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eminently pernicious to mankind. We expected to see revived, with many correctives, the old politics, manners and opinions of Europe, which, however perverse and unnatural, were, as experience had shewn, much less at war with the happiness and morality of the world, than those of the new school of France. The long roll of grim and sanguinary maxims which formed the code of French despotism, unaccompanied by temperaments or consolations of any description, was to be discarded, and give place to an order of things in which the softer and kindly propensities of our nature might find, at least some share of relief and gratification. The system of Bonaparte was an omniverous ambition in a new shape; one more horrible and formidable than any in which this destructive passion had ever appeared, or is, for a considerable period, likely again to appear. The empire of the seas, the monopoly of commerce sought by England, the gigantic grasp and insatiable cupidity of the Russian cabinet, every other scheme or menace of dominion, against which we would now invoke the earliest precaution, was as nothing, until the subversion of a system, superior in mischief and malignity, to almost every other possible organization of force and fraud. A brighter page will not be found in the volume of history than that, which records the condition in which France was left, after the unexampled provocations she had given to the wildest revenge, and the unexampled efforts made to shake off her iron yoke:—The France of 1792, maintained and guaranteed by an equal treaty; her colonies and captive forces restored; her treasures of art, her invidious monuments, her resources
of every description held inviolate; a universal amnesty on one condition alone—the abandonment of her tyrant. The beauty of modern civilization was never more forcibly illustrated, than it is in the following introductory paragraph of the Analysis of the labours of the first class of the French Institute, by Cuvier, the perpetual secretary of that body. “The memorable events of which this capital (Paris) has been the theatre, so far from disturbing scientific research, have yielded new proofs of the respect which the sciences inspire, and of the fortunate influence which they have obtained over all nations and classes. Innumerable armies drawn from the extremities of Europe have visited our monuments, have surveyed our collections, have examined each object with a curious eye, without doing the smallest injury, or even commit. ting an imprudence, Lovers of the sciences enrolled in the great crusade undertaken in part, for the re-establishment of the liber. ty of thinking and writing, had scarcely laid aside their arms, when they sought to be informed of our labours, and co-operating in them to acquaint us with what had been done amongst them. selves. The foreign sovereigns have, as it were, emulously contended, who should give the most striking proofs of interest in the progress of knowledge, and who should best evince that their cause was that of light and humanity.” If the allies had signed and published, previous to their entrance into France, a liberal treaty of peace with Louis the 18th, to be in force when he should be acknowledged by the French people; or abstained wholly from negotiation with an enemy, whose character they must have thoroughly understood,” their object might, perhaps, have been more easily accomplished, and still greater credit be given them for unity and boldness of design. But allowance is to be made for the peculiar situation of Austria with respect to Napoleon; for the political relations in which all the continental powers, especially Russia, had stood towards the imperial crown of France; and the laudable desire of ascertaining the real dispositions of the French people. They made amends, however, to the Bourbons for this tardy assertion of their claims, and so many years of contemptuous dereliction. They proclaimed their cause as that of peace and indemnity; they ushered them in as redeemers and propitiators; they presented them to, and
* M. de Caulincourt, was the representative of Bonaparte at the conferences of Chatillon. The following letter to Caulincourt, from the French Secretary of State, the duke de Bassano (Maret) fell into the hands of the allies: the original, in the hand-writing of Maret, is deposited in the state registry of Vienna.
19th March, 1814. , , “The emperor desires that you
should make no positive engagement as to the delivery of the fortresses of Antwerp, Mayence, and Alexandria; that you should keep constantly in mind, that, although he should sign the cession of these provinces, it is not his intention to deliver up these three keys of France, in case military events upon which he means always to count, should allow him not to do it. In one word, his majesty wishes to be, af. ter the treaty, still in a situation, to take advantage of circumstances up to the last moment. The emperor recommends it to you, to burn this letter as soon as you have read it.”
