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mistake. For him there was no giving of it up! Prime Ministers have governed countries, Pitt, Pombal, Choiseul; and their word was a law while it held: but this Prime Minister was one that could not get resigned. Let him once resign, Charles Stuart and the Cavaliers waited to kill him ; to kill the Cause and him. Once embarked, there is no retreat, no return. This Prime Minister could retire no-whither except into his tomb.
One is sorry for Cromwell in his old days. His complaint is incessant of the heavy burden Providence has laid on him. Heavy; which he must bear till death. Old Colonel Hutchinson, as his wife relates it, Hutchinson, his old battle-mate, coming to see him on some indispensable business, much against his will, Cromwell • follows him to the door,' in a most fraternal, domestic, conciliatory style ; begs that he would be reconciled to him, his old brother in arms; says how much it grieves him to be misunderstood, deserted by true fellow-soldiers, dear to him from of old : the rigorous Hutchinson, cased in his Republican formula, sullenly goes his way.--And the man's head now white; his strong arm growing weary with its long work! I think always too of his poor Mother, now very old, living in that Palace of his; a right brave woman; as indeed they lived all an honest God-fearing Household there : if she heard a shot go-off, she thought it was her son killed. He had to come to her at least once a day, that she might see with her own eyes that he was yet living. The poor old Mother !
-What had this man gained; what had he gained ? He had a life of sore strife and toil, to his last day. Fame, ambition, place in History ? His dead body was hung in chains ; his place in History, '—place in History forsooth !—has been a place of ignominy, accusation, blackness and disgrace; and here, this day, who knows if it is not rash in me to be among the first that ever ventured to pronounce him not a knave and liar, but a genuinely honest man! Peace to him. Did he not, in spite of all, accomplish much for us? We walk smoothly over his great rough heroic life; step-over his body sunk in the ditch there. We need not spurn it, as we step on it !—Let the Hero rest. It was not to men's judgment that he appealed; nor have men judged him very well.
Precisely a century and a year after this of Puritanism had got itself hushed-up into decent composure, and its results made smooth, in 1688, there broke-out a far deeper explosion, much more difficult to hush-up, known to all mortals, and like to be long known, by the name of French Revolution. It is properly the third and final act of Protestantism; the explosive confused return of mankind to Reality and Fact, now that they were perishing of Semblance and Sham. We call our English Puritanism the second act : “Well then, the Bible is true ; let us go by the Bible !” “In Church,” said Luther ; In Church and State,” said Cromwell, “let us go by what actually is God's Truth.” Men have to return to reality; they cannot live on semblance. The French Revolution, or third act, we may well call the final one; for lower than that savage Sansculottism men cannot go. They stand there on the nakedest haggard Fact, undeniable in all seasons and circumstances; and may and must begin again confidently to build-up from that. The French explosion, like the English one, got its King, — who had no Notary parchment to show for himself. We have still to glance for a moment at Napoleon, our second modern King.
Napoleon does by no means seem to me so great a man as Cromwell. His enormous victories which reached over all Europe, while Cromwell abode mainly in our little England, are but as the high stilts on which the man is seen standing ; the stature of the man is not altered thereby. I find in him no such sincerity as in Cromwell ; only a far inferior sort. No silent walking, through long years, with the Awful Unnamable of this Universe ; 'walking with God,' as he called it; and faith and strength in that alone : latent thought and valour, content to lie latent, then burst out as in blaze of Heaven's lightning! Napoleon lived in an age when God was no longer believed ; the meaning of all Silence, Latency, was thought to be Nonentity: he had to begin not out of the Puritan Bible, but out of poor Sceptical Encyclopédies. This was the length the man carried it. Meritorious to get so far.
His compact, prompt, everyway articulate character is in itself perhaps small, compared with our great chaotic inarticulate Cromwell's. Instead of dumb Prophet struggling to speak,' we have a portentous mixture of the Quack withal! Hume's notion of the Fanatic-Hypocrite, with such truth as it has, will apply much better to Napoleon than it did to Cromwell, to Mahomet or the like,—where indeed taken strictly it has hardly any truth at all. An element of blamable ambition shows itself, from the first, in this man; gets the victory over him at last, and inyolves him and his work in ruin.
• False as a bulletin' became a proverb in Napoleon's time. He makes what excuse he could for it : that it was necessary to mislead the enemy, to keep-up his own men's courage, and so forth.
On the whole, there are no excuses. A man in no case has liberty to tell lies. It had been, in the long-run, better for Napoleon too if he had not told any. In fact, if a man have any purpose reaching beyond the hour and day, meant to be found extant next day, what good can it ever be to promulgate lies ? The lies are found-out ; ruinous penalty is exacted for them. No man will believe the liar next time even when he speaks truth, when it is of the last importance that he be believed. The old cry of wolf !-A Lie is no-thing ; you cannot of nothing make something ; you make nothing at last, and lose your labour into the bargain.
