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M. Guizor has shared the usual fate of at the root and corrupt the tree, we know no eminent persons in France, where it is much better method of indicating the political ermore common than with us to publish bio rors and prospects of France than in congraphies of living men, in being made the hero nection with the persevering but fruitless enof numerous narratives, not one of which deavors of this illustrious statesman. gives a tolerable account of bis motives and It was on the 3d Germinal, an II., (5th actions. Such ephemeral productions are April
, 1794,) the very day of the execution below criticism, and even where they have a of Danton, that the national guard of Remoutemporary life, they may be safely left to lins seized a gentleman who said his name perish from their inherent feebleness. It is was François Giraud of Nîmes. The capwith a far more important purpose than to ture took place in the middle of the night, at rescue M. Guizot from the vapid perversions the ci-devant Croix de Ledenon—ci-devant, of bad biographers that we are about to at- because the very name of the cross was then tempt a review of his distinguished career. forbidden by a republic which had proclaimFrom the hour that be entered into public ed unbounded religious freedom. The next life, he has been an influential actor in the day the prisoner was interrogated by the great events wbich were passing around him, Comité de Surveillance of the commune of and for many years he was, in power as well Remoulins. Having been conveyed to Nîmes as reputation, the leading statesman of France. without delay, he was on the 19th of the The objects at which he has steadily aimed, same month condemned to death by sentence and the reasons why he failed to attain his of the judges of the Criminal Court, and imends, are little understood; and as the his-mediately executed. He had originally been tory involves the causes of the frequent re- suspected of undefined conspiracies against volutions which have distracted his country, the unity and indivisibility of the Republic, and a description of the evils which still lie but as he did not think proper to obey the
summons, the court paid no attention to the * 1. Biographie de M. Guizot. Par E. Pascallet charges. He was condemned solely for his Paris, 1841. 8vo.
2. M. Guizot. Par un Homme de Rien. Paris (sans contumacy, and ipso facto outlawed and exdate). 8vo.
ecuted,-proceeding similar to what the VOL. XXXII. NO. I.
French judges still call a condamnation par quent denunciations of Montesquieu, Voltaire, contumace.
Rousseau, and other enemies of persecution The gentleman who called bimself Giraud, and intolerance, were not allowed to offer in in order to prevent the friend in whose house common their prayers to the Almighty. In he was found from incurring any danger, dis- order to hear the exhortations of their pasclosed his true name as soon as he was in the tors, they were obliged to repair to some rehands of his judges, and refusing the gener- mote and concealed spot—they called it the ous offer of a compassionate gendarme, who Desert—to which they were frequently trackvolunteered, at the peril of his own life, to ed by the police, who dispersed them by contrive his escape, marched to the scaffold. firing at them as if they had been wild beasts. His true name was Guizot, the father of the In her youth, Madame Guizot, who all her celebrated statesman, whom, as we have just life was conspicuous for her firm attachment seen, the merciful republic ordered to be to her religious principles, had often joined thrown into a foundling hospital, there to re- the congregation at the Desert, in defiance of ceive such an education as might suit the au- the fusillades by which the meetings were thors of the tragedy.
constantly terminated. Persecution indeed M. Guizot is descended from an ancient never fails to increase the devotion of highfamily, which was divided into two branches. minded persons to the faith of their fathers, The Catholic branch was established in Li- and it is evident how hopefully the French mousin and at Toulouse, and in the sixteenth Protestants must have received the announcecentury furnished several Capitouls, or chief ments of the reforms which were promised civic magistrates, to that town; the Protestant in 1789. But as their religious and moral branch had settled at Nîmes, where, amongst principles were still unimpaired, while those his numerous ancestors, we shall mention only of the Catholics had generally given place to the illustrious Castelnau family, with which sceptical or atheistical notions,* they took a the family of Sir J. Boileau, Bart., is connect-muoh less prominent part in the horrors ed. The Boileaus (who left France for Eng- which succeeded. Some even tried to resist, land at the revocation of the edict of Nantes; and, like M. Guizot's father, perished in the derive their descent from the celebrated Eti- attempt. enne Boileau, who was prévôt des marchands After the dreadful catastrophe, the unforunder the reign of St. Louis, and was the tunate widow displayed a Roman firmness. author of an exceedingly interesting work Left with two infants, (M. Guizot had a youngcalled the Livre des Métiers.
er brother, who died about fifteen years ago,). M. Guizot, who perished from the revolu- and surrounded with implacable foes, she tionary mania in 1794, was a lawyer, and, never lost her presence of mind.
