Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

695883

DISSERTATIONS,

ETC.

VINDICATION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF

FEBRUARY, 1848; IN REPLY TO LORD BROUGHAM AND OTHERS.*

That the transactions and the men of the late French Revolution should find small favor in the eyes of the vulgar and selfish part of the upper and middle classes, can surprise no one; and that the newspaper press, which is the echo, or, as far as it is able, the anticipation, of the opinions and prejudices of those classes, should endeavor to recommend itself by malicious disparagement of that great event, is but in the natural order of things. Justice to the men, and a due appreciation of the event, demand that these unmerited attacks should not remain unprotested against. But it is difficult to grapple with so slippery an antagonist as the writer in a newspaper, and impossible to follow the stream of calumny as it swells by a perpetual succession of infinitesimal infusions from incessant newspaper articles. Unless through some similar medium, in which the day's falsehood can be immediately met by the day's contradiction, such assailants are fought at too great a disadvantage. It is fortunate, therefore, when some one, embodying the whole mass of accusation in one general bill of indictment, puts the case upon the issue of a single battle instead of a multitude of skirmishes. It is an immense advantage to the defenders of truth and justice, when all that falsehood and injustice have got to say is brought together in a moderate compass, and in a form convenient for exposure.

* Letter to the Marquess of Lansdowne, K.G., Lord President of the Council, on the late Revolution in France. By Lord Brougham, F.R.S., Member of the National Institute. London: Ridgway. 1848.

Westminster Review, April, 1849.

Such an advantage Lord Brougham has afforded by his outpouring of desultory invective against the Revolution and its authors. Among the multitude of performances, similar in intention and often superior in skill, which have issued from the English press since February, 1848, his pamphlet is the only one which affects to embrace the whole subject, and the only one which bears a known name. Should it seem to any one that more importance is attached to such a performance than properly belongs to a thing so slight and trivial, let it be considered that the importance of a numerical amount does not so much depend upon the unit which heads it, as upon the number of the figures which follow.

Lord Brougham “thinks it a duty incumbent on him, as one who has at various times been a leader in political movements, and had some hand in bringing about the greatest constitutional change that ever was effected without actual

« НазадПродовжити »