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federalism; but all these things are only the strife of opinions and ideas. What is wanted is men, passions. You talk of '89, I want to see Mirabeau; of '92, show me Danton; of '93, Marat and Robespierre."* The contrast is marked between such impersonal Memoirs and those of the sixteenth century-by Brantôme, L'Etoile, "a sort of cockney who jots down every night whatever he has seen during the day," Montluc, Sully, Mornay, &c., in whose journals men are ever on the scene to give relief and movement, while ideas seem effaced to afford room for passions. Impersonal, however, as in one sense the eighteenth century Memoirs may be, the writers can hardly be accused, or commended, as ignoring themselves, or as unwarrantably innocent of such a thing as self-con
Alisont says of Bailly's "History of Astronomy, Ancient and Modern," that it was "written in an elegant style," and was welcomed in Paris as coinciding with the irreligious principles then prevalent. Villemain‡ pronounces the style brilliant, animated, often affected, but with a spirituelle affectation. "It makes a beautifully methodical exposition," he says, "of general ideas, great systems, and mental progress. It depicts, more showily than accurately, the human authors or promoters of great discoveries. Above all, scientific zeal and enthusiasm in the cause of progress, are displayed on every page of the book, and sometimes shed over it a lively eloquence." As to Bailly's religious views,he by no means belonged to the "philosophic" party, as an organised body with aggressive designs. He had once been hand-and-glove with D'Alembert; but when the latter found how much more plastic an agent he had in Condorcet, he, with characteristic coldness, threw over honest Sylvain Bailly, and took particular pains thenceforth to deride him and his pretensions-assailing him and Buffon in one breath, and with pretty equal hatred,-alluding to them, in one of his letters to Voltaire, as "certain charlatans who, unable to contribute a single clear and true idea to the mass of human knowledge, think to enrich it by their hollow conjectures," &c. Bailly's intimacy with Buffon was roughly broken, by his persisting in voting at an Academy election (1783) for his friend Sedaine, rather than for Buffon's nominee, the Abbé Maury. Buffon was in consternation at being refused, and abruptly cancelled an alliance of time and tastes,-for Bailly and he were of one mind in several physical, geological, and ethnological "crotchets," against which the philosophers were banded together,-taking French leave of his trusty ally with a waspish "Eh bien, Monsieur, nous ne nous verrons plus.' could have waved off Charles Fox more inexorably-though Burke could and did realise more feelingly than Buffon the poet's truth, that
To be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain.
Bailly was in private a man of unpretending modest worth. He was fond of society, but could not be said to shine in it. Except with two or three familiar friends, he was usually considered too thoughtful and silent for social demands. He somewhere describes himself (but this with reference to public displays) as sans facilité pour parler et timide à
St. Marc Girardin: Mélanges d'Histoire politique.
History of Europe, ch. iv.
Cours de Littérature française. Vingt et unième Leçon.
l'excès. With many a mercurial Frenchman he might have passed for a "sad-hearted Anglo-Saxon," credulous of the anti-Gallican saw, that speech is silvern, but silence golden. If silence is in some cases (e. g. that of Coleridge's apple-dumpling fellow-guest) the wisdom of fools, it is, says Sir Thomas Browne, the honour of wise men, who have not the infirmity but the virtue of taciturnity, and speak not out of the abundance, but the well-weighed thoughts of their hearts. "Such silence may be eloquence, and speak thy worth above the power of words." But this is not at all French prose; nor is Fleckno's French poetry, when he breaks out with his
Still-born Silence! thou that art
Offspring of a heavenly kind!
Frost o' the mouth, and thaw o' the mind!
There was little enough in Bailly's personal appearance to correspond to his gentil Christian name, smacking of the pastoral and woodlandish and everything [of that sort] that pretty is,
Sylvain, to wit. Perhaps the name of Sylvain was given him by his father in fond remembrance of the stage pastorals in which the old gentleman had once indulged, and perhaps shone in his day. For Bailly père is described as having been both painter and dramatic author, man of wit and man about town, who wrote parodies, and composed comic operettas and trifles of all kinds for the Italian stage; so that in the mere course of nature (and art), many a Sylvain, it may be presumed, would be put in requisition, to play his part with Phillis, Galatée, and other Watteau-ish bucolics. Be the origin, however, of Sylvain Bailly's nomenclature what it may, there was nothing of the dainty pastoral in his outer man. He was tall and thin, with a long face, and tiny eyes, which he made tinier still by half-closing them, after the manner of shortsighted people, of whom he was amongst the very shortest-sighted. But to make up for the short-comings of this diminutive dual, he had an inordinate proportion of nose-what his friend Mérard de Saint Just describes as un nez d'une longueur presque démesurée"-such as would better grace a comic mask at Carnival time than one of his father's Sylvains or Damons-such indeed as would suffice, if actually introduced on the scene, to
Hush the pretty warbling choir
of shepherds and shepherdesses aforesaid, and strike them dumb with wonderment at so gross a nasological transgression, it being doubtless obligatory on all of their vocation to have a nose moulded as near as might be after the pattern of "dame Fraunchise" in Chaucer's old romaunt, of whom we are told that
Hir nose was wrought at poynt devys,
Whereas our Sylvain's was the reverse of gentyl, and guilty of a longitudinal error too excessive to be tolerated on the mimic scene. Not that we are to suppose the culpable feature in M. Bailly's case, or face, was so objectionable as Mr. Godwin's nose appears to have been, to some spectators for instance, Robert Southey, who writes to Joseph Cottle: "As for Godwin himself, he has large noble eyes [so far superior to our
† Romaunt of the Rose.
