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joy in the Jacobin clubs, for the death of Mirabeau gave them their first chance of furthering their sanguinary policy. He had divined their intentions, since one night about a year preceding his death, when he had gone down to the Jacobin club frequented by Robespierre and the thirty Jacobin deputies who formed his party. Mirabeau, in a heated discussion, called out—“Let my friends surround me !” but not one stood by him. From that time he clearly foresaw the length to which the Jacobin party were prepared to go, if they attained power in France.
The obsequies of Mirabeau were the most magnificent and impressive ever accorded to any man in France before. No king, warrior, or statesman had ever such a funeral. The streets for miles round the route of the funeral procession were crowded by mourners. Immediately following the bier walked the ministers of the king ; then the delegation from the Assembly, comprising deputies of all political parties, and embracing in its ranks men who were the most illustrious in France ; next followed the judges and other high legal dignitaries; after them, representatives of the municipality of Paris, and delegations from various provincial municipalities; and then followed all Paris, or as much of it as could reach the main route of the procession or crowd the by-streets. Infantry and cavalry representing the army were also present, and added to its impressiveness. The procession thus wound its way from the Rue St. Honoré to the church of St. Eustache, where the funeral orations were to be delivered. It was evening when the vast cortège reached this church, where impressive orations were delivered and religious rites performed, followed by the volleying of musketry. Thence the procession resumed its way to the church of St. Geneviève, since known as the Panthéon, a building dedicated to the great men of France, in the vaults of which it was arranged that the remains of Mirabeau should be interred. It was midnight when the procession arrived at the church of St. Géneviève, amid the flickering of torches and the dirge-like music of the bands. And then, amid the booming of cannon and the mourning of all Paris, the coffin of Mirabeau was lowered into the vaults of the Panthéon.
To the writer who can, through nearly the lapse of a century, calmly and dispassionately review the startling events of that stormy epoch, the name of him who typified the soul and force of the Revolution in its early days, before it degenerated into anarchy and delirium, can command nothing but sympathy and admirationsympathy for the misfortunes of his ill-fated career ; admiration for that eloquence and genius which, in the two years that closed his ill-starred life, have given him imperishable renown. His misfortunes, to a great extent, were due to that profligacy which has so deeply shadowed his fame; but with reference to this failing, it might be well to refer briefly-as he has been depicted by some writers as a monster, and his failings grossly exaggerated and distorted to the statement of one of his biographers, on the unim. peachable testimony of a doctor who was Mirabeau's medical adviser for years, that he was subject to an infirmity which occasionally left his passions almost uncontrollable.
As to the charge of cowardice which has been also levelled against him, it is hardly necessary to say anything. It is true that Mirabeau was frequently challenged to duels in a land where the laws daily permitted the use of the sword or pistol, and that he never fought. But it would be absurd to brand him as a coward because he would not fight with every Jacobin who might be instigated by Robespierre and “the Thirty” to pick a quarrel with him, or with those of a better class, but who were merely the paid agents of the insidious Orleans or the Court faction. He had given proofs of his courage years before by challenging de Gassand in a matter already referred to. And again, when some of his enemies had a slanderous report circulated, that he was intriguing with the Duc d'Orleans against the cause of the people and the Revolution, he rode down to the As. sembly, despite the entreaties of all his friends, through a brutal mob, which threatened every moment to tear him asunder. When he reached the Assembly he disproved the charge.
That he used his best efforts, until illness struck him down, to save the Monarchy, cannot be denied. But he never advocated a republic; and the most sweeping legislative reformers could not have achieved more than Mirabeau had done, in the brief period since his first appearance in the States-General till illness removed him. From the night of his visit to the Jacobin Club, when they repudiated his leadership, he foresaw clearly what the Revolution would drift to, should any cause remove his own control. From that night it is evident that Mirabeau saw that two forces were at work, one or other of which was destined to direct the Revolution. The one force was his own genius and eloquence, which commanded the respect of the Assembly and the Court, and which was feared by “ the Thirty ;” the other force was “ Robespierre and the Thirty," who formed the Jacobin party. Mirabeau was satisfied with the march of the Revolution, and with the magnificent results which had been attained, and he was anxious to conserve those newly-won liberties which had succeeded in changing a feudal despotism into a constitutional
monarchy. Had he lived, he would doubtless have known how to deal with the Jacobin party, and would, of course, have directed the course of the Revolution through quite a different channel from that which it took under the Jacobins.
