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him the character of factious ; but he had neither his share in repressing a riot on that very spot the qualities nor even the defects of a conspirator ; three years before : and, finally, that “the murder he may have helped with his purse and name, of the Duke of Orleans was a demonstration popular movements, which would have equally against certain members of the Mountain who had happened without him, and which had a very dif- plotted his elevation ;" as if it were not the Mounferent object from his elevation.”- Mignet, 108. tain itself which put him to death ; as if the his
We need not stop to expose the confusion, self- torian had not just before told us that the duke contradictions, and general falsehood of this pas- bad no party and no plots; and as if he had been a sage ; but our readers will contrast the hesitating victim of the same innocent and interesting class hypothesis that the “ duke might have helped with as the queen, or Bailly, or ihe Girondins ;-for the his purse,” with the bold assertion that whether crimes of the latter, great as they were, can never he did or not, it produced no result.” Again : in be justly placed in the same category with the inthe relation of the frightful events of the 5th and famy of Egalité. 6th of October, 1789—the real pivot on which the We have been led to notice these passages, pot Revolution turned from good to irretrievable evil, by selection, but because they comprise the whole and which was the indisputable movement of the of what M. Mignet thinks proper to tell us of the Duke of Orleans,his name is not even alluded share of the Duke of Orleans in the revolution10 ; but by and bye, on occasion of his subsequent he does not so much as allude to his vote for the visit to England, it is thus mentioned :
death of the king, nor even to the assumption of "The Duke of Orleans—who, wrongly or the name Egalité-a most significant silence : to rightly, was considered the planner of the insur- which we may add, as an appropriate pendant rection, consented to go on a mission to England.” that no description, nor, as we recollect, any men-Mignel, 131.
tion of that revolutionary saint, whose influence Wrongly or rightly.” And this complaisant worked so large a portion of M. Mignet's miracles doubt is expressed by a philosophical historian of a —the Guillotine—is allowed to sully the pages of fact as notorious as the sun, and admitted by the his philanthropic history : and the stupendoas horpusillanimous evasion of the culprit, which broke rors of the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris, with up the confederacy between him and the more its 3000 victims—the Noyades of Nantes—the daring Mirabeau. The third direct mention of Mitraillades of Lyons—the proconsular massacres him is in a general attempt of M. Mignet 10 in all the great towns of France-are huddled varnish over some of the most atrocious murders together, and rather concealed than recorded in of the convention by a kind of classification these few vague and unintelligible words—"Death motivée :
became the only rule of governing, and the Republic “ The Dictatorial government (the Committee of was delivered over to daily and systematic executSalut Public] struck at all the parties with which it tions :" to which the impartial historian takes care was at war in their highest and most sensitive to append a gentle hint that, for whatever mischief places. The condemnation of the queen was was done, the sufferers themselves were really the directed against Europe—that of the Twenty-two guilty parties by the resistance with which the (Brissot, ģc.] against the Girondins—that of the revolution had been originally met: all that folwise (le sage.] Bailly against the Old Constituant lowed, we think, was natural— inevitable : and if party-and, finally, that of the Duke of Orleans we were to push this philosopher's reasoning to its against certain members of the Montagne, who obvious conclusion, we should find that poor Louis were suspected of plotting his elevation.”—Ib., XVI. was guilty not only of his own murder, but 405.
