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great misfortune entailed by the destruction of the great nobility was the creation of this court. In other respects the policy of Louis XIV., dangerous to himself and his descendants, was not, upon the whole, so disadvantageous to his people.
The simplicity which he introduced, productive of despotism, was also productive of order the indisputable necessity of a state that wishes to advance and to improve. In his reign the the streets of Paris regularly lighted, and an effective police created. The arts, as an embellishment to the monarchy, were cultivated; commerce, as the means of supporting a more regular state of warfare, was encouraged; and during the time that the genius of him who had operated the change was equal to preside over it, France obtained a prosperity which it required a long series of disasters to overthrow. Even the great vice of Louis XIV. was not without its advantages. The immense buildings in which so much was lavishly expended, useful in promoting a taste for architecture, which has since tended, not merely to the embellishment, but to the health and comfort of France and Europe, (for its effects extended far,) was also useful in creating that power and majesty of thought, which, proceed
ing from the admiration of what is great, and the conquest of what is difficult, is, under proper regulation and control, a mighty element in the composition of any state which aspires to a high place among the royal dynasties of the world.
Seen then from afar, where its outlines are only dimly visible, there is much in the ancient ' régime' to admire as well as to accuse. But penetrate more into the subtle mechanism of the political machine-turn from the sovereign to his servants-from the design of the government to the vices of the administration-vices interwoven and inseparably connected each with the other-follow out the court into its various ramifications, from the noblesse' to the 'nobilace'-it is there that you find faults impossible to continue, and yet almost impossible to amend.
The impoverishment of the high aristocracy threw thirty thousand noble paupers upon the community, for whom forty thousand places were created. Here was the formidable body united in the support of abuses, and connecting, if supported by the crown, those abuses with its majesty and prerogatives. The monarch must have been no ordinary man to have attacked such a cortége, the representatives of his authority, the creatures of his bounty, and the
organs of that public opinion which circulated about his person. The people, on the other hand, long since forgetful of the benefits it originally conferred, could no longer endure a system-which, founded on the ideas of foreign conquest and domestic tranquillity, had not even glory to offer as an excuse for the injustice, the extravagance, and the insecurity that it contained.
In the history of all nations an invisible hand seems ever mingling with human affairs, and events apparently the most distant and inseparable are linked mysteriously together. Louis XIV. founds an absolute system of order on the ruin of a powerful' noblesse,' for whose adherents he is thus obliged to provide. The evil attendant upon a greater good produces in turn its calamity and advantages. The destruction of the great aristocracy burthened the monarch with the vices of the gentry, and the wrath of the people delivered the nation for a time into the hands of the mob.
The fanatics who traversed the unnatural career of those gloomy times, have passed away, and produced nothing in their generation for the immediate benefit of mankind. But Providence, ever watchful for futurity, was even then preparing its events. The terrible philosophers
of the salut public,' like the husbandman in the fable of Æsop, dug for a treasure impossible to find; but as the husbandman, by reason of stirring the mould about his vines, so fertilized the soil as to make it abundant to his successors-so these rash and mistaken philosophers, in quest of impossible advantages, produced ulterior benefits, and while they lost their labour, enriched posterity by the vanity of their search.
REVOLUTION OF EIGHTY-NINE.
The procession of the States General at Versailles— The consequence of Richelieu's policy-All classes demanded the States General-Each had a different object-The conduct of the people, of the parliament, of the army-Mirabeau's death, and flight of Louis XVI.-Character of the national assembly-Character of Mirabeau-What could have saved Louis XVI.?-The factions of the revolution like the priests of the temple at Rome, who became the successors of the man they murdered-Conduct of the Girondists-Character of the Mountain-Character of Robespierre.
MANY can yet remember the day when through the streets of Versailles-through the streets of that royal Versailles, whose pomp, when I spoke of the olden monarchy, I was desirous to restore;—many can even now remember the day when through those streets-here conspicuous for their violet robes, or snow white plumes; there for their dark, modest, and citizen-like