Sbe saw though only twenty-seven years of age at his that henceforth her duty in life was to dedeath, had earned a high reputation in his vote herself exclusively to the training of her native town. He had married, in 1786, Ma- children, and believing that France could not demoiselle Elizabeth Sophia Bonicel, whose afford them a religious, moral, and intellect. father was a respectable Protestant vicar. Her rare worth, and her attachment to the * It is to Voltaire and his coterie that the infidelmemory of her husband, whom she mourned ity of France in the eighteenth century is generally at the end of her life, after fifty-four years of ascribed: but it must be remarked that amongst a widowhood, almost as deeply as on the day ity would have excited disgust instead of sympa.
truly religious people these attacks upon Christianof his death, inspired every one with admira- thy. Voltaire was really the child of an antecedent tion. She never parted for a single moment infidelity, as well as the parent of much of the subwith the last letter which she received from sequent license. Sceptical notions had already him, and always wore it, enclosed in a case, spread widely over France in the beginning of the next her heart. At the period of the birth eighteenth century; and there is extant a letter of
the Princess Palatine—the mother of the Regent of the future statesman (4th October, 1787) | Orleans—in which she expresses herself thus: “I the French Protestants had not acquired the do not believe that there are at this moment in Pacivil rights which, but two months after, ris-counting ecclesiastica as well as laymen-one Louis XVI. conferred on them. They had hundred persons who hold the Christian faith, even
to the extent of believing in the existence of our . no churches, no public worship, no recognized Saviour! I shudder with horror!” A whole cen. marriages. They were hardly reckoned tury before, the Père Mersenne, the celebrated amongst moral beings. Even in the towns friend of Pascal and Descartes, had stated in his where, as at Nimes, they formed a large and Commentary on Genesis (printed in 1623) that Parespectable body of many thousands, the times twelve of them were to be found together in
ris alone contained 50,000 atheists; and that someFrench Protestants, notwithstanding the elo- | the same house.
ual education, she collected all the pecuniary | liciste and Les Archives Littéraires, M. Guizot, means which remained to her, and, as soon in the year 1809, published a Dictionary of as she was permitted to leave Nîmes, went Synonymes in two volumes, which is still a with her children to Geneva, where she re standard work in France, and has frequently mained for six years superintending their stu- been reprinted. In common with nearly all dies. The young Guizot made rapid progress in men who have become distinguished as auclassical studies, in philosophy, and in mathe. thors, he paid a passing tribute to poetry by matics, to which latter science he applied him writing a tragedy, Titus Sabinus, the subject self with ardor, * under the celebrated profes- of which he borrowed from the Fourth Book sor Lhuillier. His aptitude for acquiring lan- of Tacitus. It has never been published. It guages was astonishing. We have ourselves is a curious fact that a man who has placed heard him reciting the most beautiful Canzoni himself at the head of the modern historical of Petrarch, which he had learned by heart school of his country did not, at the beginning at Geneva more than forty years before; and of his literary career, show any strong predileche was so familiar with German, that his tion for the study. While he applied himself to first historical essay on the study of history) almost every other branch of knowledge, the was originally written in that language, and pursuit to which he was to owe so much of printed in the Morgenblatt in the year 1809. his fame was rather neglected. The reasons But wbat conferred more honor upon him which finally induced him to turn his attenthan even his literary progress, were the re tion to it are stated in a letter which he adgular habits of life, the reflective mind, the dressed some years ago to a friend, and which philosophic views, the feelings of impartiality now lies before us :-and justice, and above all, the moral courage, It was in Paris, in the year 1808, when I began which we consider to be the distinguishing to think about a new translation of Gibbon, with feature in his character. All who liave notes and corrections, that I became interested in known M. Guizot intimately, have observed historical inquiries. The history of the estabhow little there is in him of the peculiar lishinent of Christianity inspired me with a pasFrench element. In his speech, in his writings, sionate interest. I read the Fathers of the Church, in his countenance, in his conduct, there is a
and the great works of the German writers relat
ing to that period. Never did any study more steadiness and seriousness which is the reverse
captivate my mind. It was by those researches, of national, and which, doubtless, he owes to and by the philosophy of Kant, that I was led to Geneva. This peculiarity, while it was one of the study of German literature. As to my investhe causes of the esteem with which he was re tigations into the history of the ancient legislation garded abroad, did not contribute, we suspect, of Europe, I undertook them when I was appointed to make him popular in France, where esprits in 1811 Professor of Modern History at the Faculty and volatile characters (bons enfans) are often
of Letters in Paris, and with a special view to my
lectures on the origin of the modern civilization more appreciated than strong reflective minds of Europe. I then plunged into the original chroand stern, inflexible dispositions.
