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accidental. Instead of being the effect of the crisis, it is, in reality, its cause. The downfall of the system has been effected by means continued through preceding ages, by a chain of modifications, inde pendent of all human volition, in which all classes of society have concurred, and of which monarchs themselves have often been the primary agents or the most ardent promoters. It has been, in a word, the necessary consequence of the march of Civilization.
• It would not, then, be sufficient, in order to re-establish the ancient system, that society should retrograde as far as to the epoch of the commencement of the general crisis. For, supposing that we could arrive at it, which is absolutely impossible, we should only have replaced the social body in the situation which necessitated that crisis. It would be necessary, in retracing the past ages, to repair successively all the losses which the ancient system has sustained during six centuries, and in relation to which, what the last thirty years have abducted from it, is of no importance. The only method of attaining their object, would be, to annihilate, one by one, all the developments of civilization which have caused those losses.
• Thus monarchs, at the very time that they are planning the reconstruction of the church and state system, involve themselves in perpetual contradictions, in contributing by their own acts, rather to render more complete the disorganization of this system, or to accelerate the formation of that which must replace it. Numerous instances of this fact, present themselves to the observer. To notice only what is most remarkable, we see, that monarchs deem it an honour to en. courage the cultivation and diffusion of the sciences and the fine arts, and to excite the development of industry. We see them, to this end, institute numerous useful establishments; a circumstance which, while ultimately relating to the progress of science, of the fine arts, and of industry, must be regarded as tending to the downfall of the ancient system.
• Thus, again, by the treaty of the Holy Alliance, the Sovereigns have degraded, as far as they were able, the Sacerdotal Power, the principal basis of the ancient system, by forming a supreme European council in which that power had not even a consulting voice.
• This radical inconsistency illustrates in the most striking manner the absurdity of a plan which those who pursue it with the greatest ardour do not themselves comprehend. It clearly shews, how complete and irrevocable is the ruin of the ancient system.
• The manner in which the people have hitherto attempted the re-organization of society is, though in another way, not less prejudicial, than that adopted by sovereigns. This error is, however, more excusable, because they perplex themselves in search of the new system towards which the march of civilization is leading them, but the nature of which has not yet been determined with sufficient clearness: whereas the sovereigns are prosecuting an enterprise, the absurdity of which, the slightest attention to the past abundantly demonstrates. word, the monarchs are opposed to facts, and the people to principles, which it is always more difficult to avoid losing sight of. But this error of the people, it is of much more importance to eradicate, than
that into which monarchs fall; since it alone forms an essential obstacle to the march of civilization.
• The predominant notion in the popular mind as to the manner in which Society ought to be organized, has for its characteristic feature, a profound ignorance of the fundamental conditions upon which the social system ought to rest in order to its true stability.
People have been led to mistake for organic principles, those which have served to subvert the feudal and hierarcħal system; or, in other words, to take the mere modifications of this system for the basis of that which it is sought to establish.'
That the genius of the present age is more analytical than constructive, more critical than scientific, more acute in detecting fallacies, than comprehensive of truths, must, we think, be admitted. Happily, however, in our own country, the practical so predominates over the speculative in the national character, that there is small danger of proceeding too fast in the work of 're-organization. Our legislation still halts a little behind the march of society, and follows, rather than anticipates the Great Innovator. This is as it should be. If, again, few of our lawyers are jurists, still fewer are theorists ; and those who are ignorant of principles, retain a conservative reverence for precedents. If few of our politicians are statesmen, at least they do not set up for philosophers. The boldest projects of innovation and reform that are brought forward, the most exceptionable or dangerous, have still nothing of a visionary character. It is not by a parade of general principles that it is sought to recommend them to adoption, but by the promise of beneficial results. The greatest changes that the present generation has witnessed, have been slowly produced and tardily recognized; and reform has been but an accommodation of the law to the fact. In short, in this country, the old and the new opinions seem to blend and mutually re-act, rather than to come into conflict; and re-organization proceeds, as in the operations of nature, so as only to keep pace with the perpetual changes of absorption and decay.
