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HIS POLITICAL BLASPHEMY.
service of views and objects entirely foreign to him; he could hardly be expected to make between church property and other charitable and corpo rate foundations on one hand, and the public revenue on the other, that distinction which can only arise out of a higher view, generally, of the social relations. The peculiar difficulty of his position is not sufficiently taken into account; and when I see certain people, whose weak powers are perseveringly engaged in hunting up means for the accomplishment of their purposes, so very forcibly struck by the greater wickedness of the energetic chase instituted by the late lion, I am sometimes tempted to whisper to them: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at him.'
“On the other hand it is very true that he seemed not made to realize the ideal of a king in the true, the divine sense of the word; he was not made to form the centre for every thing great, good, and holy, that might be found in the state, and among mankind at large. If he had been, if he had exercised against himself that heroic strength which he exhibited in his struggle against the world, if he had conquered himself for the sake of his brethren, for the sake of suffering humanity, he might have been the deliverer of our deeply degraded age, the fostering angel of Europe, the crown of its sages, the sovereign of its hearts. But he was nothing of all this; he conquered not himself, he would not in any thing become equal to his fellow-men, his brethren. He was the conqueror of the world, but conquered by himself, overpowered by his own weakness, and by a selfishness ill suited to the elevation to which he was raised... The events of his career had at an early period marred in him that germ of pure and holy feelings which is deposited in the bosom of every great man; all that was truly generous in him was destroyed; yet the consciousness of the powers of which his soul was possessed, gave him a feeling of superiority, in which contempt for those who could get no ascendancy over him, was combined with impatience of all control. In the moment of decision he felt that, unable to command himself, he was able to sway the world, and he became an autocrat, and the scourge of the world, destined to rouse mankind from the slumber of weakness and sloth, to show forth the spirit and the character of that war which our carnal nature ever wages against morality and sanctified humanity, and to exhibit all the abomination and all the horrors of that conflict.
“In that war he was successful; had I not faith in God, I should say, he was successful in the work of hell as no mortal and no sinner was before him. I am unable to give a picture of what he made of himself. The word which stands for ever as the landmark between humanity and inhumanity, the watchword of all tyrants hardened in the wicked principle of treating mankind as collective masses, the word which Cain dared to pronounce against God Almighty, ‘Am I my brother's keeper ?' that word was established by Bonaparte as a maxim of government, with infinitely more energy and success than by any ruler before him, and it lasted long,
SOURCES OF HIS POWER.
very long, before that word of blasphemy caused him to become a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth. His warfare against humankind prospered in the south and in the north, from the Rhine to the Volga. With tiger's strength he vindicated as a right what his predecessors had, as cunning foxes, gained by subterfuge, carefully evading every discussion of their rights.
“His career was great. God who directs the affairs of mankind, made use of him for the purpose of warning this generation, more emphatically than any former generation had been warned, against that stumbling block, which has ever obstructed and ever will obstruct the welfare of society, viz. the preference given to the mass in its collective capacity over the just claims of its individual members.
“ In the gigantic aspect of this man, who even in his inhumanity was almost a subject of admiration, we have been made to feel more deeply tha ever the world had felt it, vanity and abomination of the social compact when it has reference to the mass only, and not to the individuals that
compose it. In his example we have been made to see more clearly than ever before the world had seen it, how liable man is, in the full collective enjoyment of the carnal mind, to harden himself against the most sacred wants and claims of individual existence; and to consider every suggestion of the lust and wantonness of the corrupt mass, as a sacred right of humanity, as a sacred political right, highly consistent with the laws of human nature.
“ It is astonishing to see what support he gained for himself by the exercise of his wicked power. He took it for granted that the world would bow and worship before him ; and with the word of blasphemy on his lips he obtained from the much lauded martyr of the claims of the holy see and of the Roman church, to be anointed by him with the holy oil in a Christian temple, as successor to the most Christian kingdom, and the apostolic empire.
“ The rapidity with which he enslaved the minds of men, from the lowest rabble, up to the heads of churches and states, and the long continuance of the bondage in which he kept them, is ever to be considered as a masterpiece of human art in the deepest corruption of which man is capable.
“This was not the work of his sword. Before his sword the world fled, but the blood which he shed with it, won him no hearts. No, the blood which he shed, the wastes which he created, the widows and the orphans which he made desolate, won him no hearts. The submission of men's minds to his rule was not the work of his sword, but of his genius, which laid hold of the weakness of the age with irresistible power. He spoke to the honour of the age : ‘Contaminate thyself for me, and crown thou for me the beggar and the scoundrel !' And the honour of the age ceased to be honour; it contaminated itself, and crowned for him beggars and scoundrels. He spoke to the courage of the age: “Be regardless of justice, and bold like
CHARACTER OF HIS GOVERNMENT.
