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through him, the offer of a command in the expedition against lingland.” “I see, said Moreau, with deep chagrin, that pains are taken to pervert daily more and more that noble spirit which animated the army in the outset of our revolution, and of which the springs were a passion for glory, love of country, and the enthusiasm of liberty. Is it expected to revive this spirit by proclamations which invite the army only to the abuse of victory?” The three wars of Germany and the war of Spain consummated that depravation which Moreau apprehended. The colossal fortunes, the dotations formed out of contributions levied on cities, and states, or the spoliation of churches and palaces, the habits of luxury and pomp, and absolute command, created an insatiable appetite for plunder, and extinguishcd all natural sentiment, and independence of character in the military.” “I cannot speak of the department of war and the army without being led to the most sorrowful reflexions. The French have for twenty years astonished all Europe by their courage. We have seen generals, now the glory of our armies, rise from the ranks; and yet, with so much bravery in the camp, did there exist in the cabinet a cowardice such as the slavery from which we have just emerged, necessarily implies. The French have shown that they can brave death, but not obscurity and poverty. They have acted, in the field, under a strong sentiment of honour and fidelity; in the cabinet, they have been cowards, dissemblers, traitors to conscience and duty. The general officers have never recollected, when returned to Paris, that they were citizens;
that they had a right to participate
in public discussions; to consult public opinion, to support it, if necessary, with the weight of their character and authority. They thought only of enjoying their empty honours and immense riches; they forgot, that they had, even with a view to their own security, a country to defend, legal guarantees and constitutions to require. Let us confess, however reluctantly, that, since Pichegru and Moreau, the civil mind seems to have become extinct among them. They allowed themselves to be insulated, segregated from the nation, and set in array, as it were, against themselves, chained down, intimidated by the vilest espionage. What an enigma will not this seem to our descendants. I repeat that while we superabounded in the courage of the field, there was a total want of civil courage.” Thus far M. Pichon, than whom —and we speak again from a close personal acquaintance—there does not, we believe, exist a truer Frenchman; one more zealous for his country’s honour, or less disposed to show her character to disadvantage in any the smallest particular. Let us listen, however, to another authority as little to be suspected. M. Michaud, a member of the French institute and a zealous Frenchman, of the first order of intellect, holds the following language" on the subject of the French military. “It was, above all, in the army that the spirit of cupidity and domination, the avidity to follow the example and share the high fortune of Bonaparte, displayed themselves. From the common soldier up to the ge
neral, each had cravings which war alone could satisfy. To content all the desires cherished in the army the world must have been for a long time in convulsion. The soldiers were incessantly told that they were the saviours of France; they finished by believing that France had not treasures great enough to repay their services. They heard so much of their glory, had it so often repeated in every shape that the nation was nothing without them; they were saluted with such lofty encomiums, that their pride knew no bounds, and inspired them with sovereign contempt for all that was not military. The citizen was as nothing in the presence of the soldier. It was no longer the army that was to sacrifice itself for the preservation of the people; but the people for that of the army. In the first years of our political troubles, the French armies, under such leaders as Moreau and Pichegru, were satisfied with the glory of their exploits; they abstained, while they emulously defended our soil, from mingling in the factions which contended for power. At length when the leaders of the dominant factions could no longer reign by means of the populace, they called in the bayonet
to their aid. The 13th Vendémaire
—the convention was shielded by the bayonet from the vengeance of the people; the 18th Fructidor —the cause of the directory triumphed in opposition to the national will by means of the same auxiliary, commanded by Bonaparte. He effected the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, with his grenadiers, and in order to make the army completely his own, studiously fomented the vices which stifle the fire of patriotism in such bodies. His legions employed in distant conquests, look
ing to him alone for honours and wealth, lost sight of country, and identified all glory with his elevation. When on the accession of Louis XVIII. the French people hailed the new monarch with joy, the army sympathized in none of their hopes or emotions; scowled upon the national compact, and only thought of bringing back him who would restore to it the fatal prerogatives of war and victory. On the return of Bonaparte, the pride and pretensions of the military exceeded all measure; the people were summoned to rise in defence of what they the military called their glory; every spot over which the imperial eagles waved, seemed to belong to the army; France was, in fact, treated like a conquered country by those who boasted of protecting the independence of her