of cutting off the heads of the thousands of all This exceeds the former passage in absurdity ranks and parties that followed him to the scaffold. and falsehood, and really requires a few words of We shall see by and bye that M. Thiers' “ His exposure. That bloody mockery of justice, the tory' is also composed on exactly the same absurd Revolutionary Tribunal, is kept altogether out of and mischievous principles. sight, and M. Mignet endeavors indirectly to palli- We are not reviewing M. Mignet—though we ate its murders by thus presenting them as the acts confess we ought to have done so long ago; but of a government invested by the perilous circum- all the French biographers and critics admit that stances of the country with a dictatorial right of he and M. Thiers were so identified in principle, war against its public enemies—a nefarious princi- and so evidently“ fingers of the same hand," that ple never alleged by the original murderers. He we could not overlook the connexion and mutual would have us believe - contrary to all evidence, elucidation of their histories—coming from the contrary to the knowledge of all—not a few-sur- same “atelier"-at the same period of timeviving witnesses—that the murder of the prostrate under the same patronage-and, as we think the and helpless queen was a stroke of public policy result shows, for the same ultimate purpose. Be. against Europe ; as if the previous execution of sides, we were not sorry to have an opportunity of the king, and declaration of war against the very expressing, however late and however cursorily. name of monarchy throughout Europe, had not our very unfavorable opinion of Mignet's workrendered the death of the queen a mere personal, for his skeleton style and method have obtained for wanton, and unmeaning cruelty :-that“ ihe mur- him a kind of primâ facie reputation of accuracy der of the Twenty-two was directed against the and impartiality which he assuredly does not de Girondins ;" as if the Twenty-two were not them- serve. An ordinary reader may sometimes susselves the Girondins :-hat“ the murder of Bailly pect that M. Thiers is too brilliant to be trusted, was meant to intimidate the old constituants;" as while Mignet seems too dry to be doubted; whereif any one, at that time, cared, or even thought of as, truth, they are, though by different prothe old constituants ; as if it were not one of the cesses, equally deceptive. Thiers' portrait failers most striking and notorious facts of the whole the Revolution by altering the details—Mignet's revolutionary tragedy, that the poor morosoph coarser and colorless hand falsifies the outline. Bailly was rather tortured to death than executed, Here, in strict chronological order, we should in the Champ de Mars, in personal vengeance of pursue our observations on M. Thiers' first History; but it will he more convenient, we think, olutions only can produce, and the hope of whica to complete our slight sketch of his life before has been the chief incentive of all the revolutions we proceed to any detailed examination of his of France, M. Thiers, as minister, gave Captain work.
Laplace a complimentary dinner on his return from We have said that his articles in the Constitu- this expedition, which M. Thiers had so narrowly tionnel had given him a political position; and his and for himself so luckily escaped. “ History," written in the sense of the prevailing But. M. Thiers' revived zeal, and the imporpublic opinion, and hardly less a measure of oppo- tance of the crisis, now required another and more sition than his newspaper articles—which it resem- vehement organ than the measured, and somewhat bled in many respects-obtained him, at least with monotonous essayism of the Constitutionnel; and his own party, which was still stronger in the lit- with funds supplied from the same source as all erary than the political world, a more determined the other expenses of this opposition, " les somand permanent reputation. But still the wished- mités financières de la Gauche,"—that is, M. Lafor revolution did not arrive : the respectable and fitte-he, with his old friend Mignet, and a not unpopular ministry of M. de Martignac seemed younger and more dashing one, Armand Carrel even to adjourn any immediate probability of it ; founded the National. The principles and characand the activity and ambition of M. Thiers seems ter of Carrel reflect some light on those of his asto have become somewhat impatient of the fruit- sociate. Educated in the Royal Military School less conflict he was engaged in.
,” of St. Cyr, he was remarked for his early turbysays M. Sainte-Beuve, “ to contemplate a 'Gener- lence. In 1819 he joined the army as a sub-lieutenal History.'”—He does not say of what ; but adds, ant, and being in garrison at Béfort, became in“that for this new object M. Thiers thought it volved in the military conspiracy of 1822, in which necessary to prepare himself by a diligent study of Lafayette and the comité directeur of Paris wero the higher sciences."
