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falling into ruins, and of which the vestiges only were to be found in the courts of Germany and the forests of Sarmatia.
"I hardly could recognise the Poles whom I had seen only a few years before; their occupations, their customs, their language, all were changed; these empassioned warriors had laid aside the modern dress, which was associated with their disgrace, and had resumed their furred cloaks, their tall plumes, their military mustaches, their glittering sabres. All the ladies, to inflame their courage, had with their own hands embroidered the scarfs which flowed over their shoulders, and studded with brilliants the rich girdles which glittered on their waists."-III. 427.
On his return to Paris, he found the metropolis burning with all the fury of faction; the nobles, wakened from their illusions, now saw the fatal consequences of the spirit of innovation which they had so blindly worshipped, and were doing their utmost to resist the current which they themselves had put in motion. The following conversation with his old friend and fellow soldier, Lafayette, will shew how little he was aware of the inevitable course of Revolutions, and how impotent had been all his efforts to arrest it.
"I know not,' said Lafayette, what fatality a hideous party, hitherto hid in darkness, has issued forth to mingle with the true people in every great crisis, and to stain them by their excesses. There issued forth, I know not whence, a certain number of brigands, seemingly paid by unknown hands, and who, in spite of all our efforts, have committed the most frightful excesses. In vain we chased them and dispersed them; they incessantly reappeared. After the taking of the Bastile, their fury led them to infamous murders, and Paris itself was menaced with pillage; the spontaneous organization of the National Guard alone saved it from destruction.
"We have in vain made the most vigorous search for these wretches; the source from which the miscreants issued who have inundated the capital, and all the towns of the kingdom, is as much unknown to us as to the government. I can only on that subject entertain suspicions supported by no sort of proof. In the month of last October, that band of ruffians, mingling with the disorderly movements of the crowd, assembled every thing which was most abandoned in the capital, While I was using my
utmost efforts at the Hotel de Ville to maintain order, I learned that a a numerous band of these ruffians had taken the road to Versailles: there they broke into the royal apartments, and were within a hair-breadth of committing the most terrific murders. Such scenes have mingled chagrin with the just hopes of our country, and blighted the hopes of the immense majority who longed for salutary reform, and the establishment of the true representative government.'
"How could it be otherwise?' replied I; 'your march has been so rapid that it could produce no other effects. You have destroyed the distinction of the three orders, reduced to one chamber the national representation, abolished the privileges of the noblesse, confiscated the property of the church, concentrated in the National Assembly all the powers of the state. How many enemies have these violent acts created! You have swept every thing away in legislation; you have indeed travelled far in a short time. *.
"Consider that when you overturn an edifice, its ruins remain without movement, lifeless on the earth; but it is not thus with human institutions; they have given to a multitude of individuals, to entire classes of society, subsistence, enjoyments, and distinction; rights consecrated in their eyes by custom, and to which they cling with as much tenacity as to life itself. Such a destruction, so sudden, so audacious, promises a long night of suffering.'
"That may be very true,' replied Lafayette; but you imagine that we have acted from design, when in truth we have only been impelled by the force of circumstances. The great judicial bodies, the clergy themselves, almost all those who are now so vehement in condemning us, have for a long series of years attacked the authority of government, and contributed to the overthrow of existing institutions. The Parliaments, after a host of remonstrances, fully as vehement as the speeches of our tribunes, have appealed to the nation; but hardly had it responded to their cries when they wished to silence it. The States-General were promised; the ministers hoped to substitute in its room a Lit de Justice-Vain attempt!-the Court was compelled to give way, and the States-General were assembled.
"You see now the causes of exe causes of the ex
plosion under which we are suffering. the midst of such Judge then whether, in the an effervescence, it was in human power to prevent the disorders with which we are reproached. It is generally those whose imprudence has lighted the conflagration,
who, when the flames approach them selves, are the first and the loudest in raising the cry of fire." "-III. 452-455.
