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After his resignation, M. Thiers sense been a man of action ; but he for some time took but little part in has from time to time expressed his politics. During the latter years of views on great European questions ; the Guizot ministry he was always in no doubt with some felicity of opposition ; but, as it seems to us, language, but with a superficiality of without adding much to his own knowledge and a narrowness of view reputation or to the dignity of the that is almost inconceivable. His relegislature of which he was a member. corded speeches about Italy and the The last years of Louis Philippe's Papacy would be intensely ridiculous reign were tolerably prosperous. It if it were not painful to witness a was, upon the whole, a freer and man of such high reputation advocabetter government than had ever ting all the obsolete traditions of the been known in France, and until French Foreign Office, and sympathe year of famine there was no thising with all the worst feelings of popular discontent. But the king international jealousy. But it is and those who advised him seem some consolation to think that the ever to have felt the greatest dis- world is growing wiser, and that the trust of the people, and those among brilliant historian of the Consulate the public men who best understood will fail to persuade his countrymen the character of the times were un that the permanence of religion in able or unwilling to impress their France depends upon the political views upon the sovereign; yet they humiliation of the inhabitants of the might have seen that the country States of the Church. This is not became daily more and more averse exactly consistent with the stateto the system. People began to ments which he has so often made look at the Chamber as a debating in his voluminous writings, that he society, and nothing more ; and, ex has ever been the friend and the cept to the candidates for office, it champion of liberty ; but it is prewas very immaterial whether the cisely in accordance with the docgovernment was taken from the trines promulgateà in his books. right or from the left centre. So His theory of history has always they drifted on to the fatal February been so narrow and perverse that of 1848. In those last panic-stricken he has never hesitated to declare moments, M. Thiers reappeared as that the humiliation of neighbouring first minister for six hours or so, nations is a part of the legitimate during which he did as much mis- policy of France. He is clearly of chief as could be in so short a space opinion that Italy ought to be of time. He signed the fatal order divided, and kept in a state of weakwhich caused the troops to withdraw ness or dependence, and the Papacy when there was no longer any resist- upheld, for the sake of French inance, and surrendered Paris to a re terests. In his eyes it was the glory volutionary mob. He had helped to of the Consulate to obtain, and the overthrow the Bourbons by his au- misfortune of the Empire to lose, a dacious attacks; and by his vanity, powerful influence in Germany, or want of decision, he accomplished which after all had only been won rhe ruin of the Orleans dynasty. by force and maintained by oppres
After such a career it is not possible sion. Such views seem to us to to accord to M. Thiers a high place belong to a bygone race of poliamong European statesmen; nor do ticians, and it would be difficult to we think that what he has done in find many persons with audacity later life redeems the faults that he enough to avow them. M. Thiers
, committed when he was in the pos- however, seems always perfectly sure session of undoubted power and in- of the justice of his conclusions, fluence. Latterly he has not in any and, indeed, there is a certain charm
now and for an indefinite time hold been a Constitutional Monarchist;
not to would be decisive ; it would be a have made up his mind about any. declaration of war against the parties thing. He will allow himself time which at Bordeaux he brought to to watch the play of parties, to study consent to an indefinite truce. Or, the mood of the Assembly. Even again, suppose that M. Thiers sinon such questions as the removal of cerely accepts the Republic as an the seat of Government to Paris, or existing Government, and yields to the admission of the Princes of Or- the solicitations of those who would leans into the Chamber, he is slow extort a vote in its favour. Does to take the initiative. The fact is M. Thiers control any party among that, however eager at the outset he the Republicans who are at the might be to seize the supreme same time his partisans? And if his power, he evidently shrinks from the drift were to usher in the Republic responsibility of straining it. He and then give it up to other men's had sufficiently clear views about governance;
if his object the issues of war and peace, he to keep the Presidential chair warm showed ardour in his negotiations for D'Aumale or Gambetta, can be with Bismarck and energy in the hope that all parties will be as easily subjugation of the Commune, but in amenable to his successor's ascenddealing with the Constitutional ques- ancy as they have hitherto been to tion he seems to collapse. He has his own ? Can he expect to found
