Beacon Lights of History, Volume IX
John Lord

Part 2 out of 4

benefactors. These constitute a legacy of which all nations should
be proud.


Works and Correspondence of Edmund Burke; Life and Times of Edmund
Burke, by Macknight (the ablest and fullest yet written); An Historical
Study, by Morley (very able); Lives of Burke by Croly, Prior, and
Bisset; Grenville Papers; Parliamentary History; the Encyclopaedia
Britannica has a full article on Burke; Massey's History of England;
Chatham's Correspondence; Moore's Life of Sheridan; also the Lives of
Pitt and Fox; Lord Brougham's Sketch of Burke; C.W. Dilke's Papers of a
Critic; Boswell's Life of Johnson. The most brilliant of Burke's
writings, "Reflections on the French Revolution," should be read by


A.D. 1769-1821.


It is difficult to say anything new about Napoleon Bonaparte, either in
reference to his genius, his character, or his deeds.

His genius is universally admitted, both as a general and an
administrator. No general so great has appeared in our modern times. He
ranks with Alexander and Caesar in ancient times, and he is superior to
Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Conde, Marlborough, Frederic II.,
Wellington, or any of the warriors who have figured in the great wars of
Europe, from Charlemagne to the battle of Waterloo. His military career
was so brilliant that it dazzled contemporaries. Without the advantages
of birth or early patronage, he rose to the highest pinnacle of human
glory. His victories were prodigious and unexampled; and it took all
Europe to resist him. He aimed at nothing less than universal
sovereignty; and had he not, when intoxicated with his conquests,
attempted impossibilities, his power would have been practically
unlimited in France. He had all the qualities for success in
war,--insight, fertility of resource, rapidity of movement, power of
combination, coolness, intrepidity, audacity, boldness tempered by
calculation, will, energy which was never relaxed, powers of endurance,
and all the qualities which call out enthusiasm and attach soldiers and
followers to personal interests. His victorious career was unchecked
until all the nations of Europe, in fear and wrath, combined against
him. He was a military prodigy, equally great in tactics and
strategy,--a master of all the improvements which had been made in the
art of war, from Epaminondas to Frederic II.

His genius for civil administration was equally remarkable, and is
universally admitted. Even Metternich, who detested him, admits that "he
was as great as a statesman as he was as a warrior, and as great as an
administrator as he was as a statesman." He brought order out of
confusion, developed the industry of his country, restored the finances,
appropriated and rewarded all eminent talents, made the whole machinery
of government subservient to his aims, and even seemed to animate it by
his individual will. He ruled France as by the power of destiny. The
genius of Richelieu, of Mazarin, and of Colbert pale before his
enlightened mind, which comprehended equally the principles of political
science and the vast details of a complicated government. For executive
ability I know no monarch who has surpassed him.

We do not associate with military genius, as a general rule, marked
intellectual qualities in other spheres. But Napoleon was an exception
to this rule. He was tolerably well educated, and he possessed
considerable critical powers in art, literature, and science. He
penetrated through all shams and impostures. He was rarely deceived as
to men or women. He could be eloquent and interesting in conversation.
Some of his expressions pierced like lightning, and were exceedingly
effective. His despatches were laconic and clear. He knew something
about everybody of note, and if he had always been in a private station
his intellectual force would have attracted attention in almost any
vocation he might have selected. His natural vivacity, wit, and
intensity would have secured friends and admirers in any sphere.

Nor are the judgments of mankind less unanimous in reference to his
character than his intellect and genius. He stands out in history in a
marked manner with two sides,--great and little, good and bad. None can
deny him many good qualities. His industry was marvellous; he was
temperate in eating and drinking; he wasted no precious time; he
rewarded his friends, to whom he was true; he did not persecute his
enemies unless they stood in his way, and unless he had a strong
personal dislike for them, as he had for Madame de Stael; he could be
magnanimous at times; he was indulgent to his family, and allowed his
wife to buy as many India shawls and diamonds as she pleased; he was
never parsimonious in his gifts, although personally inclined to
economy; he generally ruled by the laws he had accepted or enacted; he
despised formalities and etiquette; he sought knowledge from every
quarter; he encouraged merit in all departments; he was not ruled by
women, like most of the kings of France; he was not enslaved by
prejudices, and was lenient when he could afford to be; and in the
earlier part of his career he was doubtless patriotic in his devotion to
the interests of his country.

Moreover, many of his faults were the result of circumstances, and of
the unprecedented prosperity which he enjoyed. Pride, egotism, tyranny,
and ostentation were to be expected of a man whose will was law. Nearly
all men would have exhibited these traits, had they been seated on such
a throne as his; and almost any man's temper would have occasionally
given way under such burdens as he assumed, such hostilities as he
encountered, and such treasons as he detected. Surrounded by spies and
secret enemies, he was obliged to be reserved. With a world at his feet,
it was natural that he should be arbitrary and impatient of
contradiction. There have been successful railway magnates as imperious
as he, and bank presidents as supercilious, and clerical dignitaries as
haughty, in their smaller spheres. Pride, consciousness, and egotism are
the natural result of power and flattery in all conditions of life; and
when a single man controls the destinies of nations, he is an exception
to the infirmities of human nature if he does not seek to bend
everything before his haughty will. There have been many Richelieus,
there has been but one Marcus Aurelius; many Hildebrands, only one
Alfred; many Ahabs, only one David, one St. Louis, one Washington.

But with all due allowance for the force of circumstances in the
development of character, and for those imperial surroundings which
blind the arbiters of nations, there were yet natural traits of
character in Napoleon which call out the severest reprobation, and which
make him an object of indignation and intense dislike among true-minded
students of history. His egotism was almost superhuman, his selfishness
was most unscrupulous, his ambition absolutely boundless. He claimed a
monopoly in perfidy and lying; he had no idea of moral responsibility;
he had no sympathy with misfortune, no conscience, no fear of God. He
was cold, hard, ironical, and scornful. He was insolent in his treatment
of women, brusque in manners, severe on all who thwarted or opposed him.
He committed great crimes in his ascent to supreme dominion, and mocked
the reason, the conscience, and the rights of mankind. He broke the most
solemn treaties; he was faithless to his cause; he centred in himself
the interests he was intrusted to guard; he recklessly insulted all the
governments of Europe; he put himself above Providence; he disgracefully
elevated his brothers; he sought to aggrandize himself at any cost, and
ruthlessly grasped the sceptre of universal dominion as if he were an
irresistible destiny whom it was folly to oppose, In all this he aimed
to be greater than conscience.

Such was the character of a despot who arose upon the ruins of the old
monarchy,--the product of a revolution, whose ideas he proposed to
defend. Most historians, and all moralists, are on the whole unanimous
in this verdict. As for his deeds, they rise up before our minds,
compelling admiration and awe. He was the incarnation of force; he
performed the most brilliant exploits of our modern times.

The question then arises, whether his marvellous gifts and transcendent
opportunities were directed to the good of his country and the cause of
civilization. In other words, did he render great services to France,
which make us forget his faults? How will he be judged by enlightened
posterity? May he be ranked among great benefactors, like Constantine.
Charlemagne, Theodosius, Peter the Great, and Oliver Cromwell? It is the
privilege of great sovereigns to be judged for their services rather
than by their defects.

Let us summon, then, this great Emperor before the bar of universal
reason. Let him make his own defence. Let us first hear what he has to
say for himself, for he is the most distinguished culprit of modern
times, and it may yet take three generations to place him in his true
historical niche; and more, his fame, though immortal, may forever be in
doubt, like that of Julius Caesar, whom we still discuss.

This great man may quietly yet haughtily say to us who seek to take his
measure: "It is for my services to France that I claim to be judged. I
do not claim perfection. I admit I made grand mistakes; I even committed
acts which the world stigmatizes as crimes. I seized powers which did
not belong to me; I overthrew constitutions; I made myself supreme; I
mocked the old powers of earth; I repudiated the ideas in the name of
which I climbed to a throne; I was harsh, insolent, and tyrannical; I
divorced the wife who was the maker of my fortune; I caused the
assassination of the Duc d'Enghien; I invaded Spain and Russia; and I
wafted the names of my conquering generals to the ends of the earth in
imprecations and curses. These were my mistakes,--crimes, if you please
to call them; but it is not for these you must judge me. Did I not come
to the rescue of law and order when France was torn with anarchies? Did
I not deliver the constituted authorities from the mob? Did I not rescue
France from foreign enemies when they sought to repress the Revolution
and restore the Bourbons? Was I not the avenger of twenty-five hungry
millions on those old tyrants who would have destroyed their
nationality? Did I not break up those combinations which would have
perpetuated the enslavement of Europe? Did I not seek to plant liberty
in Italy and destroy the despotisms of German princes? Did I not give
unity to great States and enlarge their civilization? Did I not rebuke
and punish Austria, Prussia, Russia, and England for interfering with
our Revolution and combining against the rights of a republic? Did I not
elevate France, and give scope to its enterprise, and develop its
resources, and inspire its citizens with an unknown enthusiasm, and make
the country glorious, so that even my enemies came to my court to wonder
and applaud? And did I not leave such an immortal prestige, even when I
was disarmed and overthrown by the armies of combined Christendom, that
my illustrious name, indelibly engraved in the hearts of my countrymen,
was enough to seat my nephew on the throne from which I was torn, and
give to his reign a glory scarcely inferior to my own? These were my
services to France,--the return of centralized power amid anarchies and
discontents and laws which successive revolutions have not destroyed,
but which shall blaze in wisdom through successive generations."

Now, how far can these claims be substantiated? Was Napoleon, although a
usurper, like Cromwell and Caesar, also a benefactor like them; and did
his fabric of imperialism prove a blessing to civilization? What, in
reality, were his services? Do they offset his aspirations and crimes?
Is he worthy of the praises of mankind? Great deeds he performed, but
did they ultimately tend to the welfare of France and of Europe?

It was a great service which Napoleon rendered to France, in the
beginning of his career, at the siege of Toulon, when he was a
lieutenant of artillery. He disobeyed, indeed, the orders of his
superiors, but won success by the skill with which he planted his
cannon, showing remarkable genius. This service to the Republic was not
forgotten, although he remained long unemployed, living obscurely at
Paris with straitened resources. By some means he caught the ear of
Barras, the most able of the Directory, and was intrusted with the
defence of the Convention in a great crisis, and saved it by his "whiff
of grapeshot," as Carlyle calls his dispersion of the mob in the streets
of Paris, from the steps of St. Roch. This, doubtless, was a service to
the cause of law and order, since he acted under orders, and discharged
his duty, like an obedient servant of the constituted authorities,
without reluctance, and with great skill,--perhaps the only man of
France, at that time, who could have done that important work so well,
and with so little bloodshed. Had the sections prevailed,--and it was
feared that they would,--the anarchy of the worst days of the Revolution
would have resulted. But this decisive action of the young officer,
intrusted with a great command, put an end for forty years to the
assumption of unlawful weapons by the mob. There was no future
insurrection of the people against government till Louis Philippe was
placed upon the throne in 1830. Napoleon here vindicated not only the
cause of law and order, but the Revolution itself; for in spite of its
excesses and crimes, it had abolished feudalism, unequal privileges, the
reign of priests and nobles, and a worn-out monarchy; it had proclaimed
a constitutional government, in the face of all the European despotisms;
it had asserted that self-government was a possibility, even in France;
it had inspired the whole nation with enthusiasm, and proclaimed the
Republic when hostile armies were ready to march upon the soil of France
and restore the Bourbons. All the impulses of the Revolution were
generous; all its struggles were heroic, although it was sullied with
crimes, and was marked by inexperience and follies. The nation rallied
around a great idea,--an idea which is imperishable, and destined to
unbounded triumph. To this idea of liberty Napoleon was not then
unfaithful, although some writers assert that he was ready to draw his
sword in any cause which promised him promotion.

The National Convention, which he saved by military genius and supreme
devotion to it, had immortalized itself by inspiring France with
heroism; and after a struggle of three years with united Christendom,
jealous of liberty, dissolved itself, and transferred the government to
a Directory.

This Directory, in reward of the services which Napoleon had rendered,
and in admiration of his genius, bestowed upon him the command of the
army of Italy. Probably Josephine, whom he then married, had sufficient
influence with Barras to secure the appointment. It was not popular with
the generals, of course, to have a young man of twenty-six, without
military prestige, put over their heads. But results soon justified the
discernment of Barras.