Lord Castlereagh justly remarkcd in his speech of the 20th April, 1814, that this letter furnished proof of a sys. tem of perfidy unheard of in the transactions of civilized nations.
received them back from the nation as pledges of future moderation and candour; they disclaimed, in their favour, both the style and the privileges of conquest. The deportment of Louis the 18th, was in the same spirit towards his subjects, as that of his auxiliaries. The majority of the people welcomed him with open arms, and the liveliest expressions of delight." He met them with an assurance of total oblivion of the past, of perfect security to all without exception, in their persons, property, honours and places. He practised not a single act of rigour or of vengeance; but maintained in their posts most of the functionaries of the imperial government; kept near his person and loaded with new favours many of the confidential favourites and devoted servants of his predecessor. “Let us cast our eyes about us,” says Chateaubriand at the end of 1814, in his “Reflections on the political writings of the day:” “By whom is nearly the totality of the great and small places of government occupied? Is it by Vendeans, emigrants? or, is it by men who had served the other order of things? The fact is notorious. Have those who say they are firoscribed, lost a hair of their heads; or a particle of their estates, or their personal liberty?” Never was there, in fact, an occasion, on which the following wellknown passage of the latin historian might, with more propriety, be used.” At qui sunthi, quirempublicam occupavére? homines sceleratissimi, cruentis manibus, immani avaritiã, nocentissimi, iidemque superbissimi; quibus fides, decus, pietas, postremo honesta atque in
* Even Carnot admits this see his Justificatory Memoir.
honesta omnia quaestui sunt. Pars eorum occidisse tribunos plebis, alii quaestiones injustas, plerique caedem in vos fecisse, pro munimento habent. Ita, quam quisque flessume fecit tam marume tutus 68t. The accession of Louis was speedily followed by the adoption of a constitution with the best principles and forms of freedom in a monarchy; so framed by himself, and with the counsel of the most enlightened and powerful men of the two deliberative assemblies, as to be open to amelioration, and conformable to the changes wrought by the Revolution; a constitution embracing in substance all that the Assemblies of the Baillages had called for in 1789, and with which, it was impossible for the real and intelligent patriots not to be satisfied. The dispositions of the military, were the most inveterate and formidable, with which the new sovereign had to contend. Towards them he left untried no expedient of conciliation, which was compatible with the safety of the throne, and the condition of the treasury. He studiously celebrated their exploits, extolled their bravery, distinguished and supported their commanders; incorporated with them the princes of his family; maintained and enlarged the Legion of honor, an institution especially created and adapted for the consolidation of the military despotism so fatal to his own interests and those of his kingdom. The many thousands whom Bonaparte had left to languish, without ever proposing or admitting a cartel of exchange, in the hulks of England, the fortresses of Germany, and the deserts of Russia, were restored to their country, and their wants supplied with paternal solicitude. The
arrears of the pay of the army, notwithstanding its devotion to the cause of Bonaparte, had been suffered to accumulate to an enormous amount. These were discharged in full by the Bourbons, as if the finances had been in the highest prosperity, to that portion of the troops which from the exhaustion of the national resources and the engagements made with the allies, it became inevitable to disband. A committee was instituted to investigate, and liquidate all military claims of every description. The whole exchequer seemed, in fact, to be considered, and was by the zealous royalists, querulously described, as the military chest. We should not omit to mention, that the very officers whom Bonaparte had abandoned for years in the hostile countries, without succour of any sort, were the first to exclaim, and in a tone of arrogance, against the tardiness with which the Bourbons discharged their arrears, and recompensed their services. The only delay on this score which did occur, arose from the incalculable number of the claimants, and the desire of gratifying at once the exigencies of the most needy. To close the wounds inflicted by the Revolution, and by the system of Bonaparte, to win over the heroes of both to the cause of royalty and peace, to heal political dissentions, and revive habits of civil industry; to inspire confidence into foreign powers, and thus regain some share of federative strength for the nation, were the objects which the monarch seemed to have constantly in view, and for which he sedulously laboured. The abolition of the conscription was one of the first exertions of the new government, and that of the most odious of the taxes—the
