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npon hie wavering and unskilful movements before his defeat, and on some ambiguous words in the letter which he afterwards wrote to King James; but the natural tenderness of his disposition enables him to interest us in the description of his after sufferings. The following extract, we think, is quite characteristic of the author.
'• In the mean while, ihe Queen Dowager, who seems to have behaved with a uniformity of kindness towards her husband's son that does her great nonour, urgently pressed the King to admit his nephew to an audience. Importuned therefore by entreaties, and instigated by the curiosity which Monmouth's mysterious expressions, and Sheldon's story had excited, he consented, though with a fixed determination to show no mercy. James was not of the number of those, in whom the want of an extensive understanding is compensated by a delicacy of sentiment, or by those right feelings which are often found to be better guides for the conduct, than the most accurate reasoning. His nature did not revolt, his blood did not run cold, at the thoughts of beholding the son of a brother whom he had loved, embracing his knees, petitioning, and peiitioning in vain, for life !—of interchanging words and looks with a nephew on whom he was inexorably determined, within forty-eight hours, to inflict an ignominious death.
"In Macpherson's extract from King James' Memoirs, it is confessed that the King ought not to have seen, if he was not disposed to pardon the culprit ; but whether the observation is made by the exiled prince himself, or by him who gives the extract, is in this, as in many other passages of those Memoirs, difficult to determine. Purely, if the King had made ibis reflection before Monmouth's execution, it must hrïve occurred to that monarch, that if he had inadvertently done that which ho ought not to have done without an intention to pardon, the only remedy was to correct that part of his r.onduct which was still in his power; and since he •.•ould not recall the interview, to grant the pardon."
pp. 258, 259.
Being sentenced to die in two days, he made a humble application to the King for some little respite; but met with a positive and etern refusal. The most remarkable thing in! the history of his last hours, is the persecution which he suffered from the bishops who had been sent to comfort him. Those reverend persons, it appears, spent the greater part of i the time in urging him to profess the orthodox I doctrines of passive obedience and поп-resist- j anee; without which, they said, he could not be an upright member of the church, nor at-1 tain to a proper state of repentance! It must! never be forgotten, indeed, as Mr. Fox has remarked, if we would understand the history of this period. "that the orthodox members of the church regarded monarchy, not as a' human, but as a divine institution; and pas-' give obedience and non-resistance, not as po- I litical measures, but as articles of religion. I
The following account of the dying scene! of this misguided and unhappy youth, is very j itriking and pathetic; though a certain tone! of sarcasm towards the reverend assistants does not. to our feelings, harmonize entirely with the more tender traits of the picture.
"At len o'clock on the 15th. Monmouth proceeded, in a carriage of the Lieutenant of the Tower, to Tower Hill, the place destined for his execution. Two bishops were in the carriage with
him; and one of them took that opportunity of in forming him, that their controversial altercation were not yet at an end; and that upon the scaffold. he would again be pressed for more explicit lud satisfactory declarations of repentance. When It rived at the bar, which had been put up for the purpose of keeping out the multitude, Monmou'ti descended from the carriage, and mounted the scaffold with a firm step, attended by his spin:«jl assistants. The sheriffs and executioners were it ready there. The concourse of spectators wai innumerable, and, if we are to credit traditional accounts, never was the general compassion more aflectingly expressed. The tears, sighs, and рты,«. which the first sight of this heart-rending sprdad« produced, were soon succeeded by an universal and awful silence; a respectful attention, and ап"<т:мate anxiety, to hear every syllable that should pa<s the lips of the sufferer. The Duke began by sayi-.j he should speak little; he came to die; and Lt should die a Protestant of the Church of Englard Here he was interrupted by the assistant», ud told, that if he was 01 ihe Church of England, bf must acknowledge the doctrine of Non-resistance to be true. In vain did he reply, that, if he иknpwledged the doctrine of the church in genera1. it included all: they insisted he should own rtó doctrine particularly with respect to his case. aiJ urged much more concerning their favourite poir;;; upon which, however, they obtained nothing ball repetition, in substance, of former answers.
pp. 265, 2t*.
