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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, guides, in the search for political truth. and, for the present, Minister, whose literary This tendency is, indeed, more or less inreputation has been so widely spread in evitable in citizens of a state whose history, England by his philosophical examination of for the last two generations, has fatigued us American democracy. It would be difficult with little else than the coarse and flaring to find two books that represent more colors of a revolutionary crisis. It was the creditably the respective opinions of the last same in ancient times; both after that and the present generations. The Democratie marvelous century in which the quick en Amérique is remarkable for the wise can- Athenian genius ran through all the stages dor and toleration with which its author of national development; and again, when confesses the defects of his favorite systems; the great Roman Revolution first seated the and recognizes the points in which they Imperial chiefs of the democracy on the might be improved by borrowing from Curule Chairs. The glories of such an monarchical or aristocratical examples. The epoch as that which began in 1790, and Histoire Philosophique du Règne de Louis through which France is still laboring, are Quinze is equally free from most of the vices too undeniable to make it possible that the to which French literature seems now pecu- nation should ignore them-as has been atliarly exposed.
tempted by the compilers of Catholic and The historians of the modern French | Legitimatist text-books for French schools : school have an incontestible excellence in while, on the other hand, the blood and their skillful arrangement and power of rapid tears are still too recent for the children of analysis. But their tendency to acquiesce proscribed parents to accept the Reign of in the most unscrupulous policy, when suc- l Terror, as it is accepted and reverenced by
VOL. XVIII. NO. IV.
Barbés and Louis Blanc, or even as palliated We can see no merit, we must confess, in by Lamartine. To reconcile, or rather to this cold abnegation of all moral sensibility ;
from committing themselves to, and feel, on the contrary, that history not either of these extremes, their recent his-only loses most of its utility, but at once torians have mostly betaken theinselves to a lowers its dignity and deserts its duty, when system that represents society as moving in it thus renounces its high Censorial funcan invariable current, which the frailties tions; and declines to give judgment on the and passions of individuals can
merits of those whose proceedings it is conaffect, than a child can disarrange the order tented with recording. It is, accordingly, of the tide by throwing pebbles into the as an exception to this rule, that M. de waves. With such writers the end, of course, Tocqueville's work seems to us most entitled is everything; though they do not so much to praise. To a rare power of historical seek to justify, as totally to omit all con- arrangement, and to a still rarer one of hissideration of, ihe means. Actions and events torical compression, he adds a discriminating are regarded, in the meantime, merely as honesty, worthy (and we can cite no more necessary steps in a predestined sequence, in honorable parallels) of Niebuhr and Hallam. relation to which their moral character is a To all appearance profoundly royalist in his matter of no concern.
convictions, he is never induced by his partiM. Mignet is exclusively possessed with sanship to extenuate the infamies of the the idea of a great dynasty giving laws from Regency and the parc aux cerfs. He is still Versailles to its Prefects at Madrid and more free from the corrupting indifference Naples; and is no more disturbed in his with which M. Capefigue speaks of abomienjoyment of the exciting struggle which nations—which have never been approached was decided by the testament of Charles II., except by the foulest and basest of the than M. de Gremonville was disturbed when Roman Cæsars, if not in terms of actual Lionne intoxicated him with the gratifying approval, at least as the excusable concomiassurance, que sa Majesté vous trouve le tants of a high civilization and a brilliant plus effronté des Ministres !—et en cela il vous court. And if at times M. de Tocqueville fait la plus grande louange possible."* M. averts his eyes from this blind and enervated Capefigue relates the elevation of the pro- Royalty to the fiery baptism that awaited it, fligate Dubois to the Cardinalate ; and con- it is only to remind us that its crimes were tents himself, for all commentary, with sererely (though not more severely than jumbling together a few phrases about an consistently) expiated in the Temple and on invincible law of equality in the Catholic the Place de la Guillotine. Church. M. Bignon is entitled to more than We have many works that detail the paordinary allowance in this respect, in conse- tient exertions by which separate departquence of the more than ordinary temptation ments of the great Bourbon Monarchy were to which he was exposed : “je l'engage à elaborated to their culminating grandeur. écrire l'histoire de la diplomatie Française de But it is curious to observe how instinctively 1792 a 1815," was among the bequests in most French writers have shrunk from the the Testament de Napoléon. The same unattractive turpitudes that prepared its vice infects French writers, in their severest decay. M. de Tocqueville, however, takes philosophy, and on topics most removed up the history of France from the moment from the exciting accessories of the hour. when the Grand Monarque is laid in St. M. Comte turns neither to right nor left, as Denys, full of years and honors; and the remorseless machinery of his system honestly as well as skillfully traces, till the crushes every example of heroic individual very eve of their outbreak, the of exertion into its place in the world's precon- dissolution which were already undermining stituted march. M. Cousin,t with his eyes the stately fabric he had erected. The fixed on the radiant and beneficent image of cumbrous ceremonial of Versailles, and the the Dictator Cæsar, has no sympathies for sanctimonious exterior enforced by Madame the brave tenderness of Caius Gracchus, nor de Maintenon, gave way at once to the for the melancholy and majestic self-devotion wildest profligacy. The exaggerated tone of the younger Brutus.
of high-flown loyalty was succeeded by
cynical ridicule and 'ostentatious heartlessNegociations relatives à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV.” Par M. Mignet, vol ii. and lower in corruption ; till at last, on the
Court and nation together sank lower + Cours de Philoso; he“ (1828), par M. Victor tardy accession of a religious and conscienCousin, leç. xme.
