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Page xii, line 13, read or for “and.” xii, line 37, read Mr. Say for “Mr. de Say.” XX, last line, read enlistment for “recruitment.”
XXX, lines 4 & 9, read Steuart for “ Stuart.”
lunes.” 36, 2d col. line 1, read under for “and.” 236, 1st col. line 27, read Louis XIV. for “ Louis IV.” 315, 1st col. line 24, read citric for “ nitric.”
BY THE EDITOR.
CIRCUMSTANCEs above the control either of the Editor or Publisher of this Work, have deferred the appearance of the first volume for some months beyond the period originally indicated. It was thought well, moreover, to begin the year with the premices of an enterprise which is designed to provide for the public a stock of history and literature of something more than temporary interest. The contents of the present volume will, I trust, be acknowledged to have this character, although they may not seem to support its title, according to the usual composition of books of the same denomination, or to correspond exactly with the schedule of the prospectus. I had reserved to myself, however, in the prospectus, a latitude of choice as to topics and arrangement, and I soon discovered that the scope of the semiannual volume would not properly admit of all the common ingredients of a work of the kind. Several of these I have, in consequence, withheld for the next volume, which will be in the nature of a sequel to the present. Together they will more fully realize the idea of a Register. The materials of the second are for the most part collected, and it may be put to press without delay, should the public be disposed to extend to the undertaking the degree of patronage required by the interests of the Bookseller. It will offer as the first article, French Affairs from the battle of Waterloo up to the present time: The interval between that great event and the reestablishment of the Bourbons in Paris, although short, is scarcely less curious and instructive in its history, than any other particular period of the French revolutionary annals. The next volume will contain, besides, an abstract of the condition and politics of the principal powers of Europe;—a review of the proceedings of the fourteenth Congress:—a synopsis of English and American literature;—a chronicle drawn from domestic and foreign sources;–a necrology, :- &c.
For the present volume, as respects the history of Europe, I have selected as my theme the country which has of late almost monopolized the attention of mankind; and, in preference to more recent events, that vicissitude of its fortunes which if not, in itself, the most wonderful, is the most imposing as well as decisive. I found in my hands authentic materials for the history of the restoration of Bonaparte, and of the last desperate struggles of the imperial government: The impressiveness of the subject so remarkable for the display of character and rapidity of action, led me to reduce them into the shape of a regular narrative. The cause of truth, too, appeared to demand something that might serve to counteract the gross misrepresentations which have been palmed upon the public, in a work entitled “Letters from Paris by an English gentleman.” This work is ascribed to Mr. Hobhouse, the author of the Travels in Albania; but I yet find it almost impossible to persuade myself, that the accomplished and sagacious scholar who wrote these admirable travels, could have produced a tissue of falsehood, inconsistency and ribaldry worthy only and properly characteristic of a Barrere or of a slavish pamphleteer of the palais-royal. I hold myself bound, in pursuance of my first steady aim of serving my native country by exposing French jacobinism in all its frauds, to improve every fair opportunity of dispelling, by facts, the illusions industriously spread concerning the character of Bonaparte, his co-adjutors and their institutions. The man is chained—inextricably I hope —to the rock of St. Helena,” but his name is dangerous as the rallying point, the watch-word of a foreign sect who know their own credit and the success of their designs to depend on his reputation, and who, therefore, labour indefatigably to invest it with the effulgence of the most philanthropic heroism. Borne along by testimony in all respects irresistible, I shall pursue him closely, in the next volume, from Paris to his present residence. It behooves every writer of cotemporary history however humble the grade, who is at the same time a friend of truth and of his fellow-men, to treasure up whatever may conduce to exhibit in the full deformity of his spirit and career, the most audacious and mischievous of the impostors of this or any age.
“Stamp we our vengeance deep and ratify his doom.”
No honest mind can fail to rejoice at the downfall of a government of organised falsehood and hypocrisy, which, with the language the most beneficent and consolatory always in its mouth, incessantly fomented the passions and fortified the institutions
* Prometheus vinctits, or rather the man of Prometheus formed out of the slime of the earth, to whom Minerva gave the cunning of the fox, the ambition of the peacock, the ferocity of the tiger, the strength of the lion, and the pusillanimity of the hare. The mythological composition has been completely realized in the history of Bonaparte.
most destructive to the human species. Not content with its own race of imposture, it had sought to enlist and train in the same profligate career, all the youth, even the most tender, of a large empire. We cannot but shudder when we find,-as the French gazettes of the particular period show—the boys of all the schools including even the primary, brought forward with addresses to the emperor written for them by his stipendiaries, and full of adulation, oaths, and bravados; at the same time that the poor infants either really or (what would be still worse) feignedly, surrender with many flourishes of sentiment their weekly allowance of pocket-money as a patriotic donation! The regents of the polytechnick school of Paris, themselves conspicuous members of the government of Bonaparte, state formally, in their official report of the last year, that he and his colleagues had laboured to heat the minds of the youth of all the schools and give them a direction favourable to their views: “Ceux qui se prouvoient à la tête du pouvoir cherchoient à exalter les opinions de la jeunesse de toutes les Ecoles, et à leur donner une direction favorable à leurs vues.” We need not be surprised if, while the administration of France under the Bourbons ceased to be homicidal and invasive, it was marked more or less by Charlatanerie and deception, and this not merely because it was in the hands of the creatures of Bonaparte. One of the ablest of the late French writers remarks, in allusion to the principles, both of obedience and rule among his countrymen—“the habits of the government of Napoleon remain to us like a species of instinct, of which, it is to be feared, we shall, for a long time and blindly, follow the impulse.”
Neither I, nor any American in my situation, can prefer the cause of the Bourbons, from any other motive, than a conviction of its greater eligibleness with a view to the happiness of France, the tranquillity of Europe, the cause of liberty every where, and the prosperity of the United States. Under the peculiar circumstances of France divided within, threatened from abroad, I can see no anchorage for her, however exposed or mortifying it may be, but the old race of her monarchs, who certainly carry with them no inconsiderable part of her population, and who, while they reign at all, deprive the allied powers of the pretext which they may want, of totally overwhelming her by their hostilities. Where else could the vessel of the state be moored to save her from being beaten to pieces by tempests of every description? Which of the great military or civil leaders is it that could unite the people; or propitiate the foreign powers? and who will pretend that without perfect union at home, France could successfully resist those powers?—Remove the Bourbons, and we should witness a scene upon a mighty scale of horror, similar to that of the raft which bore the crew of the French frigate Medusa; an infuriate mutual butchery, while the elements were exerting their utmost force to consummate the tragedy;--to bury all in a common ruin.