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tion, and to point to the exact spots in the Russian and the Austrian empires from which those supplies could be drawn. We at the same time, in our remarks on the state of agriculture in the south of Italy, pointed out some of the trammels which prevented countries more within our reach from producing as much as they ought.
We cannot, however, deny that we regard the question of the amount of duty levied on corn as but a part (an important part no doubt) of the difficulties which now lie in the
way of importation, and consequently of the procuring and securing of cheap food for the people. Hence the stress we have laid upon the urgency of studying and cultivating the means of communication with the sea from those fertile districts to which we have to look. Hence the pains we have taken to track the courses of Austrian and Russian rivers, and we have yet more to do on that score to render the information which we have given complete and convincing. Hence above all the importance we attach to the securing of more than one channel of supply for an article of such indispensable necessity as grain. Our readers will recollect that two years since we pointed out the defects of a treaty concluded with one of the most important of the countries of Europe in this respect, heedless, as in the case of our German negotiations, of the weight of supposed authorities, under which these proceedings were sure to be sheltered against our unwelcome criticism. The time has perhaps not yet come when our arguments shall be found powerful enough to cause them to be acted upon; still we persevere, and we invite the friends of free trade, of extended commercial intercourse, to aid us in our undertaking.
We have declared that almost unbounded markets for our manufactures await our approach. We have it in our power to open the tracks along which both supplies of food must flow, and masses of manufactured goods must move in return. In Europe, in Asia, in America our commercial relations can be regulated, improved, extended—but not without care, judgement and energy in the employment of the means at our command.
These means we have already pointed out, but we must here point to them anew. The temper of the various governments, whose desire of enriching their subjects excludes our manu
factures, has been sufficiently shown of late by repeated failures in the attempt to bring them to treat on the basis of reciprocity. We have it in our power to force them all to agree to our terms, by not indiscriminately allowing to all the benefits of the concessions which shall be made on the two important articles corn and sugar. If we lose this opportunity of placing our commercial relations on a sound footing, we may never regain it. We can only regain it when lost at the cost of reconstructing that odious complicated fabric, at which the first violent blow is about to be dealt. Had we the voices of a thousand warners, we would shout this warning with the might of earnest conviction in the ears of our countrymen; for we are aware that we stand alone, and that warnings which are re-echoed by no party are too apt to be disregarded. Nevertheless we persevere, and perchance our warning may not prove to be given in vain.
It has been said on all sides, you must bring forward but one subject at a time; cheap food, and nothing but cheap food; free trade, and nothing but free trade, or you will not be heard and nothing will be done. We disclaim the necessity of arguing with our countrymen as we should with fools or with children. If cheap food will buy free trade, is it not on that account the more desirable ? If free trade will secure cheap food, is it not for that reason indispensable ?
We repeat it then-sell your concessions and purchase plenty ; sell your concessions and purchase industry, which will give you the means of purchasing enjoyment. Sell them to Russia, to Austria, to Prussia, to Holland, to Brazil, to the United States. Sell them dear to those from whom you have much to demand; sell them cheap to those who have but little to give for them. Give them away only to the Hanse towns and to those states who have no concession to make in return, because they have preceded you in adopting the system of free trade. But sell them; sell them! With all the world for buyers, it will be hard if you do not drive a profitable bargain.
Les Historiettes de Tallemant des Réaux. Mémoires pour
servir à l'histoire du 17ième siècle. Publiés sur le manuscrit autographe de l'auteur. Séconde édition. Par
M. MONMERQUÉ. 10 vols. Paris, 1840. Some of our contemporararies have regarded the publication of the mass of ribald indecency collected in these ten volumes, which had remained in the obscurity of manuscript ever since their compilation, as a peculiar disgrace to the literary taste of modern France. As regards the body of the work we do not quite concur in that opinion ; however deformed by these faults, it contains too much curious and valuable matter for the student of French history to have been justifiably left in oblivion. But we question whether in any other country the memoirs would have been presented to the world without the precaution of suppressing at least the more flagrant violations of public decency and taste which they contain.
