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additional pressure on the overstrained farmer, they are spoiling their own labour market in the meantime ; while there is a general rupture of local ties, as the centres of rural population are being shifted. On the one hand, the capitalist who cultivates by steam machinery employs fewer people permanently; on the other hand, the new dairy system, which sends quantities of milk daily to the towns, has been multiplying foggers, milkers and their cottages in the pasture countries; while the ordinary class of farmer who has been striving to work very much in the old ways is being compelled to stint his expenditure simply from lack of cash or credit. • After a while, seeing that his capital is diminishing, because he has been, as it were, eating it, seeing that there is no prospect of immediate relief, whatever may happen in the future, he is driven to one of two
He must quit the occupation or he must reduce his expenditure. He must not only ask the labourer to accept a reduction, but he must, wherever practicable, avoid employing labour at all.' That indispensable struggle to keep wages down tells indirectly on the popularity of the landlord, and on his popularity depends his influence for good. A naturally liberal man is placed in an embarrassing and painful position. He employs a certain number of hands on his home farm, and would willingly give them the wages they ask, and which he does not consider unreasonable. But if he pays them the extra shilling or two which are little to him, his tenants come with a protest.
He is dealing unfairly by them in raising the market, and bidding for popularity out of his abundance at their
That is only a sample of innumerable difficulties that suggest themselves when we study the subject below the surface. Though the interests of the agricultural classes ought to be broadly identical, yet they clash in a variety of details beyond possibility of easy reconciliation. As the pressure from foreign competition increases; as ingenuity and the energy of enterprise extend it into department after department, the component parts of the English agricultural machine must work more and more inharmoniously. In most common trials of the kind, inen are cheered by hope, and are encouraged to be patient by trusting to time. But here time would appear to be all against them, for each day brings the menace of some new mischief. It is possible that something may be done to alleviate the ing evils, and the cycles of the seasons will bring some temporary relief in the shape of better weather. But the prices our produce will command are at the bottom of the whole matter; it is as evident as anything can be in this world, that the prices of the chief staples of our farms can never again be what they once
were. It is idle to point by way of consolation to the extreme Auctuations in the cost of corn and cattle at different periods of our agricultural history. Those depressions were invariably due to causes which were obviously ephemeral. If the future is to be faced, and faced successfully, it can only be by science, system, and frugality; and there is a period of trial and of doubtful experiment to be passed through before any new order of things can organise itself
. Frugality must claim the first consideration, because there is no help for it. When landlords have reduced their rents and written off their arrears, they must cut down the scale of their living in proportion; and the men who are constrained to that painful resolution will at least have the comfort of many companions in misfortune. As for the middle-class and humbler farmers, if they mean still to hold by the land, they must fall back again towards the simpler habits of their fathers; while if the wages of the labourer come to a standstill, or decline, he may be reminded that his food and his clothing are cheaper. At the same time that cheapening of food is anything but an unmixed gain even for the consumer.
As the purchasing power
of the landed classes falls off, the trading classes lose their customers. As money drains away in exchange for foreign imports, there will be a sensible check to the prosperity of the country; and the manufacturers, the retail tradesmen and their employés will feel the effects in turn. Then the hands in the mills and manufactories will smart and grumble with the agricultural labourer. In short, we are all suffering from a general misfortune which must be made the best of; nor is anything to be gained by shirking its consideration or diminishing its magnitude. What we may hope is, that, though we fancy we may foresee the worst, we cannot possibly make a forecast of unlooked-for circumstances, which may bring relief from quarters whence we least expect it. The unexpected is an element in human affairs which should always enter into our calculations.
ART. VII.-Mémoires de Madame de Rémusat, 1802-1808.
Publiés, avec une Préface et des Notes, par son petit-fils, PAUL DE RÉMUSAT, Sénateur de la Haute-Garonne. Trois tomes. Paris: 1880.
*TAE manuscript of the Memoirs of my grandmother, lady,
• in-waiting to the Empress Joséphine, was bequeathed ' to me by my father, along with the duty of publishing them.' With these simple words M. Paul de Rémusat offers to the world the most curious of recent contributions to the history of the First Empire. _To every student of history this book is a gain, while for Frenchmen at the present moment it is of uncommon value, since the name of Napoleon still acts as a watchword or a test, alternately invoked or execrated by the temper of parties. The disasters which Napoleon III. brought on France in his last campaign have reminded the French that his uncle began a like work of national ruin, and brought a like humiliation upon Paris. On the other hand, the pious fortitude of the widowed Empress at Chiselhurst, along with the untimely death of the Prince who fell in foreign battle, have thrown a sort of halo round fallen Imperialism, whilst the unstable and uncertain fortunes of the Republic, still apparently gliding towards the extreme of democracy, are haunted by the phantom of military despotism and imperial power.