droits réunes, would have followed, pursuant to a hasty promise, had they not been found indispensable upon a closer inspection of the state of the finances. Under the just impression, that nothing would more facilit::te the attainment of the objects just mentioned, than the prosperity of religion, the royal government took measures to improve the condition and strengthen the authority of the clergy. In their legislation on this head, they never violated the principle of toleration in the sense in which it is received in Europe, although they acted upon the maxim of a great protestant writer, Mr. Burke, “ that the catholic religion, which is fundamentally the religion of France, must go with the monarchy of France.” A very slender provision was, in fact, made for the hierarchy; scarcely a subsistence provided for the inferior clergy; and every fiscal measure proposed in their favour deferred in the execution, until the wants of the army were satisfied. In countenancing the immediate revival of certain public ceremonies, and rules of discipline peculiar to the catholic church, in a country, and particularly in a capital, where even the simplest forms of Christian worship, and its most inconsiderable distinctions, were constantly obnoxious to derision and persecution, the Bourbons were guilty of an imprudence. They were, however, actuated by a zeal highly laudable in itself, however indiscreetly manifested, for the re-ascendancy of a principle of action, which every moralist will acknowledge to be the best curb for human passions, and every statesman,—the surest pledge of public order. In all that was done, in whatever shape, there was nothing to support the re
proach of an intention to erect a sacerdotal despotism, or recal the genius of superstition; nothing calculated to excite alarm, or kindle disaffection in the breast of any liberal Christian, patriotically disposed." Nor can any one act, decree, or declaration of the Bourbon government be cited, which gives even colour to the accusation so loudly preferred against it—of meaning to disturb the purchasers of the national domains, and confiscated property, in their possession; to revive the system of tithes, the corvée, or feudal rights of any description. Every such project was, on the contrary, formally and officially disavowed. Some of the plundered emigrants, of the starving priests, and headlong enthusiasts of the old regime, may have signified wishes and expectations to this effect; but the government cannot be held responsible for rashness or error impossible to be controlled. Without the grossest infatuation, neither it, nor any common observer, could have believed these aims attainable at any period, as matters stood in France. If they were foolishly indulged by a few of the friends of the government, they were most industriously fabricated by its enemies.t
* Helen Maria Williams, a zealous protestant, speaks thus: “Louis XVIII. has never violated the sacred principle of toleration. All that the Bourbons had done, since their late accession, was to have given an example of piety.” See her “Narrative of Events,” generally on this head.
f*The reports of the intended spoliation of what was called national property, the re-establishment of the tithes, and the restoration of the former ecclesiastical domains, was a ca" lumny, which had been propagated by Bonaparte's partizans with more inIt had no sooner assumed a definite form in Paris, than the utmost pains were taken to excite alarm for the security of property and personal rights. The evidence exists of emissaries having been scattered throughout the country for the purpose of inquiring, as it were, by chance, into the estates to be sold; either rejecting totally, or offering half price for those, which had belonged to emigrants, or made part of the national domains. They pretended to be charged with the purchase of barns to receive the products of the tithes, with the arrangement of companies for the corvées, and the re-construction of the castles of the nobility, &c. The principle of the liberty of the press was proclaimed in the constitution sanctioned by Louis 18th. It could not, however, be established in the extent in which it prevails among us, or in England. The vindictive passions yet fermenting; the bitter animosities of lurking factions, which wanted only a free vent to dislocate the whole frame of society; the spirit of disaffection constantly on the watch to commit aggression; the length of time during which the public mind had been sealed by the most jealous of despotisms, exacted, manifestly, aparticularcourse of legislation for the press. Slaves should be formed to freedom as weak eyes are trained to the light of the sun; by slow degrees, and with nice precautions. There was certainly no reflecting politician so sanguine
dustry and effect than any other. were the charges brought against the Bourbons, minutely examined, they would, for the most part, be found equally devoid of truth, with that respecting church lands and tithes.”—Helen M. Williams, ubi supra.
as to believe, that the censorship. could have been omitted, either safely for the Bourbons, or usefully for the nation. We have no proof that it was pushed too far, or ty. ranically exercised. We know that it was often employed to prevent the unmeasured expression of indignation at the character and atrocities of the revolutionary governments, and such attempts at the commendation of the new system as had an invidious tendency. Whoever is acquainted with the productions of the Parisian press during the year's reign of the Bourbons, must admit that it was indulged beyond the dictates of pru. dence, and to a degree unprecedented in the whole history of France. Each day gave birth to Some pamphlet, in which the dispositions and measures of the Bourbon administration were arraigned not oftener with patriotic independence, than with factious asperity. The impunity of Carnot, after the publication of his memoir to the king; such writings as those of Mehee, Le Pelletier, Gregoire, Fievee, are monuments of tolera. tion, or, rather, perhaps, of supineness. Let the debates of the delibera
tive assemblies, and the public journals of the year 1814, be com. pared with those of the preceding one, and it will be acknowledged that the freedom of speech and discussion was the point, if none other, which could be said to have been gained in the exchange of rulers. The former are bold, excursive, inquisitive; oftentimes insolent and factious. The language, too, the most lofty and vituperatory, is to be found in mouths which were invariably either in a sort of tetanus during the whole reign of Bonaparte, or opened only to pour forth the grossest adulation to the