nicles, charters, the civil and ecclesiastical laws In the year 1805, M. Guizot left Geneva of the barbarians and of the middle ages. The and went to Paris to study jurisprudence. works of the modern historians, especially the There the steadiness of his conduct and the Germans, helped me much, but, while studying precocity of his talents gained him the friend them, I always consulted the original documents, ship of several eminent men, and among them and verified the accuracy of their statements. I
thus learnt to entertain the greatest esteem for the of M. Stapfer, formerly Minister Plenipoten- German historians, but nôt to follow them implitiary of Switzerland in Paris, who acted the citly. They have great knowledge and much penpart of a father to him, and under whose di- etration, but not always accurate views, nor suf
rection he applied himself to German philo- ficient political intelligence. They seldom depict d sophy and theology. M. Suard, who, with correctly the characters and manners of different
bis learned circle, then exercised a great lite nations, and they do not even follow with comrary authority in Paris, no sooner became plete exactness the order of events. acquainted with the young étudiant en droit,
The translation of Gibbon,* which gave than he proposed to him to furnish some articles to the Publiciste, a periodical which
* The first French translation of Gibbon was two years later was suppressed by the impe- published by Leclerc de Sept-Chênes, who was the ial police. After contributing to the Pub- instructor of Louis XVI. in the English language.
It is now a well-authenticated fact that Louis XVI. M. Thiers was also very skilful in mathematics, was the translator of a portion of the first volame, and we have assured that in his early life he and that he cnly desisted from his task when he composed a treatise on trigonometry, which has reached the chapter where Gibbon attacks the hisnever, however, been published.
torical foundation of Christianity. This translation
birth to such important results, was published submitted to Bonaparte, who undoubtedly in thirteen volumes, in 1812; and the new was not pleased with it, as the author never commentary of M. Guizot was received with | heard any thing more on the subject. The considerable favor. It is characteristic of | plan of M. Guizot was devised with the the youthful annotator that, with all his ad- bonâ fide intention of facilitating the exmiration for the great historian, he emphati-change, while Bonaparte only wanted to imcally censured the predilection shown by press the French public with the belief that Gibbon for material grandeur over moral he was making pacific offers to England, and fortitude, as evinced in his depreciation of that England rejected them. About the the heroic courage of the Christian martyrs, same time, M. Guizot, who, through the influand his exaltation of the ferocious exploits of ence of the then Grand Master of the univerTamerlane.
sity, Fontanes, had been elected a professor in We have seen that M. Guizot was a con the Faculty of Letters of Paris, received an tributor to one of the few periodicals which intimation that his introductory lecture was the Bonaparte government allowed to exist. expected to contain an eulogium on the These journals afforded some slight resource master of France. The lecture was deto several distinguished persons whom the livered without the panegyric, and M. GuiRevolution had ruined. Among them was zot bad thenceforth nothing to hope from Mlle. de Meulan, whose family had been for the Imperial Government. From what we merly wealthy, and who now contrived, by now know of the philosophical turn of his great talent, and still greater courage, to eke mind, and his habil of developing general out her means by the use of her pen. This principles, it is evident that he could never
a harassing life, and her health soon have found much favor with Bonaparte, who failed. On becoming acquainted with the always discountenanced speculative men. fact, M. Guizot, to whom she was scarcely It was not until the Restoration that M. known, sent to the Publiciste several articles Guizot entered into political life, and he was in her name. She at last discovered the still too young to take prominent part, befriend who had so delicately assisted her, and cause, by the Charte of 1814, no one could the consequence of the intimacy which re be clected a member of Parliament under sulted was, that, though Mlle. de Meulan forty years of age. It was not easy to put in was much older than M. Guizot, and might practice the Constitution granted by Louis almost have been his mother, a marriage en- XVIII., for constitutional liberty was a boon sued. The union proved a happy one; and, to which the bulk of the nation were stran. what was of no slight importance, Mme. Gui- gers. There was neither political education zot, whose moral tales and educational writ nor political ideas among the people. The ings are among the best French works of few true constitutionalists of 1789 had either that description, repaid to some extent the perished on the scaffold or died in indigence original obligation, and was a literary as well and exile. The Republicans had generally as a domestic helpmate to her husband. bowed to the imperial despotism ; and, under
Though M. Guizot was already considered any circumstances, it was not amongst the one of the future luminaries of France, he was partisans of the government of 1793 that never employed by the Imperial Government. the supporters of rational freedom were to be Baron Pasquier, then Préfet de Police, and sought. There was, indeed, such a perverwho, under Louis Philippe, we have seen at sion of ideas on the subject, that in the eyes the head of the Chamber of Peers, wished to of the masses the soldiers of Bonaparte rebave him appointed an auditeur to the Con- presented the liberal party, from the mere seil d'Etat, which was a sort of nursery of the fact that they were engaged in defending the imperial functionaries. He spoke of bim to national independence against foreign armies. the Duke of Bassano, the Minister for For The émigrés, the natural and legitimate supeign Affairs, who in the year 1810 directed porters of the new régime, were so totally unM. Guizot to draw up a memoir on the ex. acquainted with the existing state of France, change of the English prisoners at Morlaix and were so disliked by the nation, that, inwith the French prisoners in England. All stead of adding strength to the government, the necessary documents were put into bis they were a source of excessive embarrassband, and he digested a paper which was ment. Their habits and claims, their political
and religious prejudices, were looked upon with of Louis XVI. makes part of the publication of Le- suspicion, while their antiquated costume and clerc de Sept-Chênes, and was adopted in a revised demeanor were the theme of general ridicule. form in the edition of M. Guizot.