Hence the unabated interest in the Napoleonic tradition, and hence the opportune appearance
of Madame de Rémusat's Memoirs. To judge of Imperialism, and to arrive at even an approximate idea of its worth or worthlessness, one must lift those robes of ermine and of purple that cover the crimes of a palace, just as the wreaths of smoke from the guns veil the splendid terrors of a battle-field.
Many authors have worked at this theme. Bourrienne made us familiar with the student of Brienne; Madame Junot with the first dreams and the first love affairs of the rather amorous young officer whom her mother received so often. Constant told us how the great man, when he had become great, shaved and dressed. Savary described how our enemy planned the conquest of England from Boulogne; M. d'Haussonville has dragged to light the horrible persecution of Pius VII. ; Las Cases painted the Exile of Longwood; and Lanfrey, in able and scathing pages, has brought home to Napoleon all those acts of violence and deceit which the Emperor assumed to be part of his mission in life, rather than injuries to the liberties of France or outrages on the moral sense of mankind. These
authors, and many more, have given us their likenesses of the
The first volume of these Memoirs caused a thrill of curiosity in Europe. It was immediately translated into English, a thankless task for pens required to render the grace of style that seems to be hereditary in the family of the Rémusats. Readers were divided in their opinions of a book which possessed alternately passages worthy of the best memoirs, and passages of such questionable taste that the pen might have been held by Joséphine's chambermaid rather than by her confidential friend, and by a lady of such parts as Claire de Rémusat. Notices of the book followed each other in rapid succession, but we have waited for the appearance of the third and last volume, with its excellent preface, before attempting a review of its contents. Even now we shall confine ourselves mainly to the last, and certainly the best, portion of the work which M. Paul de Rémusat has given us.
One word, however, of the authoress, and of the manner in which a record so lifelike and so real has been preserved to her descendants and to the public. How did Claire de Rémusat, née de Vergennes, the niece of the well-known Minister of Louis XVI., come to study Napoleon so closely, and with so good an intention of not allowing anything to escape her? Born in 1780, of a Burgundian house, she was the daughter of an aristo who perished on the scaffold only three days before the fall of Robespierre. She was then in her fifteenth year ; but already among her own and her mother's friends was M. de Rémusat, a guide in their wanderings, a companion in their dangers and in their solitary mourning.
quote from the beautiful little sketch of her youthful attachment and marriage which her son has left:
'I look upon it as hardly possible but that our grandmother did not early foresee and acquiesce beforehand in the thing that was to happen, and this without supposing her to have found anything positive as yet
to read in her child's heart. What is certain is that, although my mother was in reality a child, still her prematurely grave intelligence, her heart's susceptibility to emotion, her lively imagination, and finally her solitude, their intimacy and their sorrows : all these causes combined to inspire her with an interest in my father which from the very outset had all the characteristics of a strong and durable affection. Her youth, her extreme youth, was taken captive, as it were, between the fortunate circumstances which were to conduct her through passion up to duty, and which procured for her this singular and touching alliance of the peace of the soul along with the deep emotions of the heart.'
The lovers married in 1796, and the fact that this was a genuine marriage of inclination preserved them from the worst influences of the time, from the sentimental sophistries of Madame d’Houdetot, who was their nearest neighbour, and from the baser temptations of an age that was in every way a law to itself. But they were not rich, and M. de Rémusat went from time to time to Paris, in search perhaps of that which would lift him out of political obscurity, or at least of a place to render the conditions of life easier to his family. Among their friends was Madame de Beauharnais, already, since 1796, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. The First Consul was at this time in search of a good social lining for the uniform he wore, and not many pieces of available stuff had as yet offered themselves to him. He caught at M. de Rémusat, and named him prefect of his palace; while very soon Madame de Rémusat was named a lady “to attend upon Madame Bonaparte, --a modest title, soon to be exchanged for the better-sounding one of dame du palais.
The new Court of the Bonapartes was in every sense a novelty, an exception to all rules or precedents. The First Consul was himself an exception, nor was it altogether forbidden even by Royalist prejudices to wear a republican uniform, or to follow in the retinue of a First Consul. It might be the right thing to do, or it might be the reverse ; at any rate, there was no rule for or against it, and therefore, though the situation often jarred, as we shall see, on the feelings of M. and Madame de Rémusat, they not only accepted it, but they kept it. As it is well for us, at all events, that they did so, it is only just to pause before we condemn them. If France and the world are not yet cured of some worship for Napoleon, what must have been his prestige in the day of his brightness? What he restored was order compared with the chaos in which he found France. Religion he had permitted again to raise its head, and the young Rémusats may