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joyed their due weight in the administra- responsible for the acts of passion and debase. tion of the government, and their due share ment to which they naturally lead. If the in the distribution of its patronage, there natural course of a stream be obstructed, the would have been no democratic insurrection, pent up waters will, to a certainty, sooner or and no materials indeed for such a catastrophe later bear down the bulwarks by which they as ensued. That movement, like all great are confined. The devastation which may national movements, was produced by a sense ensue, however, is not to be ascribed to the of injustice and oppression ; and though its weakness of those bulwarks, but to the fundaimmediate consequences were far more dis- mental folly of their erection. The stronger astrous than the evils by which it had been they had been made, the more dreadful, and provoked, it should never be forgotten, that not the less certain, would have been the those evils were the necessary and lamented ultimate eruption; and the only practical lescauses of the whole. The same principle, son to be learned from the catastrophe is, that indeed, of the necessary connection of oppres- the great agents and elementary energies of sion and insecurity, may be traced through nature are never dangerous but when they all the horrors of the revolutionary period. are repressed ; and that the only way to guide What, after all, was it but their tyranny that and disarm them, is to provide a safe and supplanted Marat and Robespierre, and over- ample channel for their natural operation. threw the tremendous power of the wretches The laws of the physical world, however, are for whom they made way? Or, to come to its not more absolute than those of the moral; last and most conspicuous application, does nor is the principle of the rebound of elastic any one imagine, that if Bonaparte had been bodies more strictly demonstrated than the a just, mild, and equitable sovereign, under reaction of rebellion and tyranny. whom the people enjoyed equal rights and If there ever was a time, however, when it impartial protection, he would ever have been might be permitted to doubt of this principle, hurled from his throne, or the Bourbons in- it certainly is not the time when the tyranny vited to replace him? He, too, fell ultimately of Napoleon has just overthrown the mightiest a victim to his tyranny and his fall, and empire that pride and ambition ever erected their restoration on the terms that have been on the ruins of justice and freedom. Prostated, concur to show, that there is but one tected as he was by the vast military sys condition by which, in an enlightened age, tem he had drawn up before him, and still the loyalty of nations can be secured—the more, perhaps, by the dread of that chaotic condition of their being treated with kindness; and devouring gulf of Revolution which still and but one bulwark by which thrones can yawned behind him, and threatened to swal. now be protected—the attachment and con-low up all who might drive him from his scious interest of a free and intelligent people. place, he was yet unable to maintain a do.
This is the lesson which the French revo- minion which stood openly arrayed against lution reads aloud to mankind; and which, in the rights and liberties of mankind. But if its origin, in its progress, and in its termina- tyranny and oppression, and the abuse of im. tion, it tends equally to impress. It shows perial power have cast down the throne of also, no doubt, the dangers of popular insur- | Bonaparte, guarded as it was with force and rection, and the dreadful excesses into which terror, and all that art could devise to embara people will be hurried, who rush at once rass, or glory furnish to dazzle and over-arre, from a condition of servitude to one of un- what tyrannical throne can be expected to bounded licentiousness. But the state of stand hereafter? or what contrivances can seservitude leads necessarily to resistance and cure an oppressive sovereign from the veninsurrection, when the measure of wrong and geance of an insurgent people ? Looking only of intelligence is full; and though the history to the extent of his resources, and the skill before us holds out most awful warnings as and vigour of his arrangements, no sovereign to the reluctance and the precautions with on the Continent seemed half 'so firm in his which resistance should be attempted, it is place as Bonaparte did but two years ago. so far from showing that it either can or ought There was the canker of tyranny, however, to be repressed, that it is the very moral of in the full-blown flower his greatness. the whole tragedy, and of each of its separate with all the external signs of power and prosacts, that resistance is as inevitably the effect, perity, he was weak, because he was unjust as it is immediately the cure and the punish- -he was insecure, because he was oppressive ment of oppression. The crimes and excesses -and his state was assailed from without, and with which the revolution may be attended, deserted from within, for no other