Immagini della pagina

thirteen years

sincere lover of liberty sees in the Em- has proved himself, what he really is, a peror of the French the most deadly trickster and a gambler, intent on his enemy that genuine freedom has on the own personal glory, and hoping to gain continent. His whole career having by deception and bombast what he canbeen one of treacherous despotism, every not win by native worth. How paltry, honorable mind wishes it to terminate imbecile, and repulsive his first despatch in humiliation and disgrace. For twen- to the Empress, in which, describing ty years, nearly, he has played a desper- “Louis and I” as receiving “a baptism ate game of monstrous egotism and base of fire,” he extolled a poor little boy of personal ambitivn; he has introduced

of 'age, who would be betinto politics the practices of the brigand ter engaged with his tops and marbles, and the burglar, has sat like an incubus for a tranquillity that moved the veteran upon the development of the free ener- soldiers to tears! What estimate could gies of a noble nation, has even bullied a man, capable of such heartless clapthe whole of Europe in the furtherance trap, bave formed of the good sense of of his detestable schemes; and now that his countrymen and the world ? Take he has cast himself headlong into a con- again his address to the inhabitants of flict with a nation whose leaders are bis Metz, whom he abandons in the midst masters, no less in diplomacy than in of a siege, while he exhorts them to arms, we desire to see him hurled from courage and perseverance, and goes himhis bad eminence. Not a soul in the self “ to meet the invaders" in a direcUnited States, we are certain, desires to tion where they were not! On the other see the French people humiliated; they hand, how moderate, measured, cautious, are a brave, gallant, and generous peo- self-respecting, and truthful the deple; they have long stood in the fore- spatches of King William, who tells most ranks of civilization ; but they what has occurred, without boasting have allowed themselves to be trapan- and without concealments. “ We have ned and bamboozled by a wretched im- the victory," he says once, “but of our postor, have tamely submitted to the ig- losses I dare not think !” How manly, nominy of his tyrannical rule, and they too, direct, and honest, his reply to the must bear the consequence of their fol- Pope, frankly recognizing the good-will ly. They have abdicated their man- and Christian charity of the Head of hood in favor of what is termed person- Catholic Christendom, reciprocating his al government, and they cannot justly wishes for peace, but referring him, with complain if they get enough of it before an admirable directness, to him who had the end.

declared the war, and who was alone responsible for its continuance. All his

utterances, indeed, thus far, have been What a striking contrast there bas those of a conscientious ruler, who felt been in the various proclamations is- that he was acting not in his own intersued by the two leaders respectively of ests, or for his own personal glory, but the nations now at war on the continent. as the representative of a great nation, An honest republican can have little regard for the personal aims of either of

THE SOURCE OF NATIONAL STRENGTH. them; they are both dynasts, the one One of the lessons of the war has been drawing his inspiration from the impe- drawn so ably by a journal of this city, rialism of Rome, and the other from the the Evening Post, that we think we canlater Mildle Ages-are both eager to not better express our own sentiments maintain their mere family ascend ncy, than transfer a part of its remarks to and caring little for the real emancipa- these columns. The argument is, that a tion and advancement of the people. government, to obtain great strength, But William has shown himself an hon- even by the standard of war, should orable, high-minded, dignificd leader, direct its efforts to the building up, not "every inch a king;” wbile the other of a great army, but of a great nation.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


" France is somewhat superior to the tise it when needed. The German army German states now at war in population, is thus as truly a citizen army as our and greatly so in the numbers and cost The government is stable; it is of her standing army; she is and has not afraid of individual freedom ; its long been thoroughly centralized in civil service and military staff are filled government, while they have been di- for competency, and not as the rewards vided into many states, which, within of treason or of cruelty; and thus its four years, have been at war among them- administration is pure, patriotic, and selves. There must, therefore, be some vigorous. sources of national strength, not con- “ Again, in education the French peotained in statistical tables, in which ple are behind those of many nations ; Germany is vastly superior to France. the Germans are in advance of the “ Doubtless these are chiefly the supe