so seriously implicated. On this occasion Carrel “ Those who have had the pleasure of a long withdrew or was removed from the army; and on acquaintance with M. Thiers remember-not with the French invasion of Spain, he joined the Spanout charm—this, as I may call it, scientific phase ish insurgents, and served under Mina, against his of M. Thiers' life. He studies Laplace, Lagrange own countrymen. Being taken prisoner in the -studies thein pen in hand—smitten with the love course of this affair, he was tried and twice conof the higher calculs, and making them. He tra- demned to death, but the sentences were successces meridians (des méridiens) at his window, and ively set aside for technical irregularities ; and on arrives in the evening at a party of friends, recit- a third trial, as is usual in such cases, indulgence ing, with an accent of enthusiasm, those noble and prevailed, and he was acquitted. He then came simple last words of the Système de la Nature. to Paris, and fell into the same course of literature, Let us preserve, nay, carefully augment, the and we suppose, under the same patronage, as storehouse of these high pursuits, the delights Thiers and Mignet. He was a regular contributor (délices) of thinking beings.'”—Mignet, 236. to the Constitutionnel, and published abridgments
Whatever doubts this high-flown passage may of the histories of Scotland and Modern Greece ; excite as to the scientific acquirements of either M. and in more direct furtherance of the grand conSainte-Beuve or M. Thiers, it would be oncivil to spiracy, a history of the counter-revolution in Engdoub: the facts : we, therefore, must believe that land under Charles II. and James II. This work M. Thiers actually makes his calculations • pen in was suppressed by the government, and we have hand ;" and that he has accomplished that hereto- never seen it; but we presume it was an amplificafore undiscovered problem of finding more than one tion of the heads of our preceding synopsis. When meridian for the same window. The meridian of a the July revolution removed Thiers and Mignet 10 window every schoolboy can find with two pins ministerial office, Carrel was rewarded, more oband a gleam of sunshine.
scurely and scantily, with a secret mission into About the time that M. Thiers was thus in his Belgium, and was subsequently offered a préfec"scientific phase,” it happened that M. Hyde de ture. These, we believe, seemed to him an inadNeuville, the Minister of Marine, was preparing a equate recompense, and he continued in the chief voyage of discovery under Captain Laplace. The direction of the National, in which he showed not scheme attracted M. Thiers' active and inquisitive a little mortification and dépit, at the inconsistency propensities ; he asked, says M. Sainte-Beuve, and ingratitude of the citizen monarchy; and in and obtained, the consent of the minister and the 1838 was killed in a half personal, half journalist commandant to his joining the expedition ; and M. duel by M. Emile Girardin, who had just started Hyde de Neuville even proposed to him the office La Presse, at half the usual price of its contemof historian (rédacteur, of the voyage. All was ar- poraries. ranged : M. Thiers had taken leave of his friends, The earlier days of the National, to which we and was on the point of embarking, when the Mar- must return, were brilliant and successful. M. tignac ministry was overthrown, and, on the ac- Thiers' conception of his subject and object-the cession of M. de Polignac, M. Thiers sagaciously principle, so to call it, of his warfare—was as saforesaw the approach of a political tempest, in gacious as its execution was bold and able. It which he should be more in his element than in the was to paralyze the government and push it eventstorms of the ocean. He unpacked his trunks, ually to its own destruction, by affecting to lay and resurned his pen. The story has been doubt- down as the inexorable and only rule for the coned: but it affords his panegyrist an occasion to re- duct of affairs—" the Charter-the whole Charter, mind us of Oliver Cromwell about 10 sail for New and nothing but the Charter ;' to employ against England, when turned back by a proclamation of the government every power and means that were the royalty that he was destined to overthrow. M. not expressly forbidden in the charter, and to deny Sainte-Beuve candidly adds, that he does not com- them every power and means of visitance that pare M. Thiers to Oliver Cromwell; though" bon were not specially recognized. “ Confine," said gré mal gré, ce souvenir, saut tout d'abord à l'es. M. Thiers, these Bourbons within the four walls prit.” By one of those turns of fortune which rev- 1 of the Charter ; shut the doors, stop the chimneys,
and we shall soon force them to jump out of the "M. Thiers' conduct in these critical and deci-
The National had a large share in preparing certainly a curious coincidence :-M. Thiery little
their opportunity. It seems to us that they were
playing the same game as the Orleanists of the *"Oui ; après deux ans de règne, Louis Philippe a first revolution. They had calculated on just so déchiré la Charte aussi manifestement que Charles X., et much commotion as should intimidate the king bien plus manifestement encore, car il l'a déchiré après into a transfer of the crown to the Duke of Orlela révolution, après l'introduction dans la Charte de distinées à prévenir de pareilles violations."
