deem this very improbable) to revive the antient feudal government; and that Louis XVI. was advised of this, and was thus induced to incline towards the popular party, and to resolve on the convocation of the States General,
Much of what has lately happened in France is here attributed to the imprudence (to use no harsher term) of the aristocracy; and the author is disposed to think that the most astonishing circumstance in the history of France is, that a revolution so complete should have happened at a moment when the aristocracy seemed to have brought their system of insolence and oppression to perfection. He proceeds, however, to account for the ascendency gained by the people : « If the nobility (he says) had not been divided among themselves, if the parliament had not often set fire to their neighbour's house, (i. e. the clergy ;) if the superior had not, with a most imprudent policy, triumphed over the inferior nobility; the people would never have been able to have shaken that colossus, which was exempted from taxes and the expences of the state.'
In proof of his position that the revolution grew out of circumstances, the following anecdote is told of the Duke of Orleans: 'A marriage was in agitation between the house of Orleans and the royal family : but they found out that Orleans was not sufficiently noble for so great an alliance, and gave him a reception not very unlike that which they would have given to a private gentleman. This folly turned to the profit of the nation, which emancipated itself in the midst of the quarrels of the court.'
One of the chapters is entitled Clubs; (a word which the republicans have adopted from the English into their language;) and here the author remarks that these were each a focus of revolution, where inflammatory matter was daily collecting, which could not fail of a speedy explosion. According to M. Mercier's own confession, his work L'An 2440 (which we have already mentioned) had some effect in those clubs and popular societies.
The massacres of September are thus mentioned: Future ages will hesitate to believe that such execrable crimes should have been perpetrated in the midst of a civilized nation, in the presence of the legislature, under the very eyes and with the consent (par la volonté) of the depositaries of the laws, and in a city containing 800,000 inhabitants; who stood motionless, struck with a kind of stupor at the sight of an handful of wretches instigated by bribery to the commission of crimes. The number of assassins did not exceed 300; even if we include those who, within the doors of the prisons, constituted themselves judges of the persons arrested.'*
According to M. MERCIER, the massacres were the work of that detestable and rapacious faction which had obtained do
* Circumstances were very similar during the riots in London in the year 1780. APP. Rey. VOL, XXX,
minion by robbery and assassination. Vast depéts of very valuable property were formed, under the idea of safety, in the rooms belonging to the office of the committee of Surveillance, during the time of the domiciliary visits; and in their arrests, it was observed, the committee laid hold of property as well as people; as if the diamonds and jewels of the arrested persons were suspected as well as themselves. To prevent the restoration of this property, the massacres of September were concerted in the den of this committee of thieves and murderers; and it was here that sentence of death was passed on 8000 Frenchmen; most of whom were held in confinement without any lawful reason, and without the shadow of crime.
In a chapter entitled, Bailly, and some other portraits, one of our ministers is exhibited, who is termed Renard. - A chapter is also devoted to the British cabinet. Here, while he bitterly complains of the hatred of Britain towards France, the author endeavours to excite the detestation of the French towards us. He calls on them to enlarge their navy; he recommends war, eternal war, against the English; and he wishes that it were possible for his countrymen to metamorphose their forests into a bridge, that could carry them to the very foot of the Tower of London; which, he thinks, is the only place where, for the dignity and interest of France, a peace ought to be signed.' We shall be disappointed if our readers do not smile at this specimen of French extravagance.
We pass from politics to what is said of Philosophisme,
· The amalgam of the doctrines of Rousseau, Voltaire, Helvetias, Boulanger, and Diderot, has formed a kind of paste (pardon the expression) which ordinary minds cannot digest, and which proves prejudicial to them. When they find that old principles are ridiculed, they soon deny and abandou thein. Nor do they stop here. They substitute the system of atheism and licentiousness in the room of philosophical ideas. Philosophisın owes its origin to these books, badly read and badly comprehended; for it is difficult to make certain truths to be rightly understood by those who are not disposed to receive them. Some contagious emanations spring from these modern doctrines. Collot-d' Herbois, Billaud-de-Varennes, Lequinio, Bubauf, Antonelle, thought themselves philosophers. Ignorance engenders barbarism: but half knowlege makes things still worse ; it gives circulation to a croud of errors through the veins of the body politic; it occasions, in the name of humauity, all sorts of evils to humanity.
· We repeat it ; if the shades of these great men could arise from their tombs, on seeing such interpreters they would exclaim, To what end have we writien if we have such commentators ?
• How was I overwhelmed with astonishment at hearing the Parisians justify all these errors of the imagination, by pretended passages horribly disfigured! This new fanaticism, which the