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the East, he lost all remnants of his earlier beliefs in the goodness of men. Savage man is but a dog' was his grim comment on experience. On his return to France from the Nile, he procured from the Ancients the promise of the military command in Paris, and to all outward appearance held himself aloof from political affairs. Indeed, up till the coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire, he kept silence in such matters, and seemed more interested in the mystery and worship of the Egyptian temples he had so lately left than in the anarchy in which his country was engulfed.
The state of France was at the time appalling to contemplate the nearly impassable roads were infested with robbers, and the crumbling walls of the prisons offered no security against crime; the hospitals were hotbeds of disease, and, owing to lack of funds, many sick of various contagious diseases were turned loose on to the streets; agriculture was disorganised; elementary education hardly existed; the national credit was low. The condition of the capital itself has been summed up in a word by M. de Laborie: le délabrement.' Not a house was in repair, many in fact were in ruins; leaden roofs as well as panels and doors of wood had been removed and sold by the new acquirers of national property; the streets were dirty-not a few of them were no better than open sewers; it was not uncommon in the dawn to find dead bodies in the roadway; crimes of violence were made easy, for street-lighting was as much neglected as every other detail of municipal administration. The people passionately pursued amusement, and took but faint interest in political life. Insanity, owing to the unstable condition of affairs, had greatly increased, while the population of Paris had, in ten years, dwindled by about one hundred thousand souls.
Bonaparte was confronted by an intricate tangle of unadministered affairs. He realised that the orderly warp and woof of old French life was gone, and it is to his immense and lasting credit that he was able to discern in all the confusion of bankruptcy, agiotage, paganism and crime, strands of vigorous and sound quality, capable of being woven into a state that should have no equal in the world. The price to be paid for that consummation was liberty; the method by which it could be accomplished was absolutism. The new-found destiny of Bonaparte enshrined the disappointment in Europe of countless hopes and aspirations.
The difference between the Faith of 1789, in which the Revolution had its origin, and the Common Sense of 1800,
VOL. COII. NO. CCCCXIII.
in which the Revolution had its end, is as wide as the space between stars and earth. The measure of that difference may be expressed in two terms, Madame de Staël and the First Consul. The war of words and deeds carried on by these opposed types from the Consulate to the capitulation of Paris is a study of captivating interest. It was far more than an enmity between two individuals: it was the conflict of two epochs of the Revolution: 1789 and 1800. Each protagonist was informed by a converse ambition and philosophy of life. Madame de Staël stood for Rousseauism, for faith in the innate goodness and perfectibility of man, for belief in liberty as the first condition of progress for humanity. Bonaparte contemptuously nicknamed her and those who agreed with her 'idéologues,' but with ready wit she called him 'idéophobe' and so had the best of the encounter. The First Consul, though he exploited the doctrine of individual rights to the last degree, was in himself the reaction against Rousseau's idealism, for he looked upon the human race as a corpus vile for the 'experiments of genius-a thing to be dazzled by glory, duped by statecraft, and kept tethered at its crib.'*
Madame de Staël kept a record of her struggle with Bonaparte; and for the first time after the lapse of nearly a hundred years the authentic text of her manuscript 'Dix 'Années d'Exil' has been given to the world. Reprints of the expurgated edition published in July 1821 appeared at intervals during the nineteenth century. In this old edition many indiscreet criticisms of Bonaparte and other public persons were suppressed by Baron de Staël, son of the authoress; but, even with these diplomatic deletions, it was not considered wise to publish the book until two months after Napoleon's death. Three copies of the manuscript exist at Château Coppet: one in Madame de Staël's handwriting (on which the new edition is founded); another in the handwriting of Miss Randall, English governess to Albertine de Staël; and a third, which, for fear the police should seize the other two, was entitled 'Extrait de Mémoires inédits du temps de la Reine Elisabeth en 'Angleterre. Tiré d'un manuscrit de la Bibliothèque 'd'Edinburgh.' In this last copy, Napoleon sometimes figures as Charles II. and sometimes as Elizabeth; the Duc d'Enghien is Mary Stuart; Savary is Lord Kent; Schlegel is M. William; Necker is my wife.' The book was begun
* J. H. Rose, Napoleonic Studies,' p. 15.
in 1800, and broken off at M. Necker's death in 1804. It was resumed in 1810 under great provocation (the destruction of De l'Allemagne '), and stopped altogether on the writer's arrival in Sweden in 1812. No one knew when the book would see the light; it was merely written to remind 'the men of a future age how it was possible to suffer under 'the yoke of oppression.' M. Paul Gautier, who contributes an introduction to the authentic text now published, makes allowance for its bias by saying 'that the apologists for the 'Consulate and Empire have been so numerous that it is well for us to realise how, under much that was externally 'glorious, lay a moral poverty and debasement of character, which were the direct results of despotism.' The book represents a lively experience, and is not altogether, as some critics have suggested, the product of imaginative hate. Rather does it appear to be the eloquent cry of a suppressed party, great in the nobility of its ideas and sincere in its love for liberty. The broken record of exile has been supplemented by M. Gautier with a work containing a full, consecutive account of the relations between Madame de Staël and Napoleon. Without undue partisanship, and with unusual charm of style, the incomplete annals of the great authoress are in this volume made complete.
