Obrazy na stronie

then ill at St Omer, to retract the position and generous character, the condemnation pronounced by this pre- multitude of anecdotes which are told bate, in 1414. Jean Petit died in 1411. of him, and which shew at once the His worthy hero, John the Fearless, man of wit and the hero, seem to was assassinated in his turn, by Tan- paint at once the French imagination, negin, beneath the eyes of the Daue and the peculiarities of national spirit phin, on the bridge of Montereau-sur- and character. Lastly, his amours, his Yonne, on the loth Sept. 1419. weaknesses, all those sentiments which

were conmonly passions, and even

when they were merely tastes, were Characters of HENRY IV. Louis XIII. still ennobled by chivalric graces, apand Louis XIV.

peared faults which might be forgiven.

The nation admired him, and loved (From the French of Thomas.) to persuade themselves, that gallantry

might be mingled with greatness, and EVER, perhaps, was panegyric, that it was at all times the character ,

to great, as when it was destined to ce- valour. But that which has consecratlebrate Henry IV.; never was it so ed his reputation throughout Europe, Enanimous. There have been men, is bis goodness ; that virtue which nethough few, whose reputation contra- ver allowed hatred to enter his soul, dicted the manners and ideas generalwhich made him always pardon, with. ly prevailing in their country. Cer- out policy and without effort, which tain brilliant qualities wrested a sort would have made him think himself of involuntary and forced confession, unhappy in punishing, which gave even from those who were farthest hiin, with his friends, the inost pleafrom sharing them: but when the re- sing familiarity, towards his people the putation of a great man is perfectly in most tender benevolence, with his nounison with the prejudices, the charac- bles, the most affecting equality; this ter, and the inclinations of a people, so precious sentiment, which somethen his celebrity is likely to increase, times, in iroments of bitterness, made because the self-love of every citizen him pour the tears of a great man in. forms, as it were, a protection to the to the bosom of friendship ; this sentireputation of the prince ; this is what ment, which loved to visit the cottage happened to Henry IV. He may be of the peasant, to share his bread, to truly said to have been the hero of smile upon a rural family which surFrance. His talents, his virtues, his rounded him, and which never dreadvery faults, were ours. Mornay and ed that the tears and secret despair of Sully might blame his excessive va- misery should come to reproach him; lour, but in it the nation loved to re- this is what gained him the hearts of cognize themselves. Policy even jus. all nations, made him be blessed alike tified him. To encourage his friends, at London and at Paris. Who, into astonish his enemies, prodigies were deed, when he sees, over almost the necessary: and against armies

, he had whole extent of the globe, men so unnothing almost to oppose but virtues. happy, so many evils of nature, so maRashness then ceased to be rashness : ny arising from the shock of interest this great man merely augmented the and passion, the human race crushed little strength he had, by the real and trembling, eternally agitated be. strength of admiration and enthusiasm. tween necessary evils, and those wbich His gaiety in the midst of combats, indulgence and goodness might have bis witty sayings in poverty and mis- obviated, who can refrain from in. - fortune, all the sallies of a lively dis- voluntary tenderness, when he sees a prince arise, who has no passion and ment with this image, as he loves to no idea, but that of restoring happi- see the portrait of a friend, or of a faness and peace? when thinking of ther, Even the people know and bless him, when following his actions, when his memory. The people, bent bepenetrating into his heart, we seem to neath their labours, pronounce often breathe a milder air; calmness and se- the name of Henry IV., and attach renity diffuse themselves, at least, for a to this naine interesting ideas. Lastly, few moments, over this unfortunate when death opens the tombs in which globe which we inhabit.

the ashes of our kings repose, the Few princes, in history, have had crowd, whom a restless and melanchothis character of goodness, like Henry ly curiosity hurries into these vaults, IV. The goodness of Augustus was to see the monuments at once of the that of a politican, who has no longer grandeur and weakness of man, by the any interest to commit crimes; that glimmering of flambeaux and funeral of Vespasian was stained by avarice torches, which enlighten these places, and murder ; that of Titus is better seem to ask, to seek, only Henry IV. known, by a word for ever memora- They stop at the foot of his bier, they ble, than by actions; that of the An- examine, they surround it, they seein tonins was sublime and tender, but to call upon it again for that great mingled with a certain philosophic man, and yield with a mixture of awe austerity, which deprived it perhaps of and tenderness to all the ideas which those mild graces which we love to re- the view of this tomb inspires. Such cognize in it. In that of Louis XII. is the homage which still

, at the end among us, though ever to be respect of 160 years, the gratitude of the peoed, there was wanting somewhat of ple renders to the virtue of kings. the dignity of talents and of great actions ; for it must be owned, that we

Louis XIII. are much more affected by the good- A prince, on his death-bed, said to ness of a great man, than of one in his son : " I leave you every thing, whom we have to excuse faults and ill my armies, my states, my treasures, and success. But the goodness of Henry the memory of the good I have done; IV. was, at once, that of a private but I cannot leave you my glory: if man, and of a hero.

