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'cember. The author tells us, and there is strong evidence to confirm the truth and excuse the tone of his assertions, that
• The sketch which he has drawn of the French finances, is collected from original documents of unquestionable authority, and, together with many of the topics in relation to the state of England upon which he has merely touched, forms but the outline of a much larger work which he now has in a state of forwardness. In the publication of these pages, he derives no small confidence from the habitual attention which he has given to political studies, and from the frequent intercourse which he enjoyed, during a long residence abroad, with many of the most enlightened statesmen of Europe. These advantages greatly facilitated the attainment of correct information, and in the opinion of those particularly who are ac. . quainted with the extent of the last, cannot fail to add weight to his theory, and to stamp a character of peculiar authenticity on the facts which he has occasion to introduce in the progress of this enquiry.' p. iv..
The number of subjects discussed, and the want of regular connection between the various discussions, renders it difficult to give a satisfactory analysis of the work. The author's leading propositions, however, are distinctly stated in the outset; and these are satisfactorily established, we think, by a very extensive collection of proofs and arguments. ."
After remarking the natural advantages possessed by France for acquiring the dominion of the continent, and the operation of the revolution in arming her with prodigious military power, he observes that her success is no work of chance.
Throughout all the changes of government which France has under. gone, there has been an unbroken continuity of views and character. The power of Bonaparte is the mere offspring of the genius and necessi, ties of the republic. He assumed the reins of authority at a crisis when it was necessary to commit them to a single hand, and under circumstances which admitted of no other rule than that of an enterprising military chief. I have been told by some of those who planned the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, that the consular power was first tendered to Moreau ; but that, on the unexpected arrival of Bonaparte from Egypt, the former designated him as a more suitable instrument for their purpose. It is not to the character and talents alone of the present ruler, however well adapted to his station, that we are to ascribe the career which France has run since his accession. I insist the more on this consideration, be. cause it leads to important conclusions. “ The swing and impulse” were already given. He did but move in concert with the regular march, and can scarcely be said to have outstripped the inherent alacrity of the system which he was selected to administer. He has, indeed, adjusted all the partsstrengthened the springs and monopolized the government, of this colossal engine of conquest, with a degree of skill and energy like that with which the Jupiter of the fable is said to have usurped and wielded the empire of Saturn. But he and his immediate predecessors were conquerors from necessity as well as choice. To disband the armies would have been an act of political suicide, and was in itself utterly im. possible. It was no less impossible to maintain them within the limits of the French territory. pp. 18-20.
Having stated that the French emperor is under the necesa sity of constantly employing his armies and occupying the public mind, he says,
• Throughout all France, the note of military preparation drowns every other indication of activity-and the thirst of conquest appears to supersede every other desire. In the capital, all the faculties of thought and action which either individuals or public bodies can furnish in aid of the general design, are applied and disciplined with a regular and effective subserviency, which to me was truly astonishing. I found on all sides, an unity, of views,- an activity in planning and systematizing the devices of ambition, an eagerness for the issue, and a sanguine assurance of suc. cess-almost incredible, and more like the effects of revolutionary fren.. zy, than those of a concert between the insatiable ambition of an audacious tyrant and the active talents and natural propensities of a body of trembling slaves. From the commencement of the revolution particularly, emissaries have been scattered over Europe in order to study and delineate its geographical face. The harvest of their labours, now deposited in Paris, has furnished the imperial government with a knowledge of the territory of the other powers, much more minute and accurate than that which the latter themselves possess. The Dépôt de la Guerre occupies, unrenittingly, several hundred clerks in tracing maps and collecting topographical details, to minister to the military purposes of the government. All the great estates of Spain were marked and parcelled out long before the last invasion of that country, and it is not too much to affirm, that those of England are equally well known and already parti. tioned. w. The idea of unlimited sway is studiously kept before the public mind,
and the future empire of France over the nations of the earth, exultingly proclaimed, in all the songs of the theatres, and in public discourses of every description. . Even the gaunt and ragged beings, who prowl about the streets and infest the night-cellars of Paris ; the famished outcasts, many of whom are men of decent exterior and advanced age, beggared by the revolution,--who haunt the. Boulevards and public gardens, in ore der to enjoy, under the rays of the sun, that enlivening warmth which their poverty denies them at home, and who, by their wan and melan. choly aspect, excite the horror and compassion of a strangersmall appear to forget, for a moment, their own miseries, in anticipating the brilliant destinies of the empire, and contemplating Paris; in prospective, as the metropolis of the world. The inhabitants of the country and of the provincial cities, whose condition the war renders miserable beyond description, and who secretly invoke the bitterest curses on their rulers, -* are, nevertheless, (for such is the character of this extraordinary people) not without their share in the general avidity for power; and, when the sense of their wretchedness does not press too strongly upon them, can even consent to view the extension of the national influence and renown in the light of a personal benefit.' pp. 24.-26. • He affirms that the seizure of Spain was no sudden project : but that the resistance of the people was unexpected, the intention having been to transport the royal fan VOL. VI.