a Republic in which all Republicans first instance, led to his success. It
Legitimists and Imperialists, to tem- ments, he was still able to fascinate
upon himself as the only possible the very first. There was in him moderator among French political great vivacity, considerable power passions. He feels as if a single of illustration, and a happiness in step of his might release the pent-up taking hold of the points which forces and disturb the world's ba- would interest his audience, that at lance. He stands alone between once gave
him a hold in the Chamlaw, and anarchy, between order and ber. At first he spoke in a some
Hence he is not even what formal and measured manner : ready with an answer to the Orleans some people laughed at him ; but, Princes, who ask for leave to dis as usually happens, the clever man charge the duty they owe to their was too much for the grinning idiot. constituents by taking their seats in But when he had obtained more the Chamber. He has no answer confidence in himself, and more ready-no affirmative and no nega. familiarity with his audience, he tive answer. He puts the Princes changed his manner completely, and off till to-morrow or next day. It adopted that easy, conversational does not seem to strike him that by style of speaking and reasoning, his hesitation he give importance to which, when well done, is so dea matter which it might have been lightful to listen to. There is no wiser to treat with indifference. He doubt that he was the most agreedoes not appear to consider that able and the most persuasive of difficulties may be aggravated by too speakers. We will quote a passage great a reluctance to grapple with from M. de Cormenin, written more
that by too shrinking a dread than thirty years ago, on his power to mix himself up with any party, a as a speaker : Tuler may equally estrange himself
Ce n'est pas de l'oraison, c'est de la from all parties, and end by arraying causerie, mais de la causerie vive, brillante, them all against himself. M. Thiers légère, volubile, animée de traits histoevidently has no horror of isolation. toriques, d'anecdotes et de reflexions fines;
et tout cela est dit, coupé, brisé, lié, délié He is sure of himself, and he appa avec une dexterité de langage incomparable rently refuses to venture on any ir- Sa peasée naît si vite dans cette tête-là, si revocable course till he feels that he vite qu'on dirait qu'elle est enfantée avant
d'avoir été conçue. Les vastes poumons can be equally sure of France.
d'un géant ne suffraient pas à l'expectoraThough we are not disposed to tion les paroles de ce nain spirituel. La give M. Thiers a very conspicuous nature toujours attentive et compâtissante place in the political Pantheon, we
dans ses compensations semble avoir voulu do not for a moment dispute the
concentrer chez lui toute la puissance de
la virilité dans les fréles organes du larynx. wonderful and versatile powers which Sa parole vole comme l'aile de loiseauhe possesses. He is one of the mouche, et vous perce si rapidement qu'on most lively and clever men that ever
se sent blessé sans savoir d'où trait part. lived. The late Lord Lansdowne
Il s'arrête quelquefois tout-à-coup, pour
répondre aux interrupteurs, et il décoche -10 mean judge--who had met
sa replique avec une prestesse et un à-promost of the clever men of two gene- pos qui les étourdit. rations, used to say that M. Thiers
Si une théorie a plusieurs faces les unes
fausses, les autres vraies, il les groupe, il was incomparably the best converser
les mêle, il les fait joure, et rayonner devant that he had ever listened to. It was vous d'une maio si vive, que vous n'avez that power, no doubt, which, in the pas le tomps d'attraper le sophisme au pas
sage. Je ne sais si le désordre de ces im. eminently popular-partly from a provisations, ni l'incohérent entassement certain felicity of style, but much de tant de propositions hétérogènes, si le bizarre melange de toutes ces idées et
more because he never rises above de tous ces tons est un effet de son a very ordinary reader. This is parart; mais c'est de tous les orateurs ticularly the case in the History of celui dont la réfutation est la plus fa- the Consulate and the Empire. There cile quand on le lit, la plus difficile quand is an easy, self-contented manner on lécoute. C'est le roué le plus amusant de tous nos roués politiques, le plus aigue about the writer ; he is not too de nos sophistes, le plus subtil et le plus scrupulous about facts, and he flatinsaissisable de nos prestidigitateurs. C'est
ters the French reader to the top of le Bosco de la tribune.
his bent. Of late, we are happy to We have no doubt that M. de
see that he has found in M. LanCormenin's clever criticism on the frey, one of the best of the liberal speaking of M. Thiers is equally writers in France, a ruthless and unapplicable to his writing. As a sparing critic. writer, he has the power of being
THE SURE ESTATE.
What signify the care and pain
That I must yet endure,
The crime of being poor?
Nor bread nor very deep,
And moonlight shadows sleep.
Shut out from sorrow's call.
Enough though it be small.
And make amends for all ;
More than amends for all.