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EDMUND BURKE.

Part VII.

All history is but a romance un- avowed themselves the champions of less it act as an example. The mise. rights. Abasing all the privileges beries of the fathers are for the warn- longing to centuries of public service, ing of the children; and the ruin of of opulence,and high hereditary recolthe man or the nation which will take lections, they exalted meanness, pono lesson from experience will only verty, and ignorance;, exclaiming be more sudden, fatal, and return against the luxury, feebleness, and less, than that which has already prodigality of the first ranks of the given the disregarded moral of the state, they pampered the vices, the grave. Is there no appeal to the indolence, and the rapine of the wisdom of England, in the evidence multitude; offering an ostentatious that the French monarchy perished homage to the law, they stimulated solely by party? In a time of pro- the people to its open violation; profound peace, in a general flourishing claiming themselves the heralds of a of every resource and every class of new triumph of peace, they covered the kingdom, with a remarkable ab. the way to its temple with corpses. sence of public burdens, with no It is cheering to the sacred sense of financial difficulties but those which justice to know that this labour bad the opulence of the nation could have its reward ; that the hypocrites felt thrown off, as dewdrops from the the heaviest vengeance of their own lion’s mane,-with an unbroken mili- delusions; that, after years employed tary and naval force,-with a popula- in laying the mine under the monartion exceeding in activity, dexterity, chy of France, the moment in which and general acquirement, all others they applied the match was the moin Europe, scarcely excepting even ment of their own extinction; that our own; France, possessing every the blast which tore up the foundamaterial of foreign and domestic tions of society, shattered themselves power, the chief monarchy of the into dust and ashes, and left of their Continent, fell into sudden ruin. As ambition but an ignominious and if the ground had been hollowed un- abhorred name. der her throne, the throne went Hypocrisy is of all vices the most down at the instant, and disappeared bateful to man; because it combines from the eyes of Europe. As if some the malice of guilt with the meanness sudden decree of Heaven had com- of deception. Of all vices it is the missioned the sword against all that most dangerous; because its whole retained the impress of birth, bo- machinery is constructed on treachnour, and learning in the land, all was ery through the means of confidence, cut away even with the surface. It

on compounding virtue with vice, on is remarkable that all the great ha- making the noblest qualities of our bitual agencies of public destruction nature minister to the most profligate were kept aloof. Pestilence, famine, purposes of our ruin. It erects a and war, were chained up; the ruin false light where it declares a beawas left to be wrought by party, and con, and destroys by the very instrufrom whatever source the commis- ment blazoned as a security. The sion came, whether from the wrath French Revolution was the supreme of Providence, or the malignity of work of hypocrisy. All its leaders the enemy alike of Heaven and man, were low and licentious slaves, of it was found fully equal to do the the basest propensities nurtured by work of them all. The leading prin- the most criminal habits. We can ciple of this party was selfishness, detect in them nothing, to this hour, and the leading pretext a zeal for that belongs even to the higher failthe populace. The system consisted ings of our nature,—not even a geneof nothing but a reversal of all the rous self-delusion, not even a wanmaxims of human experience, for the dering enthusiasm for the good of purpose of a reversal of the whole man, not even the erroneous ardour order of human society. Its chiefs, which might have rashly tasted of personally contemptuous of morals, the tree of knowledge, and thoughtlessly incurred death; they had no- measures are decided before they thing of the coinmon mixture of are debated. It is beyond doubt, honest intention and frail perfor- that under the terrors of the lampmance. They were the tempter, not post and the bayonet, and of the the tempted; they were stern, sub. torch to their houses, your legislature tle, and vindictive destroyers, for the are obliged to adopt all the crude sake of selfish possession, and sel- and despotic measures suggested by fish revenge.

