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ing highways (corvées) fell upon the peasantry, who used them the least.
We shall add to this melancholy catalogue some facts' collected from an official report published in 1816, on the comparative state of the Paris Hospitals now and in former times. The Hotel Dicu, the oldest, probably, in Europe, existed as early as the seventh century, and was distinguished by the almost incredible vices of its administration. It appears that formerly the tenants of this horrid abode were often four in a bed, sometimes six, the allowance of room for each being only eight or nine inches; and there have been instances of one or two more being lodged over the tester of the bed! The places of those who died were instantly filled with new victims ;-the clothes of those brought in were thrown together into a com·mon store-room, to be returned to those who survived, loaded with the combined effluvia of the mass of dirt and corruption! The mortality, although vast, seems to have been less than might have been expected, (2 out of 9 yearly); but this is explained by the practice of receiving into the hospital many poor in good health, and who, therefore, did not die. A great fire, which happened about the year 1770, cleansed the Augean stable, and it never was so bad afterwards; but the great improvement did not take place till within fifteen or twenty years. The sick are now placed single in a bed; the space of air allowed for each is equal to 10 or 12 cubic toises of 6 feet, instead of 1} or 2 they had formerly; the average mortality of all the hospitals is now 2 out of 15, including lying-in women, whose mortality is 1 out of 24, instead of 1 out of 14 as it was formerly.
With all this, France had never been in so fair a way to see the defects of its old institutions corrected, and civil liberty introduced with success, as it was just before the Revolution.-A reform of criminal jurisprudence had begun; torture was abolished; the administration of prisons and hospitals was greatly improved; provincial administrations, the most beneficial, perhaps, of any improvement in its consequences, had been tried ; servage of all kinds, and the corvées, were at an end; several of the grievances of the Protestants had been removed, and the exercise of their religion allowed. The scandalous fortunes made by favourite Ministers in former reigns, were unknown under Louis XVI., and the general aspect of the country was that of a progress both towards happiness and freedom: But the restless impatience of reformers could brook no delay. A cure without their specific, and otherwise than by their hands, was no cure to them; and they found associates in a vicious court,
roués, throughe philosophy manyoubted and extravia.com
where men of the first rank took a pride in the designation of roués, (meaning, literally, felons on the wheel). Society was infected throughout with this profligacy, disguised under the shallow and crude philosophy of the day. Those generalizations admit, of course, of very many exceptions—but that such were the great outlines appears undoubted :—We need, indeed, no other proof than the peculiar atrocity and extravagance of the revolution that ensued ;--for the people, in all civil commotions, show themselves the more ferocious in proportion as they are less enlightened and more enslaved.
It would have required an abler and firmer hand than that of Louis XVI. to guide the helm in such a tempest. « Il est af• freux de penser, M. Mounier says, qu'avec une ame moins bien
faisante, un autre prince eut peut-être trouvé le moyen de main! tenir son pouvoir !' This is not improbable, and it is a melancholy and humiliating consideration: Yet we think a greater share of sincerity, or at least of consistency and perseverance, without less goodness and virtue, might have extricated him more effectually from his difficulties, and with far greater glory. Profoundly corrupt as the French people were at that period, they were even then, as they are now, and have always been, peculiarly susceptible of a sudden impulse of generosity, and apt to be carried away by any great and magnanimous example: The measure of assembling the States-General in 1789, without arranging previously the mode of voting of the three orders of the State, and bringing inveterate enemies face to face, with arms in their hands, by way of settling their differences, was in the highest degree imprudent and unwise ; yet, even after this mistake and its immediate consequences, if the monarch had boldly and frankly come forward in the National Assembly, big as it was with the elements of mischief, with nearly such a charter in his hand as his brother did five-andtwenty years after-if he had proposed nearly such bases as those of our government, the extreme popularity of the measure would have given him an ascendancy equal to the occasion, not only over the great mass of the people, but over the Nobility themselves, who must have seen the necessity of submitting to an exchange of their frivolous honours and privileges, which were lost at any rate, for any purpose of constitutional influence or legislative power; as they submitted without a murmur, under Bonaparte, to the same sacrifices without any compensation. The monarch, thus armed, as he would have been, with the irresistible will of millions, would have found himself all at once stronger than the strongest of his royal an
cestor's :-stronger even than the conqueror who' afterwards u. surped his throne.
Hume shows that the elements of our constitution existed in France formerly, and were imported thence into England: This piece of history was urged with great force by the Comte de Lauraguais before the opening of the Etats Generaur, and since by M. Lally de Tollendal, and by Mr Montlausier as an argument ad hominem against the charge of innovation. But what are precedents under circumstances wholly dissimilar, and at a distance of seven centuries? The true reason for adopting or reviving such a government was, that with it the King might still reign--without it he could not. But the nobles and clergy, although willing to relinquish pecuniary privileges, made a desperate stand for the right of voting par ordre, or, in other words, of deciding all questions two to one against the people. The committee (brireau) in which Monsieur, now Louis XVIII., presided, had been alone in the Assembly of the Notables for the double representation of the Tiers Etat, making it equal to the two others.
