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SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF M. THIERS, the prize to "the little Jacobin.” The competi
tion was adjourned till next year. Thiery sent M THIERS is one of the notable celebrities in his paper again “next year," but meanwhile, 11. of our day. Though a Frenchman, his a production arrived from Paris, which eclipsed name is well known in England as the author of all the others. To this the prize was speedily the famous History of the French Revolution. adjudged by the professors. But great was their But in his own country, he is also known as a dismay, when, on opening the sealed letter con. distinguished orator and statesman; indeed it is taining the name of the competitor, it was found not too much to say, that Thiers is the cieverest to be no other than that of M. Thiers himself! man in France.
The young lawyer commenced practice in the You enter the Chamber of Deputies on some town of Aix, but finding it up-hill work, and day of grand debate. A speaker has possession not at all productive, he determined to remove, in of the ear of the house. You see little more company with his friend Mignet, to seek his forthan his head above the marble of the tribune, tune in Paris. Full of talents, but light in pocket, but the head is a good one-large, well-formed, the two friends entered the capital, and took and intelligent. His eyes, the twinkle of which lodgings in one of its obscurest and dirtiest you can discern behind those huge spectacles he quarters-a room on the fourth floor of a house wears, are keen and piercing. His face is short, in the dark Passage Montesquieu, of which a deal and rather disfigured by a grin, but when he chest of dravors, a walnut-wood bedstead, two speaks, it is lively, volatile, and expressive in a chairs, and a small black table somewhat rickety, remarkable degree. His thin nervous lips, curled constituted the furniture. There the two stulike Voltaire's, are characterized by a smile, by dents lodged, working for the future. They did turns the most winning, sarcastic, and subtle, not wait with their hands folded. Thiess was that can possibly be imagined.
only twenty-four, but he could already write with Listen to him. He speaks with a nasal twang brilliancy and power, as his prize essay had and a provincial accent. He has no melody in proved. He obtained an introduction to Manuel, his voice. It is loud and ear-piercing--that of a then a man of great influence in Paris, who invixen. Sometimes it rises to a screech, as that troduced Thiers to Lafitte, the banker, and Laof Sheil's did. And yet all ears hang listening fitte got him admitted among the editors of the to that voice, which pours forth a succession of Constitutionelle, then the leading journal. It was words embodying ideas as clear as crystal, copi- the organ of Les Epiciers, or “grocers,” in other ous almost to excess, but never tiresome. His words, of the rising middle classes of France. exuberant thoughts flow from him without effort; At the same time, Mignet obtained a similar he is perfectly casy, frank, familiar, and colloqui- engagement on the Courrier. al, in his style; his illustrations are most happy, The position of Thiers was a good one to start often exceedingly brilliant. Be his theme ever from, and he did not fail to take advantage of it. so unpopular, he is invariably listened to with He possessed a lively and brilliant style, admir. interest. His diminutive figure, his grim face, his ably suited for polemical controversy; and he screeching voice, are all forgotten in the brilliancy soon attracted notice by the boldness of his ar. of his eloquence, and in the felicitous dexterity ticles. He ventured to write on all subjects, of his argument. That speaker is M. Thiers. and in course of time he learned something of
Such as his position is, he has made it him- them. Art, politics, literature, philosophy, reliself. He has worked his way upward from ob- gion, history, all came alike ready to his hand. scure poverty. He owes nothing to birth, but In France, the literary man is a much greater every thing to labor. His father was a poor person than he is in England. He is a veritable locksmith of Marseilles, where Adolphe was born member of the fourth estate, which in France in the year 1797. Through the interest of some overshadows all others. Thiers became known, of his mother's relations, the boy obtained ad invited, courted, and was a frequenter of the mission to the free school of Marseilles, where most brilliant salons of the opposition. But he distinguished