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regret to the happiness which he has thrown away. Neither does he any longer possess that flow of spirits, which is the surest shield against suffering from the agitations of the stronger passions. Ultimately his heart becomes corrupt, and his life loose, even to licentiousness. He plunges into dissipation to shake off the thorns which the flowers of indulgence have left within his heart; and he only doubles their number. He becomes soured in temper, and discontented in his habits of thought. The present has for him no joys, the future no hopes; the past he dares not look at. At length, from fortuitous circumstances, a second dawn breaks and brightens upon him ; a happiness, he has not deserved, is placed almost within his reach, when a circumstance, equally fortuitous, snatches it from him for ever!
What store of mental comfort and consolation has he then to turn to ? What feelings has he hived up to support him in sorrow or adversity? Alas! none; his life becomes one dreary gloom ; there is no bright spot to alleviate or adorn it.
Such a man as this cannot bear solitude ; he rushes again into the world, and seeks means of driving away reflection more desperate even than those he formerly employed. These ruin his fortune, as those had corrupted his heart; and he sells himself in a mercenary marriage, which completes the climax of his misfortunes caused by faults. And what is the result ? He drags on two or three miserable years, and sinks into an early grave, alike morally and physically worn out. He dies of old age at nine-and-thirty
Such is the outline, as it has appeared to me, of the life of a man of the description I have named. Is the picture one, which we should wish to be a likeness of ourselves ? I think there cannot be two opinions on the subject.
• Reader, if the bent of your disposition be inclining you to the course of which you have just seen the consequence, pause a moment on your way, and ask yourself this question : -" How shall I think on these subjects by the time I am forty ?” – Vol. ii. pp. 276—279.
It would be unjust to deny that this is a clever book; that it contains some very attractive passages, and that it altogether entitles the author to look on himself as capable of more important efforts. But its principle of authorship is wrong. By making the hero a creature of such wayward and transitory motives, it goes far to extinguish the interest essential to the leading character of a romance. Men like Blount are not to be found out of the study, or, if they are, they are altogether too rare to form a class; and instead of being capable of exciting the respect of man or the love of woman, are ridiculed and repelled by both, as miserably selfish, and eaten up by sickly affectation. The excuse of want of excitement is perfectly worthless. No man believes that any thing leads the drunkard to encounter the pains and penalties of his vice but the love for getting drunk. The gratification to be found in other vices is, in like manner, the cause of encountering their pains and penalties. Superlative elegance of taste and superfine delicacy of feeling may be the excuses; but the true reason is to be found in grossness of appetite and vulgarity of mind.
This writer allows himself to fall into a good deal of rather ungraceful phraseology.
• It is a beautiful country this, hereabouts. . It is a pretty sight this, eh, Frewin?'
· The Bastille surrendered at about twenty minutes before five o'clock' (certainty checked by uncertainty).
* This is a very pretty spot, this villa of hers.'
We might cite several other instances of phraseology equally objectionable; but we have already devoted sufficient space to a work that, after all, has but little chance of being read a few years hence.
Art. V. Annuaire Nécrologique; ou, Complément Annuel et Con
tinuation de toutes les 'Biographies, ou Dictionnaires Historiques, &c. Rédigé et publié par A. Mahul. Année 1824. 8vo. pp. 429. Paris.
Décembre, 1825. Treuttel and Wurtz, London. This work, as its title imports, is of a character analogous to that of our British Annual Biography and Obituary, of which we recently noticed the last published volume.* The · Annuare Nécrologique,' however, puts forth by far a more ambitious promise than the Eng. lish collection; for it professes to afford a continuation of all former biographical dictionaries, and to give the lives of “ tous les hommes remarquables par leurs actes ou leurs productions,' who may have died since its establishment. It therefore undertakes the record, not only of national but of universal biography; and, accordingly, it is formally divided into Partie Française and Partie Etrangère. The full amount of this pledge is by no means redeemed in the execution. Of the volume before us the portion devoted to the lives of foreigners who died in the year 1823 is meagre, defective, and, in general, wretchedly compiled. The catalogue of distinguished persons which it enumerates is imperfect and scanty; and the selection has been so injudiciously chosen, that while we are presented with a detailed account of several individuals of little or no importance, others of far greater celebrity have been entirely overlooked or forgotten.