world. In several large districts in rior honesty of the civil and military France a majority of the adults are enservice, and the superior education of tirely illiterate; in Prussia a man who the people. When the Emperor Napo- cannot write is rarer than in Massachuleon seized the throne, he was surround- setts. Where Napoleon has wasted miled by a hody of adventurers, whom he lions on his favorites and his army, the was compelled to use and to reward, Prussian government has spent a fracbut whose corrupt practices gave char- tion of the amount in securing the inacter to every branch of his govern- telligence of its people. Man against ment. From that day to this com- man, a body of thinking, reading solplaints have been loud and bitter of diers will always be more than a match the stock-jobbing plots of his ministers, for ignorant ones; and the unquestionand the selfish and plundering schemes ed personal superiority of the German of their subordinates. A military gov- armies in this war must be ascribed ernment is always wasteful in the ex- more to their superior intelligence than treme; but add to this wastefulness to any other cause." general corruption, and it is easy to see how the immense sums which have been

CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR. added to the French national debt have Being without sufficient cause, will been squandered, without securing effi- any good yet come of the war? Much ciency even in the army. A throne suffering, much sorrow, much ruin will founded in dishonor and perjury and come of it; but can we hope for any cemented by murder could not expect real advantages to be derived from it, to be served in any other than its own for the nations engaged or for the pirate spirit; and the unquestionable world? Can the overruling Providence disorder, bad discipline, and constant permit so enormous a waste of life and failures in supplies which marked the treasure, without directing it to some first movements of the Emperor's army adequate and beneficent end? For our to the frontier, are the necessary results part, we cannot believe it; not only our of the general corruption of bis service. hopes but our convictions are, that it

“On the other hand, Prussia is not a must terminate in some result greater military despotism, but a constitutional than the mere political or territorial monarchy, with a nation organized on a aggrandizement of either of the inimemilitary basis. Her citizens are all sol- diate parties to it. One thing is certain: diers, but they are citizens still. They in France there is an end to personal identify themselves at all points with government. The imperial system, which the interests of the nation, in peace as is despotism with the forms of liberty, in war; and while their resources are has forever gone down in contempt and not wasted in maintaining a million of disgrace, along with its principal expomen under arms through a long peace, nent, Louis Napoleon. Never again can they learn the military discipline, and the French nation become so besotted always hold themselves ready to prac- as to trust its destinies to a single mind,

[ocr errors]

and that one of the basest and meanest nent, will be a ground of gratitude and that ever achieved high station. But attachment to it far better than any of having vomited the Bonapartes, will it its hereditary and dynastic claims. Engo back to the Bourbons, older or young- thusiastic royalists indeed already beer? That too, we should say, is impos- gin to talk of reviving the Empire in sible. But for the miserable exam- the person of King William. But will ple of imbecility and self-stultification the German mind, already so far adwhich Spain exhibits in sending round vanced speculatively in political science, her government to various families, cry- consent to such a recurrence to medising, Come and govern us, oh! superior val folly? Now, in the middle of the mortal, we should say that this notion nineteenth century, when science has of blue-blooded families was exploded demonstrated the equal rights of men, in Europe, France, assuredly, after the the title of every human being to absoeducation of a hundred years of politi- lute justice, which is the recognition of cal change, is not so stupid and silly as his manhood; when the people have to believe that any family has a right to come to know that they, and not famigovern it, or that any family has supe- lies or dynasties, are the only sources of rior capacities for rulership. She, in- power, and alone have the right to rule, deed, by the immortal utterances of '89, will so enlightened a iace as the Gerwould appear more than all other na- mans tolerate any government but selftions essentially republican. Will she government, any method of political have the manliness, the good sense, the organization but the republican ? The self-respect, to proclaim the republic? outlook, we confess, on all sides is faHow can we doubt of it? Bonapartist vorable to the republic; but so it was in and Bourbon will protest against it; 1848, so it was in 1830, so it was in the whole priestly party and the party 1813, and so in 1789; and yet the reof sycophants and swindlers, who be- public is a bugbear to large classes of lieve in ranks, with many of the timid, the populations; while statesmen still money-making shopkeepers, to whom see in it anarchy, and the priesthood the Republicanism is always presented as a downfall of their order. red spectre, will intrigue against it; but the literary men, the artists, the