reason than will be more or less violent in proportion to that his ambitious and injurious proceedings the severity of the preceding iyranny, and had alienated the affections of his people, and the degree of ignorance and degradation in alarmed the fears of his neighbours. which it has kept the body of the people. The moral, then, of the grand drama which The rebellion of West India slaves is more has occupied the scene of civilised Europe for atrocious than the insurrection of a Parisian upwards of twenty years, is, we think, at last populace ;—and that again far more fierce sufficiently unfolded ;—and strange indeed and sanguinary than the movements of an and deplorable it certainly were, if all that English revolution. But in all cases, the labour should have been without fruit, and all radical guilt is in the tyranny which compels that suffering in vain. Something, surely, for the resistance; and they who are the authors our own guidance, and for that of our posteri, of the misery and the degradation, are also ty, we ought at last to learn, from so painful
and so costly in experiment. We have lived | was absolutely necessary to contrive some ages in these twenty years, and have seen means for bringing it to act directly on the condensed, into the period of one short life, machine of government, and for bringing it the experience of eventful centuries. All the regularly and openly to bear on the public moral and all the political elements that en counsels of the country. This was not negender or diversify great revolutions, have cessary while the bulk of the people were been set in action, and made to produce their poor, abject, and brutish,—and ine nobles full effect before us; and all the results of alone had either education, property, or acinisgovernment, in all its forms and in all its quaintance with affairs; and it was during extremes, have been exhibited, on the grand that period that the institutions were adopted, est scale, in our view. Whatever quiescent which were maintained too long for the peace indolence or empiric rashness, individual am- and credit of the world. Public opinion overbition or popular fury, unrectified enthusiasm threw those in France; and the shock was or brutal profligacy, could do to disorder the felt in every feudal monarchy in Europe. counsels and embroil the affairs of a mighty But this sudden extrication of a noble and nation, has been tried, without fear and with beneficent principle, produced, at first, far out moderation. We have witnessed the full greater evils than those which had proceeded operation of every sort of guilt, and of every from its repression. “Th' extravagant and sort of energy—the errors of strength and the erring spirit” was not yet enshrined in any errors of weakness—and the mingling or con- fitting organisation; and, acting without baltrasting effects of terror and vanity, and wild ance or control, threw the whole mass of speculations and antiquated prejudices, on the society into wilder and more terrible disorder whole population of Europe. There has been than had ever been experienced before its an excitement and a conflict to which there disclosure. It was then tried to compress it is nothing parallel in the history of any past again into inactivity by violence and intimidageneration ; and it may be said, perhaps with- tion : But it could not be so over-masteredout any great extravagance, that during the nor laid to rest, by all the powerful conjurafew years that have elapsed since the break- tions of the reign of terror; and, after a long ing out of the French revolution, men have and painful struggle under the pressure of a thought and acted, and sinned and suffered, military despotism, it has again broken loose, more than in all the ages that have passed and pointed at last to the natural and approsince their creation. In that short period, priate remedy, of embodying it in a free Rep every thing has been questioned, every thing resentative Constitution, through the medita. has been suggested—and every thing has tion of which it may diffuse life and vigour been tried. There is scarcely any conceiva- through every member of society. ble combination of circumstances under which The true theory of that great revolution men have not been obliged to act, and to an- therefore is, that it was produced by the reticipate and to suffer the consequences of pression or practical disregard of public opintheir acting. The most insane imaginations ion, and that the evils with which it was -the most fantastic theories—the most hor- attended, were occasioned by the want of rible abominations, have all been reduced to any institution to control and regulate the practice, and taken seriously upon trial. Noth application of that opinion to the actual mane ing is now left, it would appear, to be projected agement of affairs :--And the grand moral or attempted in government. We have ascer- that may be gathered from the whole eventtained experimentally the consequences of all ful history, seems therefore to be, that in an extremes; and exhausted, in the real history enlightened period of society, no government of twenty-five years, all the problems that can can be either prosperous or secure, which be supplied by the whole science of politics. does not provide for expressing and giving
