Imatges de pÓgina

zeal to contradict him, and, at the same time, a respect for his trimming policy, which they render as compatible as they can. They have established a see-saw system; give the Minister a' majority on this question, and leave him in a minority on the next, differing from the preceding one by merely a hair's breadth. This is provocative, tormenting. It leaves every thing uncertain, the Ministry, the foreign policy, the fate of the country: while the funds, like a barometer in April, keep rising and falling with unaccountable and perplexing fitfulness. The steady tug and struggle of avowed party, such as we behold in our House of Commons, is every way preferable to this. Nor can it be hoped to cease till the new Deputies have completed their political education.

One thing, however, England may be assured of the moderate spirit of the French legislature. It will cut, indeed, determinately the hereditary cable of the aristocracy; but this will be its boldest act. Of a Republic it has as much horror as Dominie Sampson had of Meg Merrilies. Exorciso te is the shibboleth applied to it, which even the extreme left are obliged to repeat. At the same time, it must be owned, there is a fierce and furious jealousy of us British. This national hate, which was somewhat allayed by our general admiration of the last Revolution in 1830, has beeu stirred and blown of late to all its original fury.

The principal cause of this is, no doubt, the idea that they have been duped in the affair of Belgium. The refusal of the Duc de Nemours, the non-objection to Leopold, was a concession, they deem, which ought to have been repaid by a thorough support on behalf of Poland. They say that the British Government gave it to be understood, as certainly the British journals did, that the unsettled state of Belgium was the sole obstacle to the salvation of Poland by the two powers of the West. A Polish Envoy went to Brussels on this mission, and with this theme. France yields, and lo! on the very day of King Leopold's entry, the English" Courier," which had been war-mouthed as a trumpet for the preceding month, all at once abates its enthusiasm, and declares that England can take no serious step in the business. This, linked with the lukewarm replies to the vituperation of Lord Aberdeen, has completely alienated the French public, at lea from us. They allow, indeed, that Lord Grey seems inclined to French alliance; but the fear which he betrays of avowing it, at once evinces the weakness of that Minister, and the daring predominance of the old Tory feeling of inveteracy against France. Now this we communicate without meaning to attribute any blame towards the noble Premier : we know too well the difficulties and the duties of his situation, and only wish that the French were equally informed.

We have good reason to believe that this has been the severest blow to Perier ; and, indeed, he has given himself out in certain societies as a victim sacrificed to the backwardness and insincerity of the British cabinet. The French Minister had, however, other reasons for his late readiness to throw up the reins of power. We believe him to have been seriously dissatisfied with the conduct of the court and of his royal master. The Palais Royal has, in fact, its peculiar predilections, which happen not to be those of the Minister. Thus Louis Philippe is anxious, above all things, to attach to him and to his dynasty the military Bonapartists, the old Generals of the Empire. These are to be favoured and promoted at all hazards, and without any stipulation. Thus Clausel is made a Marshal, and the next day gets up to abuse the Government in the Chamber. Thus M. Perier, in vacating his seat for Paris, gave his voice and exertions to bave M. Villemain chosen as his successor. How acts the Palais Royal, all powerful amongst the shopkeepers of the quarter? It gives its support openly to Mathieu Dumas, an old Bonapartist, in opposition. It is said even, that Sebastiani has kept his place through three Administrations, owing to his obsequiousness in allowing the interference in his office of the Royal eye and even the Royal hand. Lafitte was the dupe, his present party say, of such manæuvres. Now this is wrong; although certainly it is hard to expect that a newly elected-Monarch can at once abdicate the high influence of his station, and consent to shut bimself up in the strict nullity of a constitutional king.

Notwithstanding these causes of disgust, and other more serious causes of difficulty, it is to be hoped that Perier may stand his ground. He is the only home minister since the restoration that has shown himself capable. Il a fait du pouvoir, as the French say, he has created avd gathered power to the government. Cautious be may have been in foreign policy, but we have no right to taunt him with that caution. Moreover he represents the party attached to the alliance with England, one article of his creed that we should not overlook. For let it not be supposed that the extreme left, or ultra-liberal portion of the French, or of their Chamber, can ever be cordial towards Britain. Ere the Polish revolution burst forth, they called aloud for a connexion with Russia, for propitiating that power at any cost; whilst even now the journals of the mouvement distrust Grey as much as they did Wellington, and call on the army invading Belgium to destroy not only the trophies but the tombs of Waterloo.* Touching this alliance of France and England, one word. The British ministry seem not at all to understand or consult the peculiarities of French character, whose craving passion is vanity. Blind or careless of this, we seem to have consulted only the material interests of France, giving her commercial advantages, taking her wines, &c. Now we will be bound to prove, that a continuance of obliging and flattering articles in a ministerial paper would go farther in winuing the good will and opinions of the Parisians, i. e. as far as opinion is concerned, than ever so many sixpences a gallon taken off the duty on their wines. A few Bordeaux merchants are profited by the latter; the nation is tickled, touched, and won by the former. Now if the islanders of the South-sea prefer buttons to broad-cloth, why not gratify them at the cheapest rate ?

