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us no alarm; we should have been glad to wither her Waterloo “ laurels *.” A very amiable disposition, no doubt, on the part of M. de Chateaubriand, considering that he was at that moment the servant of a monarch who had been twice restored to his throne by the exertions of England, and by her profuse expenditure of the blood with which those laurels were sprinkled. But something still more curious remains. In a short history of the insurrection of the Spanish colonies, he tells us that England would have interfered long before the period to which he is referring, but that she was restrained by certain considerations. “England could not openly attack the “ Spanish colonies, because the king of Spain, a prisoner in “ France, had become her ally; she even passed Acts of Par“ liament to prevent the subjects of His Britannic Majesty “ from giving any assistance to the Americans; but never“ theless six or seven thousand Englishmen enlisted to sup
* Upon other occasions M. de Chateaubriand uses similar language in speaking of the chances of a war between France and England. He takes care to tell us that the exertions made by the French ministers at the congress to secure the neutrality of England in the quarrel between France and Spain, did not appear to him so necessary as they seemed to his colleagues. “We were bound to consider that England might place herself in active opposition to us in the affairs of Spain. The only way to parry this blow, was to present to her a compact union of the allied powers, and to let her see that a war with France would be for her a pos. sible war with the whole continent, a certain war with Russia. The ralue of this precaution was not however estimated very highly by me; for I am of opinion that in the case of hostilities between France and England, success would not be so very difficult, if the war was conducted on a new plan, and we did not take fright at the necessity of a few sacrifices which we should be called upon to make; but in the present case it doubtless was prudent to prevent a rupture, and to keep Mr. Canning in check by holding out to him the possibility of a general conflagration." But we doubt whether M. de Chateaubriand is quite in earnest in this pleasant manner of treating the question of a war with England. Three years after the close of this Spanish war, it fell to the lot of Mr. Canning to describe, in a memorable speech, the position occupied by England in relation to the powers of the continent, and the nature of the war which they would have had to wage with her if she had been goaded into the strife. Our readers will recollect the fine passage in which he compares the situation of England, amidst the struggle of opinions that agitated the different countries of Europe, to that of the ruler of the winds :
“ Celsa sedet Æolus arce, Sceptra tenens; mollitque animos et temperat iras; Ni faciat, maria ac tellus cælumque profundum
Quippe ferant rapidi secum, verrantque per auras." This speech is noticed at some length by M. de Chateaubriand ; and it is curi. ons to contrast the plaintive and reproachful tone in which he comments upon it with his vauntings of the facility with which he could wither the laurels of Waterloo. We give only the concluding observations : " France, when we were ministers, had very different pretensions. On the field of battle she would have sought to rally round her standard, not the disturbers of national peace, but men faithful to honour and to their country, the friends of public liberty and of order. If ever we had been compelled to combat England herself, we should not have sought to excite upon her soil, in the midst of her hearths and of the sacred ashes of her ancestors, the passions of the millions who are discontented with her government; we should not have lighted ourselves to victory by the flames of civil war; a victory not purchased by our own blood we should have deemed unworthy of
A grateful world will continue to thank the country of Bacon, Shakspeare, Milton, Newton, Byron and Canning for the instruction which we owe to them. The English nation has conferred too much honour on humanity for any enemies to attempt her destruction by means of troubles excited in her own bosom."
port the insurrection in Columbia.” Upon this singular statement it is only necessary to remark, that the beloved Ferdinand was released from his captivity by Bonaparte in the year 1814, and that the foreign enlistment bill was passed in the year 1819, upon complaint made by the Spanish ambassador of the number of British subjects who were embarking in the service of the new republics. The future historian, for whose labours M. de Chateaubriand informs us that he intends his work to furnish materials, will find some difficulty in persuading himself that such passages as this, of contemporary history too, could have been penned by a statesman who occupied during an eventful period the post of foreign minister to the crown of France.
