網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

religion, as well as his grinding tyranny over the people in Egypt, and no further illustration of the maledictions of Isaiah * or Ezekiel will be required by the sober student of the prophetic writings.

We must conclude with the expression of our sincere regret that Mr. Beke has not applied his talents and ingenuity to some more profitable purpose: we would speak with respect of both. Though we have been compelled to give a verdict of not proven' against every plea which he has advanced in the work before us, we trust that in no instance we have departed from the urbanity of the scholar or the charity of the Christian. We would hope that the time is come when such questions may be debated without the slightest tinge of polemic acrimony; and though our author must feel some natural disappointment, if he shall be convinced that he has wasted much valuable time upon an untenable hypothesis, in the end he will not be dissatisfied at our friendly and temperate admonition, which would strongly urge more mature consideration and more profound inquiry, before he ventures to publish another volume of Origines Biblica.'

ART. XII.-Louis Philippe et la Contre-Révolution de 1830. Par B. Sarrans, jeune. 2 tomes. Paris, 1834.

WE

E alluded to this work in our last Number as a formal bill of indictment preferred against Louis Philippe, for every species of political apostacy and of private ingratitude. We now resume a more particular consideration of the work-not with the view of entering into the polemic details of the squabbles between the citizen-king and his quondam friends-with which our readers are, we believe, sufficiently acquainted, and may be, we fear, somewhat tired-but for the purpose of recording some anecdotical facts concerning the new dynasty. Though we are far from giving implicit credit to all M. Sarrans's assertions-and, though we reject the whole of his doctrines and most of his reasonings, it is impossible to deny that he has made out his case of ingratitude and apostacy against Louis Philippe: but he has made one great, and in every sense, radical mistake-he lays the whole blame of this change on the king, when, in fact, the greater part of it belongs to the persons and principles which the king has been forced to repudiate.

Ad hominem M. Sarrans's argument is conclusive;—and the answers which the king and his friends have attempted are miserably weak, and must necessarily be so, because they have not yet

* And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts.'-Isaiah xix. 4. 2 M 2 had

[ocr errors]

had the courage to produce their real defence-by honestly confessing That they have abandoned the principles which they and M. Sarrans professed in 1830, because they have found, by cruel experience, that with such principles no government -no society could exist. Upon this truth they have had the boldness and good sense to act, but they have not yet the moral courage to avow it; and until they shall frankly make that admission, M. Sarrans and their other antagonists may urge with perfect justice the shameful inconsistency between their practice and their professions.

Before we proceed to the main object-the personal history of Louis Philippe-we think it right to notice one or two assertions made by M. Sarrans relative to England, which we can, from our own knowledge, pronounce to be either utter mistakes or gross misrepresentations; for instance, he says, that

'the elevation of the Duke of Orleans to the throne of France was the favourite project of Dumouriez even to his last hour. At the moment when Louis XVIII. meditated the invasion of Spain, the old general communicated a project of this kind to Mr. Canning-then prime minister-who entertained it, and opened a negociation to that purport, but it was interrupted within three weeks, by the death of Dumouriez.'-p. 106.

We do not insist on the misstatement (though of some importance) of Mr. Canning's being at that time (1823) prime minister, nor on the absurdity of supposing that a negociation for such great and prospective objects could be defeated by the death of the poor old Dumouriez, at the age of eighty-four and in the retirement of an English village. We knew General Dumouriez personally during the latter years of his life, and we can say, that we never heard him express anything like the sentiments imputed to him; and, indeed, long before the war with Spain was or could have been even meditated, the poor old man was totally incapable of originating or conducting either intrigue or negociation. But, we further know, and can now, without any breach of confidence, assert, that no such proposition ever reached the British government from any quarter, and that, consequently, no negociation was, or could have been opened on the subject. If our readers will take the superfluous trouble of referring to the Parliamentary Debates, they will find that Mr. Canning was, at the time, the object of an exactly opposite and contradictory charge, namely, of having in his speeches on those Spanish affairs represented England as bound by express guarantee to maintain the existing dynasty on the throne of France. This was as little true as is M. Sarrans's contrary statement; but when Mr. Canning's language could have given rise to such a misunderstanding, it is clear

that

that he could not have volunteered an intrigue for the overthrow of that dynasty, towards which he was supposed to be too favourable.

On another point M. Sarrans is equally misinformed-he says,

A few days after the revolution of July, Lord Stuart de Rothsay, the English ambassador, received from Lord Wellington orders to require from the new government of France a categorical answer as to its intentions relative to Algiers.'

And to this he adds the following note:

To account for Lord Wellington's direct intervention in a matter which was rather in the department of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, it is necessary to know that some weeks before the appearance of the Ordonnances, M. de Polignac had sent over a secret agent to his Grace, to communicate confidentially his intended measure, and to assure him that the expedition to Algiers had no other object than to produce a military success, which might re-act favourably on the projected coup d'état.'-p. 87.

We can take upon ourselves to assert, that every statement and inference in this note is absolutely false, and without even a colourable pretence.

