Imagens das páginas

charges : il est rentré sous le joug de ses maîtres : ses enfans seront soldats, jamais officiers : le chemin des honneurs civils de la magistrature, des armées, lui est fermé désormais sans retour-sentiment d'autant plus pénible, qu'il n'est pas un village qui n'ait donné naissance à un général, ou à un colonel

, ou à un capitaine, ou à un préfet, ou à un juge, ou à un administrateur, qui s'était élevé par son propre mérite, et illustré sa famille et son pays. C'est ce qui lui donnait pour la quatrième dynastie ce sincère attachement, qui lui fait dire que si Louis de Bourbon est le roi des nobles, Napoléon est le roi du peuple.' p. 66-69.

We have quoted these passages, not as containing any thing like an accurate statement of the facts, but because they unquestionably suggest some of the points which it is most material for the present government of France to keep constantly in view. We shall now offer a few observations upon the princi. pal matters connected with the very interesting subject of this publication. These topics naturally arrange themselves under three heads; the Dethronement of Buonaparte, and the conduct of his successors; his Detention as a prisoner; and his Treatment in that custody. The remarks which we have to submit to the reader upon each of these points, are dictated by no factious feeling; for we believe that the parties which divide this country hinge upon any thing rather than the subject of Buonaparte: Neither do they proceed from any vehement feelings towards the individual, whom we are unable to admire with some persons, because we regard him as a conqueror and a tyrant; whom yet we cannot view as the only bad ruler and bad neighbour that ever existed, because we find other princes eager to follow his example. A regard for truth and justice-an anxious desire to promote the peace of the world—a jealous feeling for the honour of our country-alone influence us in the remarks which follow; and, satisfied that our motives are pure, and knowing that our opinion is impartial, we fearlessly give it to the publick, in the very confident expectation that the candid part of the community will receive it favourably.

1. The right to dethrone Buonaparte, we conceive to have been neither more nor less than the right of self-defence, exercised by all the neighbouring governments which he had in succession attacked, despoiling them of their provinces, and endangering their existence. We need not here inquire minutely into the grounds of the various wars which he had waged against them; nor will it materially affect the argument, if it should be admitted that in one or two cases they were the aggressors, and he had just cause of quarrel. The broad fact is altogether undeniable, that he had devoted his life to conquest; that he enjored means of indulging this master-passion ample beyond all former measure; and that France, under his dominion, had become the very scourge of Europe. In some instances, her conquests may have benefited the people whose bad rulers she overthrew, and whose barbarous institutions she destroyed; but as conquest was her main object, and reform only incidental to the pursuit of it, and probably not at all desired for its own sake, no man can seriously pretend that the system was beneficial and safe, though it might be allowable in some cases to rejoice, that out of its general mischiefs partial good bad arisen. Of this overgrown power, and purely military and conquering scheme, Buonaparte was the life and soul; there was every reason to expect that his removal would restore the French people to peaceful habits; and though no one can doubt, that had he continued in power, the effects of the late war would have been perceived in a considerable change of conduct, prescribed by circumstances rather than inclination, it seems clear that the safety of Europe required his being displaced. Nor is it any answer to say, that France remains a powerful and an ambitious country; and that at some future time she may be a dangerous neighbour under the Bourbons. Human policy is always occupied in deciding amidst a choice of difficulties; and in the practical management of affairs, it is wisdom to prefer the course which ensures safety for the longest period of time, though the danger, after all, may only be warded off, and the evil day at last may come.

The pretension set up by Buonaparte that his throne was legitimate, and that his dynasty stood precisely in the same predicament with those which preceded it, involves a palpable fallacy. We argue the question on its true grounds of general expediency and popular right, not of the exploded and unintelligible doctrines of hereditary claims; and, when we say that an hereditary is preferable to any other title, it is only because the transmission of supreme power from father to son has been found most beneficial, upon the whole, to the people, for whom, and for whose good, both the constitution of all power, and the laws of its devolution, are appointed. But, in whichever way we take the question, there is a sophism in Buonaparte's argument, which consists in applying to the beginning of his dynasty, and to himself, its founder, the principles which every one is disposed to admit respecting all dynasties, provided they have been long established. Thus, though we inay admit that his title was as good as Hugh Capets (the butcher's son *), • Dante alludes to this in the Purgatorio, where, it must be conto apply this case to that of his dethronement, we must transport ourselves back to Hugh Capet's time, and ask who would have cried out very much at his being removed by some more fortunate adventurer ? Buonaparte stood in this predicament; but he applies to his case, not the case of the founder of the third race, but that of the dynasty, after it had been consolidated by the succession of ages. That he should have been overthrown, not by the people, but by the force of foreign arms, is no doubt deeply to be lamented on every account—for the sake of the French people, as well as of good principle all over the world. His elevation to power was the work of the army unquestionably; but it had, in a great degree, the assent of the nation; and it was, at all events, performed by Frenchmen alone. The nation, we do not doubt, whatever may have been the wish of the soldiery, at last desired his downfal; but they unfortunately effected it through the intervention of strangers, after their own troops had been discomfited ; and it is still more to be lamented, that those strangers were the founders of the fifth, or the restorers of the third dynasty, (whichever may be the most correct form of speech), without any consultation of the popular opinion.

