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and representation of those morals.'-Revue des Deux Mondes, Ser. 3, vol. iv. p. 441.
This admission, that the July Revolution has worked a great and sudden change in the moral condition of women in France, by emancipating them from 'etiquette and reserve'-that is, in one word, from modesty-is all that we require. Whether it has operated by creating a deeper profligacy, or whether it has only emboldened that which already existed, to exhibit itself with such universal effrontery is, as far as regards public decency, of no great consequence; we believe that it has acted in both ways; but in either case, the admission of the writer in the Revue des Deux Mondes justifies our anxiety as to the state of female morals in France, and we need hardly add, that in a civilized country the corruption of female virtue is the worst and most irretrievable of all corruptions.
We hope we may not be misunderstood-above all in France. Neither M. de Balsac, nor his critics, will persuade us that the great mass of French society can be inoculated with this contagion; we know, in our private experience, such a majority of favourable instances of domestic morality and social happiness, that we are justified in drawing like satisfactory conclusions as to the great body of the people; but, as we lately said of the great body of the people during the Reign of Terror, the numerical majority was innocent; but the active, reckless, profligate, and victorious minority gave its own character to the astonished age and the subjugated nation. This is probably the real state of the present question as to the national morality.
We can assure our neighbours that we write in no spirit of national prejudice, and still less with anything like national hostility. We not only love and respect France for herself-for the peculiar qualities which render her, under a good government, one of the most amiable, and powerful portions of the great human family; but we feel that we have great common interests with her. In her welfare and prosperity we shall cordially rejoice, for we needs must share; and if she is destined again to become the prey of political and moral disorder, our grief for her misfortunes will be sincere, for it will be mingled with apprehension for our own.
Our best, we had almost said our only, hope of her being saved from a catastrophe of which we see so many various symptomslight and grave-is, we confess, in the personal character of THE KING. We know not whether he was quite blameless in all the circumstances which have led to the present alarming state of affairs; we incline to believe that he was; but we are satisfied that he is now desirous, and we trust that he may be able, to arrest the mischief: He is a man of talents, of courage, and of virtue; his
whole life has been a series of trials, through which he has passed always with respectability, generally with honour; he has been a good son-a good husband-a good father-a good prince—and, we trust we are justified in adding, a good Christian; he was so in his youth, and no man ever lived, we believe, whose experience was more calculated to strengthen religious convictions. If we are not mistaken in his character, and if it shall please God to continue to preserve his life and to fortify his heart, there is still hope for France and the European world.
ART. IV.-History of the War in the Peninsula and the South of France, from the Year 1807 to the Year 1814. By W. F. P. Napier, C.B., Colonel H. P. 43rd Regiment, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Military Science. London. 1828-1834. Four vols. 8vo. Volume the First.
E must apologize for having so long deferred to notice Colonel Napier's History of the War in the Spanish Peninsula.' We are willing, however, to persuade ourselves that the public will not reject the excuses we have to offer for this apparent neglect of a work which has in various ways excited so much attention. We have to observe, in the first place, that although the fruits of Colonel Napier's labours began to appear so far back as March, 1828, there remains still a part which has not attained to maturity. Those volumes even which have been published have followed one another, as was to be expected in such an undertaking, at long intervals; and to have measured by its first specimens a work which promised to be of very considerable extent, and to have recorded opinions respecting it, which in its more advanced state we might find grounds for altering, would neither have been fair towards the author, nor just to the public, nor judicious with respect to our own character. Four volumes having appeared, however, bringing down the history of the war to the spring of 1812, and the earlier part of the work having reached a third edition, these motives for delay no longer exist. But, besides the above apology for the seeming tardiness of our proceedings, we beg leave further to observe, that a work of this class ought not to be treated with the same degree of haste with which we are sometimes obliged to treat literary productions of a lighter and more ephemeral nature. The stream of historical knowledge belongs to posterity as well as to the existing generation, and it is one amongst the many important duties of criticism to watch with especial care against its pollution at the fountain
tain-head. For Alii quoquo modo audita pro compertis habent; alii vera in contrarium vertunt; et gliscit utrumque posteritati. These considerations will be sufficient, we are persuaded, to bear us harmless, with all lovers of truth, for the delay which has taken place in our entering upon the examination of the work before us.
Colonel Napier explains, in a preface, his motives for undertaking to write a history of the war in the Peninsula. • Several authors,' he says, have written largely touching that fierce struggle,' but
'truth being the legitimate object of history, I hold it better that she should be sought for by many than by few, lest, for want of seekers, amongst the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she be lost altogether. That much injustice has been done, and much justice left undone, by those authors who have hitherto written concerning this war, I can assert from personal knowledge of the facts.. I have endeavoured to render as impartial an account of the campaigns in the Peninsula as the feelings which must warp the judgment of a contemporary historian will permit. I was an eye-witness to many of the transactions which I relate; and a wide acquaintance with military men has enabled me to consult distinguished officers, both French and English, and to correct my own recollections and opinions by their superior knowledge. .
The original documents which the work contains will suffice to give it interest, although it should have no other merit. Many of these documents I owe to the liberality of MARSHAL SOULT, who, disdaining national prejudices, with the confidence of a great mind, places them at my disposal, without even a remark to check the freedom of my pen.'-Preface, p. viii.
