Imatges de pÓgina

have ever formulated better statements of the true purposes. of government than those which carried on their deliberations during the stormy period of the revolution. The formula of "Liberty, equality, fraternity," caught the hearts of the multitude and was approved by the consciences of many who had profited from the old régime. How then came it that, instead of an era of real good will and fraternity among men, a reign of blood and terror followed? Surely the poison did not inhere in the principles advanced, but rather in the lack of general understanding of them and inability to suddenly substitute a just system for one of arbitrary power. It is one thing to lay down the fundamental principles on which all governments and laws should be founded, and quite another thing to perfect a system of organized society, which shall be able to enforce them in spite of the opposition of the selfish and cunning. Not only is it necessary to formulate just principles as the basis of the social structure, but also to place the enforcement of them in hands that both can and will be just and do right. The great multitude were accustomed to stand in awe of the king and of the great men of his court; they were unaccustomed to participation in the selection of the men who should direct public affairs; they were ignorant of state affairs and of the practical methods by which one class of officials may be made to check the abuses of another. They were accustomed to the abuses of unrestrained power, and the first impulse naturally was to overthrow the king and his courtiers who had oppressed them. If the necessity for doing so be conceded, it was but the lesser task. The far more difficult one of constructing a new and better system for the management of public affairs remained. This new system must be fitted to the then existing society with its inherited ideas and prejudices. The leaders of the revolution made the grand mistake of assuming that a system founded on lofty ideals could be made readily acceptable to a nation whose leading spirits were bitterly hostile to it, and in which a vast majority were too ignorant to form definite opinions or to give expression to their wishes. The government did not fit the people.

. In a despotism the habit of obedience to the established authority furnishes the bond which maintains social order. In a republic there must be a feeling of general confidence in the moral purposes of those placed in power, and a prevailing disposition to tolerate sentiments honestly entertained, no matter how erroneous they may appear. The leaders of the opposing political factions soon made the fatal mistake of imputing bad motives to each other, and then of indulging in threats. The reign of terror was preceded by mutual distrust and wild threatenings. The talk of intemperate leaders prepared the ground for the guillotine. If statesmen could be made to know that in morals the crime of advocating war and wholesale slaughter is far greater than that of participation in it by those who become soldiers from a sense of duty, there might be hope for the peace of the world. In France there was distrust by one faction of another, then threatenings then bloody butcheries. The principle was similar to that on which the more excusable wars come about, mutual distrust, fear, hatred and then open violence. The wars instituted by rulers, merely to gratify their ambitions, have been far more numerous and their authors far more criminal. The most pernicious man in public affairs is he who advocates violence either between factions at home or with a foreign power. Though in a defensive war for the preservation of the homes of the people against either a foreign invader or a domestic oppressor the noblest qualities of courage and self-sacrifice for the good of others have often been displayed, the ordinary business of the soldier is to fight, kill and make desolate. War is always brutalizing and demoralizing.

There were leaders of the revolution who did not teach peace, concord and mutual confidence, without which there cannot be liberty, equality and fraternity, but sowed seeds of dissension and advocated bloodshed as a remedy for social ills. Here was the mistake which rendered a republic impossible in their time, for the bloody military spirit naturally and usually leads to a military despotism. Napoleon was the incarnation of the bloody ideals of those who condemned their

countrymen to the guillotine. His hypocritical professions of devotion to popular rights and hatred of kings and tyrants caught the fancy of the multitude and blinded them to his real qualities and purposes. The ideals of the great leaders of the assembly and convention, though generations in advance of the people, were not wholly lost however. Some immediate advantages resulted. The first and most important perhaps of the material gains came from the breaking up of the great estates of the nobility and a vast increase in the number of independent peasant proprietors. The extension of the educational system so as to greatly increase the number of children taught was perhaps of equal or even greater permanent value, and the propagation of fundamental principles of justice and human rights, though for the time productive of many ills, exercised a profound influence for future good not only in France but throughout Europe. Eighty years later these principles had become so generally understood and recognized that a republic was established and has since been successfully maintained.

France is to be congratulated, not only on the great progress made within the last century, but also on the possession of the high ideals of the revolution, which still stimulate to continued improvement.


Martin: History of France.
Guizot: History of France.


French Revolution.

Taine: The Ancient Régime.

Thiers: Consulate and Empire of Napoleon.

Brissaud: History of Private French Law.



The earliest inhabitants of the British Isles of whom we have any accounts are styled Britons and are not classed as Aryans. The first settlers of the latter stock are said to have been Celts. Caesar says that in his time the inhabitants of the interior were accounted descendants of the natives of the island, while the maritime portions of the island were peopled by invaders from Belgium, who had settled down and commenced to cultivate the soil. He says the country was very populous and the buildings similar to those of Gaul, that they had many cattle, that they used brass or iron bars for money, that the inhabitants of Kent (Cantium), did not differ much in customs from the Gauls, that many of the inhabitants of the interior did not sow grain but lived on milk and meat and wore skins for clothing, that they painted themselves dark blue, wore their hair long, and shaved all but the upper lip, that ten or twelve brothers or even father and sons had wives in common. They used not only horses but also a kind of chariot in battle and were brave and strong. It is impossible to tell what race of men first inhabited the island. In the earliest accounts we read of Britons, Picts and Scots as antedating the advent of the Romans. Sometimes all are classed as Celts, and again the Britons are spoken of as allied to the Basques of the Pyrenees. Ireland was peopled by Celts and, while authentic history of it in the time of Caesar is wanting, popular traditions, handed down apparently with more than ordinary trustworthiness, indicate that the people of Ireland were at that time better organized and more prosperous than those on the larger island. In religion the people of both islands were Druids, with rites corresponding with those of the Celts of France. The organization of society was essentially tribal, with the authority of chiefs enlarged or con

tracted according to individual capacity and the exigencies of their wars. The Druid priests exercised much influence and authority, of which, however, we have no very accurate


The subjugation of England and of that part of Scotland south of the Clyde and Forth was completed by Agricola about A.D. 84. He even extended his operations into Sterling and Perth and constructed a line of forts from the Clyde to the Forth. In his conquests he employed five legions, which with auxiliaries and cavalry are estimated to have made an army of 50,000, indicating much resistance to the Roman advance. The period of Roman occupation was barren of any events of interest in the line of our investigation. Christianity was introduced into the island, and the people seem to have accepted the religion of their conquerors much as they did their system of government. No peculiarities of administration and no modifications of Roman law to conform to the peculiar circumstances or genius of the natives are mentioned, nor was literature worthy of mention produced. Britain was merely a Roman province, deemed of minor importance. About A.D. 400 the Roman legions were withdrawn from the island and the natives were left free.

The Roman occupation of Great Britain was unproductive of beneficial influence on the native population. It did not come till the republic had departed and the military despotism had taken its place. The principal end sought by the Romans was the collection of taxes. Landowners were required to pay a state rent on their estates of one-tenth, afterward increased to one-seventh and even one-fifth the annual produce. In addition to this corn for the soldiers and entertainment for officials on their journeys were required, and the burden of maintaining the roads and bridges fell on the landowners. Traders were taxed on their goods and craftsmen and laborers paid poll taxes. Customs were collected on imports and exports and one per cent on produce sold in market. Percentages were often greatly increased by the officials who gathered the taxes, the excess going to their private use. Rome merely gave the people such protection and order as a

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