After making a public profession of hi« attachment to his beloved Lady Harriet Wentworth, and his persuasion that their cotmectiofl was innocent in the sight of God, he mad« reference to a paper he had signed in the morning, confessing the illegitimacy of h» birth, and declaring that the title of King Ш been forced on him by his followers, much against his own inclination.
"The bishop, however, said, that there «u nothing in that paper about resistance; nor, thoujb Monmouth, quite worn out with their importenties, said to one of them in a most affecting m»nnn. 'I am to die !—pray my lord !—I reler to гот paper.' would these men think it consistent wn their duly to desist. There were only a few wore they desired on one point. The substance ot it** applications on one hand, and answers on theothtr, was repeated, over and over again, in a marner lhat could not be believed, if the facts were not attested by the signature of Ihe persons principal!' concerned. If the Duke, in declaring his soru1» lor what had passed, used the word invasion, "pi* it ihe true name,' said they, 'and call it rebeller. 'What namevou please,' replied the mild-teroptreJ Monmouth! He was sure he was going to eierlas'ing! happiness, and considered the serenity ot h « mind, in his present circumstances, as а «flau earnest of the favour of his Creator. His reprrranee, he said, must be true, for he had no few of dying ; he should die like a lamb!' Much miv come from natural courage,' was the unfeeling ana stupid reply of one of the assistants. Monmoulh, wnh tlmt modesty inseparable from true bravery, drra«! that he was in general less fearful than other men, maintaining that his present courage was owing "> his consciousness lhat God had forgiven him Ы past transgressions, of all which generally he repented, with all his soul.
"At last the reverend assistants consent«! to join with him in prayer; but no sooner were thft risen from their kneeling posture, than they returned to their charge. Not satisfied wiih «hat had passed, they exhorted him to a (rue and i*V«iia repentance. Would he not pray for the King T «nd send a dutiful message to nis majesty, to recommend ihe duchess and bis children t 'As ум pie»»;' was the reply, 'I pray for him and for all men.' He now spoke lo ihe executioner, desiring
I h«i he might have no cap over his eyes, and began undressing. One would have thought that in this last ead ceremony, the poor prisoner might have been unmolested. and that ihe divines would have been ntisñed, that prayer was ihe only part of their function for which their duty now called upon them. They judged differently; and one of them had the fortitude lo request the Duke, even in (his stage of the business, that he would nddress himself to the soldiers then present, to tell them he stood a gad eiample of rebellion, and entreat ihe people to U? 1'ivaj and obedient to the King. 'I have Baid I «ill mike no speeches,' repealed Monmouih, in a (ore more peremptory than he had before been proroJted to; 'I will make no speeches! I come 10 die.1 *My lord, ten words will be enough,1 said the persevering divine; to which the Duke mide no answer, but turning to the executioner, «pressed a hope that he would do his work better now linn in the case of Lord Russell. He then felt ihe axe, which he apprehended was not sharp enough, but being assured that it was of proper ^barpnese and weight, he laid down lus head. In trie mean lime, many fervent ejaculations were used by th,e reverend assistants, who, it must be utrterved, even in these moments of horror, showed themselves not unmindful of ihe points upon which they had been disputing; praying God to accept his tmpf-rfftt and general repentance.
•• The executioner now struck the blow; but so fribly or unskillfully, that Monmouth, being but ^•gh'Iy wounded, lifted up his head, and looked him in the face as if to upbraid him; but said nothing. The two following strokes were as ineffectual M the 6rsï, and the headsman, in a fit of horror, declared he could not finish his work. The sheriffs threatened hin»; he was forced acain to make a farther mal; and in two more strokes separated the head from the body."—pp. 267—2h9.
With the character of Monmouth, the second chapter of the history closes; and nothing seems to have been written for the tbiH. but a few detached observations, ocenpying but two pages. The Appendix is tamer longer than was necessary. The greater part of the diplomacy which it conum*, had been previously published by Mscphereon and Dalrymple; and the other articles are of little importance.