himself by his industry, and newspaper writing was not enough to satisfy the achieved considerable success. From thence, at indefatigable industry of the man. He must eighteen, he went to study law at the town of write history too, and his theme was neither Aix. Here it was that he formed his friendship more nor less than the great French Revolution. with Mignet, afterward the distinguished histo- Our readers must know the book well enough. rian. These two young men, in the intervals of It is remarkably rapid, brilliant, stylish-full of their dry labors in the study of law, directed their interest in its narrative, though not very scrupuattention to literary, historical, and political sub-| lous in its morality--decidedly fatalistic, recog jects. Thiers even led a political party of the nizing heroism only in the conqueror, and un students of Aix, and harangued them against worthiness only in the vanquished-in short, the the government of the restoration. He was history of M. Thiers is a deification of success. practicing his eloquence for the tribune, though But ordinary readers did not look much below he then knew it not. He thus got into disgrace the surface; the brilliant narrative, which miniswith the professors and the police, but the stu- tered abundantly to the national appetite for dents were ardently devoted to him. He com-“ glory,” fascinated all readers; and M. Thiers peted for a prize essay, and though his paper at once took his place among the most distinwas the best, the professors refused to adjudge guished literary and political leaders of France
He became a partner in the Constitutionelle ; l of Under-Secretary of State, and mainly directed descended from his garret, turned dandy, and that important part of the administration through frequented Tortoni's. Nothing less than a hand- | a crisis of great financial difficulty. He was sent some hotel could now contain him. Thiers has into the Chamber of Deputies as member for Aix grown a successful man, and to such nothing is at whose college he had studied. denied. Liberalism had thriven so well with Thiers was no favorite when he entered the him, that he must go a little further, he must be Chamber; he was very generally disliked, and democratic; the drift of opinion was then in that he did much to alarm the timid by his style of direction, so he set on foot the National, the dressing à-la-Danton, as well as by his high-flown organ of the revolutionary party. The war phrases in favor of democratizing Europe, saving which this paper waged against the government Poland, delivering Belgium, and passing the of Charles X. and the Polignac ministry, was of Rhine. His eloquence was then bluster, but as the most relentless kind. The National it was, he grew older, he became more polished, more that stung the government into the famous Or- cautious, and more politic. When the Lafitte donnances, which issued in the “ Three Days'” ministry fell, of which he had been a member, Revolution of 1830. Thiers was, throughout, Thiers at once deserted that party, and attached the soul of this ardent, obstinate, brilliant strug- himself to the Casimir-Perier administration. gle against the old Bourbon government. He fell foul of his old comrades, who proclaimed
The National had only been seven months in him a renegade. Never mind! Thiers was a existence, when the event referred to occurred. clever fellow, who knew what cards he was playThe Ordonnances against the Press appeared on ing. He who was for passing the Rhine, was the morning of the 26th of July. In the course now all for repose and peace ; he would have no of the day, the leaders of the Opposition Press, more innovations, nor propagandism; before, the and several members of the Chamber of Depu- advocate of equality and democracy, he now beties, met at the office of the National. M. Thiers came the defender of conservatism, the peerage, at once propounded the course that was to be and the old institutions of France. He stood adopted at this juncture.
almost alone in defending the peerage, but it fell “Well," said he, " what's to be done now, as nevertheless, and the revolution went on. to oppositien in the journals—in our articles ? On Marshal Soult assuming the direction of Come! we must perform an act.”
affairs in 1831, Thiers was appointed Minister " And what mean you by an act ?".
of the Interior. La Vendée was in flames at the ** A signal of disobedience to a law which is time, Belgium was menaced, and excitement gen. no law! A protest!”
erally prevailed. Thiers acted with great energy “ Well-do it then?” was the reply.
