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writings of the men who gave the tone to a great part of the higher classes in France; from one who was a principal agent in the earlier scenes of its revolution, and a material sufferer by its progress; from a man of judgement, matured by experience and by adversity—a candid statement of facts, combined with their causes, will be perused by impartial persons with great satisfaction, and deserves to be held up in opposition to works of a different tendency-to the phantoms of a deranged mind, and of that party-spirit which still advocates the cause of popery.
Philosophy and philosopher are now words used at random; not to express what the terms themselves imply-a love of wisdom,—but an attachment to the theories, the dreams of a capricious imagination, ignorant of the real nature of man, and knowing no rules but those of lawless and brutal force. Every sincere friend of liberty, whom our forefathers would have esteemed for philosophical knowledge,-if in his writings any thing be even accidentally advanced against the intrigues of a court or the corruptions of a minister, if any thing appear in favour of the imprescriptible claims of the subject,-is immediately stigmatised under these terms, as a demagogue and an abettor of faction and revolution. Nothing can equal the absurdity of such a conduct ; for on the same principle Christianity itself might be treated as a foe to the human race, because there have been wicked popes and Jesuitical societies maintaining anti-social principles. Our author makes a just distinction between true and false philosophers—between those who have imbibed some portion of the spirit of a Bacon, a Locke, and a Montesquieu, and those who are led away by the caprices of a Rousseau and the wit of a Voltaire. To the former we are in the highest degree indebted ; and if in the latter there be a great mixture of indecency and irreligion, our acrimony against them should in some degree be mitigated by a recollection of their efforts in favour of the victims of superstition and bigotry, and their endeavours to introduce a proper detestation of religious intolerance and civil despotism. We are to balance then the good deduced from the true, with the evil derived from the false, philosopher; and the excess, were it in favour of the latter, would be found far too small for the production of so great an event as the French revolution. The wealth of the lower classes, and their increase of knowledge, the poverty and immorality of the higher, the insufficiency of the crown to support them, the contests between the crown and the courts of law, and, especially, the derangements in the finances—all tended to introdute, in the reign of a weak prince, that change in the system which was soon followed by the most atrocious disorders. Of these disorders the philosophers indeed, equally with the royalists, became the victims ; among whom many were advocates for mogarchy: but not a single man was to be found, unless we dignify with such a name the Robespierres and the Marats, who countenanced the horrors of anarchy. M. Mounier had an opportunity of noticing the real effects of the political measures that occurred, the decrease of the power of the crown, and the advance of that of the people-effects that have been experienced in various countries, in which the passions have in general had full exercise, rather than the calm dictates of philosophy. These measures are explained with great perspicuity; and his remarks on the characters and influence of Mirabeau, Barnave, Rabaud, Necker, and others, throw great light upon the first move. ments of the revolution.
The celebrated club of the Jacobins, so called from a convent of Jacobins, or an order whose patron was St. James, could not in such a work pass unnoticed; and the following account of them is entitled to our attention.
s This name was conferred upon them by derision ; they gloried in it; and this denomination was extended to all the societies of the same kind established in the provinces. They were composed of enthusiasts, a great number of ignorant persons easily misled, and of many covetous and cruel men, who disguised their ambition under the, appearance of an ardent zeal for the general happiness. The mem. bers of those societies corrupted and bribed the populace of the cities, whom it was so easy to render ferocious, Become the chiefs of a numerous troop of brigands, they struck all the citizens with terror, and subjugated the legislative assemblies. They caused those to be put to death without pity who opposed their opinions, those whose riches they wished to seize, those who disapproyed of their fury-those even who refused to approve of them, their own asso, ciates, in order to punish them for having stopped in the career of their crimes from lassitude or remorse, or in order to diminish the number of their rivals. In the eyes of those tyrants, all the qualities which command respect, all the advantages which procure influe ence, became motives of proscription, merely because the persons who possessed them did not belong to their sect, and might one day obtain the affections of the people.
• There is no system purely political, and considered independently of the actions of those who adopt them, which can entitle them to a name so justly odious. A man is not criminal if, remaining obedient to the laws, he delivers his opinion in a public discussion, without obliging others to conform to it. It is not because the Jacobins professed maxims contrary to good order that they ought to excite indignation. If they had taught false doctrines without propagating them, like Mahomet, by the fear of death, it would have been easy to refute them, and to prevent their consequences ; so much the more easy, as, even in the time of their greatest power, they had never seduced but a small part of the French nation. It is the same with respect to the publication of principles favourable to an absolute democracy, as with respect to every other false doctrine, Truch would triumph from the very first moment, if respect for jus. CRIT. Rey. Vol.34. Feb. 1802
tice were preserved in discussion, if constraint were never to be sub stituted for persuasion.
• An unlimited democracy is, it is true, the most pernicious of the three simple forms of government, and the most difficult to maintain : but the despotism of one, and an absolute aristocracy, can only be preferred to it as the lesser evil. The adoption of a system exclusively in favour of one of these three forms is not a crime; it is an error which all the friends of liberty will refute, in acknowledg. ing nevertheless that the love of an unlimited democracy might be the delirium of a good man without experience ; whereas that of the despotism of one, or an absolute aristocracy, often indicates selfishness and cruelty. The democratic maxims of the Jacobins have occasioned so many misfortunes, only because criminal means have been employed in order to gain them an ascendency. They were, for møst of the Jacobins, only a pretext which served to mask their ambition. What proves it is, that, after having acknowledged the plurality of voices as the only legitimate sign of the will of the sovereign, they have often taken the liberty of excluding from the assemblies the majority of the citizens, of annulling the choice of the people, and of despising the known wishes of the greatest part of the nation.