De la litterature du Midi de L’Eurofle, far Sismondi. Of the Literature of the South of Eurofle by Sismondi. Paris, 1814, four vols. octavo. The copious extracts which we have already made from this work, —on Arabian and Italian literature, may enable the reader to form some judgment of the execution of the whole. It is, indeed, a delightful repast throughout. We do not know that we have ever experienced greater pleasure than in perusing these four volumes of M. Sismondi, expecially that part of them which treats of Spanish literature. They convey much curious information historical as well as bibliographical, and are regulated by the maxims of sound criticism. The literatures of the Provençale language, of the Italian, the Spanish, and the Portuguese, their origin and progress, their discriminating principles and features, their best productions, are reviewed in succession, with a highly cultivated taste, an ample erudition, a most impartial liberality, and ingenious analysis. The fine fancy and elegant style of the author would carry you irresistibly along with him, even were his subject less attractive in itself and less important. He introduces those who have not already attended to the literature of the South of Europe, into a new world with which they must feel a little ashamed of not having been acquainted, if they aspire or pretend to a knowledge of the varieties and extent of human genius. Indeed, who is it that can be said to be well-informed as to the history or powers of his nature, and is yet ignorant of the progress and compass of the literature of the nations of the European Continent? Such a work as this of M. Sismondi and the literary history of Italy of Guingené,” make the reproach of this ignorance the heavier, in providing a means of removing it at once so easy and delightful. It renders the knowledge of foreign languages of the less consequence, although neither it nor any production can be considered as an equivalent under a general point of view. The acquisition of a cultivated language, is to the mind like the addition of a new sense. It opens a new creation of ideas; a new chapter in the history of man.
The work of M. Sismondi has an additional interest, with a view to the old controversy which has
* Histoire littéraire D'Italie, par P. L. Ginguené. Paris. It has now reached the 6th vol. and is a work of great erudition and elegance.
reference to the “ Southern Literature” of M. Sismondi, the Germany of M. de Stael, and the Dramatic Literature of Schlegel. These are the three great champions of the romantic in contradistinction to the classical, or to the French school, for which exclusively the latter term is arrogated by the French critics. The English in their warfare in defence of their own and the Spanish drama, had no allies on the Continent of any account, until M. de Stael, Schlegel, and Sismondi entered the lists on their side, and completed a coalition nearly as potent in its way as was that of Vienna against the emperor Napoleon. Sismondi has taken the Spanish drama especially under his protection, and as he promises to give the world, in continuation of his present work, a review of the literature of the North of Europe including the English, we may expect to find him still more earnest in the cause of Shakspeare than of Calderon and Lope de Vega. In the celebrated German critic, William Schlegel, Shakspeare has found an enthusiastic and all powerful advocate. “His account of him,” says the Edinburgh Review, “is admirably characteristic,
and indeed by far the best which has been given of the plays of that great genius by any writer either English or foreign.” Under our general head of elegant literature, the reader will find a considerable extract from Schlegel's investigation of the merits of Shakspeare, and will be struck with the force and beauty of the author's remarks. This part of his work, which is entitled—Lectures on dramatic literature—although the most interesting to us, is not the most useful or important. His history and analysis of the drama of the antients deserve particular attention, and may be studied with solid profit. As the work has been considered at large in the principal reviews of Great Britain, we need not dwell upon it. The Germany of M. de Stael has been reprinted and widely circulated in this country. Our public is generally acquainted with the admirable critique of it which sir James Mackintosh has published in the Edinburgh Review. We shall, therefore, only say of it that we think it worthy of her great re‘putation; but that she has gone too far in her encomiums on German genius, and the productions of the German school, and might with advantage to herself and her readers have left the mystical philosophy of that school to be exposed by some one of its own plodding adepts. The German philosophy is little better than a relapse into the occult scienees, of which the eighteenth century was supposed to have for ever purged the list of human studies. When we find the powers of eloquence and imagination leagued in its support, we have reason to tremble, lest the progress of sound knowledge should be arrested, and its empire
usurped by something worse in its tendency, and not less chimerical than the cabbala or judicial astrology. Our natural good sense requires to be kept constantly on its guard against the distempered fancies of credulity and superstition; the love of novelty, and distinction; the proneness to sectarism and system; the many strong passions which interfere to impede and turn back human reason in its career of fierfectibility; and which employ against it most efficaciously the lights it has already acquired. Some of the universities of Germany (that of Landshuth in Bavaria for instance) profess, as academical bodies, a code of philosophy presenting altogether the most preposterous of all imaginable compounds of theology, physics, Shinonism, and rabbinical mysticism. The systemmongers do not restrict themselves to the domain of metaphysics, but carry their reveries into practical life, particularly into the healing art. We can never too strongly express our gratitude to the English critics for having so nicely scrutinized, and so resolutely withstood all the novelties of the German school. It is as useful to trace the wanderings and explode the follies, as it is to exhibit the progress, and confirm the real discoveries of the human mind.
