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just laid down, we think it probable, that the next revolution,
It is evident to us, from the work of M. Dumont as well as
- Il se fit sans-culotte, puisqu'aussi bien il était menacé d'en
The advantage of selecting persons of property and of cha-
It is also very striking in every Narrative of the French Revolution to observe into what extremities men, very moderate at
first, were finally hurried. Good intentions were found to be but very slight security for good conduct. Not a few, who began with most honest views, will only be remembered by posterity because they ended with most mischievous measures. Thus, for instance, Brissot is described by M, Dumont as a man imbued not only with upright political intentions, but a deep sense of religion. Yet M. Dumont, on returning to Paris after an absence of some months, found, to his great surprise, this very Brissot plunged, as he says, with his whole heart into the Machiavelism of party-spirit, and while knowing and admitting the innocence of a minister, (M. de Lessert,) straining every nerve to have him tried as a traitor!
• I had known him,' continues Dumont, candid and generous, I now saw him crafty and persecuting. If his conscience-for Brissot was a moral and religious man-made him any reproaches, he silenced it by the pretended necessity of serving the state by such means, Brissot was true to his party, but not to honour. He was impelled by a sort of enthusiasm, to which he was ready to sacrifice everything; and because he was conscious of no love of money, nor ambitious of office, he thought himself a pure and virtuous citizen. See, he used to say, my more than frugal establishment, see my Spartan diet,watch me in my domestic habits,-try if you can reproach me with any unworthy pursuits or frivolous amusements. Why, for more than two years, I have never entered a theatre! On such grounds rested his confidence in himself. He did not perceive that zeal for one's party, love of power, hatred, and vanity, are tempters quite as dangerous as love of gold, ambition of official dignity, or a taste for pleasure.'
Another thing very remarkable in the French Revolution, and no doubt to be ranked amongst the subordinate causes of its progress, is the extreme absurdity and childishness of its legislative debates. The French are a nation of retined and polished taste. They have a keen eye for the ridiculous; they most carefully avoid and most unmercifully lash it in the intercourse of private life. How comes it, then, that in public discussions they should invariably display all the petulance of schoolboys, all the pedantry of schoolmasters? “The debates of the National Assembly,' says Mr. Macaulay, with great truth, were endless successions of trashy pamphlets-all beginning with man in the hunting state, and other such foolery.' Even at present a debate in the Chamber of Deputies is on most occasions a study worthy of Hogarth. But its follies are wisdom as compared to those of the National Assembly or Convention. In that valuable and interesting work, the · Mémoires de Roederer,' we remember being amused with one instance, which is not, however, mentioned as anything singular. M. Isuard, a deputy of some influence, and who, as such, was employed to harangue and quiet the mob on the memorable
20th of June, 1792, was, on the following 3d of August, accused in the Chamber of having sold himself to the English cabinet. Now, let any one consider for a moment what would be the defence of an Englishman in a similar case.
He would bring testimony-he would allege his own previous character-he would retort on his assailants—in short, he would regularly plead his cause, What is the defence of the Frenchman? He unbuttons his waistcoat! He lays bare his breast ! · Malheureur, ouvre mon cæur et tu verras s'il est Français !' And this defence is admitted !
Such scenes might appear only ridiculous. But it is a source of danger in every country, that men seldom believe that what is ridiculous may also be formidable. People laughed at the follies of the National Assembly. They laughed at the clenched fists, furious interruptions, frothy declamations, and turbulent galleries of that noisy mob. They laughed at its shallow ideas of politics, which knew of no better security against despotic power than a feeble government. But those days of laughter were only the first acts of the piece, and France had not yet reached the consummation of the revolutionary drama, which, unlike other theatrical representations, begins in farce and ends in tragedy.
We have perhaps filled already more of our pages than any work bearing a name intrinsically so humble as that of Lord John Russell may seem to warrant; yet we must not conclude without calling attention to the tone which his Lordship has thought fit to adopt when treating of religious subjects. We should doubt, for instance, whether all the pious dissenters who have of late taken so warm an interest in his Lordship’s political successes, will quite approve of the patronizing air with which he sums up a long and serious, we need not add a dull, parallel between Voltaire and our Saviour, or, as the Noble Paymaster prefers to say, the Founder of the Christian Religion :
• Christ, whatever might be his doctrines, had given the example of a pure life; and had laid down that life for mankind. But what was the example afforded by the leader of a new sect, and the subverter of an ancient faith? Since he chose to lead,'—["ecrasez l'infame !"]— he was bound to give an example which might be fit to follow: Epicurus himself was a man of a pure and a virtuous life. But not only was the moral conduct of Voltaire censurable, and his conversation licentious,—his writings were replete with gross indecency, and insulting outrage to all that is modest and uncorrupted. . . . . That he had a general desire for the improvement of mankind cannot, indeed, be doubted: but what was he ready to sacrifice, or even risk, for their welfare? By the course he took he gained more power, riches, and fame than he could possibly have acquired in any other way. As for any serious danger to his life or liberty, there was none;'—[observe this from the author who traces the French Revolution principally to royal tyranny and