Sylvain], and a nose-oh, most abominable nose! Language is not vituperatious enough to describe the effect of its downward elongation:" and again, in a subsequent letter: "We dine with Mary Wollstonecroft* (now Godwin) to-morrow . Oh, he has a foul nose, and I never see it without longing to cut it off."†-But here is a digression which admits of no excuse, and for which, therefore, we can plead none. This comes of being personal. We lose our way by forgetting the homely direction "follow your nose," and following instead another person's.
To return. Bailly's complexion was brown, and the expression of his face severe and (some would think) forbidding. His tout ensemble, in short, as his friend already quoted expresses it, "ne lui donnait pas une figure aimable." But the same authority assures us there was nothing austere or sombre in his aspect, nothing to belie what he actually possessed, a fund of wise and lasting enjoyment, the result of a refined reason and a tranquil conscience.
His benevolent disposition, as a practical philanthropist, was recognised in the highest quarters on the occasion of his drawing up a Report (in 1786) on the Hôtel-Dieu, and on the question of hospital reform. The queen, we are told, read this Report with marked emotion. She there traced out in detail a circumstantial tableau of the varieties of suffering humanity in the heart of the capital. With the Report in her hand, she could, if it (painfully) pleased her, study at leisure, on a rose-bank in Little Trianon, the straits and struggles of her bedridden subjects—how the sick folk lay two in a bed, four in a bed, nay six in a bed, at the hospitals in Paris.
Another Report from the same pen had previously excited considerable attention. In 1784, Bailly compiled a "Rapport" on Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism-wherein he spoke in the name of a Commission composed of Franklin, Lavoisier, and several leading members of the medical Faculty of Paris-and displayed his characteristic sagacity and moderation; proving, says M. Sainte Beuve, that from the moment he took up a question of actual and practical interest, hypotheses lost all hold upon his imagination: he neither denies certain extraordinary facts, nor charges himself with the explanation of them; but he repels and refutes that premature and interested explanation which there was nothing to justify in the eye of sound philosophy. These two Reports went far to extend the author's repute. Madame, the wife of the Comte de Provence, wished to make him Secretary of her Cabinet. Pensioned by the Court, had in honour by Academies, consulted by ministers on topics of public interest, Bailly was in want of nothing that could satisfy the largest and most legitimate ambition of a respectable savant, when the Revolution of '89 broke out. A little before that date he had (in 1787) provided for his domestic happiness by wedding a woman once possessed of great beauty, and still retaining something of it-a widow, and the intimate friend of his mother.§ He saw in her, a widow, and past the bloom of youth, what he had seen when, by his mother's side, she was younger by many summers, in her own radiant spring. But 1787 was dangerously close to 1789. And Bailly the newly-married man was soon to exchange home joys for the National Assembly, and the Hôtel de Ville, and the Champ de Mars.
*Sic in orig.
Mérard de Saint Just.
Southey's Life and Correspondence. I. 306-7. § Sainte Beuve.