BURSTING OF THE BUBBLE. workingmen, the men of insight and honesty, will demand it as the only ra- Since the above notes were put in tional solution of the problem.

type, the imperial bubble bas burst. But France a republic, as she must be Napoleon is no more; Cæsarism has inevitably, what is to hinder Spain from played its last card ; and the Prussian recovering her sanity, and instead of bayonets have let the wind and bravo besecching for a crowned head, trust to out of the inflated posthume. A camthe sagacity and probity of her own paign of a single month bas suficed to people ? Or, can Italy, when the once expose the hollowness, the rottenness, priest-ridden Spain is free, endure any the utterly base and corrupt condition longer the ascendency of her crapulous of an adventurer, who for so many monarch, or Rome the senility of a years has deluded France and bullied Pope ruled by a conclave of cardinals ? Europe. His armies, it appears, have France, Spain, and Italy emancipated, been armies of pasteboard; his invinciwill intellectual Germany remain in the ble military power scarcely more than background ? No doubt the modera- empty brag; and his enipire, which held tion of the present royal family, with the world in awe, a mere league of brithe brilliant fame of the Crown Prince gands and chevaliers d'industrie, who as a soldier, will prolong its hold of having seized by fraud and perjury power. To have conducted and termi

upon the resources of a mighty, confinated with success a great war against dent, generous, and gallant nation, hav. the first military nation of the conti- ing squandered them in ways best known to themselves, are at length hood and imposture has been exploded; arrested and proclaimed to the world. the conspirators are driven to the four Within the short time that it takes to winds; and the great people they had get up a single number of a magazine, throttled is once more free. Te deum the whole stupendous fabric of false- laudamus!


THE truth of the axiom that there That the original should have been peris nothing so successful as success, is mitted to be published in Paris two years more conclusively proved by the Coup ago strikes us as a singular circumstance, d'Etat of Louis Napoleon than by any or rather would so strike us if events had other event of the period. Execrated not taught us that no circumstance conat the time by every right-thinking man nected with Louis Napoleon can be conin the world, the Empire which follow- sidered at all singular. In any other ed it not only became stable enough to country than France, such a history of command respect, and powerful enough such an event as the Coup d'Etat would to cause fear, but so apparently neces- be the greatest of blunders, as the crime sary as to bewilder the judgment into was the greatest of crimes; but in forgetfulness of the means by which it France, it seems, they do these things was brought about. It seemed as if the differently; as, indeed, what things do world had absolved Louis Napoleon- they not do differently from the rest of to use his own phrase-of his violated the world? We have read M. Ténot's oaths, and the blood of his slaughtered book with great interest, and with much countrymen. That his countrymen more confidence than we usually give to themselves had absolved him was taken writers confessedly adverse to Louis Nafor granted; so much so, that the few poleon. That it is impartial, we shall who continued to attack him by their not undertake to say, but it certainly tongues and pens found it unsafe to do reads as if it were. At any rate, M. 90 except on foreign soil, where most Ténot substantiates his facts from imof them came in time to be regarded as perialist authorities, who were bound to little less than madmen. The curses of make out as good a case as possible for Victor Hugo, for example; may have themselves; and lie wisely refrains from been admired as poetry, but they were commenting upon them. We say wisecertainly laughed at as politics. Louis ly, not merely because his book might Napoleon himself came to care so little not have seen the light at this time had for them that it was not his fault that a contrary course been pursued, but beHugo remained a vociferous exile in cause the facts that he narrates are sufEngland. Histories of the Coup d'Etat ficient for his purpose, which is not to were published. Most of them, it is denounce Louis Napoleon for the Coup true, were written from the Bonapartist d'Etat, but to show what Louis Napopoint of view, but not all; for so secure leon is, by showing what the coup did Louis Napoleon consider bimself at d'Etat was. The indictment against last, that he allowed what may be cailed him is terrible-terrible enough to jusa Republican History to appear. It is tify the retribution which has now orerthe work of Eugene Ténot, an editor of taken him, and which no one would the Siècle, and is entitled Paris in De regret were it he alone who lias sufercember, 1851 ; or, the Coup d'Etat of Na- ed. It is the fashion to abuse him now, poleon III. Such, at least, is the title of even among those who were his warma translation of M. Ténot's volume, made est admirers and apologists; but we by S. W. Adams and A. H. Brandon, and decline to follow it here, for, guilty as published by Messrs. Hurd & Houghton, he is, the people over wiiom he ruled