tious 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 Internally, the history of the long and the House of Savoy was a standing grievinglorious reign of Louis XV. is a succession ance to the Power in whose Italian preponof tyrannical edicts and financial embarrass- derance we were then most deeply interested. ments. Its external history, which we are The clumsy stipulations for which we had here principally to consider, may be divided exchanged our hold on Dunkirk, were evaded into three periods—corresponding closely by the extension of the neighboring fortificaenough with similar periods in that of Eng- tions at Mardyck. But the Whig governland. The first of these includes the com- ment, we repeat, acted wisely in accepting pulsory peace which followed the War of the situation as their predecessors had left it. the Spanish Succession (A. D. 1713—1732); | Through fifteen years they labored zealously and of this epoch the Regent Orlcans and to modify and improve it; and at length the Sir Robert Walpole are the main represent- policy, which, though it was once for a short atives. The next period includes the War time opposed by Walpole, is inseparably and of the Austrian Succession (1742—1748); most justly associated with his name, realized the chief agents in which are Marshal Belleisle its crowning triumph at the Treaty of Vienna and (perhaps we may add) Lord Carteret. in 1731. The last commences with the Seven Years' However France might be exhausted by War (1756—1763); in which the Duc de the War of the Succession, it is scarcely Choiseul and William Pitt wielded against possible that the continuance of peace would each other the full energies of their respect- long have been compatible with the life of ive nations. It is difficult to say during Louis XIV. Even during the reign of Queen which of these periods France was most Anne, his evasion of the treaties for which effectually discredited. But through them his English partisans had sacrificed their all there moves the living embodiment and honor and all the promise of their future representative of his day,—the worthless, career, had been so glaring, as to extort even frivolous, and brilliant Duc de Richelieu. from Harley's government a decent and per
The first period we have named is charac- functory protest. But at the accession of terized by the gradual modification of the the House of Hanover, causes of irritation Treaties of Utrecht. These treaties were, in were daily multiplied. Boling broke and the second and third decades of the eigh-Ormond were welcomed at Versailles with teenth century, what the Treaties of Vienna splendid hospitality. The profession of have been to our own generation till within high Jacobinism became fashionable even the last year,—the recognized basis of with men like St. Simon, the habitual European international law. Concluded by frondeurs of the Court. Lord Stair, the Boling broke's Tory administration in the English ambassador of King George, was hour of extreme political need, they were scarcely received at half a dozen houses yet wisely and honorably accepted by in Paris; while the titular honors of King George I. and his Whig Cabinet. There James were effectually acknowledged at has seldom been an instance in which St. Germain. Active preparations were departure from that rule of international carried on in the French ports for a descent good faith, to which the new government by the Pretender on the English coast. But conformed, would have been so nearly we were saved from actual attack by the justifiable. The treaties in question had death of Louis XIV., and the Regency of been purchased for the House of Bourbon the Duke of Orleans. That prince had long by the violation of solemn alliances abroad; been disliked by all who adhered closely to and at home by cabals, in which a knot of his uncle's military and diplomatic policy. conspirators played on the prejudices of an Lord Stair, therefore, bent upon employing imbecile Queen and an ignorant faction, till the interval of peace in quietly reconstructing their reckless partisanship was scarcely the great Protestant Alliance, warmly endistinguishable from treason. Nor had the couraged him to assume the sole Regency, tranquillity secured for Europe been such as and offered him the whole moral support of to excuse the means by which it had been England. attained. Between Spain and Austria, the From the marriage of Philip, the Regent's nominal principals in the War of the Suc- father, with Henrietta of England, in 1661, cession, there existed only a precarious down to the Féles of the Palais Royal, in armistice. England and Holland still fan- 1830, there attaches to the House of Orleans cied themselves in danger from the formi- an unusual continuity of historical interest
and especially in its bearing on the contem- | faithfully the maxims and principles of the
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 The great coalition, against which Charles against the Regent. The head-quarters of XII. passed his life in struggling, had origithe conspiracy were fixed among the gardens nated in a dispute between the Duke of and terraces of Sceaux ; and there, amid the Holstein-Gottorp and the King of Denmark. wits and savants, whom Madame du Maine, The former had shared in the reverses reviving the usages of the Hôtel de Ram- which fell upon the Swedish cause after the bouillet, had collected round her, were coined battle of Pultowa; and the hurricane which the libels which, enshrined in Duclos, in the blew from all the northern courts during terrible Philippiques of La Grange Chancel, Charles XII.'s Turkish exile, forced him to and in Soulavié's Memoirs of Richelieu, have submit to Denmark, by the capitulations of placed the Duke of Orleans, as a monster of Tonningen in 1714. His minister, Baron Just and cruelty, on a parallel with Nero Goertz, then attached himself to the King of and the Borgias. We have now reason to Sweden; and the chivalrous heart of the believe their most frightful details to have king was soon captivated by the fluency and been utterly untrue—to have been explained boldness of his new adviser. in some points by the Regent's notorious He was a thoroughly revolutionary Minspirit of bravado, and refuted in others by ister—of the school which followed Richethe equally notorious gentleness of his nature. lieu in effacing every centre of local governBut these attacks made themselves a voice ment, and attacking every institution which through all the ramifications of French in the least hampered the free and irresponsociety—in the Jesuit colleges—in the dip- sible action of the Monarchy. He struck, lomatic circles all over Europe — in La therefore, without flinching, at the ArisVendée and Languedoc-already the classic tocracy; and he forced the Lutheran Church soil of Royalist counter-revolution.
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 This scholarly caprice was seized on as corcompulsory refusal to displease England by roborating the imputation of impiety to which concluding a Russian and Turkish alliance. I his attacks on the Church had exposed him;