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THE writer of this work is, as we under-cessful, goes to render them very unsafe stand, the father of the distinguished Deputy, and, for the present, Minister, whose literary reputation has been so widely spread in England by his philosophical examination of American democracy. It would be difficult to find two books that represent more creditably the respective opinions of the last and the present generations. The Démocratie en Amérique is remarkable for the wise candor and toleration with which its author confesses the defects of his favorite systems; and recognizes the points in which they might be improved by borrowing from monarchical or aristocratical examples. The Histoire Philosophique du Règne de Louis Quinze is equally free from most of the vices to which French literature seems now peculiarly exposed.
The historians of the modern French school have an incontestible excellence .in their skillful arrangement and power of rapid analysis. But their tendency to acquiesce in the most unscrupulous policy, when suc
VOL. XVIII. NO. IV.
guides, in the search for political truth. This tendency is, indeed, more or less inevitable in citizens of a state whose history, for the last two generations, has fatigued us with little else than the coarse and flaring colors of a revolutionary crisis. It was the same in ancient times; both after that marvelous century in which the quick Athenian genius ran through all the stages of national development; and again, when the great Roman Revolution first seated the Imperial chiefs of the democracy on the Curule Chairs. The glories of such an epoch as that which began in 1790, and through which France is still laboring, are too undeniable to make it possible that the nation should ignore them-as has been attempted by the compilers of Catholic and Legitimatist text-books for French schools: while, on the other hand, the blood and tears are still too recent for the children of proscribed parents t, accept the Reign of Terror, as it is accepted and reverenced by
Barbés and Louis Blanc, or even as palliated by Lamartine. To reconcile, or rather to escape from committing themselves to, either of these extremes, their recent historians have mostly betaken themselves to a system that represents society as moving in an invariable current,-which the frailties and passions of individuals can no more affect, than a child can disarrange the order of the tide by throwing pebbles into the waves. With such writers the end, of course, is everything; though they do not so much seek to justify, as totally to omit all consideration of, the means. Actions and events are regarded, in the meantime, merely as necessary steps in a predestined sequence, in relation to which their moral character is a matter of no concern.
M. Mignet is exclusively possessed with the idea of a great dynasty giving laws from Versailles to its Prefects at Madrid and Naples; and is no more disturbed in his enjoyment of the exciting struggle which was decided by the testament of Charles II., than M. de Gremonville was disturbed when Lionne intoxicated him with the gratifying assurance, que sa Majesté vous trouve le plus effronté des Ministres !-et en cela il vous fait la plus grande louange possible.' M. Capefigue relates the elevation of the profligate Dubois to the Cardinalate; and contents himself, for all commentary, with jumbling together a few phrases about an invincible law of equality in the Catholic Church. M. Bignon is entitled to more than ordinary allowance in this respect, in consequence of the more than ordinary temptation to which he was exposed: "je l'engage à écrire l'histoire de la diplomatie Française de 1792 a 1815," was among the bequests in the Testament de Napoleon. The same vice infects French writers, in their severest philosophy, and on topics most removed from the exciting accessories of the hour. M. Comte turns neither to right nor left, as the remorseless machinery of his system crushes every example of heroic individual exertion into its place in the world's preconstituted march. M. Cousin, with his eyes fixed on the radiant and beneficent image of the Dictator Cæsar, has no sympathies for the brave tenderness of Caius Gracchus, nor for the melancholy and majestic self-devotion of the younger Brutus.
"Negociations rélatives à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV." Par M. Mignet, vol ii. (1828), par M. Victor
+Cours de Philoso; hie" Cousin, leç. xme.
We can see no merit, we must confess, in this cold abnegation of all moral sensibility; and feel, on the contrary, that history not only loses most of its utility, but at once lowers its dignity and deserts its duty, when it thus renounces its high Censorial functions; and declines to give judgment on the merits of those whose proceedings it is contented with recording. It is, accordingly, as an exception to this rule, that M. de Tocqueville's work seems to us most entitled to praise. To a rare power of historical arrangement, and to a still rarer one of historical compression, he adds a discriminating honesty, worthy (and we can cite no more honorable parallels) of Niebuhr and Hallam. To all appearance profoundly royalist in his convictions, he is never induced by his partisanship to extenuate the infamies of the Regency and the parc aux cerfs. He is still more free from the corrupting indifference with which M. Capefigue speaks of abominations-which have never been approached except by the foulest and basest of the Roman Cæsars, if not in terms of actual approval, at least as the excusable concomitants of a high civilization and a brilliant court. And if at times M. de Tocqueville averts his eyes from this blind and enervated Royalty to the fiery baptism that awaited it, it is only to remind us that its crimes were severely (though not more severely than consistently) expiated in the Temple and on the Place de la Guillotine.