"It was evident that in bringing about this great Revolution every person in the kingdom has contributed his share. Every one has done something, according to his force or stature. From the king to the humblest individual in the kingdom, no one has been idle in the work; the one wished only that the changes should ascend to the buckle of his shoe, another to his knee, a third to his waist, a fourth to his shoulders; in fine, many have been willing that it should rise over their head.
"What surprised me most was the sudden metamorphosis which a large part of our philosophers had undergone; they were never tired of declaiming against a Revolution which their words and actions had first put in motion; they liked it only when in theory, and when they had the monopoly of the distinction arising from its doctrines. The Abbé Sabatier was one day reproached with his bitterness at the States-General, which he had been the first to demand, and which he had mainly contributed to bring about. 'Yes,' said he, but they have changed my States-General at nurse.""
"I observed with attention the temper of the other classes in Paris; they were animated with a sincere love for liberty, but with a still more ardent pas. sion for equality. Certainly the people of France would have been truly happy, if, in the course of their long contest for that liberty, and that equality, they had maintained the first with as much reso lution as the last."-III. 468, 469.
"No one can imagine," he continues, "the varied aspect which Paris offered at that time to the impartial spectator. A single example will give an idea of it. One morning I learned that my father, aged and broken down by wounds and the gout, had gone out on foot to visit the Baron de Begenval, then a prisoner at the chatilet. I learned also that a seditious rabble was uttering the most vehement cries round his place of confinement. Uneasy at the intelligence, I ran to join him, and soon found an immense crowd assembled on the quay, and in spite of the efforts of the National Guard, making the air resound with their execrations. These wretches accused the judges of treason, the authorities of tardiness, and demanded with loud cries the head of their prisoner.
"After infinite exertion, I succeeded in reaching the gate of the prison, through the midst of a frantic multitude. Arrived at the door, I entered by a low wicket, and found my father with the prisoner,
calmly engaged with a circle of friends in conversation; their serenity in the midst of danger formed the most striking contrast to the furious mob which surrounded the building. After remaining there for some hours, I went out and continued my rambles. On the Place de Grêve I found a large assemblage of revolutionists, whom the National Guard had great difficulty in dispersing. Their object was to excite a tumult, with a view to attacking the prison again on the following day.
"Shortly after, I went to the Palais Royal, and entered the garden, the centre of business, of opulence, and of pleasure, the arena always open to faction, the rendezvous of their plots, and the theatre of their combats. I found an impassioned mob crowding round a man mounted on a table, who was declaiming with the utmost vehemence against the perfidy of the court, the pride of the nobles, the cupidity of the rich, the dilatory conduct of the legislature; at intervals he heightened the passions of his auditors by the most violent gesticulations, all of which were followed by loud acclamations,
"Disgusted with his vehemence, I set out for the Tuileries, where I entered the gardens at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The weather was superb; the alleys, the promenades, were filled with peaceable citizens; the most beautiful women, whose dresses were as varied as a parterre of flowers, were exhibiting in that beautiful spot their decorations and their charms. Every thing wore the aspect of a fête, and for a moment I forgot the tumultuous scene I had so lately witnessed.
"But my illusion was not of long duration. Descending near the Pont Tournant, and perceiving a great crowd running towards the Elysian Fields, I followed them, and soon reached the great square. I there beheld a multitude of armed men, the remains of the Gardes Francaises, who, to carry into execution a project of revolt, had assembled in that quarter. Lafayette soon appeared at the head of several regiments of National Guards. The rebels were surrounded, and disarmed.
magic of the spectacle, the assemblage in the boxes of every thing most distinguished in the court and the city; the gayety which seemed reigning in every countenance; the image of peace, security, and union, which every where presented itself, rendered it impossible to believe that Paris was at that moment the centre of those furious factions, whose ebullitions I had so recently witnessed, and which so soon after bathed the monarchy in blood."-III. 472.
