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enemy rather than the friend of his race. Their A populace relieved from the necessity of prodangers and distresses would afford him amuse- viding for its own subsistence, would require to be ment, rather than pain, constituted as he is, to be amused also; and, as that of Rome conferred power agreeably interested in the display of all the tragic over the fairest portion of the earth by its votes; passions ; and it is only when he feels love, that as all Europe, Asia and Africa then worth postheir sorrows excite pain, and urge him to relieve. sessing, were under the dominion of Rome, aspiWithout he would feel towards his fellow-rants for office vied with each other in the means beings, what in society he feels towards the beasts of propitiating those who had the means of bestowof the forest ; whose pursuit and destruction are ing what ambition so much covets. every where a source of pleasure. All know tacles were as important as bread to an idle people; something of the pleasures of the chase-of the and men, as well as the various animals of the enjoyment derived from hunting the wolf, the wild- forest, were introduced to the amphitheatre, to boar, the fox, and many other animals.
shed their blood for their amusement. The men During the dark ages, a large portion of Europe were first selected from among the prisoners of was kept in a forest state, to breed game for the war-of whom the boldest, handsomest and most amusement of sovereigns and potent barons. To active, were preferred; but it soon became a cuskill animals of this kind, was thought far too high to to train up slaves also for this cruel purpose; a pleasure for the common people; and they were and they were kept in great numbers by the wealthy, interdicted from hunting, and even from defending not only for the entertainment of the public, but for their property from animals preserved as game, private parties. “They were sworn to decline no under the severest penalties. Laws of this cha- combat, and to shun no hardship to which they racter prevailed in France up to the time of the were exposed by their masters : they were of difrevolution. “Game of the most destructive kind, ferent denominations, and accustomed to fight in such as wild-boars and herds of deer, were permit- different ways; but those from whom the whole ted to go at large through spacious districts, with- received their designation, employed the sword and any enclosure to protect the
Numerous buckler, or target; and they commonly fought naked, edicts existed which prohibited hoeing and weed- that the place and nature of the wounds they reing, lest the young partridges should be disturbed ; ceived might the more plainly appear. mowing hay, lest the eggs should be destroyed; “Even in this prostitution of valor, refinements taking away the stubble, lest the birds should be of honor were introduced. There were certain deprived of shelter; manuring with night soil, graces of attitude which the gladiator was not perlest their favor should be injured."(6)
mitted to quit, even to avoid a wound. There was Man in general feels more for his own race than a manner, which he studied to preserve, in his fall, he does for other animals; but his affection may in his bleeding posture, and even in his death. He be in some cases so cold as to regard a mortal was applauded or hissed according as he succeeded conflict between two men, as he would one be- or failed in any of these particulars. When, after tween two beasts of prey. The Roman amphi- a tedious struggle, he was spent with labor and the theatre for ages presented to the inhabitants of loss of blood, he still endeavored to preserve the that mistress of the then civilized world, specta- dignity of his character-dropt or resumed the cles of both kinds for their amusement, leaving sword at his master's pleasure, and looked round it doubtful which afforded most enjoyment, the to the spectators for marks of their satisfaction combats of wild beasts, or of that unfortunate class and applause."(8) of men called gladiators. A slight reference to “When a gladiator was wounded, he lowered the manners of the Romans, at this period of their his sword in token of submission; and his doom history, will make this subject more intelligible. then depended on the will of the spectators; who
After the power of Carthage was overthrown, pressed down their thumbs if they chose to save and Rome had no longer a formidable rival to fear, him, but held them up if it was their pleasure he the simplicity of ancient manners underwent a should be slain. Incredible as it may appear, this speedy change. The custom of making gratuitous inhuman signal was very commonly given,-aldistributions of corn to the people, was gradually ways indeed if the unfortunate man betrayed either introduced, and became soon a confirmed habit. inexpertness or timidity; and it was only when his The bulk of the community was supported from skill and courage seemed to promise future sport, the coffers of the State. “The frequent and regu- that his life was spared."(9) lar distributions of wine and oil, of corn or bread, The fairer sex eagerly joined in the signal for of money or provisions,” says Mr. Gibbon, “ had deathalmost exempted the poorer citizens of Rome from
- Pectusque jucentis, the necessity of labor."(7)
Virgo modesta jubet, converso pollice rumpi.(10) (6) Introduction to Thiers' History of the French Revo- (8) Ferguson's Roman Republic-vol. 2, p. 238-'39. lotion, by the Editor-p. 18. Philadelphia : 1810.
