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have called you, your first duty is towards ME-your second towards France. All your other duties, even those towards the people whom I have called you to govern, rank after these.' To his own mind he was the source and centre of duty. He was too peculiar and exalted, to be touched by that vulgar stain, called guilt. Crimes ceased to be such, when perpetrated by himself. Accordingly, he always speaks of his transgressions as of indifferent acts. He never imagined that they tarnished his glory, or diminished his claim on the homage of the world. In St. Helena, though talking perpetually of himself, and often reviewing his guilty career, we are not aware that a single compunction escapes him. He speaks of his life as calmly as if it had been consecrated to duty and beneficence, whilst in the same breath he has the audacity to reproach unsparingly the faithlessness of almost every individual and nation, with whom he had been connected. We doubt whether history furnishes so striking an example of the moral blindness and obduracy to which an unbounded egotism exposes and abandons the mind.
"His spirit of self-exaggeration was seen in his openness to adulation. Policy, indeed, prompted him to put his praises into the mouths of the venal slaves, who administered his depotism. But flattery would not have been permitted to swell into exaggerations, now nauseous, now ludicrous, and now impious, if, in the bosom of the chief, there had not lodged a flatterer who sounded a louder note of praise than all around him. He was remarkably sensitive to opinion, and resented as a wrong the suppression of his praises. The press of all countries was watched, and free states were called upon to curb it for daring to take liberties with his name. Even in books published in France on general topics, he expected a recognition of his authority. Works of talent were suppressed, when their authors refused to offer incense at the new shrine. He wished indeed to stamp his name on the literature, as on the legislation, policy, warfare of his age, and to compel genius, whose pages survive statues, columns, and empires, to take a place among his tributaries.
"We close our view of Bonaparte's character, by saying, that his original propensities, released from restraint, and pampered by indulgence, to a degree seldom allowed to mortals, grew up into a spirit of despotism as stern and absolute as ever usurped the human heart. The love of power and supremacy, absorbed-consumed him. No other passion, no domestic attachment, no private friendship, no love of pleasure, no relish for letters or the arts, no human sympathy, no human weakness, divided his mind with the passion for dominion and for dazzling manifestations of his power. Before this, duty, honour, love, humanity, fell próstrate. Josephine, we are told, was dear to him; but the devoted wife, who had stood firm and faithful in the day of his doubtful fortunes, was cast off in his prosperity, to make room for a stranger, who might be more subservient to his power. He was affectionate, we are told, to his brothers and mother; but his brothers, the moment they ceased to be his tools, were disgraced; and his mother, it is said, was not allowed to sit in the presence of her
imperial son. He was sometimes softened, we are told, by the sight of the field of battle strewn with the wounded and dead. But if the Moloch of his ambition claimed new heaps of slain tomorrow, it was never denied. With all his sensibility, he gave millions to the sword, with as little compunction as he would have brushed away so many insects, which had infested his march. To him, all human will, desire, power, were to bend. His supe riority, none might question. He insulted the fallen, who had contracted the guilt of opposing his progress; and not even woman's loveliness, and the dignity of a queen, could give shelter from his contumely. His allies were his vassals, nor was their vassalage concealed. Too lofty to use the arts of conciliation, preferring command to persuasion, overbearing, and all-grasping, he spread distrust, exasperation, fear, and revenge through Europe; and when the day of retribution came, the old antipathies and mutual jealousies of nations, were swallowed up in one burning purpose to prostrate the common tyrant, the universal foe.
"Such was Napoleon Bonaparte. But some will say, he was still a great man. This we mean not to deny. But we would have it understood, that there are various kinds or orders of greatness, and that the highest did not belong to Bonaparte. There are different orders of greatness. Among these the first rank is unquestionably due to moral greatness, or magnanimity; to that sublime energy, by which the soul, smitten with the love of virtue, binds itself indissolubly, for life and for death, to truth and duty; espouses as its own the interests of human nature; scorns all meanness and defies all peril; hears in its own conscience a voice louder than threatenings and thunders; withstands all the powers of the universe, which would sever it from the cause of freedom, virtue, and religion; reposes an unfaltering trust in God in the darkest hour, and is ever ready to be offered up' on the altar of its country or of mankind. Of this moral greatness, which throws all other forms of greatness into obscurity, we see not a trace or spark in Napoleon. Though clothed with the power of a God, the thought of consecrating himself to the introduction of a new and higher era, to the exaltation of the character and condition of his race, seems never to have dawned on his mind. The spirit of disinterestedness and self-sacrifice seems not to have waged a moment's war with self-will and ambition. His ruling passions, indeed, were singularly at variance with magnanimity. Moral greatness has too much simplicity, is too unostentatious, too selfsubsistent, and enters into others' interests with too much hearti ness, to live a day for what Napoleon always lived, to make itself the theme, and gaze, and wonder of a dazzled world. Next to moral, comes intellectual greatness, or genius in the highest sense of that word; and by this, we mean that sublime capacity of thought, through which the soul smitten with the love of the
*See America,' page 57. We should not give this very unamiable trait of Napoleon's domestic character, but on authority which we cannot question.