Something must have been learned from effect to the general sense of the community. this great condensation of experience ;-some This, it must be owned, is a lesson worth leading propositions, either positive or nega- buying at some cost :-and, looking back on tive, must have been established in the course the enormous price we have paid for it, it is no of it:-And although we perhaps are as yet slight gratification to perceive, that it seems too near the tumult and agitation of the catas- not only to have been emphatically taught, trophe, to be able to judge with precision of but effectually learned. In every corner of their positive value and amount, we can hard- Europe, principles of moderation and liberly be mistaken as 10 their general tendency ality are at last not only professed, but, to and import. The clearest and most indis- some extent, acted upon; and doctrines equalputable result is, that the prodigious advan-ly favourable to the liberty of individuals, ces made by the body of the people, through- and the independence of nations, are univer out the better parts of Europe, in wealth, sally promulgated, in quarters where some consideration, and intelligence, had rendered little jealousy of their influence might have the ancient institutions and exclusions of the been both expected and excused. If any one old continental governments altogether un- doubts of the progress which the principles suitable to their actual condition ; that public of liberty have made since the beginning of opinion had tacitly acquired a commanding the French revolution, and of the efficacy of and uncontrollable power in every enlight that lesson which its events have impressed ened community; and that, to render its on every court of the Continent, let him comoperation in any degree safe, or consistent pare the conduct of the Allies at this moment, with any regular plan of administration, it with that which they held in 1790 -let him contrast the treaty of Pilnitz with the decla- | the other. Nothing, in short, can account for ration of Frankfort-and set on one hand the altered tone and altered policy of the great the proclamation of the Duke of Brunswick Sovereigns of the Continent, but their growing upon entering the French territories in 1792, conviction of the necessity of regulated free. and that of the Emperor of Russia on the dom to the peace and prosperity of the world, same occasion in 1814;- let him think how —but their feeling that, in the more enlight La Fayette and Dumourier were treated at ened parts of Europe, men could no longer be the former period, and what honours have governed but by their reason, and that justice been lavished on Moreau and Bernadotte in and moderation were the only true safeguards the latteror, without dwelling on particu- of a polished throne. By this high testimony; lars, let him ask himself, whether it would we think, the cause of Liberty is at length set have been tolerated among the loyal Antigal- up above all hazard of calumny or discountelicans of that day, to have proposed, in a mo- nance ;-and its interests, we make no doubt, ment of victory, that a representative assem- will be more substantially advanced, by being bly should share the powers of legislation thus freely and deliberately recognised, in the with the restored sovereign—that the noblesse face of Europe, by its mightiest and most should renounce all their privileges, except absolute princes, than they could otherwise such as were purely honorary—that citizens have been by all the reasonings of philosophy, of all ranks should be equally eligible to all and the toils of patriotism, for many succes. employments—that all the officers and digni- sive generations. taries of the revolutionary government should While this is the universal feeling among retain their rank—that the nation should be those who have the best opportunity, and the taxed only by its representatives—that all strongest interest to form a just opinion on sorts of national property should be ratified, the subject, it is not a little strange and morand that perfect toleration in religion, liberty tifying, that there should still be a party in of the press, and trial by jury, should be es- this country, who consider those great transtablished. Such, however, are the chief bases actions under a different aspect ;-who look of that constitution, which was cordially ap- with jealousy and grudging upon all that has proved by the Allied Sovereigns, after they been done for the advancement of freedom; were in possession of Paris; and, with refer- and think the splendour of the late events ence to which, their August Chief made that considerably tarnished by those stipulations remarkable declaration, in the face of Europe, for national liberty, which form to other eyes “That France stood in need of strong institu- their most glorious and happy feature. ile tions, and such as were suited to the intelli- do not say this invidiously, nor out of any gence of the age.”
