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a journalist ; add to which, that M. -(P. 115.) So that he finds CarboLouis Blanc is not without a species narism to have lacked in virtue, beof off-hand, dashing eloquence. He cause it had not descended, for its can say daring things in a daring man- disciples, sufficiently low in the scale ner, and give the pungency of epigram of society !--to have grown corrupt, to his political paradoxes. He has a by reason of its not having penetrated full share of that rhetoric of journal- to the “ lower strata !” And yet the ism which is so well calculated to duties of the Carbonari seem to have make an impression on the careless been precisely calculated for these reader, but which requires that the lower strata. These were, he had reader should continue careless, in already told us himself, “ to have a order to retain the impression he has gun and fifty cartridges, to be ready to received. It results from all this, that devote one's-self, and to obey blindly while we constantly distrust our guide, the orders of unknown leaders.”— while we perpetually refuse the ap- (P. 101.) preciation he offers to us of men and When we describe M. Louis Blanc events, we still read on with interest as a democrat, it is rather for want of a work which is, at least, relieved a better and more accurate title, than from the charge of insipidity or dul- because this exactly describes him. ness; and indeed, if we had not de- A democrat is generally understood rived some entertainment from its to be one who has a large faith in the perusal, we should not have thought lowest class of the people, such as of bringing it under the notice of our they really exist; our author has a readers. To have engaged ourselves faith only in the future of this class. merely in combating its errors and He does not fail to give vent, when misrepresentations, would have been the occasion prompts him, to his coma dreary and an endless task.
passion or contempt for the ignorant To enable the reader at once to mass of mankind. The democracy he judge of the tone and temper of M. worships is one to be established in Louis Blanc's politics, we present him some distant age, by a people very the following passage. It is the ob- different, and living under some modiject of the long Introduction which fication of the law of property, which precedes his history, to show that he has not thought fit to explain. It the events which have transpired in is a democracy which has nothing France since 1793, have had, for their distinct but its hatreds—a shadowy great result, the establishment of the monster, peculiarly disagreeable to government of the middle classes deal with. Our historian writes with through a Chamber of Deputies—a overflowing gall against kings, against view which we think is incontestably aristocracies, against the middle class. right. That France has its House of You would say he is a stanch republiCommons, is the great fruit of all its can, and that the people are to be his struggles, its calamities, and its vic- depositaries of power.
But no; a tories. It must not be supposed, how- lamentation, which escapes him from ever, that this is a result in which time to time-as bitter as any which M. Louis Blanc rejoices. Nothing he Tory or Legitimist would utter-over so much detests as this government of the blindness of the people, their pasthe middle classes ; nor is there any sions and their ignorance, contradicts portion of society he vilifies more cor- this conclusion. Where is the power, dially than the bourgeoisie. Hear and in whom lodged, that M. Louis how he speaks of them. After rela- Blanc would willingly obey, or see ting the history of the Carbonari, obeyed ? It exists nowhere. Society who troubled by their plots the is corrupt, is chaotic; nor can it, by reign of Louis XVIII., he says :- any organ it possesses, exercise a " This Carbonarism never descended sound or rational power. A new era into the depths of society; it never must arise-how, whence, when, we moved the lower strata. How, then, are not instructed. could it be preserved from the vices It is the peculiar characteristic of of the middle class-egoism, little- French democracy, that there is alness of ideas, extreme love of a mere ways mixed up with it the principle, material happiness, gross instincts !” more or less distinctly avowed, of the community of goods. Perhaps the horror of shallow writers; and the way vagueness we complain of in M. Louis to avoid it appears to be this :-ProBlanc, is dictated by mere prudence; claim your thought at once, in all its perhaps there is no vagueness to the crude candescence, before it has had eye of a propagandist. One senti- time to cool and shape itself; then, in ment of French democracy he cer- order to save your credit with the tainly expresses with sufficient hardi- more captious and scrutinizing, give, hood. It is not often we meet with at some convenient interval, such an the principle of intervention between explanation or modification as will state and state, asserted in these days show that, after all, you were as wise with so much boldness as in the fol- as your reader. State your paradox lowing passage :--" Men have stig. in all the startling force of unmitigated matized the war in Spain, calling the diction, and refute it yourself afterprinciple of intervention an oppressive wards, or say enough to prove that principle. Puerile accusation! All you could have done so.
