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But we must return to the work before us; from which we shall extract a passage indicative of its theology.
“ Vague admiration at the sight of nature, previous to understanding it, and without being able to satiate himself with it, is one of the royal dispositions, that announces a mind capable at some future day of fermenting, and resolving itself into feeling and intellect. It is the germ of that religious spirit, without which there is no religion, and also no futurity; and if we must have at least the hope of futurity, to connect Heaven and Earth, and excite the loftiest thoughts, as well as the most pleasing expectations, let us hasten to cultivate in the royal child this germ of his own happiness, and of that of his people.
· Man requires a future: whatever some may say, it is necessary to him. A throne is not sufficient to fill the mind of a king; and it is because he perceives a void, that he is either restless, or falls asleep
“ A future is necessary to glory as well as to wretchedness, to those who suffer, as well as to those who are happy: but what is futurity ? merely an abyss of doubts, a word without meaning, unless religion give it one, by filling the heart of man with a hope that satisfies his desires.
" This is the fire concealed in the embers; but let us place no fuel on it. We will say however with the law, that every religion professing to believe in a God, ought to be protected; and the more so, as the God of a nation arrived at maturity is no longer the God of its youth.” (P. 17, 18.)
We felicitate those of our readers who can fully understand this strange passage. A vague admiration of nature, it seems, is the germ of religion, and without it there is neither religion nor futurity. We thought it had been very widely recognized upon the continent that religion and futurity consist in certain protuberances of the sinciput of a reasonable being,--that is, a being endowed with certain knobs and cerebral developements not found in the lower animals. But it seems the craniologists are mistaken; religion and futurity are nothing more nor less than
vague admiration of the works of Nature. We now begin to understand what Lord Byron meant when he asked, in the third canto of his Childe Harolde,
“ Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me, and of my soul, as I of them?" To be sure they are; and not only it seems a part of the “soul,” but the sum and substance of " religion and futurity” also.There is, however, in the preceding passage (for in spite of the absurdity of such sentiments they touch upon subjects which constrain us to be serious) a reflection which, if duly felt, would lead to better things.
“ Man requires a future—a throne is not sufficient to fill his mind-he perceives a void-he is restless or falls asleep.” Now this very restlessness, this " longing after immortality,” is itself one of the strongest proofs of a future state. Would the Almighty, as Addison finely argues in his celebrated paper on the immortality of the soul, have given us such desires never to be satisfied? Would he have formed a being endowed, if we may so say, with an appetite for futurity, if the present scene is to be the boundary of his hopes, and the sole æra of his existence? But if the idea of a future state is well founded, if only it be probable or possible, what becomes of such a system as that under consideration? Is it to educate a being for futurity merely to expand his physical powers, and to give him the port and dignity of a king, but to leave him proud and ambitious, and the most consummate of hypocrites, in order that he may be the most despotic of monarchs? Can we wonder that, under such a system, “ contempt of death” is next insisted upon as one of the principles most strongly to be inculcated in the mind of the pupil? Not indeed the Christian triumph which regards death as a conquered enemy, but that culpable recklessness which arises from mere constitutional courage (“ le courage de tempérament”) and “physical organization.” “ Vous finirez,” say the authors, “si son organization s'y prête, par faire du mépris de la mort!" If this were a proper occasion for such reflections we should feel inclined to recommend the reader to contrast the principles upon which the “ Christian hero" braves death, with the irrational, and worse than irrational, contempt of it, which is here inculcated. Death is, and ought to be, a subject of natural terror; it is only on the principles of the Gospel of our Saviour that it becomes an unarmed enemy and oftentimes a welcome friend.