(9) Manners of the Romans-p. 192. (7) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire-vol. 2, p. 83. (10) Prudent de Vestal.
These shows constituted at length so material a or pleasure."(14) Juvenal reproaches a Roman lady part of the public festivities, that ten thousand with having eight husbands in five years, gladiators are said to have fought in Rome alone
+ sic fiunt octo mariti during the celebration of Trajan's triumph over the
Quinque per autumnos(15) Dacians; and in the European part of the Roman At a subsequent period, St. Jerome mentions a RoEmpire only, twenty thousand men have perished
man who had had twenty wives, and a lady twentyby them in one month.(11) For, every city of the
two husbands. It is worthy of remark, that this Empire, in the progress of wealth and luxury, was state of manners was regarded as most unfavorable possessed of an independent revenue, destined to to the male sex, as was manifested by their resispurchase corn for the multitude, and supply the
tance when pressed to marriage by Augustus. expense of games and public entertainments. (12)
The corruption of married life is fatal to the A people who, without scruple, indulged their most important portion of the ties on which society thirst for excitement at such an enormous expense depends; for, it is from the domestic affections, of human blood, would not be sparing of any other that love of country and of mankind is derived. means that could warm the passions or soothe The husband feels no love for the child of whose the senses. The pleasures of the table were car
paternity he is doubtful ;-—the wife, in the round of ried to the utmost extreme; and the cook, once re- licentious pleasures, is forgetful or regardless of garded as the meanest of the slaves, became the most maternal duties; and the child neglected, or otherimportant officer of the household. The purchase wise maltreated, has its infant affections withered of a cook, we are informed by Pliny, cost as much in the bud. Experiencing no love, it learns to fee! as the expense of a triumph ; and the price of one none, and becomes a being of exclusive selfishof the magnificent tables in use, was greater than
ness, indifferent to kindred and to country, which that of a large field. Articles of food became va- is chiefly loved for being the home of those we lued rather for their rarity and enormous cost than love. for other qualities. Maltese cranes, peacocks and The pleasures which terminate in self, are all rare singing birds, although in general not relished easily exhausted. The sensibility which is essenelsewhere, were esteemed great delicacies, and tial to their pleasurable action is rapidly worn by their tongues and brains still more so. The second exercise, and they require a constantly increased Apicius held a public school of gluttony at Rome, pungency, in the agents which act on them, to proexpended immense sums to satisfy his own, and duce the customary excitement. As in the case of composed a treatise, (de gulæ irritamentis,) in the opium taker, or the drinker of ardent spirits, which he taught the means of sharpening the appe- the quantity at first which is productive of sufftite. Having reduced his fortune, he poisoned cient excitement is small, but it requires rapidly himself in despair.(13)
to be increased to produce the same effect ; and The passion which unites the sexes
s—the source the wretched victim of these unfortunate appetites of so much happiness and virtue where it is che- clings, with increasing devotion, as his system berished in purity-presents too many sources of comes more torpid, to these agents of his ruin. So excitement to remain uncorrupted among a sen- it is with him who has grown up in scenes of se! sual people. Where the appetites are stimulated fish indulgence: his capacity for amusement diminto excess, and indulged without restraint in other ishes as his appetite increases; and, as the princirespects, the marriage tie soon becomes relaxed ple of love has had no culture or opportunity for and loosened by the desire of new loves. This exercise, he readily yields to the excitement which was the case, to a frightful extent, among the Ro- the tragic scenes of his fellow-beings afford, withmans. Although the liberty of divorce always ex-out any of the pity or desire of relief which makes isted among then, they abstained from its exercise them painful. for more than five hundred years after their estab- A person thus constituted is unfitted to live any lishment as a people. But, after the Punic tri- where, except in scenes pungent enough to act on umphs, when the system of gratuitous distributions his jaded faculties; although there he is far from of corn, wine and oil took place, and public spec- being happy. He feels the lassitude of wasted tacles were frequent; when, in short, idleness and appetite. He feels in a society, where the affeeits attendant desires became universal, a great tions of love and friendship are nearly extinet, change occurred. “Passion, interest, or caprice,” | that, although in a crowd, he stands alone. He is says Mr. Gibbon, “suggested daily motives for the subject to the cravings of depraved appetite-10 dissolution of marriage ;-a word, a sign, a mes- fear and to ennui; and, although habit may gire sage, a letter; the mandate of a freedman declared him the power of appearing cheerful in publie, his the separation; the most tender of human connec-real enjoyments are far below those of the peasant tions was degraded to a transient society of profit who labors for his bread. " When I think," says (11) Manners of the Romans-p. 193.
