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contending on the Continent,—those of 1793, 1797, and 1810. In the first, the panic was stopped by Mr Pitt's advance of L.5,000,000 exchequer bills ; in the second, by the suspension of cash payments ; in the third, when gold was so scarce that the guinea was selling for twenty-five shillings, by the issue of bank-notes to the extent of L.48,000,000. That last period, which under the present system would at once have ruined the nation, was coincident with its highest prosperity : with the Torres Vedras campaign, and a revenue raised by taxes of L.65,000,000 yearly. All the panics on record have arisen from the abstraction of gold in large quantities, and have been cured by the issue, sometimes speedy, sometimes tardy, of a corresponding amount of paper. Sir R. Peel's policy doubles the evil, for it at once sends abroad the cash under his act of 1846, even in the finest seasons, to buy grain, and, under the act of 1844, at the very same moment contracts the currency, by the increase of which alone the evil could be remedied.
Sir R. Peel, however, has completely, as already noticed, instructed us in the true principles of the currency. It is his policy which has brought them to light. He contracts the
currency when gold is scarce, and expands it when it is abundant. The true principle is just the reverse : it is to contract the paper when gold is abundant, and an expansion of the currency is therefore little needed ; and to expand it when it is scarce, and therefore an addition to it is imperatively called for. The price of gold will at once tell when the one or the other requires to be done.
We conclude in the words of Blackwood's Magazine on this day twenty-two years, on 1st January 1826, immediately after the cessation of the dreadful panic of December 1825 : —“It may be that the Ministry is right, and that all these changes are wise and necessary, but we cannot discover it. The more accurately we examine, the more firmly we are convinced of the truth of our own opinions. Time has brought no refutation to us, whatever it may have done to those from whom we differ ; in so far as experiment has gone, we may point to it in triumph in confirmation of our principles and predictions. If at the last we be proved to be in error, we shall at least have the consolation of knowing that we have not erred from apostasy ; that we have not
erred in broaching new doctrines and schemes, and supporting innovation and subversion ; that we have not erred in company with the infidel and revolutionist; with the enemies of God and man. We shall have the consolation of knowing that we have erred in following the parents of England's greatness,—in defending that under which we have become the first of nations, and in protecting the fairest fabric that ever was raised under the face of heaven, to dispense freedom and happiness to our species. Our error will bring us no infamy, and it will sit lightly on our ashes when we shall be no more !"
FALL OF THE THRONE OF THE BARRICADES
(BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, APRIL 1848]
“ Deus patiens quia Æternus."-ST AUGUSTIN
EIGHTEEN years ago, when the throne of Charles X. was overturned amidst the universal exultation of the Liberal party in this country, we ventured, amidst the general transports, to arraign the policy and condemn the morality of the change. We pleaded strongly, in several articles, * that that great event foreboded nothing but a long series of calamities to France and to Europe ; that liberty had been rendered impossible in a country which, casting aside all the bonds of religion and loyalty, had left no other foundation for government but force ; and that the external peace of the Continent would be put in imminent peril by an ardent military population, heated by the successful issue of one great revolt, placed in the midst of monarchies in which the feudal institutions and chivalrous feelings were still in ascendency. We doubted the stability of a government founded on the success of one well-organised urban insurrection : we distrusted the fidelity of men who had begun their career by treachery and treason. Nominally the aggressor, we concluded that Charles X. was really on the defensive; he attempted a coup d'état, because government in any other way
had become impossible. We were told in reply, that these were antiquated and exploded ideas; that the revolution was necessary to save the liberties of France from destruction ; that a new era had opened upon mankind with the fire of the Barricades; that loyalty was no
*“On the French Revolutions,” Nos. I.-V. Blackwood's Magazine. Jan.May 1831.
longer required when the interest of mankind to be well governed was generally felt; and that a throne surrounded by republican institutions was the best form of government, and the only one in which the monarchical principle could any longer be tolerated in the enlightened states of modern Europe.
With how much vehemence these principles were maintained by the whole Whig and Liberal party in Great Britain, need be told to none who recollect the rise of the dynasty of the Barricades in the year 1830. To those who do not, ample evidence of the general delusion, and of the perseverance with which it was combated, will be found in the pages of this Magazine for 1831 and 1832. Time has rolled on, and brought its wonted changes on its wings. More quickly than we anticipated, the perilous nature of the convulsion which had proved victorious was demonstratedmore clearly than we ventured to predict, was the necessity of Prince Polignac's ordinances demonstrated.
It soon became apparent that France could be governed only by force.
The government of Louis Philippe was a continual denial of its origin—an incessant effort to crush the spirit which had raised it. The repeated and sanguinary disorders in Paris ; the two dreadful insurrections in Lyons; the awful drowning of the revolt of the cloister of St Méry in blood ; demonstrated, before two years had elapsed, that the government had felt the necessity of extinguishing the visionary ideas which had been evoked, as the means of elevating itself into power. More than once it stood on the edge of the abyss; and it was saved only by the vigour of the sovereign, and the newly awakened terrors of the holders of property, which prevented them from openly coalescing with the determined republicans, who aimed at overturning all the institutions of society, and realising in the nineteenth century the visions of Robespierre and Babæuff in the eighteenth. In the course of this protracted struggle, the new government felt daily more and more the necessity of resting its authority on force, and detaching it from the anarchical doctrines, amidst the triumphs of which it had taken its rise. Paris was declared in a state of siege ; the ordinances of Polignac were re-enacted with additional
rigour; the military establishment of the country was doubled ; its expenditure raised from 900,000,000 to 1,500,000,000 francs; an incessant and persevering war waged with the democratic press; and Paris surrounded by a chain of forts, which effectually prevented any other will from governing France but that of the military who were in possession of their bastions. Such was the result to the cause of freedom in France of the triumph of the Barricades.
But in eighteen years an entirely new generation rises to the active direction of affairs. In 1848, the personal experience, the well-founded fears, the sights of woe which had retained the strength of France round the standards of the Barricades, were forgotten. The fearful contests with anarchy by which the first years of the reign of Louis Philippe had been marked, had passed into the page of history, that is, were become familiar to a tenth part only of the active population. To those who did learn it from this limited source, it was known chiefly from the volumes of M. Louis Blanc, who, in his “ Ten years of the reign of Louis Philippe," painted that monarch in no other light but as one of the most deceitful and sanguinary tyrants who ever disgraced humanity. Thus the lessons of experience were lost to the vast majority of the active citizens. The necessity of keeping at peace, which Louis Philippe so strongly felt, and so energetically asserted, became in the course of years an insupportable restraint upon a people fraught with revolutionary ideas, and heated by the glowing recollections of the Empire. A nation containing 6,000,000 of separate landed proprietors, * the great majority of whom were at the plough, and not possessed of six pounds a-year in the world, necessarily chafes against any power which imposes the restraints of order and peace on the appetite for plunder and the lust of conquest. This was the true secret of the fall of the dynasties of the Restoration and the Barricades. They fell because they kept the nation at peace with its neighbours, and at peace with itself,—because they terminated the dream of foreign conquest, and checked the visions of internal utopia ; because they did not, like Napoleon,
5,468,000 in 1836, which must be at least 6,000,000 in 1848. Statistique de la France-(Agriculture, 84-89.)