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manded admiration instead of loathing, it grant, at once, that if we compare the state would have been cited as a masterpiece of of the people and the nature of the laws, lucid argument, subtle thought, and fiery in 1785, with their existence in 1842, there and earnest passion;-for in words Robes is in great and vital respects a considerapierre had passion, and his cold dogmas ble improvement; that improvement, howring out as living principles. But the ever, is not to be ascribed to the Revoluspirit of the audience was gone, the speech tion, but to the spirit that preceded the Revowas out of place and season. As a sermon lution, and could have sufficed for all benefifrom Dr. Chalmers on the hustings, as cial changes, WITHOUT IT. Until, by the Milton's Defence of Unlicensed Printing siege of the Bastille, the Populace were in a council of war with the enemy at the permitted to take the law in their own gates, was a long tirade of arguments or hands, there was no fear for the safe procomplaints in an assembly of men who gress of Opinion; and the events of 1789— knew that in six days France must be the 94, would have changed their character, executioner of Robespierre, or his slave. and been known by the name, not of RevoAnd the time lost in preparing the lution, but Reform. Popular principles harangue, would have-But no, whether had only to be temperate to be permanentin words or deeds his hour was past:-the ly successful. The king was prepared to sense of humanity was at length awakened, yield; the state of the finances placed him and the last Representative of the Popu- and his hostile court at the irresistible lace fell amidst its hoots and curses to command of the Assembly; the nobles, make way for the Eternal Successor of the church, and the men of letters, were Civil Convulsion,-MILITARY RUle. When on the whole pervaded by the spirit of the Napoleon first pointed his cannon against time. Nothing could have prevented the the populace, the final moral was given to most lasting compromise of all interests, that tale of a world's shame and wonder: and had, what is properly Revolution, namely the multitude prepared the crown for the Illegal Violence, not usurped the place of man who delivered them from themselves! Constitutional Improvement. At this In looking at this distance of time over period, the temper of the times, so far the great Revolution of France,-even if from being yet sanguinary, was for the exwe consent to make for its follies and its tinction of capital punishment. We recrimes all the excuses prescribed to us,- peat and insist upon the truth that the if we emancipate ourselves from the pre- Movement had only to abstain from viojudices (so let them be called) with which lence in order to have carried reform to human nature must regard the revolting the highest point which the liberty and incidents and details,-we must still find it enlightenment of the Age could have dea matter of grave astonishment, that so sired: the moment that movement passed violent a convulsion should have produced into revolution; the moment LAW, instead such insignificant benefits. To those who of being corrected, was resisted; the moread history with the eyes of Mignet and ment the populace were permitted to inof Thiers (the great masters of the school dulge passion and to taste blood; the moso well entitled the Fatalist) history may ment, in fact, Force began,-Reform ceasinterest, but it never warns-once granted. We concede all that the apologists that events are the things of destiny, and what signify the faults or virtues of the actors. This is indeed to make history an almanack, and to place the horoscope of nations under the fabulous influence of the stars. But they who see in the chronicles of a state, matter to make succeeding times profit by the disaster and emulate the triumph, must ever ask themselves that question, on the answer to which, so much to dethrone Law or to legalize Force must rest. "What has France gained by her Revolution?" And we think it might be satisfactorily shown, that whatever benefit France has derived from the Revolution itself, is a wretched recompense for the crimes through which she waded to obtain it. Do not let us be misunderstood. We

for the excesses of the Revolution have demanded. We allow the unhappy influences of Marie Antoinette and the courtiers, the impolitic intrigues of the emigrants, and the unjustifiable aggression of the allies. But these are but the ordinary obstacles with which liberty has to contend in all stages of conflict and transition. And never, perhaps, had liberty advantages so great as those which France possessed, and threw away; viz., a population of one mind, and a king whose heart was with his country. Desèze, in his defence of Louis XVI. before the Assembly, thus summed up, and not a voice could contradict: "At the age of twenty, Louis, in ascending the throne, carried with him the example of moral excellence of justice

VOL. XXIX.

