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state of siege has been proclaimed ; and, amidst universal suffering, anguish, and woe, with three hundred thousand persons out of employment in Paris, and a deficit of £12,000,000 in the income of the year, the dreams of equality have disappeared in the reality of military despotism. It is immaterial whether the head of the
government is called a president, a dictator, or an emperorwhether the civic crown is worn by a Napoleon or a Caraignac--in either case the ascendant of the army is established, and France, after a brief struggle for a constitutional monarchy, has terminated, like ancient Rome, in an elective military despotism.
Frankfort has been disgraced by frightful atrocities. The chief seat of German unity and freedom has been stained by cruelties which find a parallel only in the inhuman usages of the American savages, but the terrible lesson has not been read in vain. It produced a reaction over the world ; it opened the eyes of men to the real tendency and abominable iniquity of the votaries of revolution in Germany; and to the sufferings of the martyrs of revolutionary tortures on the banks of the Maine, the subsequent overthrow of anarchy in Vienna and Berlin is in a great degree to be ascribed. They roused the vacillating cabinets of Austria and Prussia --they sharpened the swords of Windischgratz and Jellachich-they nerved the souls and strengthened the arms of Brandenberg and Wrangel—they awakened anew the chord of honour and loyalty in the Fatherland. The national airs have been again heard in Berlin ; Vienna has been regained after a desperate conflict; the state of siege has been proclaimed in both capitals; and order re-established in both monarchies, amidst an amount of private suffering and general misery—the necessary result of revolutionswhich absolutely sickens the heart to contemplate. England has emerged comparatively unscathed from the strife; her time-honoured institutions have been preserved, her monarchy saved amidst the crash of nations. Queen Victoria is still upon the throne; our mixed constitution is intact; the dreams of the Chartists have been dispelled; the rebellion of the Irish rendered ridiculous ; the loyalty of the great body of the people in Great Britain made manifest. The period of immediate danger is over; for the attack of the populace is like the spring of a wild beast—if the first onset fails, the savage animal slinks away into its den. General suffering indeed prevails
, industry languishes, credit is all but destroyed, a woful deficiency of exports has taken place —but that is the inevitable result of popular commotions; and we are suffering, in part at least, under the effects of the insanity of nations less free and more inexperienced than ourselves. Though last not least in the political lessons of this marvellous year, the papal government has been subverted—a second Rienzi has appeared in Rome; and the Supreme Pontiff, who began the movement, now a fugitive from his dominions, has exhibited a memorable warning to future ages of the peril of commencing reforms in high places, and the impossibility of reconciling the Roman Catholic religion with political innovation.
But let it not be imagined that, because the immediate danger is over, and because military power has, after a fierce struggle, prevailed in the principal capitals of Europe, that therefore the ultimate peril is past, and that men have only to sit down, under the shadow of their fig-tree, to cultivate the arts and enjoy the blessings of peace. Such is not the destiny of man in any, least of all in a revolutionary age. We are rather on the verge of an era similar to that deplored by the poet :
“ Bella per Emathios plusquam civilia campos,
Jusque datum sceleri canimus, populumque potentem
In commune nefas.”* Who can tell the immeasurable extent of misery and wretchedness, of destruction of property among the rich, and ruin of industry among the poor, that must take place before the fierce passions, now so generally awakened, are allayed—before the visions of a virtuous republic by Lamartine, or the dreams of communism by Louis Blanc and Ledru-Rollin, or the insane ideas of the Frankfort enthusiasts, have ceased to move mankind ? The fire they have let loose will burn fiercely for centuries ; it will alter the destiny of nations for ages; it will neither be quenched, like ordinary flames, by water, nor subdued, like the Greek fire, by vinegar : blood alone will extinguish its fury. The coming convulsions may well be prefigured from the past, as they have been recently drawn by the hand of a master : _“ All around us, the world is convulsed by the agonies of great nations ; governments, which lately seemed likely to stand during ages, have been on a sudden shaken and overthrown. The proudest capitals of Western Europe have streamed with civil blood. All evil passions—the thirst of gain and the thirst of vengeance—the antipathy of class to class, of race to race—have broken loose from the control of divine and human laws. Fear and anxiety have clouded the faces, and depressed the hearts of millions ; trade has been suspended, and industry paralysed; the rich have become poor, and the poor poorer.
* Lucan, i. 1-6.