At the head of only forty thousand men, poorly clad and equipped and
imperfectly fed, Napoleon in four weeks defeated the Sardinians, and in
less than two years, in eighteen pitched battles, he destroyed the
Austrian armies which were about to invade France. That glorious
campaign of 1796 is memorable for the conquest of Piedmont and Lombardy,
and the establishment of French supremacy in Italy. Napoleon's career
on the banks of the Po was so brilliant, unexpected, and startling, that
his nation was filled with equal astonishment and admiration. Instead of
predicted ruin, there was unexampled victory. The enthusiasm of the
French was unbounded. Had Napoleon died at the Bridge of Lodi, he would
have passed down in history as a Judas Maccabaeus. In this campaign he
won the hearts of his soldiers, and secured the admiration of his
generals. There was something new in his system of fighting, not seen at
least in modern times,--a rapid massing of his troops, and a still more
rapid concentration of them upon the weak points of the enemy's lines,
coming down on them like a mountain torrent, and sweeping everything
before him, in defiance of all rules and precedents. A new master in the
art of war, greater than Conde, or Turenne, or Marlborough, or Frederic
II., had suddenly arisen, with amazing audacity and faith in himself.

The deliverance of republican France from four great Austrian armies was
a grand service; and Napoleon merited its gratitude and all the honors
he received. He had violated no trust thus far. He was still Citizen
Bonaparte, professing liberal principles, and fighting under the flag of
liberty, to make the Republic respected, independent, and powerful. He
robbed Italy, it is true, of some of her valuable pictures, and exacted
heavy contributions; but this is war. He was still the faithful servant
of France.

On his return to Paris as a conqueror, the people of course were
enthusiastic in their praises, and the Government was jealous. It had
lost the confidence of the nation. All eyes were turned upon the
fortunate soldier who had shown so much ability, and who had given glory
to the country. He may not yet have meditated usurpation, but he
certainly had dreams of power. He was bent on rising to a greater
height; but he could do nothing at present, nor did he feel safe in
Paris amid so much envy, although he lived simply and shunned popular
idolatry. But his restless nature craved activity; so he sought and
obtained an army for the invasion of Egypt. He was inspired with a
passion of conquest, and the Directory was glad to get rid of so
formidable a rival.

He had plainly rendered to his country two great services, without
tarnishing his own fame, or being false to his cause. But what excuse
had he to give to the bar of enlightened posterity for the invasion of
Egypt? The idea originated with himself. It was not a national
necessity. It was simply an unwarrantable war: it was a crime; it was a
dream of conquest, without anything more to justify it than Alexander's
conquests in India, or any other conquest by ambitious and restless
warriors. He hoped to play the part of Alexander,--to found a new
empire in the East. It was his darling scheme. It would give him power,
and perhaps sovereignty. Some patriotic notions may have blended with
his visions. Perhaps he would make a new route to India; perhaps cut off
the empire of the English in the East; perhaps plant colonies among
worn-out races; perhaps destroy the horrid empire of the Turks; perhaps
make Constantinople the seat of French influence and empire in the East.
But what harm had Turkey or Syria or Egypt done to France? Did they
menace the peace of Europe? Did even suffering Egyptians call upon him
to free them from a Turkish yoke? No: it was a meditated conquest, on
the same principles of ambition and aggrandizement which ever have
animated unlawful conquests, and therefore a political crime; not to be
excused because other nations have committed such crimes, ultimately
overruled to the benefit of civilization, like the conquest of India by
England, and Texas by the United States.

I will not dwell on this expedition, which failed through the
watchfulness of the English, the naval victory of Nelson at the Nile,
and the defence of Acre by Sir Sidney Smith. It was the dream of
Napoleon at that time to found an empire in the East, of which he would
be supreme; but he missed his destiny, and was obliged to return,
foiled, baffled, and chagrined, to Paris;--his first great

But he had lost no prestige, since he performed prodigies of valor, and
covered up his disasters by lying bulletins. Here he first appeared as
the arch-liar, which he was to the close of his career. In this
expedition he rendered no services to his country or to civilization,
except in the employment of scientific men to decipher the history of
Egypt,--which showed that he had an enlightened mind.

During his absence disasters had overtaken France. Italy was torn from
her grasp, her armies had been defeated, and Russia, Austria, and
England were leagued for her overthrow. Insurrection was in the
provinces, and dissensions raged in Paris. The Directory had utterly
lost public confidence, and had shown no capacity to govern. All eyes
were turned to the conqueror of Italy, and, as it was supposed, of
Egypt also.

A _coup d'etat_ followed. Napoleon's soldiers drove the legislative body
from the hall, and he assumed the supreme control, under the name of
First Consul. Thus ended the Republic in November, 1799, after a brief
existence of seven years. The usurpation of a soldier began, who trod
the constitution and liberty under his iron feet. He did what Caesar and
Cromwell had done, on the plea of revolutionary necessity. He put back
the march of liberty for nearly half-a-century. His sole excuse was that
his undeniable usurpation was ratified by the votes of the French
people, intoxicated by his victories, and seeing no way to escape from
the perils which surrounded them than under his supreme guidance. They
parted with their liberties for safety. Had Napoleon been compelled to
"wade through slaughter to his throne,"--as Caesar did, as Augustus
did,--there would have been no excuse for his usurpation, except the
plea of Caesar, that liberty was impossible, and the people needed the
strong arm of despotism to sustain law and order. But Napoleon was more
adroit; he appealed to the people themselves, recognizing them as the
source of power, and they confirmed his usurpation by an
overwhelming majority.

Since he was thus the people's choice, I will not dwell on the
usurpation. He cheated them, however; for he invoked the principles of
the Revolution, and they believed him,--as they afterwards did his
nephew. They wanted a better executive government, and were willing to
try him, since he had proved his abilities; but they did not anticipate
the utter suppression of constitutional government,--they still had
faith in the principles of their Revolution. They abhorred absolutism;
they abhor it still; to destroy it they had risked their Revolution. To
the principles of the Revolution the great body of French people have
been true, when permitted to be, from the time when they hurled Louis
XVI. from the throne. Absolutism with the consent of the French nation
has passed away forever, and never can be revived, any more than the
oracles of Dodona or the bulls of Mediaeval popes.

Now let us consider whether, as the executive of the French nation, he
was true to the principles of the Revolution, which he invoked, and
which that people have ever sought to establish.

In some respects, it must be confessed, he was, and in other respects he
was not. He never sought to revive feudalism; all its abominations
perished. He did not bring back the law of entail, nor unequal
privileges, nor the _regime_ of nobles. He ruled by the laws; rewarding
merit, and encouraging what was obviously for the interests of the
nation. The lives and property of the people were protected. The _idea_
of liberty was never ignored. If liberty was suppressed to augment his
power and cement his rule, it was in the name of public necessity, as an
expression of the interests he professed to guard. When he incited his
soldiers to battle, it was always under pretence of delivering enslaved
nations and spreading the principles of the Revolution, whose product he
was. And until he assumed the imperial title most of his acts were
enlightened, and for the benefit of the people he ruled; there was no
obvious oppression on the part of government, except to provide means to
sustain the army, without which France must succumb to enemies. While he
was First Consul, it would seem that the hostility of Europe was more
directed towards France herself for having expelled the Bourbons, than
against him as a dangerous man. Europe could not forgive France for her
Revolution,--not even England; Napoleon was but the necessity which the
political complications arising from the Revolution seemed to create.
Hence, the wars which Napoleon conducted while he was First Consul were
virtually defensive, since all Europe aimed to put down France,--such a
nest of assassins and communists and theorists!--rather than to put down
Napoleon; for, although usurper, he was, strange to say, the nation's
choice as well as idol. He reigned by the will of the nation, and he
could not have reigned without. The nation gave him his power, to be
wielded to protect France, in imminent danger from foreign powers.

And wisely and grandly did he use it at first. He turned his attention
to the internal state of a distracted country, and developed its
resources and promoted tranquillity; he appointed the ablest men,
without distinction of party, for his ministers and prefects; he
restored the credit of the country; he put a stop to forced loans; he
released priests from confinement; he rebuked the fanaticism of the
ultra-revolutionists, he reorganized the public bodies; he created
tribunals of appeal; he ceased to confiscate the property of emigrants,
and opened a way for their return; he restored the right of disposing
property by will; he instituted the Bank of France on sound financial
principles; he checked all disorders; he brought to a close the
desolating war of La Vendee; he retained what was of permanent value in
the legislation of the Revolution; he made the distribution of the
public burdens easy; he paid his army, and rewarded eminent men, whom he
enlisted in his service. So stable was the government, and so wise were
the laws, and so free were all channels of industry, that prosperity
returned to the distracted country. The middle classes were particularly
benefited,--the shopkeepers and mechanics,--and they acquiesced in a
strong rule, since it seemed beneficent. The capital was enriched and
adorned and improved. A treaty with the Pope was made, by which the
clergy were restored to their parishes. A new code of laws was made by
great jurists, on the principles of the Justinian Code. A magnificent
road was constructed over the Alps. Colonial possessions were recovered.
Navies were built, fortifications repaired, canals dug, and the
beet-root and tobacco cultivated.

But these internal improvements, by which France recovered prosperity,
paled before the services which Napoleon rendered as a defender of his
country's nationality. He had proposed a peace-policy to England in an
autograph letter to the King, which was treated as an insult, and
answered by the British government by a declaration of war, to last till
the Bourbons were restored,--perhaps what Napoleon wanted and expected;
and war was renewed with Austria and England. The consulate was now
marked by the brilliant Italian campaign,--the passage over the Alps;
the battle of Marengo, gained by only thirty thousand men; the recovery
of Italy, and renewed military _eclat_. The Peace of Amiens, October,
1801, placed Napoleon in the proudest position which any modern
sovereign ever enjoyed. He was now thirty-three years of age,--supreme
in France, and powerful throughout Europe. The French were proud of a
man who was glorious both in peace and war; and his consulate had been
sullied by only one crime,--the assassination of the heir of the house
of Conde; a blunder, as Talleyrand said, rather than a crime, since it
arrayed against him all the friends of Legitimacy in Europe.

Had Napoleon been contented with the power he then enjoyed as First
Consul for life, and simply stood on the defensive, he could have made
France invincible, and would have left a name comparatively
reproachless. But we now see unmistakable evidence of boundless personal
ambition, and a policy of unscrupulous aggrandizement. He assumes the
imperial title,--greedy for the trappings as well as the reality of
power; he openly founds a new dynasty of kings; he abolishes every
trace of constitutional rule; he treads liberty under his feet, and
mocks the very ideas by which he had inspired enthusiasm in his troops;
his watchword is now not _Liberty_, but _Glory_; he centres in himself
the interests of France; he surrounds himself, at the Tuileries, with
the pomp and ceremonies of the ancient kings; and he even induces the
Pope himself to crown him at Notre Dame. It was a proud day, December 2,
1804, when, surrounded by all that was brilliant and imposing in France,
Napoleon proceeded in solemn procession to the ancient cathedral, where
were assembled the magistrates, the bishops, and the titled dignitaries
of the realm, and received, in his imperial robes, from the hands of the
Pope, the consecrated sceptre and crown of empire, and heard from the
lips of the supreme pontiff of Christendom those words which once
greeted Charlemagne in the basilica of St. Peter when the Roman clergy
proclaimed him Emperor of the West,--_Vivat in oeternum semper
Augustus_. The venerable aisles and pillars and arches of the ancient
cathedral resounded to the music of five hundred performers in a solemn
_Te Deum_. The sixty prelates of France saluted the anointed soldier as
their monarch, while the inspiring cry from the vast audience of _Vive
l'Empereur!_ announced Napoleon's entrance into the circle of European

But this fresh usurpation, although confirmed by a vote of the French
people, was the signal for renewed hostilities. A coalition of all
governments unfriendly to France was formed. Military preparations
assumed a magnitude never seen before in the history of Europe, which
now speedily became one vast camp. Napoleon quit his capital to assume
the conduct of armies. He had threatened England with invasion, which he
knew was impossible, for England then had nearly one thousand ships of
war, manned by one hundred and twenty thousand men. But when Napoleon
heard of the victories of Nelson, he suddenly and rapidly marched to the
Rhine, and precipitated one hundred and eighty thousand troops upon
Austria, who was obliged to open her capital. Then, reinforced by
Russia, Austria met the invader at Austerlitz with equal forces; but
only to suffer crushing defeat. Pitt died of a broken heart when he
heard of this decisive French victory, followed shortly after by the
disastrous overthrow of the Prussians at Jena, and that, again, by the
victory of Eylau over the Russians, which secured the peace of Tilsit,
1807,--making Napoleon supreme on the continent of Europe at the age of
thirty-nine. It was deemed idle to resist further this "man of destiny,"
who in twelve years, from the condition of an unemployed officer of
artillery, without friends or family or influence, had subdued in turn
all the monarchies of Europe, with the exception of England and Russia,
and regulated at his pleasure the affairs of distant courts. To what an
eminence had he climbed! Nothing in history or romance approaches the
facts of his amazing career.

