« PreviousContinue »
He was, indeed, to me as my good angel,
If that, then, to be grateful
the forfeit. Nor come I as a slave,
CHARACTER OF NAPOLEON.-Phillips.
NAPOLEON is fallen! We may now pause before that splendid prodigy, which towered amongst us like some ancient ruin, whose frown terrified the glance its magnificence attracted.
Grand, gloomy, and peculiar, he sat upon the throne, a sceptred hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his own originality.
A mind bold, independent, and decisive—a will, despotic in its dictates—an energy that distanced expedition, and a conscience pliable to every touch of interest, marked the outline of this extraordinary characterthe most extraordinary, perhaps, that, in the annals of this world, ever rose, pr reigned, or fell.
Flung into life, in the midst of a Revolution, that quickened every energy of a people who acknowledged no superior, he commenced his course, a stranger by birth, and a scholar by charity!
With no friend but his sword, and no fortune but his talents, he rushed into the lists where rank, and wealth, and genius had arrayed themselves, and competition fled from him as from the glance of destiny. He knew no motive but interest-he acknowledged no criterion but success he worshipped no God but ambition, and, with an eastern devotion, he knelt at the shrine of his idolatry. Subsidiary to this, there was no creed that he did not profess, there was no opinion that he did not promulgate; in the hope of a dynasty, he upheld the crescent; for the sake of a divorce, he bowed before the Cross; the orphan of St. Louis, he became the adopted child of the Republic: and, with a parricidal ingratitude, on the ruins both of the throne and the tribune, he reared the throne of his despotism.
A professed Catholic, he imprisoned the Pope; a pretended patriot, he impoverished the country; and in the name of Brutus, he grasped without remorse, and wore without shame, the diadem of the Cæsars!
Through this pantomime of his poliey, fortune played the clown to his caprices. At his touch, erowns crumbled, beggars reigned, systems vanished, the wildest theories took the colour of his whim, and all that was venerable, and all that was novel, changed places with the rapidity of a drama. Even apparent defeat assumed the appearance of victory
his flight from Egypt confirmed his destiny--ruin itself only
person partook the character of his mind;—if the one never yielded in the cabinet, the other never bent in the field. Nature had no obstacles that he did not surmountspace no opposition that he did not spurn; and whether amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, or polar snows, he seemed proof against peril, and empowered with ubiquity! The whole continent of Europe trembled at beholding the audacity of his designs, and the miracle of their execution
Skepticism bowed to the prodigies of his performance; romance assumed the air of history; nor was there aught too incredible for belief, or too fanciful for expectation, when the world saw a subaltern of Corsica waving his imperial flag over her most ancient capitals. All the visions of antiquity, became common places in his contemplation; kings were his people-nations were his outposts; and he disposed of courts, and crowns, and camps, and churches, and caba inets, as if they were the titular dignitaries of the chessboard!
Amid all these changes he stood immutable as adamant. It mattered little, whether in the field or the drawing-room --with the mob or the levee-wearing the jacobin bonnet or the iron crown-banishing a Braganza, or espousing a Hapsbourgh-dictating peace on a raft to the Czar of Russia, or contemplating defeat at the gallows of Leipsic-he was still the same military despot!
MORAL DESOLATION.-N. E. W. Review.
may stride over the land with the crushing step of a giant--Pestilence may steal over it like an invisible curse -reaching its victims silently and unseen-unpeopling here a village and there a city-until every darolling ind
chre. Famine may brood over it with a long and weary visitation, until the sky itself is brazèn, and the beautiful greenness gives place to a parched desert-a wide waste of unproductive desolation. But these are only physical evils. The wild flower will bloom in peace on the field of battle and above the crushed skeleton.—The destroying angel of the pestilence will retire when his errand is done, and the nation will again breathe freely—and the barrenness of famine will cease at last—the cloud will be prodigal of its hoarded rain and the wilderness will blossom.
But for moral desolation there is no reviving spring. Let the moral and republican principles of our country be abandoned our representatives bow in conditional obsequiousress to individual dictation-Let impudence, and intrigue, and corruption triumph over honesty and intellect, and our liberties and strength will depart forever. Of these there can be no resuscitation. The abomination of desolation' will be fixed and perpetual; and as the mighty fabric of our glory totters into ruins, the nations of the earth will mock us in our overthrow, like the powers of darkness, when the throned one of Babylon became even as themselves and the 'glory of the Chaldee's excellency' had gone down forever.
CONCLUSION OF MR. EMMET'S SPEECH, IN THE TRIAL OF
WILLIAM S. SMITH.
I could wish, before I conclude, to make another observation. This trial has, by some, been considered as a party question, and I understand that my conduct, in the defence of the gentleman indicted, has been talked of, by the weak and ignorant, as something like a dereliction of my professed political principles. I pity such party bigots, and have only to assure them, that no feelings such as they possess, shall ever weaken my zeal for my client. But as to my po. litical principles, they are a subject on which I am too proud to parley, or enter into a vindicatory explanation with any man. In me, republicanism is not the result of birth, nor the accidental offspring of family connexions it is the fruit of feeling and sentiment, of study and reflection, of observation and experience;—it is endeared to me by sufferings
and misfortunes. I see gentlemen on that jury, between whose political principles and mine, there is not a shade of difference—we agree as to the hands, to which we would confide the offices, honours, power and wealth of the republic. I trust we also agree in this, that nothing can be more injurious to the due administration of the law, than that political considerations or party prejudices should be permitted to ascend the bench, or enter into the jury-box. That pollution of justice has given rise to many of those abominations and horrours which have disgraced and desolated Europe. I adjure you, do not mingle the spirit of party with the wholesome medicine of the law; for if you do, most assuredly, sooner or later, even-handed justice will commend the ingredients of the poisoned chalice to your own lips. I entreat you, exercise your prerogatives, and discharge your duty in the spirit of uprightness and mercy-do not suffer the defendant to be sacrificed, as a sin-offering or a peaceoffering; and if he is to be made the scape-goat, on which are to be fixed the faults of others, give him, at least, the privilege of escape.
PRINCIPLES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.-Quincy.
WHEN we speak of the glory of our fathers, we mean not that vulgar renown to be attained by physical strength, nor yet that higher fame to be acquired by intellectual power. Both often exist without lofty thought, or pure intent, or generous purpose. The glory, which we celebrate, was strictly of a moral and religious character; righteous as to its ends; just as to its means. The American Revolution had its origin neither in ambition, nor avarice, nor envy, nor in any gross passion; but in the nature and relation of things, and in the thence resulting necessity of separation from the parent State. Its progress was limited by that necessity. During the struggle, our fathers displayed great strength and great moderation of purpose. In difficult times, they conducted with wisdom; in doubtful times, with firmness; in perilous, with courage;--under oppressive trials, erect; amidst great temptations, unseduced; in the dark hour of danger, fearless; in the bright hour of prosperity, faithful.