spirit of faction: But the fact is unquestionSuch is the improved creed of modern courts, able;—and it is worth while both to record, as to civil liberty and the rights of individuals. and to try to account for it. An arrangement, With regard to national justice and independ- which satisfies all the arbitrary Sovereigns ence again,-is there any one so romantic as of Europe, and is cordially adopted by the to believe, that if the Allied Sovereigns had Monarch who is immediately affected by it, dissipated the armies of the republic, and is objected to as too democratical, by a party entered the metropolis as conquerors in 1792, in this free country! The Autocrator of all they would have left to France all her ancient the Russias-the Imperial Chief of the Gerterritories,-or religiously abstained from in- manic principalities—the Military Sovereign terfering in the settlement of her government, of Prussia—are all agreed, that France should —or treated her baffled warriors and states have a free government: Nay, the King of men with honourable courtesies, and her France himself is thoroughly persuaded of humbled and guilty Chief with magnanimous the same great truth;—and all the world forbearance and clemency? The conduct we rejoices at its ultimate acknowledgmenthave just witnessed, in all these particulars, except only the Tories of England! They is wise and prudent, no doubt, as well as mag- cannot conceal their mortification at this final nanimous;--and the splendid successes which triumph of the popular cause; and, while have crowned the arms of the present Deliv- they rejoice at the restoration of the King 10 erers of Europe, may be ascribed even more the throne of his ancestors, and the recal of to the temper than to the force with which his loyal nobility to their ancient honours, are they have been wielded ;-certainly more to evidently not a little hurt at the advantages the plain justice and rationalty of the cause which have been, at the same time, secured in thich they were raised, than to either.- to the People. They are very glad, certainly
, Yet those very successes exclude all supposi- to see Louis XVIII. on the throne of Napoleor. tion of this justice and liberality being assum- —but they would have liked him better if he ed out of fear or necessity;--and establish the had not spoken so graciously to the Marshals sincerity of those professions, which it would of the revolution, --if he had not so freely no doubt have been the best of all policy at accepted the constitution which restrained his any rate to have made. It is equally decisive, prerogative,-nor so cordially held out the however, of the merit of the agents and of hand of conciliation to all descriptions of his the principles, that the most liberal maxims subjects ;-if he had been less magnanimous were held out by the most decided victors; in short, less prudent, and less amiable. It and the greatest honours paid to civil and to would have answered better to their ideas of national freedom, when it was most in their a glorious restoration, if it could have been power to have crushed the one, and invaded accomplished without any conditions ; and if
the Prince had thrown himself entirely into their ideas of the old French monarchy. They the hands of those bigotted emigrants, who have read Burke, till their fancies are someaffect to be displeased with his acceptance what heated with the picturesque image of of a limited crown. In their eyes, the thing tempered royalty and polished aristocracy, would have been more complete, if the no- which he has held out in his splendid pictures blesse had been restored at once to all their of France as it was before the revolution ; feudal privileges, and the church to its ancient and have been so long accustomed to contrast endowments. And we cannot help suspect those comparatively happy and prosperous ing, that they think the loss of those vain and days, with the horrors and vulgar atrocities oppressive trappings, but ill compensated by that ensued, that they forget the many real the increased dignity and worth of the whole evils and oppressions of which that brilliant population, by the equalisation of essential monarchy was productive, and think that the rights, and the provision made for the free succeeding abominations cannot be completeenjoyment of life, property, and conscience, ly expiated till it be restored as it originally by the great body of the people.