We have many works that detail the tient exertions by which separate departments of the great Bourbon Monarchy were elaborated to their culminating grandeur. But it is curious to observe how instinctively most French writers have shrunk from the unattractive turpitudes that prepared its decay. M. de Tocqueville, however, takes up the history of France from the moment when the Grand Monarque is laid in St. Denys, full of years and honors; and honestly as well as skillfully traces, till the very eve of their outbreak, the causes of dissolution which were already undermining the stately fabric he had erected. cumbrous ceremonial of Versailles, and the sanctimonious exterior enforced by Madame de Maintenon, gave way at once to the wildest profligacy. The exaggerated tone of high-flown loyalty was succeeded by cynical ridicule and ostentatious heartlessand lower in corruption; till at last, on the Court and nation together sank lower tardy accession of a religious and conscientious Prince, he finds himself unable to rally
round his polluted Throne a single sentiment | dable alliance of the French and Spanish of respect or confidence. Cabinets. The aggrandizement permitted to the House of Savoy was a standing grievance to the Power in whose Italian preponderance we were then most deeply interested. The clumsy stipulations for which we had exchanged our hold on Dunkirk, were evaded by the extension of the neighboring fortifications at Mardyck. But the Whig government, we repeat, acted wisely in accepting the situation as their predecessors had left it. Through fifteen years they labored zealously to modify and improve it; and at length the policy, which, though it was once for a short time opposed by Walpole, is inseparably and most justly associated with his name, realized its crowning triumph at the Treaty of Vienna in 1731.
Internally, the history of the long and inglorious reign of Louis XV. is a succession of tyrannical edicts and financial embarrassments. Its external history, which we are here principally to consider, may be divided into three periods-corresponding closely enough with similar periods in that of England. The first of these includes the compulsory peace which followed the War of the Spanish Succession (A. D. 1713-1732); | and of this epoch the Regent Orleans and Sir Robert Walpole are the main representatives. The next period includes the War of the Austrian Succession (1742-1748); the chief agents in which are Marshal Belleisle and (perhaps we may add) Lord Carteret. The last commences with the Seven Years' War (1756-1763); in which the Duc de Choiseul and William Pitt wielded against each other the full energies of their respective nations. It is difficult to say during which of these periods France was most effectually discredited. But through them all there moves the living embodiment and representative of his day, the worthless, frivolous, and brilliant Duc de Richelieu.
The first period we have named is characterized by the gradual modification of the Treaties of Utrecht. These treaties were, in the second and third decades of the eighteenth century, what the Treaties of Vienna have been to our own generation till within the last year, the recognized basis of European international law. Concluded by Bolingbroke's Tory administration in the hour of extreme political need, they were yet wisely and honorably accepted by George I. and his Whig Cabinet. There has seldom been an instance in which a departure from that rule of international good faith, to which the new government conformed, would have been so nearly justifiable. The treaties in question had been purchased for the House of Bourbon by the violation of solemn alliances abroad; and at home by cabals, in which a knot of conspirators played on the prejudices of an imbecile Queen and an ignorant faction, till their reckless partisanship was scarcely distinguishable from treason. Nor had the tranquillity secured for Europe been such as to excuse the means by which it had been attained. Between Spain and Austria, the nominal principals in the War of the Succession, there existed only a precarious armistice. England and Holland still fancied themselves in danger from the formi
However France might be exhausted by the War of the Succession, it is scarcely possible that the continuance of peace would long have been compatible with the life of Louis XIV. Even during the reign of Queen Anne, his evasion of the treaties for which his English partisans had sacrificed their honor and all the promise of their future career, had been so glaring, as to extort even from Harley's government a decent and perfunctory protest. But at the accession of the House of Hanover, causes of irritation were daily multiplied. Bolingbroke and Ormond were welcomed at Versailles with splendid hospitality. The profession of high Jacobinism became fashionable even with men like St. Simon, the habitual frondeurs of the Court. Lord Stair, the English ambassador of King George, was scarcely received at half a dozen houses in Paris; while the titular honors of King James were effectually acknowledged at St. Germain. Active preparations were carried on in the French ports for a descent by the Pretender on the English coast. But we were saved from actual attack by the death of Louis XIV., and the Regency of the Duke of Orleans. That prince had long been disliked by all who adhered closely to his uncle's military and diplomatic policy. Lord Stair, therefore, bent upon employing the interval of peace in quietly reconstructing the great Protestant Alliance, warmly encouraged him to assume the sole Regency, and offered him the whole moral support of England.