That part of the volume, however, — by far the largest, — which is occupied with the national biography, bears a very different character, It provides us with a copious and, as far as we can determine, a complete and accurate biographical dictionary of all the Frenchmen of any notoriety who died during the year 1824. It includes not only personages celebrated by their political or military career, but individuals of all denominations and pursuits who had ever excited public attention; men of letters and science, priests, lawyers, physicians, artists, -in a word, characters of every pro
* See Monthly Review, No. III. pp. 233—241.
fession and class, by whatever means conspicuous in their several stations. It is obvious that a work upon this plan, if compiled with proper materials, scrupulous fidelity, and good judgment, will not only be full of present interest, but must eventually prove of considerable value, as a book of general information and reference. It should offer an ample store-house of matter for the future political and literary historian of the times, and it must serve as a receptacle for a great variety of facts that might otherwise be lost with the reminiscences of the passing generation.
Judging from the mass of very interesting French personal history which is compressed into the volume before us, we are disposed to ascribe to the Annuaire Nécrologique' a great deal of the merit and importance which such a work should possess; and regarding it only as a manual of national (and not of foreign) biography, we have little hesitation in predicting that it will form a valuable acquisition to this department of French literature. It commenced, moreover, at a fortunate juncture; for the first volume was the obituary for the year 1820, when the revolutionary storms of thirty years had finally subsided into a lasting calm, and when the secure establishment of a constitutional government had given men leisure, impunity, and temper for some approach to dispassionate judgment on the past. Since that epoch, every successive year has removed from the stage a great number of the actors who figured in the most eventful scenes of French history; and it is of course desirable, that while the characters and actions of these men are yet fresh and recent in the memory of their surviving contemporaries, the records of their lives should be collected and preserved.
In such an undertaking it would be absurd to expect perfect impartiality. The notice of every public character in the collection must bear a hue of prejudice more or less glaring, according to the opinions and party of the biographer. The political spirit in which the work is composed must, therefore, be a leading point of enquiry in determining the degree of reliance that may be placed upon its statements; and here it is satisfactory to observe, that the Annuaire Nécrologique’ is written throughout with moderation, candour, and consistent liberality. The principles upon which it is conducted are evidently those of constitutional liberty. We encounter in its pages neither the servility of ultra-royalism nor that strange obliquity and confusion of sentiment which, in France, rendered the same faction the advocates of jacobinical equality and imperial despotism. Whatever political leaning is discoverable in the work tends to the support of opinions which are daily gaining strength in that country, and on which the safety of the monarchy and the happiness of the people can alone be permanently established, -- opinions assimilating to the moderate Whig doctrines of our own constitution. But, in truth, such is the tone of dispassionate remark in which the conduct of political characters is here weighed and represented, and so fair and candid are the allowances made for the turbulence and heats of an age of revolution, that no one but a furious partisan will find any thing to condemn in the spirit of the work; and we only refer to the subject at all as offering the best standard of judgment on the claims of the book to attention and praise.
In this consistency of opinion, and also in uniformity of style and manner, the Annuaire Nécrologique' is perhaps superior to our Annual Biography. There is here nothing to betray that the different articles are not all the productions of the same hand; and still less is there evinced any discrepancy or opposition of sentiment and principles. We are not sure either that we do not, upon the whole, prefer the plan of this work. The unbroken alphabetical arrangement of names and articles is extremely convenient for references, and does not at all interfere with the power of rendering each memoir as detailed, or as brief, as the occasion may seem to require. As the pages are printed in double columns, and the type is at once small and clear, the volume contains an unusual quantity of matter; and its form renders it more compendious than our English work. But it must be added, that the principal pieces in this collection are very inferior in elegance of composition and interesting detail to many of the memoirs which grace our Annual Obituary; and, in fact, the French work is altogether rather a dictionary of useful reference than a select cabinet of valuable biography for light and entertaining perusal.