And even down to this time--to the peace of Tilsit--there are no grave
charges against him which history will not extenuate, aside from the
egotism of his character. He claims that he fought for French
nationality, in danger from the united hostilities of Europe. Certainly
his own glory was thus far identified with the glory of his country. He
had rescued France by a series of victories more brilliant than had been
achieved for centuries. He had won a fame second to that of no conqueror
in the world's history.

But these astonishing successes seem to have turned his head. He is
dazzled by his own greatness, and intoxicated by the plaudits of his
idolaters. He proudly and coldly says that "it is a proof of the
weakness of the human understanding for any one to dream of resisting
him." He now aims at a universal military monarchy; he seeks to make the
kings of the earth his vassals; he places the members of his family,
whether worthy or unworthy, on ancient thrones; he would establish on
the banks of the Seine that central authority which once emanated from
Rome; he apes the imperial Caesars in the arrogance of his tone and the
insolence of his demands; he looks upon Europe as belonging to himself;
he becomes a tyrant of the race; he centres in the gratification of his
passions the interests of humanity; he becomes the angry Nemesis of
Europe, indifferent to the sufferings of mankind and the peace of
the world.

After the peace of Tilsit his whole character seems to have changed,
even in little things. No longer is he affable and courteous, but
silent, reserved, and sullen. His temper becomes bad; his brow is
usually clouded; his manners are brusque; his egotism is transcendent.
"Your first duty," said he to his brother Louis, when he made him king
of Holland, "is to _me_; your second, to France." He becomes intolerably
haughty, even to the greatest personages. He insults the ladies of the
court, and pinches their ears, so that they feel relieved when he has
passed them by. He no longer flatters, but expects incense from
everybody. In his bursts of anger he breaks china and throws his coat
into the fire. He turns himself into a master of ceremonies; he cheats
at cards; he persecutes literary men.

Napoleon's career of crime is now consummated. He divorces
Josephine,--the greatest mistake of his life. He invades Spain and
Russia, against the expostulations of his wisest counsellors, showing
that he has lost his head, that reason has toppled on her throne,--for
he fancies himself more powerful than the forces of Nature. All these
crimes are utterly inexcusable, except on the plea of madness. Such
gigantic crimes, such a recklessness of life, such uncontrollable
ambition, such a defiance of justice, such an abrogation of treaties,
such a disregard of the interests of humanity, to say nothing of the
welfare of France, prostituted, enslaved, down-trodden,--and all to
nurse his diabolical egotism,--astonished and shocked the whole
civilized world. These things more than balanced all the services he
ever rendered, since they directly led to the exhaustion of his country.
They were so atrocious that they cried aloud to Heaven for vengeance.

And Heaven heard the agonizing shrieks of misery which ascended from the
smoking ruins of Moscow, from the bloody battlefield of Borodino, from
the river Berezina, from the homes of the murdered soldiers, from the
widows and orphans of more than a million of brave men who had died to
advance his glory, from the dismal abodes of twenty-five millions more
whom he had cheated out of their liberties and mocked with his ironical
proclamations; yea, from the millions in Prussia, Austria, and England
who had been taxed to the uttermost to defeat him, and had died martyrs
to the cause of nationalities, or what we call the Balance of Power,
which European statesmen have ever found it necessary to maintain at any
cost, since on this balance hang the interests of feeble and
defenceless nations. Ay, Heaven heard,--the God whom he ignored,--and
sent a retribution as signal and as prompt and as awful as his victories
had been overwhelming.

I need not describe Napoleon's fall,--as clear a destiny as his rise; a
lesson to all the future tyrants and conquerors of the world; a moral to
be pondered as long as history shall be written. Hear, ye heavens! and
give ear, O earth! to the voice of eternal justice, as it appealed to
universal consciousness, and pronounced the doom of the greatest sinner
of modern times,--to be defeated by the aroused and indignant nations,
to lose his military prestige, to incur unexampled and bitter
humiliation, to be repudiated by the country he had raised to such a
pitch of greatness, to be dethroned, to be imprisoned at Elba, to be
confined on the rock of St. Helena, to be at last forced to meditate,
and to die with vultures at his heart,--a chained Prometheus, rebellious
and defiant to the last, with a world exultant at his fall; a hopeless
and impressive fall, since it broke for fifty years the charm of
military glory, and showed that imperialism cannot be endured among
nations craving for liberties and rights which are the birthright of
our humanity.

Did Napoleon, then, live in vain? No great man lives in vain. He is
ever, whether good or bad, the instrument of Divine Providence, Gustavus
Adolphus was the instrument of God in giving religious liberty to
Germany. William the Silent was His instrument in achieving the
independence of Holland. Washington was His instrument in giving dignity
and freedom to this American nation, this home of the oppressed, this
glorious theatre for the expansion of unknown energies and the adoption
of unknown experiments. Napoleon was His instrument in freeing France
from external enemies, and for vindicating the substantial benefits of
an honest but uncontrolled Revolution. He was His instrument in arousing
Italy from the sleep of centuries, and taking the first step to secure a
united nation and a constitutional government. He was His instrument in
overthrowing despotism among the petty kings of Germany, and thus
showing the necessity of a national unity,--at length realized by the
genius of Bismarck. Even in his crimes Napoleon stands out on the
sublime pages of history as the instrument of Providence, since his
crimes were overruled in the hatred of despotism among his own subjects,
and a still greater hatred of despotism as exercised by those kings who
finally subdued him, and who vainly attempted to turn back the progress
of liberal sentiments by their representatives at the Congress
of Vienna.

The fall of Napoleon taught some awful and impressive lessons to
humanity, which would have been unlearned had he continued to be
successful to the end. It taught the utter vanity of military glory;
that peace with neighbors is the greatest of national blessings, and war
the greatest of evils; that no successes on the battlefield can
compensate for the miseries of an unjust and unnecessary war; and that
avenging justice will sooner or later overtake the wickedness of a
heartless egotism. It taught the folly of worshipping mere outward
strength, disconnected from goodness; and, finally, it taught that God
will protect defenceless nations, and even guilty nations, when they
shall have expiated their crimes and follies, and prove Himself the kind
Father of all His children, even amid chastisements, gradually leading
them, against their will, to that blessed condition when swords shall be
beaten into ploughshares, and nations shall learn war no more.

What remains to-day of those grand Napoleonic ideas which intoxicated
France for twenty years, and which, revived by Louis Napoleon, led to a
brief glory and an infamous fall, and the humiliation and impoverishment
of the most powerful state of Europe? They are synonymous with
imperialism, personal government, the absolute reign of a single man,
without constitutional checks,--a return to Caesarism, to the
unenlightened and selfish despotism of Pagan Rome. And hence they are
now repudiated by France herself,--as well as by England and
America,--as false, as selfish, as fatal to all true national progress,
as opposed to every sentiment which gives dignity to struggling States,
as irreconcilably hostile to the civilization which binds nations
together, and which slowly would establish liberty, and peace, and
industry, and equal privileges, and law, and education, and material
prosperity, upon this fallen world.


So much has been written on Napoleon, that I can only select some of the
standard and accessible works. Bourrienne's Memoirs of Napoleon I.; L.
P. Junot's Memoirs of Napoleon, Court, and Family; Las Casas' Napoleon
at St. Helena; Thiers' History of the Consulate and the Empire; Memoirs
of Prince Metternich; Segur's History of Expedition to Russia; Memoirs
of Madame de Remusat; Vieusseau's Napoleon, his Sayings and Deeds;
Napoleon's Confidential Correspondence with Josephine and with his
Brother Joseph; Alison's History of Europe; Lockhart's and Sir Walter
Scott's Lives of Napoleon; Court and Camp of Napoleon, in Murray's
Family Library; W. Forsyth's Captivity at St. Helena; Dr. Channing's
Essay on Napoleon; Lord Brougham's Sketch of Napoleon; J. G. Wilson's
Sketch of Napoleon; Life of Napoleon, by A. H. Jomini; Headley's
Napoleon and his Marshals; Napier's Peninsular War; Wellington's
Despatches; Gilford's Life of Pitt; Botta's History of Italy under
Napoleon; Labaume's Russian Campaign; Berthier's Histoire de
l'Expedition d'Egypte.




In the later years of Napoleon's rule, when he had reached the summit of
power, and the various German States lay prostrate at his feet, there
arose in Austria a great man, on whom the eyes of Europe were speedily
fixed, and who gradually became the central figure of Continental
politics. This remarkable man was Count Metternich, who more than any
other man set in motion the secret springs which resulted in a general
confederation to shake off the degrading fetters imposed by the French
conqueror. In this matter he had a powerful ally in Baron von Stein, who
reorganized Prussia, and prepared her for successful resistance, when
the time came, against the common enemy. In another lecture I shall
attempt to show the part taken by Von Stein in the regeneration of
Germany; but it is my present purpose to confine attention to the
Austrian chancellor and diplomatist, his various labors, and the
services he rendered, not to the cause of Freedom and Progress, but to
that of Absolutism, of which he was in his day the most noted champion.

Metternich, in his character as diplomatist, is to be contemplated in
two aspects: first, as aiming to enlist the great powers in armed
combination against Napoleon; and secondly, as attempting to unite them
and all the German States to suppress revolutionary ideas and popular
insurrections, and even constitutional government itself. Before
presenting him in this double light, however, I will briefly sketch the
events of his life until he stood out as the leading figure in European
politics,--as great a figure as Bismarck later became.

Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Count von Metternich, was born at
Coblentz, on the Rhine, May 15, 1773. His father was a nobleman of
ancient family. I will not go into his pedigree, reaching far back in
the Middle Ages,--a matter so important in the eyes of German and even
English biographers, but to us in America of no more account than the
genealogy of the Dukes of Edom. The count his father was probably of
more ability than an ordinary nobleman in a country where nobles are so
numerous, since he was then, or soon after, Austrian ambassador to the
Netherlands. Young Metternich was first sent to the University of
Strasburg, at the age of fifteen, about the time when Napoleon was
completing his studies at a military academy. In 1790, a youth of
seventeen, he took part in the ceremonies attending the coronation of
Emperor Leopold at Frankfort, and made the acquaintance of the archduke,
who two years later succeeded to the imperial dignity as Francis II. We
next see him a student of law in the University of Mainz, spending his
vacations at Brussels, in his father's house.

Even at that time Metternich attracted attention for his elegant manners
and lively wit,--a born courtier, a favorite in high society, and so
prominent for his intelligence and accomplishments that he was sent to
London as an attache to the Netherlands embassy, where it seems that he
became acquainted with the leading statesmen of England. There must have
been something remarkable about him to draw, at the age of twenty, the
attention of such men as Burke, Pitt, Fox, and Sheridan. What interested
him most in England were the sittings of the English Parliament and the
trial of Warren Hastings. At the early age of twenty-one he was
appointed minister to the Hague, but was prevented going to his post by
the war, and retired to Vienna, which he now saw for the first time.
Soon after, he married a daughter of Prince Kaunitz, eldest son of the
great chancellor who under three reigns had controlled the foreign
policy of the empire. He thus entered the circle of the highest
nobility of Austria,--the proudest and most exclusive on the face of the
whole earth.

At first the young count--living with his bride at the house of her
father, and occupying the highest social position, with wealth and ease
and every luxury at command, fond equally of books, of music, and of
art, but still fonder of the distinguished society of Vienna, and above
all, enamored of the charms of his beautiful and brilliant wife--wished
to spend his life in elegant leisure. But his remarkable talents and
accomplishments were already too well known for the emperor to allow him
to remain in his splendid retirement, especially when the empire was
beset with dangers of the most critical kind. His services were required
by the State, and he was sent as ambassador to Dresden, after the peace
of Luneville, 1801, when his diplomatic career in reality began.

Dresden, where were congregated at this time some of the ablest
diplomatists of Europe, was not only an important post of observation
for watching the movements of Napoleon, but it was itself a capital of
great attractions, both for its works of art and for its society. Here
Count Metternich resided for two years, learning much of politics, of
art, and letters,--the most accomplished gentleman among all the
distinguished people that he met; not as yet a man of power, but a man
of influence, sending home to Count Stadion, minister of foreign
affairs, reports and letters of great ability, displaying a sagacity and
tact marvellous for a man of twenty-eight.

Napoleon was then engaged in making great preparations for a war with
Austria, and it was important for Austria to secure the alliance of
Prussia, her great rival, with whom she had never been on truly friendly
terms, since both aimed at ascendency in Germany. Frederick William III.
was then on the throne of Prussia, having two great men among his
ministers,--Von Stein and Hardenberg; the former at the head of
financial affairs, and the latter at the head of the foreign bureau. To
the more important post of Berlin, Metternich was therefore sent. He
found great difficulty in managing the Prussian king, whose jealousy of
Austria balanced his hatred of Napoleon, and who therefore stood aloof
and inactive, indisposed for war, in strict alliance with Russia, who
also wanted peace.

