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- * Pray, how long have majorities influenced revolutions ? Has not experience shewn, that more frequently the minority carry all before them? Did, for instance, France desire the murder of Louis XVI.?- Was she for the Convention and its crimes for the Directory and its baseness for Buonaparte and bis conscription? She wished for none of this - her heart revolted at it all; but she was restrained by an active and armed minority. Can we then infer, because a majority is silent, that it does not exist; that its sentiments do not live in a million of hearts. If this be true, there is a very short rule for all cases-the oppressed are always wrong, and the oppressor is always right,
** But relieve this majority from the yoke of tyranny, and what will happen? · * The answer is before our eyes..
« The Electoral Colleges, summoned and composed by Buonaparte, exercise their elective functions under the King. Of which party are they? They elect the most determined royalists. I will say more :-it required the whole force of ministerial influence to procure the return of certain individuals whom the public feeling repelled.
" Far from wishing for revolutionists, we are sick of them. The tide is set the other way; we desire no more revolutions, and no more revolutionists. ' .“ But let us stick to facts. I entreat my reader to call to his recollection the departments, the towns, villages, hamlets, with which he may be acquainted. In all these places he will have no difficulty in reckoning the numbers of the revolutionary men. Are there a thousand in a department, an hundred in a town, a dozen in the village or hamlet? There is no such thing.
“ Those who have only travelled through provinces devastated by two successive invasions who have followed the steps of twelve hundred thousand foreign soldiers--who have heard the peasants complaining amid their plundered fields, and desolated cottages-are they to judge of the whole population by the accents of grief, of hunger, and of misery? But how is it that these very provinces have returned deputies at least as royalist as the rest of France ? Can we be ignorant that all the northern departments are animated by the purest loyalty? In the west and south, the fervour of this feeling amounts to enthusiasm.
“ These are facts.” (p. 130-132.) • Having, even since the publication of the work before us in Paris, travelled through a most populous part of France, and having learnt something of the general state of feeling throughout that country from sources on which we can rely, we may be excused if we here interrupt our review for a few moments, while we notice at least the external appearance of the public mind. It is undoubtedly true, that the
south is royally disposed (whether it merit the warm ex. pression of the author may perhaps be questioned), but it is equally clear, that the northern portions of the kingdom; more especially the district under the immediate dominion of the British troops, is very hostile to the new order of things. Serious affrays, with consequences still more serious, daily happen between our troops and the half-pay officers of the late French army; all mention of them is, however, carefully suppressed in the public journals, and few accounts reach this country from private individuals. A few days before we left the Continent, a very unpleasant circumstance occurred, which may serve as a specimen of the sort of terms which subsist. Two English officers, accom panied by two ladies, were met near Cambray by two ermilitaires ; all the parties were on horseback, and the Eng. lishmen, taking the middle of the road, and the ladies fall. ing behind them, left a considerable space for the Frenchmen to pass on either side. Instead of so doing, with the utmost violence they rode against the Englishmen, and dismounted one of them, who took revenge by horsewhipping the Frenchmán, to whom his companion lent no assistance. This affair excited much ferment in Cambray, all the French being opposed to our troops ; and the Duke of Wel. lington found himself under the painful necessity of disarming many of the French inhabitants, and of ordering that English officers should wear their uniforms and their sidearms. In consequence of this proceeding, the French refused to attend the theatre, which was also frequented by British officers, and it was closed in consequence. Upon this statement our readers may place the most assured reliance.
The author next insists, that if it be true that there are no royalists in France, it becomes doubly important that measures should be taken to make them; and he contends with much force, that the revolutionary system is not very likely to lead to success. General epurations, or, as we should understand it, expurgations (a term that did not occur to the translator of the work before us) are recommended in opposition to partial deprivations of suspected indivi. duals, which M. de Chateaubriand argues are impolitic and unjust. This is a part of the subject in which we can least of all concur with the author, who, acting upon broad principles of policy, would adopt the same rule with regard to punishments that ought to prevail with respect to rewards. After maintaining that there exists a moral conspiracy
against legitimacy, he thus points out the secret purpose concealed behind the system of revolutionary interests: in . * The system which it is pretended must be followed, for the safety of the throne, and the tranquillity of the state, conceals within itself the secret purpose for which it has been adopted, and to the triumph of which it is directed.
" It is laid down as a maxim by a certain party, that a revolution such as ours, can be terminated only by a change of dynasty. Others who are more moderate say, by a change in the order of succession : I shall refrain from entering into the detail of these criminal and treasonable propositions.
“ Who is to be placed on the throne instead of the Bourbons ? · On this point opinions are divided, but they are agreed on the necessity of deposiug the legitimate family. The Stuarts are the example cited. History tempts them;-had it not been for the execution of Charles I. we should not deplore that of Louis XVI. Wretched imitators ! you did not even invent the crime.
“ How shall I prove that this horrible doctrine is mysteriously hidden under the system of revolutionary interests ?