existed. Perhaps we exaggerate a little in our rep- All these, and we believe many other illuresentation of sentiments in which we do not sions of a similar nature, slight and fanciful at all concur:-But, certainly, in conversa- as they may appear, contribute largely, we tion and in common newspapers—those light have no doubt, to that pardonable feeling of straws that best show how the wind sits- dislike to the limitation of the old monarchy, one heard and sees, every day, things that which we conceive to be very discernible in approach at least to the spirit we have at a certain part of our population. The great tempted to delineate,-and afford no slight source of that feeling, however, and that presumption of the prevalence of such opin- which gives root and nourishment to all the ions as we lament. la lamenting them, how- rest, is the Ignorance which prevails in this ever, we would not indiscriminately blame. country, both of the evils of arbitrary govern-They are not all to be ascribed to a spirit ment, and of the radical change in the feel. of servility, or a disregard of the happiness ings and opinions of the Continent, which has of mankind. Here, as in other hert sies, there rendered it no longer practicable in its more is an intermixture of errors that are to be enlightened quarters. Our insular situation, pardoned, and principles that are to be re- and the measure of freedom we enjoy, have spected. There are patriotic prejudices, and done us this injury; along with the infinite illusions of the imagination, and miscencep- good of which they have been the occasions. cions from ignorance, at the bottom of this We do not know either the extent of the misery 'innatural antipathy to freedom in the citizens and weakness produced by tyranny, or the of a free land; as well as more sordid inter- force and prevalence of the conviction which ests, and more wilful perversions. Some has ecently arisen, where they are best known, itu:dy Englishmen are staunch for our mo- that they are no longer to be tolerated. On copoly of liberty; and feel as if it was an the Continent, experience has at last done rusolent invasion of British privileges, for any far more to enlighten public opinion upon o.her nation to set up a free constitution ! these subjects, than reflection and reasoning Others yprehend serious dangers to our great- in this Island. There, nations have been ness, is thie mainspring and fountain of our found irresistible, when the popular feeling prosperiiy be communicated to other lands.- was consulted; and absolutely impotent and A still greater proportion, we believe, are in- indefensible where it had been outraged and fluenced by considera:ions yet more fantasti- disregarded : And this necessity of consulting cal.-They have veen so long used to consider the general opinion, has led, on both sides, to the old government of France as the perfect a great relaxation of many of the principles model of a feudal monarchy, softened and on which they originally went to issue. adorned by the refinements of modern society, Of this change in the terms of the questhat they are quite sorry to part with so fine tion-and especially of the great abatement a specimen of chivalrous manners and institu- which it had been found necessary to make tions; and look upon it, with all its character in the pretensions of the old governments, we istic and imposing accompanimenis, of a bril- were generally but little aware in this country, liant and warlike nobility, -a gallan co:ri, - Spectators as we have been of the distant and a gorgeous hierarchy,–
;-a gay and familiar protracted contest between ancient institutions vassalage, with the same sort of feelings with land authorities on the one hand, and demo. which they would be apt to regard the sump- | cratical innovation on the other, we are ari tuous pageantry and splendid solemnities of still to look upon the parties to that contest the Romish ritual. They are very good Pro- as occupying nearly the same positions, and testants themselves; and know too well the maintaining the same principles, they did at value of religious truth and liberty, to wish the beginning; while those who have been for any less simple, or more imposing system nearer to the scene of action, or themselves at home; but they have no objection that it partakers of the fray, are aware that, in the should exist ainong their neighbours, that course of that long conflict
, each party has their taste may be gratified by the magnificent been obliged to recede from some of its prespectacles it affords, and their imaginations tensions, and to admit, in some degree, the warmed with the ideas of venerable and justice of those that are made against it. pompous antiquity, which it is so well fitted Here, where we have been but too apt to con to suggest. The case is nearly the same with sider the mighty game which has been playing in our sight, and partly at our expense, as hands. Compared with acts so unequivocal. an occasion for exercising our own party ani- all declarations may justly be regarded as inmosities, or seeking illustrations for our pecu- significant; but there are declarations also to liar theories of government, we are still as the same purpose ;-made freely and deliberdiametrically opposed, and as keen in our ately on occasions of unparalleled importance, hostilities, as ever. The controversy with us -and for no other intelligible purpose but being in a great measure speculative, would solemnly to announce to mankind the generous jose its interest and attraction, if anything principle