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stability of social order ; and these are without doubt the men of property Property, that singular and mysterious union of persons with things and of things with persons, is, in fact, the real bond by which society is held together. The political rights of citizens ought therefore to be in proportion to their property, and a certain share of the latter is the first condition necessary for a representative. It is true that fortune will not confer talents, information, disinterestedness, or patriotism: it will not even prevent corruption, but it will render this evil less probable because more difficult. Moreover, a moderate fortune gives the means of education, and insures to him who possesses it the command of the time that is necessary to enlighten his mind and unfold his faculties. Genius, it is true, will force its way through the trammels of indigence, and the obstacles which it opposes will sometimes add to its power and elevation : but genius is an exception which cannot serve as the basis of a rule.
To require a competent fortune in a representative is not to introduce the aristocracy of wealth, (the most fatal of all aristocracies,) nor does it shut out from the mass of the people the hope of obtaining the most honourable situations. Property is in perpetual motion, and is constantly changing masters. Misfortunes and folly impoverish the rich; chance, activity, and ability, enrich the poor: it is therefore favourable to the increase of national wealth to give property the most elevated rank in the political scale, because it excites the industry and activity of citizens by an additional attraction. It may certainly happen that a man of merit may be thus excluded from the national representation : but it is less dangerous to expose ourselves to this loss than to divide the legislative power among innovators and men of wealth, -- among all those whose pride, vanity, or cupidity, have every thing to gain and nothing to lose.'
In treating of the different orders of the state, the author insists at considerable length on the necessity of the nobility being great fanded proprietors; a point in which his opinions are considerably at variance with the existing laws of France. These laws, enacted during the Revolution, and not rescinded since the restoration of the Bourbons, provide for an equal division of property among the children or next heirs of a testator, and enable the latter to appropriate only a fourth to any individual whom he may prefer. The palliative. to this law, which, were it to continue long in operation, would soon sap the foundation of all the great families in the kingdom, is in the power possessed by the proprietor of alienating his estates during his life by free gifts, bonds, &e.
When he comes to speak of the English constitution, M.ANCILLON takes occasion to pass many compliments both on it and on our national character: but he very justly observes that it would suit scarcely any other people in the present state of the Continent. To form a house of Peers and a house of
Commons is a very different thing from securing all the benefits of that which it has required centuries to form, — “ which has grown with our growth, and strengthened with our strength.” Foreigners have very little idea of the true nature of the English constitution, and are particularly puzzled to comprehend how the nation can tolerate the existence of so mischievous a body as the Opposition.
Adverting to the present state of Prussia, and the general wish of the people for a new constitution, the writer dwells strongly on the importance of studying the national character under both past and present circumstances, and of guarding against the adoption of a particular system on account of its theoretical beauty.
Sudden changes (he remarks) are always prejudicial; forms of government have not a positive but a relative value ; and we should introduce nothing which is not in strict conformity with the previous habits of the people, but keep in view antient customs, peculiarities, and even prejudices. If the French government before the Revolution had considered the spirit of the times in the manner here pointed out, it would have acted very differently, and have saved its country, Europe, and itself: but that government, crouching under the yoke of what was called public opinion, allowed itself to be guided and misled by it: thus the opportunity of saving the monarchy was lost; and this fatal period was filled with crimes and calamities of all sorts, which will call down on it the curses of future ages, and the irrevocable condemnation of the world at large.
• Divine Justice, in its slow but certain progress, has at length reached the Revolution; its avenging hand has ravished from the French people their last triumph, that of arms, and has torn from them the trophies which enveloped and hid from them all their
It' is time that the other nations of Europe, enlightened by this tremendous lesson, should become aware of their peril, and expel from among them the seeds of so many sanguinary errors.'
The subject of this book naturally leads its author to the old ground of the causes of the French Revolution, and suggests the opinion that a firmer conduct on the part of the unfortunate Louis XVI. would have either prevented or stopped the eruption :- had he possessed vigour enough to support M. de Calonne, the monarchy would have been saved and the people satisfied.' We can by no means subscribe to this opinion. The operating causes were too numerous and too powerful to admit of being thus checked in the outset. The disorder of the finances, the ungracious immunities of the privileged classes, the inequality of taxation, and the waste of public money, all concurred to excite a discontent and even a ferment in the public mind, which could be con
trouled neither by the inventive powers of a minister nor by the firmness of a sovereign. The explosion was accelerated, it is true, by collateral causes, such as the infatuation of the Duke of Orleans and the pressure of a year of scarcity : but these are not sufficient to account for the agitation which pervaded not only the towns but retired villages; infecting even the lower orders of the clergy, , and leading that powerful body to concur with the Tiers Etat on questions on which their adherence to the noblesse would have been of the greatest importance. - Another assertion, and one of much greater force, is that there would probably have been no Revolution had the throne of France been filled by such a sovereign as Henry IV. This may be true, because in that case a timely check would have been given to many of the sources of public discontent; such as the undue exemption of the clergy and nobility, and the abuses in the public expenditure. It is also by no means clear that so intelligent a ruler would have taken part in the American war; and he certainly would not have committed the unaccountable folly of calling a meeting of the Etats Généraux at the time when he must necessarily throw himself on their mercy.
