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that which M. Dumont has set before us. His Mirabeau, in particular, is incomparable. All the former Mirabcaus were daubs in comparison. Some were merely painted from the imagination, others were gross caricatures; this is, the very individual, neither god nor demon, but a man, a Frenchman, a Frenchman of the eighteenth century, wilh great talents, with strong passions, depraved by bad education, surrounded by temptations of every kind, made desperate at one time by disgrace, and then ■sain intoxicated by fame. All his opposite and seemingly inconsistent qualities are in this representation so blended together as to make up a harmonious and natural whole. Till now, Mirabeau was to us, and, we believe, to most readers of history, not a man, but a string of antitheses. Henceforth he will be a real human being, a remarkable and eccentric being indeed, but perfectly conceivable.
He was fond, M. Dumont tells us, of giving odd compound nicknames. Thus, M. de Lafayette was Grandison-Cromwell; the King of Prussia was Alaric-Cottin; D'Espremenil was Crispin-Catiline. We think that Mirabeau himself might be described, after his own fashion, as a Wilkes-Chatham. He had Wilkes's sensuality, Wilkes's levity. Wilkes's insensibility to shame. Like Wilkes, he had brought on himself the censure even of men of pleasure by the peculiar grossness of his immorality, and by the obscenity of his writinzs. Like Wilkes, he was heedless, not only of the laws of morality, but of the laws of honour. Yet he affected, like Wilkes, to unite the character of the demagogue to that of the fine gentleman. Like Wilkes, he conciliated, by his good-humour and his high spirits, the regard of many who despised his character. Like Wilkes, he was hideously ugly; like Wilkes, he made a jest of his own ugliness; and, like Wilkes, he was, in spite of his ugliness, very attentive to his dress, and very successful in affairs of gallantry.
Resembling Wilkes in the lower and grosser pans of his character, he had, in his higher qualitits, some affinities to Chatham. His eloquence, as far as we can judge of it, bore no inconsiderable resemblance to that of the great English minister. He was not eminently successful in long set speeches. He was not, on the other hand, a close and ready debater. Sudden bursts, which seemed to be the effect of inspiration; short sentences, which came like lightning, dazzling, burning, striking down every thing before them; sentences which, spoken at critical moments, decided the fate of great questions; sentences which at once became proverbs; sentences which everybody Will Vvows by heart; in these chiefly lay the
oratorical power both of Chatham and of Mira beau. There have been far greater speakers and far greater statesmen than either of them; but we doubt whether any men have, in modern times, exercised such vast personal in fluence over stormy and divided assemblies The power of* both was as much moral as iu tellectual. In true dignity of character, in private and public virtue, it may seem absurd to institute any comparison between them; but they had the same haughtiness and vehemence of temper. In their language and manner there was a disdainful self-confidence, an urjperiousness, a fierceness of passion, before which all common minds quailed. Even Murray and Charles Townshend, though intellectually not inferior to Chatham, were always cowed by him. Barnave, in the same manner, though the best debater in the National Assembly, flinched before the energy of Mirabeau. Men, except in bad novels, are not all good or all evil. It can scarcely be denied that the virtue of Lord Chatham was a little theatrical. On the other hand, there was in Mirabeau, not indeed any thing deserving the name of virtue, but that imperfect substitute for virtue which is found in almost all superior minds, a sensibility to the beautiful and the good, which sometimes amounted to sincere enthusiasm, and which, mingled wilh the desire of admiration, sometimes gave to his character a lustre resembling the lustre of true goodness; as the "faded splendour wan" which lingered round the fallen archangel, resembled the exceeding brightness of those spirits who had kept t!ie:r first estate.
