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cannot enlarge. We believe that the one greatest indication visible to an unconvinced mind of the being of God lies in the evidence previously adduced as to the relative types of atheistic and theistic character,--that is, in the universal feeling that the attitude of conscious personal dependence (we would say humility, but that even the atheist may feel that scientific and social humility are virtues to him also) is the most favourable for the growth of all high qualities. Take a man, however high, how

, ever far beyond all other men, so that human leaning is impossible and mischievous; and who will not feel that, in order still to grow, he must still look upward and rest in a Being higher than himself? Fuller evidence than this of the direction of the truth it is impossible to adduce. Conviction must be personal. No one can actually manifest God to another. But there are few, we believe, of those who anxiously seek, who do not ultimately attain a clear vision of the truth that “no man hath quickened his own soul,” and that in this truth is involved not the despair, but the deepest peace of man.

ART. V.-THE PRESENT STATE OF FRANCE.

Napoléon le Petit. Par Victor Hugo. London, 1852. It is not, of course, our intention to say one word of this ebullition of acrimonious patriotism. We design, indeed, to speak of the remarkable person to whom it relates ; but we shall do so from other information, and in a far different spirit.

It is always with diffidence and misgiving that we ought to speak of foreign nations, especially in their political and social relations. A stranger's information must always be so inadequate and incomplete; it must so generally be second-hand, and therefore liable to come to him in a distorted and partial shape ; it must need, before it can be fully understood, so many elucidations, so many corrections from modifying sources, that, even when his materials are most ample, he must feel much like a man prescribing or speculating in the dark. The more varied the quarters from which he derives his knowledge, the more numerous and opposite the individuals whom he is able to question and consult, the greater will generally become his bewilderment, and the deeper and more hopeless his benightment. If he relies mainly on official materials, these are invariably meagre and often falsified. If he dwells much on newspapers, how is he to know which speak public sentiment or guide it, and which are the mere uninfluential organs of a man or of a clique? or which, again-like the Times, the Presse, and the New York Heraldowe a vast circulation to accidental and extraneous causes, and are about the most unfaithful exponents extant of the real, permanent, deliberate opinion of the effective portion of the nation? If he endeavours to instruct himself thoroughly by intercourse with living witnesses, every thing he hears bears the impress of personal prejudice or party passion, and requires a terrible amount of sifting before it can be used. And if he determines to see and judge for himself, the chances are that years of residence will be needed before he will have learned the language, and imbibed the spirit, and realised the Stand-punkt of the nation he is studying, sufficiently to enable him to observe with accuracy and penetration.

If these difficulties exist in every case, more especially must they be felt by every modest and conscientious Englishman when he undertakes to treat of France. The innate characters of the two people are so widely different that they have all the difficulty in the world in comprehending and doing justice to each other. They are cast in a distinct mould; they come of a separate stock ; their temperaments are discrepant; their antecedents have divided them; their social wants and political wishes are not in harmony; their views of religion, of life, of government, of society, are intrinsically unlike. The entire civilisation of each people has a special aspect and idiosyncrasy of its own. The French are vivacious, mercurial, but comparatively sober; the English stolid, pertinacious, but, alas ! very thirsty. We have an instinctive reverence for law and custom, and bow easily to what is elevated and to what is past; while their outbursts of license and endurance of despotic rule are alike amazing to us. We are very aristocratic, but sturdy in the assertion and employment of individual independence; they are vehemently democratic-as far as democracy consists in a passion for equality ; but put up with restraints on personal liberty which would drive us frantic. Both of us endure oppressions and iniquities which it is utterly astounding to contemplate with the unfilmed eye of cosmopolitan reason, but we take different sorts of enormities under the protection of our capricious tolerance :-they have their meddlesome police and their terrible conscription ;-we have our Court of Chancery and our marriagelaw, and had our system of “impressment.” A religious man in France is usually a good Catholic; a religious man in England will probably be a bitter Protestant. A high-minded Englishman is devoted to the idea of “duty;” a high-minded Frenchman grows enthusiastic at the name of "glory.” Both people are individually as well as nationally ambitious and aspiring, but in a different temper and for different objects. Men in both countries are in haste to be rich ;—but the Frenchman longs for wealth because it will purchase enjoyment and social consideration; the

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Englishman desires it because it leads to greatness, and may end in making him a powerful millionnaire.

In addition to the difficulty of fully understanding and fairly and dispassionately judging our neighbours and allies, consequent on the inherent divergencies of character we have thus sketched out, other and special impediments exist at the present moment. We are deprived of some of our ordinary channels of information, and others are narrowed and vitiated. On many points we can only speak conjecturally as to the “present state of France,” because it is undeniable that much information which it concerns the public to possess is wholly suppressed, and much comes to it diluted, adulterated, and obscured. Not only are we deprived of the enlightenment we might derive as to the general sentiment and mental and moral condition of the country, from the free and varied utterances of the press and the discussions in the daily journals; but there is reason to suspect that much goes on which is never suffered to transpire in public, and which we learn only from vague rumour, or through private channels. Local popular movements, individual violences, casual bursts of crime or of resistance, all of which are so many indications of social condition and political feeling,-do not find their way into the newspapers in France under the actual strict system of surveillance. In forming an opinion, therefore, from the facts before us, we must do so with the unsatisfactory proviso that many and significant facts are not before us.

