Of Eugene Sue’s character it is, perhaps, needless for me to make any criticisms. He has many admirers in all parts of the world—and also many enemies. That he is a romancer of astonishing powers nobody will deny, but we well may question the use he has made of those powers. Nearly all of his earlier romances are unfit for the eyes of pure men and women, and now that he is dead, let us hope that they too will perish. In later years, M. Sue has endeavored to advocate the cause of the poor, and with great eloquence, in his fictions. But he has probably caused as much harm by the licentiousness of his style, as he has accomplished good by his pleas for the poor. It is stated that he has given very liberally to the poor, and in practice exemplified his doctrine. His books give an indication of the present fashionable morality of Paris and France, and though they have sold largely in America, their influence cannot be good.
[Illustration: M. THIERS.]
M. Thiers has figured prominently in French politics, was a minister of Louis Phillippe, and is a historian. He is a man of a singular nature, witty and eccentric, rather than profound and dignified, and it will not do to pas him by without a notice. He was born in Marseilles, in the year 1797. His father was a common workman, but his mother was of a commercial family which had been plunged into poverty by a reverse of fortune. The young Thiers was educated through the bounty of the state, at the school of Marseilles, and was, when a boy, known principally for his rogueries. He sold his books to get apples and barley-sugar. Punishments seemed never to have any terror for him. At one time he concealed a tom-cat in his desk in the school, with its claws confined in walnut shells, and suddenly in school hours let him loose, to the great astonishment and anger of his teachers. He was condemned to a dungeon for eight days, and received a terrible reprimand. The effect of either the lecture or the imprisonment was decided. He became docile and obedient, and paid attention to his studies. For seven years he studied with unremitting attention, and during all that time took the first prizes of his class. He now went to Aix to study law, where his old habits returned to him, and he became wild and mischievous in his ways. At eighteen Adolphe Thiers was a favorite with the liberals and a terror to the royalists, and was the leader of a party at Aix. He already showed fine powers of oratory and composition, which later conducted him to power. He spoke and wrote in the interest of the enemies of the restoration. He wrote for the newspapers whose columns were open to him, and increased the vigor and eloquence of his style by this constant practice.