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mitted to the son of a peasant; and the greatness of Francis Flozza was a signal admonition to old dynasties as to what may be efsected in the race of ambition by genius, intrepidity and firmness alone;—a splendid memento of the true origin of all hereditary power. Italy teemed in every part with illustrious examples: bold conspiracies, unexpected revolutions, the most profound political schemes crowd into the same canvas: nearly the whole philosophy of history is to be found in the annals of one country within a space of sixty years, from the rapid action of twenty several states dissimilar in their political constitutions and their social character. We had intended to lay before our readers a version of the seventy-eight chapter of the 10th volume of M. Sismondi, in which he narrates the revolutions of Geneva in the middle of the 15th century, and the last years and death of Cosmo de Medicis in Florence. But our limits oblige us to postpone this instructive extract for another occasion. It may be well to remark that where M. Sismondi and M. Roscoe meet in their subject, the former is much more accurate as to facts, more liberal in his interpretation of motives, and generally much more impartial, without being less elegant or erudite. No reader of judgment will be long at a loss to decide which of the two writers is most amply endowed with the qualities that make a great historian. There is in the narrative of Sismondi an appearance of confusion, and he has been accused of this defect; but it is nothing more than the afflearance arising inevitably from a multifarious subject. The same reproach was cast Vol. I.
on the Decline and Fall of Gibbon, owing to the same cause. The arrangement of both has however all attainable, and, we might add, all desirable perspicuity.
Memoir of Don Miguel Josefth de ...Asanza and Don Gonzalo O'Farrill, containing an exfiosition of the circumstances which justify their fiolitical conduct since March 1808 to April 1814. Paris, 1815. 1 vol. octavo. 325 pp. THE two authors of this Memoir were introduced into the Spanish ministry by Ferdinand VII. on the abdication of his father: Asanza was made minister of finance and O’Farrill minister of war. They have furnished, in a strain of moderation, good sense and seeming probity, a multitude of important facts concerning the origin, and political progress of the Revolution of, Spain. Their testimony is of great authority owing to the stations which they occupied in the royal councils, and the excellent character they have retained. Several important public documents are annexed to the Memoir. The circumstances which induced and accompanied the sanguinary affray of the 2d of May in Madrid are minutely related, in a manner which leaves no doubt of the correctness of the whole statement. The atrocity of the massacre committed by Murat, under the abused forms of military judgment, after tranquillity had been restored, could only be equalled by its impolicy. “The blood of the victims,” say these writers, who were indefatigable in their endeavours to propitiate mercy for them, “ fructified the seeds of national hate and vengeance, sentiments well justified by so horrible an 2 U
enormity.” The extent and full odiousness of the perfidy of the French government in the occupation of the territory, and insnarcment of the royal family of Spain, are not to be understood from the mere proceedings at Bayonne. It is necessary for this purpose to follow the previous and simultaneous machinations of its agents, ambassadors and generals included, at Madrid, as they are unfolded in this Memoir of Messrs. Asanza and O’Farrill.
Historical Memoirs of the Revolution of Shain, by M. de PRADT, author of the Congress of Vienna, 85’c. Paris, 1816. THE name of M. de Pradt is already familiar to every one who has given any attention to the political literature of the last eighteen months. His History of the Embassy at Warsaw was sought universally with an eagerness commensurate with the interest which the transactions to which it refers had excited. It gave us important facts, curious details, the best general delineation of Bonaparte ever, perhaps, made; but—to speak as to our own impressions at least— it inspired a thorough contempt for the moral character of the author. It displayed in him a ready instrument and a fawning parasite of the one whom he so powerfully represents as the worst enemy of the human race;—whose vices and views he unfolds at last after his downfall, not in order to benefit the world, but to exalt himself as the nonpareil of diplomatists and to win the favour of the allied sovereigns, whom he flatters when triumphant as slavishly as he flattered his “God Mars”—Napoleon —in the hour of his prosperity.