We have now only to add a few words as
I1 the style and taste of composition which belongs to this work. We cannot say that we -vehemently admire it. It is a diffuse, ar.<! »omewhat heavy style,—clear and manly, indeed, for the most part, but sometimes deficient in force, and almost always in vi»aeity. In its general structure, it resembles the style of the age of which it treats, more lien the balanced periods of the succeeding eentary—though the diction is scrupulously purified from the long and Latin words which defaced the compositions of Milton and Harrington. In his antipathy to every thing that rrn^t be supposed to look like pedantry or arí-ctí-d loftiness, it appears to us, indeed, that the illustrious author has sometimes fallen into an opposite error, and admitted a
variety of words and phrases rather more homely and familiar than should find place in a grave composition. Thus, it is sa¡d in p. 12. that " the King made no point of adhering to his concessions." In p. 20, we hear of men, "swearing away the lives" of their accomplices; and are afterwards told of " the style of thinking" of the country—of "the crying injustice'' of certain proceedings—and of persons who were ilfond of ill-treating and insulting" other persons. These, we think, are phrases too colloquial for regular history, and which the author has probably been induced to admit into this composition, from his long familiarity with spoken, rather than with written language. What is merely lively and natural in a speech, however, will often appear low and vapid in writing. The following is a still more striking illustration. In speaking of the Oxford Decree, which declared the doctrine of an original contract, the lawfulness of changing the succession, &c. to be impious as well as seditious, and leading to atheism as \vell as rebellion, Mr. Fox is pleased to observe—" If Much Ado about Nothing had been published in those days, the town-clerk's declaration, that receiving a thousand ducats for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully, was ußat burglary" might be supposed to be a satire upon this decree; yet Shakespeare, well as he knew human nature, not only as to its general course, but in all its eccentric deviations, could never dream that, in the person of Dogberry, Verges, and their followers, he was representing the vice-chancellors and doctors oí our learned University." It would require all the credit of a well-established speaker, to have passed this comparison, with any success, upon the House of Commons; but even the nigh name of Mr. Fox, we believe, will be insufficient to conceal its impropriety in a serious passage of a history, written in imitation of Livy and Thucydides.
Occupied, indeed, as we conceive all the readers of Mr. Fox ought to be with the sentiments and the facts which he lays before them, we should scarcely have thought of noticing thos,- verbal blemishes at all, had we not read м much in the preface, of the fastidious diligence with which the diction of this work was purified, and its style elaborated by the author. To this praise we cannot say we think it entitled; but. to praise of a far higher description, its claim; we think, is indisputable. Independent of its singular value as a memorial of the virtues and talents of the great statesman whose name it bears, we have no hesitation in saying, that it is written more truly in the spirit of constitutional freedom, and of temperate and practica] patriotism, than any history of which the public is yet in possession.
Mémoires d'un Témoin de la Révolution; ou Journal des faits qui se sont passé sous sesyttu, tt qui ont préparé et fixé la Constitution Française. Ouvrage Posthume de Jean SÏlti.'v Baii.ly, Premier Président île l'Assemblée Nationale Constituant, Premier Maire de Paris, et Membre des Trois Académies. 8vo. 3 tomes. Paris: 1804.*
Among the many evils which the French Revolution has inflicted on mankind, the most deplorable, perhaps, both in point of extent and of probable duration, consists in the injury which it has done to the cause of rational freedom, and the discredit in which it has involved the principles of political philosophy. The warnings which may be derived from the misfortunes of that country, and the lessons which may still be read in the tragical consequences of her temerity, are memorable, no doubt, and important: But they are such as are presented to us by the history of every period of the world; and the emotions by which they have been impressed, are in this case too violent to let their import and application be properly distinguished. From the miscarriage of a scheme of frantic innovation, we have conceived an unreasonable and undiscrimmatmg dread of all alteration or reform. The bad success of an attempt to make government perfect, has reconciled us to imperfections that might easily be removed ; and the miserable consequences of treating every thing as prejudice and injustice, which could not be reconciled to a system of fantastic equality, has given strength to prejudices, and sanction to abuses, which were gradually wearins away before the progress of reason and philosophy. The French Revolution, in short, has thrown us back half a century in the course of political improvement; and driven many among us to cling once more, with superstitious terror, to those idols from which we had been nearly reclaimed by the lessons of a milder philosophy. When we look round on the wreck and ruin which the whirlwind has scattered over the prospect before us, we tremble at the rising gale, and shrink even from the wholesome air that stirs the fe-leaf on our porch. Terrified and disgusted with the brawls and midnight murders which proceed from intoxication, we are almost inclined to deny ourselves the pleasures of a generous hospitality: and scarcely venture to diffuse the comforts of light or of warmth in our dwellings, when we turn our eyes on the devastation which the flames have committed around us.
