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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. 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, open the career of arms to every man in the country capable of carrying a musket; or, like Robespierre, pursue the supposed advantage of the working classes by the destruction of every interest above them in society. Had either Charles X. or Louis Philippe been foreign conquerors, and had the state of Europe permitted of their waging war with success, they would have lived and died on the throne of France, and left an honoured crown to their successors. There never were monarchs who mowed down the population and wasted the resources of France like Napoleon and Louis XIV.; but as long as they were successful, and kept open the career of elevation to the people, they commanded their universal attachment. It was when they grew unfortunate, and could call them only to discharge the mournful duties of adversity, that they became the objects of universal execration. The revolution has ever been true to its polar star,—worldly success.
5,468,000 in 1836, which must be at least 6,000,000 in 1848.--Statistique de la France--(Agriculture, 84-89.)
In making these observations, we must guard against being misunderstood. We do not assert that the present leaders of the Revolution desire foreign war, or are insincere in the pacific professions which they have put forth in their public proclamations. We have no doubt that
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” is what they really desire ; and that with England in particular they are sincerely desirous to remain, at present at least, on terms of amity. The early promoters of the Revolution of 1789— Sièges, Bailly, Mirabeau, and Lafayette—were equally loud and probably sincere in their pacific protestations at the outset of the first convulsion. What we assert is another proposition entirely corroborated by past history, and scarcely less important in its present application—viz., that the members of the existing Revolutionary Government are placed in a false position ; that they have been elevated to power by the force of passion, and the spread of principles inconsistent with the existence of society ; that if they continue to fan them, they will ruin their country_if they attempt to coerce them, they will be destroyed themselves. This is the constant and dreadful alternative in which a Revolutionary Government is placed, and which has so uniformly led in past history to what is called a departure from the principles of freedom by its successful leaders. It