mily to South America, and seize upon the crown as a derelict. We insert the following anecdote which he professes to have had from an eye-witness, without perceiving, however, that an act of Murat is the fittest criterion of the character of Napoleon : .
If thie detention of Ferdinand, when lured into his toils by the blan. dishments of pretended friendship, shows that there are no refinements of dissimulation or artifices of perfidy of which he is not capable,--the massacre of three hundred innocent victims, whom Murat, the day after the tumult of the 2d of May, caused to be grouped together and shot by his soldiery, in the principal square of Madrid, equally demonstrates, that there is no excess of barbarity, however atrocious, from which he would shrink in the prosecution of his views.' pp. 33, 34.
The opinion we have expressed concerning the spirit of the Spanish revolution, fully accords with the author's censure of the English ministry. In attempting to rouse the moral energies of the country, they made their appeal to the prejudices of slavery and fanaticism,-when, in such a cause, “ the soul of freedom" and a deep steady feeling of self-interest in the minds of the people, were the only auxiliaries fitted to supply the absence of skill and discipline.' (p. 42.) It is justly added, that the chief element of resistance, among the Spaniards, appears to be the deeply rooted hatred to their enemy.' . We read the following sentences with additional pleasure, as written by an American, and designed to circulate among his countrymen. . I was in England at the commencement of the Spanish struggle, and witnessed the progress of public sentiment on this subject, not only in the capital, but in almost every part of the country. Never did any pation exhibit a more sublime and edifying spectacle, or an elevation of character so perfectly co-ordinate with the lofty eminence on which she was placed by this unexpected event. Whatever calculations of interest may have been indulged in the councils of the ministry, and with them they were, I believe, altogether secondary,--none were to be discovered in the spontancous soaring and eager compassion of the mass of the nation. Indignation at the unparallelled wrongs,_sympathy for the cruel sufferings of the Spaniards, alone animated every class of this generous and high-minded people, and called forth an enthusiasm not less ardent, than if they themselves had been the victims. p. 43.
I saw the effect which it produced upon the deputies, who were welcomed as if they had been deliverers -not suppliants. They frequently shed tears of gratitude and joy, and appeared to be more overpowered by the nature of their reception, than by the contemplation of that unrivalled scene of public and individual felicity--that vigor and independ, ence of mind, and those moral and political institutions, which place England so far above every other European country in the scale of excellence.' pp. 47, 48.