The second part of the work proceeds to the important article of “ Tuition.” The necessity of princes being well-informed in " this enlightened age” is strongly insisted upon, as also of their acquiring habits of business and the power of intense application. “ Europe,” exclaims the writer, “ is tired of idle kings; the breath of life with which Napoleon has inspired it, agitates its people and its monarchs.” We presume that Europe was as tired of restless and ambitious emperors as of idle kings, when it united its forces to expel the imperial chessplayer to amuse himself with a game at solitaire in Elba or St. Helena, in place of check-mating kings and “ castelling” their territories. The object of the tuition here recommended is pithily expressed in the opening sentence of the chapter. ão Princes ! born to command, learn how men are to be commanded.” The first thing we have already seen is to ensure
a noble demeanour.” • It is the aureolă of exalted nature; it is the glory that surrounds and sympathizes with loftiness of mind." “ Acquire," add the authors, “ the mind of Apollo, and you will have his sublime air, if you do not possess his beauty.” But, above all,
“ Assist your weakness with the impenetrable veil of profound silence; excite a fermentation in men's hearts and minds at a distance ; perplex them, weary them, in a labyrinth of doubts and conjectures: thus you will reign at least through hope and fear, and, if the philosopher escape you, have no apprehension, the people will be at your feet, and public opinion with them.” (P: 22.)
The difficulty of finding a preceptor capable of duly instilling all this into a child is represented as very great." Power alone can sustain power; the mind of Napoleon alone is capable of reproducing itself in his descendants. Who would dare to undertake a work so sacred and lofty, were he not sustained by his hand?” And again, “ where shall we find a mind capable of acting as a conductor to the mind of Napoleon?”. The system of education begins with exercising at first only the body and the memory. Next come grąceful and dignified reading and enunciation; “from seven to ten is the age of geography, next succeed the elements of history and chronology. • Of foreign languages,” adds the preceptor, “ I say nothing; it is the business of nurses to begin them, and of valets de chambre to go on with them.” Latin seems to be nearly excluded : “We cannot do every thing : it may even be questioned whether the language of Virgil and Horace, should enter into the plan of a royal education.” Perhaps this prohibition was intended in compliment to “the greatest of men" who nevertheless as we have heard was assez foible” as to Latin and polite accomplishments. Geometry is to be diligently cultivated, because it “ exercises at once the judgment, the memory, and the imagination.” Not a word of its being useful in fortification and engineering; these were doubtless out of the question with so good and pacific a prince as the pupil of this system was intended to become; though to be sure we are told in a subsequent page that “ the art of war is the art of kings,” and that “it is an Achilles that is to be formed,” and the study of Homer is strongly recommended “in a translation (Dacier’s) which is executed with a taste so pure, and a beauty so perfect.” A smattering of the sciences is of course to be obtained, or the education would not be French. He is likewise to study arithmetic, “ because one can neither divide nor measure ground without it."
We proceed to the third part of this Machiavelian system for forming a prince.” This part is entitled “ Age from sixteen to eighteen." It is written like the former chapters in such an abrupt, desultory, salient style that we are constantly at a loss to discover either the import of single sentences, or their connexion with each other. The obvious intention of this mode of writing was to imitate the well-known style of Bonaparte. If the author had cut his manuscript into thread-papers
shaken them in a bag together, he could hardly have alighted upon any thing more vague and incoherent than the following passage which opens the chapter.
AGE FROM SIXTEEN TO EIGHTEEN.
“ I hesitated to go on with this period : an unforeseen circumstance inspired me with confidence, and I resume the pen.
* Without assistance the innocent must perish. His innocence, far from protecting him, serves only to draw on him oppression. But if the good man,
though under the protection of morality and the laws, be nevertheless exposed to this formidable hazard, when he persists in his duty without considering the opposition of others--what would become of a king, if, neglecting what is done, to attach himself only to what ought to be done, he rested satisfied with feeling indignation at it?-He must perish.
“ Man presses on man, kings upon kings. Every one oppresses or is oppressed; and such is the force of oppression in this world, that he, who is reduced to defend himself against it, is reduced to the condition of a prey, whose lot it is to be devoured.
“ The truly defensive state is offensive when necessary: give yourself the power, therefore, of acting offensively. It is in vain that history raises you to the clouds by trophies heaped on trophies : the security of the future rests not on the glory of the past, but on the sword that supports you, and ought never to quit your side.