This, well people are brothers, and all revolu- managed, gives two occasions for briltions cosmopolite. When a govern- liant display ; a sober statement has ment believes that it represents a just been converted into a couple of bold cause, let it make it triumph wherever and glancing propositions. Truth, it a triumph is possible. This is its is well proved, like the diamond, right; it is more-it is its duty.”- shines the more by being cut into (Introduction, p. 120.)
surfaces. How exactly analogous to this is M. Louis Blanc, for instance, makes the reasoning which leads to persecu- a startling remark on the incompatition in religion-to the Holy Inquisi- bility of royalty and a representative tion, and all its philanthropic schemes chamber. The two powers are reof intervention! The conviction in a presented to us as flatly irreconcilable. good cause allowed to overrule the “ Can society,” he asks,“ have two fundamental principles of justice be- heads ? Is the sovereignty divisible ? tween man and man-to overrule Between the government of a king them, not occasionally and by way of and the government of an assembly, is exception, but systematically—this there not a gulf which every day is the very essence of persecution. makes wider ? And wherever this But let no one think that, by any such dualism exists, are not the people conrepresentation, he would gain an ad- demned to fluctuate miserably between vantage over the republican propa- a 10th of August and an 18th Brugandist. He no longer fears religious maire?”—(Int., p. 64.) And a little furpersecution—it is a thing past : he ther on, speaking of the times of Louis braves it. He would adopt his fa- XVIII., he writes —" Meanwhile vourite principle, and all its conse- Europe began to be disquieted on the quences. He would probably admit state of things in France. Foreign that it was the duty of the priest, ac- sovereigns had thought to establish cording to his priestly intelligence, peace in our country, by establishing to ban and persecute. Not mutual the empire of the charter, and the toleration, but reciprocal compulsion, political dualism which it consecrates. would be his principle. Combat thou The error was great, and they ended for thy truth--let me fight for mine; by discovering it. M. de Richelieu, such would be his formula.
who had been present at the congress In a writer bent upon startling and at Aix-la-Chapelle, brought back with surprising us, there is often a sort of him a very lively apprehension of the premeditated' haste, a voluntary for- future fate of the monarchy in France. getfulness, which it is curious to re- A change of the electoral law was mark. One who weighs his matter proposed. Unhappily, it was not in well before he speaks, will often end, the law of the 5th February that lay alas ! in having something very tame the danger which occupied the conand moderate to propound-something gress of Aix-la-Chapelle. To consowhich, after all his turmoil and reflec- lidate the throne, and raise it above tion, may sound very like a good old the storms which threatened it, not commonplace. Now this approxi- this or that electoral law, but the mation to commonplace is the great electoral power itself, should, if pos;
sible, be abolished. For in whatever great events from certain wide and hands this formidable lever was placed, steadily.-operating causes, as the growit was impossible that royalty could ing wealth or intelligence of a people, long resist its action. To shift the
or you may raise a vulgar wonder by elective power was only to give the describing them as the result of some monarchy other enemies, not to save quite trivial incident.
In the one it.
The aim of the new case, you appeal to a philosophic ministry was to preserve the elec- taste; in the other, to a popular love toral law; which amounted to this— of the marvellous. A revolution may the monarchy chose ministers whose be represented as the inevitable outprogramme was the destruction of break of the discontent and misery of monarchy.”