Among the causes of the French Revolution, it is strange that so much stress should be laid upon the character of the king, and so little on the national character. It is not a mere truism, that the French Revolution could have occurred only in France, and in France as it was. That such a revolution could not have taken place in England, is proved by the different character of what our Tory writers are fond of calling the Great Rebellion under the first Charles, in which the apparent similarity of the principal events serves but to make more conspicuous the moral contrast. It has been justly remarked by an acute observer of human nature, that 'a period of insurrection
deserves peculiar study, as the true touchstone of national cha"racter,—the season when all the qualities of men may be the
most fairly judged. It is the interregnum of law and the sa
turnalia of passion.' In England, however, during the suspension of the power of the executive, there was scarcely an interregnum of law; for that which George Withers describes as
a yet auguster thing, Veiled though it be, than Parliament or King,' still maintained its supremacy in the public mind. 'Independ‘ently of the murder of the king,' remarks Mr. Chevenix, 'no
very great crimes stained this Revolution. It was not accompanied by any such atrocious measures as occurred in the political disturbances of other countries. Although Cromwell • himself was a profound dissembler, no great act of national
perfidy had taken place. Religion was not rooted out of the • hearts of the people, to make room for impiety; and fanaticism, not atheism, caused the abuses of the time; still leaving a hope that, when the frenzy was calmed, the name of God might be again respected. Morality, instead of being openly relaxed, • affected austerity; and they who despised it, were compelled to
use hypocrisy. In short, none of the tremendous vices which • threaten the very foundations of society, broke out among the people, to destroy the hope of ever re-establishing good order.'t
Apart from the merits of the quarrel, in no stage of its history does the English nation present a grander attitude, or exhibit more the character of moral energy, than during the long contest between the Parliament and the King. It is a period which no Englishman needs blush to remember; and he must cease to feel as an Englishman, before he can lose his sympathy with Hampden, and Pym, and Hutchinson, his veneration for Milton and selden, Owen and Baxter ; while of Cromwell himself, it must be said, that even if his sincere patriotism be doubted, he was the most blameless of usurpers. The occasion of the revolution was no idle pretext ; it was real and substantial, and the cause of the Parliament was at least in its origin a just one.
It was after a long and intelligent struggle for civil liberty, and in consequence of a sudden check being given to its progress, that the insurrection broke out. The nation had gradually been becoming not only more determined upon obtaining its rights, but more capable and more worthy of freedom. In every respect, the state of France before the Revolution exhibits an entire contrast.
Its pretexts, as Mr. Chenevix remarks, were wholly different from its
• The cause,' he adds, was simply this, the moral state • of the entire nation. France had long been undergoing a pro
* Chenevix on National Character, Vol. I. p. 315.
cess of corruption in all its parts, and had become unfit even * for the government which it possessed in 1788.' *
The contrast between the two revolutions is pursued in some subsequent paragraphs, which we cannot refrain from transcribing.
• The French revolution began by the most atrocious crimes; but those crimes were not new; and they were accompanied by all the minutiæ of horror which had characterized them in every period. There is not a single act of blood or treachery, not a single day of massacre or outrage, but has its melancholy precedent, often repeated, in the former history of France. The language, indeed, was changed; and an unusual term, liberty, was introduced, to be the excuse for all. Old crimes were committed under new names and new pretences, to make the world suppose them virtues ;-a species of hypocrisy not demanded by the nation itself, but practised in deference to those who heard of them from afar.
• Nothing can be more false than to assert, that the revolution was undertaken in the cause of freedom. The whole system of reform was a series of untruth and cunning, and all was carried on by treachery. The nearest ties of blood or friendship were allowed no confidence. Servants were bribed to betray their masters; and in every province, men and women were brought to the scaffold by fathers, friends, or brothers. The most eloquent apostle of French revolutionary liberty exclaimed, in his fervour: “Delation, a shame and a vice in despotic - states, is a virtue among free men.” And the principle was consecrated by the holiest practice.