The Czar Alexander I., who had just succeeded his murdered father Paul,
was a great admirer of Napoleon. His empire was too remote to fear
French encroachments or French ideas. Indeed, he started with many
liberal sentiments. By nature he was kind and affectionate; he was
simple in his tastes, truthful in his character, philanthropic in his
views, enthusiastic in his friendships, and refined in his
intercourse,--a broad and generous sovereign. And yet there was
something wanting in Alexander which prevented him from being great. He
was vacillating in his policy, and his judgment was easily warped by
fanciful ideas. "His life was worn out between devotion to certain
systems and disappointment as to their results. He was fitful,
uncertain, and unpractical. Hence he made continual mistakes. He meant
well, but did evil, and the discovery of his errors broke his heart. He
died of weariness of life, deceived in all his calculations," in 1825.

Metternich spent four years in Berlin, ferreting out the schemes of
Napoleon, and striving to make alliances against him; but he found his
only sincere and efficient ally to be England, then governed by Pitt.
The king of Prussia was timid, and leaned on Russia; he feared to offend
his powerful neighbor on the north and east. Nor was Prussia then
prepared for war. As for the South German States, they all had their
various interests to defend, and had not yet grasped the idea of German
unity. There was not a great statesman or a great general among them
all. They had their petty dynastic prejudices and jealousies, and were
absorbed in the routine of court etiquette and pleasures, stagnant and
unenlightened. The only brilliant court life was at Weimar, where Goethe
reigned in the circle of his idolaters. The great men of Germany at
that time were in the universities, interested in politics, like the
Humboldts at Berlin, but not taking a prominent part. Generals and
diplomatists absorbed the active political field. As for orators, there
were none; for there were no popular assemblies,--no scope for their
abilities. The able men were in the service of their sovereigns as
diplomatists in the various courts of Europe, and generally were nobles.
Diplomacy, in fact, was the only field in which great talents were
developed and rewarded outside the realm of literature.

In this field Metternich soon became pre-eminently distinguished. He was
at once the prompting genius and the agent of an absolute sovereign who
ruled over the most powerful State, next to France, on the continent of
Europe, and the most august. The emperor of Austria was supposed to be
the heir of the Caesars and of Charlemagne. His territories were more
extensive than that of France, and his subjects more numerous than those
of all the other German States combined, except Prussia. But the emperor
himself was a feeble man, sickly in body, weak in mind, and governed by
his ministers, the chief of whom was Count Stadion, minister of foreign
affairs. In Austria the aristocracy was more powerful and wealthy than
the nobility of any other European State. It was also the most
exclusive. No one could rise by any talents into their favored circle.
They were great feudal landlords; and their ranks were not recruited, as
in England, by men of genius and wealth. Hence, they were narrow,
bigoted, and arrogant; but they had polished and gracious manners, and
shone in the stiff though elegant society of Vienna,--not brilliant as
in Paris or London, but exceedingly attractive, and devoted to pleasure,
to grand hunting-parties on princely estates, to operas and balls and
theatres. Probably Vienna society was dull, if it was elegant, from the
etiquette and ceremonies which marked German courts; for what was called
society was not that of distinguished men in letters and art, but almost
exclusively that of nobles. A learned professor or wealthy merchant
could no more get access to it than he could climb to the moon. But as
Vienna was a Catholic city, great ecclesiastical dignitaries, not always
of noble birth, were on an equality with counts and barons. It was only
in the Church that a man of plebeian origin could rise. Indeed, there
was no field for genius at all. The musician Haydn was almost the only
genius that Austria at that time possessed outside of diplomatic or
military ranks.

Napoleon had now been crowned emperor, and his course had been from
conquering to conquer. The great battles of Austerlitz and Jena had been
fought, which placed Austria and Prussia at the mercy of the conqueror.
It was necessary that some one should be sent to Paris capable of
fathoming the schemes of the French emperor, and in 1806 Count
Metternich was transferred from Berlin to the French capital. No abler
diplomatist could be found in Europe. He was now thirty-three years of
age, a nobleman of the highest rank, his father being a prince of the
empire. He had a large private fortune, besides his salary as
ambassador. His manners were perfect, and his accomplishments were
great. He could speak French as well as his native tongue. His head was
clear; his knowledge was accurate and varied. Calm, cold, astute,
adroit, with infinite tact, he was now brought face to face with
Talleyrand, Napoleon's minister of foreign affairs, his equal in
astuteness and dissimulation, as well as in the charms of conversation
and the graces of polished life. With this statesman Metternich had the
pleasantest relations, both social and diplomatic. Yet there was a
marked difference between them. Talleyrand had accepted the ideas of the
Revolution, but had no sympathy with its passions and excesses. He was
the friend of law and order, and in his heart favored constitutional
government. On this ground he supported Napoleon as the defender of
civilization, but afterward deserted him when he perceived that the
Emperor was resolved to rule without constitutional checks. His nature
was selfish, and he made no scruple of enriching himself, whatever
master he served; but he was not indifferent to the welfare and glory of
France. Metternich, on the other hand, abhorred the ideas of the
Revolution as much as he did its passions. He saw in absolutism the only
hope of stability, the only reign of law. He distrusted constitutional
government as liable to changes, and as unduly affected by popular ideas
and passions. He served faithfully and devotedly his emperor as a sacred
personage, ruling by divine right, to whom were intrusted the interests
of the nation. He was comparatively unselfish, and was prepared for any
personal sacrifices for his country and his sovereign.

Metternich was treated with distinguished consideration at Paris, not
only because he was the representative of the oldest and proudest
sovereignty in Europe,--still powerful in the midst of disasters,--but
also on account of his acknowledged abilities, independent attitude, and
stainless private character. All the other ambassadors at Paris were
directed to act in accordance with his advice. In 1807 he concluded the
treaty of Fontainebleau, which was most favorable to Austrian interests.
He was the only man at court whom Napoleon could not browbeat or
intimidate in his affected bursts of anger. Personally, Napoleon liked
him as an accomplished and agreeable gentleman; as a diplomatist and
statesman the Emperor was afraid of him, knowing that the Austrian was
at the bottom of all the intrigues and cabals against him. Yet he dared
not give Metternich his passports, nor did he wish to quarrel with so
powerful a man, who might defeat his schemes to marry the daughter of
the Austrian emperor,--the light-headed and frivolous Marie Louise. So
Metternich remained in honor at Paris for three years, studying the
character and aims of Napoleon, watching his military preparations, and
preparing his own imperial master for contingencies which would probably
arise; for Napoleon was then meditating the conquest of Spain, as well
as the invasion of Russia, and Metternich as well as Talleyrand knew
that this would be a great political blunder, diverting his armies from
the preservation of the conquests he had already made, and giving to the
German States the hope of shaking off their fetters at the first
misfortune which should overtake him. No man in Europe so completely
fathomed the designs of Napoleon as Metternich, or so profoundly
measured and accurately estimated his character. And I here cannot
forbear to quote his own language, both to show his sagacity and to
reproduce the portrait he drew of Napoleon.

"He became," says Metternich, "a great legislator and administrator, as
he became a great soldier, by following out his instincts. The turn of
his mind always led him toward the positive. He disliked vague ideas,
and hated equally the dreams of visionaries and the abstractions of
idealists. He treated as nonsense everything that was not clearly and
practically presented to him. He valued only those sciences which can be
verified by the senses, or which rest on experience and observation. He
had the greatest contempt for the false philosophy and false
philanthropy of the eighteenth century. Among its teachers, Voltaire was
the special object of his aversion. As a Catholic, he recognized in
religion alone the right to govern human societies. Personally
indifferent to religious practices, he respected them too much to permit
the slightest ridicule of those who followed them; and yet religion with
him was the result of an enlightened policy rather than an affair of
sentiment. He was persuaded that no man called to public life could be
guided by any other motive than that of interest.

"He was gifted with a particular tact in recognizing those men who could
be useful to him. He had a profound knowledge of the national character
of the French. In history he guessed more than he knew. As he always
made use of the same quotations, he must have drawn from a few books,
especially abridgments. His heroes were Alexander, Caesar, and
Charlemagne. He laid great stress on aristocratic birth and the
antiquity of his own family. He had no other regard for men than a
foreman in a manufactory feels for his work-people. In private, without
being amiable, he was good-natured. His sisters got from him all they
wanted. Simple and easy in private life, he showed himself to little
advantage in the great world. Nothing could be more awkward than he in a
drawing-room. He would have made great sacrifices to have added three
inches to his height. He walked on tiptoe. His costumes were studied to
form a contrast with the circle which surrounded him, by extreme
simplicity or extreme elegance. Talma taught him attitudes.

"Having but one passion,--that of power,--he never lost either his time
or his means in those objects which deviated from his aims. Master of
himself, he soon became master of events. In whatever period he had
appeared, he would have played a prominent part. His prodigious
successes blinded him; but up to 1812 he never lost sight of the
profound calculations by which he so often conquered. He never recoiled
from fear of the wounds he might cause. As a war-chariot crushes
everything it meets on its way, he thought of nothing but to advance. He
could sympathize with family troubles; he was indifferent to political

"Disinterested generosity he had none; he only dispensed his favors in
proportion to the value he put on the utility of those who received
them. He was never influenced by affection or hatred in his public acts.
He crushed his enemies without thinking of anything but the necessity of
getting rid of them.

"In his political combinations he did not fail to reckon largely on the
weakness or errors of his adversaries. The alliance of 1813 crushed him
because he was not able to persuade himself that the members of the
coalition could remain united, and persevere in a given course of
action. The vast edifice he constructed was exclusively the work of his
own hands, and he was the keystone of the arch; but the gigantic
construction was essentially wanting in its foundations, the materials
of which were nothing but the ruins of other buildings."

Such is the verdict of one of the acutest and most dispassionate men
that ever lived. Napoleon is not painted as a monster, but as a
supremely selfish man bent entirely on his own exaltation, making the
welfare of France subservient to his own glory, and the interests of
humanity itself secondary to his pride and fame. History can add but
little to this graphic sketch, although indignant and passionate enemies
may dilate on the Corsican's hard-heartedness, his duplicity, his
treachery, his falsehood, his arrogance, and his diabolic egotism. On
the other hand, weak and sentimental idolaters will dwell on his
generosity, his courage, his superhuman intellect, and the love and
devotion with which he inspired his soldiers,--all which in a sense is
true. The philosophical historian will enumerate the services Napoleon
rendered to his country, whatever were his virtues or faults; but of
these services the last person to perceive the value was Metternich
himself, even as he would be the last to acknowledge the greatness of
those revolutionary ideas of which Napoleon was simply the product. It
was the French Revolution which produced Napoleon, and it was the French
Revolution which Metternich abhorred, in all its aspects, beyond any
other event in the whole history of the world. But he was not a
rhetorician, as Burke was, and hence confined himself to acts, and not
to words. He was one of those cool men who could use decent and
temperate language about the Devil himself and the Pandemonium in which
he reigns.

On the breaking up of diplomatic relations between Austria and France in
1809, Metternich was recalled to Vienna to take the helm of state in the
impending crisis. Count von Stadion, though an able man, was not great
enough for the occasion. Only such a consummate statesman as Metternich
was capable of taking the reins intrusted to him with unbounded
confidence by his feeble master, whose general policy and views were
similar to those of his trusted minister, but who had not the energy to
carry them out. Metternich was now made a prince, with large gifts of
land and money, and occupied a superb position,--similar to that which
Bismarck occupied later on in Prussia, as chancellor of the empire. It
was Metternich's policy to avert actual hostilities until Austria could
recover from the crushing defeat at Austerlitz, and until Napoleon
should make some great mistake. He succeeded in arranging another treaty
with France within the year.

The object which Napoleon had in view at this time was his marriage with
Marie Louise, from which he expected an heir to his vast dominions, and
a more completely recognized position among the great monarchs of
Europe. He accordingly divorced Josephine,--some historians say with her
consent. Ten years earlier his offers would, of course, have been
indignantly rejected, or three years later, after the disasters of the
Russian campaign. But Napoleon was now at the summit of his power,--the
arbiter of Europe, the greatest sovereign since Julius Caesar, with a
halo of unprecedented glory, a prodigy of genius as well as a recognized
monarch. Nothing was apparently beyond his aspirations, and he wanted
the daughter of the successor of Charlemagne in marriage. And her
father, the proud Austrian emperor, was willing to give her up to his
conqueror from reasons of state, and from policy and expediency. To all
appearance it was no sacrifice to Marie Louise to be transferred from
the dull court of Vienna to the splendid apartments of the Tuileries, to
be worshipped by the brilliant marshals and generals who had conquered
Europe, and to be crowned as empress of the French by the Pope himself.
Had she been a nobler woman, she might have hesitated and refused; but
she was vain and frivolous, and was overwhelmed by the glory with which
she was soon to be surrounded.