There are several other admirable p Tlraits of eminent men in these Memoirs. That of Sieyes in particular, and that of Talleyrand, are masterpieces, full of life and expri ssioa But nothing in the book has interested us more than the view which M. Dumont has prcs.-nted to us, unostentatiously, and, we may siy.. unconsciously, of his own character. The stuidy rectitude, the large charity, the good-nature^ the modesty, the independent spirit, the ardent philanthropy, the unaffected indifference to money and to fame, make up a character which, while it has nothing unnatural, seems to us to approach nearer to perfection than any of the Grar.disons and Allworthys of fiction. The work is not indeed precisely such a work as wc had anticipated; it is more lively, more picturesque, more amusing than we had promised ourselves, and it is, on the other hand, less profound and philosophic. But if it is not. in all respects, such as mieht have been expected from the intellect of M. Dumont. it is assuredly 'such a, mi^hi have ">ecn ex pected from nis hfuuf
LORD MAIIOFS WAR OF THE SUCCESSION.'
[edinburgh Review, 1833.]
The (lays when Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, by a Person of Honour, and Romances of M. Scudcri, done into English by a Person of equality, were attractive to readers and profitable to booksellers, have long gone by. The literary privileges once enjoyed by lords are as obsolete as their right to kill the king's deer on their way to Parliament, or as their old remedy of tctmluhtm magmilum. Yet we must acknowledge that, though our political opinions arc by no means arismcratic.il, we always feel kindly disposed towards noble authors. Industry and a taste for intellectual pleasurtr are peculiarly respectable in those who can hflbrd to be idle, and who have every temptation to be dissipated. It is impossible not to wish success to a man who, finding himself placed, without any exertion or any merit on his part, above the mass of society, voluntarily descends from his eminence in search of distinctions which he may justly call his own.
This is, we think, the second appearance of Lord Mahon in the character of an author. His first book was creditable to him, but was in every respect inferior to the work which now lies before us. He has undoubtedly some of the most valuable qualities of an historian— great diligence in examining authorities, great judgment in weighing testimony, and great Impartiality in estimating characters. We are not aware that he has in any instance Cot gotten the duties belonging to his literary fuifctions in the feelings of a kinsman. He does no more than justice to his ancestor Stanhope: he does full justice to Stanhope's enemies nnd rivals. His narrative is very perspicuous, and ix also entitled to the praise, seldom, we grieve to say, deserved by modern writers, of being very concise. It must be admitted, however, that, with many of the best qualities of a literary veteran, he has some of the faults of a literary novice. He has no great command of words. His style is seldom easy, and is sometimes unpleasantly stifl*. He is so bigoted a purist, that he transforms the Abbe d'Eslrties into an Abbot. We do not like to see French words introduced into English composition; but, after all, the first law of writing, that law to which all other laws are nuDordinate, is this—that the words employed shall be such as convey to the reader the meaning of the writer. Now an Abbot is the head of a religious house; an Abbe is quite a different sort of person. It is better undoubtedly to use an English word than a French word; but it is better to nse a French word than to misuse an English word.
Lord Mahon is also a little too fond of uttering moral reflections, in a style too sententious and oracular. We will give one instance: "Strange as it seems, experience shows that we usually feel far more animosity against those whom we have injured, than against those who injure us: and this remark holds good with every degree of intellect, with every class of fortune, with a prince or a peasant, a stripling or an elder, a hero or a prince." This remark might have seemed strange at the court of Nimrod or Chedorlaomer; but it has now been for many generations considered as a truism rather than a paradox. Every man has written on the thesis "VHisu ynrm lorserit." Scarcely any lines in English poetry are better known than that vigorous couplet:
"F«rptvene«s In the lnlnr«rl dee* brlnnff; lint they ne'er nardmi whn have done the wronf."
The historians and philosophers have quite done with this maxim, and have abandoned it, like other maxims which have lost their gloss, to bad novelists, by whom it will very soon be worn to rags.
It is no more than justice to say, that the faults of Lord Mahon's book are precisely those faults which time seldom fails to cure; and that the book, in spite of its faults, is a valuable addition to our historical literature.