under the circumstances; by means of gold, a A committee was named, on the spur of the traitor was found who secured the arrest of the moment, composed of Thiers, Chatelain, and Duchess de Berri, and the rebellion in Vendée Cauchois-Lemaire. Thiers drew up the protest : was extinguished. A French army was sent he inserted the leading idea—“ The writers of against Antwerp, the citadel was taken, and journals, called upon the first to obey, ought to the independence of Belgium secured. In the give the first example of resistance.” This was Chambers, Thiers obtained a credit for a hunthe signal of revolution! Some said, “Good! dred millions of francs, for the completion of We shall insert the protest as a leading article public works. The statue of Napoleon was rein our journals.” “Not only that," said Thiers, placed on the Place Vendôme ; public works “We must put our names under it, and our heads were every where proceeded with; roads were under it.” The protest was agreed to, after con- formed; canals dug; and industry began genersiderable discussion; it was published; and the ally to revive. The Minister of the Interior was people of Paris indorsed the protest in the streets successful. of Paris the very next day. Thus Thiers per- But a storm was brewing. The republicans formed the initial act, which led to the expulsion were yet a powerful party, and the government from France of the elder branch of the Bourbon brought to bear upon them the terrors of the family. But it ought to be added that, after law. Secret associations were put down, and an having signed the protest, which was published explosion took place. Insurrections broke out at next morning, Thiers returned to muse in the Paris and Lyons; Thiers went to the latter shades of Montmorency, and did not return to place, where he was less sparing of his person Paris until the 29th, after the decisive battle of than he had been during the three days of Paris ; the barricades had been fought.
for at Lyons two officers fell at his side, killed by Of course, Thiers was now a man of greater musket-shots aimed at the minister himself. At mark than ever. The new government of the length the insurrection was got under; dissenCitizen King at once secured him; and the son sions occurred in the ministry; Thiers retired, of the Marseilles locksmith, the poor law student but soon after took office under Marshal Mortier ; of Aix, the newspaper writer of the garret, was the fêtes of aly, 1835, arrived; the Fieschi now appointed Counselor of State and Secre- massacre took place, Thiers being by the king's tary-General of Finance. It is said that the side at the time of the explosion. Laws against Citizen King even offered him the Portfolio of the liberty of the Press followed this diabolic act, Finance, which he declined on the ground of in- and now M. Thiers was found on the side of reexperience; but he afterward accepted the office pression of free speech. The laws against the
Press were enforced by him with rigor. He was, has few friends. His changes have been so sodnow on the high road to power. He became den and unexpected on many occasions, that few President of the Council, and Minister of Foreign care to trust him. He is not a man to be deAffairs. But the Spanish intervention question pended upon. He has been a republican and a occurred. Thiers was in favor of intervention, | monarchist by turns: who knows but to-morrow and the majority of the ministry were opposed to he may be a Red? It all depends on how the it. Thiers resigned office, and bided his time. wind blows! This is what they say of M. He went to Rome and kissed the Pope's toe, Thiers. The nobles regard him as a partenu; bringing home with him leather trunks of the the republicans stigmatize him as a renegade. middle ages, Roman medals, and a store of new The monarchists think of him as a waiter on arguments against democracy.
Providence. A coalition ministry was formed in 1838, and M. Cormenin (Timon), in his Liore des OraThiers, “ the Mirabeau gadfly," as a pungent leurs, has drawn a portrait of Thiers with a pencil lady styled him about this time, became the leader of caustic. Perhaps it is too severe ; but many of the party. Thiers failed in his assaults on the say it is just. In that masterly sketch, Cormenin ministry ; Molé reigned, then Guizot; and the says—“ Principles make revolutions and revolubrilliant Thiers was reduced to the position of a tionists. Principles found monarchies, aristoc simple deputy on the seats of the opposition. racies, republics, parliaments. Principles are But again did M. Thiers find himself in power, morals and religion, peace and war. Principles after the failure of the ministry on the Dotation govern the world. In truth, M. Thiers affirms Bill of the Duke of Nemours. The ministry of that there are no principles, that is to say, M. March 1st, 1840, was formed, and Thiers was Thiers has none. That is all.” the President of the Council. Louis Philippe confided all to him; but, though Louis trusted
LIFE AND DEATH. Thiers, and perhaps owed his crown to him, this BY REV. CHARLES KINGSLEY, AUTHOR OF “ALTON statesman seemed really to be his evil genius.