We make no apology for the length of these quotations; they are both more entertaining and more instructive than any thing we could add of our own. They throw a great and hitherto unknown light over the causes which precipitated the terrible disaster of the French Revolution. Not the abuses of power, not the despotism of the government, not the real grievances of the people, produced that catastrophe; for they had existed for centuries without occasioning any disturbance, and might have been gradually removed without producing any convulsion. It was the passion for innovation which produced this effect; the chimerical notion of suddenly reforming all the grievances of the state; the lamentable error that those who set the torrent in motion can at pleasure arrest its progress, that produced all the calamities. The nobles, the great judicial bodies, the clergy, the monarch himself, were the real authors of the Revolution, by the fervour with which they embraced the doctrines of innovation, the sup
port they gave to insurrection in other states, and the intemperance of the language which they so long addressed to the people. The first victims of the Revolution, were the very persons whose imprudent passions had created it. In Lafayette's words, "those whose foolish conduct had raised a conflagration, were the loudest and the most vehement in their cries of Fire."
Great changes in the political state of France were unavoidable from the changes of ideas and manners; but it was not necessary that they should have been produced by a Revolution. The current was in motion, and could not be arrested; but it was the precipitance and folly of the higher ranks which urged it into a cataract, Changes as great as those produced by the French Revolution are incessantly going forward in a progressive state of society. The transition from the time of William the Conqueror to that of Henry V., and from that of Henry V. to that of James I., was as great as from the era of 1789 to that of 1800. The gradual and unseen changes of time steal unperceived upon society, and are made palpable only by the benefits they produce, and the altered state they gradually induce. Those urged on by human folly tear generations to pieces in their course, exterminate whole classes of the people by their effects, and leave deep and melancholy furrows, which the healing powers of nature require centuries to obliterate.
THE COLONIAL EMPIRE OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Letter to Earl Grey, First Lord of the Treasury, &c. &c.
It was my intention to have laid before your Lordship, without lengthened prefatory remarks, the magnitude and importance of the trade, the commerce, the revenue, the industry, and the wealth of the whole Colonial Empire of Great Britain, and to have pointed out how the greatness and wealth of this colonial empire encreased and supported the resources, the strength, and the power of the mother country; but the appearance of a venomous Anti-colonial Manifesto, tagged in the shape and in the place of an advertisement to the end of the influential publication through which I have again the honour to address you, compels me first to expose to the scorn of your Lordship, and to the scorn and indignation of the public, that infamous and baneful system which a set of mischievous moles employ to undermine our colonial empire, and of which this manifesto forms a part.
The anti-colonial advertisement alluded to, must have cost its authors a considerable expense for insertion, exclusive of the expense for paper and printing the large number of copies required to attach to the Magazine,* a proof of the importance which the moles in question attach to the circulation and the influence of CHRISTOPHER NORTH, and also of the deep wounds which his columns have inflicted on the system of calumny, mischief, injustice, and robbery.
In the month of February last, I laid before your Lordship, in the particular cases of Mr and Mrs Moss of the Bahamas, and of Mr and Mrs Telfair of the Mauritius, specimens of the hideous falsehoods and misrepresentations which are advanced against the colonists by their enemies in this country; another, and, if possible a blacker, specimen remains to be noticed and exposed. This is to
be found in their pretended history of their despicable tool, MARY PRINCE, compiled and published by an individual named, to use, and to retort emphatically, his own words, "the well known" Mr Pringle. This great personage, "well known" to the Colonial Office, has, in the labour of the craft by which he lives, given to the world the history of the profligate slave mentioned, for the purpose of destroying the character of two respectable individuals, her owners, MR AND MRS WOOD of Antigua. JoSEPH PHILLIPS, a man in every respect fitted to support such a cause, guarantees the authenticity of this history. With the sayings, the doings, and the designs of these worthies, contemptible as they are, it is necessary that your Lordship and this country should be made as intimately and extensively acquainted as can be effected by the columns of Blackwood's Magazine.
The limits of a monthly publication restrict me to notice only the leading points of the accusations; but if I can extract, as I trust by the aid and strength of truth to be able to do, Pringle's sting, and Pringle's venom, out of Mary's tale, all her other accusations must of necessity. drop off harmless and despicable.