The “Congress of Vienna” exhibits M. de Pradt himself in a more favourable light, as he is not here an actor in the scene; he investigates the new political interests and arrangements of Europe, with much sagacity, and knowledge, and something of resiliency from the crowned heads. Now and then his insufferable egotism obtrudes itself in the midst of his instructive speculations, and his tone is always the subdued, mincing one of habitual, instinctive servility. But “the Congress of Vienna” deserves to be considered and studied as in lineal succession to the Politique de tous les Cabinets, and the writings of Gentz; and we rejoice much that it has been reprinted in this country. In the “History of the Restoration of the 31st March 1814,” we have the Abbé de Pradt again in all his personal consequence; the spring of all the great political movements of this and the succeeding memorable year. Again, however, he throws new light on the transactions of which he speaks, and though from the caution of a wily accomplice, manoeuvring to save a remnant of reputation, he does not do full justice to his great opportunities of knowledge, he yet communicates valuable facts of evident authenticity, and enriches the stock of materials for genuine history. The remarks here made concerning his “History of the Restoration of 1814” may be extended to the “Memoirs of the Revolution of Spain,” announced above. This the most recent book of the prolific archbishop is liable to the same objections, and possesses the same merits. It is, indeed, even more curious and precious than his other two histories. He was the companion of Napoleon at Bay
onne, his diplomatic Cecisbeo, his interlocutor in the conferences with the ministers of Ferdinand, and, though earcessively indignant and shocked at the fierfidy of his master, always its obsequious agent and organ! It is worthy of remark that several of the names deemed the most respectable in France appear in the list of those who served at Madrid as the most zealous of co-adjutors in this dire scheme of fraud upon a whole dynasty and people, unprecedented in its kind, as well as in the elaborateness and blackness of the treachery. The archbishop who acted as the confidential negotiator of Napoleon at Bayonne, the ambassadors who assisted with all due alacrity and adroitness in laying the snare at Madrid, the generals who opened the first vein of the Spanish people to overawe them into submission by the sight of blood, now speak with the utmost composure of the atrocity of the case, and hold it a sufficient apology for themselves to declare, that they obeyed the commands of their emperor. The doctrine of passive obedience never took a more pernicious shape than this, and would go to make Dr. Faustus an innocent man in all the deeds he perpetrated during his league with the devil, after having, as the legend tells, bound himself to obey that great personage. It is inadmissible even for the military, and especially for the superior officers of Bonaparte, who almost always made part of his political council, and were initiated as political emissaries into every plan of usurpation in which they might have occasion to appear as the mere instruments of his power. The portrait of the prince of peace in these Memoirs of the Abbé de Pradt is a master-piece,
and even superior, if any thing, to that which he has drawn of Bonaparte in the “Embassy to Warsaw.” He holds a vigorous and brilliant pencil, and abounds in strokes not unworthy of Tacitus. His talents were never exhibited to more advantage than in the view he has presented of the elevation and privileges of the Favourite and the relative condition of the Spanish people. The power and corruption and selfishness of Godoy, the grossness and effrontery of the queen’s attachment, the stupid infatuation of the king, the abjection of the palace-crowd, the result, make up a picture which it would be difficult to match in the annals of court-favouritism. M. de Pradt is, however, far from being always equally happy in his efforts. He is at times exceedingly affected and neological in his style, and guilty of palpable inconsistencies in his statements. He is sometimes wholly mistaken where he has produced the most striking effect; for instance in the anecdote of the —Sufierb Mo—of the Portuguese Count de Lima, which has been quoted in the public journals in proof of Bonaparte's magnanimity. It is now well known, and, perhaps, was not unknown to M. de Pradt, that the whole scene to which he gives so fine a dramatic turn, was in fact merely theatrical; got up between the French cabinet and the Count de Lima whom they had bought, and who is now in disgrace with the Portuguese court for his venality on the occasion. Together with several valuable documents, M. de Pradt has attached to his Memoirs the celebrated conversation held at Bayonne between Napoleon and M. Escoiguiz, the chief adviser and minister of Ferdinand. M. de Pradt speaks, in his 92d page, of this conversation which M. Escoiguiz himself published, as the most precious monument of the history of the time; as wanting in nothing to render it of the first importance in itself; as perfectly in character, even to the small tokens of familiarity which Napoleon employed with those whom he wished to conciliate. It is, indeed, a pregnant document for the historian, and we cannot refrain from republishing it here in abridgment. We hope to see it printed entire among us, along with the Memoirs of M. de Pradt, the works of Asanza, of Nellerto, the letters of the Queen of Spain, and generally the correspondence of the royal family among themselves and with Bonaparte.
Conversation between Mafioleon and
Bscoiguiz, as related by the latter.
