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as embracing the most unembraceable per
As to Napoleon himself, whether he is to be considered as a compounder with the old despotisms, or as a soldier sacrificing every thing to a mischievous activity, or an emulator of what are called the glories of Cæsars and Alexanders, or a re-assertor of the predominance of intellect, with an unlucky forgetfulness of principle, or lastly, as an outrageous species of philosopher, with a good end really in view, but pursuing it by all sorts of bad means,—his actions are only more or less to be abhorred by the free and plaindealing part of society; for there are very few persons, we believe, who think that he was compelled to go on in his violence by
a continual pressure of enemies from without; and at all events, he was not compelled into the viler parts of his policy,—he was not compelled into the suppression of all that was free and honest in France, nor into the inconceivable meanness of his first doings in Spain. As man with man, he have his excuses of habit, and circumstance, and frailty of nature; as who has not? Indeed, when we have spun out our metaphysical threads, and find what little strength our closest spun webs contain for resting any conclusions as to merit and demerit, who but becomes sensible of the flimsiness of his final judgment, and is willing to regard and be regarded by all his fellow creatures with eyes of charity and humility? But social necessity is apt to reason to more purpose than speculation upon matters of
vice and virtue, or in other words, of folly and wisdom, of perniciousness and utility; and at best, we can regard a man who is commonly called wicked but as a noxious animal, who may be hunted down and de stroyed, though merit and demerit be altogether out of the question. Those who look upon Bonaparte as a mere soldier of genius, with such philosophy and love of improvement, as original strength of mind and the unbigoted nature of his profession would leave him, appear to have the truest idea of his character. If as he went forward, he grew heated by his successful violence into a notion that he was playing the part of a kind of inferior Providence, his downfall has only added another warning name to the long list of Salmoneuses, who, without the vision and foresight of Gods, have
undertaken to dispense with the very first principles that regulate the comforts of men. This is the truest comment on the words of the Latin poet :
Cœlum ipsum petimus stultitiâ; neque
Per nostrum patimur scelus
Iracunda Jovem ponere fulmina.
Or as the English poet has still finelier turned it;
We reach at Jove's imperial crown,
And pull the unwilling thunder down.
Whether the Allied Monarchs will act up to the promises which they held out, and upon the strength of which, as well as,
of feelings more immediately national, Po pular Opinion enabled them to conquer, is a speculation which the author willingly confines to less fanciful publications. One of them, at least, has given some personal proofs of an exemption from the usual vices of conquerors; and circumstances, both past and present, render on all hands the invitations to continue their good policy so numerous, and the shame of contradicting it so ready to start forward, that even weaknesses of a particular kind may come in aid of their better spirit; and monarchs be found to resemble ordinary men in other respects, besides those to which their enemies would confine them. At all events, to say nothing of the successive punishments inflicted on all parties who have offended the common sense of mankind, it appears cer