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ought to pervade all speculation on the subject, and how far various methods of altering the law have in fact contributed to the general welfare of mankind.
These last words suggest the observation that the speculations of Bentham and Mr. Austin leave one immense question which is vitally essential to their subject comparatively unexplored. This is the question: What that general happiness is which it is the object of legislation and morals to produce? The account of it given by Bentham is the least satisfactory part of his book on the principles of morals and legislation, though by the mere fact that it gave express and intelligible objects to each of those pursuits, the book has exercised an incalculable influence over the whole course of thought and action in this country since its appearance. In a characteristic MS. fragment now published for the first time, Mr. Austin glances at this vast question, and shows how important and how noble an enterprise its solution would be. He says
Mistakes like those of political economists are made by utilitarians, only of a more general nature.
They take a part of human happiness, or a part of the means towards it, for the whole of human bappiness or the whole of those means : e.g. The exclusion of poetry or the fine arts, or the degrading them to “ the agreeable.” Their eminent utility: the wisdom to be got from poets (give examples). This partial view of human happiness, or of means towards it, will always be taken till a system of ethical teleology be constructed ; i.e. an analysis of happiness, the means towards it, and therefore the ends to be pursued directly.'
It is not impossible that by a wise combination of analysis and history, (the first to supply precise general terms and a judicious classification, and the second to supply illustrations of the modes in which men think, and explanations of the language which they use,) jurisprudence and morals may come to be studied amongst us with a scientific and practical completeness unknown elsewhere. The most important part of the analysis has been already completed; and though much remains to be done in the direction indicated by Mr. Austin, his labours, and those of Bentham, have prepared the way for a vast amount of historical investigation. The combination necessary to make such investigations fruitful is a very rare one. They require not merely learning, but those powers of seeing what is essential and what is not; of entering into the modes of thought and feeling of past ages; of compressing masses of detail into broad and connected statements; and of presenting unfamiliar thoughts in a perspicuous and interesting shape, which nothing can give except careful training, varied knowledge, both of books and men,
and a mind equally skilled in investigating details and principles. Every page of Mr. Maine's book contains proofs of these qualities, and the manner in which he has executed the task which he has undertaken proves that he is fully capable of doing as much for one element of English jurisprudence as Mr. Austin did for the other.
ART. VIII.—Histoire du Consulat et de l'Empire. Tome XIX.
Par M. A. THIERS. Paris : 1861. WE
E could readily understand why M. Thiers, although a
parliamentary statesman, was through all his former volumes the advocate of Napoleon against his foreign opponents. But we were hardly prepared to find him, in the Hundred Days, the advocate of Napoleon against every other form of government in France. War and absolute rule seemed tolerable in retrospect for the sake of glory, while the head of the government was identified with the fame of the people. But, surely, the peaceful and not very illiberal misgovernment of the Bourbons was preferable to a recurrence of war and absolute rule in 1815.
M. Thiers, in the present volume, does not directly combat this proposition ; but he evades it by an assumption of which he is the first author. He represents the Empire of the Hundred Days as altogether distinct from the first Empire, and as disinherited from all its traditions, except in its purple and in its prince. He paints it as a national government more than ever representing a national cause. He seems to tell us that the mind of Napoleon underwent at Elba a sort of organic change. At any rate he describes him on his return as a regenerated patriot, a converted liberal, a true Whig, an earnest advocate of representative government; and an advocate of peace also, at least (as M. Thiers in one place acknowledges) after he should have once more thrashed the insolent enemies who had dethroned him.
This is the vindication of Napoleon in 1815 according to M. Thiers; but the vindication of Napoleon is only a part of his object. The reign of the Hundred Days is here represented as the grandest experiment in what is termed constitutional government that France has ever witnessed. The Constitution then granted by Napoleon involved the largest measure of political liberty that France had ever enjoyed. Thus the
Bonapartist cause is identified with domestic freedom. Again, not only was this reign an epoch in constitutional history, but Napoleon was the representation and embodiment of the national will. The Republicans hailed him as the opponent of the priests and the nobles whom the Bourbons had restored ; the Constitutional party accepted him as the head of their own political system; the monopolists recognised him as the inveterate defender of their privileges; the disbanded soldiers and the officers on half-pay knew that they would be no more neglected. The peasantry appear in one chapter as his supporters against the bourgeoisie; and the bourgeoisie appear in another chapter as his supporters against the peasantry. Such a chain of facts, in spite of some inconsistencies, directly tends to prove that the discord of the French people (with the exception of the Vendeans) was merged and forgotten in the person of Napoleon. And thus the Bonapartist cause becomes national as well as liberal. The deduction, therefore, with which every inplicit follower of M. Thiers must lay down this volume is that the Allies, in suppressing the rule of the Hundred Days, destroyed the best conditions of parliamentary government in France, and that they waged a national war with her in waging a personal war against Napoleon.
