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FrRevol_601-650.indd 21 3/16/12 1:15 PM CHAPTER XV Ofthe Fall ofBonaparte. I have not yet spoken ofthat warrior who caused the fortune ofBonaparte to fade; of him who pursued him from Lisbon to Waterloo, like that adversary of Macbeth who was to be endowed with supernatural gifts in order to be his conqueror. Those supernatural gifts were the most noble disinterestedness, inflexible justice, talents whose source was in the soul, and an army offree men. If anything can console France for having seen the English in the heart ofher capital, it is that she will at least have learned what liberty has made them. The military genius ofLord Wellington could not have been the work of the constitution of his country; but his moderation, the magnanimity ofhis conduct, the energy which he derived from his virtues- these come from the moral atmosphere ofEngland; and what crowns the grandeur of that country and its General is that while on the convulsed soil ofFrance the exploits ofBonaparte sufficed to make him an uncontrolled despot, he by whom he was conquered, he who has not yet committed one fault or lost one opportunity of triumph, Wellington will be in his own country only an unparalleled citizen, but as subject to the law as the most obscure individual. I will venture to affirm, however, that our France would not, perhaps, have fallen had any other than Bonaparte been its chief. He was extremely dextrous in the art ofcommanding an army; but he knew not how to rally a nation. The revolutionary government itself understood better how to awaken enthusiasm than a man who could be admired only as an individual , never as the defender of a sentiment or an idea. The soldiers fought extremely well for Bonaparte; but France did little for him on his return. In the first place, there was a numerous party against Bonaparte, a numerous party for the King, who did not consider it their duty to oppose 62z FrRevol_601-650.indd 22 3/16/12 1:15 PM PART V foreign armies. But even if every Frenchman could have been convinced that in any situation whatever the duty of a citizen is to defend the independence of his country, no one fights with all the energy ofwhich he is capable when the object is only to repel an evil, not to obtain a good. The day after the triumph over the foreign troops we were certain ofbeing enslaved in the interior. The double power which would at once have repulsed the invader and overthrown the despot existed no longer in a nation that had preserved only military vigor, which is by no means similar to public spirit. Besides, Bonaparte reaped even among his adherents the bitter fruits of the doctrine which he had sown. The only thing he had extolled was success; the only thing he praised was opportunity; whenever there was any question of opinion, of devotedness, of patriotism, the dread he had of the spirit of liberty excited him to turn every sentiment which could lead to it into ridicule. But those were the only sentiments which could induce the perseverance which attaches itself to misfortune; those sentiments alone possess an electric power and form an association from one extremity of a country to the other, without its being necessary even to communicate in order to be unanimous. If we examine the various interests of the partisans of Bonaparte and of his adversaries, we shall explain forthwith the motives of their differences of opinion. In the South, as in the North, the manufacturing towns were for him and the seaports against him, because the Continental blockade had favored manufactures and destroyed commerce. All the different classes of the defenders of the Revolution might, in some respects, prefer a chief whose want oflegitimacy was itselfa guarantee, since it placed him in opposition to the old political doctrines; but the character of Bonaparte is so adverse to free institutions that those among the partisans ofthe latter who thought proper to connect themselves with him did not second him with all their might, because they did not belong to him with all their heart: they had an afterthought and an after hope. If, as is extremely doubtful, there still remained any means of saving France after she had provoked Europe, it could only be in a military dictatorship or in the republican form. But nothing was more absurd than to found a desperate resistance on a...


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