“ I need only cast a glance on the pamphlets and journals of the hundred days.
“I have since read, and others have likewise read, publications which leave nothing doubtful, not even the name. Amidst the gaiety of the table, or in the heat of discussion, which is another sort of intoxication, candour avows and levity betrays their secret thoughts. But if I wanted direct proofs, I need only cast my eyes on what is passing around me: whenever one sees a uniform plan, and regular parts connected and corresponding with each other, it is evident that such regularity could not have been the effect of chance; a consequence leads me to look for a principle; and through the nature of the effect, I arrive at the character of the cause.
“Let us observe the object, and follow the progress of this conspiracy.
• The chief object of that which I term the conspiracy of the moral interests of the revolution, is to change the dynasty; its secondary object is to impose on the new sovereign the conditions to which it endeavoured to subject the King at St. Dennis: namely, to adopt the tri-coloured cockade, acknowledge himself to be King by the grace of the people, to re-embody the army of the Loire, and recal the representatives of Buonaparte, if they should happen to be alive at the period. The present existence of this project, which has never been abandoned, will be rendered completely evident by the observation of facts which stare us in the face.” (p. 173–175.)
Having shewn other unhappy consequences likely to result from the policy now prevailing, the author enters upon the reverse, and points out the remedies he would apply : in introducing this part of his subject, he observes : Crit. Rev. Vol. IV. Oct. 1816.
“ I have never published any thing without hesitation and self-mistrust: for the first time, I now venture to use different language; I venture to make a proposition to restore tranquillity to France.” He then advances to his plan.
• According to the principles which I have just laid down, France can be saved only by preserving and maintaining the political results of the Revolution, which have been consecrated by the charterputting, at the same time, a final stop to the Revolution itself-distinguishing it from its consequences, and, I will say, destroying it, that its consequences may be secure.
“ The interests and recollections of old and new France should be as much as possible mingled together, instead of being separated or sacrificed to revolutionary interests.
“ The church and the state should be allied for their mutual dignity and safety.
• Hence, I am for the whole charter-perfect freedom-all the institutions which bave grown up by the course of time, the change of manners, and the progress of the human mind; but with them I would preserve all the remains of the ancient monarchy, religion, the eternal principles of morality and justice; and, above all, I would not preserve those men too well known by their crimes and our misfortunes.
What a paradox it is to pretend to give a people institutions, generous, noble, polished, independent, and to imagine that we can only establish such institutions by confiding them to men who are neither generous, nor noble, nor polished, nor independent; to dream that we can form a present without a past-plant a tree without roots, a society without religion! It is an indictment against the proceedings of all free people; it is disavowing the unanimous concord of all nations; it is despising the opinion of the greatest moralists and statesmen of ancient and of modern times.
“ My scheme has at least the advantage of being consistent with the rules of common sense, and in accord with the experience of ages. The execution of it is easy: it is worth the trial.- What have we gained by keeping in the ruts, in which we have been jolting for the three last years? Let us try to get out of them: we have already broken the state-coach once: unless we try a new road, we shall not reach our journey's end.” (p. 222-223.)
Our last extract shall be from the conclusion of the work, where the author pronounces a eulogium on the constitutional monarchy.
“ A representative monarchy is not, perhaps, a perfect system of government, but it has incontestible advantages. When there is war abroad, or insurrection at home, it becomes, by the suspension of certain laws, a kind of dictatorship. Is a Chamber factious,-it is restrained by the other, or dissolved by the King. Should the course of inheritance place on the throne a Prince hostile to public freedom,—the Chambers resist the invasion of tyranny. No other species of government can impose weightier taxes, or raise greater armies. It is particularly favourable to arts and literature. Under a despotic system, when the Monarch dies, his plans die with him; with Chambers (which, continually revived, live for ever) every thing lives, and nothing dies but the individual person of the Monarch : the Chambers resemble, in this respect, those religious and literary corporations which never died, and which used to complete immense undertakings, which no individual would have courage to attempt, or longevity to finish.
“ Every man, in such a government, finds his use and his place; and the government, obliged to employ the ablest men, will learn to make use of all ranks and of all ages.” (p. 236—237.) ,
Our review of this important work (which, for the excellence of many of its general principles of government, for the enlightened spirit in which it is written, and the eloquence of the language-intended, we believe, as an imitative improvement upon Montesquieu,—will be read with interest by persons of all parties) has already extended so far, as almost to preclude general remarks in the wind. ing up.
Its author has been attacked on all sides; but the same resolution which induced him to print the work, has given him firmness to endure calumny. le avows boldly his enmity to the Revolution, and to those who shared in it; but he endeavours impartially to draw a line between such as would introduce revolutionary principles, and such as are anxious for the re-establishment of the system of the old dynasty. Even under well-regulated governments, it is often found, that a man who sides with neither party, is suspected by both ; how then can M. de Chateaubriand expect to escape censure in France at the present moment.
“ Sometimes the very gloss on any thing