· The summary and comprehensive nature of the volume before us will be understood from the simple statement of the amount of its contents. The articles are above one hundred and fifty in number, and of these nearly three-fourths are notices of Frenchmen who died in the one year, 1824. It will hence be rightly concluded that the catalogue is swelled by many names which should absolutely have been numbered among " the forgotten and unhonoured dead,” and with various others, which, if not totally unknown to fame in France itself, can possess little or no interest for us. Among these last are to be found a“ pretty considerable sprinkling," as Jonathan would call it, of the small fry of prose, poetry, and politics. But without lingering to notice this crowd of undistinguished mediocrity,
“ Non ragioniam di lor, ma garda e passa," : we may observe that the French obituary of 1824 is, for the brief space of a single year, uncommonly full of remarkable names. In that year death seems to have made a kind of latter harvest of those who bad escaped the tremendous gathering of the revolutionary era. Of the men who figured conspicuously in the earliest scenes of that era not a great number, indeed, have survived to these times; but the wonder is not that so few, but rather how any, of the original actors in the Revolution contrived to outlive the fearful succession of raging horrors, of denunciations and death, proscription and massacre, with which each wild and lawless faction in turn hunted down all its opponents. Of the few of these remarkable men whom the Revolution had spared, the year 1824 swept several away; and records appear in this volume of Chastellain, Dalmas, Cordier, Drouet, Pache, Revellière-Lépeaux, Cambacérès, and Lebrun, all members of the Convention, and the two last of whom played such prominent parts in the after-plot of the Revolution.
There is some curiosity and interest in tracing the different fortunes of these revolutionary characters. There was scarcely one of them but, at some period of his career, stood on the brink of the scaffold; and most of them were only rescued from the guillotine by the overthrow of the monster, Robespierre. The two first, Chastellain and Dalmas, were of the moderate party in the Convention, who voted against the death of Louis XVI. Both of them suffered imprisonment during the reign of terror; and Chastellain, after filling an office in the republican judicature, passed the last twenty years of his life in rural retirement and privacy. But Dalmas, who had made himself conspicuous in the National Assembly by his courageous efforts to maintain the constitutional monarchy, and to protect the royal family on the famous 10th of August, 1792, served in various public employments under the empire, and after the restoration of the Bourbons attracted the grateful notice of Louis XVIII. “I can never forget," said the monarch to him, o the service which you rendered to us under the most disastrous circumstances;” and his reward was the prefecture of a department, which he held to the period of his death. Cordier, Drouet, Pache, and Revellière-Lépeaux, were all of the number of the regicides. Cordier, as our biographer remarks, only emerged from obscurity for a single day of his life; but that day was a memorable one. No trace of his fortunes remains after his vote for the execution of the King, until his own death at Brussels, where he bad languished in exile, penury, and oblivion..
The fate of Drouet was more remarkable. This man was the famous post-master of St. Menehould, who, on the flight of the royal family, recognised the person of Louis XVI., (whom he had never before seen,) from his striking resemblance to his portrait on the assignats. Giving the alarm, he was, it will be recollected, the author of the arrest of Louis at Varennes; and his zeal upon that occasion obtained for him a seat in the Convention, where he became one of the most violent agitators of the Jacobin party. He voted, of course, for the King's death, and shared in the subsequent atrocities of his faction. Being sent upon some occasion, after the execution of the Girondists, to the army, he was taken prisoner by the Austrians, and transported to the castle of Spielberg, in Moravia. From his rigid confinement there he attempted to escape, by leaping, it is said, from a window, at the incredible height of two hundred feet from the ground, with no other precaution than a kind of parachute, which he had constructed to moderate the violence of the fall. He broke his leg, however, in the daring enterprise, and