Whoever wishes to be well acquainted with the morbid anatomy of governments, whoever wishes to know how great stales may be made feeble and wretched, should study the history of Spain. The empire of Philip the Second was undoubtedly one of the most powerful and splendid that ever existed in the world. In Europe he ruled Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands on both sides of the Rhine, Franche ComuS, Roussillon, the Milanese, and the Two Sicilies. Tuscany, Parma, and the other small states of Italy were as completely dependent on him as the Nizam and the Rajah of Berar now are on the East India Company. In Asia, the King of Spain was master of the Philippines, and of all those rich settlements which, the Portuguese had made on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel, in the Peninsula of Malacca, and in the Spice Islands of the Eastern Archipelago. In America, his dominions extended on each side of the equator into the temperate zone. There is reason to believe that his annua! revenue amounted, in the season of his greatest power, to four millions sterling; a sum eight times as large as that which England yielded to Elizabeth. He had a standing army of fifty thousand excellent troops, at a time when England had not a single battalion in constant pay. His ordinary naval force consisted of a hundred and forty galleys. He held, what no other prince in modern limes has held, the dominion both of the land and of
the sea. Daring the greater part of his reign he was supreme on both elements. His soldiers marched up to the capital of France; his ships menaced the shores of England.
It is no exaggeration to say, that during several years, his power over Europe was greater than even that of Napoleon. The influence of the French conqueror never extended beyond '.ow-water mark. The narrowest strait was to his power what it was of old believed thai a running stream was to the sorceries of a witch. While his army entered every metropolis, from Moscow to Lisbon, the English fleets blockaded every port, from Dantzic to Trieste Sicily, Sardinia, Majorca, Guernsey, enjoyed security through the whole course of a war which endangered every throne on the continent. The victorious and imperial nation, which had filled its museums with the spoils of Antwerp, of Florence, and of Rome, was suffering painfully from the want of luxuries which use had rendered necessaries. While pillars and arches were rising to commemorate the French conquests, the conquerors were trying to make coffee out of succory, and sugar out of beet-root. The influence of Philip on the continent was as great as that of Napoleon. The Emperor of Germany was his kinsman. France, torn by religious dissensions, was never a formidable opponent, and was sometimes a dependent ally, At the same time, Spain had what Napoleon desired in vain—ships, colonies, and commerce. She long monopolized the trade of America and of the Indian Ocean. All the s°l<l of the West, and all the spices of the East, were received and distributed by her. During many years of war, her commerce was interrupted only by the predatory enterprises of a few roving privateers. Even after the defeat of the Armada, English statesmen continued to look a-ith great dread on the maritime power of Philip. "The King of Spain," said the Lord Keeper to the two Houses in 1593, "since he hath usurped upon the kingdom of Portugal, hath thereby grown mighty by gaining the East Indies; so as, how great soever he was before, he is now thereby manifestly more great. .... He keepeth a navy armed to impeach all trade of merchandise from England to Gascoigne and Guienne, which he attempted to do this last vintage; so as he is now become as a frontier enemy to all the west of England, as well as all the south parts, as Sussex, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. Yea, by means • of his interest in St. Maloes, a port full of shipping for the war, he is a dangerous neighbour to the queen's isles of Jersey and Guernsey, ancient possessions of this crown, and never Conquered in the greatest wars with France."
The ascendency which Spain then had in Europe, was, in one sense, well de:?erved. It was an ascendency which had been gained by unquestioned superiority in all the arts of policy and of war. In the sixteenth century, Italy was not more decidedly the land of the fine arts, Germany was not more decidedly the lam! of bold theological speculation, than Spain was the land of statesmen and of soldier.*. The character which Virgil has ascribed to his countrymen might have been
claimed by the grave and haughty chiefs who surrounded the throne of Ferdinand the Catholic, and of his immediate successors. That majestic art, "prtmtre imperio populos" was not better understood by the Romans in the proudest days of their republic, than by Gonsalvo and Ximenes, Cortes and Alva. The skill of the Spanish diplomatists was renowned throughout Europe. In England the name of Gondomar is still remembered. The sovereign nation was unrivalled both in regular and irregular warfare. The impetuous chivalry of France, the serried phalanx of Switzerland, were alike found wanting when brought face to face with the Spanish infantry. In the wars of the New World where something different from ordinary strategy was required in the general, and something different from ordinary discipline in the soldier—where it was every day necessary to meet by some new expedient the varying tactics of a barbarous enemy, the Spanish adventurers, sprung from the common people, displayed a fertility of resource, and a talent for negotiation and command, to which history scarcely affords a parallel.
