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most wish to be addressed, who was anxious to see the state of parties at Paris, and to mix with the leaders of them. I will also give you the letter which you desire to LAVATER, in case you should visit Switzerland. — God knows when and where I shall next hear of you : for, as soon as I return to Russia, I shall set off for the Crimea and Constantinople, after spending a few weeks en passant with the Duke of POLIGNAC' in the Ukraine ; write to me, however, under cover of Monsieur le Comte O Donnel, a Vienne en Autriche. -I understand that is terribly annoyed about the Shakspearían? forgery. There is the misery of being a proud critic; I am also among the number of the wiseones duped upon that occasion; and I should be well content to have no other cares than those which that circumstance has occasioned to me : it was, to be sure, a very factious humbug. Remember me to Mr. WARD; and Believe me, &c.
J, T. Our limits warn us to desist; but there is much of interest in the remainder of the publication, which will repay the time of its reader. The names of many celebrated characters occur incidentally in the Correspondence; and the attraction they occasion is increased by the Editor's biographic notices.
ART, XI. An Historical, Political, and Moral Essay on Revolutions Ancient and Modern. By F. A. DE CHA.
TEAUBRIAND. London, Colburn, 1815. 8vo. Pp. 400, This work is manifestly the product of much ingenuity; and is marked with the same elegance of imagination, and liveliness
POLIGNAC. - Some allusion has already been made to the history of this family, whose intimate connexion with the unfortunate Louis XVI. proved so fatal to their fortunes and their repose. The parting scene between that monarch and the most confidential and interesting of all his friends, is recorded by the author of · Mémoires concernant Marie Antoinette,” in very affecting terms " Le roi s'approchant du Duc et de la Duchesse De Polignac, il ajorda ces mots. · Mon cruel destin me force d'éloigner de moi tous ceus que j'estime et que j'aime : je viens d'ordonner au Comte D'ARTOIS de partir ; je vous donne le même ordre. Plaignez moi ; mais ne perdez pas un seul moment.'” (Mémoires, &c. par JOSEPH WEBER, à Londres, 1806.) (ED.)
* Shakspearian MSS-Of Samuel Ireland, Esq. and his concern in that extraordinary transaction, see a circumstantial account in Gent. Mag. vol. 70. part ii. p. 901.
of style, which have recommended the former productions of the author to public favor. We are, however, by no means ready to vouch for the solidity of all his principles. We apprehend that a considerable portion of his work is sophistical rather than argumentative. He seems himself to regard it as something fraught with materials for thinking, not as giving the results of matured reflexion : but even with this qualified eulogium, his claim to attention will be found of no inferior kind.
On first taking a view of this inquiry, the reader has to make his way through a mass of matter raked together from ancient history; and after floundering through the palpable obscure of this new chaos, and buoying himself up with the hope of future discoveries, he at length obtains a glimpse of those fundamental assumptions, which might as well have been stated at the outset. At page 297, we are told,
The attempt to bestow republican liberty on a people devoid of virtue, is an absurdity. You lead them from misfortune to misfor . tune, and tyranny to tyranny, without procuring them independence. It appears to me that there exists a peculiar government, which is natural, as it were, to each age of a nation ; perfect liberty for savages, a royal republic for the pastoral times, democracy in the
age of social virtues, aristocracy when morals are relaxed, monarchy in the age of luxury, and despotism in that of corruption. Hence it follows, that when you attempt to give a nation the constitution which is not proper for it, you throw it into agitation without effecting your object, and sooner or later it returns to the régime which suits it, by the mere force of circumstances. This is the reason why so many pretended republics are so suddenly transformed into 'monarchies without our well knowing why. From certain principles ensue certain consequences; from certain morals correspondent governments. If wicked men overthrow a state, whatever may be their pretext, despotism will be the result. Tyrants are the punishment of guilty revolutions.
Besides this, the author appears to have entangled himself in a kind of moral' fatalism, by which not only is every action and event closely linked with some other, but every minute adjunct and modification considered as having been destined to exist and take place precisely when it did and as it did.
It is with bodies politic as with celestial bodies. They act and re-act one upon another, in proportion to their distance and gravity. If the least accident deranges the smallest of the satellites, the harmony of the whole is destroyed; the bodies clash together, and a state of chaos succeeds to universal order; till all these masses, after a thousand destructive shocks, begin again to describe their regular motions in a new system.
Does any one wish to convince himself of this fatality by which every thing is regulated, so that if you tread upon an insect crawl
ing in the dust, you overturn a world ? Suppose, for a moment, that the most frivolous occurrence had happened otherwise ac Athens than it really did happer, that there had existed one man less, or that this man had not occupied the same station ; for instance, the counsel of Epycides prevailing against that of Themistocles, Xerxes would have reduced Greece to slavery. This would have been destruction to the doctrines of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; the crafty Philip would have grown old beneath the lash of his ruler; Alexander would have died in the buskin, or perhaps upon the Tyrian cross as a brigand; other chances would have ensued; other states would have become conspicuous; the Romans would have had to contend with other obstacles, and the universe would have been changed.
We conceive that a partisan of the doctrine of moral necessity might refuse to admit this assertion in its full extent. It resembles the argument, by which Themistocles referred the government of the world to his young sons, whose desires perhaps extended no farther than the means of momentary enjoy
We are best disposed towards that system which views cvery man as being, in a great measure, formed by the manners of the age in which he lives, and as proving, in the exertion of his energies and talents, the existence of the same qualities in the literary, political, and social community in which his mind and character had been fostered; rather than as an insulated individual, born and ordained for peculiar purposes, to which no other human being was competent.