And yet the marriage was a delicate affair, and difficult to be managed.
It required all the tact of an arch-diplomatist. So Prince Metternich
was sent to Paris to bring it about. In fact, it was he more than any
one else who for political reasons favored this marriage. Napoleon was
exceedingly gracious, while Metternich had his eyes and ears open. He
even dared to tell the Emperor many unpleasant truths. The affair,
however, was concluded; and after Napoleon's divorce from Josephine, in
1810, the Austrian princess became empress of the French.

One thing was impressed on the mind of Metternich during the festivities
of this second visit to Paris; and that was that during the year 1811
the peace of Europe would not be disturbed. Napoleon was absorbed with
the preparations for the invasion of Russia,--the only power he had not
subdued, except England, and a power in secret coalition with both
Prussia and Austria. His acquisitions would not be secure unless the
Colossus of the North was hopelessly crippled. Metternich saw that the
campaign could not begin till 1812, and that the Emperor had need of all
the assistance he could get from conquered allies. He saw also the
mistakes of Napoleon, and meant to profit by them. He anticipated for
that daring soldier nothing but disaster in attempting to battle the
powers of Nature at such a distance from his capital. He perceived that
Napoleon was alienating, in his vast schemes of aggrandizement, even his
own ministers, like Talleyrand and Fouche, who would leave him the
moment they dared, although his marshals and generals might remain true
to him because of the enormous rewards which he had lavished upon them
for their military services. He knew the discontent of Italy and Poland
because of unfulfilled promises. He knew the intense hatred of Prussia
because of the humiliations and injuries Napoleon had inflicted on her.
Metternich was equally aware of the hostility of England, although Pitt
had passed away; and he despised the arrogance of a man who looked upon
himself as greater than destiny. "It is an evidence of the weakness of
the human understanding," said the infatuated conqueror, "for any one to
dream of resisting me."

So Metternich, after the marriage ceremony and its attendant
festivities, foreseeing the fall of the conqueror, retired to his post
at Vienna to complete his negotiations, and make his preparations for
the renewal of the conflict, which he now saw was inevitable. His work
was to persuade Prussia, Russia, and the lesser Powers, of the absolute
necessity of a sincere and cordial alliance to make preparations for the
conflict to put down, or at least successfully to resist, the common
enemy,--the ruthless and unscrupulous disturber of the peace of Europe;
not to make war, but to prepare for war in view of contingencies; and
this not merely to preserve the peace of Europe, but to save themselves
from ruin. All his confidential letters to his sovereign indicate his
conviction that the throne of Austria was in extreme danger of being
subverted. All his despatches to ambassadors show that affairs were
extremely critical. His policy, in general terms, was pacific; he longed
for peace on a settled basis. But his policy in the great crisis of 1811
and 1812 was warlike,--not for immediate hostilities, but for war as
soon as it would be safe to declare it. It was his profound conviction
that a lasting peace was utterly impossible so long as Napoleon reigned;
and this was the conviction also of Pitt and Castlereagh of England and
of the Prussian Hardenberg.

The main trouble was with Prussia. Frederick William III. was timid, and
considering the intense humiliation of his subjects and the overpowering
ascendency of Napoleon, saw no hope but in submission. He was afraid to
make a move, even when urged by his ministers. Indeed, he had in 1808
exiled the greatest of them, Stein, at the imperious demand of the
French emperor,--sending him to a Rhenish city, whence he was soon after
compelled to lead a fugitive life as an outlaw. It is true the king did
not like Stein, and saw him go without regret. He could not endure the
overshadowing influence of that great man, and was offended by his
brusque manners and his plain speech. But Stein saw things as
Metternich saw them, and had when prime minister devoted himself to
administrative and political reforms. Prince Hardenberg, the successor
of Stein, was easily convinced of Metternich's wisdom; for he was a
patriot and an honest man, though loose in his private morals in some
respects. Metternich had an ally, too, in Schornhurst, who was
remodelling the whole military system of Prussia.

The king, however, persisted in his timid policy until the Russian
campaign,--a course which, singularly enough, proved the wisest in his
circumstances. When at last the king yielded, all Prussia arose with
unbounded enthusiasm to engage in the war of liberation; Prussia needed
no urging when actually invaded; Austria openly threw off her
conservative appearance of armed neutrality: and the coalition for which
Metternich had long been laboring, and of which he was the life and
brain, became a reality. The battle of Leipsic settled the fate
of Napoleon.

Even before that fatal battle was fought, however, Napoleon, had he been
wise, might have saved himself. If he had been content in 1812 to spend
the winter in Smolensk, instead of hurrying on to Moscow, the enterprise
might not have been disastrous; but after his retreat from Russia, with
the loss of the finest army that Europe ever saw, he was doomed. Yet he
could not brook further humiliation. He resolved still to struggle. "It
may cost me my throne," said he, "but I will bury the world beneath its
ruins." He marched into Germany, in the spring of 1813, with a fresh
army of three hundred and fifty thousand men, replacing the half million
he had squandered in Russia. Metternich shrank from further bloodshed,
but clearly saw the issue. "You may still have peace," said he in an
audience with Napoleon. "Peace or war lie in your own hands; but you
must reduce your power, or you will fail in the contest." "Never!"
replied Napoleon; "I shall know how to die, but I will not yield a
handbreadth of soil." "You are lost, then," said the Austrian
chancellor, and withdrew. "It is all over with the man," said Metternich
to Berthier, Napoleon's chief of staff; and he turned to marshal the
forces of his empire. A short time was given Napoleon to reconsider, but
without effect. At twelve o'clock, Aug. 10, 1813, negotiations ceased;
the beacon fires were lighted, and hostilities recommenced. During the
preparations for the Russian campaign, Austria had been neutral and the
rest of Germany submissive; but now Russia, Prussia, and Austria were
allied, by solemn compact, to fight to the bitter end,--not to ruin
France, but to dethrone Napoleon.

The allied monarchs then met at Toplitz, with their ministers, to
arrange the plan of the campaign,--the Austrian armies being commanded
by Prince Schwartzenberg, and the Prussians by Bluecher. Then followed
the battle of Leipsic, on the 16th to the 18th of October, 1813,--"the
battle of the nations," it has been called,--and Napoleon's power was
broken. Again the monarchs, with their ministers, met at Basle to
consult, and were there joined by Lord Castlereagh, who represented
England, the allied forces still pursuing the remnants of the French
army into France. From Basle the conference was removed to the heights
of the Vosges, which overlooked the plains of France. On the 1st of
April, 1814, the allied sovereigns took up their residence in the
Parisian palaces; and on April 4 Napoleon abdicated, and was sent to
Elba. He still had twelve thousand or fifteen thousand troops at
Fontainebleau; but his marshals would have shot him had he made further
resistance. On the 4th of May Louis XVIII. was seated on the throne of
his ancestors, and Europe was supposed to be delivered.

Considering the evils and miseries which Napoleon had inflicted on the
conquered nations, the allies were magnanimous in their terms. No war
indemnity was even asked, and Napoleon in Elba was allowed an income of
six million francs, to be paid by France.

After the leaders of the allies had settled affairs at Paris, they
reassembled at Vienna,--ostensibly to reconstruct the political system
of Europe and secure a lasting peace; in reality, to divide among the
conquerors the spoils taken from the vanquished. The Congress of
Vienna,--in session from November, 1814, to June, 1815,--of which Prince
Metternich was chosen president by common consent, was one of the
grandest gatherings of princes and statesmen seen since the Diet of
Worms. There were present at its deliberations the Czar of Russia, the
Emperor of Austria, the kings of Prussia, Denmark, Bavaria, and
Wuertemberg, and nearly every statesman of commanding eminence in Europe.
Lord Castlereagh represented England; Talleyrand represented the
Bourbons of France; and Hardenberg, Prussia. Von Stein was also present,
but without official place. Besides these was a crowd of petty princes,
each with attaches. Metternich entertained the visitors in the most
lavish and magnificent manner. The government, though embarrassed and
straitened by the expense of the late wars, allowed L10,000 a day, equal
perhaps in that country and at that time to L50,000 to-day in London.
Nothing was seen but the most brilliant festivities, incessant balls,
fetes, and banquets. The greatest actors, the greatest singers, and the
greatest dancers were allured to the giddy capital, never so gay before
or since. Beethoven was also there, at the height of his fame, and the
great assembly rooms were placed at his disposal.

The sittings of the Congress, in view of the complicated questions
which had to be settled, did not regularly begin till November. The
meetings at first were harmonious; but ere long they became acrimonious,
as the views of the representatives of the four great powers--Russia,
Austria, England, and Prussia--were brought to light. They all, except
England, claimed enormous territories as a compensation for the
sacrifices they had made. Talleyrand at first was excluded from the
conferences; but his wonderful skill as a diplomatist soon made his
power felt. He was the soul of intrigue and insincerity. All the
diplomatists were at first wary and prudent, then greedy and
unscrupulous. Violent disputes arose. The Emperor Alexander openly
quarrelled with Metternich, and refused to be present at his parties,
although they had been on the most friendly terms.

In the division of the spoils, the Czar claimed the Grand Duchy of
Warsaw, to be nominally under the rule of a sovereign, but really to be
incorporated with his vast empire. Metternich resisted this claim with
all the ability he had, as bringing Russia too dangerously near the
frontiers of Austria; but Alexander had laid Prussia under such immense
obligations that Frederick William supported his claims,--with the
mutual understanding, however, that Prussia should annex the kingdom of
Saxony, since Saxony had supported Napoleon. The plenipotentiaries were
in such awe of the vast armies of the Czar, that they were obliged to
yield to this wicked annexation; and Poland--once the most powerful of
the mediaeval kingdoms of Europe--was wiped out of the map of
independent nations. This acquisition by far outbalanced all the
expenses which Alexander had incurred during the war of liberation. It
made Russia the most powerful military empire in the world.

Although Prussia and Austria had been, since the times of Frederic the
Great, in perpetual rivalry, the greatness of the common danger from
such a warlike neighbor now induced Metternich to make every overture to
Prussia to prevent a possible calamity to Germany; but Frederick William
was obstinate, and his league with Alexander could not be broken. It
appears, from the memoirs of Metternich, that it had been for a long
time his desire to unite Prussia and Austria in a firm alliance, in
order to protect Germany in case of future wars. That was undoubtedly
his true policy. It was the policy fifty years later of Bismarck,
although he was obliged to fight and humble Austria before he could
consummate it. With Russia on one side and France on the other, the only
hope of Germany is in union. But this aim of the great Austrian
statesman was defeated by the stupidity and greed of the Prussian king,
and by his interested friendship with "the autocrat of all the
Russias." Alexander got Poland, with an addition of about four million
subjects to his empire.

A greater resistance was made to the outrageous claims of Prussia. She
wanted to annex the whole of Saxony and important provinces on the
Rhine, which would have made her more powerful than Austria. Neither
Metternich nor Talleyrand nor Castlereagh would hear of this crime; and
so angry and threatening were the disputes in the Congress that a treaty
was signed by England, France, and Austria for an offensive and
defensive alliance against Prussia and Russia, in case the claims of
Prussia were persisted in. After the combination of Russia, Prussia,
Austria, and England against Napoleon, there was imminent danger of war
breaking out between these great Powers in the matter of a division of
spoils. In rapacity and greed they showed themselves as bad as
Napoleon himself.

Prussia, however, was the most greedy and insatiable of all the
contracting parties. She always has been so since she was erected into a
kingdom. The cruel terms exacted by Bismarck and Moltke in their late
contest with France indicate the real animus of Prussia. The conquerors
would have exacted ten milliards instead of five, as a war indemnity, if
they had thought that France could pay it. They did not dare to carry
away the pictures of the Louvre, nor perhaps did those iron warriors
care much for them; but they did want money and territory, and were
determined to get all they could. Prussia was a poor country, and must
be enriched any way by the unexpected spoils which the fortune of war
threw into her hands.

This same rapacity was seen at the Congress of Vienna; but the
opposition to it was too great to risk another war, and Prussia, at the
entreaty of Alexander, abated some of her demands, as did also Russia
her own. The result was that only half of Saxony was ceded to Prussia,
raising the subjects of Prussia to ten millions. The tact and firmness
of Talleyrand and Castlereagh had prevented the utter absorption of
Saxony in the new military monarchy. Talleyrand, whose designs could
never be fathomed by the most astute of diplomatists, had succeeded also
in isolating Russia and Prussia from the rest of Europe, and raising
France into a great power, although her territories were now confined to
the limits which had existed in 1792. He had succeeded in detaching
Austria and the southern States of Germany from Prussia. He had split
Germany into two rival powers, just what Louis Napoleon afterwards
aspired to do, hoping to derive from their mutual jealousies some great
advantage to France in case of war. Neither of them, however, realized
the intense common love of both Austria and Prussia, and indeed of all
the German States at heart, for "Fatherland," needing only the genius
of a very great man finally to unite them together in one great nation,
impossible to be hereafter vanquished by any single power.