From the marriage of Philip, the Regent's father, with Henrietta of England, in 1661, down to the Fetes of the Palais Royal, in 1830, there attaches to the House of Orleans an unusual continuity of historical interest—
The Orleans Regency maintained to its close, and bequeathed to its immediate successors, a latitudinarian and compromising policy, very different in spirit from the resolute dynastic ambition of the preceding reign; and for this it has been condemned without measure by the ultra-royalists of its own day, and by the few French writers, who, in our own time, have permitted themselves to remember that France owes her most important and permanent acquisitions to the Bourbon family. Many of the Regent's most trusted supporters complained of his defection from the traditional alliances with Spain and Sweden. The expert staff of French diplomatists, retained in the school of Lionne, Pomponne, and Torcy-men to whom every court in Europe had been for half a century a post of observation, in standing hostility to the English and Imperial legations-had still strength to thwart by their indifference the new schemes which they were commissioned to execute. The Marshals of France, who had won distinction in the wars of the Reunion and of the Succession, all, with the single exception of the Duke of Berwick, threw their weight into the same scale. Villars even compiled a formal memorial, in which he urged on the Regent a moderate approximation to Spain. M. de Tocqueville acquiesces in this advice so far as relates to the possible extension of Spanish influence in Italy; and he also laments that the Regent missed the opportunity of at once securing, by an alliance with Turkey, in the year 1719, a position in the rear of Austria; and that he should not have developed the policy which combined Richelieu with Gustavus Adolphus, by substituting a Russian for a Swedish alliance. There can be no doubt, indeed, of the justice of these complaints against the foreign policy of the regency. But we are not the less convinced that Philip and his minister Dubois showed singular skill in the attitude they assumed; and that all their shortcomings are chargeable on the ferocious opposition which threatened the former, from the moment that he broke through the testament of Louis XIV., and assumed the sole Regency.
and especially in its bearing on the contem- | faithfully the maxims and principles of the porary policy of England. We are told that Monarchy. Louis XV. was mainly guided in his choice of Versailles as the habitual residence of his Court, by the recollections which associated Paris with the stormy times of the Fronde, and the days when Anne-Marie de Montpensier, la Grande Mademoiselle, ordered the cannon of the Bastille to be fired on the royal troops. But this ostrich-like policy only served to blind the Kings of France to the influences they left at work behind them. In the Palais Royal there arose, by the side of Versailles and its Court, the gathering germs and mimic centre of a Bourgeoise Royalty-the parhelion to the sun of the elder Bourbons; and with it grew the House of Orleans, thriving on all the errors of the monarchy, and strengthening in its weakness. In that house, at all other seasons of difficulty, the population and society of Paris were familiarized with the focus of a chronic opposition; and through all their varieties of genius, the younger branch was sure to parade its antipathy to the prevailing tastes and most unpopular characteristics of Versailles. Louis XIV. never forgot the pretensions of his brother (Monsieur, as he was styled, in the fashion which expired with Charles X.) to infringe on certain customary etiquettes. When the cause of Philip V. was overcast in Spain, we find the future Regent intriguing with the English generals, and offering himself as the fittest representative of a compromise. Extravagantly licentious, in opposition to the formal hypocrisies of Madame de Maintenon; extravagantly Jansenist, in opposition to the Molinism of her successor, Madame de Chateauroux; Anglomane with a zealous Constitutionalism, before the meeting of the States-General; mercilessly propagating the first slanders against Marie-Antoinette; adored by the Manuels and Lafayettes of the Restoration-the House of Orleans was not more surely and steadily advanced toward power by its own ambition, than by the sleepless suspicions of the reigning branch. The whole testament of Louis XIV. was inspired by the conviction, that without openly annulling the last Spanish renunciations, and surrounding the cradle of Louis XV. with the elements of a European war, it was impossible to exclude the Duke of Orleans from the nominal regency; but that it was desirable to place the whole real power in the hands of the legitimated Princes, the Duc de Maine and the Comte de Toulouse, who alone were considered to represent
From that moment there could be no peace between Philip of Orleans and the adherents of the old Court. The new régime ushered in a true revolution-at once social, political, and religious. It was inaugurated by an exposure of the financial ruin to which