We do not find in these volumes much that relates to the personal character of the Duke of Wellington, but there is in one of the earlier chapters a passage from which we may infer that our author does not entertain a very high opinion of His Grace's political talents :
“The Duke of Wellington had done to legitimacy the injury of forcing the services of Fouché upon the crown, and had committed against the nation the crime of winning the battle of Waterloo. With the exception of five or six men of genius, all great captains have been but sorry creatures (des pauvres gens). No renown is more brilliant than the renown of arms, or less deserves the glory which is shed around it. It was in vain to caress the successor of Marlborough in order to draw him aside from the policy of his country; it was all lost time. Sa Gráce, pour se désennuyer de nous, cherchait à Vérone quelque des Ursins qui pút écrire à la marge de nos dépêches interceptées : POUR MARIÉE-von."
In this passage there is one observation with which we are well disposed to agree. We have ever thought of martial glory much as our author thinks, and we are convinced that military talents are very far from holding the highest rank among intellectual endowments; but we are quite unable to understand how the fact that the caresses of M. de Chateaubriand were wasted in the attempt to seduce the Duke of Wellington from the policy of his Government can be taken for an indication of the mental inferiority which he ascribes to our illustrious countryman. We have printed the concluding lines in French, because they are not more obscure in the original than in the translation; but in this instance the obscurity is not the fault of the translator; the anecdote alluded to is not very generally known in England.
The Princess Orsini, the favourite of the queen of Philip the Fifth of Spain, was placed about the person of her Majesty by Louis XIV., that she might watch over the interests of France at the Spanish court. After some time her enemies, anxious to destroy her influence, represented her conduct, both private and political, in an unfavourable light to the French king. It is said that on one occasion, having caused the courier of the French ambassador to be stopped, she found that in some of the despatches directed to the King her character was virulently assailed. Among other things it was alleged, that her over-intimate connexion with a certain D’Aubigny, her homme d'affaires, gave rise to a general belief that they were married. The Princess, stung to the quick by this accusation, lost all command of herself, and wrote upon a corner of the despatch the words pour mariée, non, and was rash enough to forward it, with this marginal commentary, to the King. So strange a justification of her conduct in one particular was naturally taken as an admission of all the rest. But how does this apply to the Duke of Wellington? Does M. de Chateaubriand mean to insinuate that His Grace was attempting to bribe some wretch to stop the messengers of the French embassy on the highway, and rob them of their despatches? We do not believe one word of it; and the mere supposition, resting on no better foundation than the poetical fancy of M. de Chateaubriand, is rather apt to give an idea of what the Frenchman was capable of, than likely to induce any one to suspect the English statesman of such nefarious practices. But the conceited Viscount, thinking himself the greatest minister at the congress, fancied that every cabinet must be anxious to be informed of his dreams, no matter by what means, or at what sacrifice of honour, the knowledge was obtained.
We have thus endeavoured to lay before our readers a correct account of a work, to which the author attaches much importance, as describing his conduct, and the motives by which he was actuated, in the most eventful period of his versatile existence, a period during which it was permitted to him to exercise considerable sway over the destinies of his own country, and to overthrow the liberties of an adjacent state. Our task would have been less irksome had we found in these volumes more which we could conscientiously have praised. We have not forgotten that there is at least one act of the life of M. de Chateaubriand, which justly earned for him the respect and admiration of Europe—his conduct upon receiving the intelligence of the Duc d'Enghien's murder. The moment he heard of that horrible crime, he hastened to resign the embassy to which he had recently been appointed by Napoleon ; thus braving the fury of the despot at a moment when his power was near its zenith, and his passions in their most terrible excitement. The manner too in which he was dismissed from office in 1824 by that bad race whom it was then his fate to serve, and his subsequent fidelity to their desperate cause, cannot fail to enlist sympathy in his behalf. But in reviewing the Congress of Verona we could not hesitate as to the tone which it behoved us to adopt: when a work from the pen of so distinguished a writer professes, as this work does, to furnish materials for history, it imposes upon his reviewer the obligation of exposing, as best he may, the vanity of its pretensions, the hollowness of its principles, and the inaccuracy of its assertions.
Poems of Many Years. By R. M. MILNES.