174 Lord J. Russell on the Causes of the French Revolution.
oppression !]— but when the smallest danger appeared, even of his having to encounter the pointless weapons of the church, what was his conduct? He fled from the danger, made the most hypocritical submissions, feigned what he did not believe, and professed himself a member of that religion which he daily insulted. The persecution of opinions'-[Lord John has just admitted that' in his case there was no real danger either to life or liberty!]—might justify his prudence; but, we may ask, is such a man to be followed and admired, like Him who is ready to “ LAY DOWN HIS LIFE POR HIS FRIEND ?”—p. 136.
The manner in which this last quotation from St. John's Gospel, chap. xv., ver. 12, is introduced, appears to us quite worthy of the sense and taste of Lord John Russell.
This ridiculous Essay contains, however, a few passages which may be quoted to his Lordship's credit. We thank this wholesale vituperator of the French nobility and clergy for the following honest and correct statement respecting the Philosophers, whom he in fifty places extols as the prime movers of their overthrow :
• These reformers adopted all the vices of the court and clergy which they sought to supplant, omitting only the refinement by which they were partially disguised, and the fear of God by which they were sometimes restrained.'-p. 221.
We are also particularly obliged, whatever some of his colleagues may be, to the author of the English Reform Bill, for the following just and sensible observations :
• The raw material, man, must be manufactured into something artificial before he is fit for the purposes of government; he must be “ through certain strainers well refined” before he can assume the direction of his species. It is for this reason that all the most applauded governments-Sparta-Rome-England!!-Holland-have been formed upon the principle of mutual control. It is by dividing power among different orders and classes; by multiplying forms and privileges; by giving the people an attachment to settled rules of proceeding; by FILTERING THE TURBID CURRENT OF POPULAR OPINION through VARIOUS MODES OF DELIBERATION AND OF COUNSEL; and, finally, by opposing a check to every act of passion, whether in chief, nobles, or people, that the whole society is protected against the abuse of those faculties of government, the right use of which produces some of the greatest of human blessings.
• It has, therefore, been the object of wise legislators!! to bind down the monstrous giant of power, like Gulliver in the fable, with a thousand minute cords and unseen hinderances. For this reason it is, that a people exercised in liberty have numerous securities in their ancient marims and habits, which it would be impossible for any LAWGIVER OF THE hour to insert in a new written constitution.'(!!!)-p. 197.
Ipse dixit !—And all this is from Lord John Russell-writing a grave Essay on the Causes of a Revolution !
ART. IX.-Essays and Orations, read and delivered at the Royal
College of Physicians; to which is added an Account of the
these Essays a delightful compound of professional knowledge and literary taste. Handled with skill and feeling such as his, subjects of medical research have not only nothing dry or repulsive about them, but are of deep and universal interest and attraction. His points of view and illustrations are, in general, those of a man of the world, as familiar with men and manners as with books ; his language is that of a graceful scholar-and the reflections interspersed are not more remarkable for sagacity, than agreeable for the benevolent and humane spirit which they reflect.
Sir Henry's remarks on the phenomena of the death-bed will be read with particular interest :—Whatever be the causes of dissolution, whether sudden violence, or lingering malady, the immediate modes by which death is brought about appear to be but two. In the one, the nervous system is primarily attacked, and there is a sinking, sometimes an instantaneous extinction, of the powers of life; in the other, dissolution is effected by the circulation of black venous blood in the arteries of the body, instead of the red arterial blood. The former is termed death by syncope, or fainting,—the latter, death by asphyxia. In the last-mentioned manner of death, when it is the result of disease, the struggle is long protracted, and accompanied by all the visible marks of agony which the imagination associates with the closing scene of life,—the pinched and pallid features, the cold clammy skin, the upturned eye, and the heaving, laborious, rattling respiration. Death does not strike all the organs of the body at the same time; some may be said to survive others ; and the lungs are among the last to give up the performance of their function and die. As death approaches, they become gradually more and more oppressed; the air-cells are loaded with an increased quantity of the fluid, which naturally lubricates their surfaces; the atmosphere can now no longer come into contact with the minute blood vessels spread over the air-cells, without first permeating this viscid fluid,-hence the rattle; nor is the contact sufficiently perfect to change the black venous into the red arterial blood; an unprepared fluid consequently issues from the lungs into the heart, and is thence transmitted to every other organ of the body. The brain receives it, and its energies appear to be lulled thereby into sleep--generally tranquil sleep-tilled with dreams which impel the dying lip to murmur out the names of friends and the occupations and recollections of past life: the