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most useful to the general interests of humanity, and to those particularly of this country, the depository of the liberties and hopes of mankind.
The work, the perusal of which has led to these observations, is one of the very few that have eluded the vigilance of the continental police, and effected an escape into this country. Hitherto we have had little more than the loose reports of an occasional traveller, and the narrow observations of a few prisoners or refugees, as to the internal state of the French empire; and these have been generally received with a degree of hesitation and suspicion, justified, we allow, not more by a consideration of the channels through which they were conveyed, than by the extraordinary and almost incredible statements which they contained. Here, however, we have the testimony of a witness announced to us as possessing more extensive means of information than any former writer, together with all the claims to credit and respect which can fairly be required.
But if this work is on general considerations thus interesting, and, we will add, important, it becomes much more so by some peculiar circunstances connected with the history of the author and his publication : both have undergone some of the vicissitudes of revolutionary fortune; and both are examples as well as witnesses of the rigorous system which they describe. M. Faber is a German, or rather, we believe, a native of some German or Flemish province annexed to France; one of those who, in the earlier days of the revolution, captivated by the specious prospects of the hour, left his country to assist in the sacred work of French regeneration. We have no means of tracing him through the whole of his course; but it is stated that the love of liberty and the feelings of philanthropy, which made him at first the dupe of the revolution, preserved him from being afterwards a sharer in its atrocities. Doubting early, as it appears, of the justice of his first impressions, he became content to pursue a less brilliant but a more useful course than that which his youthful ambition had anticipated; and he seems to have dedicated himself to the duties of the magistracy. Here Buonaparte found him, and here he continued under the consul and the emperor. His disappointment, however, in his early Utopian fancies must have increased from hour to hour; and at last, (on what particular provocation we know not,) he resigned, in disgust, the office which be held, and retired, about the breaking out of the Prussian war, first to Berlin, and afterwards to St. Petersburgh. We have heard that a strong remorse at having been in any degree accessary to the revolution, and to the establishment of the tremendous despotism that has arisen out of the ruins of the monarchy and the republic, induced M. Faber to quit, and, on maturer deliberation, to renounce the country of his too hasty adoption. A motive, indeed, so generous is consistent rather with what we are told of his general character, than with the opinion which certain passages of his work would have induced us to form. Be, however, the motive what it may, M. Faber quitted France; and we find him about the time of the treaty of Tilsit employed in publishing, at St. Petersburgh, the work now under consideration. The conclusion of that treaty established the predominance of French influence in the Russian capital, and interrupted, as was to be expected, M. Faber's publication. The circulation of one volume, which had been already printed, was immediately prohibited, and the second, then in progress, absolutely suppressed. One copy, however, of the former reached England, and from that the translation before us has been made.
Such is the account, loose and unsatisfactory it must be admitted, which we have collected of the author and his publication. The accordant testimony of different witnesses obliges us to admit that the work is genuine, and M. Faber no other than what he is stated to be; but we must confess that if we were to form our judgment on internal evidence alone, we should hesitate to come to the same conclusion. The work is beyond all doubt, that of a person generally acquainted with the state of France; and of the truth of the majority of the facts stated, there is ample corroboration in the extrinsic testimony of various official reports, addresses, and decrees, and in the concurrence of all those who have had any opportunity of observing the actual state of France: but we do not find in it so much of that minute detail, personal allusion, reference to obscure facts, appeal to names and dates, as we should have expected from one giving an account of what he himself had seen, and heard, and felt in situations of peculiar interest and importance. It is, however, fair to add, that M. Faber intimates that a regard for the safety of individuals induced him to deal in generals where he might have particularized; but it will be seen that he sometimes mentions names very indiscreetly, while he maintains a mysterious silence in matters where disclosure could do no harm.
M. Faber has divided his volume into ten chapters. 1. Les Français. 2. Administration. 3. Opinion Publique. 4. Le Thrône et L'Autel. 5. L'Ancien Temps et le Temps Nouveau. 6. Instruction Publique. 7. Justice. 8. Buonaparté en Tournee. 9. La Conscription. 10. La Garde Nationale. Our readers will at once perceive that this division is purely arbitrary. M. Faber, though a German, has little of German precision about him ; and though, perhaps, accurate in his facts, is very far from being clear in his arrangements: many of his divisions contain anecdotes and reasonings which more properly belong to others, and in more than
one instance, the same subject is split into different and unconnected chapters. A more methodical distribution would have not only produced clearness and perspicuity, but given to the whole a character of force and vigor to which its matter entitles it, but of which its desultory form and declamatory style almost entirely deprive it. In the view, therefore, wbich we take of this work, we shall endeavour as far as possible to preserve, for the advantage of our readers, something of the arrangement which we should have originally recommended, without attending too minutely to the order, or rather disorder in which M. Faber conducts his march.
Howcan the nation do it? How can the nation suffer it?' These, says M. Faber, are the exclamations of all strangers at the account of every political occurrence wbich takes place in France. The answer is, the nation has nothing to do with it; the nation, as he somewhat quaintly expresses it, were neither the Septembrizers, nor the Jacobins, nor the Guillotiners, nor the Buonapartists, nor the Imperialists.' It seems undeniable, indeed, that in the first days of the revolution, the national sentiment was active and almost unanimous; a train of dependent circumstances, rising successively in importance, interest, and popular effect, had disposed the public mind to the trial of political experiments. France had not the benefit of the example which her bistory has afforded to other countries; and her first objects of a moderate reform and a regenerated constitution, were not only plausible theories, but appeared to be the only practical remedies for the public disease. It is not to be forgotten that her first steps in this career were hailed with the almost unanimous acclamation of all Europe, who saw her, as it thought, just starting in a race of freedom, happiness, and glory. The public opinion, therefore, not only of France herself, but of the majority of mankind, effected the first and accompanied the succeeding movements of the revolution.