(14) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire-rol. 4, p. (12) Gibbon--vol. 1, p. 165.
275. (13) Note 8th-Satire 4. Juvenal, Paris, 1826.
(15) Satire 6th.
Madame Du Deffand, “ of all the people whom I Paris. Madame Du Deffand, in a letter to Hoknow, even those with whom I daily live, who are race Walpole, thus mentions the event: “Lally called my friends, there is not one man or woman was executed yesterday.
The people who has the least good will for me, nor have I for clapped their hands during the execution.” Mr. them. There is even among those whom I see Walpole replies : "Ah! madame, madame! what oftenest, a jealousy-an envy; the effects and pro- horrors do you relate to me! Let no one say gress of which I am constantly occupied in arrest- the English are hard and ferocious; truly, they are ing. Vanity and pretensions render most people the French who are so. Yes, you are the savaunsociable. Am I wrong to discover it is a mise- ges—the Iroquois! Many persons have been slaughrable thing to be born ?''(16) “Bless heaven,” she tered among us; but has any one ever seen hands says again, " and applaud yourself that you are clapped, when a poor unfortunate was put to deathsufficient for yourself.”(17)
a general officer, who had languished during two This lady was well qualified to give, as she has years in prison-a man indeed so sensible to here done, a faithful picture of the state of feeling honor, that he was unwilling to save himselfincident to such manners, where sensibility is so touched by disgrace, that he sought to swallow worn out in the pursuit of pleasure, capacity for en- the grating of his prison rather than be exposed to joyment destroyed, and dissatisfaction, disgust and public ignominy? It was precisely this honorable ennui, springing up in their room. Such, doubt- shame that occasioned him to be drawn on a tumless, was the condition of many among the Ro- bril, and to have a gag placed in his mouth, as one mans; whose manners remind one, in many respects, of the most wicked. My God! I am happy to of modern Paris. We find in both the same eager have quitted Paris before this horrible scene ! I pursuit of selfish pleasures, the same straining of the should have had myself torn in pieces, or been senses to excess, to obtain enjoyment for exhausted sent to the Bastile. Our population at least comappetites; and in both, the same heartless phi-passionates the 'miserable, who are given them as losophy, alike fatal to generous sentiment in this a spectacle.' "(19) life, or to the hope of a better.
