in exile! Ask Lucien or Louis Bonaparte !— they could tell you that justice refuses a home to the citizen,' while vanity restores the monument of the hero.' We have wondered at the successes of the hundred days. If the marshal whose punishment remains a blot on our national escutcheon, had simply read in his defence that marvellous proclamation which made him an involuntary perjurer, not even the Chamber of Peers could have pronounced his condemnation. "Ceux que nous avons vus pendant vingt-cinq ans parcourir toute l'Europe pour nous susciter des ennemis, qui ont passé leur vie à combattre contre nous dans les rangs des armées étrangères, en maudissant notre belle France, prétendraient-ils commander et enchaîner nos aigles? souffrirons-nous qu'ils héritent du fruit de nos glorieux travaux ? Soldats, dans mon exil j'ai entendu votre voix ; je suis arrivé à travers tous les obstacles, et tous les périls. Votre général, appelé au trône par le choix du peuple, et élevé sur vos pavois, vous est rendu venez le joindre! Arrachez ces couleurs que la nation a proscrites, et qui pendant vingt-cinq ans servirent de ralliement à tous les ennemis de la France; arborez cette cocarde tricolore, vous la portiez dans vos grandes journées. Les vétérans des armées de

Sambre et Meuse, du Rhin, d'Italie, d'Egypte, et de l'Ouest sont humiliés, leurs honorables cicatrices sont flétries! Soldats, venez vous ranger sous les drapeaux de votre chef; la victoire marchera au pas de charge; l'aigle avec les couleurs nationales volera de clocher en clocher jusqu'aux tours de Notre Dame.»*

* Frenchmen! shall they who for twenty-five years traversed Europe to find enemies against us—shall they who have passed their lives in foreign ranks, execrating our beautiful France-shall these men command and enchain our eagles? Shall we suffer these men to inherit the fruit of our glorious labours? Soldiers! in my exile I heard your voice. I am here in spite of a thousand obstacles, and a thousand perils! Your general, called to the throne by the choice of the people, and educated under your banners, is restored to you. Come and join him! Tear down those colours, which the nation has proscribed, and which during twenty-five years served to rally all the enemies of France! Hoist that tri-coloured banner which you bore aloft on our great days! The veterans of the armies of the Sambre and Meuse, of the Rhine, of Italy, of Egypt, and of the west, are humiliated: their honourable wounds are disgraced. Soldiers, range yourselves under the banners of your chief! La victoire marchera au pas de charge: L'aigle avec les couleurs nationales volera de clocher en clocher jusqu'aux tours de Notre Dame.

I know nothing in history so eloquent as this proclamation for the army and the people it was addressed to. Not an expression is omitted that could touch the nation in its most sensible part; for nobody knew better than Napoleon that a great man must embody-a great passion: He presented himself to France as the vision of her vanity and her glory: we know how he was received.


But as a Frenchman will connect himself when he can with any thing greater than himself, so he will endeavour to make magnificent the meanest objects that he belongs to. In no country do ordinary things write themselves in such fine names as in France. Your miserable circulating library is a "Salon littéraire;" your blockless barber "un artiste;" your poor apothecary a pharmacien ;' your kitchen a 'laboratoire;' your common copyist ‘a man of letters. Every class in France has an extraordinary respect for itself. "J'ai l'honneur de vous présenter mes respects," says one scavenger, "Et comment se porte Madame?" replies the other. So the garçons of the café take off their hats to one another, the lowest of the working classes do the same. This gives any body or order of men, once called into existence in France,

such consistency and strength-this gives to all associations in France a force which it would be vain to calculate upon elsewhere—this is what contributed to give the ancient magistracy, the old corporations, and the old nobility of France, the immense power they possessedthis gives the literary institutions of France, and not only the literary institutions, but the literary men of France, such an immense power at the present day-and above all, this gives, as I have said, that spirit of combination and concentration to the French as a nation, which it is so important for a military people to possess. Applied to France then, French vanity is not ridiculous. Applied to the French individually, it does, I confess, very frequently become so.* Just see that old man with a bald head, one dark tooth, and a light limp from the gout! That old gentleman said to a lady of my acquaintance the other day, "I am very unhappy, madam; what is to be done in society I am sure I do not know! I am a

* A good trait of French self-confidence may be found in this anecdote :

Sir S. Romilly and Gen. S. were discussing some point of English law. Sir S. Romilly stated his conviction. "Pardonnez-moi," said the French general, 66 vous vous trompez étrangement, mon cher Romilly, je le sais—car—j'ai lu Blackstone ce matin.”

[ocr errors]

man of honour. I see those young creatures," (pointing out two or three of the prettiest women in the room,) " I see those young creatures, the tears in their eyes,-pierced to the heart by a gentle glance-I say to myself, si je me lance... the mischief is done: but I retire; I can't help pitying those beautiful flowers which a soft indiscretion might for ever tarnish; I can't help feeling pity for them, madam; I am a man of honour; but what distresses me is, to find that every body has not the same pity that I have." The old gentleman spoke with perfect sincerity : by a kind of mutual sympathy for each other's weaknesses, both sexes in France cheerfully accord that old age is no impediment to the tender passion: nor is it so indeed: if the aged lady or the aged gentleman have any thing beyond their personal charms to gratify the self-love of an admirer.

[ocr errors]

That the infamous Duc de Richelieu at seventy desolated a province with his intrigues is perfectly conceivable to any one, who has seen the cold and disgusting manner with which French women even now prostitute themselves to a reputation. Nor is this all: where no such inducement exists-on Sawney's simple maxim, "I'll scratch you if you scratch me," you will frequently find, billing and cooing in some

« VorigeDoorgaan »