As Englishmen, we must wish the success and prevalence of that party in France, called the Centres. It is that of Perier. And many in England who censure its principles and march, do so from being not fully cognizant of the state of things. For example: it is apt to strike us as absurd and illiberal, to confine the electoral franchise to the small and opulent number of Frenc hmen wbo pay at least 10l. sterling in direct taxes. So high-rated a qualification makes even our Tories exult on the score of liberality over the French. But we forget that loyalty in France is claimed by three rival dynasties, that the South and West is Carlist, and the lower class elsewhere universally Bonapartist. Thus to lower the qualification would be probably to proclaim a revolution or a civil war. And the abstract principles of freedom are not always worth these. Moreover, in England we have an Upper House and aristocratic influence to balance too popular tendencies, whilst in France such counterpoise is totally wanting.

The great question, after that of ministerial ascendancy, likely to be decided whilst we write, will be the Upper Chamber. The extreme left, or ultra-liberals, have already proposed their scheme. Salverte has been the mover. He proposes a Senate, unhereditary, in numbers one-half of the Lower Chamber, twothirds to be chosen by the electoral colleges, the remaining third by the king. The writers on the ministerial side point out the impossibility of amalgamation betwixt the Royal nominees and those of the people,--an objection full of force. Indeed Salverte's scheme serves to show the impossibility of supplying the oft irrational, but at the same time indispensable law of attaching political privileges to birth. To attempt to substitute election for it with regard to Royalty was a lamentable failure, bear witness Poland. Whether it can be done with respect to an aristocracy will soon be seen. One scheme, which we have seen, would have three candidates offered to the king's choice by the electoral colleges, one of which three must by necessity be the son or nephew of a peer. This would


* An article the other day in the National” called on the troops, in their

passage through Waterloo to Brussels, to break down the monuments over Picton's remains and Anglesey's leg, as insulting to France. Yet the one is but a melancholy, the other a merry record, containing not a word of insult , to their country. We could not have credited such barbarism in a civilized nation, had we not read the paragraph.


keep up hereditary right in reality, or leave it at least within the power of the monarch to keep it up. Indeed the only objection here is the bestowing too much power on the crown. It will probably be some such modification as this, that Perier and the Centres will support, as to the fixation of the Peerage. Pamphlets and plans will come forth in crowds upon the subject; one by Mr. Bentham is announced.

A private account has just reached us of the debate on the address, which 'has proved remarkable in divers ways. Not the least object of curiosity was the debuts, or maiden-speeches of several new Deputies, the hopefuls of Parisian society, just like our stars from the Universities. The ministry has proved fortunate, and quite overwhelming in the display of talent. After Perier himself, spoke Thiers, the historian, hitherto a follower of Lafitte. He here rallied to the cause of the Centres and of moderation, and made a most effective speech. Guizot bore away the palm of eloquence, so that all parties forgot their hate, and even the left applauded. The young Deputies, from whom much was expected, were Rémusat, young Duvergier D'Hauranne, Dubois, and Jouffroy, all originally doctrinnaires. Not one answered the expectations conceived. Rémusat was the best. Duvergier, whose letters on Ireland, which he visited with Montalivet, have made him known in that country, made no wondrous debut in eloquence. Nor were the speeches of his comrades much more remarkable. This has caused great surprise. We have been wont, for the last year, to hear of nothing so much as of la jeune France-of young France, its youth, its rising generation, which was to carry off the palm of intellect and eloquence in every path, and leave their seniors a century behind them. Alas! all these fine promises have evaporated. We see nor orator nor statesman arise, while literature remains in a most sickly state. Last season, grey hairs were told, and were obliged, to hide themselves: they gave place to the fresh locks of youth. Age was declared to be by-gone, classic, routiniere, bigot, crippled, in arrear of civilization; whilst even the veteran warrior was pushed aside by the boys of the barricades—the vieux généraux de vingt ans. In political and social life, however, years and experience may now resume their place. The juvenile tribe must be somewhat abashed and reduced to a decorous and just sense of modesty by the failure of its representatives.

The tactics of these young men, and, indeed, of a great portion of the Chamber, seem to have been to form a middle and independent party betwixt Perier and the Opposition. They side and vote with both on different and insignificantly differing questions ; seconding and carrying, for example, the amendment of Cormenin, and rejecting that of Barrot. This is hut splitting of hairs. The ground is too narrow for a secondary middle party; and those who attempt to form one, can be no more than trimmers. The ultra-liberals have been even more disgusted than the ministerialists by this vacillation and these maneuvres. Their censure of Perier has become in consequence lighter, aud their applause of Guizot candid. Odillon Barrot turns out to be most moderate in his opposition, and Mauguin wavering. Nay, we hear of the possibility of Perier uniting with Salverte-an impossibility, indeed, until the Peerage question is disposed of, though not after.' A few days may set many doubts at rest. Y.


Pone gulæ metas, ut sit tibi longior ætas.
Esse cupis sanus! Sit tibi parca manus.