At the execution of the Rochelle conspirators When we see people of similar manners display- in 1819, a spectator of the scene says: “The peoing, not indifference but pleasure, at the sight of (19) In the year 1805, being then in Paris, I was told one human blood and slaughter, it seems a fair infer- morning by the porter of the hotel where I lodged, as a ence that the same state of moral feeling exists in matter well worth seeing, that there was to be an execution both cases:
that day by the guillotine. Having a curiosity to see the
instrument, which I had never then seen, I repaired to the The Roman enjoyed the combat of gladiators spot where it was erected. Whilst there, a hollow square forced to shed their blood for his amusement, and of troops was formed around the place, and no one was althe Parisian greeted the instrument of public exe- lowed to pass in or out. There was no alternative but to cution with noisy acclamations. (18)
remain until the execution was over ; and to get out of the The violent death of a human being is a moving crowd, I sought a balcony, that overlooked the guillotine,
where seats were hired for the time for a small compensaineident to the spectators of every country; but tion. A company of men were already assembled there, where they have any humanity, they always show who were cheerfully conversing. In a short time, a large sympathy for the sufferer. When a criminal is to fat woman, her face flushed with emotion, came hastily be publicly executed in the United States, people into the balcony, and asked eagerly—- Gentlemen, has it of both sexes frequently go considerable distances begun yet? •No, madame,' was the reply. 'Oh, how happy. I to witness it; but at the moment when the tragedy her snuff-box, and invited those around her to partake. An
am !' said she. She then called for a bottle of beer, opened occurs, they manifest tokens of sorrow and sympa- animated conversation ensued among them, when suddenly thy; and but for the necessity of obeying the law, the fatal tumbril arrived with the victims. One was placed and guarding society, whose rights the sufferer has on the platform of the guillotine. In an instant all were outraged, there would be every disposition to at- silent in the balcony, and looking intently on the scene of
execution. That victim suffered, and a short interval lempt a rescue. At Paris, on the contrary, sym- elapsed before another was brought forward. A lively conpathy has rarely been shown for any sufferer, ex-versation took place again, similar to what is usual at the cept from a small portion of the spectators ; nor theatre between one act and another. But when a fresh has this hard-heartedness been confined to the pe- victim was prepared for execution, there was the same siriod of the revolution, when political feeling might, lence, and the same eager attention as at first ; and this
was repeated, alternating with conversation, until all the in many instances, have been supposed to influence criminals, five in number, were beheaded. During the manners on such occasions : it existed both before scene, a genteel looking young man leant against the wall, and since. In the year 1760, the unfortunate as pale as horror could make him, often repeating the Lally, who had been an officer of high rank in the words— The poor unfortunates!' (Les pauvres malhereux.) East Indies, was executed, it is said unjustly, at One of the talking party at length had his attention attracted
hy his expressions, and asked him where are you from?' (16) Letters of Madame Du Deffand to the Honorable 'I am from the country,' said the young man. 'Ah-ah!' said Horace Walpole--vol. 2, p. 137-38.
the other shrugging his shoulders, as is that at once ac(17) Idem, p. 579.
counted for his difference of manner. The persons who (18) French Revolution, by A. F. Mignet, p. 269. suffered were condemned for coining false money.
ple were crowding towards the place of execution. The party called the Mountain, composed of No symptoms of sympathy for the miserable struck Jacobins, and who furnished the dreadful triumvimy eye.
The only persons allowed to rate-Robespierre, Danton and Marat—rested on remain near the guillotine, except the executioner the Parisian mob for support. It was through it and his assistants, were the people who crowded their power was sustained, and the crimes they orthe footway by the front of it; on the edge of dered were committed. The horrors of that pewhich, and within two yards of the scaffold, sat a riod must be ascribed to the passions of that fearful number of women, although made aware that they populace, relieved from every restraint. It is by would be deluged with the blood of the condemned no means probable, that any other portion of the at the moment of execution."(20.)
people of France would have sustained or tolerated This horrible appetite for blood, was fed to sa- such deeds, if they had had the power to present tiety during the shocking period of the reign of them. But the habit of obedience to the metropoterror; for, after making every allowance for the lis, and the want of concert, prevented any effecvarious motives of a political nature which mingled tual resistance. Among us, living under political in these dreadful tragedies, there is still an im- institutions of a different character, and unaccusmense mass of crime that cannot be charged to tomed to implicit obedience to any one source of any motives of ambition, policy, or revenge, and power, it is certain that if the young, the beaucould not have been permitted among any people tiful and the innocent, were daily led to execution not dead to human sorrow.