The same circumstances which have thus Isd us to confound what is salutary with what is pernicious in our establishments, have also perverted our judgments as to the
"I h»ve been tempted to lei ihis be reprinted ¡though sensible enough of vices in the style) ю •how at how early a period those views of the character of the French Revolution, and its first eflecl« on other countries, were adopted—which bare not since received much modification.
characters of those who were connected will those memorable occurrences. The tide ol popular favour, which ran at one time witki dangerous and headlong violence to the í:J» of innovation and political experiment, кnow set, perhaps too strongly, in an opposédirection; and the same misguiding passim that placed factious and selfish men ou я level with patriots and heroes, has no» ranked the blameless and the enlightened i: the herd of murderers and madmen.
There are two classes of men, in partioj; to whom it appears to us that the KevoluLvhas thus done injustice; and who have been made to share in some measure the infamy of its most detestable agents, in consequence of venial errors, and in spite of extraordinary merits. There are none indeed who maix . figure in its more advanced stages, that ma. not be left, without any great breach of charity to the vengeance of public opinion: and bo'the descriptions of persons to whom we have alluded only existed, accordingly, at the рем-. of its commencement. These were the philosophers or speculative men who inculcad a love of liberty and a desire of reform bj their writings and conversation; and the virtuous and moderate, who attempted to at upon these principles at the outset ol 'iRevolution, and countenanced or suggested i those measures by which the ancient frame I of the government was eventually diewluv To confound either of these classes of ma i with the monsters by whom they were якI ceeded, it would be necessary to forge! it they were in reality their most strenuous "\ • ponente—and their earliest victims! l! tbf were instrumental in conjuruig up the u rr j pest, we may at least presume that their cooperation was granted in ignorance, ял.1\ they were the first to fall before it; ami tfscarcely be supposed to have either forev» 'or intended those consequences in wh;i'l j their own ruin was so inevitably involved : That they are chargeable with imprudence and with presumption, may be affirmed, per¡haps, without fear of contradiction; though. | with reirard to many of them, it would be r* easy task, perhaps, to point out by what ч duct they could have avoided such an imp tation; and this charge, it is manifest, cujhi at any rate to be kept carefully sepárale ti' •'•''• that of truilt or atrocity. Benevolent intcv lions, though alloyed by vanity, aril ni:<guided by ignorance, can never become :r" object? of the highest moral reprobation: »;.•! enthusiasm itself, though it does the work ol the demons, ought still to be distinguished ! n -n treachery or malice. The knightly
tnier, who broke the chains of the galleyslaves, purely that they might enjoy their deliverance from bondage, will always be retarded with other feelings than the robber who freed them to recruit the ranks of his banditti.
We have examined in a former article the extent of the participation which can be fairly imp'.iled to the philosophers, in the crimes and mi.seriesof the Revolution, and endeavoured lu ascertain in how far they may be said to liave inade themselves responsible for its consequences, or to have deserved censure for ¡heir exertions: And, acquitting the greater part of any mischievous intention, we found reason, upon that occasion, to conclude, that Uiere was nothing in the conduct of the majority which should expose them to blame, or deprive them of the credit which they would have certainly enjoyed, but for consequences which they could not foresee. For those who. v.Mh intentions equally blameless, attempted 10 carry into execution the projects which had been suggested by the omers, and actually enaaged in measures which could not fail to termiuate in important changes, it will not be *а*у. we are afraid, to make so satisfactory an apology. What is written may be corrected; but what is done cannot be recalled; »rash and injudicious publication naturally call» forth an host of answers; and where the vobject of discussion is such as excites a very powerful interest, the cause of truth is not .always least effectually served by her opponents. But the errors of cabinets and of legislares have other consequences and other confutations. They are answered by insurrections, and confuted by conspiracies. A pa-adox which might have been maintained by au author, without any other loss than that of a little leisure, and ink and paper, can иыу be supported by a minister at the expease of the lives and the liberties of a nation. It ie evident, therefore, that the pre'-ip.tation of a legislator can never admit of the same excuse with that of a speculative inquirer; that the same confidence in his opinions, which justifies the former in maintaining them to the world, will never justify the other in suspending the happiness of his "irjnlry on the issue of their truth; and that he. m particular, subjects himself to a tremendoue responsibility, who voluntarily takes ''¡"n himself the new-modelling of an ancient wiMitutiou'.