Doctrines hostile to all sciences, to all arts, to all industry, to all domestic charity-doctrines which, if carried into effect, would in thirty years undo all that thirty centuries have done for mankind, and would make the fairest provinces of France or Germany as savage as Guiana or Patagonia—have been arowed from the tribune, and defended by the sword. Europe has been threatened with subjugation by barbarians, compared with whom the barbarians who marched under Attila or Alboin were enlightened and humane. The truest friends of the people have with deep sorrow owned, that interests more precious than any political privileges were in jeopardy, and that it might be necessary to sacrifice even liberty to save civilisation."*
It is now just a year since Mr Cobden announced, to an admiring and believing audience at Manchester, that the age of warfare had ceased ; that the contests of nations had passed, like the age of the mastodon and the mammoth; that the steam-engine had caused the arms to drop from their hands, and the interests of free trade extinguished the rivalries of nations; and that nothing now remained but to sell our ships of war, disband our troops, cut twenty millions off our taxation, and set ourselves unanimously to the great work of cheapening everything, and underselling foreign competitors in the market of the world. Scarcely were the words spoken, when conflicts more dire, battles more bloody, dissensions more inextinguishable than had ever arisen from
* MACAULAY'S History of England, vol. ii. p. 669.
the rivalry of kings, or the ambition of ministers, broke out in almost every country of Europe. The social supplanted the national passions. Within the bosom of society itself, the volcano had burst forth. It was no longer general that was matched against general, as in the wars of Marlborough, nor nation that rose up against nation, as in those of Napoleon. The desire of robbery, the love of dominion, the lust of conquest, the passion for plunder, were directed to domestic acquisitions. Human iniquity reappeared in worse, because less suspected and more delusive colours. Robbery assumed the guise of philanthropy ; spoliation was attempted, under colour of law; plunder was systematically set about, by means of legislative enactments. Revolution resumed its old policy—that of rousing the passions by the language of virtue, and directing them to the purposes of vice. The original devil was expelled; but straightway he returned with seven other devils, and the last state of the man was worse than the first. Society was armed against itself; the devastating passions burned in its own bosom ; class rose against class, race against race, interest against interest. Capital fancied its interest was to be promoted by grinding down labour ; labour, that its rights extended to the spoliation of capital. A more attractive object than the reduction of a city, or the conquest of a province, was presented to indigent cupidity. Easier conquests than over rival industry were anticipated by moneyed selfishness. The spoliation of the rich at their own door—the division of the property of which they were jealous, became the dream of popular ambition ; the beating down of their own labourers by free trade, the forcible reduction of prices by a contraction of the currency--the great object of the commercial aristocracy. War reassumed its pristine ferocity. In the nineteenth century, the ruthless maxim, Væ victis! became the war-cry on both sides in the terrible civil war which burst forth in an age of general philanthropy. It may be conceived what passions must have been awakened, what terrors inspired, what indignation aroused, by such projects. But though we have seen the commencement of the era of social conflicts, is there any man now alive who is likely to see its end ?
Experience has now completely demonstrated the wisdom of the Allied Powers, who placed the lawful monarchs of France on the throne in 1815, and the enormous error of the Liberal party in France, which conspired with the Republicans to overthrow the Bourbon dynasty in 1830. That fatal step has bequeathed a host of evils to Europe : it has loosened the authority of government in all countries; it has put the very existence of freedom in peril by the enormity of the calamities which it has brought in its train. All parties in France are now agreed that the period of the Restoration was the happiest, and the least corrupted, that has been known since the first Revolution. The Republicans of the present day tell us, with a sigh, that the average budgets of the three last years of Charles X.were 900,000,000 francs, (£36,000,000 ;) that the expenditure was raised by Louis Philippeatonceto1500,000,000 francs,(£60,000,000;) and that under the Republic it will exceed 1800,000,000 francs, (£72,000,000.) There can be no doubt of the fact; and there can be as little, that if the Red Republicans had succeeded in the insurrection of June last, the annual expenditure would have increased to £100,000,000—or rather, a universal spoliation of property would have ensued. Louis Blanc has given the world, in his powerful historical work, a graphic picture of the universal corruption, selfishness, and immorality, in public and private life, which pervaded France during the reign of Louis Philippe.* Though drawn by the hand of a partisan, there can be no doubt that the picture is too faithful in most of its details, and exhibits an awful proof of the effects of a successful revolution. But the misery which Louis Blanc has so ably depicted, the corruptions he has brought to light, under the revolutionary monarchy, have been multiplied fourfold by those which have prevailed during the last year in the republic established by Louis Blanc himself !
Paris, ever since the suppression of the great insurrection in June last, has been in such a state, that it is the most utter mockery to call it freedom. In truth, it is nothing but the most unmitigated military despotism. statue of Liberty is placed in the National Assembly ; but every
six paces bayonets are to be seen, to remind the bystanders of the rule of the sword. “ Liberté, Egalité,
Louis Blanc, Histoire de Dix Ars de Louis Philippe, iji. 321 et seq.