of our cities, by any power that might obIt was during the reign of the Jacobins that tain a momentary ascendency, the people would these horrors were most abundant, and the Jaco- rise from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico to crush the bins were sustained in power by the mob of Paris. miscreants; if such a mighty effort were necessary The mob ruled in Paris, and Paris governed France. to effect it. “You know,” said Danton,-in a speech delivered On a theatre of such vast power as France af. in the Convention at a period of great public dan- forded at the epoch now referred to, all the strong ger,
that France lies in Paris : if you abandon passions incident to humanity were loosened from the capital to our invaders, you give up yourselves, their moorings. The bad ones prowled like ' bloodand you give up France to them."(21)
hounds from the slip;" and, although love of liberty, The attempt afterwards made by the Girondists however mistaken, mingled with hatred of past to array the departments against Paris, failed of oppression, might have influenced many, love of success, and showed how vast the influence of the power and plunder, and, in a more eminent degree, capital was in France. The party in the Conven- a tiger's thirst for blood, characterized the most tion called the Mountain, so awfully known in the prominent actors. This last quality has forced ithistory of that period, was composed of the Depu- self upon the attention of the French writers thenties of Paris, who had been elected under the in- selves, however anxious they may be to hide the fluence of the Commune of the 10th of August, defects of their countrymen. M. Matter, in his and some addition of decided revolutionists from treatise on the Influence of Manners upon Laws, the Provinces. (22)
(De L'influence Des Meurs sur les Lois.) obThe Mountain reigned absolute in Paris; the serves: “It has been said that the spectacle of Commune was devoted to it, and that had con- bloody executions, still commanded by our laws, trived to make itself the first authority in the and the preparations which precede them, are a State.(23)
source of great evils; that in a moral point of The influence of Paris was, probably, owing to view, the spectacle, far from inspiring horror, in the force of habit. It had been for ages the seat itself enchains by a species of emotions, which it of government, and the residence of powerful and is so much more dangerous to produce in the peodespotic monarchs. All orders had emanated from ple, that they seem to taste them with pleasure, and thence, and every eye had been turned in that di- in no instance are inspired either with the fear of rection; for, it was not only the seat of power, but crime or that of punishment; but on the contrary the residence of all distinguished in France. It in brutalizing the sentiments of some, and ereiung presented the model for imitation in the manners those of others, in giving to all a sort of ferocity, of the gay, and the opinions of the learned. After which in the most gross and brutal nature scarcely the monarchy was destroyed, that city retained its developes itself, this spectacle becomes the cause of influence, which was manifested through every frightful perversity."(24) change; and was found capable of sealing the fate The revolution is crowded with examples of the of Bonaparte himself, when taken possession of by pleasure which the spectacles of blood afforded the the Allies in 1814; which the loss of half the mob. kingdom could not have effected.
When the eloquent and beautiful Madame Ro(20) Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 19th, 1822.
land was brought before the revolutionary tribunal, (21) Mignet's French Revolutiori, p. 179.
she afforded them a scene of more than ordinary (22) Mignet, p. 189. (23) Mignct, p. 190.
(24) Malter sur L'influence, &c., p. 107.
