« 이전계속 »
reign of Charles X. journalism and political literature were the surest roads to political power. The Government was sufficiently unconstitutional to justify incessant attacks, while it was not so tyrannical or vigorous as to render opposition seriously dangerous. As a political and historical writer, M. Thiers took the side of the Revolution, but he was never a Jacobin. In the so-called principles of 1789, which he supposes to be equally definite and true, he is still a believer. If he had not proceeded with his great work, and become the chief prophet of the fabulous Napoleonic legend, he would perhaps have preached the not less idolatrous faith which has been taught by Victor Hugo and Louis Blanc. On the expulsion of the elder branch, M. Thiers had become sufficiently conspicuous to be admitted to subordinate office on the recommendation of Talleyrand. There were probably personal reasons for the animosity which he has always shown to his first patron; and in a short time he became, as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, sufficiently important to dispense thenceforth with all external support. His colloquial and business-like oratory produced as great an effect in the Chamber as the stately declamation of M. Guizot; and at a later time he was fully a match for Lamartine or Montalembert. After the death of Casiinir Perier, M. Thiers was counted in the first rank of Parliamentary leaders, and having been alternately the colleague and the opponent of Guizot and M0I6, he became President of the Council of Ministers within ten years from the accession of Louis Philippe. In 1840 he thought that he had the opportunity of engaging in an enterprise after his own heart, by encouraging the ambitious projects of Mehemet Ali in spite of the protests of the Great Powers and the resolute opposition of England, His chief rival, M. Guizot, was at the time Ambassador in England, and M. Thiers prepared to arm three or four hundred thousand men, with the avowed purpose of marching on the Rhine. Luckily for himself and for his country, he was checked at home by the calmer judgment of the King; and abroad he encountered a firmer will than his own. Lord Palmerston desired Sir Henry Bulwer to hint with all possible delicacy to the French Minister that, if he ventured on a rupture, he Nbw Series.—Vol. XIV., No. 5.
might save himself the trouble of discussing the management of Algeria, and that his Egyptian client would be summarily "pitched into the Nile." In two or three months, under Lord Palmerston's orders, Ibrahim Pasha was driven headlong out of Syria, and the King of the French readily accepted M. Thiers's resignation. From that time to the end of Louis Philippe's reign M. Thiers was steadily in opposition; but while he countenanced political agitation as far as it was directed against M. Guizot's Administration, he cherished no revolutionary designs. When Paris, in February, 1848, was already in the hands of the mob, M. Thiers accepted the office of Minister, in the vain hope of satisfying the popular demands. The fatal order which compelled Marshal Bugeaud to discontinue his resistance to the insurrection bore the signature of M. Thiers. In the tumult, constitutional government was swept away, to reappear with doubtful prospects of vitality after three-and-twenty years. M. Thiers's chief title to the gratitude of his countrymenrests on the consistent energy with which during the whole period he has struggled to re-establish the liberty which had been recklessly destroyed. In the Constituent Assembly, and in the National Assembly, he was the ablest champion of order, which was practically identified with Parliament • tary government. Yet in his writings he had done more than any other Frenchman to render the revival of the Empire possible ; and even when the Second Napoleon had profited by the popular delusions to which M. Thiers had given currency, the historian continued in successive volumes to inflame the passion of his countrymen for military glory. To the frequent overtures of the Emperor he replied by a persistent refusal to enter his service. The First Napoleon had filled his imagination by his exploits and by the all-pervading energy of his despotism; but his successor relied on the peasantry and the army to exclude the intellect of France from power ; and M. Thiers was too proud and loo upright to become an accomplice' in the oppression of the order to which he belonged. When Napoleon III. in the wane of his popularity consented to restore to the Legislative Body a fragment of a shadow of power, M. Thiers, with halfa-dozen allies of far inferior capacity and reputation to his own, commenced an op40