A thing of shreds and patches." It is bad enough to survive one's friends, but it is still worse to survive oneself. Oh! that the wags, the wits, the pleasant men about town, the fellows of infinite jest and humour, the professed diners-out, who made it their business to set the table in a roar, should become old and stale, like some of their own threadbare jokes; should fall into the sere and yellow leaf, superannuate, twaddle, and verify the description of Hamlet's author, when he affirms that “old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams!” Oh! what a fall-, ing off is there! when the wit of a ci-devant wit is to be reckoned, as they do rupees in India, by the lack ! Alack and well-a-day I to this favour the town favourites must come at last! Their gibes, their gambols, their songs, their flashes of merriment, their puns and bon-mots, and bright and sharp and pointed sayings, are but as so many swords, which, the oftener they are drawn forth, do but the sooner wear out the scabbard. It is much easier to make others forget time, than to prevail upon old Chronos to forget us. The fêtes to which à man of wit is invited, only afford an excuse to the Fates for shortening his thread. It is no joke to be always joking; an epicure has no sinecure; he is unmade, and eventually dished by made dishes; champagne falsifies its name when once it begins to affect his system; his jests die because he cannot digest; so many good things have gone into his mouth that none can come out of it ; his stomach is so deranged in its punctuation, that his colon makes a point of coming, to a full stop; keeping it up late, ends in his being laid down early; and the bon vivant, who has been always hunting pleasure, finds at last that he has been only whipping and spurring that he may be the sooner in at his own death. « À short life and a merry one,” is a wish much oftener expressed than felt; we seriously desiderate the merriment, but we make long faces at the shortness. And


it is better to retire with a good grace when our lease, bodily or intellec. tual, is fairly up, than to suffer Nature to come upon us for dilapidations; better even to be “knocked about the mazard by a sexton's spade,” than to have our living, but brainless, skull become a butt for the jests of monkeys, because, like Æsop's larva, it can no longer crack jokes for itself.

What has become of them all? Are they used up, worn out, effete, dumb, crazed, stultified, superannuated, dead, de jure or de facto,—those fellows of mark and likelihood, those professional wags, , those givers and eaters of facetious dinners, without whom no convivial party was deemed complete, no laughter-loving guests assured of con

nt coruscations and cachinnations, no finer spirits confident that they should enjoy a real intellectual treat, a genuine feast of reason? But a few years have passed away since I left them convulsing the town, and now I hear of them no more, or only rarely and

faintly, like the notes of the distant cuckoo. Have they had their Euthanasia and passed away, and are their spirits now hovering around us, flattered with a short posthumous celebrity, in order that they may experience the truth of Pope's melancholy epitaph ? —

“ How vain that second life in others' breath,
The estate which wits inherit after death!
Ease, health, and life for this they must resign,
Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!
The great man's curse without the gain endure,

Be envied, wretched ; and be flatter'd, poor.” One of these Yoricks—for in his time he had been a king's jesterselected his cara sposa from that class, rather numerous than respectable, which consists of bachelors' wives, and retired into the country. Oh the double delinquent this was twice robbing the town, first of his wife, and then of himself. Another, I am told, whom Death has been dunning for these ten years, pleasantly declares that he only hesitates to pay the debt of nature lest it may be deemed an unfair preference by his other creditors, none of whose accounts, especially those for liquids, have been ever liquidated. But there must be many still living in the great metropolitan desert, respectable septuagenarians, a little more or less, as the auctioneers say, men of substance and gravity now, though once the most airy and mercurial spirits of the age—where, 0 where, has Time, the great exorcist, laid them ? Shall we find them, like extinct volcanoes, cold, dull, silent, and fashless. Forbid it fun, frolic, and fancy! Is it in the Adelphi that we are to seek the brother dramatists, whose annual comedies once supplied London with bad puns and good humour for the whole season? Merry, farcioal, kind-hearted Fred. where are thy haunts, and what thy pastimes? They tell me gout has sadly crippled thy fingers,—tidings that surprise me not; for who would not be happy to take thee by the hand? And thy facetious friend, where does he now “Speed the Plough," and to what sports betake himself, as “A Cure for the Heart-ache?” These are “ Secrets worth Knowing;” and these, above all, are the times in which he should reproduce his “ School of Reform.” Poor Miles Peter! your mutual chum and crony. Who would have thought that a writer of epilogues, which come last, should go first? and would you not unite with me in the wish, were such a pyrotechnic prodigy performable, that he might be blown up again' by some of his own gunpowder, in order that we and others of his surviving comrades and compotators might once more enjoy his society, amid the flashing wit and sparkling champagne which erst gave such a charm to our symposia in the Green Park? Such an explosion as this would be deemed the pleasantest report that hath latterly reached my rusticated ears.

But could he thus revisit the glimpses of the moon, should we be in cue to share and enjoy his hospitality ? Were he even as lively as he is deadly, would our spirits keep pace with his? Alas! I fear me not. Time, perchance, hath made some of us crabbed, without giving us the crab's power of going backward; nay, instead of allowing us to retrograde towards our first childhood, he is perpetually goading us forward towards our second. O the inexorable churl! But he cannot rob us of the past. We have had some reputation for wit, which

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