We pass over the remarks on the war with Austria, as re
luctantly engaged in by France at an inconvenient time, to prevent the re-establishment of a formidable rival; on the intimation which the destruction of Prussia, the ancient ally of France, afforded, of Bonaparte's designs against Austria · and Russia; on the weakness of the latter power, arising from her poverty and the sparse character (as it is called) of her population, and in consequence her necessary subservience or subjection to France. The author's despair of the deliverance of Europe is by no means alleviated by any speculation on the death of its enslaver; as he justly observer, that if France were plunged into a civil war, her military strength, like that of various other nations in similar circumstances, would be rather increased than diminished. . The author then proceeds to express and support his opinion, relative to the wretched condition of France. He notices the exclusion of the legislative body, soon after the consu·lar government was established, from any control over the disposal of the public treasure ; the annual mummery of a budget, in which the statement of receipts has been doubled, and upon which no reliance whatever is placed by any well informed member of the community;' and the abuses in esti-mating, collecting, and expending the revenue in a state, where there is no public scrutiny, and no effectual private protection. · I have carefully collated the list of objects taxed in England, particu. larly those which fall under the excise, with the catalogue of France : and have found, that the French government has omitted none, which, by any possibility, could be rendered productive. In England, they have sty. diously avoided the imposition of such taxes as might clog the industry, or trench too far on the necessities, of the people. In France, these considerations appear to have had no weight; while at the same time, the pro. portions observed in England, for the alleviation of the lower classes, are there wholly disregarded. No comparison can be instiluted, as to the moderation and lenity, with which the numerous and complicated taxes of both countries are levied. pp. 83, 84.
• The personal contribution embraces every article which falls within the list of the assessed taxes in England and which the epithet can imply. Horses, dogs, servants, vehicles, utensils, the rent of dwellings, stock of every description, &c.--are all included in one or other of three branches,
the personal, mobiliary, and sumptuary taxes, which I have mentioned above. An impost on gateways, chimneys, &c. is added to that on doors and windows. The charges on these articles are all of the heaviest kind.' pp. 87, 88. .
An old tax is also revived under the name of droit des patentes, which is an assessment upon individuals exercising trades or professions, and unites the character of a capitation tax with that of an impost on the wages of industry.' (p. 89.). The
privilege of appealing against an excessive levy of the contribia tion fonciere, (which is a sort of land tax, operating however as an income tax, involving the same vexatious investigations, and fixed by law at a maximum of 5 per cent. upon the income) has been restored by Bonaparte, but under this arbitrary and invidious condition, that no relief is to be obtained, unless the party appealing shall point out some estate within his district that has been undervalued. Heavy duties are imposed on the registration of transfers of property, on collateral inheritances, on all public and private instruments, even extracts from registers of births and bills of mortality, and (what is worst) on judicial proceeilings, the effect of which last is to afford motives for multiplying their number, and to increase at once the expense and the delay of obtaining justice. No individual proprietor of wood land can cut down his timber, with.. out giving six months notice, and obtaining permission of the government, a regulation which gives it a virtual monopoly of the sale of wood. A large sum is levied by lotteries,-the disgrace of our own financial system; they are asserted, on re-spectable testimony, to occasion in Paris alone above a hun. dred suicides annually. The spirit of gambling to which they minister, is represented as raging in France with extreme vio. lence; and the Palais Royal, where it displays itself on the largest scale, as exhibiting a scene only to be .conceived of from Dante's Inferno. The post office, which in France provides the accommodations of travelling as well as the conveyance of letters, is admirably regulated, but is a most formidable engine of despotism, maintaining a minute supervision over travellers, and employing a large number of clerks incessantly in opening and copying letters. The famous gabelle is replaced by a general tax on salt, more productive and scarcely Jess burthersome. This tax is professedly devoted to the formation and repair of roads, most of which, however, excepting the great military roads, are stated to be in a very wretched condition. The excise appears to be as extensive, inquisitorial, and vexatious, as in England. Additional centimes are levied upon these various taxes, for particular purposes; for the support of the war, for public buildings, public instruction, &c. and appropriated to those objects, or not, according to the discretion or the necessities of the executive.
. The immense number of officers employed in the collection of the revenue, are paid by a per centage; only the net amount is published, and the expences of collecting seem to be fairly estiinated at twenty per cent, while in England they are probably not more than eight.
Deposits are exacted, not only as securities from public functionaries, but as loans from persons exercising respon