position which gradually assumed reality and strength. He exercised by anticipation the Parliamentary liberties which he demanded; and he was too able and too famous to be silenced or to be treated with contempt. Of the whole policy of the Emperor, and more especially of his best acts, he constantly disapproved. To him the campaign of 1859 with its consequences appeared a fatal system of errors, because the Revolution had inherited from the old Monarchy, and had bequeathed to the First Empire, the maxim that the weakness and division of neighboring States were the condition of the greatness of France. Free trade, when it found favor with the Emperor, was abhorrent to a statesman who was incapable of throwing off the traditions of his youth. Repression at home was not more distasteful to M. Thiers than the promotion of Italian unity, with its necessary result of an abridgment of the temporal power of the Pope. The neutrality of the Emperor in 1866, when France might have fought on the side of Austria for the maintenance of the German Confederation, seemed to M. Thiers a proof of criminal imbecility. As he said in one of the harangues which were now addressed to an organized Opposition as well as to a Government majority, the Emperor had not left a blunder to commit. At the last moment M. Thiers attempted to delay the vote for war with Germany, on the ground that the
country and the army were unprepared. From that time he probably foresaw that the fall of the Empire was inevitable; but with prudent dignity he refused to become a member of the Government which was raised to power by the mob on the 4th of September. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he undertook an unauthorized diplomatic mission to all the Courts of Europe in the vain hope of procuring an alliance for France. Even at Florence the avowed enemy of Italy and of the reigning dynasty solicited with patriotic self-abnegation a possible reinforcement. It is not suqirising that, when it became necessary to conclude peace and to found a government, all France instinctively turned to the indefatigable veteran whose name would add weight to his official authority. The Assembly has since become weary of his predominance, and of his irritable and imperious temper; and he steadily resists even the most plausible modifications of the traditions of French government; but the great mass of the population still regards him as indispensable. When his position is menaced, instead of dissolving the Assembly by military force, he threatens to resign; and if his health lasts, he will probably continue to govern France. It is possible that he meditates a future revenge on Germany; but he is too prudent to precipitate a rupture. So exceptional a rank has perhaps never been awarded to a civilian.
The Spectator. BURNS AND SIR WALTER SCOTT.
Surprise has been expressed in the newspapers that the celebration of the centenary of Sir Walter Scott should have awakened less enthusiasm in the sister country than the Burns Commemoration twelve years ago. There can, we think, be little doubt about the truth of the allegation that it has been so, even after we have subtracted from the various reports the hackneyed sayings of conventional cynicism, and removed from our minds the impressions which such remarks, credulously accepted, are fitted to convey. To any one out of Scotland, it seems, at first blush, strange to think that Burns has a far firmer hold of his countrymen than Sir Walter Scott. It seems unnatural that the peasant poet of Ayrshire, whose range in
one sense was remarkably limited, should at this day hold a higher niche in popular esteem than the historian, not only of the people's outward character, but of all that is noble and interesting in their life, than the inimitable artist not alone of his country's "brave men and beautiful women," but of those features of natural scenery which charm the eye, and that wealth of legend and story which awaken the curiosity and enlist the heart. Yet such is the case, and it may be worth while to consider some of the reasons why it is so. It has been said that the chief cause is a political one, but neither the Toryism of the one memory nor the Radicalism oi the other had anything to do with the "amiable indifference" which in Scodand the other day greeted the hundreth birthday of Sir Walter, or the hurricane of enthusiasm with which the usually undemonstrative Scotch twelve years ago hailed the centenary of Burns.