ans, and were surprised and alarmed to find that 1 A30, p. 181.
the populace, victorious beyond calculation or ex
pectation, was not very ready to devolve the sov- eloquence that at once established his character as ereign power, of which it had-to the tune of a speaker, and opened to him immediately the à bas les Bourbons"-possessed itself, upon the cabinet, and eventually, twice over, the presidency first prince of the Bourbon blood. Our reviews of the council. As a minister, we have already of the works of Sarrans, Mazas, Bérard, and Bon- stated that he was now as vigorous and decided in nellier* have infurined our readers of the difficulty suppressing incendiary articles in the press and that M. Lafitte eventually found in accomplishing incendiary movements in the streets, as he had his object; and it may have been, and probably been while a journalist zealous in provoking them; was, this uncertainty that determined M. Thiers' and he showed on all occasions a flexibility of triduan retreat into the valley of Montmorency. principle, a levity of personal conduct, a contempt Fortunately, however, for France and the world, for political consistency, with a firmness of pura strange combination of accident, common sense, pose and a power of debate, which created more and hocus-pocus, placed Louis Philippe on the of wonder ihan respect, more conviction of his throne of those whom, even yet, he dares not to talents than confidence in his principles or esteem call his ancestors; and after some ministerial ex- for his character. He proposed, for instance, periments at a more coinprehensive administration, severe laws against unauthorized assemblages; M. Lafitte was declared first minister with a cabi- and resisted with great pertinacity the amnesty for net of his democratic friends. M. Thiers had political offences; towards both of which the aualready been admitted into the conseil d'etat and thor of the meeting and protest of the journalists the Legion of Honor, and now became under sec- 26th of July might have been expected to retary of state for the finance department—while show some sympathy. He was close to Louis his Pylades, M. Mignet
Philippe at the Fieschi attentat, and elevated per" after the remarkable days that overthrew the haps by the noble example of the king, showed on Reformation, received the rewards to which his that occasion no deficiency in personal courage ;enlightened liberalism-his talents and his patriot- he defended with more than his usual zeal and ism justly entitle him :-he is a counsellor of state ability the unconstitutional and rigorous but necesextraordinary-director of the archives of the for- sary laws of September; and signalized himself eign department—and decorated with the star of in forwarding the erection of the sixteen exaggethe Legion of Honor."-Biog. des Contemp., tit. rated Bastilles, which replace on the whole cirMignet.
cumference of Paris the single and inoffensive He has been since elected secretary of the bugbear whose capture and destruction he so triFrench Academy, and though we never can admit umphantly celebrates. His constant expression him to rank as an honest, or even plausible histo- while minister used to be, “ Nous sommes le minrian, and though we have no great confidence in istère de la résistance," that is, in opposition to the his scope of intellect, we learn that he executes movement party, of which he had been the chief his academical office with respectability and gen- trumpeter. eral approbation.
