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النشر الإلكتروني

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« Le gouvernement représentatif sans la liberté de la presse est le pire de tous : mieux vaudroit le divan de Constantinople. Lâche moquerie de ce qu'il y a de plus sacré parmi les hommes, ce gouvernement n'est alors qu'un gouvernement traître qui vous appelle à la liberté pour vous perdre, et qui fait de cette liberté un moyen terrible d'oppression.

“Supposez, ce qui n'est pas impossible, qu'un ministère parvienne à corrompre les Chambres législatives ; ces deux énormes machines broieront tout dans leur mouvement, attirant sous leurs roues et vos enfants et vos fortunes. Et ne pensez pas qu'il faille un ministère de génie pour s'emparer ainsi des Chambres : il ne faut que le silence de la presse et la corruption que ce silence amène.

“Dans l'ancienne monarchie absolue, les corps privilégiés et la haute magistrature arrêtoient et pouvoient renverser une ministère dangereux. Avez-vous ces ressources dans la monarchie représentative? Si la presse se tait, qui fera justice d'un ministère appuyé sur jorité des deux Chambres ? Il opprimera également et la roi, et les tribunaux, et la nation : sous le régime de la censure, il y a deux manières de vous perdre; il peut, selon le penchant de son système, vous entraîner à la démocratie ou au despotisme.

Avec la liberté de la presse, ce péril n'existe pas : cette liberté forme en dehors une opinion nationale qui remet bientôt les choses dans l'ordre. Si cette liberté avoit existé sous nos premières assemblées, Louis XVI. n'auroit pas péri; mais alors les écrivains révolutionnaires parloient seuls, et on envoyoit à l'échafaud les écrivains royalistes. J'ai lu, il est vrai, dans une brochure en réponse à la mienne, que Sélim, Mustapha et Tippoo-Saëb étoient tombés victimes de la liberté de la presse : à cela je ne sais que répondre.

“ La liberté de la presse est donc le seul contrepoids des inconvé. nients du gouvernement représentatif; car ce gouvernement a ses imperfections comme tous les autres. Par la liberté de la presse, il faut entendre ici la liberté de la presse périodique, puisqu'il est prouvé que quand les journaux sont enchaînés, la presse est dépouillée de cette influence de tous les moments qui lui est nécessaire pour éclairer. Elle n'a jamais fait de mal à la probité et au talent; elle n'est redoutable qu'aux médiocrités et aux mauvaises consciences: or, on ne voit pas trop pourquoi celles-ci exigeroient des ménagements, et quel droit exclusit elles auroient à la conduite de l'Etat.-tom. xxvii.

42–44. His writings on the liberty of the press, especially that entitled Opinion sur le projet de loi relatif a la Police de la Presse," are all able, and are favourable examples of his controversial skill. They contain occasional instances of his characteristic love of generalization, some little hardihood of assertion, and much which we in England should think unnecessary; but the general principles which they involve are sound, and ably expressed, and they abound in clever expositions of the inefficiencies and absurdities of the restrictive laws which it is their object to combat.

pp.

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M. de Chateaubriand's Etudes Historiques have been fully discussed in a preceding number of this journal, and we shall, therefore, add nothing on the subject of that particular work.

M. de Chateaubriand's zeal in the cause of the Bourbons often passes the bounds of discretion, and he says many things in their praise, which a wise advocate would have omitted. He seems to estimate eulogy by quantity rather than by quality, to think that the more he accumulates the greater will be the effect produced, to forget that, where all is gilt, even gilding loses its attraction, and to be ignoraut how commendation undeserved and unacknowledged militates against the efficacy even of those praises which are felt to be just. His “ Memoires sur le Duc de Berri" is a tissue of weak adulation, rendered less fulsome and discreditable to its author only by being offered to the dead. M. de Chateaubriand lays such stress on trifles, as to create an impression that he had little that was favourable to relate. Why else are we treated with anecdotes of the Duc de Berri's condescension in taking refuge from a shower of rain in a porter's lodge when walking with the duchessi and another time, when no such shelter was at hand, allowing a stranger to escort them with an umbrella, pardoning bis ignorance of their rank, and actually thanking him when the discovery took place! It would be great injustice to the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, who mingle constantly with their subjects in the streets, not to believe that under such trying circumstances they have frequently conducted themselves quite as well. Why are we told, as if the earth did not contain such another instance of esalted virtue, that he did not turn away a superannuated coachman without giving him a retiring pension? Why are we told that after hunting he magnanimously admitted the superior punctuality of his whipper-in? Was it praise or bitter irony to speak as follows of a prince who passed some of the most improveable years of his life in England?

“ Ses loisirs en Angleterre lui permirent de s'abandonner à diverses études : il se livra à la science des medailles, dans laquelle il fit des progrès étonnants. Il retourna ensuite à la musique, à la peinture, et se perfectionna dans la connoissance des tableuur. Il acquit aussi à Londres sur la monarcbie représentative les idées saines que nous lui avons connues."

After mentioning the Duc de Berri's astonishing progress in the knowledge of coins, and his acquaintance with paintings, our author states, as if it were an afterthought, that he also acquired sound notions upon the subject, which to him was one of the most important, and which this country could best teach him.

Surely it was not politic to provoke a comparison, as in the

following passage, between Louis XVIII. and Napoleon Buonaparte.

“ S'il est extraordinaire que Buonaparte ait pu façonner à son joug les hommes de la république, il n'est pas moins étonnant que

Louis XVIII. ait soumis à ses lois les hommes de l'empire, que la gloire, que les intérêts, que les passions, que les vanités même se soient ius simultanément devant lui. On éprouvoit en sa présence un mélange de confance et de respect: la bienveillance de son cær se manifestait dans sa parole, la grandeur de sa race dans son regard.”