Austria retained for her share Lombardy, Venice, Parma, Placentia,--the
finest part of Italy, that which was known in the time of Julius Caesar
as Cisalpine Gaul. She did not care for the Low Countries, which formed
a part of the old empire of Charles V., since to keep that territory
would cost more than it would pay. She also received from Bavaria the
Tyrol. As further results of the Congress of Vienna, the Netherlands and
Holland were united in one kingdom, under a prince of the house of
Nassau; Naples returned to the rule of the Bourbons; Genoa became a part
of Piedmont. The petty independent States of Germany (some three
hundred) were united into a confederation of thirty-seven, called the
German Confederacy, to afford mutual support in time of war, and to be
directed by a Diet, in which Austria and Prussia were to have two votes
each, while Bavaria, Wuertemberg, and Hanover were to have one vote each.
Thus, Prussia and Austria had four votes out of seven; which practically
gave to these two powers, if they chose to unite, the control of all
external relations. As to internal affairs, the legislative power was
vested in representatives from all the States, both small and great. It
will be seen that the higher interests of Germany were not considered
in this Congress at all, attention being directed solely to a division
of spoils.

But while the Congress was dividing between the princes who composed it
its acquisition of territory by conquest, and quarrelling about their
respective shares like the members of a family that had come into a
large fortune, news arrived of the escape of Napoleon from Elba, after a
brief ten months' detention, the adherence to him of the French army,
and the consequent dethronement of Louis XVIII. The Congress at once
dispersed, forgetting all its differences, while the great monarchs
united once more in pouring such an avalanche of troops into France and
Belgium that Napoleon stood no chance of retaining his throne, whatever
military genius he might display. After his defeat at Waterloo the
allies occupied Paris, and this time exacted a large war indemnity of
L40,000,000, and left an army of occupation of one hundred and fifty
thousand men in France until the money should be paid. They also
returned to their owners the pictures of the Louvre which Napoleon had
taken in his various conquests.

It was while the allies were in Paris settling the terms of the second
peace, that what is called the "Holy Alliance" was formed between
Alexander, Frederick William, and Francis (to whom were afterward added
the kings of France, Naples, and Spain), which had for its object the
suppression of liberal ideas throughout the Continent, in the name of
religion. Some of these monarchs were religious men in their
way,--especially the Czar, who had been much interested in the spread of
Christianity, and the king of Prussia; but even these men thought more
of putting down revolutionary ideas than they did of the triumphs
of religion.

We must, however, turn our attention to Metternich as the administrator
of a large empire, rather than as a diplomatist, although for thirty
years after this his hand was felt, if not seen, in all the political
affairs of Europe. He was now forty-four years of age, in the prime of
his strength and the fulness of his fame,--a prince of the empire,
chancellor and prime minister to the Emperor Francis. On his shoulders
were imposed the burdens of the State. He ruled with delegated powers
indeed, but absolutely. The master whom he served was weak, but was
completely in accord with Metternich on all political questions. He of
course submitted all important documents to the emperor, and requested
instructions; but all this was a matter of form. He was allowed to do as
he pleased. He was always exceedingly deferential, and never made
himself disagreeable to his sovereign, who could not do without him.
From first to last they were on the most friendly terms with each
other, and there was no jealousy of his power on the part of the
emperor. The chancellor was a gentleman, and had extraordinary tact. But
his labors were prodigious, and gave him no time for pleasure, or even
social intercourse, which finally became irksome to him. He was too busy
with public affairs to be a great scholar, and was not called upon to
make speeches, as there was no deliberative assembly to address. Nor was
he a national idol. He lived retired in his office, among ministers and
secretaries, and appeared in public as little as possible.

After the final dethronement of Napoleon, the policy of Metternich with
reference to foreign powers was pacific. He had seen enough of war, and
it had no charm for him. War had brought Germany to the verge of
political ruin. All his efforts as chancellor were directed to the
preservation of peace and the balance of power among all nations. At the
close of the great European struggle the finances of all the German
States were alike disordered, and their industries paralyzed. Compared
with France and England Germany was poor, and wages for all kinds of
labor were small. It became Metternich's aim to develop the material
resources of the empire, which could be best done in time of peace.
Austria, accordingly, took part in no international contest for fifty
years, except to preserve her own territories. Metternich did not seem
to be ambitious of further territorial aggrandizement for his country;
it required all his talents to preserve what she had. Indeed, the
preservation of the _status quo_ everywhere was his desire, without
change, and without progress. He was a conservative, like the English
Lord Eldon, who supported established institutions because they _were_
established; and any movement or any ideas which interrupted the order
of things were hateful to him, especially agitations for greater
political liberty. A constitutional government was his abhorrence.

Hence, the policy of Metternich's home rule was fatal to all expansion,
to all emancipating movements, to all progress, to everything which
looked like popular liberty. Men might smoke, drink beer, attend
concerts and theatres, amuse themselves in any way they pleased, but
they should not congregate together to discuss political questions; they
should not form clubs or societies with political intent of any kind;
they should not even read agitating tracts and books. He could not help
their thinking, but they should not criticise his government. They
should be taught in schools directed by Roman Catholic priests, who were
good classical scholars, good mathematicians, but who knew but little
and cared less about theories of political economy, or even history
unless modified to suit religious bigots of the Mediaeval type. He
maintained that men should be contented with the sphere in which they
were born; that discontent was no better than rebellion against
Providence; that any change would be for the worse. He had no liking for
universities, in which were fomented liberal ideas; and those professors
who sought to disturb the order of things, or teach new ideas,--anything
to make young scholars think upon anything but ordinary duties,--were
silenced or discharged or banished. The word "rights" was an abomination
to him; men, he thought, had no rights,--only duties. He disliked the
Press more than he did the universities. It was his impression that it
was antagonistic to all existing governments; hence he fettered the
Press with restrictions, and confined it to details of little
importance. He would allow no comments which unsettled the minds of
readers. In no country was the censorship of the Press more inexorable
than in Austria and its dependent States. All that spies and a secret
police and priests could do to ferret out associations which had in view
a greater liberty, was done; all that soldiers could do to suppress
popular insurrection was effected,--and all in the name of religion,
since he looked upon free inquiry as logically leading to scepticism,
and scepticism to infidelity, and infidelity to revolution.

In the Catholic sense Metternich was a religious man, since he
recognized in the Roman Catholic Church the conservation of all that is
valuable in society, in government, and even in civilization. He brought
Catholics to his aid in cementing political despotism, for "Absolutism
and Catholicism," as Sir James Stephen so well said, "are but
convertible terms." Accordingly, he brought back the Jesuits, and
restored them to their ancient power and wealth. He formed the strictest
union with the Pope. He rewarded ecclesiastics, and honored the great
dignitaries of the established church as his most efficient and trusted
lieutenants in the war he waged on human liberty.

But I must allude to some of the things which gave this great man
trouble. Of course nothing worried him so much as popular insurrections,
since they endangered the throne, and opposed the cherished ends of his
life. As early as 1817, what he called "sects" disturbed central Europe.
These were a class of people who resembled the Methodists of England,
and the followers of Madam von Kruedener in Russia,--generally mystics in
religion, who practised the greatest self-denial in this world to make
sure of the promises of the next. The Kingdom of Wuertemberg, the Grand
Duchy of Baden, and Suabia were filled with these people,--perfectly
harmless politically, yet with views which Metternich considered an
innovation, to be stifled in the beginning. So of Bible societies; he
was opposed to these as furnishing a class of subjects for discussion
which brought up to his mind the old dissertations on "the rights of
man." "The Catholic Church," he writes to Count Nesselrode, the Russian
minister, "does not encourage the universal reading of the Bible, which
should be confined to persons who are calm and enlightened." But he goes
on to say that he himself at forty-five reads daily one or two chapters,
and finds new beauties in them, while at the age of twenty he was a
sceptic, and found it difficult not to think that the family of Lot was
unworthy to be saved, Noah unworthy to have lived, Saul a great
criminal, and David a terrible man; that he had tried to understand
everything, but that now he accepts everything without cavil or
criticism. Truly, a Catholic might say, "See the glorious peace and
repose which our faith brings to the most intellectual of men!"

In 1819 an event occurred, of no great importance in itself, but which
was made the excuse for increased stringency in the suppression of
liberal sentiments throughout Germany. This was the assassination of Von
Kotzebue, the dramatic author, at Manheim, at the hands of a fanatic by
the name of Sand. Kotzebue had some employment under the Russian
government, and was supposed to be a propagandist of the views of the
Czar, who had lately become exceedingly hostile to all emancipating
movements. In the early part of his reign Alexander was called a
Jacobin by Metternich, who despised his philanthropical and sentimental
theories, and his energetic labors in behalf of literature, educational
institutions, freer political conditions, etc.; but when Napoleon was
sent to St. Helena, the Russian ruler, wearied with great events and
dreading revolutionary tendencies, changed his opinions, and was now
leagued with the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria in
supporting the most stringent measures against all reformers. Sand was a
theological student in the University of Jena, who thought he was doing
God's service by removing from the earth with his assassin's dagger a
vile wretch employed by the Russian tyrant to propagate views which
mocked the loftiest aspirations of mankind. The murder of Kotzebue
created an immense sensation throughout Europe, and was followed by
increased rigor on the part of all despotic governments in muzzling the
press, in the suppression of public meetings of every sort, and
especially in expelling from the universities both students and
professors who were known or even supposed to entertain liberal ideas.
Metternich went so far as to write a letter to the King of Prussia
urging him to disband the gymnasia, as hotbeds of mischief. His
influence on this monarch was still further seen in dissuading him to
withhold the constitution promised his subjects during the war of
liberation. He regarded the meeting of a general representation of the
nation as scarcely less evil than democratic violence, and his hatred of
constitutional checks on a king was as great as of intellectual
independence in a professor at a gymnasium. Universities and constituent
assemblies, to him, were equally fatal to undisturbed peace and
stability in government.

In the midst of these efforts to suppress throughout Germany all
agitating political ideas and movements, the news arrived of the
revolution in Naples, July, 1820, effected by the Carbonari, by which
the king was compelled to restore the constitution of 1813, or abdicate.
Metternich lost no time in assembling the monarchs of Austria, Prussia,
and Russia, with their principal ministers, to a conference or congress
at Troppau, with a view of putting down the insurrection by armed
intervention. The result is well known. The armies of Austria and
Russia--170,000 men--restored the Neapolitan tyrant to his throne; while
he, on his part, revoked the constitution he had sworn to defend, and
affairs at Naples became worse than they were before. In no country in
the world was there a more execrable despotism than that exercised by
the Bourbon Ferdinand. The prisons were filled with political prisoners;
and these prisons were filthy, without ventilation, so noisome and
pestilential that even physicians dared not enter them; while the
wretched prisoners, mostly men of culture, chained to the most
abandoned and desperate murderers and thieves, dragged out their weary
lives without trial and without hope. And this was what the king,
supported and endorsed by Metternich, considered good government to be.

The following year saw an insurrection in Piedmont, when the patriotic
party hoped to throw all Northern Italy upon the rear of the Austrians,
but which resulted, as will be treated elsewhere, in a sad collapse. The
victory of absolutism in Italy was complete, and all people seeking
their liberties became the object of attack from the three great Powers,
who obeyed the suggestions of the Austrian chancellor,--now
unquestionably the most prominent figure in European politics. He had
not only suppressed liberty in the country which he directly governed,
but he had united Austria, Prussia, and Russia in a war against the
liberties of Europe, and this under the guise of religion itself.