Mary Prince was a native of, and a slave in, the Bahamas. Fifteen years ago, she was, at her own particular request, as she herself admits, purchased by Mr Wood, brought to Antigua, and kept as a domestic servant in his family. In it she was treated with superior kindness and confidence. Alleging that she could not be separated from the family, she was brought by Mr and Mrs Wood to England about four years ago. In England she was free. The prowling anti-colonial fry in London quickly got about her. Encouraged by them, she rendered the family of Mr
"A great expense must also have been incurred for inserting it in the Quarterly Review, and several other periodicals.
Wood miserable. She refused to work, despised and rejected the food and the accommodation which the white servants of the family received, and with which they were content. Accustomed to receive hot meat in Antigua, she refused to take cold meat in England. Mr Wood was 'directed by his physicians to go to Cheltenham on account of his health. Mary refused to accompany Mrs Wood and himself, nor would she go to one of the suburbs of London to reside with a lady of their acquaintance, who promised to take charge of her until their return. She was
told, that if she did not conduct herself differently, she must return to Antigua, or quit Mr Wood's family. Instead of behaving better, Mary behaved worse, and at last she left Mr Wood's house, without any commucation with him or any of his family, and proceeded to fraternize with her new friends and advisers, till we find her planted in Pringle's family, and at his washing-tub. From it she was frequently called to his closet to give a narrative of the severities inflicted upon her by several owners, but more especially by her last owners, Mr and Mrs Wood.
Mary's washing-tub tales, and "the tub to catch the whale," were getting into a book and proceeding rapidly through the press, when the REV. MR CURTIN, belonging to the Church Missionary Establishment, arrived in England. This gentleman had resided forty years in Antigua. He had been particularly referred to in the history. Old Macauley, who had known him previously, introduced him speedily and as α Godsend" to his friend Pringle, who as speedily put the sheets of the history into his hands, earnestly soliciting from him a corroboration of the statements which they contained. Pringle, however, was disappointed. Mr Curtin was a Christian minister. Truth was with him a paramount object. He refuted the points where he himself was referred to, and contradicted the tale as it bore against Mr and Mrs Wood. Here common sense and common honesty would have stopped the publication, but Pringle was not made of such stuff. He printed it off with the greater rapidity, even while impudently asserting that he kept it back for a
fortnight, in order to receive from a lady, a friend of Mr Wood's, a vindication of his character. Pringle's correspondence, however, with Mr Curtin, proves that the publication was delayed for a few days only, and that merely in the hope of receiving from Mr Curtin a corroboration of Mary's statements. Let the correspondence speak for itself.
9, Solly Terrace, Claremont Square, 5th Feb. 1831.
"Rev. Sir,-Having learned from my friend, Mr Macauley, that you are now in London, I think it right to submit to your inspection the accompanying pamphlet, in which your name is mentioned in page 17. If you can afford any information respecting the woman's character at the time she was baptized by you, or throw light on any other part of her statement, I shall feel much obliged, &c.
"P.S.-The whole pamphlet having been printed off except a few pages, I shall feel particularly obliged by an early reply."
On Monday the 7th, Mr Pringle sent Mary to Mr Curtin with a note which concludes thus: "If you can in any respect CORROBORATE HER STORY, I shall feel much obliged, &c." On the 19th February, Mr Pringle writes Mr Curtin from that great emporium of lies, No. 18, Aldermanbury Street, thus: now beg your acceptance of a copy of Mary Prince's history as published. You' will find a note containing the substance of the remarks in your letter, for which I beg to return due acknowledgments. I shall feel obliged by your returning the copy formerly sent for your inspection, as it was only a proof, and of course confidential, being in several respects imperfect, &c."
Not a syllable is said in this correspondence about delaying the publication, to give time to receive testimony from any quarter in Mr Wood's favour. Pringle had no wish to receive any communication of, to use his own words, "this sort." The unmanly desire alone appears, to get Mr Curtin to "corroborate her story," but which when he found he could not accomplish, he garbled Mr Curtin's letters, suppressed the important parts which pointedly contradicted Mary, and attempted, by the basest quibbling, to destroy the testimony favourable to Mr Wood's character, contained in the passages which he inserted!