Above all, a rejected dynasty, brought back
by foreign bayonets, and princes whose very prominent place in this first constitutional names were new to the majority of the peo- party, of which he is now one of the last conple, rendered every possible course unpopu- spicuous survivors. lar. Bonaparte was hated, but the Bour Of all the impediments which the founders bons were not loved, and affairs had arrived of a liberal government had to encounter at that condition that no ruler or system was then and afterwards, the most difficult to left which had the confidence of the country. surmount was the contempt for legal reManifestations, to be sure, of the most en straints which years of arbitrary government thusiastic nature took place at the down. bad produced. The majesty of the law had fall of the imperial power, but the restored been so incessantly violated by the tyranny princes remembered too well the still more of mobs or the tyranny of their rulers, that enthusiastic fêtes which twenty years before a disrespect for its provisions became, and had celebrated the destruction of the French continues, an habitual feeling among the monarchy, to attach much importance to the French, and this with regard to private as rejoicings. They were aware that all the well as political affairs. A single example, speeches emphatically delivered by the cor which occurred at the moment, will serve as porate bodies to every successive government a type of the mode of procedure which was were only a sort of canvassing for places. | in favor on the other side of the Channel. Their esteem for the nation which they saw The Journal des Débats, managed at the prostrated at their feet was not likely to be period of the Revolution by two clever broincreased by the sight of persons fastening thers of the name of Bertin, was exposed their crosses of the Legion of Honor to the under Bonaparte to the most savage persetails of Cossacks' horses, while others at-cution. In 1801 the Bertins were prohibited tached themselves to the ropes by which the from writing in their journal, and one of mob attempted to pull down from the column them was exiled to the island of Elba. Afof the Place Vendôme the Emperor's statue, terwards, in spite of the title it assumed of which they had previously all but wor- Journal de l'Empire, the newspaper got shipped.
again in disgrace, and was transferred, acThe nation was worn out and impover- cording to imperial usage, to more Bonaished by perpetual wars, and with a dimin-partist authors. * At the fall of Bonaparte, ished population, it wanted only repose and peace. The little political vigor which remained was exerted in securing personal in
* The decree by which Bonaparte confiscated
this newspaper in 1811 is worth giving, as an interests, or took the form of a pervading dis
stance of the flimsy pretences which he had the content, which was directed to no well-de- courage to put forth as his justification for violating fined end. Those who clamored for securing the rights of property and the freedom of the press : the conquests of the Revolution were much
-“Seeing that ihe proceeds of a journal can only more anxious to preserve the conquests they seeing that the Journal de l'Empire bas not been
become property by an express grant made by 118 ; had made of the estates of the upper classes, granted by us to anybody, and that the present than to promote the public liberties; while proprietors have realized considerable profits in the grand aim of the emigrés was naturally consequence of the suppression of thirty newspapers to obtain the restoration of the property of -profits which they have enjoyed for a great num. which they had been despoiled. It was
ber of years, and which have more than indemnified
them for any sacrifices they can have made in the amidst these difficulties, and exposed to the course of their undertaking—seeing moreover that indifference and even dislike of the great not only the censorship, but even every species of majority of persons of all descriptions, that a influence over the redaction of the journal should bandful of high-minded men, headed by the exclusively belong to safe men, known for their at
tachment to our person, and for their independence King himself, endeavored to establish in (éloignement) of all foreign influence and correFrance a constitutional government. In spite spondence, we have decreed and do decree as folof every obstacle, the attempt succeeded for lows." This singular state document then proa longer time than could have been anticipa- ceeds to divide the property into twenty-four ted—thanks to the honest and liberal feelings shares, eight of which are to belong to the Governof Louis XVIII., to whose memory France duals who have done him some service. When a ought not to be ungrateful—and thanks also shareholder died, his portion was to revert to the to a small but strong phalanx, such as Pro. Emperor, to be conferred upon another convenient fessor Roger-Collard, Marshal Gouvion Saint- tool. The shareholders were to manage the paper, Cyr, the Abbé de Montesquiou, and Camille and Napoleon, in consideration of his eight shares
was to be represented at the office by a Commissary Jordan, all of whom have passed away. Of Police. The whole is signed by himself, and was Though still very young, M. Guizot had a so rigorously executed that the Bertins were com