We must for a moment interrupt our political Of M. Thiers' brilliant career we shall say no narrative to state that a year or two after his more than is necessary to our view of his literary appointment as ininister of ihe interior, M. Thiers character. He was immediately elected to the was elected into the French Academy :- This, chamber by his native department, the Bouches however—considering that the earlier portion of du Rhône—bat his first speeches were not suc- his history had been ten years published, and its cessful. His appearance was inean, and his voice conclusion about eight, and seeing that in the mean disagreeable ; and the tone and temper of his ha- time such men as Pougerville and Viennet, Jay rangues seemed, says one of his biographers, and Tissot had been elected- looks as if the com“copied from the convention :-the violence of his pliment had been paid rather to the minister than doctrine frightened the moderate; the bombast of the historian—though it is no very high complihis style offended everybody." He, however, ment to M. Thiers to adınit that there were not soon discovered this double error, and began to many of the forty who had greater claims to that moderate his opinions and improve his rhetoric. literary distinction. We do not believe that it was When, after a four months' ministry, M. Lafitte ever more true than at the time of M. Thiers' elecwas dismissed by the wise, and indeed necessary, tion, that they were quarante qui avaient de ingratitude of Lonis Philippe, M. Thiers was sub- l'esprit comme quatre.” jected to much obloquy for not following his friend But while M. Thiers was thus ready to advoand patron into opposition ; instead of which he cate, adopt, and enforce a severely repressive and took occasion to express his strong dissent from even despotic system of internal administration, he his former associates, and to applaud the pruden- was not insensible to the decline of his popularity, tial policy of Casimir Perier. With an equal share and endeavored to retrieve it by the aggressive vioof sagacity and versatility, he knew, as well as lence of his foreign policy, and by not only panthe Roman patriot, that
dering to, but actively exciting the worst passions " There is a tide in the affairs of men,
and prejudices of the French people. As the Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune ;” surest mode of regaining the favor of the move
ment party, he endeavored to revive the revoluand he turned his knowledge to better account tionary fever of hostility to England; and was in than poor Brutus, by throwing himself boldly into 1840, as all must remember, on the point of inthe inviting current of royal favor. It was, we dulging the Jacobins and Bonapartists with a new think, on the question of the hereditary peerage struggle against the “perfide Albion.” War, in that he first distinguished himself as an orator :- short, a revolutionary war, is now the programme he took, contrary to all expectation, and in opposi- or principle of M. Thiers : so says a writer whom tion to the whole course of his life, the aristocratic that very design has evidently propitiated side, and made a speech of mingled argument and “ That is the predominant idea of M. Thiers
*Quarterly Review, Sarrans, vol. xlviii. ; Mazas, vol. the great object to which all his political alliances xlix. ; Bérard, vol. lii. ; Bonnelier, vol. lv.
and all his parliamentary policy are now subordinate. • There must be,' he lately said, ' another being the most monstrous system of deception that, twenty years' war in Europe before it can be sel- we believe, the annals of literature can exhibit tled on its true basis, and I hope that I shall live to of such a work we say, it is obviously in possible make at least half of it. When that time comes, that the limits of a review can afford any sufwe shall probably see that he again will be found ficient exposure, or anything like a pedetentous the man of the crisis.”—Gal. des Hom. Illus., p. refutation : a lie is conveyed by a word, or even 40.
by the omission of a word, which it would take In adopting and pursuing this course, M. Thiers pages to disprove; or it may be spread over an was probably influenced by a combination of mo- extensive surface like a varnish, which it would tives : first, his natural inclinations, we cannot call be endless to endeavor to pick off bit by bit; and them principles, are revolutionary ; secondly, he yet we feel it to be absolutely necessary that we was the more inclined to take this line because his should support our heavy charge against M. Thiers rival, M. Guizot, had adopted, with all the firm- by distinct evidence, which may, as far as it goes, ness and consistency of his pure, amiable, and hon-wash off the foul matter like a sulvent, and satisfy orable character, the conservative and peaceful line our readers that it would have the sanie effect if of policy for France and for Europe ; and thirdly, applied to the parts to which we have not room to because, foreseeing that he could not long “run extend it. Had we time and space in any proporwith the hare and hold with the hound," he was, tion to the abundance of our materials, the task in prudent anticipation of a difference with the would be easy enough-the proofs overflow: our king, preparing the elements of a reunion ith the only difficulty is the embarras du choix ; and the popular and agitating party. His previsions were danger, on the one hand, of prolixity and tediousaccomplished; he has ceased to be the king's min- ness—or, on the other, of being charged with the ister, and has now, we believe, pretty well re- blunder of the Greek pedant in producing a brick gained—not the confidence-no one has anything or two as a specimen of his house. We shall enlike confidence in him—but the coöperation of deavor to avoid these opposite dangers, and yet the party which he had not only abandoned, but do substantial justice to the case, by taking-we for a season persecuted.
