Beacon Lights of History, Volume 09 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 09.
or Thiers.  Indeed, Metternich takes his place with the tyrants of mankind, yet showing how benignant, how courteous, how interesting, and even religious and beloved, a tyrant can be; which is more than can be said of Richelieu or Bismarck, the only two statesmen with whom he can be compared,—­all three ruling with absolute power delegated by irresponsible and imperial masters, like Mordecai behind the throne of Xerxes, or Maecenas at the court of Augustus.


The greatest authority is the Autobiography of Metternich; but Alison’s History, though dull and heavy, and marked by Tory prejudices, is reliable.  Fyffe may be read with profit in his recent history of Modern Europe; also Mueller’s Political History of Recent Times.  The Annual Register is often quoted by Alison.  Schlosser’s History of Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a good authority.




In this lecture I wish to treat of the restoration of the Bourbons, and of the counter-revolution in France.

On the fall of Napoleon, the Prussian king and the Austrian emperor, under the predominating influence of Metternich, in restoring the Bourbons were averse to constitutional checks.  They wanted nothing less than absolute monarchy, such as existed before the Revolution.  On the other hand, the Czar Alexander, generous and inclined then to liberal ideas, was willing to concede something to the Revolution; while the government of England, mindful of the liberty which had made that country so glorious and so prosperous, also favored a constitutional government in the person of the legitimate heir of the French monarchy.  Such was also the wish of the French nation, so far as it could be expressed; for the French people, under whatever form of government they may have lived, have never forgotten or repudiated the ideas and bequests of the greatest movement in modern times.

Prussia and Austria, therefore, were obliged to yield to Russia and England, supported by the will of the French nation itself.  Russia had no jealousy of French ideas; and England certainly could not, consistently with her struggles and her traditions, oppose what the English nation resolutely clung to, and of which it was so proud.  Prussia and Austria, undisturbed by revolutions, wished simply the restoration of the status quo, which with them meant absolute monarchy; but which in France was not really the status quo, since the Revolution had effected great and permanent changes even under the regime of Bonaparte.  Russia and England, in conceding something to liberty, were yet as earnest and sincere advocates of legitimacy as Prussia and Austria; for constitutional rights may exist under a monarchy as well as under a republic.  Moreover, it was felt by enlightened statesmen of all parties that no government could be stable and permanent in France which ignored the bequests of the Revolution, which even Napoleon professed to respect.

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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 09 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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