All the world knows, because it has been published in the journals and in the parliamentary debates of both countries, (our readers will find it stated in the Quarterly Review for July, 1833, vol. xlix. p. 524,) that the Wellington cabinet, immediately on the accession of Louis Philippe, did require and obtain a categorical answer on the subject of Algiers-but the special and direct interference of the Duke himself on that occasion, and the previous communication with M. de Polignac respecting the ORDONNANCES, are absolute falsehoods. Our readers well know that, on the first burst of the events of July, some such community of councils was imputed to the Duke of Wellington and M. de Polignac by their respective enemies and especially by that pattern of accuracy and candour, Lord Brougham-but the trial of the ex-ministry in Paris, and the declaration of the Duke of Wellington in England, had, we thought, dissipated that calumny for ever: however, as M. Sarrans has thought proper to repeat it with such special circumstances, we take upon ourselves to assert, not only that there was no such agent, but that there was not any— even the slightest written or verbal communication of M. de Polignac's design made to the British government, or to any member of it. We can further state, that so fearful was M. de Polignac of giving umbrage to his own jealous countrymen, by the appearance of any intercourse with the Duke of Wellington, that when he left England with the secret intention of accepting the place of President of the Council to Charles X., he did not even commu

nicate his departure or its motives to the Duke, and even evaded the ordinary civility of a parting visit; and we further and finally assert that so far, so blameably far-was this system of retrocession from English counsels carried, that the first intimation which the British cabinet had of any unusual design or measure was by the same Moniteur which had announced the Ordonnances to the people of Paris.

We did not expect to have ever again had occasion to refer to this topic; but when we find M. Sarrans gravely reviving such fables, we think it right, for the sake of historical truth, to repeat the contradiction. We do not suspect M. Sarrans of intentional misrepresentation; but it is really surprising how ignorant of us and all our affairs, whether recent or remote, the French, even their men of letters, are; and not merely uninformed, but utterly ignorant of matters, which they, nevertheless, venture to discuss in the boldest style. For instance, M. Sarrans, thinking it necessary, in a high constitutional disquisition, to compare the Chamber of Peers in France with our House of Lords, objects to the former as exclusively feudal, while, he says, the annals of England prove that her peerage was largely increased by persons connected with trade, at a time when, throughout the rest of Europe, there was no access to nobility but by the sword. This he proves by sundry instances (most of which happen to be no instances at all) from Camden's excellent work on British Commerce,' -Camden never having written any such work-and then to make all sure he subjoins

[ocr errors]

The following is a chronological list of the merchants who have been ennobled by the crown since the close of the sixteenth century. 1464-Sir John Gillott, merchant and mayor of York, knight of the order of the Bath.

1465-Sir Ralph Josline, merchant-draper, knight of the Bath and baronet.

1471-Henry Weaver, sheriff of London, knight of the Bath and

baronet.

1487-Sir William Horne, trading in salt-meat, a baronet.
1490-John Perceval, merchant-taylor, baronet.

1513-Sir Thomas More, sheriff of London, and afterwards Lord Chancellor and privy councillor to Henry VIII.

[ocr errors]

1583-Sir John Allen, merchant, privy councillor to Henry VII. 1628-Sir William Acton, knight of the Bath and baronet. 1646-Sir Thomas Adams, knight of the Bath and baronet..'— vol. ii. p. 244.

[ocr errors]

Could it have been believed that any man--much less a literary man-a publiciste by profession-volunteering to discuss a matter of history and legislation, could have, by any ingenuity of ignorance, contrived to accumulate such a mass of blunders ?

Not

Not one of his examples is a case of peerage! He confounds the Occasional knights of the Bath made at coronations with the modern Order of the Bath. He enumerates baronets centuries before the title was invented-and even imagines that knighthood, the baronetcy, and the privy council, confer the peerage! We wonder that of such peerages-instead of a list of pine, he did not enumerate nine hundred since the close of the sixteenth century, which, it seems, according to M. Sarrans's new 'Art de vérifier les Dates,' was about 1464-a century and a half earlier than the vulgar reckoning. When M. Sarrans exhibits such serious and such ridiculous ignorance about one part of his subject, we naturally feel some suspicion as to his trustworthiness in others; and although we may presume that he knows a little more of France than he does of England, we confess, that if we had not some other evidence than his own for most of his statements, we should not have paid them much attention. But the truth is, that Sarrans derives all his importance from his connexion with Lafayette and his party,--whose views he developes-whose cause he advocates -and whose statements he records. It is not Sarrans that we trust, but Lafayette, Lafitte, Dupont, and Odillon Barrot, all of whom appear to have contributed to this, even more directly than to his former work; these volumes contain a letter from each of these persons, which, so far as they are concerned, accredit the book; and in truth all the facts of the book relate to them, or rather to Louis Philippe in his intercourse with them. M. Sarrans has also been at the pains to hunt up some old publications, and he has been furnished with some original documents, and from all these sources has collected a mass of anecdotes relative to the personal and political life of the King of the French, which are, beyond all doubt, true in substance, though the commentaries of M. Sarrans are deeply tinctured with party prejudice and personal animosity. These we shall endeavour to put aside, and to exhibit to our readers the real character of Louis Philippe, which, like most other real characters, will be found to be a mixture of good and bad-of something to be approvedsomething to be censured-a good deal to be pitied, as the weakness of human nature-and much to be forgiven, as arising from the irresistible force of circumstances.

M. Sarrans sets out by showing that his Majesty began life as a Jacobin-his first political declaration was in the strong and homely designation of himself as Louis Philippe Egalité, by misfortune a French prince, but by choice a Jacobin to his fingers' ends.' This general thesis M. Sarrans elucidates by extracts from a journal kept by the Duke de Chartres in 1790 and 1791, and which, having been lost or forgotten when he emigrated,

was

« 上一頁繼續 »