It has been the fashion to impute mean motives to Madame de Staël in her feud against Napoleon. Such an imputation seems barely justifiable. No doubt, as a woman, she was piqued by Napoleon's rudeness, but that was far from being the cause of her opposition. She was ever ready to sink personal considerations in her enthusiasm for morality and justice, and it is not easy to prove that she was an unworthy champion of the causes she espoused. Bitterly as she opposed the Napoleonic system of administration under the Consulate and Empire, she never seems to have hated Napoleon as a man. Indeed it is doubtful whether the early admiration which his colossal vitality and ability compelled in her was ever completely extinguished.
The opening words of 'Dix Années d'Exil' are not without nobility, and serve to explain her attitude of mind.
Ce n'est point pour occuper le public de moi que j'ai résolu de raconter les circonstances de dix années d'exil; les malheurs que j'ai éprouvés, avec quelque amertume que je les aie sentis, sont si peu de chose au milieu des désastres publics dont nous sommes témoins, qu'on aurait honte de parler de soi, si les événements qui nous concernent n'étaient pas liés à la grande cause de l'humanité menacée. L'Empereur Napoléon, dont le caractère se montre tout entier dans chaque trait de
sa vie, m'a persécutée avec un soin minutieux, avec une activité toujours croissante, avec une rudesse inflexible; et mes rapports avec lui ont servi à me le faire connaître, longtemps avant que l'Europe eût appris le mot de cette énigme, et lorsqu'elle se laissait dévorer par le sphinx, faute d'avoir su le deviner.'
Divergent as were the mature views of Madame de Staël and Napoleon, in early life their enthusiasms had been the same. Both had come under the influence, it might be almost called the domination, of Rousseau's ideas, which ideas towards the end of the eighteenth century laid hold, like some dæmonic force, of old and young, peasant and aristocrat alike. Young Bonaparte, like many of his contemporaries in Italy, Germany, and France, began life as a dreamer and sentimentalist who thought much of the sufferings of men and dwelt deeply on the problem of how to make happiness, which followers of Rousseau thought the goal of life, attainable for all. Like Werther, he admired the nebulous Ossian, and by the banks of the Nile read Madame de Staël's treatise 'De l'Influence des Passions' with interest. Garat called him a philosopher 'leading armies.' No one guessed how soon the philosophic mantle was to be exchanged for the mail of tyranny.
Both Bonaparte and Madame de Staël at different times visited the grave of that unworthy sage who had proved the inspirer of thousands, and on whose doctrines had been founded the new code of human liberty The accounts of the two pilgrimages deserve consideration, if only as an illustration of two outlooks upon life. Stanislas de Girardin relates that Bonaparte, on his visit to the tomb of Rousseau, said, 'It would have been better for the repose of France that 'this man had never been born."""6 Why, First Consul? " said I. "He prepared the French Revolution. I thought it "was not for you to complain of the Revolution." "Well," 'he replied, "the future will show whether it would not have "been better for the repose of the world that neither I nor "Rousseau had existed." In a conversation with Roederer, he once said: "The more I read Voltaire, the more I like him; he is always reasonable, never a charlatan, never a fanatic: he is made for mature minds. . . . I have been especially 'disgusted with Rousseau since I have seen the East.'‡
*De l'Influence des Passions sur le Bonheur des Individus et des Nations.
† Quoted by J. H. Rose, in 'Life of Napoleon,' p. 21.
Conversation, January 11, 1803. Euvres de Roederer, vol. iii.
Madame de Staël's early enthusiasm suffered no similar change. To her Rousseau remained an inspiration. She describes a visit made in girlhood to the shrine at Ermenonville:
'His funeral urn is placed in an island; it is not unintentionally approached, and the religious sentiment which induces the traveller to cross the lake by which it is surrounded proves him to be worthy of carrying thither his offering. I strewed no flowers upon his melancholy tomb, but I contemplated it for a long time, my eyes suffused with tears: I quitted it in silence, and remained in the most profound meditation.'
To show how entirely the Revolutionaries of the National Convention regarded Rousseau as their saviour, we have only to remember an oration made by Lakanal in that assembly begging the citizens to take the ashes of the great liberator out of their lonely grave, and inter them in the Panthéon. 'Honour in him the beneficent genius of 'humanity; honour the friend, the defender, the apostle of liberty; the promoter of the rights of man, the eloquent 'forerunner of this Revolution which you are asked to con'summate for the happiness of the nations.'t In response to this appeal, the reformer's remains were carried amid circumstance and veneration to the Panthéon, and his miserable Thérèse was granted an annuity out of the public funds. Not only was Rousseau their present saviour, he was also to be their future religion. It was not proposed that the Panthéon should for long contain the sacred relics. For some while it had been intended that a vast plantation of trees should be made round the Temple of Great Men, 'whose silent shade would enhance the religious sentiment 'of the place. In this august wood a grove of poplarg was to surround the monument to the author of Emile,' in remembrance of the earlier burial-place in the lake of Ermenonville, for that melancholy tree,' since it had stood sentinel at his dissolution, had become inseparable 'from the idea of his tomb.'
In 1799 Madame de Staël was but one out of the many lovers of progress who believed in Bonaparte as the hope of down-trodden humanity. Little did she guess that the campaign in Egypt, which had so fired her imagination, had cured him of any lingering belief in Rousseau's theories.
* Letters on Rousseau (English edition), p. 131.
† Rapport sur J. J. Rousseau, Lakanal à la Convention Nationale, 29 Fructidor, An II.