Imatges de pàgina
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manna falls while he hath never any occasion for thinking of the morrow, and the anguish of the people, that obtains nothing but at the price of irksome labour, and of painful sweat, is calculated to inspire every bosom with defpair !”

"Let the advisers of these calamitous measures now inform us, whether they are sure of preserving military discipline in its full severity, of preventing all the ffects of the eternal jealousy subfitting between the national and the foreign troops, of reducing the French soldiers to the Itate of mere automata, to have ieparate intereils, separate thoughis, separate sentiments from their sellow citizens. What imprudence in their system, to march the foldiers to the scene of our assemblies, to electrify them by the concact of the capital, to interest them in our political discushions! No; spite of the blind devotion of military obedience, they will not forget what we are ; they will view in us their relations, their friends, their family, taking care of their deareft interests ; for they form a part of that nation which hath entrusted to our care its liberty, its property, its honour. No; such men, such Frenchmen, will never totally abandon their intellectual faculties; they will never believe that duty consists in striking without in. quiring who are the victims.”

The address is in the same style, and is, we think, one of the most finished productions which the French revolution has yet produced. The address to the king, advising the dismiffion of the ministers, is only inferior to it. In this address, we find the first origin of the form that the assembly has no confidence in the ministers;' the language often made use of since, to hint the necessity of a resignation. In the speech on the same subject, Mirabeau replies to what was urged by M. Mounier respecting the conduct of England in similar emergencies. This paffage is interesting to ourselves. We shall only add to the translator's note, that the conduct of the French patriot is a little ungrateful, if he knew of the extravagant reiterated applauses beslowed on the revolution by the English whigs.

“ But look, you say, at Great Britain! what popular commotions are not caused in that kingdom, by this very right which you lay claim to? It is this that hach ruined England England ruined: Mighty God! What unfortunate intelligence! from what quarter did the mischief come? What earthquake, what convulsion of nature hath swallowed up that famous island, that inexhaustible treasury of illustrious examples, that claflc country of the friends of liberty ? - But you give me comfort, England fill flourishes for the eternal instruction of the world: England, in a glorious Glence, is now healing those wounds which in the height of a buining fever the inflicted on herself! England dif

plays plays all the various arts of industry, explores every source of human prosperity, and even now hath jult filled up a valt charm in her constitution, with all the vigour of the most energetic youth, and the imposing maturity of a people grown old in state affairs.- You are thinking, then, merely of some parliamentary dillensions (there, as in other places, it is often no more than talk, which hath no other importance than the interest of loquacity); or rather, it seems to be the last diffolution of parliament which affrights you to this degree. .

." I will not say, that, according to what you have advanced, it is evident that you are unacquainted with the causes and the particulars of that great event, which is not a revolution, as you are pleased to call it; but I will say, that that example affords a proof irresistible, that the influence of a national assembly over an adminiitration can never be calamitous, since that influence is null, the very moment the fenate abuses it.

," la fact, what hath been the issue, in this uncommon cir. cumiance, where the king of England, supported by a very weak minority, did not hesitate to cope with the national assembly, formidable as it was, and diffolve it ! On a sudden, the fantastic edifice of a colossal opposition tottered on its frail foundation, on that aspiring and factious coalition which seemed to threaten a universal usurpation *. And what was the cause of this so sudden change? The cause was, that the people was of the king's opinion, and not of that of the parliament. The supreme magistrate of the nation quelled the legislative aristocracy by a simple appeal to the people, to that people which hath never but one interest; because the public welfare is essentially its own. Its representa. tives, invested with an invisible power, and with almost a real. dictatorship when they are the organs of the general inclination, are no more than powerless pigmies when they dare lo substitute, in place of their sacred mision, the interested views and passions of private individuals.”

The speech on the veto is more clear, argumentative, and connected than any other: it was revised and published by the author. Mirabeau, who, by the way, was not always successful in his motions, argued for an absolute veto; and this was only preserable to a suspensive veto, when we take in the whole of his proposal, that the taxes, the pay of the army. and every financiering decree, should be annual. This might have introduced confusion in other respects, and perhaps the present determination may be more simple and expedient.

The last speech, and the intended reply, is on the property of the clergy, which, on the motion of Mirabeau, was de

. • I thought the French patriots and the English oppoficion were better friends than this occafion secms to indicaze. W

clared

clared to belong to the nation. But oratory and metaphysical distinctions cannot change the nature of right and wrong. Mirabeau succeeded in the assembly, but he will fail before the tribunal of pofterity. From this speech, however, we may select a passage or two, illustrative of the orator's talents and abilities. The establishments founded by the kings, he urges, with some propriety, are the property of the nation, as found ed on the public expence, with the treasures of the nation. The foundations of the nobility are sometimes of the same kind; and the question, as we have formerly had occasion to státe it, rests on the donation of individuals. On this part of the subject, he exerts all his talents, all his ingenuity.

• As to the estates derived from foundations made by simple individuals, it is equally easy to prove, that, in appropriating them to herself upon the inviolable condition of furnishing the necessary charges, the nation commits no outrage against the right of property, nor against the will of the founders, such as we muft suppose it to be in the order prescribed by law.