His fate is second to hardly any, among the victims of the Revolution they had hailed, in its dark and dreary character. Lingeringly dragged through the streets to the Champ de Mars, whither the guillotine had been transported, "for this occasion only," from the Place de la Concorde, that the bloodshed on that Campus Martius under Bailly's red flag might be now avenged by his own,-bare-headed, his hair cropped, his hands roughly corded behind his back, without screen or shelter from the cold rain that was falling, and snow mingled with the rain, the mob so more than commonly brutal that the very executioners cried shame on them some spitting in the ex-mayor's face, others dipping the red flag they had provided (bloody memento of that same Campus Martius) in the gutters, and whipping the drenched ensign across Bailly's eyes, others cheering such spirited performance from hour to hour (for the procession was a three hours' business) with all the manifestations peculiar to a screaming farce"-their victim compelled to "describe the circle" of the Champ de Mars on foot, and ordered to lick its soil desecrated, or consecrated, que voulez-vous? by insurrectionists' blood-the guillotine after all removed from this soil, as too holy a foundation, taken down bit by bit, and reconstructed by the river-side, on a dungheap collected from Lutetian sewers-the veteran made to carry some of the heaviest beams himself, urged on by thrusts and blows liberally and impartially administered, fainting under his burden, welcomed on "coming-to" again with a hurricane of laughter, and for another hour allowed to hold Death at arm's length, while the scaffold was re-erected, on its new inodorous site. Trembling with cold, he condescended to explain, with frost and snow to back him, that 'twas not from cowardice. Five hours' exposure of that kind might make an old man shake a little, and would hardly aggravate the dread of that swift minister, the axe, whose cruelty was tender mercy beside the doings of these men of steel. Few victims, says the most popular historian of these times, ever met with viler executioners, few executioners with so exalted a victim. His death, says Sainte Beuve, "reflects as much honour as shame on the human race." Lamartine had already expressed the same sentiment, in his own ampler style: "One blushed to be a man on beholding these people. One gloried in the title while contemplating this man." So much for Freedom in masqueradeboth hands full-" in her right a civic wreath, in her left a an head,” as that weird stranger in the Vision of Sin says; and with him we "think we know the hue of that cap upon her brows."
Let her go! her thirst she slakes
Where the bloody conduit runs:
There are those who cast doubts on the details connected with Bailly's death-march. Mr. Croker,† for instance, wishes the anecdote about the trembling with cold "could be well authenticated," but puts the query, in such a tumult who could hear? and of such a mob who would repeat an expression of this nature? Sainte Beuve, in his monograph on Sylvain Bailly, dismisses scepticism with a taunt: "Il y a des gens qui lui disputent ce mot ['C'est de froid']. On dirait qu'ils ont intérêt vraiment à ce qu'il y ait un mot touchant et sublime de moins dans le monde.”‡
† Quarterly Review, xxvi. 239.
Causeries du Lundi, t. x.
THE DANUBIAN PRINCIPALITIES.
IT is very gratifying to find that those clouds which threatened Europe with a portentous crop of thunderbolts and shells have been dissipated by the practical common sense of the plenipotentiaries at the second congress. Bolgrad and the Isle of Serpents are no longer stereotyped words in our papers; and, in fact, all those questions which pessimists regarded as perilous to the security of Europe have been dissipated by the enchanter's wand. It is evident that the nations are fully impressed with the blessings of peace, and are striving their utmost to return to the paths of conciliation and amity. The Greek question has been settled without reference to a congress: the Montenegrin is in a fair way of adjustment and even the Neufchâtel business, which promised a most fertile crop of laurels for one side or the other, has been shelved by the united good sense and humour of European nations. It is most gratifying to find such a temper existing, for it is one of the best guarantees of peace we could demand; and we fancy that the burst of mingled derision and sorrow with which King Clicquot's fiery appeal to his cosovereigns was received, was the swan's song of those judgments by the sword which disgraced the last century, and have hardly been justified in
With such flattering prospects for the maintenance of peace in Europe, we may approach the subject of the Danubian Principalities with an easy mind; for, although an apparent coldness may exist at the present time between Austria and France on this subject, we feel sure that it is not one which can cause an embroglio in Europe. As the matter stands at present, the Great Powers are arrayed against each other: England and Austria desire that the Principalities should remain separated, under the reasonable supposition that the internal weakness of such a united kingdom would form but a poor bulwark against Russian aggression in Turkey while, on the other hand, France and Russia-and we suppose Prussia must be added, although no formal adhesion has been given by that power-prefer the amalgamation of the Principalities for reasons best known to themselves. The arguments on either side are founded on such good grounds, that we shall not attempt to decide when such learned pundits disagree: we will, therefore, merely confine ourselves to an examination of M. Ubicini's new volume, which may fairly be regarded as supplementary to his celebrated work on Turkey.*
Roumania has been for ages the battle-ground of the eastern nations of Europe. Among the ancients it was known by the generic_name of Dacia. At the present time it is divided between Turkey, Russia, and Austria, but is inhabited by a compact and homogeneous population, whose features, languages, monuments, customs, and even name, denote a Latin origin. In fact, the name of Wallachs, given by geographers to the inhabitants of this country, does not exist in their national idiom. They call themselves Roumans (Roumoun) in remem
L'Univers: Provinces Danubiennes et Roumaines, Valachie, Moldavie, &c. Par M. Ubicini. Paris: Firmin Didot, frères.