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blessings of a liberty the nature of could never have taught or disposed which they do not understand, and them to understand and relish the the want of which they did not feel. blessings of those political rights,
So, though in a different degree, which alone, in a state of society, we apprchend it was at the com- man can safely and wisely enjoy. mencement of the French revolu- In short, a most violent enthusiasm tion. We do not deny, that in such was produced in the minds of 2 a country 15 France, especially after large portion of the French nation, the events of the American revolu.' in defence of what they did not tion, and the connection which they comprehend; and like all enthusihad in those events; and after the asts, and all worshippers of unlabours of their philosophers(as they known deities, they repelled with were called) to teach the people indignation, and with their mightitheir political and civil rights, there est efforts, all who they imagined must have been many who united wished to deprive them of the god themselves to the cause of the of their idolatry. It is probable, French revolution, because they however, that this cause would soon hoped and expected it would re- have died away, had it not been move grievances which they actu- kept alive and strengthened by the ally felt, and put them in possession attack of the combined powers aof rights and privileges which they gainst France : and this attack not were convinced they ought to pose only produced this effect, but it also sess the nature of which they un brought into existence, or more pro. derstood, and which they were well perly speaking into operation, tha: qualified and entitled to enjoy. But feeling and sentiment of national inwe mean to speak of the great bulk dependence, which when roused of the nation; and on tem we and threatened is the most effectual think two causes principally operat. defence of the people. Such, in our ed in inducing them to take such a opinion, were the two principal zealous and determined part in sup- causes which existed and operted port of the revolution.
In the first at the beginning of the French replace, the labours and writings of volution, and which, aided by the philosophers had stimulated all others which we shall immediately who were superficial thinkers (and notice and describe, enabled that this class in France always has been nation not only to protect themvery numerous) to the adoption of selves, but to commence the work several wild and chimerical ideas of Europe's subjugation and misery: respecting human liberty and the we say to commence the work, berights of man. The very extravagance cause we are persuaded that, in a and impracticability of those nations, subsequent part of the French refalling as they did on the brains of volutionary history, those causes hot-headed men, produced a more gave place to others of a very difwild, determined, and desperate en- ferent description, but which were thusiasm than could have been pro- at least equally effectual in produ duced in them by any display of cing the subjugation of the continent their real and rational rights and of Europe. privileges. Their political know- Of the subordinate or rather the ledge (if so it may be termed) had secondary causes which began to come upon them unprepared; and operate at the commencement of besides, it was of such a nature as the revolution, and which still ope
203 rate, the most conspicuous and animating motives, the French soon powerful consisted in the opening became good soldiers, and fought to the ambitious, of the road to fame with great success against the veteand authority, which that event ran troops of Europe. But these produced. All hoped by it to bet- causes would probably have been of ter their situation and fortunes; and little avail, at least they would not under this impression all were in- have insured regular and permaduced to act in that manner which nent success, had they not received they knew would have a tendency the assistance of the other cause to forward and secure the object of which we stated; had not all the their wishes. Thus talents of all talent of the nation been called into kinds were brought into notice and full and complete action, and staexertion, at the very moment they tioned exactly where it was most were wanted ; and not only were wanted and most useful. Thus they brought into notice and exer- every thing went on well, after the tion, but each description of talent machine had been once put in regu. took the situation for which it was lar motion; or, if any stoppages took best calculated. In these two re- place, they were almost immediately spects, therefore, the French revo. perceived and rectified by those who lutionists had greatly the advantage managed the machine. Another over their opponents; for under the circumstance yet requires to be old and regular governments of Eu- noticed: nearly all who thought, rope little talent existed, or at least acted, or fought for the French rewas cherished and called forth; rank, volution had but one object in view; interest, and intrigue stinted its though that object was of a twogrowth, or kept it in obscurity; and fold nature, and thus became much besides, where talents were employ. more influential than if it had been ed in the public service, it not un- single : this object was the establishfrequently happened that they were ment of the revolution, and, by misdirected; for, in the application, means of it, the security of their the same causes, interest and in- own elevated rank and increased trigue, which in many instances fortune : all were interested, and kept them back altogether, operated most powerfully interested, in supto render them of comparatively porting it, because they were par. little service,