The first great error of the reformers was (as it must ever be of all who reform with the aid of an inflamed populace) their disregard of the ancient forms of their constitution; for a constitution, and a wise and good one in its principles and form, though substantially deteriorated, France had the advantage of possessing : it was drawn from the great northern reservoir of feudal policy, from which also that of England is derived ; and in the earlier days of our history and theirs, even at the period of Magna Charta, the difference between the constitutions of the two countries does not appear to have been great. One advantage, indeed, England has had over her rival-one that has been, perhaps, the foundation of all the rest, the trial by jury; an institution so peculiarly her own, that, to use the recent expressiou of Sir James Mackintosh, it is characteristic of the British
race, race, and distinguishes them from all other branches of the human species. By this engine, by, perhaps, some' vis insita', some propensity of the national character, and the lapse of time, the popular power became in England of greater weight in the balance, while in France the crown maintained, if it did not increase, its preponderance. But even through the worst times, and down to the latest, the parliaments of France had frequently evinced the greatest patriotism and courage in the maintenance of the constitution. If the authors of the revolution had taken these courts as the foundation and materials of their improvements ; if they had contented themselves with restoring to them their privileges and power, or, with separating their political and judicial functions; if the states-general had only been assembled temporarily, and for occasional purposes, and if when assembled, they had preserved their ancient proportions and divisions; if the nobles, the clergy and the people had remained in their respective chambers, and at the several yet connected posts which the constitution had assigned to them, checks upon each other and on the monarch; if He, in his station, had continued to preside over all as their guide, protector, and mediator, with the power of convocation and dispersion; if, we say, these ancient forms had been preserved, and inspired by the original spirit of their institution, it seems probable that the regeneration of France might really have been effected, and she and the world spared the licentious horrors of her republic, and the debasement and tyranny of her present despotism. Then, indeed, the public opinion would have been, as it is in England, the primum mobile of the system ; then France might have been spoken of as a people. But when all those ancient forms were destroyed, when the states-general were united in one hall, where of course the commons, who before were but one third of the constitutional power, became the whole; when their sittings became permanent and independent of the crown, it was foreseen, and the prospect was too soon realized, that the populace would swallow up the king, the nobles, and the clergy; and that, according to the never-failing march of events, it would, in its turn, become the slave and instrument of the first faction which should have the audacity to seize the helm. The rich, the noble, and the good were beaten from the field; the struggle at first for power, became a struggle for life, and they were vanquished in both.
They died or they fled, and left their country, terrified by their example, and subdued by their fate, in the hands of a mean and malignant, but bold and enterprizing faction, which under many masks and various changes of name, has continued to exercise the functions and to bear the title of the French nation. M. Faber endeavours to rescue the French, as a nation, from
the heavy imputations which the revolution has brought upon them. We are inclined to believe, that, in any other country, if, by an unfortunate concurrence of events, the populace had been enabled to break loose, as it were, on society, we should have found it as turbulent, as fickle and as slavish as in France. We feel with him that education, civilization, morals, and property, constitute the essence of a nation ; and wherever the depositories of these qualities, the higher and middle orders of society, had been (as in France) the fornier massacred or exiled, the latter wearied and terrified into silence and inaction, the same course of events would have taken place; and we should then have had equal reason to exclaim of England or of Italy as we now do of France-How can she suffer it?"
In looking back at the events of the last five-and-twenty years, we are obliged to acknowledge, as the means, under divine favour, of the preservation of the liberties and happiness of these realms, those measures for preventing assemblies of the populace, which, because they were the objects of the instinctive antipathy of a turbulent and wicked faction, have been, most incorrectly, called unpopular. If the 'Friends of the people, and the Cor. responding Society' had been suffered to co-exist with the Feuillants and the Jacobins of the neighbouring country; if by delegation or assumption, a Convention had been permitted to invest itself with what were called the rights of the people; if a parliament of reformers had assembled at Hackney or Copenhagen-House, to insult, under the pretence of petitioning, the Parliament of Great Britain, we do not believe that we should enjoy at this moment either the power or the right of reproaching France with the enormities of her revolution. We too should probably have had our committee of public safety, our directory, our despot.
M. Faber shows, we think satisfactorily, that the same causes (not very numerous) produced the whole edifice of the Revolution, from its first broad base of universal suffrage and uncontrolled democracy, through the lessening degrees-of select and equivalent committees-of an executive council of five directors-of three consuls--of a consul for ten years-of a consul for life, till, finally, the pyramid was completed by a despotism hereditary and undivided. After the first fits of republican insanity had subsided, and while the people lay wearied and exhausted by the efforts of the paroxysm, the magistrates, such as they were, obtained some degree of coercive power, which daily and rapidly increased with the increasing horror of the recent enormities : insomuch, that in a few years, the same people which had overturned its ancient seats of justice, its altars, and its throne; which had massacred its nobility, murdered its king, and had itself, even to its dregs