The Castilian of those times was to the Italian what the Roman, in the days of the greatness of Rome, was to the Greek. The conqueror had less ingenuity, less taste, less delicacy of perception than the conquered j but far more pride, firmness, and courage; a more solemn demeanour, a stronger sense of honour. The one had more subtilty in speculation, the other more energy in action. The vices of the one were those of a coward; the vices of the other were those of a tyrant It may be added, that the Spaniard, like the Roman, did not disdain to study the arts and the language of those whom he oppressed. A revolution took place in the literature of Spain, not unlike to that revolution which, as Horace tells us, tooTc place in the poetry of Latium; "Capta fcrvm victorem ctpit." The slave took prisoner the enslaver. The old Castilian ballads gave place to sonnets in the style of Petrarch, ant? to heroic poems in the stanza of Ariosto; as the national songs of Rome were driven out by imitations of Theocritus and translations from Menandcr.
In no modern society, not even in England during the reign of Elizabeth, has there been so great a number of men eminent at once in literature and in the pursuits of active life, as Spain produced during the sixteenth century. Almost every distinguished writer was also distinguished as a soldier and a politician. Boscan bore arms with high reputation. Garcilasso de Vega, the author of the sweetest and most graceful pastoral poem of modern times, after a short but splendid military career, fell sword in hand at the head of a storming party. Alonzo de Ercilla bore a conspicuous patt in that war of Arauco, which he afterwards celebrated in the best heroic poem "hat Spain has produced. Hurtado de Mendora. whose poems have been compared to those of Horace, ana whose charming little novel >.« evidently the mo. del of Gil Bias, has been handed down to us by history as one of the sternest of those iron pro consuls, who were employed by the house of Austria to crush the lingering public spirit of R
Italy. Lope sailed in the Armada; Cervantes v\?as wounded at Lepanto.
It is curious to consider with how much awe our ancestors in those times regarded a Spaniard. He was, in their apprehension, a kind M' demon, horribly malevolent, but withal most <a;racious and powerful. "They be verye wyse and politicke," says an' honest Englishman, in a memorial addressed to Mary, "and can, thorowe ther wysdome, reform and brydoll theyr owne natures for a tyme, and applye their conditions to the maners of those men with whom they meddell gladlye by friendsiiippe; whose mischievous maners a man shall never knowe untyll he come under ther subjection: but then shall he parfectlye parceyve and fele them: which thynge I prayeGod England never do; for in dissimulations untyll they have ther purposes, and afterwards in oppression and tyrannye, when they can obtavne them, they do exceed all other nations upon the earthe." This is just such language as Arminius would have used about the Romans, or as an Indian statesman of our times would use about the English. It is the language of a man burningwilh hatred, but cowed by those wtiom he hates; and painfully sensible of their superiority, not only in power, but in intelligence.
But how art thou fallen from heaven, oh Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, that didst weaken the nations! If we overleap a hundred years, and look at Spain towards the close of the seventeenth century, what a change do we find! The contrast is as great as that which the Rome of Gallienus and Honorius presents to the Rome of Marius and Caesar. Foreign conquests had begun to eat into every pan of that gigantic monarchy on which the sun never set. Holland was gone, and Portugal, and Artois, and Roussillon, and Franche Comte. In the East, the empire founded by the Dutch ar surpassed in weaTth and splendour that which their old tyrants still retained. In the West. England had seized, and still hekl, settlelements in the midst of the Mexican sea. The uere loss of territory was, however, of little noinent. The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it is north.
