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• Cette disposition influe sensiblement sur la nature du talent. L'homme doni la vie marche d'accord avec ses sentimens, les exprime simplement et sans efforts; il y a dans ses paroles, tant élevées qu'elles puissent être, quelque chose d'assuré et de positif qui pénètre et qui entraîne. Celui doni la vertu n'existe que dans l'imagination s'échauffe davantage; il s'enivre de ses paroles, et s'y attache d'autant plus que c'est son seul bien ; il ne manque pas de vérité, ce sont bien des sentiment sincères qu'il exprime; c'est bien son âme qui révèle son émotion à la nôtre. Il nous persuade, il nous remue; cependant nous entrevoyons, sans nous en rendre compte, quelque contradiction. Nous ne nous reposons pas avec pleine confiance dans ses discours; il est vrai, mais il n'est plus simple. Ce dernier caractère du génie, qui fait son charme éternel, lui manque. Et Rousseau se trouve par là bien loin de l'éloquence de Bossuei.'--p. 172, &c.
These general observations will be found to apply to each of Rousseau's principal works. Romance acquired an entirely new character in his hands. In his Héloise we are not to look for the portraiture of men such as they appear in our eyes. Man seldom reveals to others the secret springs and motives of bis soul, unless they are betrayed by a sudden and involuntary emotion. * Some sense of bashfulness, some fear of being misunderstood,' urges him to keep this portion of himself to himself; and it is this very hidden part of the soul which Rousseau has undertaken to represent. « Les lettres de Julie ne renferment pas ce qui se dit; mais on y trouve ce qu'on a senti sans le dire.' The defects attendant on this mode of writing are numerous. The most glaring of them is the tedious uniformity of a style always employed in delineating, even in their minutest details, what the author calls des impressions exaltées. Rien ne se repose ; jamais des paroles simples ne viennent replacer le lecteur dans la nature habituelle.' Another defect of the work is its fjolish pretension to the character of a course of moral philosophy, and the pedantry into which this pretension betrays the author. But to the reader of just moral taste and feeling, none, perhaps, is more obvious and disgusting than that which is the subject of the following criticism.
• Remarquons aussi que pour donner à la femme ce langage profond et passionné, cette connaissance des impressions qu'elle éprouve, cet appréciation de leur force, cette inquiétude sur leur résultat, il a fallu lui ôter les charmes de la pudeur, de l'ignorance de soi-même, de l'abandon involontaire, et la priver par là de la moitié des grâces de son sexe.'
The observations on Rousseau's system of education are excellent. Il était tout simple que Rousseau, s'occupant de l'éclucation, voulût élever l'enfant, non pour la société, mais contre la société.' No part of his system is more obviously hurtful, and yet
none has been more generally pursued and reduced into practice, than the principle of disguise or deception, --- cette méthode' (as it is here happily expressed)' de jouer la comédie avec les enfans,'of directing their inclinations instead of enforcing their obedience, of leading them to virtue by paths covered with flowers, and to science by the road of amusement,---of honeying the lips of the cup instead of teaching that the draught is indeed bitter, but that it must be swallowed. i Il ne faut pas
pour l'enfant plus de complaisance que la nature n'a pour l’homine.' Besides, the child is not so easily deceived as we fancy; and when it has once discovered the fraud, all is lost.
Another powerful consideration against this and all similar systems of education, we shall give in the author's own words. After all that has been said for and against public schools, more is advanced in their favour from this single argument of necessity than in whole volumes of reasoning.
• Une autre considération s'élève contre tous ces systèmes d'éduca. tion; ils ne sont pas appliquables à l'éducation publique; par conséqucnt, ils sont inutiles. On pourrait soutenir, avec une grande probabilité, que l'éducation publique est essentiellement la meilleure, mais il est clair du moins qu'elle est nécessaire pour le plus grand nombre. Car une génération entière ne peut pas être occupée à élever la suivante, pour qu'à son tour celle-ci se charge d'en instruire une autre; ce serait cultiver sans cesse en ne recueillant jamais.'--p. 179.