true and the beautiful, essays to comprehend the universe, soars into the heavens, penetrates the earth, penetrates itself, questions the past, anticipates the future, traces out the general and all-comprehending laws of nature, binds together by innumerable affinities and relations all the objects of its knowledge, and, not satisfied with what exists and with what is finite, frames to itself ideal excellence, loveliness, and grandeur. This is the greatness which belongs to philosophers, inspired poets, and to the master spirits in the fine arts.-Next comes the greatness of action; and by this we mean the sublime power of conceiving and executing bold and extensive plans; of constructing and bringing to bear on a mighty object, a complicated machinery of means, energies, and arrangements, and of accomplishing great outward effects. To this head belongs the greatness of Bonaparte, and that he possessed it, we need not prove, and none will be hardy enough to deny. A man, who raised himself from obscurity to a throne, who changed the face of the world, who made himself felt through powerful and civilized nations, who sent the terror of his name across seas and oceans, whose will was pronounced and feared as destiny, whose donatives were crowns, whose antechamber was thronged by submissive princes, who broke down the awful barrier of the Alps and made them a highway, and whose fame was spread beyond the boundaries of civilization to the steppes of the Cossack, and the deserts of the Arab; a man, who has left this record of himself in history, has taken out of our hands the question, whether he shall be called great. All must concede to him a sublime power of action, an energy equal to great effects.
"We are not disposed, however, to consider him as pre-eminent even in this order of greatness. War was his chief sphere. He gained his ascendency in Europe by the sword. But war is not the field for the highest active talent, and Napoleon, we suspect, was conscious of this truth. The glory of being the greatest general of his age, would not have satisfied him. He would have scorned to take his place by the side of Marlborough or Turenne. It was as the founder of an empire, which threatened for a time to comprehend the world, and which demanded other talents besides that of war, that he challenged unrivalled fame. And here we question his claim. Here we cannot award him supremacy. The project of universal empire, however imposing, was not original. The revolutionary governments of France had adopted it before; nor can we consider it as a sure indication of greatness, when we remember that the weak and vain mind of Louis XIV. was large enough to cherish it. The question is, Did Napoleon bring to this design the capacity of advancing it by bold and original conceptions, adapted to an age of civilization, and of singular intellectual and moral excitement? Did he discover new foundations of power? Did he frame new bonds of union for subjugated nations? Did he discover, or originate, some common interests by which his empire might be held together? Did he breathe a spirit which should supplant the old national attachments, or did he invent any substitutes for those vulgar instruments of force and
corruption, which any and every usurper would have used? Never in the records of time, did the world furnish such materials to work with, such means of modelling nations afresh, of building up a new power, of introducing a new era, as did Europe at the period of the French revolution. Never was the human mind so capable of new impulses. And did Napoleon prove himself equal to the condition of the world? Do we detect one original concep tion in his means of universal empire? Did he seize on the enthusiasm of his age, that powerful principle, more efficient than arms or policy, and bend it to his purpose? What did he do but follow the beaten track? but apply force and fraud in their very coarsest forms? Napoleon showed a vulgar mind, when he assumed self-interest as the sole spring of human action. With the sword in one hand and bribes in the other, he imagined himself absolute master of the human mind. The strength of moral, national, and domestic feeling, he could not comprehend. The finest, and after all, the most powerful elements in human nature, hardly entered into his conceptions of it; and how, then, could he have established a durable power over the human race? We want little more to show his want of originality and comprehensiveness as the founder of an empire, than the simple fact, that he chose as his chief counsellors Talleyrand and Fouche, names which speak for themselves. We may judge of the greatness of the master spirit, from the minds which he found most congenial with his own. In war, Bonaparte was great; for he was bold, original, and creative. Beyond the camp he indeed showed talent, but not superior to that of other eminent men.
(To be Continued.)
WOULD ye enkindle in your breasts, like fires? A future age bequeath like precious boon? Strive, then, by deeds, to emulate your sires, In love of Truth and Freedom! Learn to attune Your souls, to breathe with theirs harmonious; soon Will resplendent light, from that high converse caught, Spread o'er your lives a lustre-like the moon Imbued with solar rays, throws o'er the earth-fraught With high praise to God-towards man, ennobling thought!
What stirr'd those holy men to strife of blood?
Whence sprung the wrongs that roused them to the fight, Which woke each cavern'd voice-each mountain flood Dyed with ensanguined hue-and 'thwart the night,
From crag to tower pass'd on the bale-fire's light?
Deeming, of strength, to reach the worthless goal
But ye were met, and grappled with, and baffled, By those proud, stern, high-minded men of yore! The blood pour'd out, like rain, on hearth and scaffoldA Nation, weltering in her children's goreCall'd for redress-and retribution saw! Then, martyr'd Hamilton,* thy dying breathA pillar'd flame—that patriot band, before, To seal their faith, led on, to victory or death! Truth's standard to uprear—or fall enshrined beneath!
Thy name-thou noble youth-is justly great!
That wakes our reverence, and gives thy name The power of a spell, across our lives, to toll The knell of selfishness, and rouse the same High thoughts that glow'd in thee, so pure and bright a flame!
How 'long the dim, drear, shadowy stretch of past-
Oh! well, upon that beacon, it beseems
We fix our strong regards;-ne'er be they dropp'd From that bright landmark of our rights, till heart be stopp'd!
* For a deeply interesting account of Patrick Hamilton, see M'Crie's Life of Knox, Vol. I. p. 28, 29, 30.
+ His father, Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil, was a son of Lord Hamilton, who married a sister of King James III. His mother was a daughter of John, Duke of Albany, brother to the same monarch.-Pink. Hist. Scot. What is more interesting to know, is, that "he expired with these words in his mouth, How long, O Lord, shall darkness cover this realm? How long wilt thou suffer this tyranny of men? Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."