This is at least ingenious; and the ingenuity is, argumentatively speaking, not unworthy of perhaps the ablest and certainly the most popular living historian in Europe. There is no doubt that a great change in outward form distinguished the empire dissolved in 1814 from the empire of the 20th of March, 1815. This was no more than was necessary to give Napoleon a day's tenure of the throne. But the question whether he intended to abide by his Constitution in victory as well as in defeat is one on which we are at issue with M. Thiers; and the question whether, even if it were granted in good faith, it was more liberal than that already granted by the Bourbons is overlooked by him. Nor does he consider whether the general policy of Napoleon in his attempts to conciliate were not more arbitrary than that of the Bourbons, even in their fancied security. The truth is, that the nation had been so disorganised by inisgovernment and revolution as to be ripe for a social war in 1815; and the fierce hostility of parties towards each other, while it enabled a master mind to turn it to his own advantage, has lent a false plausibility to the views which M. Thiers here advances. Fortunately for the truth of history we are able to confront his high-flown Imperialism with the sound, accurate, and unanswerable statements recently published by M. Duvergier de Hauranne in the second volume of his Parliamentary
VOL, CXIV. NO. CCXXXII.
History of France'; an authority which it ill becomes M. Thiers to dispute, although on these questions it is diametrically opposed to his own.
But we should greatly underrate the merits of the present volume, if we were to represent them as consisting simply in the defence of a paradox which would be intolerable if it were less clever and amusing. We readily acknowledge that the author tells us much that is not only new, but probably true. He describes the weakness of the Bourbons, the administrative ability of Napoleon, his general capacity to adapt his conduct to widely changed circumstances, the various causes which led to the revolution of the Hundred Days, and the degree in which the army was concerned in it, with clearness and originality. And although he clings througbout to his first assertion that Napoleon's professions of peace and liberty were sincere, he does reluctantly acknowledge that they obtained less credit as the Hundred Days advanced.
Let us look first to the assumption that Napoleon returned from Elba the sincere founder of a free government in France. The broad facts before us certainly are, that he made repeated professions of liberality as well as of peace; and that be offered earnests of his sincerity by framing a Constitution, by caliing it into operation, and by suppressing the censorship of the press. What do these facts imply? Were these changes the shift of the hour, or the principles of his second reign?
We will cite three passages, which will clearly set forth, at all events, the position assumed by M. Thiers. In siding with the views of Napoleon, he tells us that
1. He was (for these reasons) firmly resolved to make a full trial of constitutional monarchy, and he even desired its success, for its misadventure would have been the triumph of the Bourbons. Nevertheless he was not without some apprehension for what would happen during the commencement of this experiment.' (P. 411.)
2. This apprehension led him to the conclusion to give without reserve, and with very little distinction, the English Constitution, and to postpone its being put in operation until after the first hostilities. In this project he had no deceit, but a secret presentiment of danger in calling together an untried Assembly, in the presence of foreign armies marching upon Paris. If he had been actuated by bad faith, he would have had an easy and certain mode of deceiving the friends of liberty, in throwing the blame, not on his side, but on theirs, by convoking a Constituent Assembly at once, and by charging it with the duty of elaborating a Constitution in revising the imperial senatus consulta. (P. 413.)
3. 'Never had liberty, all that is reasonably to be desired, been more completely given to France, with the exception of the article
relating to confiscation, which was adjourned. Napoleon had granted it thus fully, not par ruse, but because, such was his great capacity, he had understood that, being obliged to grant it, he must grant it with the necessary conditions ; because he was then exclusively occupied with the one idea of conquering Europe combined against him, and this result obtained, the more or less authority he might enjoy was in his eyes a secondary object; because he fancied that, in the working of the Constitution, more would be conceded to him than to another, through his glory, his genius, and the energy of his will; finally, because, in thinking more of his son than of himself, he desired nothing for this son beyond the powers of a king of England.' (Pp. 445–6.)
These are the views of M. Thiers, and thus Bonapartism is linked by bim with true liberty. So literally does he accept the assurances made by Napoleon to the French, in spite of his critical acumen, that several of these passages are mere transcripts from imperial speeches. Widely as we differ with his conclusions, we have no doubt that the views of Napoleon were in some degree modified at Elba. No man could undergo such vicissitudes without reflecting on their causes. His temper and position had long placed him above the reach of remonstrances; and his shackling of the press left him as ignorant of public opinion as it kept the French people ignorant of his own policy. When therefore he declared on his return to the Tuileries, that in the island of Elba, as in a tomb, he had heard • the voice of posterity,' we cannot judge him altogether insincere.
M. Thiers elsewhere says with probable truth that, before his first abdication, he had complained of one at least of the inconveniences arising from his mode of government. His organs in the press had been so mendacious that they could not gain credit for veracity when they spoke the truth. Bulletins even of victories were discredited; and Napoleon was reduced himself to compose, in their place, anonymous paragraphs for the • Moniteur,' headed on nous écrit de l'armée. A certain freedom of discussion thus became advantageous even to a despotism. In other words, Napoleon would surrender something to popular action, for the glory of his own name, and for the credit of his own government. Nor was it possible any longer to reign in France without either victory or liberty. But we think we shall be able to show that Napoleon adopted liberty only until he could obtain victory.
We have first to look to his successive declarations at Grenoble, at Lyons, and at Paris, while the eagle was flying (as M. Thiers delights at least ten times to repeat) from steeple to steeple to the towers of Nôtre Dame.' They are prodigal of