22

and economy. The people wished the aboli- thing of Spanish pride. But are the vices tion of an onerous impost-Louis destroy themselves extinct, or have they not mereed it; the abolition of servitude-Louis ly changed their place of residence; to be abolished it. The people asked reforms found under a less graceful garb, amongst he made them;-their rights--he restored the new aristocracy of wealth, the gaudy them; their liberty-he gave it. No one parvenus of the Chaussée d'Antin? If we can deny to Louis the glory of having are to regard Literature as the glass of the been in advance of the people by his sacri- manners and morals of the time, what terfices, and it is him whom they propose rible corruption-more dangerous because to Citizens! I will not conclude the more grave and thoughtful than the light sentence-I pause before that History-licenses of the old Crebillons and Mariwhich, remember, shall judge your judg-vaux'-pollutes those pictures of modern ment-and hers is the verdict that endures life, which the astonishing variety and affor centuries."

Yes, no man denied this praise to Louis, and what hopes would such a king have afforded to a people, wise to ask and patient to abide! What better chief has been gained for liberty-in Robespierre, in Napoleon, in Louis XVIII., in Charles X., in Louis-Philippe? Without a revolution, unless the mere assembling of the Tiers-Etat is so to be called, without, in short (and to avoid misconception), violence and convulsion, France, under Louis XVI., and his noble son (tortured to death by the cobbler, Simon), would have had a Representative Assembly on the broadest basis, a Government managed with the severest economy, a Press carried on by the freest regulations,-and more than all, the hearty sympathy and love of every land where Civilisation can free the limbs or elevate the mind. Has she ever had them since --has she got them now?

fluent genius of their Novelists exhibit to taint the young and to shock the old! Turn to the Stage, and how innocent seem the pleasantries of Figaro, to the deliberate depravity of Angelo and Terése. We do not in this accuse the authors. Authors take the colouring of their times. It is no blame to a writer to paint the manners of the age; if the manners are dissolute, the age alone must bear the odium. Admirably, indeed, in one of her last novels, has Madame Dudevant (G. Sand) described and reprobated the prevalent vices of the youth of Paris,-an egotistical and morbid desire to make a name, by short paths, and without labour; a craving for excitement, usually gratified by the seduction of your friend's wife; and ending in the pistol or charcoal-dish, upon the loss of a mistress or the ruin of a speculation. Certainly we must allow for exaggeration, and we must not judge of all society by its surface. But still he must be an Optimist more credulous than Candide, who can affirm that out of the slime and gore of 1794, any really pure and virtuous regeneration of morals and society has arisen to shame the sober honesty of the German, or the more sullen rectitude of the Englishman.

Unquestionably the abolition of privileges, the purification of the church, the amendment of the laws, have been great boons to France, but those were predestined from the first meeting of the Tiers-Etat. For those, no massacres, no guillotine, no regicide, no reign of terror, no revolution (such as we mean by the revolution of France), Let us turn from the Social view were required. It was not for those real of the question to the Legislative. benefits to France that her streets were to The chief popular feature in the constiswim with blood. Revolutions so sanguin-tution of modern France, as characteristic ary are to be palliated only (excused they of her first revolution, is the annihilation never can be), either by such results as se- of the aristocracy of birth. The noblesse cure permanent and practical constitution- never recovered the first shock. The resal liberty to the masses, or a thorough so- toration of the Bourbons could not revive cial regeneration in the moral life of the the seignories. The abolition of an Hecitizens. With regard to the last, we must reditary Chamber, and the prevalent ditouch delicately on invidious ground. It vision of lands, which are the last results is true that the gay prodigality, the witty of the old revolutionary spirit, have effectgallantries, the polished vices of the oldually destroyed, as a power, the intermeFrench gentilhomme, are exchanged for the proud exclusiveness of the Carlist malcontents of the Faubourg St. Germain; the ancient noblesse are no doubt improved and sobered by reverses, and poverty has heightened their Gallic vanity into some

diate body existing in other countries between the people and the throne. But this absence of aristocracy has been attended with no real popular benefits: the third-rate men of letters, the second-rate lawyers, who have assumed the lead of af