It is, as far as we remember, an original observation which our author has made on the moral tendency of the Envile; that it is founded entirely on the principle of self-interest;- d'une façon peut-être encore plus speciale qu' Helvétius. One might expect this,' he adds, from one who was always defective in benevolence towards his fellow-creatures--but it is rendered singular by the contrast which it affords to the Cartesian philosophy on which his « Confession of Faith” is grounded.' With regard, however, to the religion of Rousseau, it partakes of the same character as his morality. On peut être sans cesse agité par ces nobles pensées, sans que les actions s'en ressentent.—En examinant Rousseau, ou voit qu'il y a de l'analogie entre une réligion sans culte, et une vertu sans pratique.'
The political works of Rousseau, and the sound practical reflections which they call forth from this serisible writer, are too important to be slightly treated, and we have not now leisure to investigate them with the attention which they deserve. Of the former, however, the tendency is pretty generally understood, and may be explained by a reference to the character already given of the author's iniud.
On that most extraordinary of all his productions, that to which he has given the title of his Confessions, we meet with a remark equally just and ingenious. It is assuredly a singular phenomenon that a man should undertake to win the esteem and admiration of posterity, by exposing a character full of ignoble details and unpardonable errors; and it is yet more surprising that such an undertaking should have succeeded. C'est bien là ce qui prouve combien est puissante sur le cæur de l'homme la peinture d'une impressiou vive et réelle; quelle syınpathie elle excite en lui, et comment elle établit, entre celui qui parle et celui qui écoute, des ports si intimes que l'un éprouve bientôt ce que l'autre a éprouvé.' But whatever advantages are gained over the imagination, they are soon dissipated by reflectiou—it is not long before we discover the selfish principle concealed beneath this appearance of simplicity and frankness. •Enfin, on se répent de s'être ainsi calomnié en ne se croyant pas meilleur qu'un tel homme; on conçoit bien toutes ses fautes, mais on ne les pardonne plus; et on ne confond plus des explications avec des excuses.'
From moral philosophy, our author turns to the study of nature; and Buffon receives his share of homage as fourth in the tetrarchy to which the realm of literature was in his time subject,-as the worthy associate of Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. We regret that the space already devoted to subjects which appeared to us of more general interest, as reflecting more vividly the character of the age, excludes us from that which we should otherwise have gladly devoted to our author's criticisms on the state of natural philosophy, as well as of historical and poetical composition, and generally of the belles lettres and miscellaneous literature of the period which he undertakes to analyze. The reader will find every page of the work abounding with observations equally distinguishable for good sense and good taste with those to which we have more particularly directed his attention.
We have levied large contributions (and indeed we promised no less at the commencenient of our article) on this little, but animated, sensible, and instructive performance. If our conduct requires any defence, we shall be content to rest it on the extreme rarity of the combination presented to our view,--a combination which, when it does occur, leaves little more to be wished for in the productions of human genius,--the union of all those agreeable and captivating qualities of style which are the peculiar province of French writers, with that clear and unbiassed judgment, that profound and habitual reflection, which we are apt to attribute almost exclusively to a few, and ouly a few, of our own countrymen.
Art. III. An Historical Sketch of the last Yeurs of the Reign
of Gustavus Adolphus the Ith, late King of Sweden. 8vo.