Another obstacle arises from the virulence of party and personal feeling which prevails in France. It is difficult to find a man who can do justice to a political opponent, or who will candidly admit a hostile fact. Those attached to the existing régime will not allow any other to be possible, or any material modification of this one to be easy. Its opponents are all damaged or designing men-its critics all revolutionists in disguise. The adherents of the baffled dynasties or factions—the various sections of the “outs”-on the other hand, can scarcely be induced to grant that there is one good feature about the present system or the present man beyond the mere maintenance of order,—and that they consider dearly paid for. Many, indeed, admit that Louis Napoleon has been of service, and was even necessary for a while; but that time they deem now past or passing, and ere long, they say, he ought to give place to a more legitimate monarch, and to inaugurate a freer policy. But what that dynasty or policy

. should be—whether Orleanist, Bourbon, or Republican-is a matter of equally virulent dispute. Amid such animosities and obscurities--through such dark clouds and such bewildering glimpses of refracted and discoloured light-have we to grope our way, as best we can, to something like conclusive notions.

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The religion of a country must always play a great part in modifying its social and political condition. It is not easy to give any clear or reliable account of the influence which either faith or the priesthood exercise in France. That influence has undergone many changes, has suffered rude reverses, has survived the most terrible and apparently fatal shocks. It seemed to have been utterly extinguished by the fearful storm of the first revolution; it scarcely recovered more than a formal and soulless existence under the smothering patronage of Napoleon; the decorous indifference of Louis XVIII., and the weak fanaticism of Charles X., rather hindered than assisted its restoration to command over the nation; nor could the universal materialism fostered by the Orleans régime have done much to augment its expansion or its vigour. The government of Louis Philippe, however, it should be said, aided it indirectly by keeping the clergy in official obscurity and in the background;—for it is an important fact which should be constantly borne in mind, that in France the priests are powerful only when neglected by or in opposition to the government ; the instant they rally round the government, or are petted by it, they become objects of suspicion and contempt to the people. They are déconsidérés (as the phrase is) by the alliance. Still it is undeniable that, by some means or other, Catholicism has recovered much of its sway over at least a considerable portion of the French nation. Not only are the priests and the Church again powerful, but belief is once more sincere and widely diffused. This, however, is true, unfortunately, chiefly, though not exclusively, of one class. Many among the higher classes—legitimists in political opinion for the most part-adhere with earnestness of affection, and sometimes with real conviction, to the religion of their ancestors. It is du bon ton to be a good Catholic; cela sent le gentilhomme, as the phrase is. But it would be unjust to say that there is not something beyond this. A more serious tone has spread among these people. The severe sufferings they have undergone, the bitter humiliations they have had to endure, the startling vicissitudes which have come over their fortunes,—have in many instances worked a salutary change, have taught them to estimate more truly the trifling value and the uncertain tenure of all worldly goods, and have turned their thoughts insensibly to those feelings and doctrines whence man in his need is ever driven to seek strength and consolation. But even here it is chiefly the ladies who are observant of the rites and serious in the belief of their religion. The gentlemen are acquiescent and decorous; but something of the old, prevalent, half-unconscious notion that devotion is a feminine concern or occupation, like housekeeping or the care of children, seems still to linger among them.

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Among the Orleanists those who are active believers are, we understand, most usually Protestants-a sect which in France maintains its ground, but does no more. The politicians, the middle classes, four-fifths of the ouvriers of the cities, and the Buonapartists, the army, and the government employés, are, we suspect, almost to a man indifferent or unbelievers. To them religion is a subject about which they know nothing and care not to interest themselves; and a priest is not a pastor or teacher to be listened to with deference, but simply the wielder of a certain political or social power who must be counted with. The case, however, is altogether different in some of the provinces, especially of the south and west, and among the peasantry. There the ignorance of the people is excessive, and the influence of the curés occasionally great; though the peasant, acute, shrewd, and keen, where his own affairs are concerned seldom allows priestly interference.

Louis Napoleon probably overestimated their influence. At the commencement of his career he courted them, and played into their hands in many ways, especially in the case of the law du libre enseignement, which virtually threw the education of the country into the hands of the Church. The priests, in their turn, seeing or fancying that they could make use of him for their own future purposes, political or ecclesiastical, laboured most zealously for his elevation. He has rewarded them for this, but by so doing has caused a strong reaction against them, as the tools and supporters of the constituted authorities; the Voltairian spirit is reviving, and dislike to priestcraft is beginning to re-diffuse a suspicion of religion. The Emperor, too, finds himself somewhat fettered in his policy by the necessity of retaining the adherence of these depositaries of local and secret power. In the affairs of Rome especially is this difficulty felt; and in the case of certain contingent possibilities it will probably be felt still more noxiously and keenly. The French troops were sent to restore the self-banished Pope, mainly no doubt with the view of maintaining and extending the influence of France in the affairs of Italy, but partly also as a bribe to the Church and the priesthood. The papal restoration was to have been accompanied with certain securities and promises of good government in future, and there appears to have been some sort of tacit understanding to this effect; but when once he was replaced by foreign arms upon his forfeited throne, Pio Nono laughed at his restorers, and refused to take a single step towards the realisation of their just hopes. Under the influence of bad advisers his own terrors the worst advisers of all — he determined to govern exactly as he pleased; and he has governed as badly as possible. The French Government is understood to have petitioned and re

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