This prince, ac- you have not one of your own, mine cordingly, may be said to be in a man- will be but a burden to you.” Henry ner worshipped among us. The me. IV. dying, might have said this to moirs of Sully, by painting the details Louis Xil. Yet many who had of his private life, have rendered his praised the father, praised also the memory still dearer to us, because son; but the father was praised bethey shew every where the man of cause he was a great man; the son, too feeling along with the great man. A often, because he was a prince. Not selebrated poem has immortalized his that Louis XIII. had not royal qualivirtues, as well as his valour. The ties, but in none of these was there any pencil of Rubens has traced his apo- lustre. Whether it were sloth or titheosis upon canvas. The art of Phi- midity, he knew not the great art of dias presents his statue to the view of men in power, that of commanding all citizens. Eloquence and zeal have renown. His character, like his reign, produced a multitude of works conse- presents a crowd of contradictions. crated to him, in which virtue is prai- He had a succession of victories, yet sed by sensibility. The pencil, the their lustre was in a manner strange graver, even the chissel, have multipli- to him. He had military talents, yet sd his busis or his portraits. The ob- scarcely now are these talents known. scure citizen loves to adorn his apart. He had some taste and wit, yet shewo ed the greatest indifference for letters. wards him was carried even to fande Nature had given him courage, even ticism; now, perhaps, we are too much that which faces death, yet he never disposed to withdraw this admiration. had the courage required in a com- Men were too much dazzled by his mander. He lay under the necessity prosperity ; they are now too much of being ruled, and floated without struck by his faults. The balance of ceasing, between the desire of shak- renown, which is almost always uning ošt the yoke, and the impossibility equal for kings, has inclined, by turns, of not resuming it. But the greatest on the two opposite sides for Louis contrast in his reign is, that never, XIV. Let us endeavour, if possible, perhaps, was there less activity in the to fix it. But to judge this prince sovereign, yet never did the govern- well, we must consult neither the praiment display such force and firmness ses which, being given by subjects to abroad, and a severity so command their king, are of the same value with ing, and some times so terrible at the compliments which pass in compabome.

ny between private men; nor the outSuch was Louis XIII. as a prince; cries of the protestants, to whom, perhis private life presented contrasts.e- haps, he had sold but too dearly the qually striking. His character forced right of hating him ; nor the English him to exalt favourites; it forced him papers, which feared him too much to also to hate tbem. Amid success, he be willing to esteem him ; we must was unhappy. The ally of Gustavus consult history and facts. Adolphus, he whose armies shook the Never was France só briliant as throne of the emperor, and overawed during the reign of Louis XIV.; but Spain, was afraid of his mother, his this brilliancy, as is well known, wife, his brother, and even of the very was frequently overcast. Under him, minister who made him conquer. France numbered thirty years of vic

Those two wars in which he had tory, and ten of disaster. She conthe misfortune of fighting against his quered provinces, but saw her own people, were really the most brilliant exhausted. She gave laws to Europe, era of his life. He shewed the great- but was upon the point of being disest valour, and even that cool intrepi- membered by all the powers of Eudity in danger, which would do ho- rope. This contrast of misfortune and nour to one who was not a prince; glory, this administration, brilliant at but it was easier for Louis XIII. to

one time, painful and forced at anoobtain success than reputation. Prai. ther, arose from the same principles ; sed by a crowd of orators, celebrated all was linked together. There was in at his death by Lingendes, placed by the character of Louis XIV. somenature between Richelieu and Corn- thing exaggerated, which diffused iteille, he proved that character alone self over his person, and over all his can give value to actions, and that reign. He was thrown, as it were, panegyrists, whatever be their ta- out of the boundaries of nature. Yet lents, never create renown. Glory, this very exaggeration gave him an under this reign, may be said to have idea of greatness, whence much good surrounded the throne, without reach- resulted. To it, Louis XIV. was ining the prince. It went over entirely debted for the principal qualities of to Richelieu.

his mind; for that uprightness, a stran. Louis XIV.

ger to dissimulation, and which never It may not be useless to weigh this could humble itself to any disguise ; celebrated king, and to appreciate all that love of glory which, by exalting the praises thich were lavished upon his sentiments, gave him dignity in his him, For a long time, veneration to own eyes, and made him feel always


the necessity of self-esteem ; that ap, with haughtiness than with violence of plication which, even in his youth, character, meditated tranquillity, and was always ready to sacrifice pleasure executed, with a calm pride, plans of to labour; that dignity of coinmand conquest and aggrandizement. which, without our well knowing why, It must be admitted that these proplaces so great a distance between one jects possess grandeur, but a grandeur man and another, and instead of a re- which, if we may so speak, wants rule flecting, produces an instinctive obedi- and proportion. In general, it may ence, which is a thousand times strong- be said, that Louis XIV. measured er; that desire of superiority, which his strength a little too much by his he extended from himself to his peo- character. He foresaw not sufficientple, because he regarded his people as ly that in the economical constitution part of himself; his taste for letters of states, long victories almost resemand the arts, because letters and the ble defeats; that whatever is violent, arts were, in a manner, a decoration is worn out by its very violence; that to all this edifice of grandeur : lastly, great powers united to resist, are likehis intrepid firmness and constancy in ly to be much less weakened, than a misfortune, which, being unable to di- great power armed to attack; that sect events, at last triumphed over the

great men who, at the head of his them, and proved to Europe, that he armies, were proud of serving him, had in his soul a part of the greatness were likely, by their example, to give which had till then been supposed on- birth to other great men to combat ly to surround him.