interest. “ That remarkable woman,” says Sir persons at the various prisons who were confined Walter Scott,“ happy if her high talents had, in under the pretext of political suspicion had been youth, fallen under the direction of those who murdered, the assassins attacked the Bicetre-a could better have cultivated them, made before the place of confinement for those charged with offenrevolutionary tribunal, a defence more manly than ces against the ordinary police, and having no the most eloquent of the Girondins. The by- connection whatever with politics. These poor standers, who had become amateurs in cruelty, wretches, unlike the others who were led patiently were as much delighted with her deportment, as to the slaughter, endeavored to defend their lives. the hunter with the pulling down a noble stag. Their resistance was obstinate, and cannon were 'What sense,' they said, 'what wit, what courage! employed to reduce them. “ The thirst of blood," What a magnificent spectacle it will be to behold says M. Thiers, “ urged on the multitude. The soch a woman upon the scaffold! She met her fury of fighting and murdering had superseded podeath with great firmness; and as she passed the litical fanaticism, and it killed for the sake of kilStatue of Liberty on her road to execution, she ling."(34) exclaimed—Ah, Liberty! what crimes are com- Jouve Jourdan, one of the monsters of this pemitted in thy name.' ” (25)
riod, was entitled the “ Beheader !” He was reThe habit of going to the place of execution markable for wearing a long beard, which was during this period, resembled that of visiting the often besprinkled with blood. (35) theatre.(26)
These are enough, perhaps more than enough, of Places were sold on carts and on tables around the horrible incidents of the reign of Jacobinism, the scaffold, at the execution of Roussin, Cloots to show that a thirst for blood, independent of and Hebert, whilst the populace followed the lat- other considerations, prevailed among many of ter, repeating in derision the cries of the hawkers those who were then active agents at Paris. Poof his paper—“Il est b- --- encolere Le Pere litical feeling could not in any way have influenced Duchesue."(27)
a large part--for in the case of the Bicetre, the The instrument of death was called the Holy occupants were there for causes unconnected with Guillotine; and around the scaffold were placed politics. rows of chairs, which the passengers hired, as at But there is another class of facts that require other places of public amusement, to witness its insertion here, which occurred at the same period, operations.(28)
and which seem at first view to present a singular Not less than thirty innocent victims were daily inconsistency in human character. I will use the led to the place of execution. (29)
language of the historians who have related them. The female sex made itself shockingly conspicu- Describing the September massacres, Sir Walter ons in these dreadful scenes. Women sat daily at Scott observes : “ Yet there were occasions when their needle-work around the scaffold.(30) they showed some transient gleams of humanity,
Some were designated as the furies of the guil- and it is not unimportant to remark that boldness lotine, on account of their deportment at the place had more influence on them than any appeal to of execution.(31)
mercy or compassion.
Another trait of " The first murders,” says M. Thiers, “ com- a singular nature is exhibited by the fact, that two mitted in 1793, proceeded from a real irritation of the ruffians who were appointed to guard one of caused by danger. Such perils had now ceased; these intended victims home in safety, as a man the republic was victorious ; people now slaugh- acquitted, insisted upon seeing his meeting with tered, not from indignation, but from the atrocious his family ; seemed to share in the transports of habit which they had contracted.”(32)
the moment; and on taking leave, shook the hand Of Fouquier Tinville, the public accuser, it is of their late prisoner, while their own were clotted said : His whole recreation was to behold his vic- with the gore of his friends, and had been just tins perish on the scaffold. He confessed that raised to shed his own. Few indeed and brief that object had great attractions for him. Nothing were these symptoms of relenting."(36) roused hiin from his general apparent apathy but M. Thiers says: “Amidst this carnage, however, the prospect of inflicting death, and then his coun- they spared some victims, and manifested incontenance became radiant with expression.(33) ceivable joy in giving them their lives. A young
In the massacres of September, after all the man claimed by a section and declared pure from (25) Life of Napoleon-vol. 2, p. 204.
aristocracy, was acquitted with shouts of Vive la (26) Hazlett's Life of Napoleon.
Nation! and borne in triumph in the bloody arms (27) Thiers' History of the French Revolution-vol. 2, p. of the executioners. The venerable Sombrevil,
governor of the Invalides, was brought forward in (28) Quarterly Review.
his turn and sentenced to be transferred to La (29) Editor of Thiers-vol. 2., p. 230. (39) Quarterly Review. (31) Thiers'---vol. 2, p. 250. (34) Thiers' French Revolution-vol. 1, p. 305. (32) Thiers--vol. 2,
(35) Biographic Moderne, per Editor of Thiers. (33) Thiers--vol. 2, p. 103: Note per Editor.
(36) Lise of Napoleon-vol. 2, p. 43.