“ The only resource of a king is in his arms, always threatenning : man loves according to his fancy, but his fears are as great as you wish to make them. A wise prince will moderate the fear he inspires ; but he will rely on it alone, that he may depend only on himself.
Returning now to the period of from sixteen to eighteen, I shall proceed to establish what I have said of it, that it is the time for strong things, and for the plenitude of instruction, addressed to the man so far as he is a king." (P. 49, 50.)
Farming and visiting “ the Hotel of Invalids,” are next recommended, as also reading “ Plutarch's Lives," and those of “the great men of modern times," and " afterwards those of Louis XI. Ferdinand IV. and Philip II.” Then comes a scene most exquisitely ridiculous, invented " to teach compassion and “to approximate the child spoiled by fortune to other mortals." We shall present it to our readers.
"I will suppose then, without farther reflections, that a complaint reaches me of the prince having ill-treated a guard, who had led him astray at the last hunting party. The complaint is made in writing; I direct him to exculpate himself in writing.
“ I know before hand, that there is a mistake; and that it was one of his companions, who ill-treated the guard, by whom he had been misled by my orders. I know, that the prince has reproved him for his violence; and that he must be astonished at finding himseif the person accused.
“ He brings me his justification. I perceive his heart revolts at the charge, and spurns it; while at the same time I discern his magnanimity. He defends himself without accusing any one, and thus gives an air of constraint and obscurity to his defence. I remark this to him : he admits it, and is the first to desire, that the guard shall be brought forward. Thus I introduce the scene.
“ I caution the prince, not to intimidate the guard, but to speak to him calmly and kindly, as much for the sake of his own honour, as to put him at ease, and call forth those veræ voces of Lucretius, of which we had spoken so often.
“ On the other hand the guard, a man on whom I can depend, resolute, and well prepared for his part, enters with a respectful and tranquil air. The prince seated, I ask what passed. The guard repeats his complaint, and adds, that he has had the honour of being a carbineer for ten years, and shall never forget this, were he reduced to beggary. At this word, beggary, the prince rises with much emotion : • That you shall never be, as long as I live :' he says to him: * But how is it, that you complain of me? You must have taken some other person for me : tell me how I was dressed. — Your highness had on à gray coat.' (He was in fact dressed in gray that day).— But, in short, what did I do to you?'- You threatened me with your
horsewhip.'— 1!—I!’— Yes, monseigneur.'—' It is false !' (in a passion).—The guard says nothing more, and withdraws.
“ Left alone, I say to him: Well, prince, you have noticed that tranquil air ; you have heard that simple language, that tone of truth, that natural sound of the voice-' He is in despair, and his heart rises against me: he is indignant at seeing me doubtful, and hesitating between him and the guard; me, who must know him, and ought to be more fully convinced than any person, that he would have been the first to accuse himself, if he had committed the fault of which he is accused. His words flow rapidly, and with eloquence: I say to him coolly, that time will discover the truth. “Yes: yes : it will discover it!' he says with vehemence, and we separate.
“ But I take only a few steps, before I return, and say to him with great coldness : How could you tempt the veracity of the guard, by assuring him, that, as long as you lived, he need not fear being reduced to beggary ?'—At these words, his head reclines on his bosom, as if appealing to it as a witness of the injustice of the accusation. He goes out in the greatest agitation, and I follow him.
“ I shall proceed no farther with my description ; as this work is intended for a mere summary. I shall only add, that, if the plot of this little drama consisted in the conduct pursued by a party really guilty, the clearing it up would depend on his confession.
“ All the skill in managing this affair consists in knowing how to vary, graduate, and prolong the suffering of the prince, to such a degree, that he may suffer without falling into a passion; yet so far as sensibly to feel the effect of calumny on a man of honour : and that Seneca spoke the simple truth, without exaggeration, when he said: • There is no spectacle so worthy the eye of Heaven, as a good man struggling against injustice and misfortune.'” (P.56–59.)
We are not aware who was the inventor of this sort of chicane in education; but it is to Rousseau that the world owes the