" In fact, gentlemen, what is property in general ? It is the right which all have given to a single person to possess exclusively a thing, to which, in its natural state, all had an equal right: and, after this general definition, what is private property ? It is an estate acquired by virtue of the laws.

“ I return to this principle, because an honourable member who spoke, some days ago, upon this question, did not ftate it perhaps with the fame precision as those other truths, the principles and consequences of which he hath so ably unfolded. Yes, gentlemen, it is the law alone which constitutes property, since it is only the public will which can effect the renunciation of all, and give a title, as the warrant of enjoyment, to a single pera fon.

“ If we be supposed out of the protection of law, what is the consequence ?

“ Either all possess, and then, nothing being peculiar to any · one person, there is no such thing as property."

The argument we may take up in another view.

“ I might remark, that every member of the clergy is an of ficer of the state ; that the service of the altar is a public function ; and that, as religion is the concern of all, for that fole reason its ministers should be paid by the nation, like the judge who gives sentence in the name of the law, like the soldier who, in the name of the community, defends the common property.

" I might conclude from this principle, chat, if the clergy had no revenue, the state would be obliged to supply one : now, an estate which serves only to pay our debts, is certainly our property.

" I might conclude, moreover, that the clergy could acquire estates for no other purpose than the discharge of the state, fince; in granting these estates, the founders have done what, in their plice, and in their default, the nation must have done."

We need make no comments on these observations; they need no refutation. The lowest allowance is 1200 livres a year, equal to 50 pounds ftcrling, on the lowest computation; we wish every English clergyman had as much. House and gardens are not included. The great objection that we formerly made to the stipends was, that the higher orders had so little, that the prizes to be attained by superior knowledge, learning, and piety were not greater.

A speech of Mirabeau in the assembly of Provence is subjoined. Mr. White observes, it breathes, in different parts, all the spirit of Demosthenes.' We cannot, however, enlarge our extracts. We trust that we shall induce our readers to peruse the whole work: we meant no more ; and can assure them they will not be disappointed.

An Historical Sketch of the French Revolution from its Coma mencement to the rear 1792. 8vo. 75. Boards. Debrett,

1792. AGES must elapse before history can dip her pen, to deli

2 neate the particular traits of a revolution, or to draw the portraits of the actors. In more recent times, passions and prejudices interpose fallacious media, and those who can see, are afraid left the imperfectly smothered flame may again break out and destroy them. Every work of this kind from France is peculiarly liable to suspicion; and for an Englishman to decide on the motives and conduct of the actors in fo vast a scene, whose connections and dispositions he cannot understand, may be deemed presumptions. Yet a cool enquirer, at a distance from the scene, may collect the documents which successively appear, and a philosophical investigator may connect actors with probable motives, events with apparent, though distant, causes, and produce a work, which if not strictly historical, may furnish the future historian with information, and be both pleasing and interesting to his own cotemporaries. Our author's sketch is of this kind : to a minute attention he seems to have joined extensive information, and to a general fidelity of detail, judicious and interesting reflections. His peculiar bias is obvious and confessed, and may consequently be guarded against, where it may appear to

C. R. N. AR: (IV.) April, 1792. Hh operare :

operate : he comes near to that class of which we have prom fefled ourselves followers, a friend to a subordination of ranks, and an advocate for regulated-liberty; and politically, for two dillinct houses of parliament, regulated by a limited and hereditary monarchy. The French revolution is now, however, ground often trodden, a subject trite, hackneyed, stale. It is not our intention again to go over the well-known narrative, but to follow our author in those parts, where, by comparing diffcrent publications, or the conduct of men at different times, he has been enabled to give a new view of either motives or actions. .

After a thort introduction, and some account of the sources from whence this narrative is drawn, our author proceeds to fome,obfervations on the origin of regal government in Europe. It was certainly, as lie remarks; a military aristocracy; and; when a fortunate leader could not by his own powers raise himself above the rest, his companions befowed on one a precarious and a limited authority. This obfervation, so far as it respects France, involves many important circumItances. The aspiring spirit of the aristocrats, the perfecution of these military despots, seems to have induced the kings of France very early to court the tiers etat, and to raise their political importance: they were admitted even in the first year of the 14th century to the states, and, probably, earlier; the mode of cleétion was nearly that, which modern refinement considers as an improvement, viz. the interposing an itermediate body of electors between the people and their representatives; and, being thus raised by the king as a check on the nobles, or protected by hiin, the name of the king became so popular, that their attachment was at leait an habitual enthusiastic veneration for the person of the monarch; a veneration which has rapidly declined, and is almost lok within the three last years.

Some general obfervations on former states-general are premised, and the narrative of events, from the accellos of Louis XVI. to the meeting which afterwards became the

national affembly,' follow. The character of M. Necker is a just one, but his failings, though not concealed, are toucheck with a gentle hand. To M. Calonne the author is not, perhans, equally impartial, but his character, he observes, affords an awful letton to princes, that a man of pleasure and of expence will never be trufied by the people as a statesman. It is a leílon, that we hope will fink deep on the minds not only of princes, but of those who wish to be trusted. Among the abuses in France are mentioned the manorial rights, and our author doubis, whether it ihould be just or even popular in

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