It has been often and truthfully said during these last few days that Scott lives and will live as a novelist, and not as a poet. Like Scott, in one sense, Burns lives as a man, but it is his poetry alone that imparts interest to his short, tempestuous life. There is thus at the outset a radical difference between the positions which the two men hold in respect to their audiences, and a difference too which affects materially their relation to the public, so far as intimate personal communion is concerned, and that playing of spirit upon spirit which is the peculiar mission of the poet, and the influence which, more than any other, is fitted to rouse enthusiasm, to beget reverence, and awaken love. The novelist works behind the scenes ; he arranges his figures and makes his puppets play their part; and indeed, according to modern canons of criticism, the less he appears personally on the stage the more perfect his workmanship, the higher his art. The poet, however, or at least the lyrical poet, and especially such a poet as Burns, speaks face to face with the people; he comes before them glowing with the fire of his mission, burning with the zeal of his hatred or his love, weeping tears of sympathy or singing songs of hope. And so here is a reason acting altogether independently of the respective merits of the men,—an abstract reason, it may be called, which accounts in a very considerable measure for the reception given to a popular expression of regard for the memories of Scotland's two greatest men. In intimate connection with this should be observed the kind of man whose memory is fittingly commemorated by displays common to centenary celebrations, as also the character of those who find fitting expression to their reverence for greatness in toast-drinking and fireworks, in the discharge of cannon or the fluttering of flags. There is a kind of greatness and goodness to which such "honor" would be simply mockery—we do not say this of either Sir Walter or Bums—and there comes a rime in one's culture and experience when gaudy trappings, however gay, when thunders of artillery, however loud, when the popular
hurrah, however hearty, fails altogether to utter one's gratitude and pride, or one's reverence for greatness "gone before." While in Berlin a few months ago, thousands were carried away in a tumult of enthusiasm by the memory of recent victory brought vividly before them by an imposing martial display, there must have been many thoughtful minds among "the proud and patient folks"—other than those to whom the pageant had been bought by bereavement—who failed to find in this gorgeous panorama anything like an adequate expression of their joy that a united Germany had been brought one step nearer completion, or that a sad and disastrous war had been brought to a close. We think it will be found on examination that those who swelled the applause in the case of Burns belong to a somewhat different and more demonstrative class than those who read and appreciate Sir Walter Scott. It must be confessed that, notwithstanding the still extensive sale of Scott's novels, they are not largely read by the less intelligent workmen, a considerable majority in all communities, and who, like the occupants of the gallery in a theatre, are always most liberal in demonstrative applause. All classes know Burns; there can be no doubt of that; all classes and the most demonstrative class do not know Scott as a living, struggling, human being like themselves. The ploughman behind histeam is far more to many of these than the man of law at his desk. The king of a jovial crew in Poosie Nancy's has more pegs about him on which they can lay hold of than the kind-hearted, lovable, literary man of whom all his contemporaries spoke well. And, moreover, the leading tales in penny newspapers have effectually put a stop to the reading; of novels in book form by a very large proportion of the working-classes. The matter of these they find more suited tothe times ; the sensation is decidedly more peppery, the supply is so exhaustless, the penny visitor is so persistent and so popular, that he is seldom sent empty away. We suspect that even in Scotland many of the working-classes know more about tales with titles like "The Factory Girl" or "The Gypsy's Revenge," than they do about " Rob Roy" or " Waverley."
Again, the works of Burns are very complete in themselves. His poems give complete and concise expression to the thoughts and feelings of the entire round of Scottish life. "Did not Scott do this?" it may be asked. "Did he not do more? Did he not call Scotland into being even? Has he not shown to all nations Scotch character, living and moving; Scotch scenery terrible in its rugged grandeur, tender in its simple beauty, various in its light and shade?" Yes, he did all this, and, as remarked years ago by the late Alexander Smith, and revived the other day by Sir W. Stirling Maxwell, added pecuniary value to each spot of soil that he touched with his magic pen. But he did it as a novelist, and not as a poet. Were it possible for a shrewd Scotchman never to have read any of the Waverley Novels until he was twenty-five years of age, we venture to assert that by no other means could he get such a good idea of the real excellence of Scott. He would find in him the germs, often the exact words, of Scotch proverbs and wise sayings with which he had been familiar since his childhood. He would find there