him; that great efforts can produce But the same character, perhaps, only rapid success, because extreme which

gave to Louis XIV. all these means tend always towards weakness. qualities, caused also most of his faults. Louis exaggerated at once his projects It created in him a taste for luxury and his means; hence, some years of and magnificence, which rarely ac- splendour were followed by exhauscompanies elevation of soul, yet which, tion, ruin, and misfortune. This fault in him, did not exclude it; a taste had an influence, not only upon France, arhich diffused itself over his buildings, but upon all Europe. Every where it his gardens, his fetes, and often sub- became necessary to oppose strength stituted pompous for useful expences. by strength. Peace stopt the effusion It gave him that eternal desire of re- of blood, without diminishing public presentation which he carried into eve- burdens. As governments feared withry thing, even into war, where, how- out ceasing, it was necessary to be alever, his armies and generals repre- ways in a condition to fight. All adsented very well for him. It diffused ministrations were forced, all their over his whole person, and even threw Springs strained, and the error of ą into his aspect, an affectation of gran- single man changed the system of deur, which had need of bis reputa- twenty governments. tion and rank to support it, and seem- It is, perhaps, difficult to determine ed to wish to command respect rather in what degree he knew men and their than to expect it. It formed the cha- talents. First, we must thank him, in racter of his internal policy; and made the name of France, and of humanity, him believe that the nation was him- that he chose, to educate his children, self, and that his own wants were those Montausier and Bossuet, Fenelon and of the state. Lastly, it inspired him Beauvilliers. Occupied with the splenabroad with an ambition which was dour of his own reign, he entrusted not, like that of most conquerors, the the hope of the succeeding reign to effect of an ardent and impetuous soul, virtue and to genius. He had particubut which, being commected rather lar merit in having appreciated the in


flexible morality and severe frankness spread lustre over arts and talents, for of Montausier, in a court where vo- having known how to appreciate those luptuousness was mingled with pomp, men whom fortune renders obscure, and where glory was corrupted by the who are not destined by birth to apexcess of flattery. In regard to his proach kings, but who are sometimes other choices, Turenne and Condé destined to honour their reign. Thus, were pointed out to him by renown. after employing himself in his great Lurembourg, whom he did not love, designs with his

generals and ministers, forced him, by his genius, to employ he sometimes amused himself by conhim. Vendome had much difficulty versing with Racine; he ordered the in attaining to the command. Catinat, master-pieces of the old Corneille to from a simple volunteer, became Mar- be represented before him: he felt pride shal of France; but the same Catinat, in seeing himself served in his palace afier victories, experienced ill treat- by the author of the Misanthrope and ment, and was rendered useless to his the Tartuffe ; and giving to Moliere country, This prince had two çele- his king as a defender, prevented a brated ministers; Colbert, who en- great man from being crushed by a riched the state by his labours, and cabal the more terrible, from having 'vvhose errors even were those of a ci- assumed the name of virtue. Lizen and of a great man: Louvois, What then will be the rank which whose prompt and extensive genius Louis XIV. will occupy among kings? seemed born for war, and who served it will be that of a prince who, living his master by laying waste Europe. - in an age when his people was capable Colbert was given him by Mazarin, of great things, knew how to take adLouvois by le Tellier. I speak not vantage of circumstances without givof Barbesieux, of Pelletier, of Chamil- ing birth to them ; who, with faults, lard, of the choice of many generals displayed, notwithstanding all the viin the war of 1701: at least these gour of government; who supplied his choices were repaired by others; Vil- own want of genius, by assembling aJars, Vendome, and Berwick, prov- round him all the strength of his time, ed, that even in this decline he could and directed it, which is another kind still find great men.

Let us not re- of genius in kings; who, in short, gave proach him with misfortunes still a great impulse both to men and things, than with faults; but the disgrace of and left marked and deep traces beFenelon and his exile, the proscrip- hind him. tion of the most eloquent work which virtue and genius ever inspired ; this is doubtless an error which we can Description and Antiquities of Roslin. with difficulty excuse in so celebrated

AT what time this castie was built It cannot be doubted, that the crowd is , of great writers who appeared then, find, that about the year 1100, Wilwas the fruit of an attentive and en- liam de Santo Claro, son of Walderlightened government. Who, alas! nus Compte de St Clare, who came to in an ungrateful country and age, England with William the Conqueror, where sometimes, as in ancient Rome, obtained from King Malcolm Canthe good man was punished for his more a grant of the lands and barony virtues, and the man of genius for his of Roslin. talents, who then would devote him- Sir William St Claire, the eighth self to painful labours, and take the of the name, was the favourite oi the trouble of being great? We are in- brave Sir James Douglas. and acdebted to Louis XIV. for having companied him on his journey to JeruSept. 1808.



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