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king. When Counts Montholon and Bertrand went to Holland-house, with the legacy bequeathed by Bonaparte to Lady Holland, they shocked the noble owner by presenting themselves in state. “Strange and mortifying reflection to human pride !” he finely exclaims, “ that those who have devoted themselves to a man of great intellect, should imagine that they honour his memory by aping the absurd forms of other sovereigns and pretenders !” Yet they did but ape the absurd forms of the man of intellect himself, who condescended, in his time, to splendid mimicry of sovereigns such as pretenders only are weak enough to aim at. Hereditary rank finds no respect from Lord Holland, yet he takes pains to prove the nobility of Napoleon. Inconsistency is endless. Half the volume of Reminiscences is taken up with a panegyric of Lord Holland's idol, yet almost at the last page comes the mortifying confession that the matchless and unapproachable man“ had very little regard for truth.” He is the very soul of chivalry, yet (page 279) he never scruples to open letters addressed to other persons. Absolutism is the curse of mankind, yet nothing is clearer, from Lord Holland's relation, than that Bonaparte's reign was one of perfect absolutism, and that the principles of freedom were all but extinguished under his fierce, uncontrolled, and absolute rule. So awkward, in truth, is the lastmentioned circumstance, that our author is fain to explain it away by an argument as original as it is happy. According to Lord Holland, Napoleon assumed the imperial diadem lest, haply, a spirit of democracy and anarchy might be fomented throughout the country! As to ambition, Bonaparte knew not
abeo extingui that the heign wa
NAPOLEON A MODEI OF INJURED INNOCENCE. 157 the passion. “Like our Elizabeth, his principles, and his temper too, were at variance with his position.” “In honour of truth, and not of Napoleon," Lord Holland makes known the hitherto unsuspected fact, that Bonaparte “consented to endanger some of his personal security” rather than not accept the crown, which he abhorred, but which he could only reject at the peril of the whole nation. The continence of Scipio pales at the side of the abstinence of Bonaparte ; self-sacrifice was never perfect until now. Let the partisans of authority, of pomp, and perhaps of superstition in government (exclaims the innocent Lord Holland) have the full weight of the sanction of this great man's opinion in favour of the monarchic principle ! Republican though he was, he saw and appreciated the necessity of regal government after the storm and whirlwind of civil war, and, regardless of consequences, in the teeth of his predilections, he lost sight of every consideration but the happiness and welfare of France, and consented to become her sacrifice and—emperor !
One word as to the remarkable pertinacity with which Lord Holland insists—in the face of history patent to the world — upon holding up Napoleon as a model of injured innocence, and his own country in arms against him as meriting only universal execration. Lady Holland invited to her roof, upon the downfall of the emperor, his staunchest friends. She sought to mitigate the severe punishment of the exile by intercession of the government, and by forwarding from time to time, to the object of her sympathy, the means of comfort not to be obtained upon his lone and barren rock. The tenderness of the woman was creditable to her heart, and in conformity with the frevailing sentiments at Holland-house. Who shall c'eny the mightiness of Napoleon, or quarrel with the spirit that strove to assuage his latest sufferings ? Pity for misfortune is worthy of all praise, but regard. for the interests of truth is not wholly without value. In the pages before us truth is altogether sacrificed, that Napoleon may be extolled. Believe Lord Holland, and the bloodshed, the misery, the incalculable sacrifices of the long European contest are wholly to be attributed to the determination of England to have war in spite of every effort of Bonaparte to secure peace. Nothing is more certain than that the ambition of Napoleon was insatiable, and that no hindrance, no considerations of humanity or justice, were ever suffered to stand between him and the exigencies of state policy; yet nothing is clearer to Lord Holland than that every act of his life, “especially during his consulship, sprang from a laudable desire of healing the wounds of the Revolution, and from a sincere, patriotic, and well-digested design of blending all classes and parties in France, and uniting them in support of a common government and in defence of the country.”
Entertaining this view, it is not surprising that Lord Holland should be impatient at the last efforts made by England to secure in his cage the man whose inordinate appetite no acquisition could satisfy ; but it is marvellous to see an intelligent, liberty-loving historian, torturing every fact that comes in his way in order to adapt it to a fixed idea, trebly armed against evidence of every kind. “The instances of Bonaparte's love of vengeance," writes this unscru
DEATH OF THE DUC D'ENGHIEN NO MURDER.
felianty, readinever hen Fengeance
Charito the blu Napo
pulous advocate, "are very few ; they are generally of an insolent, rather than a sanguinary character, more discreditable to his head than his heart, and a proof of his want of manners, taste, and possibly feeling, but not of a dye to affect his humanity." Charity, reading this passage, might presume that the writer had never heard, amongst other instances of Napoleon's love of vengeance, of the cold blooded murder of the Duc d'Enghien. Charity would make a great mistake. Lord Holland refers to the butchery and calls it a “melancholy occasion, on which Napoleon certainly exhibited great obduracy.” From what choice vocabulary of crime did his lordship take the word? We need not repeat the incidents of a transaction which would tarnish for ever the glory of a hero surrounded by the splendour of a hundred Napoleons. The youngest of our readers have wept over the fate of an innocent prince, torn in the dead of night from his bed and slaughtered like a dog in a ditch, and their bosoms have no doubt heaved in admiration of the great Chateaubriand, who refused, in presence of the murderer, and at the peril of his life, to serve the power that could so misuse authority, and sully the very name of man. Obduracy is a holyday term that well becomes the vituperator of lawful kings and the sworn friend of freedom. He did not find it in the catalogue of royal misdemeanours.
The querulous complaints against Bonaparte's stern imprisonment at St. Helena are unworthy a patriot and a man of common sense. Lord Holland speaks like a child when he says that the British government would have allowed an English officer leave of absence had he been afflicted with an incurable disease; and
therefore they were mere persecutors in chaining Napoleon to his rock. What reasoning is here: No doubt the English officer would have had his leave of absence. Equally certain is it that an ordinary felon would command a similar privilege. But Bonaparte was no common criminal. Lord Holland confesses that he had no regard for truth. We know he could not be trusted, as we are equally certain that his restless and ungovernable spirit could not trust itself. In the case of Bonaparte, the British government were forced to be cruel only that they Inight be kind. With the remotest chance of escape, Napoleon would have availed himself of that chance, and summoned Furope once more from peaceful occupation, to anarchy, bloodshed, and war. The very writer who here protests against his imprisonment would have been amongst the first to hail the escape, and to rejoice in the consequent difficulties of his native country. Report is false to the memory of Lord Holland, if he would not have done more, and helped towards the release which, once effected, must have given a blow to civilisation, which a century of subsequent peace could hardly have repaired. At Elba there had been confidence reposed and comparative freedom enjoyed, and what availed either : The magic of Napoleon's name, the ceaseless cravings of his own unquiet soul, rendered greater freedom impossible than that which was finally vouchsafed. The keeper of the untamed tiger was responsible to the whole world for the safe custody of his prize, and would have earned the loud curses of millions had he once more let him loose to ravage the hearths of man. Lord Holland never tires of contrasting the magna