We are very much inclined to do justice '•'> ¡he virtnou« and enlightened men who ai'iuniled in the Constituent Assembly of France. We believe that the motives of rnany of thorn were pure, and their patriotism unaffected: their talents are still more ; --putable: But we cannot acquit them of 'лгпеаМе presumption and inexcusable im¡TU'ienc*. There are three points, it appears to вя. in particular, in which they were bound '•» hare foreseen the consequences of their proceed mas.
% h. the first place, the spirit of exasperation, '"•fi-tnee. and intimidation, with which from lie beginning they carried on their opposi
tion to the schemes of the «mrt, the clergy and the nobility, appears to us to have been as impolitic with a view to their ultimate success, as it was suspicious perhaps as to their immedipte motives. The parade which they made of their popularity; the support winch they submitted to receive from the menaces and acclamations of the mob; the joy which they testified at the desertion of the royal armies; and the anomalous military force, of which they patronized the formation in the city of Paris, were so many preparations for actual hostility, and led almost inevitably to that appeal to force, by which all prospect of establishing an equitable government was finally cut off. Sanguine as the patriots of that assembly undoubtedly were, they might still have remembered the most obvious and important lesson in the whole volume of history, That the nation which has recourse to arms for the settlement of its internal affairs, necessarily falls under the iron yoke of a militan government in the end; and that nothing but the most evident necessity can justify the lovers of freedom in forcing it from the hands of their governors. In France, there certainly was no such necessity. The whole weight and strength of the nation was bent upon political improvement and reform.— There was no possibility of their being ultimately resisted: and the only danger that was to be apprehended was, that their progress would be too rapid. After the StatesGeneral were once fairly granted, indeed, it appears to us that the victory of the friends to liberty was certain. They could not have gone too slow afterwards; they could not have been satisfied with too little. The great object, then, should have been to exclude the agency of force, and to leave no pretext for an appeal to violence. Nothing could have stood against the force of reason, which ought to have given way; and from a monarch of the character of Ix>uis XIV. there was no reason to apprehend any attempt to regain, by violence, what he had yielded from principles of philanthropy and conviction. The Third Estate would have crown into power, instead of usurping it: and would have gradually compressed the other orders into their proper dimensions, instead of displacing them by a violence that could never be forgiven. Even if the Orders had deliberated separately, (as it appears to us they ought clearly to have done.) the commons were sure of an ultimate preponderance, and the government of a permanent and incalculable amelioration. Convened in a legislative assembly, and engrossing almost entirely the respect and affections of the nation, they would have enjoyed the unlimited liberty of political discussion, and gradually impressed on the government the character of their peculiar principles. By the restoration of the legislative function to the commons of the kingdom, the system was rendered complete, and required only to be put into action in order to assume all those improvements which necessarily resulted from the increased wealth and intelligence of its representatives.