takers of the blessings which it proLet us now see what advantages duced: whether those blessings were the French derived from the cir- real, we shall not stop to inquire ; cumstances we have stated;. in the such at least they were deemed by first place, their soldiers were en- the French - people; and it cannot thusiastically attached to the cause too often be repeated, that their of the revolution, from causes which feeling, and not our own ideas, we have already attempted to ex- must be investigated, when we enplain; and to this enthusiasm, pow. deavour to account for the conduct erful as it was, was added another of foreign nations. feeling scarcely less powerful and The causes which we have hither. advantageous to the revolution,--the to assigned for the success of the hope and expectation of rising to the French, at the commencement of highest military glory and com- the revolution, if not very creditamand. We cannot be surprised, if, ble to the soundness of their judgeactuated and directed by two such ment, are not disgraceful to their
moral feelings and character: but what he conceived to be liberty, these causes soon gave place to and he liberally promised the same others of the latter description: they liberty to the nations whom he in. began to fight to protect them. vaded: afterwards glory was his selves; afterwards, they asserted, and sole object ; and in the pursuit of perhaps believed, in order to bestow it were forgotten not only his own upon other nations the liberty which liberty and the independence of his they themselves enjoyed; and at last own country, but the personal libersolely for the purposes of glory, ty and national independence of conquest and plunder. One of the those whom he had before promised most distinguishing and detestable and undertaken to make free. tenets of the French philosophy was, may however be doubted, whether that the end justified the means; this love of glory, natural and enand this doctrine, they soon con- deared as it is to a Frenchman, vinced the world most fatally, they would have carried him on so undid not regard as merely specula. weariedly and cheerfully through tive ; for they reduced it to practice all the wars in which France has
in the most regular and systematic been engaged, had it not been as| manner. Every species of fraud, sisted and encouraged by the hope
and deception was employed to of plunder : but these two objects secure the success of their arms: the united have urged him
on to all the inhabitants of the countries which feats which he has performed, and they invaded were taught to receive to the perpetration of all the crimes them as benefactors: their victories which he has committed. and triumphs were exaggerated, Continued warfare, always or both in number and in their results; generally conducted with great their defeats were either entirely talent and success, necessarily geconcealed, or represented as trifling nerated a military character in the and unimportant. The press, which French nation, and put them in posat first they had used for the purpose session of an army not only powerof propagating their doctrines, was ful in respect to its numbers, but entirely devoted to these nefarious much more formidable for the practices; till at length the nations single master-spirit which actuated whom they invaded were prepared, every part of it, and for the conby the misrepresentations which they summate skill and experience of its put forth, to receive them either as generals. Perhaps there was not friends, or as enemies so invincible in it a single soldier who did not beand so habituated to conquest that lieve that France, his country, was all resistance to them would be in destined to be the mistress of the vain.
world ; that he was destined to conBy degrees, as we have already tribute his share towards this grand remarked, the feelings and senti- and glorious consum mation; and ments which existed and operated that while he was engaged in this at the commercement of the revo- work he should enrich himself with lution, began to give way to that plunder, and probably rise to a high passion for glory and conquest, and distinguished command. From · which seems almost natural, and is this hasty and rapid sketch of the certainly most congenial, to the first feelings of the French at the temperament and disposition of a commencement of the revolution; Frenchman. At first he fought for of the feelings which afterwards
took possession of their minds and though they pretended that from an influenced their conduct ; and of the apprehension of this danger alone talents by which these feelings have they had taken up arms. There been uniformly directed, and the is, however, reason to believe that success to which, when thus direct- at first they were actuated solely ed, they almost necessarily led, we by the hope of dividing France, may easily explain how they be- and that the real danger to which came the conquerors of most part they were exposed, did not present of the continent of Europe: this, irself to their apprehension till it however, will become still more was too late to ward it off. But strikingly evident, if we briefly their great inferiority to the French contrast the character, talents, and was in talent, and in the want of conduct of their opponents in the unity of views and interest : in the mighty conquests, with their own. French army, all ranks of men felt