Armand Carrel (the most illustrious, perhaps, of the popular party), declare that the greatest curse inflicted upon France, would be a constituent body as large as that which, in England, liberal politicians consider as unwisely contracted. Had the Reform gone on, and the Revolution never occurred; had Louis XVI. been left on the throne, and treated with respect as the sovereign of a free people; had all the energy of the leaders of the day been devoted to the amelioration of law, not the

fairs, have done little enough to advance of universal suffrage, that extension of the liberty, but much to confirm the public in- suffrage is not even a popular question. difference to high honour and command- And we remember to have heard the late ing integrity; while the division of property, in banishing or greatly diminishing a resident gentry, in crippling capital and barring speculation, has, with very partial exceptions, actually left Agriculture scarcely, if at all, advanced from the period of 1786-88, in which Arthur Young published his Statistics. Governments in vain have tried to foster the art of Triptolemus. Writers on its theory have in vain recommended reforms-in vain have model-farms been established, for the system forbids the motives to its progress. competition of force, France would alreaThe peasant jogs after his old rude plough dy have acquired that political sagacity -the ox crawls behind the old traineau- which never comes but from patient and the fields still blossom with the weed-the progressive experience. She would never soil still hungers for manure. In 1842, then have fallen into the ludicrous error, France produces little more grain than it which every schoolboy scoffs in England, did in 1788, while the population has in- of instituting the ballot-box in the Reprecreased nearly 8,000,000. Speculators sentative Chamber, and demanding for may declaim as they please on the cause-trustees the secresy which destroys the the cause is evident to common sense: whole responsibility of the trust. She viz., the absence of an aristocracy interest- would never have left at the disposal of ed in the improvement of their lands, and the Crown, means of corruption so extenwith adequate capital for the improvement. sive, that at this moment there are more Thus the most democratic, perhaps the places to give away than there are voters sole democratic change attributable to the to apply for them! Revolution, is far from having produced Perhaps the two greatest evils of the the true democratic results: a greater in- Revolution were, first, that it created that citement to industry-more copious em- habit of impatience which the best thinkployment for the many. But enlarging our ers of France lament as the prevalent chaviews from details, may it not generally racteristic of their countrymen in this age be said, that the Revolution, so far from an impatience equally lamentable in permanently advancing, threw back popu- public and individual existence. To suclar principles throughout Europe; and ceed at once, or at once to destroy-such that to the Revolution must be ascribed is the maxim that makes the assassin and the worst defects in the system of existing the suicide. The second evil was the France, whether political or moral. For habit of indifference to moral character, in the political, the first grievous error which could not but be engendered by a that strikes us at this day, is the exceed- demagoguy succeeded by a soldiery; and ing narrowness of the electoral body; an to this we owe the exhibition among evil that may be said to operate against the French statesmen of a laxity of honour tranquillity of society itself, for it tends to and truth, a corruption in pecuniary affairs, create an immense and powerful class who and an equivocation in the transaction of have no stake whatever in the constitution business, unparalleled in Europe, and dewho are ripe, therefore, for any aggression moralizing to the whole nation. At this upon the existing state of things-and moment France has scarcely one guaranready for war because unrepresented in tee, either for permanent government or peace;-while, regarded on the more po- liberal institutions. The representative pular side of the question, it may fairly be chamber is so confined, that it never repsaid that it is not representation, it is oli-resents public opinion; and the electoral garchy, which vests the franchise in the hands of some 150,000 persons out of a population of 30,000,000. And yet, to the Revolution only is this defect to be ascribed; for throughout the French public there is still so lively and painful a recollection of the atrocities committed under a system