It is therefore having a false idea of Jacobinism, to confound it with the love of democracy. A man cannot be a Jacobin, unless with anarchical systems he unites a mind sufficiently atrocious to wish for the ruin or death of those who have not the same opinions. Nothing, however, is more common than to hear this infamous title given even to those who profess respect for all established governments, but who suppose in all the same duties, at the same time that they acknowledge in every people those rights which the friends of humanity ought always to claim from sovereigns, without disturbing the order and tranquillity of the state.
Those men who, for the interest of an absolute monarchy, or of some privileged families, or even for the interest of the best possible form of government, and the most perfect religious institutions, should violate all the principles of justice, and be inaccessible to every sentiment of pity, would completely resemble the Jacobins, precisely in that which ought to excite the indignation of good men ; that is, in their criminal means, and in their indifference for the misfortunes of others. Thus, when we would transfer this name to others than those who have gloried in it, we might say that there are monarchical, aristocratical, and superstitious Jacobins, as well as democratical.' P. 120. · A Jacobin club could evidently not have been formed even by modern philosophers : their influence has been confined within much narrower limits. · They have contributed,' our author justly observes, 'to spread among all classes the hatred of arbitrary power; but philosophy has no connexion whatever with the circumstances which produced the revolution
• The crimes and misfortunes which have accompanied it have been chiefly the effects of the composition of the orders, of the impru. dences of the court, of the ignorance of political principles, and of the corruption of manners. I acknowledge that these causes have given greater importance to the false theories of several celebrated authors; but, in assigning a part to the errors of modern philosophy in the calamities of which we are witnesses, it is also just to assign a very great part to the errors of those who are not philosophers-to the resistance of those who endeavour to maintain the ancient abuses, and to revive the prejudices destroyed by the knowledge of the age.
It is likewise just to acknowledge that the labours of the philosophers have had great influence on the changes which justice authorised, which reason distinguishes in the midst of so many errors and crimes, and which can only be condemned by fanaticism or igno. rance.' P. 124.
The notion that free-masonry and a revolutionary spirit are closely united is so fraught with absurdity, that, in a country where characters of the first respectability in every class of life are known to be free-masons, any attempt to vindicate such an order might seem superfluous. But free-masonry in England differs much from that on the continent; and some foreign societies have ceremonies too ridiculous to pass current with the gravity of this country. Still such incongruities had nothing to do with the revolution; and the presidency of the duke of Orléans did not arise from any political views, but from the splendor of his birth, which gave dignity to the society at large. We may judge of professor Robison's accuracy, if other proofs did not abound of the little attention he has paid to that quality so essential to good writing, by the denial which our author makes point blank to the imputation cast on him by the professor, of having been initiated into the mysteries of this so ciety.
• If what I have said on the free-masons should ever reach him, he will be surprised at the profane tone of my discourse, in which I should not have indulged myself had I been of the number of the adepts. I declare solemnly that I have never been either free-mason or Martinist. It is enough for me to obey the laws, and to acknowledge the superiors which they give me. I have by no means any intention of increasing the number of those to whose will I should be bound to conform. I am fond of enjoying all the independence which the public order can guarantee to individuals, and I shall not expose it to the fancies of a grand-master, of a superintending brother, or of a terrible brother. I detest oaths which are not indispensable, and every thing which restrains without necessity the liberty of speaking as I think. p. 168.
Instead of introducing free-masonry as a matter of necessity into the political system, the agents in common life are sufficient for every purpose ; for•—if there should not exist a single free-mason in the world, if those who govern ruin their finances, render their armies discontenta ed, allow disorder to be introduced into every part of the administration, and then assemble a great number of deputies of the people in order to demand succours of them, revolutions will be inevita. ble.' P. 171. · Bavaria gave birth to a society of Illuminati, as they pretended to call themselves. It was founded by a professor of a university; and several reigning princes of Germany became members of the institution. The plan was replete with folly; but the aim was rather to direct princes by means of wise counsels, than to introduce a mob to destroy their power. Before the French revolution took place, the papers of the society were seised, and the whole plan was destroyed; and, what is more remarkable, it does not appear by the arrested papers that any ramifications of the society had extended to France. Yet even this visionary association of Germans is supposed also to have had an influ. ence over the French. To those who have read M. Barruel and professor Robison, the full and consistent account given of the weakness of this society, in its whole progress from birth to death, is calculated to afford complete satisfaction on this subject; and we may well dismiss the reveries of German fanatics for the sound advice with which this experienced writer con. cludés his work.
• Ye who sincerely desire the tranquillity of states, offer therefore, to the chiefs of nations more salutary counsels. Tell them that all governments have the same obligations; that their subjects have the same rights to personal liberty ; that there are countries in which this liberty is happily guaranteed by political liberty, but that this advantage is not to be acquired at will, that the efforts in order to attain it cause greaț misfortunes, and often produce tyranny; that it is in the power of those who govern, even in the least limited monarchies, to render this guarantee unnecessary, and to procure for their subjects all the happiness which they could enjoy in the best regulated republic-by never permitting any act of authority which is not directed by anterior laws—by gradually destroying all privi. leges which are not attached to public functions by removing the distinctions which divide men into inimical classes---by opening to merit a free access to all employments, to all honours-by protecting talents when directed by virtue-by respecting public opinion-by reconciling the liberty of the press with decency, the general tran: quillity, and the honour of private persons-by causing the people to be instructed in their duty-by the principles of an enlightened religion—by those of a pure morality (for if the people are kept in ignorance and superstition, they are given up without defence to the sophisms of those who wish to corrupt them). It is on these conditions that the magistrates are at liberty, or rather that they are bound by justice, to be inflexibly severe in the execution of the laws which punish conspirators.
• Tell the people that every established government is legitimate,