Metternich now thought he had earned a vacation, and in the fall of 1821
he made a visit to Hanover. He had previously visited Italy with the
usual experience of cultivated Germans,--unbounded admiration for its
works of art and sunny skies and historical monuments. He was as
enthusiastic as Madame de Stael over St. Peter's and the Pantheon. In
his private letters to his wife and children, so simple, so frank, so
childlike in his enjoyment, no one would suppose he was the arch and
cruel enemy of all progress, with monarchs for his lieutenants, and
governors for his slaves. His journey to Hanover was a triumphant
procession. The King George IV. embraced him with that tenderness which
is usual with monarchs when they meet one another, and in the
fulsomeness of his praises compared him to all the great men of
antiquity and of modern times,--Caesar, Cato, Gustavus Adolphus,
Marlborough, Pitt, Wellington, and the whole catalogue of heroes. On his
return journey to Vienna, Metternich stopped to rest himself a while at
Johannisberg, the magnificent estate on the Rhine which the emperor had
given him, near where he was born, and where he had stored away forty
huge casks of his own vintage, worth six hundred ducats a cask, for the
use of monarchs and great nobles alone. From thence he proceeded to
Frankfort, a beautiful but to him a horrible town, I suppose, because it
was partially free; and while there he took occasion to visit five
universities, at all of which he was received as a sort of deity,--the
students following his carriage with uncovered heads, and with cheers
and shouts, curious to see what sort of a man it was who had so easily
suppressed revolution in Italy, and who ruled Germany with such an
iron hand.

And yet while Metternich so completely extinguished the fires of
liberty in the countries which he governed, he was doomed to see how
hopeless it was to do the same in other lands by mere diplomatic
intrigues. In 1822 the Spanish revolution broke out; and a year after
came the Greek revolution, with all its complications, ending in a war
between Russia and Turkey. From this he stood aloof, since if he helped
the Turks to put down insurrection he would offend the Emperor
Alexander, thus far his best ally, and commit Austria to a war from
which he shrank. It was his policy to preserve his country from
entangling wars. It was as much as he could do to preserve order and law
in the various States of Germany, at the cost of all intellectual
progress. But he watched the developments of liberty in other parts of
Europe with the keenest interest, and his correspondence with the
different potentates--whether monarchs or their ministers--is very
voluminous, and was directed to the support of absolutism, in which
alone he saw hope for Europe. The liberal views of the English Canning
gave Metternich both solicitude and disgust; and he did all he could to
undermine the influence of Capo D'Istrias, the Greek diplomatist, with
his imperial master the Czar. He hated any man who was politically
enlightened, and destroyed him if he could. The event in his long reign
which most perplexed him and gave him the greatest solicitude was the
revolution in France in 1830, which unseated the Bourbons, and
established the constitutional government of Louis Philippe; and this
was followed by the insurrection of the Netherlands, revolts in the
German States, and the Polish revolution. With the year 1830 began a new
era in European politics,--a period of reform, not always successful,
but enough to show that the spirit of innovation could no longer be
suppressed; that the subterranean fires of liberty would burst forth
when least expected, and overthrow the strongest thrones.

But amid all the reforms which took place in England, in France, in
Belgium, in Piedmont, Austria remained stationary, so cemented was the
power of Metternich, so overwhelming was his influence,--the one central
figure in Germany for eighteen years longer. In 1835 the Emperor Francis
died, recommending to his son and successor Ferdinand to lean on the
powerful arm of the chancellor, and continue him in great offices. Nor
was it until the outbreak in Vienna in 1848, when emperor and minister
alike fled from the capital, that the official career of Metternich
closed, and he finally retired to his estates at Johannisberg to spend
his few declining years in leisure and peace.

For forty years Metternich had borne the chief burdens of the State. For
forty years his word was the law of Germany. For forty years all the
cabinets of continental Europe were guided more or less by his advice;
and his advice, from first to last, was uniform,--to put down popular
movements and uphold absolutism at any cost, and severely punish all
people, of whatever rank or character, who tempted the oppressed to
shake off their fetters, or who dared to give expression to emancipating
ideas, even in the halls of universities.

In view of the execrable tyranny, both political and religious, which
Metternich succeeded in establishing for thirty years, it is natural for
an ordinary person to look upon him as a monster,--hard, cruel,
unscrupulous, haughty, gloomy; a sort of Wallenstein or Strafford, to be
held in abhorrence; a man to be assassinated as the enemy of mankind.

But Metternich was nothing of the sort. As a man, in all his private
relations he was amiable, gentle, and kind to everybody, and greatly
revered by domestic servants and public functionaries. By his imperial
master he was treated as a brother or friend, rather than as a minister;
while on his part he never presumed on any liberties, and seemed simply
to obey the orders of his sovereign,--orders which he himself suggested,
with infinite tact and politeness; unlike Stein and Bismarck, who were
overbearing and rude even in the presence of the sovereign and court.
Metternich had better manners and more self-control. Indeed, he was the
model of a gentleman wherever he went. He was the hardest worked man in
the empire; and he worked from the stimulus of what he conceived to be
his duty, and for the welfare of the country, as he understood it.
Though one of the richest men in Austria, and of the highest social
rank, he lived in frugal simplicity, despising pomp and extravagance
alike. His highest enjoyment, outside the society of his family, was
music. The whole realm of art was his delight; but he loved Nature more
even than art. He enjoyed greatly the repose of his own library,--an
apartment eighteen feet high, and containing fifteen thousand volumes.
The only unamiable thing about Metternich was his fear of being bored.
He maintained that it was impossible to find over six interesting men in
any company whatever. With people whom he trusted he was unusually frank
and free-spoken. With diplomatists he wore a mask, and made it a point
to conceal his thoughts. He deceived even Napoleon. No one could
penetrate his intentions. Under a smooth and placid countenance,
unruffled and calm on all occasions, he practised when he pleased the
profoundest dissimulation; and he dissimulated by telling the truth
oftener than by concealing it. He knew what the _ars celare artem_
meant. When he could find leisure he was fond of travelling, especially
in Italy; but he hated and avoided the discomforts of travel. If he
made distant journeys he travelled luxuriously, and wherever he went he
was received with the greatest honors. At Rome the Pope treated him as a
sovereign. The Czar Alexander commanded his magnates to give to him the
same deference that they gave to himself.

While the world regarded Metternich as the most fortunate of men, he yet
had many sorrows and afflictions, which saddened his life. He lost two
wives and three of his children, to all of whom he was devotedly
attached, yet bore the loss with Christian resignation. He found relief
in work, and in his duties. There were no scandals in his private life.
He professed and seemed to feel the greatest reverence for religion, in
the form which had been taught him. He detested vulgarity in every
shape, as he did all ordinary vices, from which he was free. He was
self-conscious, and loved attention and honors, but was not a slave to
them, like most German officials. Nothing could be more tender and
affectionate than his letters to his mother, to his wife, and to his
daughters. His father he treated with supreme reverence. No public man
ever gave more dignity to domestic pleasures. "The truest friends of my
life," said he, "are my family and my master;" and to each he was
equally devoted. On the death of his second wife, in 1829, he writes,--

"I feel this misfortune most deeply. I have lost everything for the
remainder of my days. The other world is daily more and more peopled
with beings to whom I am united by the closest ties of affection. I too
shall take my place there, and I shall disengage myself from this life
with all the less regret. My only relief is in work. I am at my desk by
nine in the morning. I leave it at five, and return to it at half-past
six, and work till half-past ten, when I receive visitors till

Time, however, brought its relief, and in 1831 he married the Princess
Melanie, and his third marriage was as happy as the others appear to
have been. In the diary of this wife, December 31, I read:--

"We supped at midnight, and exchanged good wishes for the new year. May
God long preserve to me my good, kind Clement, and illuminate him with
His divine light. It touches me to see the pleasure it gives him to talk
with me on business, and read to me what he writes."

Such was the great Austrian statesman in his private life,--a dutiful
son, a loving and devoted husband, an affectionate father, a faithful
servant to his emperor, a kind master to his dependants, a courteous
companion, a sincere believer in the doctrines of his church, a man
conscientious in the discharge of duties, and having at heart the
welfare of his country as he understood it, amid innumerable perils from
foreign and domestic foes. As a statesman he was vigilant, sagacious,
experienced, and devoted to the interests of his imperial master.

But what were Metternich's services, by which great men claim to be
judged? He could say that he was the promoter of law and order; that he
kept the nation from entangling alliances with foreign powers; that he
was the friend of peace, and detested war except upon necessity; that he
developed industrial resources and wisely regulated finances; that he
secured national prosperity for forty years after desolating wars; that
he never disturbed the ordinary vocations of the people, or inflicted
unnecessary punishments; and that he secured to Austria a proud
pre-eminence among the nations of Europe.

But this was all. Metternich did nothing for the higher interests of
Germany. He kept it stagnant for forty years. He neither advanced
education, nor philanthropy, nor political economy. He was the
unrelenting foe of all political reforms, and of all liberal ideas. What
we call civilization, beyond amusements and pleasures and the ordinary
routine of business, owes to him nothing,--not even codes of law, or
enlightened principles of government. Judged by his services to
humanity, Metternich was not a great man. His highest claims to
greatness were in a vigorous administration of public affairs and
diplomatic ability in his treatment of foreign powers, but not in
far-reaching views or aims. As a ruler he ranks no higher than Mazarin
or Walpole or Castlereagh, and far below Canning, Peel, Pitt, or Thiers.
Indeed, Metternich takes his place with the tyrants of mankind, yet
showing how benignant, how courteous, how interesting, and even
religious and beloved, a tyrant can be; which is more than can be said
of Richelieu or Bismarck, the only two statesmen with whom he can be
compared,--all three ruling with absolute power delegated by
irresponsible and imperial masters, like Mordecai behind the throne of
Xerxes, or Maecenas at the court of Augustus.


The greatest authority is the Autobiography of Metternich; but Alison's
History, though dull and heavy, and marked by Tory prejudices, is
reliable. Fyffe may be read with profit in his recent history of Modern
Europe; also Mueller's Political History of Recent Times. The Annual
Register is often quoted by Alison. Schlosser's History of Europe in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a good authority.




In this lecture I wish to treat of the restoration of the Bourbons, and
of the counter-revolution in France.

On the fall of Napoleon, the Prussian king and the Austrian emperor,
under the predominating influence of Metternich, in restoring the
Bourbons were averse to constitutional checks. They wanted nothing less
than absolute monarchy, such as existed before the Revolution. On the
other hand, the Czar Alexander, generous and inclined then to liberal
ideas, was willing to concede something to the Revolution; while the
government of England, mindful of the liberty which had made that
country so glorious and so prosperous, also favored a constitutional
government in the person of the legitimate heir of the French monarchy.
Such was also the wish of the French nation, so far as it could be
expressed; for the French people, under whatever form of government
they may have lived, have never forgotten or repudiated the ideas and
bequests of the greatest movement in modern times.

Prussia and Austria, therefore, were obliged to yield to Russia and
England, supported by the will of the French nation itself. Russia had
no jealousy of French ideas; and England certainly could not,
consistently with her struggles and her traditions, oppose what the
English nation resolutely clung to, and of which it was so proud.
Prussia and Austria, undisturbed by revolutions, wished simply the
restoration of the _status quo_, which with them meant absolute
monarchy; but which in France was not really the _status quo_, since the
Revolution had effected great and permanent changes even under the
regime of Bonaparte. Russia and England, in conceding something to
liberty, were yet as earnest and sincere advocates of legitimacy as
Prussia and Austria; for constitutional rights may exist under a
monarchy as well as under a republic. Moreover, it was felt by
enlightened statesmen of all parties that no government could be stable
and permanent in France which ignored the bequests of the Revolution,
which even Napoleon professed to respect.

Accordingly it was settled that Louis XVIII.,--the younger brother of
Louis XVI., who had fled from France in 1792,--should be recalled from
exile, and restored to the throne of his ancestors, since he agreed to
accept checks to his authority, and swore to defend the new
constitution, although he insisted upon reigning "by the grace of
God,"--not as a monarch who received his crown from the people, or as a
gift from other monarchs, but by divine right. To this all parties
consented. He maintained the dignity of the royal prerogative at the
same time that he recognized the essential liberties of the nation. They
were not so full and complete as those in England; but the king
guaranteed to secure the rights both of public and private property, to
respect the freedom of the Press, to grant liberty of worship, to
maintain the national obligations, to make the judicial power
independent and irremovable, and to admit all Frenchmen to civil and
military employment, without restrictions in matters of religion. These
in substance constituted the charter which he granted on condition of
reigning,--an immense gain to France and the cause of civilization, if
honestly maintained.

Louis XVIII. was neither a great king nor a great man; but his long
exile of twenty years, his travels and residences in various countries
in Europe, his misfortunes and his studies, had liberalized his mind
without embittering his heart. He never lost his dignity or his hopes in
his sad reverses; and when he was thus recalled to France to mount the
throne of his murdered brother, he was a very respectable man, both
from natural intelligence and extensive attainments. He possessed great
social and conversational powers, was moderate in his views of
Catholicism, virtuous in his private character, affectionate with his
friends and the members of his family, prudent in the exercise of power,
and disposed to reign according to the constitution which he honestly
had accepted; but socially he restored the ancient order of things,
surrounded himself with a splendid court, lived in great pomp and
ceremony, and appointed the ancient nobles to the higher offices of
state. According to French writers, he was the equal in conversation of
any of the great men with whom he was brought in contact, without being
great himself, thereby resembling Louis XIV. He had handsome features, a
musical voice, pleasing manners, and singular urbanity, without being
condescending. He was infirm in his legs, which prevented him from
taking exercise, except in his long daily drives, drawn in his
magnificent carriage by eight horses, with outriders and guards.