The coalesced powers entered on that they had a common interest in their first war with France in total success or defeat, and consequently ignorance of the character of the all ranks cheerfully, nay enthusiasnation against whom they were tically, put forth their respective about to fight, and of the nature of talents and efforts to obtain the those circumstances which at that one and avoid the other. With particular period affected that cha. them it was no common and every ractèr : hence, had their views been day war ; it was not a war in ever so laudable and disinterested, which, in consideration of the pay had they been solely what they which they received, they were to professed, for the reestablishment discharge the routine duty of a of social order, and for the benefit soldier ; it was a war, in their estiof the French themselves, they mation, not only of a higher chacould not have accomplished them: racter, but one in which they were but their views undoubtedly were principals, and not merely agents. either undefined even to them- No such feeling.could actuate the selves, or they were selfish and nar- soldiers of the coalesced powers; Tow. This alone must have mate. no such feeling appears to have rially injured their cause ; but it operated even in the breasts of their soon appeared that not only were licers: they went into this war the joint views of the coalesced as they had been accustomed to selfish and narrow, but that each do into former wars; and meeting branch of the confederacy had its with opponents of a different Ciro peculiar interest in contempla- stamp, it is not surprising that they tion. To the compact and indis- were defeated, But the French, soluble unity, therefore, of the as we have already remarked, did French nation was opposed a body rost trust entirely to the profound formed of loose, disjointed, and and comprehensive plans on which heterogeneous materials, which each campaign was arranged; nor must necessarily fall 10 pieces by to the extensive combinations by mere length of time, even if no which it was to be carried into exexternal force had operated against ecution ; nor to the consummate it. The monarchs who headed skill and experience and enthusithe confederacy, too, were insensi- astic fidelity of their officers and ble to the danger with which the men; nor to the most judicious and French revolution threatened them; complete equipment of their army
in every possible respect :-those people : even monarchs, who ceři undoubtedly might have ensured tainly never had any reason to supvictory ; but intent solely on one pose that the French revolution object, they did not hesitate to em portended any thing but their deploy bribery and treachery where. Struction, were more jealous of each ever they found they would be use. Other than apprehensive of the ful: and unfortunately, besides common enemy; and, with most the other defects of the system of infatuated apathy, or even satisfac. the coalesced powers, they were tion, stood by while that common induced by interest and intrigue, enemy rendered their own destrucor compelled by necessity, to trust tion more easy and certain, by the men who were not proof against destruction of the other legitimate bribery:
monarchs. In some cases they Such are the general causes even leagued themselves with the which produced the triumphs and spoiler, and, with a much greater conquests of the French arms: but want of principle than he displaybesides these, particular causes ope. ed, consented to partake of the rated in some countries: the inha. spoil. bitants of a great part of Germany, Thus all causes, both those which for instance, divided as it was into existed among the French and numberless petty states, could have those which existed in the cabinets but a small portion of that feeling and armies of the different powers of national independence which in- on the continent, contributing to cites even the slaves of the most one great end, it is not surprising tyrannical government to repel the that the former made themselves attacks of a foreign invader. In masters of the greatest portion of other parts of Germany, the infa- the latter; or that they organized tuation respecting the French revo. the most numerous and thoroughlution, and respecting the objects of bred army which the world ever the French in their conquests, con- witnessed. France, indeed, was betinued long after the character of come entirely military : the ideas, that revolution, and the real nature the feelings, and the expectations of these objects, had been apparent of the nation were of that charac. to all who are not wilfully blind. ter, less mixed perhaps than it exHence the spirit of national inde- isted even among the Romans. pendence in those parts of Germany Towards the more complete and was kept down by the hope of ob- systematic formation of this charac taining civil and political liberty, ter Bonaparte contributed largely and the people were indifferent to and most zealously; so that with tre conquest of their country by him at the head of the French na. the French, or perhaps actually re- tion, with the military character joiced at it, because, by this con- and feelings of the people so gene. quest, they either hoped to have ral, strong and influential, and with their condition meliorated by their an actual army of half a million of new masters; or süll more blindly men, even after by far the largest imagined that the French, after free. portion of Europe had been subing them from their slavery, would dued, the friends of liberty and ingive up the country to their own dependence seemed to have little regulation and government. Nor reason to look forward to any hapwas the infatuation confined to the py and beneficial change.