Μετά γας μεγάλων βαιός άριστο αν
Και μέγας ορθοϊθ' υπό μικρών. “Suppose, for a moment,” that Xerxes has really subjugated Greece : would this decidedly establish his yoke on each succeeding generation ? Must we of necessity conclude, that none of the heroes
On whom late Time a kindling eye Shall turn, and tyrants tremble while they read,” 2 would have plotted and accomplished the despot's overthrow? Would not Themistocles have found a different subject of grief and ambition from the trophies of Miltiades? Might not the genius of the Man of Macedon have been directed to a noble and praiseworthy end ? Would not the son of Olympias have been as formidable to impotent and corrupted luxury in Greece, as he proved himself in Asia ? But, in truth, we are combating
To a certain degree, we allow the doctrine of necessity. We know the value of philosophic investigation ; but the passage in question is the delirium of unauthorized theory.
Among the variety of parallels contained in this work, we find Carthage compared with England; the commotions of Sparta with those occasioned by the Jacobins; the character of the Athenians with that of the French ; Persia with Germany; Agis King of Sparta with the Bourbons; and the influence of the philosophers of the age of Alexander, with that of the modern Philosophistes. These parts of the work appear to us very worthy of consideration ; but chiefly so, as being accompanied with anecdotes of the domestic convulsions of France; and of the characters who took part in them. The analogies between Greek and French literature can be accounted for in a considerable degree from the influence of taste, and not solely from the operation of morals and politics. The comparison of Heraclitus and Rousseau is striking.
The author brings forward a charge against England, in which many people will concur with him.
Enthusiasm in victory and discouragement in defeat form a trait of character which the sovereigns of the seas in ancient times have possessed, in common with the rulers of the ocean in our days. How many times, during the course of hostilities, would England have thrown herself at the feet of her rival, but for the manly firmness of her ministers !
It is unnecessary to quote any opinion as to the fact—as it is notorious that the majority of the nation always agreed with Mr. Pitt and his party, as to the justice and expediency of the war.
The Encyclopédistes were, in our author's opinion, the most pernicious of the French philosophers. Their connection with the King of Prussia, and the celebrated conspiracy to crush L'Infame,—i. e. the Christian religion) are well known to the readers of Barruel. Of those writers whose works tended to promote the French revolution by their freedom of inquiry, all did not go so far as the Encyclopedistes. M. de C. though he does not severely censure Montesquieu, Rousseau, Mably, and Raynal, thinks that they wrote at an unlucky time—that the French nation grew « dark with excessive light” and could not make a good use of the truth."
Rousseau and Montesquieu refused to join the Encyclopedists who were consequently their enemies. M. de C. shows that Rousseau predicted the Revolution ; and he concludes that both Rousseau and Voltaire, had they lived to witness it, would have been determined Aristocrats.
We have a series of observations on the state of morals which preceded and introduced the French revolution.
While the follies and imbecility of government exasperated the minds of the people, immorality had attained its highest pitch and
began to attack social order in a frightful manner. The number of unmarried men had increased in an immense proportion, and celi'bacy was become common, even among the lower classes of society. These isolated men, who were in consequence egotists, tried to fill up the chasm in their own lives by disturbing the families of others. Woe to the state in which the citizens seek their happiness beyond the bounds of morality, and the sweetest feelings of our nature! If,. on the one hand, the single people increased, those who were married bad, on the other, adopted ideas at least as destructive to society. The principle of having only a small number of children was almost generally received in the cities and towns of France; among some from distress, but among the greater number from bad morals. A father and mother were unwilling to sacrifice the comforts of life, in order to educate a numerous family, and this self love was clothed with the garb of philosophy. “Why create unfortunate beings?” said some. “Why beget beggars?exclaimed others. I throw a veil over some secret motives of this depravily. I will say nothing of the women, except that they are better than we are, and follow a natural weakness in being what we wish them to be. The fault is ours.
If these morals affected society in general, they had a still greater influence on each individual member. The man, who no longer found his happiness in the union of a family, and revolted at the tender name of father, accustomed himself to form a felicity independent of others. Cast out of the lap of nature by the manners of his age, he wrapped himself in hardened egotism, which destroyed virtue to its very root. To complete his evils, after losing happi. ness in this world, the philosophic executioners deprived him of the hope of a better life. In this situation, finding himself alone amidst the universe, being devoured by an empty and solitary heart, which had never felt another heart beat against it, can we be astonished that the Frenchman was ready to embrace the first phantom which a new universe opened to him?
It will be said that it is absurd to represent the people of France as isolated and unhappy, that the population was numerous and Aorishing, &c. The latter remark, which appears to destroy my statement, is in fact a proof of it; for in the country morality still existed, and there population received no check; but it did elsewhere, and every one knows that the peasants were not instrumental towards the revolution. As to the second objection, the question is not what the nation appeared to be, but what it really was. Those who see nothing in a state but carriages, large towns, troops, noise and bustle, have reason to think that France was happy; but those who think that the great question of happiness is as near to nature as possible, that the more a man recedes from her the more he falls into misfortune, that he then wears a smile upon his face before the world, while his heart, in spite of fictitious pleasures, is agitated, sad and secretly consuming away-in this case, I say, it cannot be