The Revolutionary clubs composed of a monstrous faction were not glowing zealots, medley of all conditions, tongues, whose political wisdom was obscu- and nations. Among those are to be red by the blaze of their own imagi- found persons, in comparison with nations. Zealots undoubtedly they whom Catiline would be thought were, but it was by a frenzy of scrupulous, and Cethegus a man of power and possession which incapa. moderation. Nor is it in those clubs citated them from seeing the ruin alone that the public measures are into which they were plunging them. deformed into monsters. They unselves. They saw clearly the ruininto dergo a previous distortion, in acawhich they were plunging their fel- demies, intended as so many semilow-men. There they were cool cal. Daries for those clubs, which are set culators. Two hundred thousand up in all places of public resort. In heads must fall, said Marat, before those meetings of all sorts, every France will be fit to acknowledge the counsel, in proportion as it is daring Jacobin club as its sovereigns; and and violent and perfidious, is taken the calculation was carried into effect, for the mark of superior genius. with the most unswerving adherence Humanity and compassion are ridito the great Jacobin law of massacre. culed as the fruits of superstition As the Revolution advanced, its doc- and ignorance. Tenderness to inditrines grew more undisguised; the viduals is considered as treason to rapidity of its speed swept back its the constitution. Liberty is to be alrobe, and shewed the naked dagger ways estimated perfect in proportion hung to its bosom. 'Every additional as property is rendered insecure. step in the furious chase in which it Amid assassination, massacre, and hunted down the hope and the confiscation, perpetrated or meditahonour of France, cast away some ted, they are forming plans for the remnant of that specious covering in good order of future society. Em. which it had performed its early bracing in their arms the carcasses of mockeries of public virtue; until, at the basest criminals, and promoting last, it held on its career, the open their relations on the title of their despiser of all attempts at the pallia- offences, they drive hundreds of virtion of its gigantic iniquity – the tuous persons to the same end, by assertor of the right to tyrannize, of forcing them to subsist by beggary finance by universal plunder, and of

or by crime.” public regeneration by the sword The farce of deliberation was still and the scaffold.

carried on by the National AssemBurke saw this aspect of the fac- bly, but it had become the notorious tion even before it had altogether tool of the mob. Like all represenflung away its disguise. While among tative bodies which assume a power us, all the enthusiasts of political beyond right, the National Assemchange at any price, were ready to blý, in attempting to make the throne throw themselves at its feet, and all its vassal, had called in a third estate, the strugglers for place were pro. which made itself a slave. The feclaiming it a present deity, he saw rocious auxiliary instantly domineerthe native ferocity and malice of the ed over its perfidious summoner; Jacobin, and denounced the common and from that hour the representaconspirator against all laws human tive body of France was the repreand divine. “ In your legislature,” sentative of nothing but the brute said he to France, “a majority, some- will of the populace. The consetimes real, sometimes pretended, quence has followed the crime in compels a captive King to issue, as every land; and the ambition that royal edicts, the polluted nonsense begins by conspiracy, has always of their licentious and giddy coffee been scourged by its own instruhouses. It is notorious, that all their ments. "The Assembly," says Burke, “acts before the multitude the farce the parliaments were the great deof deliberation with as little decency positaries of discontent. The genius as liberty. They act like the come- of the Gascon, hot, ostentatious, and dians of a fair before a riotous au- self-sufficient, gave the precedence dience. They act amid the tumul in clamour to the South; and the Gituous cries of a mixed mob of fero- rondists amply asserted their right to cious men and of women lost to shame; take the lead where the prize was to who, according to their insolent fan- be public confusion, and the contest cies, direct, control,applaud, explode was to be a competitorship of every them, and sometimes mix and take weakness and every crime of human their seats among them-domineer- nature. That faction, composed aling over them with a strange mix- most wholly of the lawyers of the ture of servile petulance and pre- South, rapidly perished. It realized sumptuous anthority. As they have power only to the point of national inverted all things, the gallery is in undoing, and having given the world place of the house. This Assembly, the lesson of utter incompetency, which overthrows Kings and king- died, to shew that the passions may doms, has not even the physiognomy from time to time perform the work of a legislative body-nec color im- of the virtues—that the popular axe perii, nec frons ulla senatûs. They may be the instrument of a moral, of hare a power given to them, like which the populace never dreamed that of the evil principle, to subvert and that the blood of the man of and destroy, but none to construct, þlood may be exacted as scrupulously except such machines as may be fit by the blind ferocity of vice, as by ted for further subversion and fur- the clearsighted wrath of divine rether destruction.”