inyself in injustice!' And the courage of the age regarded not justice, and was bold in injustice like himself. He spoke to the lust of the age: 'Assist thou me, and for my sake outdo thyself!' And the lust of the age came to his assistance, and surpassed itself in his service. He spoke to the light of the age: "Vanish thou from the sight of the nations, and shine only to me, and through me, and for me!' And the light of the age was changed into darkness for the nations, and he alone saw, and no one saw but through him, and for him. He spoke to the faith of the age: ‘Be thou unfaithful for my sake! and the faith of the age became unfaithful for his sake. He spoke to the industry of the age: 'In chains shalt thou work for me!' and the industry of the age worked for him in chains. He spoke to the men of his age: “If you do this, I will reward you!' and the men of his age and their rulers shrunk from no deed, however abominable, however base, however revolting, for they lusted after his reward. And he said again to the men of his age: “If you do it not, I will take vengeance upon you. And the men of his age and their rulers regarded nothing, however holy, regarded not the feelings of their own bosoms, nor the throbbings of their own hearts, for the fear of his vengeance. He was the soul, he was the breath, he was the spirit and the life of every impulse of violence in his day. He was the centre of every lawless feeling, of every unjust deed, from the throne and the session board down to the alehouse. He was the soul of all thinkers, and of all politicians, whose philosophy and whose politics went not beyond the five senses. But he was also a terror and a cause of wailing to all, who with similar desires in their hearts, had not the same marrow in their bones, nor the same blood in their veins; whose senses were not supported by an equal strength of nerve.
“This was his character, this his power, this the secret of his ascendancy, this his prop when he rose to the throne, when he taught mankind a lesson such as the world had not been taught for centuries, in the darkness of an adulterated civilization, on the reference which sovereign power ought to have to the primitive claims of individual existence, on the necessity of a power raised above the corruption of the mass, and the degradation of its tools; on the want of a holy king, whom both his character, and the law of his kingdom would constitute the free father of all his children, and the guardian of the rights of every individual amongst them; on the contrast between a divine and a carnal spirit in power, in subjection, and in freedom.
“It was his will that Europe should erect him a temple, under whose high arches no sunbeam should penetrate; but on whose altar a flame was to burn bright above all fames that ever were kindled by the hand of man, and in the brightness of that fame should be read the words:
66 THIS IS THE LIGHT WHICH BONAPARTE GRANTS TO EUROPE."
Works on Education—-Leonard and Gertrude-Evening before
a Festival-Day in the House of a pious Mother.
Such were Pestalozzi's views and feelings on the political changes which the world underwent in his time. A republican by birth, he held the blessings of freedom in high estimation; but in this, as in all other matters, he was not an admirer of empty words, and accordingly he incurred, on more than one occasion, the displeasure not only of those that hated freedom in itself, but also of those who paid an idolatrous worship to its name. The same reason, however, which caused his writings on those topics to be less appreciated in their time, imparts to them a more permanent interest. We love to see how a man, equally distinguished by his genius and by the earnest solicitude with which he watched over the destinies of mankind, judged of the spirit of his own time: and even those whose interest in Pestalozzi has reference only to his discoveries and labours in the field of education, ought not to remain wholly indifferent to the connexion which he saw between that subject and the organization and development of human society; for it is only by applying universal principles to the peculiar wants of the age in which we live, that we can expect to reap from them practical fruits; such fruits as may yield a remedy, not against the tangible evils, of which the voice of the multitude complains, but rather against the radical disease of which they are symptomatic.
That this was Pestalozzi's great object, those of his works which treat professedly of instruction and education, testify
no less than his political writings; so much so that they can hardly be understood without a knowledge of his views concerning the state of the world generally, and of his country in particular. This is the case especially with Leonard and Gertrude, which as the first-fruit of his genius, and as the result of his first experiment for the improvement of mankind, has an eminent claim to our attention. Amidst all the discouragements of an apparent failure, and the sufferings of pecuniary embarrassments, brought on by his enterprising spirit and too sanguine a reliance on the active philanthropy of his contemporaries, its author deposited in it the images with which his imagination was filled, as if anticipating that the gloom of future struggles would tarnish in his soul the brightness of his first love for mankind. The contrast between the virtues of the cottage and those of the palace on the one hand, and the vices of the lower orders and those of the higher ranks on the other, is exhibited in the successive scenes of a dramatic novel; and among the improvements discussed and practically adopted, in the progress of the story, education forms a prominent part. The costume, especially that of the villagers, is Swiss, although, for the sake of personifying the “good magistrate,” the scene is laid in a district supposed to be under feudal dominion.
“ In the village of Bonnal there lived a Bricklayer, whose name was Leonard, that of his wife Gertrude. He had seven children and good employment. But, unfortunately, he allowed himself frequently to be enticed to the public-house..... Gertrude was the best woman in the whole village; but she and her blooming children, were in danger of sinking into the deepest misery and destitution because of Leonard's liking to the glass.”
Gertrude endeavours by her exertions to arrest the growing ruin of the family, but sometimes she is overpowered by the prospect of despair before her eyes. Such a moment of anxiety, and of loud crying to God, is the Wednesday evening before Easter; and Leonard, on his return home at a late hour, finds his family in a situation, which might well arouse the slumbering voice of conscience in the heart of a father. His repentance is sincere, but his hope feeble, for he is deep in debt with the publican Hummel, who is