Empires which branch out widely are often nore fliiurishing for a little timely pruning. vdrian acted judiciously when he abandoned he conquests of Trajan: England was never ;o rich, so great, so formidable to foreign . irinces, so absolutely mistress of the sea, as lfter the loss of her American colonies. The punish empire was still, in outward appeartnce, great and magnificent. The European lominions subject to the last feeble prince of the house of Austria were far more extensive than those of Louis the Fourteenth. The American dependencies of the Castilian crown still extended to the north of Cancer and to the south of Capricorn. But within this immense body there was an incurable decay, an utter want of tone, an utter prostration of strength. An ingenious and diligent population, eminently skilled in arts and manufactures had been driven into exile by stupid and remorse
less bigots. The glory of the Spnrish pencil had departed with Velasquez ^nd Munllo. The splendid age of Spanisn literature had closed with Solis and Calderou. During the seventeenth century many stales had formed great military establishments. But the Spanish army, so formidable under the command of Alva and Farnese, had dwindled away to a few thousand men, ill paid and ill disciplined. England, Holland, and France had great navies. But the Spanish navy was scarcely equal to the tenth part of that mighty force which, in the time of Philip the Second, had been the terror of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The arsenals were deser'.ed. The magazines were unprovided. The frontier fortresses were ungarrisoned. The police was utterly inefiicienl for the protection of the people. Murders were committed in the face of day with perfect impunity. Bravoes and discarded serving-men, with swords at their sides, swaggered every day through the most public street and squares of the capital, disturbing the public peace, and setting at defiance the ministers of justice. The finances were in frightful disorder. The people paid much. The government received little. The American viceroys and th« farmers of the revenue became rich, while the merchants broke, while the peasantry starved, while the body-servants of the sovereign remained unpaid, while the soldiers of the royal guard repaired daily to the doors of convents, and battled there with the crowd of beggars for a porringer of broth and a morsel of bread. Every remedy which was tried aggravated the disease. The currency was altered; and this frantic measure produced its never-failing effects. It destroyed all credit, and increased the misery which it was intended to relieve. The American gold, to use the words of Ortiz, was to the necessities of the state but as a drop of water to the lips of a man raging with thirst. Heaps of unopened despatches accumulated in the offices, while the ministers were concerting with the bedchamber-women and Jesuits the means of tripping up each other. Every foreign power could plunder and insult with impunity the heir of Charles the Fifth. Into such a state had the mighty kingdom of Spain fallen, while one of its smallest dependencies—a country not so large as the province of Estremadura or Andalusia, situated under an inclement sky, and preserved only by artificial means from the inroads of the ocean —had become a power of the first class, and treated on terms of equality with the courts of London and Versailles.
The manner in which Lord Mahon explains the financial situation of Spain by no means satisfies us. "It will be found," says he, "that those individuals deriving their chief income from mines whose yearly produce is uncertain and varying, and seems to spring rather from fortune than to follow industry, are usually careless, unthrifty, and irregular in their ex penditure. The example of Spain might tempt us to apply the same remark to states." Lord Mahon would find it difficult, we suspect, to make out his analogy. Nothing could be more uncertain and varyingthan the gains and losses of those who were in the habit of putting into the state lotteries. But no part of the public uicome was more certain than that which was derived from the lotteries. We believe that this ca;;e is very similar to that of the American mines. Some veins of ore exceeded expectation, some fell below it. Some of the private speculators drew blanks, and others gained prizes. But the revenue of the state depended not on any particular vein, but on the whole annual produce of two great continents. This annual produce seems to have been almost constantly on the increase during the seventeenth century. The Mexican mines were, through the reigns of Philip the Fourth and Charles the Second, in a steady course of improvement; and in South America, though the district of Potosi was not so productive as formerly, other places more than made up for the def ciency. We very much doubt whether Lord Mahon can prove that the income which the Spanish government derived from the mines of America fluctuated more than the income derived from the internal taxes of Spain itself.