Yet Napoleon had a sincerity: we are to distinguish between what is superficial and what is fundamental in insincerity. Across these outer manæuverings and quackeries of his, which were many and most blamable, let us discern withal that the man had a certain instinctive ineradicable feeling for reality; and did base himself upon fact, so long as he had any basis. He has an instinct of Nature better than his culture was. His savans, Bourrienne tells us, in that voyage to Egypt were one evening busily occupied arguing that there could be no God. They had proved it, to their satisfaction, by all manner of logic. Napoleon looking up into the stars, answers, “Very ingenious, Messieurs . but who made all that ?" The Atheistic logic runs-off from him like water ; the great Fact stares him in the face : “Who made all that ?" So too in Practice : he, as every man that can be great, or have victory in this world, sees, through all entanglements, the practical heart of the matter; drives straight towards that. When the steward of his Tuileries Palace was exhibiting the new upholstery, with praises, and demonstration how glorious it was, and how cheap withal, Napoleon, making little answer, asked for a pair of scissors, clipt one of the gold tassels from a windowcurtain, put it in his pocket, and walked on. Some days afterwards, he produced it at the right moment, to the horror of his upholstery functionary; it was not gold but tinsel ! In Saint Helena, it is notable how he still, to his last days, insists on the practical, the real. Why talk and complain ; above all, why quarrel with one another? There is no result in it ; it comes to nothing that one can do. Say nothing, if one can do nothing !"
He speaks often so, to his poor discontented followers; he is like a piece of silent strength in the middle of their morbid querulousness there.
And accordingly was there not what we can call a faith in him, genuine so far as it went ? That this new enormous Democracy asserting itself here in the French Revolution is an insuppressible Fact, which the whole world, with its old forces and institutions, cannot put down; this was a true insight of his, and took his conscience and enthusiasm along with it,—a faith. And did he not interpret the dim purport of it well ? · La carrière ouverte aux talens, The implements to him who can handle them:'this actually is the truth, and even the whole truth ; it includes whatever the French Revolution, or any Revolution, could mean. Napoleon, in his first period, was a true Democrat. And yet by the nature of him, fostered too by his military trade, he knew that Democracy, if it were a true thing at all, could not be an anarchy: the man had a heart-hatred for anarchy. On that Twentieth of June (1792), Bourrienne and he sat in a coffee-house, as the mob rolled by : Napoleon expresses the deepest contempt for persons in authority that they do not restrain this rabble. On the Tenth of August he wonders why there is no man to command these poor Swiss ; they would conquer if there were. Such a faith in Democracy, yet hatred of anarchy, it is that carries Napoleon through all his great work. Through his brilliant Italian Campaigns, onwards to the Peace of Leoben, one would say, his inspiration is: “Triumph to the French Revolution ; assertion of • it against these Austrian Simulacra that pretend to call it
a Simulacrum!' Withal, however, he feels, and has a right to feel, how necessary a strong Authority is; how the Revolu.
tion cannot prosper or last without such. To bridle-in that great devouring, self-devouring French Revolution ; to tame it, so that its intrinsic purpose can be made good, that it may
be come organic, and be able to live among other organisms and formed things, not as a wasting destruction alone : is not this still what he partly aimed at, as the true purport of his life ; nay what he actually managed to do? Through Wagrams, Austerlitzes ; triumph after triumph, — he triumphed so far. There was an eye to see in this man, a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such. The common soldiers used to say on the march : “ These babbling Avocats, up at Paris ; all talk and no work! What wonder it runs all wrong? We shall have to go and put our Petit Caporal there !" They went, and put him there ; they and France at large. Chief-consulship, Emperorship, victory over Europe ; —till the poor Lieutenant of La Fère, not unnaturally, might seem to himself the greatest of all men that had been in the world for some ages.
But at this point, I think, the fatal charlatan-element got the upper hand. He apostatised from his old faith in Facts, took to believing in Semblances; strove to connect himself with Austrian Dynasties, Popedoms, with the old false Feudalities which he once saw clearly to be false;—considered that he would found “his Dynasty" and so forth; that the enormous French Revolution meant only that! The man was 'given-up to strong delusion, that he should believe a lie ;' a fearful but most sure thing. He did not know true from false now when he looked at them,--the fearfulest penalty a man pays for yielding to untruth of heart. Self and false ambition had now become his god : self-deception once yielded to, all other deceptions follow naturally more and more. What a paltry patchwork of theatrical paper-mantles, tinsel and mummery, had this man wrapt his own great reality in, thinking to make it more real thereby! His hollow Pope's-Concordat, pretending to be a reestablishment of Catholicism, felt by himself to be the method of extirpating it, “la vaccine de la religion :" his ceremonial Coronations, consecrations by the old Italian Chimera in NotreDame,"wanting nothing to complete the pomp of it,” as Augereau said, “nothing but the half-million of men who had