But after so wide a promise, we are a little disappointed to find the object of the book limited thus:
'I cared not to swell my work with apocryphal matter, and neglected the thousand narrow winding currents of Spanish warfare, to follow that mighty English stream of battle which burst the barriers of the Pyrenees, and left deep traces of its fury in the soil of France.'-Preface, p. ix.
Figurative language has the defect of not conveying, always, a very precise meaning. When Colonel Napier states his intention of neglecting the thousand narrow winding currents of Spanish warfare,' we are at a loss to understand him. War cannot be unilateral; but overlooking the inaccuracy of the phrase, is it not somewhat unaccountable that the historian of a war, originated by the Spanish people, waged chiefly upon Spanish ground, and having for its first object the independence of the Spanish nation, should profess to neglect the thousand currents of Spanish warfare'? Would it not have been more natural, and far more satisfactory, that he should have shown the connexion of these thou
sand currents' with the mighty stream'-for connexion with it they most certainly had-and that he should have thus enabled his readers to form something like a just estimate of the additional force given to the main current by these tributaries? We shall learn in the course of Colonel Napier's work, that several hundred thousands of French troops were poured into the Peninsula; and if he endeavours to make us believe that these were borne down solely by the English stream of battle,' we shall be apt to think we have got into the regions of romance, not of history. With whatever limitation, however, an historian may choose to impose upon himself the reader has, perhaps, no right to find fault-provided the portion of the subject which he selects is treated with judgment and with impartiality; and as Colonel Napier has announced himself as an eye-witness to many of the transactions he has undertaken to write about, the limitation he has made is the less open to objection. We shall be enabled to judge, however, as we proceed, whether the rejection planned by Colonel Napier has reference to the exclusion of events, not having a necessary connexion with the English operations, or to the rejection of Spanish accounts in general, as apocryphal, whilst French statements of an opposite nature are admitted as pure and authentic.
The general arrangement adopted by the author is explained in these words:
'To preserve the narratives unbroken, my own observations are placed at the end of certain transactions of magnitude, when, their real source being known, they will pass for as much as they are worth, and no more; when they are not well supported by argument, I fairly surrender them to the judgment of abler men. From the moment that an English force took the field, the Spaniards ceased to act as principals in a contest carried on in the midst of their country, and involving their existence as an independent nation. They were self-sufficient, and their pride was wounded by insult; they were superstitious, and their religious feelings were roused to fanatic fury by an all-powerful clergy, who feared to lose their own rich endowments; but, after the first burst of indignation, the cause of independence created little enthusiasm.'-Preface, p. x.
This passage obliges us to observe, that we begin already to see cause to apprehend that our author will become himself enveloped, in the course of his progress, in those mists of prejudice' in which he has lamented, in a preceding paragraph, that truth is so often lost. We shall not here anticipate the abundant evidence by which the charge of supineness in their own cause, brought by Colonel Napier against the Spanish people, may be disproved. Let it suffice for the present to state, that even at the very time when their affairs seemed most desperate-when Soult had
Occupied the south of Spain, and was bombarding Cadiz-and when Massena had forced back the allied armies in Portugal within the lines of Lisbon-an active warfare was incessantly carrying on by the Spaniards up to the very verge of the French frontier. No stationary detachment of the enemy could be secure against attack, unless immured within a fortified post; and detachments on the march were often obliged to suspend their further progress until additional numbers were collected to enable them to force their way. These undeniable facts sufficiently prove, that although the Spanish government was unable in these times to send large armies into the field, the love of liberty was as deeply seated and the spirit of independence was as indomitable as ever in the breasts of the Spanish people.
We must not, however, pass thus hastily over our author's sweeping condemnation of the Spanish clergy. If, indeed, Colonel Napier's attack were intended to be directed solely against the system of a regular clergy—
eremites and friars,
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery'
he could not condemn more decidedly than we are disposed to do, the existence, anywhere, of that body of spiritual militia contrived by papal policy to overawe even the secular clergy themselves, and to bend the minds of mankind in general beneath a heavy and a lasting yoke of superstition. But in Spain even the regular clergy, although the system cannot be too strongly reprobated, were individually, in many instances, eminent for piety and virtue, not less than for the patriotism and courage which they displayed during the war. With respect to the secular clergy, M. de Laborde, in his elaborate work upon Spain,* tells us, that they were in proportion less numerous than the clergy of France had been-that their riches were less considerable but better administered; and that a much larger portion of their revenues went to the state. He adds, that an irreproachable life was the most certain road to preferment—that no rank, however high in the church, exempted from residence-that the incomes of the wealthy were expended in the support of various useful establishments, and in acts of individual benevolence; and, as to the bishops in particular, after alluding to their general liberality in regard to works of public utility in their respective dioceses, ever since the time of the recovery of the country from the Moors, he mentions several recent instances of most splendid munificence. These statements of Monsieur de Laborde are in perfect accordance, too, with the account given in the History of the War in
* Itinéraire de l'Espagne et Tableau des differentes branches de l'Administration. Vol. V. Administration Ecclesiastique.