LOCKE," " YEAST," ETC. The Thiers ministry brought the government of (TOD gives life, not only to us who have imFrance into imminent danger from foreign powers, Ut mortal souls, but to every thing on the face and was replaced, as a matter of urgency, by that of the earth ; for the psalm has been talking all of Guizot, in October. Thiers again relapsed through not only of men, but of beasts, fishes, into violent opposition. Years passed, during trees, and rivers, and rocks, sun, and moon. which he proceeded with his completion of the Now, all these things have a life in them. Not History of the Consulate and the Empire, which a life like ours; but still you speak rightly and I rought him in large gains. The fatal year of wisely when you say, “That tree is alive, and 1848 arrived ; and when Guizot was driven from that tree is dead. That running water is live rower, Louis Philippe again, and for the last time, water; it is clear and fresh ; but if it is kepi
harged M. Thiers with the formation of a standing it begins to putrefy ; its life is gone ninistry. It did not last an hour. The revolu. | from it, and a sort of death comes over it, and con of 1848 was already consummated.
makes it foul, and unwholesome, and unfit to The career of Thiers since then is well known. drink.” This is a deep matter, this, how there For a time he disappeared from France; haunted is a sort of life in every thing, even to the stones Louis Philippe's foot-steps-still protesting un- under our feet. I do not mean, of course, that lying love for that branch of the Bourbon family. stones can think as our life makes us do, or feel He returned to the Chamber of Deputies, where as the beasts' life makes them do; or even grow he is again in opposition ; though what he is, and as the trees' life makes them do; but I mean what the principles he holds, it is difficult to say that their life keeps them as they are, without Principles, indeed, seem to stick to Thiers but changing. You hear miners and quarrymen talk lightly. One day he is the bitter enemy of very truly of the live rock. That stone, they say, socialism, the next he is its defender. He is a was cut out of the live rock, meaning the rock Free-trader to-day, a Protectionist to-morrow. I as it was under ground, sound and hard; as it He is a liberal and a conservative by turns. In would be, for aught we know, to the end of time, short, he is a man “ too clever by half," and seems unless it was taken out of the ground, out of the constantly tempted, like many skillful speakers, place where God's Spirit meant it to be, and to show how much can be said on both sides of a brought up to the open air and the rain, in which question. He is greatest in an attack; he is a it is not its nature to be; and then you will see capital puller-down: when any thing is to be that the life of the stone begins to pass from it built up, you will not find Thiers among the con- bit by bit, that it crumbles and peels away, and, structors. He is a thoroughly dextrous man- in short, decays, and is turned again to its dust. sagacious, subtle, scheming, and indefatigable. Its organization, as it is called, or life, ends, and Few trust him, and yet, see how he is praised! | then—what? Does the stone lie forever use"Have you read Thiers' speech? Ah! there is less? No. And there is the great, blessed a transcendent orator!” “Bah!” says another, mystery of how God's Spirit is always bringine “who believes in what Thiers says? The little life out of death. When the stone is decayed stinging dwarf-he is only the roué of the and crumbled down to dust and clay, it makes tribune!"
soil. This very soil here, which you plow, is the Thus, though Thiers has many admirers, he decayed ruins of ancient hills; the clay which
you dig up in the fields was once part of some starve. Not more than a few dozen of them can slate or granite mountains, which were worn live honestly without employment; while not away by weather and water, that they might be one of the noble millions may exercise a trade come fruitful earth. Wonderful! But any one for bread; may practice law or medicine, or sink who has studied these things can tell you they down into authorship. The Austrian patrician are true. Any one who has ever lived in mount can not feed himself by marriage with a mer. ainous countries ought to have seen the thing chant's daughter : if he do, his household will happen-ought to know that the land in the not be acknowledged by his noble friends. The mountain valleys is made at first, and kept rich he-noble must marry the she-noble, and they year by year by the washings from the hills must make a miserable, mean, hungry, noble above ; and this is the reason why land left dry pair. by rivers and by the sea is generally so rich. A celebrated Viennese Professor dined ono Then what becomes of the soil? It begins a day in England with a learned lord. “ Pray, new life. The roots of the plants take it up; how is Baron Dash ?" inquired a guest—said the salts which they find in it—the staple, as we Baron Dash being at that time an Austrian call them-go to make leaves and seed; the very Minister. sand has its use; it feeds the stocks of corn and “He is quite well," said the Professor. grass, and makes them stiff. The corn-stalks “And his wife?" pursued the other. “I rewould never stand upright if they could not get member meeting her at Rome; they were just sand from the soil. So what a thousand years married, and she was a most delightful person. ago made part of a mountain, now makes part She created a sensation, no doubt, when she was of a wheat plant; and in a .ycar more the wheat received at your court ?" grain will have been eaten, and the wheat straw, “She was not received at all,” said the Properhaps, eaten too, and they will have died-de-| fessor. cayed in the bodies of the animals who have “ How was that ?” asked many voices. eaten them, and then they will begin a third new “Because she is not born." life—they will be turned into parts of the ani “Not born” is the customary mode of ignormal's body-of a man's body. So what is now ing (if I may use a slang word of this time) the your bones and flesh may have been once a rock existence of the vulgar, among the noble Vienon some hill-side a hundred miles away. nese. At the present moment, the family of a
Minister, or of any of the generals who have A BLACK EAGLE IN A BAD WAY.