“Emperor.—I have long been desirous, Monsieur l’Abbé, in consequence of the good character they have given me of you, both for honesty and learning, to speak with you upon the subject of your prince; and more so, that I cannot but take some part in his father's misfortunes: he has appealed to me for justice, and it must be done him. The eyes of Europe are upon me. Having made his abdication at Aranjuez, surrounded by a riotous mob, and in the middle of his mutinous guards, it is clear that he was forced to it; and as my armies were at that moment not only in Spain but near to the scene itself, it might be thought that I had a share in the plot, and was the abettor of an undutiful son who has conspired against, and dethroned his father.—On the other hand, the interests of my empire demand, that the house of Bourbon, whom I must look upon as the implacable enemies of my family, should cease
to reign in Spain. This is also the interest of your own nation, since by the change of a dynasty, whose last members have brought those evils upon her, which are the cause of the present discontent, she will enjoy a better constitution, under the family which I shall offer her. —However, out of personal consideration for Prince Ferdinand, who has in this friendly way come to see me at Bayonne, I wish to negotiate with him, and hope that an arrangement I have in contemplation, will be found advantageous to him and his brothers.-You are to tell him in my name, that if he renounces all his rights to the crown of Spain, I will give him Etruria, with the title of kingdom, for him and his male heirs for ever, to hold it in complete independence.—I will, also, give him my niece in marriage, in order to strengthen our ties of friendship; and the marriage shall take place the moment he shall sign the treaty. If he should approve of my plan, the treaty will be drawn up and executed immediately; but if not, I will make another with his father, who is expected here every day; and, in that case, neither he nor his brothers will be considered as having a right to stipulate, or receive the least compensation. With respect to the Spanish nation, let Prince Ferdinand accept my proposal, and I will, in the same treaty, ensure her independence, the integrity of her territories, and the preservation of her religion, under the new dynasty. This is the whole of my plan; for as to myself, I require nothing of Shain; no, not even a hamlet.”— “Escoiguiz.-I cannot but express my astonishment at a scheme which, considering the intimate alliance of the two countries, could not even cross the thoughts of my
king and nation. Spain, sir, has now been the friend of France for one hundred years, and this friendship has become more intimate under your majesty's government. Spain has supported France in all her wars, not excluding that which your imperial majesty has made for the dethronement of the Neapolitan branch of the Bourbons. In those wars, Spain hast lost her navy and her treasures, until at last she is utterly exhausted.—I therefore intreat your majesty to let me describe the true state of things in my country.—I shall begin by a simple and faithful narrative of the facts which preceded the abdication of King Charles IV. —I will take it from the very source; that is, the too well known conspiracy, as it is called, of the Escurial.”— “Emperor.—I am perfectly aware of every circumstance. I know that neither the prince nor any of you are to blame for what happened at that time. But this shocking business of Aranjuez— that act of abdication, performed in the middle of a furious mob; the desertion of the king's guards, who, instead of supporting him against the people, contributed with them to oppress him, and extort his renunciation; the eagerness of the prince to accept it, and his conduct, as well as that of his friends, on the occasion; all this, I repeat, must induce the whole world, as it does me, to believe, that the abdication was involuntary and extorted.”— “ Escoiguiz. –Let me then, I beseech your majesty, set the events of Aranjuez in their true light.—The tumult of Aranjuez had no other cause but the public indignation, carried to its highest pitch, when it was found out that the king, and all the royal family,
were going to set out for Andalusia; as the people suspected that it was preparatory to their departure for one of the colonies, in imitation of the court of Portugal. —The hatred against the Prince of the Peace which had been for years working in every breast, burst into a violent explosion, the moment it was known that he was the author of that disastrous project. The only object, however, of the multitude, was to punish the Favourite, and to prevent the flight of the king and royal family.— When the Prince of the Peace was found in a lost of his house, the day after the tumult, and the mob had fallen upon him, the guards, and some other troops, ran immediately to protect him, which they effectually did, until the Prince of Asturias repaired to the spot, and mixing in the mob, prevailed upon the people to spare him, under the promise of getting him legally tried. Thus the guards were enabled to convey him to their barracks, with a few slight wounds only. As soon as he was safe in the barracks, the tumult subsided, and the people having cheered the royal family, dispersed without delay.—I am aware, however, that in foreign courts and countries, it must have been said that delicacy, if not filial duty, demanded from Ferdinand a delay, or some degree of reluctance in the acceptance of an abdication which had been made in such extraordinary circumstances; but this objection can never occur to those who know how critical was the position of our affairs at that moment. Spain was utterly ruined, if Prince Ferdinand hesitated an instant. The queen, who, in a state of the utmost anxiety for the life of the Prince of the Peace, had agreed to the abdication, might