are far from guiltless. The situation that the mercst novice among the storywhich rendered the Coup d'Etat a pos- tellers of the time would hardly put his sibility was not made by Louis Napo- name to it. It is charming for all that, leon, though he seized upon it; it was however, as is every thing written by made by the incredible blindness and Andersen, who more than makes up for violence of French politicians. And it his deficiencies as a story-teller by his was French generals that made it suc- inimitable sweetness and freshness, and cessful; such men as Fleury and Can- his perpetual tenderness of spirit. There robert and Saint-Arnaud, who was sent is something child-like in most of the to his long account in the Crimea, it writers of Northern Europe, and Anderhas since been suspected, by poison, sen is the most child-like of all of them, The head of Louis Napoleon could have the epithet “Immortal Boy,” applying accomplished nothing without the help to him with quite as much fitness as to of these willing hands. “ It seems,” Leigh Hunt. We have no such writers in says Kinglake, “ that the man who was England and America, for our writers are most able to make the President act, to what they are by culture, and not by drive him deep into his own plot, and nature; or, more exactly, are writers befiercely carry him through it, was Major cause they have taught themselves to be Fleury.” “ The one was skilful in pre- such, not because there is that within paring the mine and laying the train; them which must and will find utterthe other was the man standing by with ance. There may be Art in writers of a lighted match, and determined to the stamp of Andersen and Björnson, touch the fuse. It would seem, from but it is so little like any Art with which the moment when Fleury became a par- we are familiar, that it has the effect of taker of momentous secrets, the Presi- Nature alone. Writing appears as nadent ceased to be free.” Let us give the tural with them as conversation with devil his due, by all means; but let us us, and, like good conversation, it has a not forget to give his imps their due spontaneity and a variety not often likewise. M. Ténot does not, nor do we found in writing, least of all in any think that France will, should they be English writing of the period. Of“Only so unfortunate as to survive the Empire a Fiddler," which, we believe, is one of which they helped to raise, and which Andersen's early stories, we will merely is now rocking to its ruin. If they have say that it is characterized by the most lived conspirators, they can at least die loveable qualities of his genius—a gesoldiers. Will they? It is somewhat nius which knows how to make the simdoubtful.

plest incidents iuteresting, and the sim- It is refreshing to turn from the plest people dearer to us than all the highly-wrought fictions of the day, kings and queens that ever lived. which deal for the most part with the - There are, we conceive, but two class of passions and circumstances motives which impel towards authorheretofore confined to the Newgate Ca- ship-a desire to make reputation, and lendar, to a natural and simple story a desire to make money. Each is laudalike Hans Christian Andersen's Only a ble, and each has led to the production Fiddler, which has lately been added of great works. Shakespeare, we supby Messrs. Hurd & Houghton to their pose, wrote for money rather than repuuniform series of “Andersen's Writ- tation. Milton, we know, wrote for reings.” It is not much of a povel, as putation rather than money. Of the novels go now, for neither its plot nor two incentives, we honor the last most, its characters are in any sense remarka

and nowhere so much as among ourble; it is devoid of startling incidents, selves, upon whom it has never exerand it lacks profundity of analysis; it cised a very powerful influence. We has, in short, so little in common with have authors and authors, but for one the novels of Miss Braddon, or Mr. who does his best without thinking Charles Reade, or Mr. Wilkie Collins, how much he will make by it, there are

« IndietroContinua »