It was unwise, in the first place, to compare a submission effected by Louis with foreign aid, and that which Napoleon imposed on France by the influence of his own commanding genius. It was unwise to compare the personal qualities of one whose abilities were considered by few to rise much above the average standard, with those of the most wonderful being of his age; and most especially was it unwise, because even if Louis could, in all the attributes of greatness, be proved equal to Napoleon, the comparison would have been of no avail to one who, like M. de Chateaubriand, is the advocate of legitimacy. The personal qualities of a sovereign can with no shadow of utility be brought under consideration, except when the sovereignty is elective. The Bourbons were brought back to reign over France, not because they were individually wiser and better than many other persons who could have been selected; but because, according to fixed and recognised rules, they were the rightful inheritors of the crown. To eulogise their personal merits, as if these constituted any the smallest portion of their claim, is to weaken the foundation on which that claim really rests. Monarchy is never firmly established except among a people who can be taught to revere and uphold the kingly office independently of all consideration respecting the character of him who fills it. The advocate of legitimacy does ill who talks of individual virtues—who rests the defence of his principle on any thing less than the good of the people—who speaks as if it were intended for the advantage of a single family, and as a reward for its merits, rather than for the benefit of the community at large. Legitimacy does possess that best support, the general good. When it is acknowledged essential for the welfare of a people that the highest office in the state should cease to be a prize that ambition may contend for,--that the possession of it should be ascertained by rules which shall exclude as far as is possible all room for doubt and dispute, --when it is acknowledged that it is better to incur the chance of an unwise or vicious ruler, than the oft-recurring evils of turbulent election and the sense of perpetual instability ;-when this is acknowledged, it is useless--nay more, it is even mischievous-to call in adventitious circumstances, such as personal character and temporary popularity, in support of a principle which, if it is worth auy thing, must be strong enough without them. The expulsion of the elder branch of the Bourbons has placed M, de Chateaubriand's chivalrous spirit of loyalty in that honourable light which the generous advocacy of the unfortunate reflects even on misjudging champions. He has done for them all he can, considering how little chivalrous is the nature of those weapons with which he is constrained to defend their cause, He has written lately an able pamphlet, in which he comments powerfully on what he designates as the unjust exclusion of the young unoffending Duc de Bordeaux, and the ill-compacted system of republican nionarchy now established in France.

M, de Chateaubriand's active career is, we trust, still far from its close. We trust he is still destined to adorn the literature of his country with works more solidly advantageous, more permanently redounding to his own fame, than any he has yet produced. We are justified in this expectation by observing that, without any concomitant decrease of imaginative power, judgment and good taste have progressively exercised a more decided influence from the earliest period of bis authorship. His is a mind of which the reasoning faculties have been overshadowed and hidden by the vast luxuriance of his fancy; and in proportion as the latter has been pruned and repressed, the former have been more effectually developed. We should hail with pleasure, what we trust is possible, another edition of his Euvres complètes," enriched with the added fruits of his matured experience, and unencumbered with those gaudy weeds, which, with an unfortunate excess of parental indulgence, he has forborne to pluck out from the one now before us.

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ART. II.-1. Orazioni Panegiriche e Discorsi Morali, del Revo.

Sig. Canonico Giovanni Fornici. Svo. Firenze, 1828. 2. Panegirici e Discorsi Sacri, dell'Abate Don Ignazio Venini.

Svo. Venezia, 1822. 3. Esercizj Spirituali, del nobile e Revmo Monsig. Canonico

Gio. Sergardi Bindi. 8vo. Firenze, 1817. 4. Il Povero ed il Ricco, Orazione deita nella Chiesa della Pia

Casa di Lavoro di Firenze, wel giorno 3 Ottobre, 1829, dal

Professor Abate Giuseppe Barbieri. 8vo. Milano, 1830. It is recorded of Albert Lollio, a Ferrarese gentleman, in the sixteenth century, that with the view of encouraging the study of eloquence amongst his countrymen, he caused the walls of his villa, where he entertained several learned men as his .constant guests, and daily received the visits of great numbers of others, to be hung round with likenesses of the most celebrated orators, in the expectation that the sight of the resemblances of these great men on canvas would stimulate the emulation of the Ferrarese youth to rival them in that art which had rendered their names immortal.

Similar good effects might be anticipated, from the contemplation of the intellectual and moral resemblances of those who have obtained the palm of sacred eloquence, amongst a people distinguished, as the natives of Italy have always been, by the quickness and brightness of their conceptions, and the harmony and elegance of their diction. It is our intention to hang up a series of such portraits, which we shall be obliged, in a few instances, to fetch from the dusty garret, where they had long lain neglected. In order to give unity and interest to our plan, we shall notice only those preachers who employed the modern, not the ancient, language of Italy, and who were distinguished, by or had the reputation of, popular talents, not controversial theologians; and lastly, we shall only rapidly glance at earlier periods, in order to dwell on the present century, and especially on the results of personal observation during a residence for the last few years in various cities of the Italian peninsula.

As a specimen of four different styles or schools of Italian preaching, we have selected the four sacred orators whose names stand at the head of this article. Of these, Giovanni Fornici still tells in the nineteenth century the “old wives' fables” which were scarcely believed in the ninth, and actually talks with a grave face of the sacred follies of San Filippo Neri, “ who made himself a mountebank as an act of holy humiliation, dressing like a beau, and dancing and leaping in the public places, in order that

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