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franchise them or to deprive them of their equal rights as citizens. Religious liberty is the law of the land, and will not be seriously disturbed, unless radical democracy becomes a mob, and ends in establishing by universal suffrage an absolute monarchy or cæsarism, as it has done in France.
In Great Britain the statesman has to study to preserve the hereditary element of his government, against the tendency to absolute democracy. Here he must study to roll back the democratic wave, and to reassert constitutionalism. He has here to rescue the country from that centralized and despotic democracy which we have borrowed from Europe, and guard against the cæsarism which now weighs down all the Latin, Sclavonic, and most of the Teutonic nations of Europe. The real antagonist of that cæsarism is not democracy, but the British system, which was originally also our own, and intended, as far as applicable to the condition and wants of onr people, to be preserved in our state and federal constitutions. We do not think it too late to resist the democratic tendency we have followed too long, and to return to a government of law instead of a government of inere will, or of demagogic maneuvring, intrigue, and cajolery.
We need not say that we are attached to our American institutions as they were left us by our fathers. What we oppose is the substitution of Jacobinical democracy for true American republicanism. We do not distrust the people or seek to limit their power. We hold the people in convention are our political sovereign, and the only political power there is in the country. What we oppose is, that because they are sovereign when in convention assembled they are sovereign out of it, in their simple capacity as population, which is, we take it, the essence of democracy. Return to the real theory of our government, and administer it in accordance with that theory, and we shall be satisfied. It is all we ask, or ever have asked.
[The foregoing essay was produced by the late Archbishop Kenrick of Baltimore and Dr. Brownson conjointly. As the part of each cannot well be separated, the whole is here published.-ED.
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for July, 1859.]
This work, which attracted less attention when first pub lished than it deserves, is important both as an apology for Napoleon I., and as indicative of the policy of Napoleon III. It was written when its author was an exiled prince, and comparatively few ever dreamed that he was ever destined to occupy the French throne, or to play a prominent part in the political drama of the world ; but now that he is seated on that throne, though as yet uncrowned, and threatens to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious uncle, it will probably be read, and the principles and policy it sets forth be carefully studied. We have always done justice to the abilities of Louis Napoleon, and we believed him to be as much as he has since proved himself, when nearly all the world counted him mad or little better than a fool. That he is the ablest sovereign in Europe no man can doubt, or that he is the least scrupulous. That his reign will redoond to the glory of France and to the general good of Europe is not so certain. For ourselves, we believe still in truth and honesty, and expect no solid good for individuals or nations from their violation.
What most strikes us in this remarkable work, is the total absence of every moral and religious conception on the part of its author. Reasons of state are for him the supreme law, and material good the final end of man. Religion and morality, when they do not interfere with state policy or impose any restraint on the prince in his public or private conduct, are no doubt to be tolerated ;-the clergy, as long as they do not aspire to power or influence, or to be a governing body, and keep in their place and tell the people to be submissive to Cæsar, may be encouraged and even salaried by the state, whether Catholics, or Protestants, or Jews. But it is essential that they have no power even as a spiritual body not subjected to the direction and control of the prince. The work shows us clearly enough that the emperor will not suppress or make war on religion as long as he can use it, or as long as he does not find its practical influence interfering with his state policy. It commends Napoleon I. for keeping the clergy in subjection, suppressing monastic orders, and maintaining everywhere the supremacy of the state, and finds no fault with him for his treatment of either Pius VI. or Pins VII. Every question it treats is treated from the point of view of a low human policy, and the author gives no indication that he has ever heard that a policy to be wise must be controlled by justice, and that there is a King of kings and a Lord of lords, whose will even Cæsar is bound to obey. His conceptions are in general further removed from Christianity than those of a respectable heathen, and make the emperor a God on earth.
* Des Idées Napoléoniennes, par le PRINCE NAPOLEON-Louis BONA:
Bruxelles : 1839.
The ideas of the first Napoleon, it seems, were very different from what appearances indicated, or the world in general supposed, and perhaps still supposes. He was free from selfishness, disinterested, and ambitious only to do good. He was “the testamentary executor of the revolution of 1789,” and labored only to secure its practical results for France and the world. He organized its principles, and inade it his mission to establish them for all nations. His wars were never wars of aggression, nor were they wars undertaken to redress wrongs done either to himself or to his subjects. They were not wars for the aggrandizement or, till the last, for the defence of France or of himself, but wars waged in the sacred cause of humanity, to liberate oppressed nationalities, to establish the freedom of the people and the autonomy and independence of nations. He had conceived a grand system of European organization, entirely in the interest of liberty and the social and national prosperity of mankind, and went forth as its armed propagator.
