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exertion, and under extraordinary advantages: new sources of action, novel springs of conduct, all the excitement of a marvellous revolution, and a leader of superhuman energies.
Colonies and Commerce in the modern world have succeeded to the territorial Conquest of the ancient. The old Bourbons, and even Napoleon himself, found that territorial aggrandisement could not be carried, or at least permanently maintained, beyond a certain limit in the old world; and the real object of France, however she may have dazzled us with military spectacle, has long been to rival us as the great commercial and colonial power of Europe. Our collision with our American colonies reanimated her with hope at a moment of despair; but, in spite of all our mischances, and notwithstanding the ulterior efforts of Napoleon, the contest ended by our sweeping her fleets from the Ocean, and reducing her, as a colonial power, to the lowest class. So rooted in her mind is this resolution, that it is known to the well-informed, that however the French King might have been reconciled to the recent invasion of Spain, by the prospect of supporting legitimacy and the certainty of forming an army, the ulterior purpose of the celebrated Minister, who advocated that invasion with an eloquence which will not
easily be forgotten, was the acquisition of the revolted Colonies of Spanish America. M. de Chateaubriand, I understand, now glories in this avowal, and confesses that the discovery of this scheme by the sagacity of Mr. Canning occasioned his dismissal.
I myself should doubt this last fact, as I see other causes abundantly sufficient to account for M. de Chateaubriand's retirement; but I mention it to show what so acute a judge of the feelings of his countrymen considers a popular motive for a Minister's resignation.
When the French nation, at length, discovered that any effort to destroy our marine and commercial supremacy by open contest was hopeless, they tried a new system, and endeavoured to erect a Continental influence in opposition to our Colonial power, and which they fondly flattered themselves must finally destroy it. The Continental system of Napoleon requires no further notice, than to say that it was only the exaggeration of a principle which had for the last half century been the favourite policy of all the Cabinets of France;Buonaparte only did what Vergennes wished to have done.
They who could for a moment suppose that by the arrangements of the Congress of Vienna the spirit of the French nation could be changed, would be little qualified to regulate the destinies of nations. Such, at least, was not the expectation of the more judicious of the framers of those famous measures; for it is not difficult to perceive that their arrangements contemplate throughout the repetition of French aggression; and I have had in my hands (and they probably will be soon in those of the public) proofs, that though so newly and insecurely seated on a ricketty throne, Louis XVIII. personally, and his minister at Vienna, M. de Talleyrand, were as full of the vanity of the French domination as we can suppose Napoleon and Caulaincourt to have been. And assuredly, in spite of all their humiliating vicissitudes, the French, very soon after the restoration, commenced their intrigues against English influence; and every country, not only of Europe, but even of the East, soon swarmed with their agents and their emissaries. This is that celebrated system of Propagandism, of which we have heard so much, and of which I shall hereafter say more, In pursuance of this system, it became the policy of the French to intrigue with the disaffected of all countries. The great majority of the Continental governments being absolute, the French immediately became liberal. This is the primary cause
of the present prattle about liberty in France, a quality which the French cannot comprehend, for which they are unfitted, and which they in fact despise. Glory and Equality are their idols : they equally gratify the national insolence. Glory cannot be obtained without a strong government, and the only strong government of which France is susceptible is a despotism; and despotism is the only form of government under which any thing like Equality can exist : before the one supreme chief all other men are equal ; he is less a single exception to the general rule of level, than a standard by which that general level is ascertained; and when they have further gratified their passion for Equality by placing on the throne a man of the people, all the political wishes of a modern French patriot are satisfied. Away, then, with the senseless babble of the inconsistency of the French! A nation is never inconsistent. They love, as they have alway's loved, military glory and social equality, and are careless and incapable of any other considerations.
The resolution to be supreme *, and the con
* Hear M. de Chateaubriand, who is enlisting the passions of the nation on his side. It is a fine exemplification of the “ morbid desire.” “Il y a cinq ou six mois que j'aurais dit san hésiter, ' Profitez de la nouvelle position de la France, de son énergie, de la bienveillance des nations, de la frayeur des cabinets, pour lui faire obtenir, par des traités ou par les armes, es limites qui manquent à sa sureté et à son indépendance.'
sequent hatred of England, are rooted in the heart of every Frenchman, and innate in his very being. Their opposition to this system, arising in great measure from a wise dread of European vengeance, and in some degree, as we hope, from that love of order befitting an ancient line, has cost the Bourbons their throne. The Bourbons were cashiered, not on account of the Jesuits, which was a romance that every one now laughs at; but from their want of confidence in the omnipotence of la grande nation. And, on the other hand, it is this love of order, and this spirit of moderation, and not any attachment to the personification of worn-out ideas, that has always enlisted the feelings of the European governments on the side of the Bourbon dynasty. We supported and restored the Bourbons, not because they were descendants of St. Louis, but because the crown of a thousand
and the sacred oil of Rheims, were a typical guarantee for the peace of Europe, and a secret security against the ambition of France.
There is, in France, a very remarkable man,