Having devoted our attention so far to M. ANCILLON, we are next to bestow a few remarks on his translator; who has not chosen to give his name, and who partakes in no small degree of the inequality of the original writer: but who, on certain occasions, discovers the power of reasoning with considerable energy on the actual state of France. The ensuing paragraph is extracted from his preface:
• It is impossible to listen in silence when we hear so many persons continually exclaiming “ the Revolution is terminated," as if it were possible that a political concussion of such magnitude could end on a particular day, or by the magical effects of a single event.
A Revolution is not to be crushed in a moment: .we have already seen three or four Revolutions brought to a close, and we have seen likewise the growth of others; and who shall venture to affirm that similar causes, that errors of the same kind, will not produce among us a recurrence of the same political shocks ? The causes of such events ought to be sought out and eradicated; former faults should be ascertained and avoided. Other nations have only seen our Revolution from a distance, and yet
the most thinking men are of opinion that the seeds of it have taken root among them: how, then, can it be supposed that no trace of it should remain among a people who have been so long familiar with it?
The most formidable effects of the Revolution are the principles which it engenders ; principles the more powerful because, among a number of people, they have already acquired the strength of prejudices ; and because, with a great proportion of
the present generation, they have still the charm of novelty. On the one hand, the despotism of Bonaparte has changed neither political theories nor the manner of thinking of those men who co-operated in the Revolution; on the other, the care with which he concealed from the rising generation all ideas of liberty, and of a constitutional government, condemns young people to so profound an ignorance, and to such total inexperience in matters of government, that they may be easily led to embrace blindly such seductive doctrines. It is, then, of the highest importance, even to ourselves, to examine and appretiate justly these doctrines, to reject those that are false and dangerous, — and to substitute in their place opinions more wise and sober. We should thus prevent France from wandering again in those devious paths which she has already trodden.'
At the close of the original text, the translator has added a variety of observations in the form of notes, none of which possess a claim to the attention of our readers except the subsequent; which is really a forcible and judicious picture of the state of feeling among the military and civil officers who have borne a part in the long period of the French Revolution.
· Nothing is more essential to a government than to get hold of those vital principles which apimate a nation, and to erect on them the edifice of its popularity. It is not by attempting to eradicate these principles, at least, it is not by dwelling on all the evils and crimes of which they have been the cause, that we can prevent the recurrence of similar misfortunes. Forbearance and time are necessary with a people accustomed to power and con: quest, before they can learn in what respects that power and, conquest are censurable; above all, it is requisite that they should not apprehend that the great and difficult actions which they have atchieved should be either forgotten or disowned. We can form no adequate idea of the dignified sentiments and generous feelings which remain in the breasts of men who have been in a constant state of agitation, who have been exposed to imminent dangers, and whose exertions have been continual ; their faults may have been great; their errors, and let us not hesitate to say it, their vices, may even inspire dread and disgust: but they preserve in the midst of all a remainder of dignity in a consciousness of strength, and in the recollection of an active life, which maintains within them that fire of moral sentiment which is apparently extinguished. Certainly we must feed this fire with other materials, and must give these sentiments another direction and other objects; and this is easier than it may be supposed. A vast number of the most fanatical among the Leaguers became the most faithful adherents of Henry IV., who knew how to appropriate to himself the energy and devotedness of those bold and determined characters : had he done otherwise, they would have considered themselves as despised.
« What is it that renders a people capable of knowing and repairing their errors ? — the recollection of the dignified sentiments which they had preserved during and even after their delirium. This feeling is not to be destroyed. If it be wounded, it will change into a stubborn pride, which acknowleges no fault, and which will be the less susceptible of amendment or repentance from the injustice shewn to it. If, on the contrary, it be soothed; if pains be taken to shew the people their errors, giving them at the same time due praise for all that was great or generous in their conduct; they will gradually yield and make concessions : even their dispositions will change; and they will soon obey without reserve that power which, after having so well known how to appretiate them, will not hesitate to accept their services.'
These observations are evidently suggested by the divided state of public feeling in France; the noblesse in that country being impatient to bring back things to their former level: and the clergy forgetting, in their indiscriminate zeal for one object, that the Revolution was instrumental in overthrowing many of the worst appendages of the church, and may be made to contribute in promoting, particularly by toleration, the cause of true Christianity. The King, however, has been at no loss to take a decided turn : during the last twelve months, he has attached himself in a very confiding manner to the party formerly connected with the Revolution; and his latest measures, down to the plan for the progressive admission of the half-pay officers into active service, imply a conviction that, their former leader being politically dead, the reigning sovereign may accept their professional aid without hesitation.
ART. IX. Mémoires, &c.; i.e. Memoirs of the Class of Mathe.
matical and Physical Sciences in the Institute of France. Vol. XII. for the Year 1811. 4to. Paris. 1812-1814; and Vol. XIII. for 1812. 4to. Paris. 1814-1816. [ Article concluded from the last Appendix, pp. 468—494.]
MATHEMATICS AND ASTRONOMY. Ery little occurs in the historical part of Volume XII., on
these subjects, composed as usual by M. DELAMBRE, that does not relate to the memoirs published in that which preceded it; and which have been reported in our article above cited. Of the new works, also, which appeared during the year 1811, the most important have been previously examined in some of our pumbers, viz. the Mécanique Analytique of Liz Grange ; and the Mémoires sur la Formule Barometrique by M. Ramond ; the former of which will be found in our sxxxth volume, Old Series, p. 163., and in Vol. lxxx. of the New Scrios, p. 511.,