saved the throne, may be excluded from society AUSTRIA, in this present year of grace, 1851, on this pretense. Two recent exceptions have A looks to me very much like a translated ver- been made in favor of the wives of two of the sion of England under the Stuarts.
most important people in the empire. They were I am a resident at Vienria, and know Austria invited to the court-balls ; but were there treatpretty well. I have seen many birds before now ed so scurvily by the “born" ladies, that these in a sickly state—have seen some absolutely rot- unborn women visited them only once. ting away-but I never saw one with such un- What is to be done by these poor noblespromising symptoms upon him as the Black shut out from commerce, law, and physic? Eagle of Austria.
Diplomacy is voted low; unless they get the The Court of Vienna is perhaps the most great embassies. The church, as in all Catholic brilliant in Europe ; the whole social system in countries, is low ; unless a nobleman should enVienna is perhaps the most thoroughly unsound ter it with certain prospect of a cardinal's hat in Europe. Austria is weighed down by a nu- or a bishopric. The best bishoprics in the world mierous and impoverishe: nobility, by unjust |(meaning, of course, the most luxurious) are taxes, and by a currency incredibly depreciated. | Austrian. The revenues of the Primath of Hun. Her commerce is hampered by all manner of gary are said to be worth the comfortable trifle monopolies, and is involved in such a complex of sixty thousand pounds a year. network of restrictions, as only the industrious, But there remains for these wretched nobles, gold-getting fingers of a few can unravel. Near-one road to independence and distinction ; and ly the whole trade of Austria is in the hands of this is the army. To the army, it may be said, this busy, persevering few. Out of the imme- | the whole body of the Austrian nobility belongs. diate circle of the government, there is scarcely The more fortunate, that is to say, the highest a satisfied man in the Austrian dominions. The in rank, add to their commissions places about nobles feel abridgment of their privileges, and the court. Cherished titles are acquired in this decrease of profit by the abolition of their feudal way; and a lady may insist on being seriously rights, succeeding the late revolution. The mer addressed in polite Austrian society as-say for chants feel that in Austria they suffer more vex- example, Frau-ober-consistorial-hof-Directorinn. atious interference than it is in the nature of In the army, of course, under such a system, man to bear quietly. The people, a naturally we see lieutenants with the hair gone from their good-humored race, have learned insensibly to heads, and generals with no hair come yet on clench their fists whenever they think of their their chins. A young man of family may get a absolute and paternal government.
captaincy in three months, which his neighbor The position of the nobles is ridiculous. They without patronage, might not get if he lived forswarm over the land; increase and multiply, and lever. Commissions are not sold in Austria as
Vol. IV.-No. 20.-P.