All the causes of the decay of Spain resolve themselves into one cause—bad government. The valour, the intelligence, the energy, which at the close of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century made the Spaniards the first nation in the world, we're the fruits of the old institutions of Castile and Arragon— institutions which were eminently favourable to public liberty. Those institutions the first princes of the house of Austria attacked and almost wholly destroyed. Their successors expiated the crime. The effects of a change from good government to bad government is not fully felt for some time after the change has taken place. The talents and the virtues which a good constitution generates may for a time survive that constitution. Thus the reigns of princes who have established absolute monarchy on the ruins of popular forms of government often shine in history with a peculiar brilliancy. But when a generation or two has passed away, then comes signally to pass that which was written by Montesquieu, that despotic governments resemble those savages who cut down the tree in order to get at the fruit. During the first years of tyranny is reaped the harvest sown during the last years of liberty. Thus the Augustan age was rich in great minds formed in the generation of Cicero and Ca>sar. The fruits of the policy of Augustus were reserved for posterity. Philip the Second was the heir of the Cortes and of the Justiza Mayor, and they left him a nation which seemed able to conquer all the world. What Philip lefuo bis successors is well known.
The shock which the great religious schism of the sixteenth century gave to Europe was scarcely felt in Spain. In England, Germany, Holland, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, that shock had produced, with some temporary evil, much durable good. The principles of the Reformation had triumphed in some of those countries. The Catholic Church had maintained its ascendency in others. But though the event had not been the same in all, all had been agitated by the conflict. Even in France, in (Southern Germany, and in the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, the public mind
had been stirred to its inmost depths. The hold of ancient prejudice had been somewhat loosened. The Church of Rome, warned by the danger which she had narrowly escaped, had, in those parts of her dominion, assumed a milder and more liberal character. She sometimes condescended to submit her high pretensions to the scrutiny of reason, and availed herself more sparingly than in former times of the aid of the secular arm. Even when persecution was employed, it was not persecution in the worst and most frightful shape. The severities of Louis the Fourteenth, odious as they were, connot be compared with those which, at the first dawn of the Reformation, had been inflicted on the heretics in many parts of Europe.
The only effect which the Reformation had produced in Spain had been to make the Inquisition more vigilant and the commonalty more bigoted. The times of refreshing came to all neighbouring countries. One people remained, like the fleece of the Hebrew warrior, dry in the midst of that benignant and fertilizing dew. While other nations were putting away childish things, the Spaniard still thought as a child and understood as a child. Among the men of the seventeenth century he was the man of the fifteenth century, or of a still darker period—delighted to behold an atfto da-fe, and ready to volunteer on a crusade.
The evils produced by a bad governmr and a bad religion seemed to have attaintheir greatest height during the last years u the seventeenth century. While the kingdom was in this deplorable state, the king was hastening to an early grave. His days had been few and evil. He had been unfortunate in all his wars, in every part of his internal administration, and in all his domestic relations. His first wife, whom he tenderly loved, died very young. His second wife exercised great influence over him, but seems to have been regarded by h^n rather with fear than with love. He was childless; and his constitution was so completely shattered, that at little more than thirty years of age he had given up all hopes of posterity. His mind was even more distempered than his body. He was sometimes sunk in listless melancholy, and sometimes harassed by the wildest arid most extravagant fancies. He was not, however, wholly destitute of the feelings which became his station. His sufferings were aggravated by the thought that his own dissolution might not improbably be followed by the dissolution of his empire.
8everal princes laid claim to the succession. The king's eldest sister had married Louis ihe Fourteenth. The Dauphin would, therefore, in the common course of inheritance, have succeeded to the crown. But the Infanta had, at the time of her espousals, solemnly renounced, in her own name and in that of her posterity, all claim to the succession. This renunciation had been confirmed in due form by the Cortes. A younger sister of the king had been the first wife of Leopold, Emperor of Germany. She. too, had at her marriage renounced her claims to the Spanish crown, ..At the Ccrtes had not sanctioned the renunciation, and it was tnerr