the expensive reign of Louis XIV. had | The mere instinct of self-preservation at brought the kingdom. It then at once home committed him, in short, irredeemably, attacked all the Princes of his family whom as the antagonist of the Catholic cause in he had most delighted to honor; and their Europe; and the Catholic cause (if we may defence and reprisals were imbittered by all use that expression to describe the party the acrimony of feminine malice, in the person which peculiarly embraced the views of of the Duchesse du Maine. Except for her, Louis XIV.) was still too formidable to indeed, it is probable that her husband, an enable him to dispense with the help so educated but retiring and unambitious man, officiously proffered, even though it came would have quietly acquiesced in his depo- from the habitual enemies of his race and sition. But she was a daughter of the great country. At the head of the Catholic cause Condé; and having once lowered herself by in Europe stood two of the most remarkable an alliance with a legitimated Prince, her names in history - George Henry Goertz whole subsequent life was a struggle to and Giulio Alberoni: And to appreciate repair this humiliation. The history of fac- properly the Regent's difficulties, we must tion-fertile in indignities-does not contain glance for a moment at these, his two great an instance of warfare so savage, so unprin- antagonists. cipled, and unrelenting, as now broke forth. against the Regent. The head-quarters of the conspiracy were fixed among the gardens and terraces of Sceaux; and there, amid the wits and savants, whom Madame du Maine, reviving the usages of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, had collected round her, were coined the libels which, enshrined in Duclos, in the terrible Philippiques of La Grange Chancel, and in Soulavie's Memoirs of Richelieu, have placed the Duke of Orleans, as a monster of lust and cruelty, on a parallel with Nero and the Borgias. We have now reason to believe their most frightful details to have been utterly untrue-to have been explained in some points by the Regent's notorious spirit of bravado, and refuted in others by the equally notorious gentleness of his nature. But these attacks made themselves a voice through all the ramifications of French society in the Jesuit colleges-in the diplomatic circles all over Europe - in La Vendée and Languedoc-already the classic soil of Royalist counter-revolution.
The great coalition, against which Charles XII. passed his life in struggling, had originated in a dispute between the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and the King of Denmark. The former had shared in the reverses which fell upon the Swedish cause after the battle of Pultowa; and the hurricane which blew from all the northern courts during Charles XII.'s Turkish exile, forced him to submit to Denmark, by the capitulations of Tonningen in 1714. His minister, Baron Goertz, then attached himself to the King of Sweden; and the chivalrous heart of the king was soon captivated by the fluency and boldness of his new adviser.
He was a thoroughly revolutionary Minister-of the school which followed Richelieu in effacing every centre of local government, and attacking every institution which in the least hampered the free and irresponsible action of the Monarchy. He struck, therefore, without flinching, at the Aristocracy; and he forced the Lutheran Church to furnish her part in the national expendiWhile the Regent was thus incessantly ture. The selfish dislike which he thus inharassed by an organization which was al- curred added to the unpopularity naturally ways ready to exchange its lampoons and attaching to his foreign birth: But one of epigrams for the poison-bowl and the secret the elements in the hatred which he excited dagger, and which corrupted his own repre- is too curious to be passed over. Goertz sentatives, and defied him at his own council- was not free from the mania of his contemboard, Lord Stair was perpetually at his poraries, for regarding the debasement of side, to remind him of the inextinguishable the currency as a panacea for financial dishatred of the ultra-Royalists, and to urge, in tress. However, instead of resorting either Bishop Atterbury's words, "that cracked to a paper issue, or to an adulteration of the titles must rest upon each other." The gold and silver, he attempted to give, by Triple alliance of 1715, by which George I. law, a high value to the copper currency; and the Regent gave a mutual guarantee for and he whimsically chose to distinguish these the succession prescribed by the Treaty of new coins by the names of classical divinities, Utrecht, was thus a matter of sheer neces--for instance, Jupiter, Saturn, and the like. sity. It was the same with the Regent's compulsory refusal to displease England by concluding a Russian and Turkish alliance.
This scholarly caprice was seized on as corroborating the imputation of impiety to which his attacks on the Church had exposed him ;