The king delegated his powers to no single statesman, but held the reins
in his own hand. His ability as a ruler consisted in his tact and
moderation in managing the conflicting parties, and in his honest
abstention from encroaching on the liberties of the people in rare
emergencies; so that his reign was peaceable and tolerably successful.
It required no inconsiderable ability to preserve the throne to his
successor amid such a war of factions, and such a disposition for
encroachments on the part of the royal family. In contrast with the
splendid achievements and immense personality of Napoleon, Louis XVIII.
is not a great figure in history; but had there been no Revolution and
no Napoleon, he would have left the fame of a wise and benevolent
sovereign. His only striking weakness was in submitting to the influence
of either a favorite or a woman, like all the Bourbons from Henry IV.
downward,--except perhaps Louis XVI., who would have been more fortunate
had he yielded implicitly to the overpowering ascendency of such a woman
as Madame de Maintenon, or such a minister as Richelieu.

The reign of Louis XVIII. is not marked by great events or great
passions, except the unrelenting and bitter animosity of the Royalists
to everything which characterized the Revolution or the military
ascendency of Napoleon. By their incessant intrigues and unbounded
hatreds and intolerant bigotry, they kept the kingdom in constant
turmoils, even to the verge of revolution, gradually pushing the king
into impolitic measures, against his will and his better judgment, and
creating a reaction to all liberal movements. These turmoils, which are
uninteresting to us, formed no inconsiderable part of the history of the
times. The only great event of the reign was the war in Spain to
suppress revolutionary ideas in that miserable country, ground down by
priests and royal despotism, and a prey to every conceivable faction.

The ministry which the king appointed on his accession was composed of
able, moderate, and honest men, but without any ascendant genius, except
Talleyrand; who selected his colleagues, and retained for himself the
portfolio of foreign affairs and the presidency of the Council, giving
to Fouche the management of internal affairs. Loth was the king to
accept the services of either,--the one a regicide, and the other a
traitor. The whole royal family set up a howl of indignation at the
appointment of Fouche; but it was deemed necessary to secure his
services in order to maintain law and order, and the king remained firm
against the earnest expostulations of his brother the Comte d'Artois,
his niece the Duchesse d'Angouleme, and all the Royalists who had
influence with him. But he despised and hated in his soul Fouche,--that
minion of Napoleon, that product of blood and treason,--and waited only
for a convenient time to banish him from the councils and the realm. Nor
did he like Talleyrand (at that time the greatest man in France), but
made use of his magnificent talents only until he could do without him.
When the king felt established on his throne, he sent Talleyrand away;
indeed, there was great pressure brought to bear for the dismissal by
those who found the minister too moderate in his views. The king did not
punish him, but kept him in a subordinate office, leaving him to enjoy
his dignities and the immense fortune he had accumulated.

Talleyrand was born in 1754, and belonged to one of the most illustrious
families in France. He was destined to the Church against his will,
being from the start worldly, ambitious, and scandalously immoral; but
he accepted his destiny, and soon distinguished himself at the Sorbonne
for his literary attainments, for his wit and his social qualities. At
twenty, as the young Abbe de Perigord, he was received into the highest
society of Paris; his noble birth, his aristocratic and courtly manners,
his convivial qualities, and his irrepressible wit made him a favorite
in the gay circles which marked the early part of the reign of Louis
XVI., while his extraordinary abilities and consummate tact naturally
secured early promotion. In 1780 he was appointed to the office of
general agent for the clergy of France, which brought him before the
public. Eight years after, at the early age of thirty-four, he was made
Bishop of Autun. In May, 1789, he became a member of the States-General,
and with his fascinating eloquence tried to induce the clergy to
surrender their tithes and church lands to the nation,--a result which
was brought about soon after, _nolens volens_, by the genius of
Mirabeau. Talleyrand hated the Church and despised the people, but, like
Mirabeau, was in favor of a constitution like that of England, In all
his changes he remained an aristocrat from his tastes, his education,
and his rank, but veiled his views, whatever they were, with profound
dissimulation, of which he was a consummate master. The laxity of his
morals, the secret hatred of his order, and his infidel sentiments led
to his excommunication, which troubled him but little. Out of the pale
of the Church, he turned his thoughts to diplomacy, and was sent to
London as an ambassador,--without, however, the official title and
insignia of that high office,--where he fascinated the highest circles
by the splendor of his conversation and the causticity of his wit. On
his return to Paris he was distrusted by the Jacobins, and with
difficulty made his escape to England; but the English government also
distrusted a man of such boundless intrigue, and ordered him to quit the
country within twenty-four hours. He fled to America at the age of
forty, with straitened means, but after the close of the Reign of Terror
returned to Paris, and six months later was made foreign minister under
the Directory. This office he did not long retain, failing to secure the
confidence of the government. The austere Carnot said of him:--

"That man brings with him all the vices of the old regime, without
being able to acquire a single virtue of the new one. He possesses no
fixed principles, but changes them as he does his linen, adopting them
according to the fashion of the day. He was a philosopher when
philosophy was in vogue; a republican now, because it is necessary at
present to be so in order to become anything; to-morrow he would
proclaim and uphold tyranny, if he could thereby serve his own
interests. I will not have him at any price; and so long as I am at the
helm of State he shall be nothing."

When Bonaparte returned from Egypt, Citizen Talleyrand had been six
months out of office, and he saw that it would be for his interest to
put himself in intimate connection with the most powerful man in France.
Besides, as a diplomatist, he saw that only in a monarchical government
could he have employment. Napoleon, who seldom made a mistake in his
estimate of character, perceived that Talleyrand was just the man for
his purpose,--talented, dexterous, unscrupulous, and sagacious,--and
made him his minister of foreign affairs, utterly indifferent as to his
private character. Nor could he politically have made a wiser choice;
for it was Talleyrand who made the Concordat with the Pope, the Treaty
of Luneville, and the Peace of Amiens. Napoleon wanted a practical man
in the diplomatic post,--neither a pedant nor an idealist; and that was
just what Talleyrand was,--a man to meet emergencies, a man to build up
a throne. But even Napoleon got tired of him at last, and Talleyrand
retired with the dignity of vice-grand elector of the empire, grand
chamberlain, and Prince of Benevento, together with a fortune, it is
said, of thirty million francs.

"How did you acquire your riches?" blandly asked the Emperor one day.
"In the simplest way in the world," replied the ex-minister. "I bought
stock the day before the 18th Brumaire [when Napoleon overthrew the
Directory], and sold it again the day after."

When Napoleon meditated the conquest of Spain, Talleyrand, like
Metternich, saw that it would be a blunder, and frankly told the Emperor
his opinion,--a thing greatly to his credit. But his advice enraged
Napoleon, who could brook no opposition or dissent, and he was turned
out of his office as chamberlain. Talleyrand avenged himself by plotting
against his sovereign, foreseeing his fall, and by betraying him to the
Bourbons. He gave his support to Louis XVIII., because he saw that the
only government then possible for France was one combining legitimacy
with constitutional checks; for Talleyrand, with all his changes and
treasons, liked neither an unfettered despotism nor democratic rule. As
one of those who acted with the revolutionists, he was liberal in his
ideas; but as the servant of royalty he wished to see a firmly
established government, which to his mind was impossible with the reign
of demagogues. When the Congress of Vienna assembled, he was sent to it
as the French plenipotentiary. And he did good work at the Congress for
his sovereign, whose representative he was, and for his country by
contriving with his adroit manipulations to alienate the northern from
the southern States of Germany, making the latter allies of France and
the former allies of Russia,--in other words, practically dividing
Germany, which it was the work of Bismarck afterward to unite. A united
Germany Talleyrand regarded as threatening to the interests of France;
and he contrived to bring France back again into political importance,--
to restore her rank among the great Powers. He did not bargain for
spoils, like the other plenipotentiaries; he only strove to preserve the
nationality of France, and to secure her ancient limits, which Prussia
in her greed and hatred would have destroyed or impaired but for the
magnanimity of the Czar Alexander and the firmness of Lord Castlereagh.

On his return from the Congress of Vienna, the reign of Talleyrand as
prime minister was short; and as his power was comparatively small under
both Louis XVIII. and his successor Charles X., and as he was not the
representative of reactionary ideas or movements, but only of
a firm government, I do not give to him the leadership of the
counter-revolution. He was unquestionably the greatest statesman at that
time in France, though indolent, careless, and without power as
an orator.

Who was then the great exponent of reaction, and of antagonism to
liberal and progressive opinions, during the reigns of the restored
Bourbons? It was not the king himself, Louis XVIII.; for he did all he
could to repress the fanatical zeal of his family and of the royalist
party. He despised the feeble mind of his brother, the Comte d'Artois,
his narrow intolerance, and his court of priests and bigots, and was in
perpetual conflict with him as a politician, while at the same time he
clung to him with the ties of natural affection.

Was it the Duc de Richelieu, grand-nephew of the great cardinal, whom
the king selected for his prime minister on the retirement of
Talleyrand? He hardly represents the return to absolutism, since he was
moderate, conciliatory, and disposed to unite all parties under a
constitutional government. No man in France was more respected than
he,--adored by his family, modest, virtuous, disinterested, and
patriotic. As an administrator in the service of Russia during the
ascendency of Napoleon, he had greatly distinguished himself. He was a
favorite of Alexander, and through his influence with the Czar France
was in no slight degree indebted for the favorable terms which she
received on the restoration of the monarchy, when Prussia exacted a
cruel indemnity. He wished to unite all parties in loyal submission to
the constitution, rather than secure the ascendency of any. While able
and highly respected, Richelieu was not pre-eminently great. Nor was
Villele, who succeeded him as prime minister, and who retained his power
for six or eight years, nearly to the close of the reign of Charles X.,
a great historical figure.

The man under the restored monarchy who represented with the most
ability reactionary movements of all kinds, and devotion to the cause of
absolute monarchy, I think was Francois Auguste, Vicomte de
Chateaubriand. Certainly he was the most illustrious character of that
period. Poet, orator, diplomatist, minister, he was a man of genius, who
stands out as a great figure in history; not so great as Talleyrand in
the single department of diplomacy, but an infinitely more respectable
and many-sided man. He had an immense _eclat_ in the early part of this
century as writer and poet, although his literary fame has now greatly
declined. Lamartine, in his sentimental and rhetorical exaggeration,
speaks of him as "the Ossian of France,--an aeolian harp, producing
sounds which ravish the ear and agitate the heart, but which the mind
cannot define; the poet of instincts rather than of ideas, who gained an
immortal empire, not over the reason but over the imagination of
the age."

Chateaubriand was born in Brittany, of a noble but not illustrious
family, in 1769, entered the army in 1786, and during the Reign of
Terror emigrated to America. He returned to France in 1799, after the
18th Brumaire, and became a contributor to the "Mercure de France." In
1802 he published the "Genie du Christianisme," which made him
enthusiastically admired as a literary man,--the only man of the time
who could compete with the fame of Madame de Stael. This book astonished
a country that had been led astray by an infidel philosophy, and
converted it back to Christianity, not by force of arguments, but by an
appeal to the heart and the imagination. The clergy, the aristocracy,
women, and youth were alike enchanted. The author was sent to Rome by
Napoleon as secretary of his embassy; but on the murder of the Due
d'Enghien (1804), Chateaubriand left the imperial service, and lived in
retirement, travelling to the Holy Land and throughout the Orient and
Southern Europe, and writing his books of travels. He took no interest
in political affairs until the time of the Restoration, when he again
appeared. A brilliant and effective pamphlet, "De Bonaparte et des
Bourbons," published by him in 1814, was said by Louis XVIII. to be
worth an army of a hundred thousand men to the cause of the Bourbons;
and upon their re-establishment Chateaubriand was immediately in high
favor, and was made a member of the Chamber of Peers.

The Chamber of Peers was substituted for the Senate of Napoleon, and was
elected by the king. It had cognizance of the crime of high treason, and
of all attempts against the safety of the State. It was composed of the
most distinguished nobles, the bishops, and marshals of France, presided
over by the chancellor. To this chamber the ministers were admitted, as
well as to the Chamber of Deputies, the members of which were elected by
about one hundred thousand voters out of thirty millions of people. They
were all men of property, and as aristocratic as the peers themselves.
They began their sessions by granting prodigal compensations,
indemnities, and endowments to the crown and to the princes. They
appropriated thirty-three millions of francs annually for the
maintenance of the king, besides voting thirty millions more for the


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