The History of the Italian Refoublics of the Middle Age, by Sismonde de Sismondi. Vol. 9th, 10th, and 11th.-Paris, 1816.
The accomplished author of the literature of the South has raised, in this great history, a permanent monument to his fame. The ablest of the contributors to the Edinburgh Review has not hesitated to denominate him the first historian of his time. There are some, however, of his cotemporaries—for instance, Mitford the historian of Greece,—who might dispute the palm: but all must admit that this history of M. Sismondi is of the highest order of excellence, both in form and substance. The first eight volumes were published in 1809, and given as the result of fourteen years of indefatigable research. Besides these three additional volumes, three more are now in preparation, and will probably appear in the course of the year 1818. The undertaking of M. Sismondi will then be completed, and he will have conferred a lasting benefit upon the cause of political philosophy. His subject embraces an infinite variety of the most curious and instructive incident, and is of particular importance for the youth of a republic. The Italy of the middle age is, if we may be allowed the phrase, a microcosm of republican history, an encyclopedia of examples and lessons for republican institutions. The history of ancient Greece by Mitford, the immortal work of Livy and this history of M. Sismondi should have the preference in every collection of human annals for the use of an American citizen. A judicious and elegant abridgment of each of these works would be the most useful and ought to be the most acceptable literary service that could be rendered to these States. Our institutions may boast of sounder principles, a more regular organisation, a more auspicious concurrence of external circumstances, than can be ascribed to those of any other free state; but there are dangerous passions universal in our nature, passions at
tached to the principle of political liberty under whatever form or circumstances it may exist, of which it imports us to know perfectly the pathology and operation. This knowledge is only to be obtained in its proper extent by studying the history of all the governments of whatever time or locality, in any degree popular in their constitution. Greece, Rome, and the Italy of the middle age, are the most fruitful and the most entertaining sources of instruction.
The materials which M. Sismondi had to draw from a sort of chaos were immense in quantity. He would have deserved unbounded credit for arranging and digesting them alone, without, as he has done, investing them with all the radiance and charms which could be imparted by a profound moralist and a master of style. The three volumes, the 9th, 10th, and 11th now announced, may be read with profit as a whole, independently of those which precede and are to follow. The period over which they extend is from 1430 to 1492, that of the rule of the house of Medicis in Florence. It is the era of the greatest influence of Italy on the fate of all Europe. She was then the school of nations; their preceptor and fountain head in letters, the arts, and the taste of classical antiquity. The reformation had its birth at this period, and is to be traced in connexion with the reigns of popes Nicholas V. and Pius II. eminent for their zeal, their attainments and their great intellect, and of popes Eugene IV., Sixtus IV. and Innocent VIII.-no less remarkable, for their imprudence and the scandal of their lives. Venice seconded the great Scanderbeg in Illyria, and shut out the Turks from the West. Lombardy sub