represented, rippling from the lips of real men and women, the pawky humor of his native land, the shrewd caution of his countrymen in the doings of genuine Borderers, or the' chivalry of that by no means ancient time before "the days of chivalry were gone." But the personality of Scott has at present little hold of the demonstrative public mind; some of his own characters, where known, might sooner evoke popular enthusiasm than himself. Burns gave no artistically wrought-out illustration of principles; he caught up and expressed the scattered fragments of thought and feeling which he found floating about in the minds of the people,— seeds these were that came to flower in himself; "forms of beauty smiling at the hearts" of his homely associates were set into " cadenced rhyme" by his genius, and lie ready to be appropriated by the simplest mind and used by the most unlettered tongue. His couplets have been, and are still, current coin in Scotland, " a circulating medium" of thought and feeling for all relationships of life. His poems are a perpetual expression of those primitive elements of ideal nobility, of those hopes and fears which form the sole heritage often of the simple heart untroubled by the mazy complications of subtle speculation or the revellings of luxurious fancy
which appeal to the sympathies of a refined and educated people, and link the tastes of a cultivated age. He wrote to his own heart, and he will never want an audience. It is, however, this coining of happy thoughts, this bringing into a focus of their aspirations, that makes him so personally popular among the uneducated portion of the people, while his genius commends him to the most gifted and widely read. At first sight it seems he did more for Scotland than Moore did for Ireland, more than Beranger did for France. But this generalization will be modified after a little thought. As in nature the mind finds a counterpart to its various moods, so in Burns the simple Scotchman finds expression to nearly aH that can be expressed of his aspirations and needs. Does he wish to tell of the happy cottage-life of his country, then he knows he can turn to the page where the heart-felt rapture, bliss beyond compare of a guiltless Scottish home is painted in the most exquisite coloring. Does he turn with honest wrath at hypocrisy, and does his blood boil within him at the selfsufficient tyranny of the " unco guid "? Then where shall he go better for expression than to the pages of the Ayrshire ploughman, where satire with flaming tongue licks mercilessly the writhing hypocrite at the stake? Has the demon despondency taken hold of him, then where does he find more fitting expression to his feelings than in the immortal " Ode," or heartier encouragement than in some of the poetical "Epistles"? Is he oppressed by the tyranny of riches,—"A man's a man for a' that." Has the tenderest of all human ties been suddenly snapt, and does he look broodingly over the verge and wistfully away into the vast beyond? Then the exquisite poem, "To Mary in Heaven," is surely no inapt expression of his hungry heart. Is love or friendship the theme in any form, the pages of the Scottish bard are a never-failing resort.
It might have been well, indeed, had Burns been less truly representative than he was, since the vices of his time find such enduring and charming expression in his pages. But here is another clue to the hold he has upon the popular mind. Although it seems setting down a paradox, yet "Frailty thy name is Burns " might be inscribed on the title-page of " the brave man's book." But it is, after all, greatly
because of their frailties that we love people, and here again .is another clue to the popular sympathy with Burns. Our model men, our completely-rounded, hardvisaged, always-successful men are hateful in the extreme to struggling humanity. There are no gateways of approach to them; there is no "human nature" in them; there was a plenty of all those in Burns. "A hair-brained sentimental trace," a good dash of aggression in his writing and character, heresy in theology, slips in life, all tend to rouse and keep alive that kind
of popular sympathy which makes a good display at carnivals. The enthusiasm is and was greater too because, rightly or wrongly, a notion prevails that Burns was neglected in life, and therefore it is a duty to bellow appreciation over his grave. Sir Walter Scott possessed none of these attractions, and although it may not agree well with generally entertained notions of Scotch character to find the "douce" people paying tribute to such qualities as these, yet that they do is a very paten fact, and not to be gainsaid by theory.
Oh! Stay not, Swallow, in the dusky South,
I bear this message from my lady's mouth,
"Here are the blossoms: Why art thou not here?"
Thy last year's nest awaits thy glad return
Beneath it soon will clustering roses burn,
I know thy secret; why thou mad'st it there,—
Or feel her breath upon the morning air,
How fairer than all fairest things her face,
Thou knowest; but not her last and tenderest grace,
Here in this spot where I await her now,
I came upon my Lady unaware,
Its ripe fulfilment in her lips and hair;
And could no longer hide my bitter smart,
"O Love! My Lady! Thou so kind of heart,
A moment's space she turned her head away,
The smiling skies grew ashen-hued and gray,
Yet timorously and lingeringly she turned
And I could see where the bright color burned