they are in England, but the Ministry of War / An Austrian officer who has received a blow, knows how to respond to proper influence. In though only in an accidental scuffle, is called an army of five hundred thousand, vacancies, it upon to quit his regiment, unless he has slain is needless to say constantly occur. The lad upon the spot the owner of the sacrilegious hand who is named cornet in Hungary, is presently that struck him. This he is authorized by law lieutenant of a regiment in Italy, and by-and-by to do, if struck while wearing uniform. The a captain in Croatia. After that, he may awake effect of this savage custom has been to produce some morning, major, with the place of aid-de- in Austrian officers a peculiar meekness and for camp to the Emperor ; and to such a boy, with bearance; to keep them always watchful against friends to back him, the army is decidedly a good quarrels with civilians ; and to make them socialprofession. The inferior officers are miserably ly the quietest gentlemen in the world. paid, an ensign having little more than thirty Last winter a fast English gent left a masked pounds a year. A captain, however, is well ball at the Redoute, intoxicated. Disarming a paid in allowances, if not in money ; while a sentry, he ensconced himself until morning in his colonel has forage for twelve horses, and very box. The gent was then forwarded to the frontgood contingencies besides. Again, there are ier, but the soldier was flogged for not having to be considered other very important differences shot him. between pay in the Austrian and pay in the Freedom from arrest for debt is an immunity English army. An Austrian can live upon his enjoyed by Austrian officers ; but those who inpay. His simple uniform is not costly; he is dulge too freely in their exemption from responfree from mess expenses, and may dine for six- sibility, may want defenders powerful enough to pence at the tavern favored by his comrades. prevent their summary dismissal from the service. Not being allowed at any time to lay aside his I have written thus much about the Austrian uniform, he can not run up a long tailor's bill; army, because, in fact, as the world here now and, being admitted to the best society, he need stands, every third man is or has been a soldier ; not spend much money on amusement. Besides, and one can not talk about society in this empire does not the state accord to him the privilege of without beginning at once to talk about its miligoing to the theatre for twopence ?
tary aspect. The poorer officers in the Austrian service are Gay and trifling as the metropolis is, with its so unreasonable and ill-conditioned, that they abundance of out-door amusement, Vienna must are not in general pleased by these advantages be put down in plain words as the most inkosbeing given to men, who may possibly be well pitable capital in Europe. The Austrians themborn, but who have certainly not been long born ; selves admit that they could not endure to be and in many places combinations have been received abroad as they are in the habit of remade to resist the unfair system of promotion. ceiving strangers here. The greater Austrian A young captain sent down to command gray- nobles never receive a stranger to their intimacy. beards, with a lively sense of their own claims | A late French embassador, who conducted on the vacancy, is now and then required to fight, his establishment with splendor, and was at all one after the other, the whole series of senior times profusely hospitable, used to say that he lieutenants. This causes a juvenile captain oc- was not once asked privately to dinner during casionally to shirk the visit to his regiment, and the whole period of his residence in Vienna. effect a prompt exchange.
The diplomatic corps do not succeed in forcing Some part of the last-named difficulty is over the close barriers of Austrian exclusiveness; and come by the existence of one or two corps of twenty years of residence will not entitle a stranofficers who have no regiment at all. Where ger to feel that he has made himself familiarly there are no men to murmur, the business of the friend of a single Austrian. Any one who promotion is carried on with perfect comfort. has lived among the higher classes in Vienna
In spite of all this, there is much to be said to will confirm my statement, and will recall with the credit and honor of the innumerable throng of astonishment the somewhat indignant testimony people forming the Austrian army. It is an ex- of the oldest and most respected members of the cellently appointed and well-disciplined multitude. corps diplomatique to the intrspitable way in The gallantry of its soldiers, and the skill and ex which their friendly overtures have been received. perience of many of its highest officers, must be Invitations to dinner are exceedingly rare ; there freely admitted. Then, too, the great number of are brilliant balls ; but these do not satisfy an nobles classed within it has at least had the good English longing for good-fellörship. Familiar effect of creating a high standard of artificial visits and free social intercowa do not exist at honor. The fellow-feeling among Austrian sol- all. Then there are the tvo great divisions of diers is also great; those of the same rank ac- society-or the nobles and the merchant Jews; cost each other with the “ Du," the household on one side poverty and pride ; on the other, word of German conversation; and the common wealth and intellect. The ugliest and most illilword for an old companion in arms is “ Duty-erate of pauper-countesses tvould consider her bruder."
| glove soiled by contact with the rosy fingers of Duels are frequent, but not often fatal, or even the fairest and most accompligaed anong bankdangerous. To take the nib from an adversary's ers' wives. The nobles so intcr marrying and so .nose, or to pare a small rind from his ear, is looking down contemptuously upon the brain and ample vengeance eren for the blood-thirsty. sinew of the land, have, as a matter of course,