chamber, from its constitution, is tainted with the servility of courtiers, and has never that interest against despotism which belongs to aristocracy. Even the Press, to which the French have, from the instinct of weakness elsewhere, attached such affectionate importance, is so feebly guard

ed by harmonizing institutions, that, while neighbours. Gallant to overthrow, unin a popular crisis it can inflame passions steady to construct, the error of their first better appeased, in ordinary times it is ex- Revolution pervaded their last; and after posed to persecutions, the virulence and a movement almost unparalleled for enerimpunity of which are a scandal both to gy and humanity (for such must the events the people and the crown. If we compare of the Three Days ever be considered,) the real safeguards for liberty, the real they were contented with a dynasty and strata and foundations for good govern- a parchment charter, without one single ment possessed now by the French, with INSTITUTION to render the objects for which those at their disposal in 1789, far from they fought the heritage of their children. having gained, they have incalculably lost. They have obtained a dexterous and an And at this moment no man can foresee able king; they have won neither reform whether, ten years hence, France may not for their Laws, representation for their again be a democracy without education, Chamber, nor liberty for their Press. or a despotism under a conqueror. is her first passion still: and the king who leads her to war, will, if defeated, be dethroned; if successful, become absolute.

War

ART. II.-Fragments from German Prose
Writers. Translated by SARAH AUS-
TIN. Illustrated with Notes. London.
1841.

A twofold moral then arises from the contemplation of the Reign of Terror; the moral to Rulers, and that to the People. A terrible warning is it to a Monarchy that does not in time partake its responsibility SOME have experienced, and all can imawith constitutional assemblies; to a gov- gine, the pleasure of waking in a new longernment that does not regard laws as its desired country, with vague wonder and right arm, finance as its left; to a Nobility uncertainty how that foreign life would that do not link themselves with the Com- present itself, and then receiving its first mons, not suddenly and violently, but greeting from a fair smiling figure, who through all the slow and imperceptible presents us with a nosegay of unknown links of social life; to a Priesthood that flowers, and looks our welcome to the forgets the duties which command rever- fields they grew in. Such must be to ence and attract love. A lesson is it also many English readers the interest and to rulers no less in resistance than conces- joy imparted by this rich and graceful, as sion; to concede early what is just, but to well as truly friendly offering; which is resist to the last what is iniquitous. The at once a garland of fresh flowers and a horrors of the Revolution were owing as string of lasting pearls. Perhaps no other much to the latter cowardice of all who prose literature but that of Greece could should have opposed, as to the early ob- have furnished the materials of a volume stinacy of all who should have foreseen at once so wise. so bright, and so varied; and forestalled. A warning equally grave, and those old Hellenic books, nearer than and if possible more important, is it to the any modern can be to the age of primeval PEOPLE, that one step gained by Law leads awe, and combining, as no other, childish to practical and enduring liberty far soon- liveliness with mature thought, yet want er than a thousand gained by Force; that some of the nobler, the very noblest eleexcesses in the power they attack never ments of our Christian world, and the justify excesses in the power they would clear complete knowledge of nature and establish; that revenge is not only as crim- history, which in our time we require, and inal in a people as an individual, but that it which the Germans, beyond all other peois as impolitic and foolish. The greatest ple, have realized. In truth, resembling errors, and those most fatal to our happiness, the Greeks far more than do the writers which we as private men commit in life, of any other nation as to elevation and are those which we commit through vindictive passions. We acknowledge this truth as persons, let us enforce it as a people. Above all, perhaps, this revolution teaches communities that to institutions alone liberty can be confided, and that institutions to be permanent must not too materially differ from the ancient habits they seek to reform. The indifference to institutions is still a characteristic of our

fulness, they have for us the incomparable merit that they are the children and teachers of our own time. At all events whatever may or may not be the value of German literature, it is plain that Mrs Austin is, of all English persons, the one who has best succeeded in making its worth clear and pleasant to merely English readers. Mr. Carlyle, with his deep spirit and prophetic originality, has been,

