the title of wise and great' which you refused to him.

This man is irritable, jealous, vain, and easily affronted—but, if he knows you well, his anger soon ceases; for he is generous, tender, and desirous of communicating his emotions. His friends are few; these he loves passionately, and they are generally in a worse position than himself—perhaps, because such are more likely to forgive the irregularities of his temper, and to worship the virtues he possesses; perhaps, because he has a sort of instinctive adoration for poverty, which corresponds with the rudeness and at the same time awakens the kindness of his nature. With the rest of his sex he is boastful, overbearing, full of his own merits and exploits; always talking of the army, “the great army,” for he despises sedentary pursuits, and deems that incapability of repose is an aptitude for action. With women his heart melts : he is all softness, delicacy, gentleness. If he speak with affection, the tears are in his eyes ; if he love, his passion knows no bounds; his gallantry is romantic, ardent, respectful : his features are strong and coarse, his person uncouth and gigantic — but if Louis XIV. . were alive, he would have no occasion to tell

[ocr errors]

the ladies of his court “ qu'il étoit le plus beau, -parcequ'il étoit le plus brave de son royaume. Plain, slovenly, savage, he has been listened to by the most spiritual and elegant women of his time; vain, disinterested, brave, and passionate to excess, he has in turn been deemed a hero when he boasted of his exploits, an adventurer when he refused to receive a fortune, a man full of ambition when he was only occupied by love. He seems an anachronism in his time; he represents a part of it.

Alike dissimilar from the two

whose sketches I have just been giving, General obtained and deserved a more solid reputation than either. His life was not formed on the scandalous mémoirs of a Duc de Richelieu, nor would it afford an episode to the romance of Amadis in the desert. Gallant, courteous, endowed with equal firmness and reflection ; the rigid observer of subordination in the camp, the warm defender of liberty in the Tribune; sincere, independent, unaffected-uniting the somewhat brusque manner of Napoléon's soldier with the polished address that would have charmed the court of Louis XV.- in my recollections of General — , I almost see a military model for the rising generation of his country. When I knew this very remarkable person, fatigue, sickness, and meditation-the toils of war, and the changes of climate, had bronzed the fine and delicate, and womanlike features of his youth, and rendered a countenance, which was naturally effeminate, severe and stern.


General — was acquainted with all sub. . jects, and spoke well upon all; but his sentiments did not come from him with that easy flow, or with that passionate vehemence, which marks the man of imagination and enthusiasm : they were rather delivered in observations, separate and apart-observations remarkable for the tact with which they were turned, acute, elegant, and especially satiric.The great man of his time--- legislator, warrior, statesman-he could not have been either of those men in whom these characters were most remarkably found conjoined. More vain and imperious than the simple Washington ; more generous and patriotic than the selfish and ambitious Napoléon ; more cold and more proud than the fanatical and deceitful Cromwell; he was too haughty to have sunk calmly into the private citizen of the republic, too just to have mounted the throne of the em

pire, too eloquent to have taken the mace from the table of a House of Commons. Fond of honour, he would have sacrificed it to liberty ; fond of liberty, he might have sacrificed it to glory; the statesman, he would have been the soldier; but in the camp he would not have resigned the Chamber.

Fortunate in most things, Gen. more especially fortunate in living at the moment most favourable to his genius, and in dying at the moment most susceptible to his loss.


These are characters taken from the society of France, and thus we see—now in the journalist with the sword in his hand - now in the General delivering his speech-the same influence still predominating ;--and let it be so !

There are political truths equally applicable to all States arrived at a similar epoch of ci. vilization ; but they will vary in their application according to the history, the customs, the ideas, they meet with among the people to whom they are applied. To these variations give a full and unlimited scope; it is the only method by which you can blend the ideas of the few with the habits of the many, and give the life which you derive from ancient customs to a new constitution.

Where the same species of government finds a new soil, a different genius presides over its foundations. Thus may we see two oaks, whose height and grandeur are nearly the same, lifting with equal majesty their heads to heaven, but their roots will all the while be taking a different course; for in nature and society there is a secret sympathy—and as the fibres of the tree will, if they meet a stone or a ditch, strike under it, in order to escape the obstacle or avoid the cold, so the interior course of institutions, regulated by obscure causes, is oftentimes shaped in darkness, and, escaping your observation, defies your control.

France, then, may yet be able to blend a military spirit with a free constitution, and the sword which, appearing as an accident in England, banished the mace of civil authority from the House of Commons, seen here as a custom, may lie side by side with it in the Chamber of Deputies. This idea, as it seems to me, should be present to the Monarch who governs the French ; the people who have just mourned Lamarque and Lafayette, saw in the

« VorigeDoorgaan »