tribution. The fate of those traitors The philosophers of France, the is the triumph of human feeling. We Baillys, Lavoisiers, and Buffons, may turn away with mere scorn from have been charged with the crimes the sufferings of the savage rabble of the Revolution. That they were who trampled down each other in the guilty to the full extent of their general rush to the royal spoil, but power, was unquestionable that we cannot withdraw our eyes from they sedulously unhinged the national the delight of seeing perfidy forced to respect for religion--that they gave feel that there is justice on the earth. the sanction of their names to at- We almost rejoice to see the deeptacks on morals--and that some of ening terrors of t]

that specious vilthe leading individuals of French lany which betrayed with a kissscience exbibited in their habits the we leave the common murderers to profligacy of their principles, are be crushed undistinguished by the facts which sink their memory in a high hand of retribution ; but we ingrave of eternal shame. But the true stinctively love to follow every pang work of overthrow claims other of Judas--to see the whole course hands. We must not be unjust to of penalty, the bitter disappointment, the superior claims of homicide. the helpless remorse, the cureless The feeble speculators of the closet despair, until the hour when he antimust be content with having pointed cipates the law of human abhorrence, out the road to ruin. It was the race and falls headlong. We have no such of bitter and ambitious barristers speculation in the graves of the Danthe obscure pleaders in the obscure tons and Heberts, and their associate courts-the reptile family of litigi. revellers in slaughter. We see their ousness, that poured into the path, ravages as we should those of a troop and corrupted the hopes of liberty. of tigers; and when they are dela France, the higher employments stroyed, think neither more nor less of the law alone conferred public of their destruction than of that of a distinction. All ranks beneath were troop of tigers. But the smiling and alike crowded and contemptible. bowing betrayers, the orators of huFifty thousand village attorneys, manity, the solemn devotees of prinneagre sinecurists, small depend- ciple, the pompous Vergniauds, and ents upon petty offices, and pertina- immaculate Rolands, the pure priests cious holders of petty distinctions, of the Constitutional Altar, where were an unequalled machinery for they led their unhappy King only to the uses of faction. The lawyers of stab him, in the act of clinging to

the hem of his robe-these are due an encumbrance, for the building of to posterity as examples of the low- a new-society is to be subverted, est baseness of the human heart; that purification may be complete. and the record of their punishment The early morals of the State are to deserves to be one of the most inde- be expunged from this proud tablet lible pages of the history of Revolu. which records the regeneration of tion. It becomes especially import- the land. The new banner which ant that those men should not be floats in front of the new army of consigned to the obscure infamy earn- freedom, is to disdain all the heredied by their mediocrity of mind. It tary armorial bearings; its blazonry is of this class that all true political is to be wrought in the popular loom, hazard springs. No revolution was tinctured by the blood of the noble. ever effected by the mere brute force Its image and superscription is to be of the multitude. No Revolutionist, of neither King nor law, but of the who began by the display of violence, new sovereignty of the streets. Conever succeeded. All men's fears are fiscation is to be thenceforth the reawakened by the roar of rapine sud- venue, massacre the law, and the denly let loose through the commu- holy right of insurrection the preronity. The most sluggish are roused gative of the sacred empire of liberinto courage and activity, when they ty. find the conflagration rolling round In England this process was fully their own roofs. If they are once begun. The clubs of 1793 were as startled, they are secure. They spring active within the British Islands as on from their beds, and extinguish the in the mainland of France. Their muscendiarism and the incendiaries toge- ter-rolls were already swelling with ther. The men made for public ruin all the profligate, the idle, and the proceed in other ways. They are envenomed of the community. Irethe abhorrers of all violence. They land, which seems sealed for eternal are the mere solicitors for a small discontent, had her 108,000 sons of portion of that general justice which freedom! marshalled, and waiting is due to all beings bearing the shape only for the sound of the pastoral of mankind. They limit their plead- horn from the Alecto of France. The ings, too, rather by what they can pamphleteer and the haranguer had hope to obtain from the compassion done their work, and the civil war of the higher ranks, than by any re- was armed in procinct. In another ference to the natural claims of mem- year, perhaps in another month, it bers of the same common family of would have broken out in one vast freemen. Having thus made the first burst of havoc and dismay. The step, the advocate grows bolder; he time was pregnant with the fates now diseovers grievances, harangues of mankind. But England was not on claims, and insists upon rights. yet to perish; her destinies were Still there is nothing more than im- not to be accomplished by the hands portunity-no menace--no display of hypocrites, with virtue on their of the rullian visage-110 railing lips, and the venom of blasted ambiagainst authority-no ebullition of tion in their hearts. If she was to that hot malignity which is swelling fall, it was not by the weapon of round the villain heart. Pamphlets, slaves and culprits, too mean for her speeches, and sarcasms, are the light hostility. She was not to fall in the weapons, the feeble missile shower, hour of popular festival, by an arrow that cover the march of the main in the heel. The generous resolubody. The bearers of the pike and 'tion to rescue Europe saved her the hatchet are not far bebind, but from domestic ruin. As she rushed they are kept out of sight-the sig. forward to throw her shield over nal at last is made-the advocate has the fainting sovereignties of the Con. become the threatener-the entreaty tinent, she left the whole tribe of her for justice has been raised into a de- assassins behind. At every step she mand for submission---the equality enlarged her distance from revolt, of privileges is now spurned for the until it found itself exposed in the robbery and exile of the higher ranks centre of the nation; and, until, with-the old constitution is no longer to out an object and without an ally, its crown all the hopes of patriotism by clamours drowned in the triumphant its revival—it is to be swept away as voice of the country, and its strength extinguished in the countless levy of to dread their fate in legislation, the empire, it was glad to shrink shrink from the attempt to ride into from the public eye, and expire in Parliament on the shoulders of our the obscurity in which it was born. manufacturers by paltry flatteries of