And we are surprised to find the editor, M. Monmerqué, a man of literature as well as research, commencing his labours with a sort of eulogistic preface, and palliating the most notorious defects of his author, partly under the plea of the license of his age, and partly by appealing to the indulgence due to wit and talent. No one can read far without perceiving that the pruriency of the style is not a concession to the tone of his times, but is owing to the natural vein of the writer. Wit Tallemant des Réaux certainly has, although it is of a hard and coarse, as well as spiteful kind; he is by no means without the perception of a joke, although he generally retails it in the dullest and least effective way. And we scarcely know what other merit to give him credit for. His style appears to us singularly cramped and unformed; his manner of telling a story is perplexed in the extreme, diverging into the most involved digressions; and he reminds us in this respect of no personage so closely as the excellent Mrs. Nickleby. This is in great measure owing to the fact, that he is all the time telling stories to himself, and does it in that lazy, wandering way in which we are all apt to conduct the same process; for
the curious part of these Historiettes' is, that the writer evidently did not intend them for publication, or even for the use of friends, but noted them down apparently for his own simple gratification. Certainly there is much in them which he could not have ventured to communicate even to his most intimate allies, for fear of serious consequences to himself. Each of the four or five hundred Historiettes' contained in these volumes (a few excepted, which are mere collections of stories on some general subjects) contains either a short memoir of some individual, or, more frequently, a series of unconnected anecdotes respecting him. And in this way he brings us acquainted with a vast variety of persons in all ranks and professions, chiefly those of his own day, and many with whom he was intimate; all, or nearly all, treated in the same spirit of caustic, and often malignant satire.
It would not be easy to give the English reader a distinct idea of the characteristics of Tallemant des Réaux, by comparing him with any of our own writers who have acquired celebrity in the same department. In excessive fondness for anecdote and scandal, in ill-nature, in utter disbelief in human virtue, and in his partiality for certain sets and coteries, he resembles Walpole; but then he has little of Walpole’s wit, and nothing of his brilliant powers of composition, not to mention the peculiarities of an inferior caste in society. He sometimes reminds us of Pepys, in the careless, undress way in which he introduces the personages of his own acquaintance; and this is principally because, like Pepys, he was writing for himself only; but he is without Pepys's original and most amusing individuality. The clever author of the 'Mémoires d'un Touriste' calls Suetonius a “very low sort of Tallemant des Réaux;" and the resemblance seems to us a fair one, except in the relative rank which he assigns them. They are equally coarse, and would be about equally valuable, if the personal peculiarities of the lords of the world interested us no more than those of the obscure or forgotten personages who fill nine-tenths of the pages of Tallemant.
He does indeed include in his portrait gallery many characters of higher distinction, but these do not furnish, generally speaking, the portion of it best worth preserving. His anecdotes respecting them are not often new, and those which are so do not carry with them an air of much credibility. And he has little acute delineation of character; his forte consists in pointing out the oddities, extravagances and weak points of remarkable men, with little care as to the general effect of his likenesses. Certainly it is sometimes difficult to recognise the greatest of French heroes under the disguise in which he envelopes them, or without the masks of which he strips them. Of Henry IV., while obliged to admit his public virtues, he says, that he was “neither over-liberal nor over-grateful; he “never praised others, and boasted of himself like a Gascon. “ He was naturally a thief; he could not resist the tempta“tion of taking all loose articles that he found, but he used " to send them back. He used to say, that if he had not been
a king, he should have been hung ... As for his person, “Madame de Simier, who was accustomed to see Henry III., " said, when she was shown Henry IV., 'I have seen the king, “ but I have not seen His Majesty.'”
But Louis XIII. is the peculiar and favourite object of his spite; so much so, that M. de Monmerqué traces his provocation against him to prejudices derived from Madame de Rambouillet, the great oracle of elegance, who considered that monarch as very inattentive “aux bienséances;” and our author's evident pique against Sully he traces to the same source. Sully is certainly not an amiable character anywhere except in his own memoirs; yet it is not without some surprise that we find, even in the pages of a common libeller, this pattern of virtuous financiers characterized as a taker of bribes*, and the grave Mentor of Henry IV. as a profligate and a buffoon. We certainly were not aware that he was distinguished enough by his dancing propensities to have made a fit chancellor for his contemporary Queen Elizabeth.
“ Every evening until the death of Henry IV., a certain La Roche, one of the king's valets-de-chambre, used to play to him on the lute the dances in fashion, and M. de Sully used to perform the figures alone, with an estraordinary kind of cap on his head, which he generally wore when in his cabinet. The spectators were Duret, afterwards President de Chevry, and La Claville, afterwards Lord of Chevigny, who, with some women of bad
*"One day Sully stumbled in the court of the Louvre, when saluting Henry IV., who was in a balcony; the king said to those about him, “If the strongest of my Swiss guard had had as many pots-de-vin in his head, he must have stumbled too.'" -Vol. i. p. 145.