Nothing can show more strongly the advantage of governing with public opinion, legally represented in a legislative assembly, ihan the well known fact, that when Necker declared in 1781, that there was a yearly deficiency of ten millions in the revenue, which his successor soon after stated at eighty, neither of them could find any remedy, but in a surrender at discretion of the old absolute monarchy: and yet the new representative monarchy raised lately on its credit, and at a moment's warning, a capital more than equal to this great deficiency; and this it was enabled to do during an invasion,-just after one great revolution in the government, and with some apprehensions of another, simply because the state of the finances had been laid open to public inspection, and it was known that their administration would in future be the annual object of Parliamentary inquiry. Taxes, far heavier than were formerly deemed insupportable, had been paid without difficulty. Bonaparte has the merit of this discovery: But the capacity of credit rea mained unknown; and nothing ever appeared so inexplicable to him as the resources of our own budget.
The nobles, against whom the Revolution was principally directed, fled without an attempt to defend themselves, ---abandon-. ing at once their station, property, privileges and country, which a timely compromise on moderate terms might have saved. Their greatest enemies were among the middling classes ; for the labouring multitude took no active part in the Revolution, till the divisions between the great and the small proprietors, the no
blesse and the tiers etat, had made an opening for them to in. vade at once property, liberty and life, and lay society prostrate at their feet.Le pouvoir democratique, says the author of the • Considerations, resté seul maître du champ de bataille, s'acharna • adec fureur sur le cadavre des vaincus, et dispersa, si l'on peut • s'exprimer ainsi, jusqu'à leurs cendres !' Their animosity, however, was always directed much more against the privileges of the Nobles than the prerogatives of the King: and they shed the blood of Louis XVI. far more out of hatred to the aristocracy that deserted him, than to the royalty which he adorned.
A period of anarchy followed, under the Directory, during which a double opposition, the one Terrorist, the other Royalist, distracted the country with their alternate successes and defeats. The author before us compares the situation of France at that period to that of Rome under the Triumvirs. But the French Directors were neither Marius nor Sylla, neither Pompey nor Crassus:--The heterogeneous institutions over which they presided had no roots in the soil, and were overthrown with ease by the strong hand of a soldier, then hailed as a deliverer. When Bonaparte came to power he found all ranks of people confounded together ;a promiscuous multitude, frightened, ruined, and bleedingm-weary of the name of liberty, anxious to be rescued from impending anarchy and jacobinism, but still alive to military glory; no man was so well able as himself to give them what they most desired, and preserve them from what they most dreaded : In his hands the army soon became the sole aristocracy in France.
Fifteen years of military glory seemed to have eradicated from the minds of this volatile people all idea of civil liberty. Scarcely an individual of the rising generation had heard the name; factions were unknown under Bonaparte: But the spell of his power was no sooner broken, than the Utopian theories of 1789 were revived, together with the opposite principles of the old monarchy. The Voltigeurs de l'Assemblée Nationale and the Voltigeurs de Louis Quatorze, * came out at the very same time from their respective hiding-places, and met together in the presence-chamber of Louis XVIII.; while the discomfited party of the gloire militaire was ready to side with whoever should hold out the best hopes of preferment in the way of their trade,
* Sharp-shooters of Louis XIV.'s time. A current joke, not particularly liberal nor humane perhaps on the old royalists, who showed themselves at court soon after the Restoration :-alluding to their antiquated dress and infirm figure.
But the old regime received them with coldness and disdain ; the wives of the marshals were slighted at court; the army was reorganized in a manner which left no hopes of advancement to an immense mass of young officers reduced to half-pay; in short, most of the military party, or Bonapartists, inlisted irrevocably under the banners of the Liberals,—whose constitutional opinions furnished them with artillery against the common enemy.
Up to this time, ancient institutions all over Europe were giving way gently and silently; but the sudden restoration of many old governments suggested the possibility of making a successful stand. The friends of these ancient institutions assumed courage, and renewed the combat.- l’Europe,' says Mr de Pradt, « est dans la position où se trouva le monde payen, à l'apparition du christianisme. Avant de déménager, le vieil Olympe defendit ses autels tant qu'il put ... Jupiter tonna avec ce qui lui restait de foudres ; vain fracas; après trois cents ans de combats, il fallut ceder la place, et de tout ce cortége de divinités fantastiques ; il ne reste rien que dans Homere et dans Virgile, que dans les arts et les constellations. De même à l'époque de la réformation, une lutte de cent ans fit disparaître l'ancien régime religieux, de tout l'espace qu'atteignit la réformation. Il en est de même aujourd'hui ; le monde subit une nouvelle réformation; ceux qu'elle atteint se debattent contre elle. On ne cede pas ces places pour rien. D’un bout de l'Europe à l'autre, toutes les anciennes prééminences cherchent à se raffermir, et agissent dans un concert forcé et naturel : Carlsbad appuye Paris, et Paris Carlsbad. Il n'en faut savoir mauvais gré à personne, cela est dans la nature des choses.'
It was a natural, but at the same time a very gross and fatal mistake in the party of the court, not unaptly called Ultra royalistes, to suppose that the restoration of the Royal family, to which, so far from contributing, they had been the greatest obstacle, implied the restoration of themselves. Completely the dupes of their feelings, they looked upon charters and representative governments as mere revolutionary inventions, which might be tolerated for a while, but must evidently be set aside in the end; and they did not doubt but an opportunity would soon occur. They completely spoiled the two restorations. . La restoration de 1814,' says Mr de Pradt, fut une fête Européenne. Tout étoit usé, délustré, on ne sentoit plus que le mal du moment, et il étoit immense. Toutes les esperances avoient été dechues ; toutes se rattachoient au changement. Il portoit avec lui l'idée de la fin de tout cequi blessoit ; les guerres, les violences, les conscriptions, l'interdiction des mers. Malheureusement la contre-revolution n'avoit pas été écartée avec assez de soin. 'And the ci-devant Archbishop