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FrRevol_551-600.indd 36 3/16/12 1:14 PM CHAPTER IX Ofthe Ohstacles Which Government Encountered During the First Year ofthe Restoration. We proceed to state the obstacles which the ministry of the Restoration had to surmount in 1814, and we shall have no fear in expressing our opinion on the system that ought to have been followed to triumph over them; the picture ofthis era is certainly not yet foreign to the present time. All France had been cruelly disorganized by the reign of Bonaparte. What forms the strongest charge against that reign is the evident degradation of knowledge and virtue during the fifteen years that it lasted. After Jacobinism was past, there remained a nation that had not participated in its crimes, and the revolutionary tyranny might be considered a calamity ofnature, under which the people had succumbed without being debased. The army could then boast ofhaving fought only for the country, without aspiring to wealth, to titles, or to power. During the four years ofthe rule ofthe Directory, a trial had been made ofa form ofgovernment which was connected with grand ideas; and if the extent ofFrance and its habits rendered that form ofgovernment irreconcilable with general tranquillity , at least the public mind was electrified by the individual efforts which a republic always excites. But after military despotism and the civil tyranny founded on personal interest, of what virtues could we find any trace in the political parties with which the imperial government had surrounded itself? The masses in all orders ofsociety, the military, peasants, nobles, men in trade, still possessed great and admirable qualities; but those who came forward on the scene of public business presented, with a few exceptions, the most miserable spectacle. The day after the fall of Bonaparte there was no activity in France but at Paris, and at Paris only 586 FrRevol_551-600.indd 37 3/16/12 1:14 PM cHAPTER r x. Obstacles Encountered among a few thousand persons running after the money and offices of government, whatever that government might be. The military were and stiii are the most energetic body in a country where, for a long time, distinction has been awarded only to one kind of virtue-bravery. But ought those warriors who were indebted for their fame to liberty, to carry slavery among foreign nations? Ought those warriors who had so long supported the principles of equality on which the Revolution is founded, to exhibit themselves, if I may so speak, tattooed with orders, ribbons, and titles, which the Princes of Europe had given them that they might escape the tribute required from them? The majority ofFrench generals, eager after distinctions ofnobility, bartered their fame, like savages, for bits of glass. It was in vain that, after the Restoration, government, while it was far too negligent ofofficers ofthe second rank, heaped favors on those ofthe higher class. From the time that Bonaparte's warriors wished to become courtiers, it was impossible to satisfy their vanity in that respect; for nothing can make new men belong to an ancient family, whatever be the title that is given to them. A weii-powdered general of the old government excites the ridicule ofthose veteran mustachios which have conquered the whole ofEurope. But a chamberlain from the family ofa farmer or tradesman is hardly less ridiculous in his way. It was therefore impossible, as we have just said, to form a sincere ailiance between the old and the new court; the old court indeed necessarily bore an appearance ofbad faith in endeavoring to remove, in this respect, the quick-sighted apprehensions of the great lords created by Bonaparte. It was equaily impossible to give Europe a second time to be parceiled out among the military, whom Europe had at last conquered; and yet they were persuaded that the restoration ofthe old dynasty was the only cause of the treaty of peace which made them lose the barrier of the Rhine and the ascendency in Italy. The secondhand royalists, to borrow an English phrase, that is, those who, after having served Bonaparte, offered to be instrumental in introducing the same despotic principles under the Restoration; these men, calculated only to inspire contempt, were fit for nothingbutintrigue. They were to be dreaded, it was said, ifthey were left unemployed; but nothing FrRevol_551-600.indd 38 3/16/12 1:14 PM PART V should be more guarded against in politics than to employ those whom we dread: for it is perfectly...

Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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