But it is, in our opinion, of little consequence now to inquire into the title of Lewis XVIII. He has, in many things, been ill advised; he ought to have thrown hinself more on the country; he should have made his style more conformable to the fact that he became the king of revolutionized France; he should have spoken less of legitimacy in the midst of institutions which all rest upon the overthrow of the old government, and which he nevertheless must support. But it signifies comparatively little what family fills the throne, provided the peace of the country be preserved, the great improvements effected by the revolution perpetuated, and the structure of a free constitution completed, of which these changes have laid the foundation. It seems quite impossible that any king can long reign in France, who will not conform himself to the new order of things, and the universal opinion and feeling of the country. Lewis XVIII. has given ample proofs, particularly since the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies in 1816, that he is sensible of this truth. No serious attempts, we think, are to be apprehended, as long as he lives, to revive the wild project of the emigrants, and undo

fessed, he makes the founder of the Third Race speak in rather usfavourable terms of his descendants.

J'fui radice della mala pianta

Che la terra Cristiana tutta aduggia,
Si, che buon frutto rado se ne schianta.
-Figliuol fui d'un beccaio di Parigi.' &c. &c.

what the revolution has effected. The numbers and the influence of those who are interested in such a counter-revolution, must daily diminish; and the probability is, that the Crown will be transmitted to princes who will very soon perceive, whatever may be their previous dispositions, that, to govern at all, they must give up such fatal schemes, and will sacrifice to the security of the dynasty, their gratitude towards its individual supporters, which perhaps they would not have abandoned for the interests of the nation. The longer the reigning monarch lives, the more stable will the government become, and the more inevitable this course of policy in his successors. In the mean time, the constitution is not stationary. The progress of discussion; the intercourse with enlightened men in England; the growing opinion even in the Court, that a popular government provides for the security of the throne, while it draws forth the resources of the country-all tend to consolidate and to improve the monarchy, and reduce it to the limited form which ensures so many advantages both to the rulers and the people in this country.

II. We have stated the necessity of dethroning Buonaparte: -the complete securing of his person appears to be an unavoidable consequence of the same necessity. As long as he was at large, either in France or elsewhere, he became a rallying point to the disaffected and the discontented. While there was a possibility of his again mounting the throne, the great remains of his party never could be expected to disperse and form new connexions. While he continued at large, no man could despair of his fortunes, after the extraordinary events of 1815. That he should remain quiet, was as impossible as that he should prove inoffensive if he moved. His residence must at all times be the focus of intrigue to the enemies of the restored government, both in France and in foreign states. Then, if his confinement was absolutely necessary, his banishment seemed almost equally essential. A place of custody was required, which should not only be secure, but appear so. Not only must his escape be rendered impossible, but it must strike all mankind as hopeless. Nothing else could wean from him the attachment of his followers; nothing else could turn the minds of the French people towards their new condition, with undivided interest and affection; nothing else could deprive revolutionary faction of its resource and incentive, or ordinary political discontent of the tendency to degenerate into disaffection. While Buonaparte was expected and he was sure to live in men's hopes, as long as his return was not made physically impossible - pp such thing as party, and consequently no free constitution


could grow up in France ; every opposition must be the faction of the ex-emperor, and its tendency must be rebellious. The rest of Europe, as well as France, had the same interest in his effectual confinement; and no country more than our own. To say nothing of the interest which we above all nations have in a peaceable neighbourhood being maintained, the progress of improvement at home was not merely checked, but nearly stopt, by the universal prevalence of alarm, while the greatest of all our dangers continue to menace from abroad. To every proposition of reform, how temperate soever, one answer was ready

The storm still rages without, threatening each moment to • level all before it; this is no time for touching the beams in

order to repair our house; let the hurricane pass away, and we

shall then strengthen the building by removing what time has rotted.'-Any attempt to secure Buonaparte's person, which did not manifestly render his liberation impracticable, would have left too much ground for men's fears, to get over this constant objection to all wise measures, and this standing defence of all misgovernment and abuse.

It seems equally clear, that England was the power most fit to be entrusted with the custody of his person. Our interest in the publick peace of Europe was less biassed by selfish considerations; we were less likely to use our power over him as a means of annoyance to others; our high character for honour and humanity, gave a pledge that no unnecessary harshness would be used, and no ground afforded for the suspicions usually attendant upon the keepers of dethroned Monarchs when they pay the debt of nature before the accustomed time, The place chosen, is admitted by all competent judges to be well adapted to the main object of perfect and manifest security, with no other drawbacks upon the comfort of the prisoner than its distance and its confined limits--both of which are essentially necessary for fulfilling the conditions, both being required to render the confinement complete, and to make its completeness' apparent. For these reasons, no opposition seems to have been offered in the House of Commons, and hardly any in the Lords, to the Bills for enabling the Government to detain Buonaparte. The necessity of the measure was universally felt; and the reasonableness of the provisions for carrying it into effect, admitted. No man, however, was barbarous enough to assert, that the confinement should be perpetual ; all seemed ready to grant, that as soon as the peace of France and of Europe would allow of his liberation, this celebrated prisoner should be set free. This was also stated in express terms, we believe on all sides, during the very brief discussion which arose on the question.

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