* But the cruelty of this revolution surpassed even its perfidy. The number of persons massacred, not in battle, during the reign of the best assembly, the Constituent, was 3,753, or nearly five per day during about two years. The legislative body had the effrontery to countenance these massacres; and Mirabeau declared, that Liberty was a prostitute who delighted to revel among heaps of carcases. These were the virtuous days of French regeneration. The second assembly sat about 355 days, and encouraged the perpetration of 8044 massacres, or about twenty-five per day. The Convention lasted about three
years, and at its instigation 1,026,606 massacres were committed, making about 1000 per day. But, besides this, 800,000 perished in civil war, 20,000 by famine, and 3,400 women died in premature child-birth, brought on by terror. The destruction of property was everywhere in the like proportion. After the reign of the Convention, cruelty began to yield its place to cunning, and the most perfidious of governments succeeded to the most sanguinary ..
• The manner in which the English and the French conducted themselves towards their sovereigns, though both events terminated in death, is characteristic. The provocation which the former had borne was great, and it was wonderful that the father did not suffer in the stead of the son. The demands of the English, just and reasonable as they were, had been constantly refused; and whenever any point was
* Chenevix, Vol. I. p. 336.
VOL. IX.- N.S.
gained, it was withdrawn again as soon as possible. Charles had even waged war upon the Parliament that murdered him, and no man relied upon his word. But Louis XVI. was sincere and gentle, upright in his intentions, had not violated any promise, and sincerely desired a true reform. He complied with every wish of his subjects, however unreasonable ; and the only reproach which can be made to him is his weakness. When pushed to extremities, he did, indeed, attempt to save himself and family by flight; but the French were not wise or generous enough to allow him to escape. The English bore the misconduct of the Stuarts for near half a century, while the gentleness of Louis could not preserve him one-tenth part of the time from the scaffold.
• Charles was ill treated during his captivity, and his death was ignominious; but the sufferings of Louis were infinitely more agonizing. Given in charge to the lowest of wretches, he was compelled to bear their insults, as well to himself as to his wife, his children, and his sister: and his keepers spared him no afffiction which could render his situation more bitter.
" When Charles was dead, the malice of the British was appeased. When the French king was no more, his family was persecuted; his wife, his son, his sister, three princes of his_blood, were murdered, and the rest were pursued by imprecations. But it may be said, the English monarch had the precaution to send his family out of the kingdom. He did so, and how was his queen, Henrietta, the daughter of the most beloved monarch whom that nation ever knew-of Henri IV.-treated by her own nearest royal relations, in her own country? The French monarch was a better man than the British, and for this reason the murder of Louis XVI. is less excusable.
Another characteristic which distinguishes the two revolutions, is, the fate of religion. Ever since the time of Wickliffe, the tendency in England was to simplify the forms of worship, even more than was consonant with a monarchical government. Such a system must lead to atheism, if not sincere ;—to enthusiasm, if the heart be really strong enough to maintain its belief by spiritual feeling alone. Fortunately the latter prevailed; and though, no doubt, many may have perverted the practice, the principle which became prevalent was religious exaggeration. Even admitting an assertion which is not true, that enthusiasm is capable of producing as much evil as irreligion, still, the effects which each leaves behind are completely opposite. Fanaticism is a fever, but atheism is death. From the one, men may recover: from the other, they cannot. Irreligion leaves no limit to vice ; while enthusiasm, not daring to commit any act but in the name of devotion, has a boundary which it must not pass. It was in the name of the Lord that Cromwell condemned his sovereign to the block; but he never could have used such pretexts coolly to murder one thousand persons per day during one thousand days. Nothing but atheism could, in the present age, have tolerated such scenes of blood as were hourly committed in France.' Chenevir. Vol. I. pp. 339-343. •
See, for a review of this work, Ecl. Rev. vol. vii. (30 Series), p. 324. We deem it unnecessary, in using the above paragraphs for our