Que strong and unfailing test of their handicraft; and, taught by the Jacobinism in all lands, is its vulga- scorn which clings on the memories rity of soul. "Nothing,” says Burke, of those miserable dupes of corrupt"is more certain, than that our man- ed principle and turgid vanity, forners, our civilisation, and all the swear an ambition, yet only ridicu. good things which are connected lous, though sure to become at once with manners and with civilisation, hazardous to themselves and conhare, in this European world of ours, temptible to the world. for ages depended upon two princi- Bailly was born in Paris about ples; and were, indeed, the result the middle of the last century; an of both combined, the spirit of a gen- era when France, relieved from the tleman and the spirit of religion. The wars of Louis XIV., had begun to nobility and the clergy, the one by devote herself to the arts. His first patronage, the other by profession, pursuit was painting, his next poetry, kept learning in existence, even in his third science. Without possessthe midst of arms and confusions, ing the powers that confer originaliand while Governments were rather ty, he was remarkable for a plastiin their causes than formed. Learn- city of mind, which qualified him ing paid back what it received, to for various and vigorous attainment. nobility and the priesthood; and The abstract sciences had become the paid it with usury, by enlarging their way to fame ; and when La Caille ideas and by furnishing their minds. had acquired a reputation, Bailly Happy, if learning, not debauched might be secure of eminence. He by ambition, had been satisfied to now published a succession of papers continue the instructor, and not on astronomy, fought his way up the aspired to be the master! Along national road to distinction, and conwith its natural protectors and guar- summated his career by being chodians, learning will be cast into the sen, in 1770, a member of the Acamire, and trodden down under the demy, the very summit of French hoofs of a swinish multitude." literary ambition. The Brahminical

In this passage the powerful saga- astronomy, ridiculously overrated city of the writer had actually pre. by infidelity in France, as an antadicted the fates of the literary vic- gonist to the Mosaic history of the tims, headed by Bailly and Condor. origin and age of tbe world, had cet, both vehement worshippers of grown into a popular topic. It was the Parisian rabble, and both de- adopted by Bailly; from this point stroyed by popular cruelty, within his researches led him to enquire three years; - Bailly guillotined in into the nature of astronomical the midst of every accumulation of knowledge among the ancients; and public insult, and Condorcet driven in the ten years from 1775, he profrom the haunts of man, proscribed, duced his three histories, of Ancient and dying of actual famine. Still the Astronomy, Modern Astronomy from period of the true democracy had the time of the school of Egypt, and nut arrived; and Burke was yet to Oriental Astronomy. Those works see the rise of a generation to whose made him popular with the large fierce activity, despotic designs, and class-who love amusing knowledge. unsated love of blood, the crimes Anecdote, romantic speculation, and of the mere philosophers were as shewy · theory, made Bailly the venial, as their characters were theme of the Parisian salons. He feeble, cold, and solitary. Yet the was now chosen a member of the career of those two men is worth Academy of Belles Lettres. And remembering ; if it can hold out a from that hour he began the career warning to the grave coxcombry of his ruin! among ourselves, that, under the af- Lively, unprincipled, and vain, he fectation of universal science, is pal- saw in the new politics of France an pable intriguing for political power. opening to new distinction. With Let those meagre imitators of the the habitual ingratitude of French French philosophers in science, learn philosophy, he deserted the Govern

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