Of this fair chance of amelioration, the nation was disappointed, chiefly, we are inclined to think, by the needless asperity and injudicious menaces of the popular party. They relied openly upon the strength of their adherents among the populace. If they did not actually encourage them to threats and to acts of violence, they availed themselves at ( least of those which were committed, to intimidate and depress their opponents; for it is indisputably certain, that the unconditional compliance of the court with all the demands of the Constituent Assembly, was the result either of actual force, or the dread of its immediate application. This was the inauspicious commencement of the sins and the sufferings of the Revolution. Their progress and termination were natural and necessary. The multitude, once allowed to overawe the old government with threats, soon subjected the new government to the same degradation; and, once permitted to act in arms, came speedily to dictate to those who were assembled to deliberate. As soon as an appeal was made to force, the decision came to be with those by whom force could at all times be commanded. Reason and philosophy were discarded; and mere terror and brute violence, in the various forme of proscriptions, insurrections, massacres, and military executions, harassed and distracted the misguided nation, till, by a natural consummation, they fell under the despotic sceptre of a military usurper. These consequences, we conceive, were obvious, and might have been easily foreeen. Nearly half a century had elapsed since they were pointed out in those memorable words of the most profound and philosophical of historians. '• By recent, as well as by ancient example, it was become evident, that illegal violence, with whatever pretences it may be covered, and whatever object it may pursue, must inevitably end at last in the arbitrary and despotic government of a single person. *
The second inexcusable blunder, of which the Constituent Assembly was guilty, was one equally obvious, and has been more frequently noticed. It was the extreme restlessness and precipitation with which they proceeded to accomplish, in a few weeks, the legislative labours of a century. Their constitution was struck out at a heat; and their measures of reform proposed and adopted li toasts at an election dinner. Within less than six months from the period of their first convocation, they declared the illegality of all the subsisting taxes; they abolished the old constitution of the States-General; they setlied the limits of the Royal prerogative, their own inviolability, and the responsibility of ministers. Before they put any one of their projects to the test of experiment, they had adopted such an enormous multitude, as entirely to innovate the condition of the country.
* Hume's History, chapter Ix. at the end. Th< whole passage is deierving ol the moat profounc meditation.
and to expose even those which were salutary to misapprehension and miscarriage. From a scheme of reformation so impetuous, acj an impatience so puerile, nothing pennaner,; or judicious could be reasonably expected. .n legislating for their country, they set-m to lave forgotten that they were operating л a "iving and sentient substance, and not on ai. nert and passive mass, which they might model and compound according to their pleasure or their fancy. Human society, however, s not like a piece of mechanism which ma;. )e safely taken to pieces, and put together b) the hands of an ordinary artist. It ie thé work of Nature, and not of man; and hu received, from the hands of its Author, an organization that cannot be destroyed wiltout danger to its existence, and certain prc¡>erties and powers that cannot be altered or suspended by those who may have been entrusted with its management. By eludyn: .hose properties, and directing those powers, t may be modified and altered to a very n :isiderable extent. But they must be aliowt-i to develope themselves by their internal r;> ergy, and to familiarize themselves with the:: new channel of exertion. A child cannot !«• stretched out by engines to the stature of i man; or a man compelled, in a morning, t» excel in all the exercises of an athlete. Those into whose hands the destinies of a етл'. nation are committed, should bestow on its reformation at least as much patient oleenanee and as much tender precaution as are displayed by a skilful gardener in his treatment of a sickly plant. He props no the branches that are weak or overloaded, ai. ¡ gradually prunes and reduces those that are too luxuriant : he cutsaway what is absolutely rotten and distempered: he stirs the earib about the root, and sprinkles it with water, and waits for the coming spring! He trai; -. the young branches to the right hand or wit-1 left; and leads it, by a gradual and spontaneous progrese, to expand or exalt itself, »гаeon after season, in the direction which he had previously determined: and thus, ш t).o course of a few summers, he brings it. without injury or compulsion, into that form and. proportion which could not with safety Ыт? been imposed upon it in a shorter lime. The reformers of France applied no such senis solicitations, and would not wait for the effect? of any such preparatory measures, or rolu.ntary developments. They forcibly broke iM lofty boughs asunder, and endeavoured v straighten its crooked joints by violence : tb- у tortured it into symmetry in vain, and ьЬ>-1 its life-blood on the earth, in the middle of its scattered branches.
The third great danger, against which w think it was the duty of the intelligent ai<i virtuous part of the Deputies to have prov¡d>ii. was that which arose from the sudden transference of power to the hands of men » Ь' had previously no natural or individual influence in the community. This was u wil indeed, which arose necessarily, in some degree, from the defects of the old government. and from the novelty of the situation in which