cannot call it choosing-for special examination We said we should only deal with M. Thiers' some of those events and passages, whose transpolitical life as it affected his authorship; and some cendant prominence and importance would naturof our readers who have not minutely watched ally require and excite M. Thiers' best diligence M. Thiers' proceedings and publications, may ask and highest talents, and which every reader will what then all this detail has to do with his histo- allow to be the most obvious, and, to the historian, ries? We answer, a great deal-everything : the most favorable, tests that could have been the fruit of his involuntary leisure has been the adopted ; and at least above all suspicion of being, “ History of the Consulate," and we are convinced by us, invidiously selected. that-as his first history was written in a spirit Before we enter into details, we must, in order of hostility to the elder Bourbons, with some per- that our readers may understand their import and adventure indistinct view to the introduction of the effect, apprize them generally of the tactics by Duke of Orleans—so this second history is writ- which M. Thiers conducts his narrative. He was ten, not in fact from any love of Bonaparte's prin- well aware that former Jacobin writers had deciples or memory, but to electrify France with a feated their own purpose by their blind violence galvanic exhibition of his false glory-to collect and incredible calumnies. Many recent publicaround M. Thiers all the old malcontents and all lions, and a calmer retrospect of all the facts, had the young enthusiasts, and renouncing Louis conciliated public opinion towards Louis XVI. and Philippe as quasi-legitimate, to amalgamate-in the still more slandered queen, and had dissipated opposition to him, M. Guizot and the conservative the monstrous delusions under which these innoparty throughout Europe--all the various discon- cent, and now lamented victims, had been deients and ambitions that may choose to adopt the throned and murdered. M. Thiers' own sagacity recollections of either the republic or the Empire and, at all events, the prudence of the bookseller as their stalking-horse of faction. The History of for whom the goods were originally manufactured, the Consulate is therefore still more decidedly a probably saw that though ça ira and the Cormaparty manœuvre than the History of the Revolu- gnole might still make a riot in the streets, they tion; and we do not believe that there is in Europe would not, in the year 1823, sell a book in ten volany politician or any man of letters at all acquainted umes octavo. Men's minds had gradually recorwith public affairs, who regards either of these ered-under the severe though opposite discibulky yet flimsy works in any other light than as plines of the Republic and the Empire--from revo--what Lord Brougham is said to have wittily and lutionary delusions, and were shocked at revolutruly called them—" pamphlets monstres." tionary recollections; and it was clear that a re.
Having thus stated what we believe to be the vival of revolutionary principles could be neither real motives and object of these publications and politically nor commercially successful, unless actheir author, we shall now commence our examin- companied and recommended by some profession ation of them in the historical character they as- and appearance of candor and justice. This idea, sume ; and our readers will see, as we proceed, however, was more wise in the conception than that the details fully confirm the impression of inac- easy in the execution ; for, in truth, the whole curacy, partiality, and imposture, which their gen- revolution was, from beginning to end, such a eral aspect and the peculiar circumstances under mass of fraud, tyranny, cruelty, and terror, that which they were written originally produced. anything like real candor or substantial justice was
Of a work so voluminous as "the History of quite incompatible with the apologetical design. the Revolution,” and of which, we repeat, every M. Thiers' principles, temper, and time of life line betrays a fraudulent spirit, and every page made the mask of moderation peculiarly awkward some perversiou of fact-which, by the employ- and irksome to him ;-and accordingly nothing ment of petty artifice and by the accumulation of can be more flimsy, and indeed insulting to comdiscolosed details, has arrived at the dignity of mon sense and common honesty, than his prelence