the people; or it may be traced, with On reading such passages, we na- all its disasters, to the caprice of a turally set about recalling certain old- courtier, or perhaps the accidental defashioned political truisms, bearing on lay of a messenger. For want of a the character and interest of that nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a middle class of society in which the shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a electoral power is generally lodged. horse, the man—and so all was owing We recollect that the middle classes to the want of a nail ! have been held to have an interest as The two manners seem incompatiwell in preserving, as in checking and ble. Never mind. Use them bothcontrolling the monarchy. Alone, they both freely, independently—just as could not govern society; and they occasion prompts, and the effect rehave a larger share in the govern- quires. Flatter the philosophic taste ment, as partners with the monarchy, that delights in generalities, and please than if they were absorbed in the gene- the childish wonder which loves to ral mass of the population. They have fancy that the whole oak-trunk, every thing to lose by the abolition of branches, leaves—lay in the acorn. a royalty which they have ceased to M. Louis Blanc has certainly no idea fear, and which they have bound by of forfeiting either of these attractions laws. Such a royalty, with its sway by laying claim to the other. Obover the imagination of the multitude, serve the ease and boldness with with its strong hand of military power which he embraces them in his narra-hand in which the sword is allowed tive of the fall of Napoleon, and the always to rest, as pomp in time of restoration of the Bourbons. He peace, as weapon in time of war commences in the generalizing mood. such a royalty they feel to be their “ The fall of Napoleon lay in the best protection. Why, then, should laws of the development of the midthey, in their electoral capacity, be dle classes. Can a nation be at the thrust on by a blind rage to destroy same time essentially commercial and it? But all this train of reflection we essentially warlike ? Napoleon must might have spared ourselves. M. have renounced his great part of miliLouis Blanc knows it all, and, if you tary chieftain, or he must have broken will wait a reasonable time, he will with the spirit of citizenship and comshow you that he knows it. He will merce. It was madness to think of put it to you very forcibly—in another reigning by the sword, and continuing place. Accordingly, some ninety pages the Constituent Assembly. France. off, he tells us :- “ At bottom, the could not have, at the same time, the middle class (la bourgeoisie) sees in destinies of Rome and Carthage. Nathe monarchy a permanent obstacle poleon succumbed, and must have to democratic aspirations : it would succumbed, to the Carthaginian party have subjected royalty, but not de- of the people of France. But if the stroyed it."
necessary development of the middle For the enlightenment of those who classes called for the overthrow of the may wish to write history in the most empire, it demanded also the return captivating manner, and at the least of the Bourbons. To prove this, we possible expense to themselves, we have only to present, in its instructive will reveal another fruitful expedi- simplicity of detail, that narrative of ent. There are two ways of writing the restoration which so many histohistory. You may either deduce its rians have distorted."-(Int. p. 18.)
Well, he proceeds with this simple ever, he was too skilful a diplomatist and instructive detail ; and his first to betray. From that moment, he object is evidently to deprive Talley- was a convert to what he considered rand, to whom on all occasions he the successful cause. “ Thus,” conmanifests a singular bitterness, of tinues our historian, " this restorathe credit generally given him of hav- tion took place contrary to the will ing aided materially in the recall of of the people, to whom the Bourbons the Bourbons in 1814. But does he in 1814 were unknown ; contrary to effect this by showing, as from this the sympathies of Alexander, who exordium we might expect, that his feared the dangers of a reaction ; countrymen of the middle class, wea- contrary, in fine, to the opinion of ried of the costly triumphs and dis- M. Talleyrand, who had never thought asters of the empire, had begun to it possible, and had desired only the sigh for peace and their old kings? regency of Marie Louise !" Not at all. He transfers the personal What particle of truth there may share in the drama from Prince Tal- be in this narrative, we do not stop leyrand to Baron de Vitrolles. The to enquire ; we refer to it only as an Duke d’Alberg had introduced the example of the bold union of the two baron to Talleyrand, whose intention historic manners. The restoration of was to employ him merely to sound the Bourbons was "in the laws of the views of the Allies. Talleyrand the development of the middle classes!" was to have accredited him by some It was all owing to the Baron de Vitlines of his own writing, but ultimate- rolles, and that lucky little intrigue at ly refused to commit himself. How Munich ! was Baron de Vitrolles, who by no It is one of the boasts and privimeans limited himself to the subor- leges of history to reverse the judgdinate part designed for him, and on ment that contemporaries have formwhom it will be seen so much really ed of the character of the actors in it. depended, to get accredited to the This privilege M. Louis Blanc, since Allies?
he writes history, is determined at all The Duke d’Alberg was intimately events to seize upon; and he can acquainted with the Count de Sta- boast, perhaps, of having reversed dion, representative of Austria at more judgments of this kind than any the congress. Now these two friends other historian, however voluminous. had formerly, at Munich, had a cer- M. Talleyrand has obtained his retain tender intimacy with two young putation for ability_his moral repugirls, whose names the Duke d’Alberg tation it would be too commonplace remembered ; he wrote them on the a matter to attack-by “speaking in leaf of a pocket-book, and they served monosyllables one half his life, and as a letter of credence to the adven- saying nothing the other half.” M. turous ambassador. “Such,"exclaims Guizot is a man " whose talent conour lately generalizing historian- sists in concealing, under the solemni
such is the manner in which God ty of expression and the pomp of fordisposes of the fate of nations !- Voi- mulæ, an extreme poverty of views, là de quelle sorte il plait à Dieu de and sentiments without grandeur.” disposer du sort des peuples !”
