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MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS

SECOND SERIES

BY

W. R GREG

LONDON:

TRÜBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL.

18 8 4.

All rights reserved.

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I.

FRANCE SINCE 1848.1

FRANCE is, xar' šoxnr, the land of experiment, as England is the land of compromise. There is scarcely a religious, political, or social experiment she has not tried; scarcely á religious, political, or social phase which she has not passed through. The form of Romanism in its narrowest and harshest bigotry which she exhibited towards the close of the reign of Louis XIV., was exchanged under his successors for a wild, angry, aggressive infidelity. This in its turn was succeeded by a cold and contemptuous indifference, which is now giving place to a somewhat more hopeful spirit in the poetical and mystical faith of Lamennais and Lamartine among the adherents of the old creed, and to the stiff and dogmatic opinions of Guizot, Coquerel, and Quinet among the votaries of the new. In polity France was at one time a military aristocracy, when the Guises and the Condés were almost the equals of the reigning prince. Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV. curbed the power of these rival potentates, and established a central and relentless despotism, which lasted till 1789, and was then followed in rapid succes

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1 From the “North British Review, May 1851.”
Revue des deux Mondes. Paris : 1849, 1850.

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