1812. THE volume before us may be regarded
as an appeal made by the principal actors in the late Swedish revolution to the judgment of Europe and of posterity. It advances, indeed, no open claim to official importance; but there is in every part of it a sort of diplomatic tone which appears to stamp its origin, nor, under the present circumstances of the press iu Sweden, is it likely that any publication on such a subject would have appeared except by authority. As the formal justification, therefore, of the present government, it acquires a degree of interest which its merits, as a composition, or the amount of information contained in it, would, of themselves, have been unable to confer. Those, in truth, who compare the present unadorned and meagre narrative with the glorious task' of Milton on an almost similar occasion, will be apt to lament the degeneracy of modern eloquence, or to wonder at the apathy of modern observers. Revolutiuns which, in former days, would have exercised the ingenuity of half the thinking part of Europe, elicited whole reams of authorities, and whole cohorts of civilians and divines, are now consigned almost unheeded to the common receptacle of broken treaties and ministerial correspondence; and the banishinent of a sovereign prince, the exclusion of his guiltless offspring from their father's crown, and the transfer of that crown and of three millions of subjects to a foreign soldier of fortune, have past before our eyes as events of hardly sufficient importance for a German tragedy or a school boy's theme.
It is, doubtless, a natural and a necessary consequence of those transcendant horrors which, of late, we have been accustomed to contemplate, that we are so little affected by these occurrences. Nòr in the midst of our own alarms and privations, of the agonies of expiring empires, and the cry of blood and desolation which is gone up from the face of the universal earth, have we much sympathy or attention to spare for revolutions which have had no sensible influence on the great quarrel of mankind. Some there are, indeed, who, whatever they may think of the manner in which the unfortunate Gustavus has been treated, will derive a certain degree of satisfaction from reflecting on the triumph of those principles of mutual responsibility and mutual duty which, by instructing sovereigns, have an undoubted tendency to strengthen their legitimate authority. Those doctrines of natural freedom and resistance to tyranny which, two hundred years ago, were regarded as purely speculative, are now placed, by the common consent and reason of mankind, among those axioms which are not to be dis
cussed because they have ceased to be contradicted. Formerly, it was necessary to prove resistance lawful as a general principle; it is now considered as sufficient to make out to the satisfaction of the world that the particular instance under discussion has been necessary or expedient; and it is to prove this expedience and necessity in the case of Sweden, that the present work is offered to the public.
The manner in which this is attempted is, by the statement of many instances of bad policy and weakness, of unconstitutional practices very few, and of cruelty and oppression none at all, exhibited by the last of a long line of monarchs, more remarkable, through many handred years, for talent, eccentricity, and romantic adventure, than any, perhaps, which ancient or modern history has produced. A change of dynasty has taken place in Sweden in consequence of events which, in England, would have been sufficiently remedied by a change of ministry. Nor is thiş all; it was the ministry themselves on whom, with us, the blame of the obnoxious measures would have rested, who, instead of resigning their places, obliged their sovereigu to abdicate his own. No change took place in any of the departments of government, no favourite was disgraced, no obnoxious individual in danger, and the dismissal of Mr. Pitt, at any period of the French Revolution, would have excited far more disturbance and alarm in Europe than was occasioned by the imprisonment of Gustavus Adolphus in his own capital and his own palace. Much of this apparent iudifference may be attributed, no doubt, to the calm and cautious character of the Swedes, little liable to be roused to acts of disturbance by feelings either of discontent or loyalty. They are, with the exception, perhaps, of the Dalicarlians, a sober, a calculating, and, in some respects, a selfish people; fortunate, like the Scots and Hollanders, in the diffused education of their lower classes, and distinguished, for the same reasons, by the same love of order and obedience. Yet a nation like this is, when once roused, of all others the most dangerous and implacable; these very Swedes evinced themselves, a few inonths after, to be both implacable and dangerous, when they wreaked on the unfortunate Fersen the same species of national fury which animated the HolJanders against De Witt, and proved themselves as hasty to revenge the supposed murder of the Prince of Augustenburg, as they were slow to assert the liberty of their rightful sovereign. This contrast is not unobserved by the writers of the prescut narration, and it is used by them, adroitly enough, to prove that Gustavus had, by his misconduct, entirely alienated the affections of his subjects. But it must be indeed a strange and portentous tyranny which can eradicate so entirely from the minds of VOL, VIII. NO, XVI.