M. Dupin, the elder, is "skilful in The Baron de Vitrolles, we are concealing, under an affectation of told, found the Emperor Alexander rudeness, the pusillanimity of his possessed with a strong repugnance heart.” Cuvier, whose scientific reagainst the Bourbons. It cost him putation is untouched, probably bethree hours' conversation to gain him cause no motive led him to assail it,
But he succeeded. It was he is “homme plus grand par l'intelligence who did gain him over. On the 31st
que par le cæur." Of Metternich he of March, when the Emperor of Rus- writes—"A lover of repose from selsia entered Paris, Talleyrand stepped fishness, he sought it also from incaforward to receive him.
pacity. He wished to enjoy a repuWell,” said Alexander, “it seems tation easily usurped, the falsehood of that France recalls the Bourbons." which the least complication of events These words occasioned M. Talley- would have exposed.'
And the picrand a profound surprise, which, how- ture he gives throughout of Casimir
Perier is that of an “illustrious char- to fight your battles. And the other latan,” in whom nothing was genuine twenty-nine thousand to complete but his pride, his hate, and his physi- your number, where are they?” M. cal infirmities."
de Polignac assured him that they The ministers of Charles X. meet were spread about the neighbourhood with a much fairer appreciation than of Paris, and in ten hours, if it were those of Louis Philippe. Towards necessary, could be assembled in the them, one might even say that he is capital. The ministers felt, adds our indulgent. This is easily accounted historian, that they were entering into for: in the war of party, those with a dreadful game blindfold. whom we come into the closest and M. de Polignac appears to have most frequent collision, must, of relied upon the army, much in the course, excite the largest share of our same way that a speculative writer, animosity. M. de Polignac seems to theorizing upon government, rests have been aware that he had little to upon his great abstraction, the milifear from the fierce democrat: he has tary power. He treated it as if it were a not disdained a sort of literary parti principle, an idea, that developed itcipation in the work, having contri. self without his aid, and not a palpable buted some manuscript notes of his fact of there being a certain number own, explanatory of his share in the of armed men, then and there, to fight transactions of 1830. Altogether, we for his ordonnances. may presume that the history, so far There is no virtue so much applaudas it relates to the ministers of Charles ed in the present day as resolutionX., is not unfairly written. Let us will; and there are who regard a approach the narrative by this quarter. strong will as the essence of all virtue.
It is a singular picture that M. de But the history of M. de Polignac Polignac presents to the imagination, proves, (if this needed proof,) that with
his unruffled serenity, his extreme the weak can have will enough. Your audacity, his violent measures, his neg- strong will may be purchased at the ligent preparation, his strong will, sole expense of reason. Let there be his weak intelligence. The minister one idea in a brain that cannot hold is always smiling, and, in the midst two, and you have a strong will. M. of disaster and ruin, is still beaming de Polignac never wavered once; he with self-confidence ; he seems to was always seen with a smiling counhave thought that self-confidence tenance, calm, radiant with hope and wrought like magic, or like faith, and self-approval. When others around could of itself remove mountains. If bim began to despond, when the Duke difficulties occurred, his resource was of Ragusa, commander of the forces, to be still more self-confident. He writing to the king, said that it was was well aware of the hostility his not a riot, but a revolution, and adordonnances would create; he was vised him to retreat while he could well aware that the army must be still retreat with honour, the minister their veritable support : yet observe had, for all answer, but one wordwith what a sublime air of noncha- * Fire!” It was still, Fire! But lance he prepares himself for the sub- what if the troops, it was asked, dejection of a people. “How many sert to the people ?
" Then fire on men," asked M. d'Haussez, as the the troops !" ministers sat round the council-table, On the publication of the ordon“ can you reckon on at Paris ?—have nances, the members of the Chamber you twenty-eight or thirty thousand?” who were in Paris met at each others' More," said the premier; “ I have houses to discuss measures of resistforty-two thousand;" and, rolling up ance. But it was not from the mema paper which he held in his hands, bers of the Chamber that the movehe threw it across the table to D'Haus- ment was to emanate. Those who sez. “But,” said the latter, as he had any position to compromise looklooked over the statement that had ed on, for the most part, with anxiety been given to him, “ I see here only and astonishment, waiting to see what thirteen thousand. Thirteen thousand current the disturbed waters would men on paper-that amounts to about finally take. “On the evening of the seven or eight thousand actually ready 27th, a man, name unknown, appear