To the superficial student of the French Revolution, it may appear strange that the Jacobin party, which formed a small minority, and which was not distinguished by genius or eloquence, should have so rapidly attained supreme control in France. But it is not difficult to discover the causes. In Mirabeau was typified and concentrated the intellectual power of the Revolution-the power which could reconstruct where it destroyed. On his death he
successor, The Assembly split up into factions. The noblesse were furious at all that had been conceded; the writers, and orators, and “ Moderates," who formed the brilliant Girondist party, were distrusted by the noblesse and hated by the Jacobins ; and the army was already corrupted by the soldiers who had returned with Lafayette from America, or by agents of “the Thirty.” The King could not trust the army-all was division and dissension, and so the Monarchy was doomed. In a number of factions where the military element is excluded, the most advanced generally overawe and rule the others; and so, when the Monarchy fell, the noblesse and Girondist factions were doomed in their turn by the Jacobins, which represented the only force in the Revolution on the death of Mirabeau.
J. A. BERMINGHAM.
A CALIFORNIAN FOREST.
N no country in the world has Nature distributed her gift of
beauty more unequally than in California. As you travel from one grand district to another, you pass through wide tracts of such weary ugliness as you never could expect to find so near the majestic crags and forests of the Sierra Nevada.
It must, however, be confessed that much of the dreary desolation is of man's creation, and marks the region where "placer," i.e. surface, gold-mining, has destroyed the whole face of the country, removing every particle of earth, and leaving only curiously skeletonised rocks; while streams, once clear and rippling, now continue to practise the lesson they have been taught, and only run red mud, indicating that somewhere along their course patient Chinamen or Indians are busily washing “ the tailings,” ie. the refuse earth, seeking for such particles of gold as have escaped the more impetuous Anglo-Saxon.
A handful of such frugal toilers are the only symptoms of life to be seen near the dreary deserted mining towns, which (having sprung into being with mushroom speed, as one district or another found favour with the miners) are now abandoned to the slow work of decay. While the eye rests wearily on the long rows of wretched shanties or more pretentious houses-all wooden-a feeling of deeper regret may spring up for the once beautiful trees which, after growing through centuries in ever-increasing strength and grace, were doomed to perish for such use as this. This was the feeling which forced itself on my mind, when, after a long spell of delight in the forests of Mariposa, and amid the manifold attractions of the wonderful Yo Semité, I had to return to lower levels and travel for a couple of days across this dreary region of grilling heat and dust in order to reach the lovely forests of Calaveras.
I had been living in the Sierras since the early spring-now it was midsummer-and as we drove across a vast plain, which in April had been rich pasture-land, bright with gay blossoms, we could scarcely recognise any trace of vegetation, so thickly coated with dust was the sun-dried hay. Dust like the finest flour flying in choking clouds, the road only to be distinguished as a broad track of deeper dust. No shadow anywhere, but overhead a fierce scintillating sun, blazing with sickening heat. Then we descended by a series of steep zig. zags into the gorge of the Stanislaus River, where the sun's vertical rays seemed concentrated, for the hot air blowing in our faces was like the blast from a furnace. At all these frightfully dangerous gradients, the drivers invariably whip up their teams of five or six horses, three abreast, and tear down just as fast as they can lay foot to ground. The roads are narrow, with only just room to pass another wheeled vehicle. “There is no parapet-not even fence, to mark the edge below which lies the steep descent of many hundred feet, to the dark chasm from which rises the tumultuous roar of unseen waters. A parapet would be considered an extravagance. It wouldn't
Round these rapid curves and dizzy ledges the six-horse team and heavy coach rattled as cheerily as ever coach ran on the old Highland road, never relaxing pace, save when, at some particularly dangerous spot, we encountered heavily-laden waggons, drawn by six or eight pairs of mules. We met a mule train coming up the gorge as we de. scended, and watched breathlessly while the outer wheels grazed within six inches of the precipice, and then rattled on again. It was bad enough, even on an ordinary forest road, to meet a waggon-train of long heavy-wheeled timber carts, with one man to guide each team of eight or ten mules. He generally sits on one, and guides the others with a single rein, but chiefly by voice, addressing each by name ; he puts on the drag by means of a rope which works an iron lever, and if the road is too narrow to pass he must pull up in the bush on one side-no easy task. We rushed full tilt down the break-neck descent, the coachman working the brake with his foot, and talking to his horses in the most calm matter-of-fact way, as if the apparent danger was not worth a thought (they do sometimes cause “an almighty smash,” and when they do so, it is something for the survivors, if there are any, to remember).
When we had safely climbed up the other side of the furnace gorge, the driver, who had spent the two previous nights at “balls,” became so overpowered with sleep that he could no longer keep his eyes open. Happily, the only other passenger proved equal to the occasion, and taking the ribbons, allowed the wearied driver to take possession of the inside and sleep in peace.
In the afternoon we changed coaches at another decaying mining town, and then commenced a long steady pull uphill, very hard on the horses. But the unfeeling human beings, whose faces were once