and will remain we suppose for ever, the authors; though no doubt the Feudalism great hierophant, disclosing to prepared of the one, and the Suicidism of the other, minds the truly divine wisdom of that mo- are more fully developed in them than in dern Holy Land. But it requires to have any foreigners by whom they may have something of a "foregone conclusion" of been influenced. Still more remarkably Germanism within us, and much of the than in poetry, the philosophical speculatemper of a devout neophyte, to receive tions of all Europe are daily learning obethe infinite benefit of his teaching. Mrs. dience to the example of Germany. M Austin, with the unpretending ease and Guizot is a pupil of those deep and zealfelicity of her soft, open, womanly nature, ous schools. Cuvier was himself by birth interprets to all like one of themselves, in and education a German. Coleridge is familiar though choice language, what- the genial interpreter of the lore, now of ever can be so communicated of the Be- Kant, and now of Schelling. Mr. Wordsliefs, Images, and Feelings, that the high-worth, who, under the guise of a poet, is est and most creative geniuses and most pre-eminently a high hortatory moralist, sagacious inquirers of modern times have bestowed upon the world. Let us acknowledge our obligation by sitting beside her -it is no painful position-in the same great school.

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Her book is one that hardly perhaps permits, and certainly does not require, any comment. Nor do we propose attempting one. But Mrs. Austin, and her and our readers, will you pardon us if we make it an excuse for offering some remarks on the history of modern literature, and on the place which that of Germany holds among the higher products of Christian Europe? That in the last twenty-five years it has gained for itself a universal importance, is plain matter of fact. The writings of Chateaubriand, of Byron, of Manzoni, have excited a wide and eager feeling; but none of these men, nor any of their respective countrymen, have produced a work, the object of repeated translations and commentaries, like the Faust of Goethe. And it is well known that this poem does not stand out from the other literature of its country, as something different in spirit, but only as of greater depth and more perfect execution than most other German books, many of which, besides those of its author, are analogous to it in purpose and tendency.

teaches only doctrines (except when eulogizing Archbishop Laud, &c.) which might be found long before his works appeared, even more fully and vividly declared in all the most illustrious masters of our ancestral Teutonic speech.

Some parts of this statement must pass for the moment without evidence, as we cannot now wait to support it in detail. Indeed it will be denied, we believe, by few persons having a wide prospect over the world, that this German literature, or the state of mind which it expresses, has, both in extent and seriousness of influence, a remarkable meaning. This Madame de Staël perhaps rather wished than quite at tained to recognize and explain. But mistaken as are many of her notions on the subject, and (we suppose) all her translations from German books, it is evident that she had really felt something great in the minds of that country, something that far exceeded her previous Parisian standard, and was not even included in the large and radiant though spotted orb of Rousseau's genius. Substantially her belief has become that of the intelligent world; and the fear perhaps now is, not so much that German literature may be insufficiently valued, as that it may be prized on wrong grounds and used to mistaken purposes.

We will try to indicate some of the steps by which mankind moved on to the production of that German literature, the worth of which we hold indubitable by any one who, after due preparation, has really searched into the matter.

A little wider survey teaches that, as a matter of European interest, the theories and images of the Germans succeeded immediately to that place which had been occupied just before by the great writers of France; by Voltaire, and especially by Rousseau. It is not only that every culti- The combination of urbane and courtly vated person is expected to know some- elegance with ecclesiastical power, wealth, thing about these Teutonic singers and and wisdom, produced in Italy the earliest sages; but their feelings and opinions re-modern literature that can still be called appear in the works of their most celebrated contemporaries in all other countries. For instance: among us, Scott and Byron had both of them been anticipated in what is most essential to them by German

much more than an object of antiquarian study. This glory failing with the wholesome earnestness of the church, whose decay produced beyond the Alps the protestant reformation, did not outlive that great

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