on which those mighty actions had like a compromise were admitted ; and we been performed. choose, therefore, to shut our eyes to the great But while these authorities and these conand visible approximation into which time, siderations may be expected, in due time, to and experience, and necessity have forced the overcome that pardonable dislike to contiactual combatants. We verily believe, that, nental liberty which arises from ignorance or except in the imaginations of English politi- natural prejudices, we will confess that we cians, there no longer exist in the world any by no means reckon on the total disappear. such'aristocrats and democrats as actually ance of this illiberal jealousy. There is, and divided all Europe in the early days of the we fear there will always be, among us, a set French revolution. In this country, however, of persons who conceive it to be for their inwe still speak and feel as if they existed; and terest to decry every thing that is favourable the champions of aristocracy in particular, con- to liberty,—and who are guided only by a retinue, with very few exceptions, both to main- gard their interest. In a government contain pretensions that their principals have long stituted like ours, the Court must almost ago abandoned, and to impute to their adver- always be more or less jealous, and perhaps saries, crimes and absurdities with which justly, of the encroachment of popular printhey have long ceased to be chargeable. To ciples, and disposed to show favour to those them, therefore, no other alternative has yet who would diminish the influence and aupresented itself but the absolute triumph of thority of such principles. Without intending one or other of two opposite and irreconcile or wishing to render the British crown altoable extremes. Whatever is taken from the gether arbitrary, it still seems to them to be sovereign, they consider as being necessarily in favour of its constitutional privileges, that given to crazy republicans; and very naturally arbitrary monarchies should, to a certain ex. dislike all limitations of the royal power, be- tent, be defended; and an artful apology for cause they are unable to distinguish them tyranny is gratefully received as an argument from usurpations by the avowed enemies of all å fortiori in support of a vigorous preroga. subordination. That the real state of things has tive. The leaders of the party, therefore, lean long been extremely different, men of reflec- that way; and their baser followers rush clation might have concluded from the known morously along it-to the very brink of servile principles of human nature, and men of infor- sedition, and treason against the constitution. mation must have learned from sources of un- Such men no arguments will silence, and doubted authority: But no small proportion of no authorities convert. It is their profession our zealous politicians belong to neither of to discredit and oppose all that tends to prothose classes, and we ought not, perhaps, to mote the freedom of mankind; and in ihat wonder, if they are slow in admitting truths vocation they will infallibly labour, so long as which a predominating party has &o long it yields them a profit. At the present mo. thought it for its interest to misrepresent or ment, too, we have no doubt, that their zeal disguise. The time, however, seems almost is quickened by their alarm; since, independcome, when conviction must be forced even ent of the general damage which the cause upon their reluctant understandings:—and by of arbitrary government must sustain from the the sort of evidence best suited to their capa- events of which we have been speaking, their city; They would probably be little moved by immediate consequences in this country are the best arguments that could be addressed to likely to be eminently favourable to the inthem, and might distrust the testimony of or- terests of regulated liberty and temperate redinary observers; but they cannot well refuse form. Next to the actual cessation of blood. to yield to the opinions of the great Sovereigns shed and suffering, indeed, we consider this of the Continent, and must even give faith to to be the greatest domestic benefit that we their professions, when they find them con- are likely to reap from the peace,-and the firmed at all points by their actions. If the circumstance, in our new situation, which calls establishment of a limited monarchy in France the loudest for our congratulation. We are would be dangerous to sovereign authority in perfectly aware, that it is a subject of regret all the adjoining regions, it is not easy to con- to many patriotic individuals, that the brilliant ceive that it should have met with the cordial successes at which we all rejoice, should have approbation of the Emperors of Austria and occurred order an administration which has Russia, and the King of Prussia, in the day of not manife ?d any extraordinary dislike to their most brilliant success; or that that mo- abuses, nor y very cordial attachment to the ment of triumph on the part of the old princes rights and berties of the people; and we of Europe should have been selected as the know, tha. It has been an opinion pretty curperiod when the thrones of France, and Spain, rent, both with them and their antagonists, and Holland, were to be surrounded with per- that those successes will fix them so firmly in manent limitations,—imposed with their cor- power, that they will be enabled, if they should dial assent, and we might almost say, by their be so inclined, to deal more largely in abuses,