There were nations not prepared to adopt it, and these he had to convince or to subdue. He was the prophet of the Code and took that in one hand and his sword in the other, and as a second Mahomet, bid the nations accept the one and be happy, or prepare to fall by the other. He did not want war; he wanted peace, and when he could succeed without war he preserved peace. When he went to war it was only to force the enemy to accept his system, his religion of inaterialism, as that which was sure to work out their felicity. He was a true representative of the fraternity preaclied by the French revolution of 1789, which, as somebody has described it, was, “Harkee, stranger, come and embrace me as your brother, or I will cut your throat.” The nations he conquered and held in subjection, he intended to liberate as soon as he had trained them for independence and freedom. His design was to restore all nationalities to their independence, with a wise and efficient internal organization and government. He failed in his wise and beneficent intentions, because he was almost constantly engaged in war, and he was almost constantly engaged in war because there was one nation, the perfide Albion, he could neither convince nor conquer.
The nephew, now emperor of the French, intends, it is fair to suppose, to resume and carry out, or put in the train of being carried out, the policy of his uncle. This policy, the author tells ns, was the organization, on the principles of 1789, of a “federative Europe;" a policy, if practicable, and attempted by wise and just means, we are far from regarding as censurable, or as ill-adapted to the wants of European society. But Napoleon should have recollected that a federative Europe is inconceivable without a federative gov- . ernment, which must derive its existence and powers from the free action of the states federated, and that these states had not constituted him their sovereign and supreme legislator. If his nephew is to be believed, all his wars, except those after his Russian expedition, were really wars of propagandism, or wars to impose his political and social system on Europe ; such wars are seldom, if ever, lawful, and are nearly always inexpedient. Napoleon started, we are told, with the principles of the revolution of 1789, but no permanent order can be founded on a revolutionary basis, and we can never arrive at liberty through the practice of tyranny.
We cannot impose liberty on a nation by force of arms, because the employment of force against a nation for such a purpose, is a direct denial of its liberty. No people can receive its liberty from another; and any people to become free, must itself achieve its freedom by its own energy, courage, and heroism. To destroy a nation's independence, as the condition of enabling it to maintain its independence, is about as wise as to destroy the life of a plant in order to facilitate its growth, or to improve the beauty of its flower, or the quality of its fruit.
Napoleon, if he really contemplated a federative Europe, misconceived its character and conditions. In a federation, the central power holds from the federated states, and is their creature ; but the Napoleonic idea made these states themselves derive both their existence and their powers from the central authority. The federated states elect the federal chief, and determine his rights and powers, as under the Carlovingian constitution ; Napoleon reversed this, and his pretended free and independent nations could only have been provinces, prefectures, or vassals of France. The kingdoms he created and placed under members of his family, had no national antonomy, and existed only for the interest or glory of France, as his brother, the king of Holland, bitterly experienced. These kingdoms were created by Napoleon, and for his French empire; and their nominal sovereigns were allowed to have no will of their own. They must look to him, and obey him as their master. To tell us that they were organized with a view to nourishing and consolidating their nationality, and preparing them to become subsequently independent nations, is to pay no great compliment to our political understanding.
The nephew shares, we presume, the ideas of his uncle, and we have no doubt he intends, one after another, to carry them ont; but he will proceed with less rashness and more moderation, and will be very cautious, as long as he is mas'ter of the situation, not to push matters to extremes. Yet we think he has less chance of succeeding than had his more brilliant and richly endowed uncle. He will find that there is more than one nation he can neither convince
conquer. He succeeded in his policy in the Crimean war, made England contribute to the consolidation of his power in France, and won, by his moderation after victory, Russia to be his friend, and perhaps ally--for a time. He has taken his second step with consummate prudence, and with an adroitness equalled only by his unscruplonsness.
He has contrived, while suppressing liberty in France, to appear as its champion in Italy, and against Austria, the most decried and unpopular government in Europe. To fight for Italian liberty against Austria, is, in the minds of a large part of the world, to fight for the revolution against the pope, and against both Catholicity and despotism. This enlists on his side the sympathies of all the liberals of all nations, if not their active coöperation, and, if he could make other nations believe that he will stop with putting an end to Austrian domination in Italy, without substituting for it that of France, he would be sure of encountering only the Austrians for enemies. But a man who has proved that he can be bound neither by treaties nor by oaths, cannot inspire