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ings are in default; and the faculty by which ideas are combined, is more defective, than that by which they are received. The perceptive powers of an Englishman may not be so prompt; or, to speak more correctly, the things he wishes to perceive cannot be so hastily observed; while the quickness of a Frenchman, in a great measure, results from the futile nature of the objects which attract him. But at all events, the former excels in combination and induction, and in the habit of generalizing. The very best advantages of his country are derived from his power of reasoning justly; and, without it, the stupendous fabric of British prosperity must crumble. The education of all classes in Great Britain is more solid than that of analogous classes in France; and useful knowledge is spread over a much greater portion of the population. The peasantry in France inherit the mere ploughshare instincts of their fathers; the bourgeois have never heard of any town except their own and Paris. Before the revolution-and-most assuredly the elevation of corporals and laundresses to the ducal dignity has not diminished the defect—it was rare to see a well spelt letter from a nobleman; and the ladies knew more of the eloquence du billet than of orthography. The ignorance of the upper ranks has at all times been deplorable in a country which holds so high a situation in Europe; and the more so as, except among a few who courted science as a fashion, real knowledge was rather a title of exclusion among those who called thenselves the best society.
There is, in the constitution of English and French intellect, a quality well deserving our attention, as it has a considerable influence upon their mode of judging. The English have been placed, by their natural position, in a situation which has roused the best energies of the species, and called into action all the great and general principles of human nature. It is It is upon these that our countrymen have always thought and acted; and, by them, that their understandings have been formed. The security of property, the certainty of peaceably enjoying the fruit of labour, of not being deprived of our rights or liberty, while innocent, must be among the universal principles of social existence, because they tend to its uniform advantage. They are, so to speak, the instincts of rationality, and the primary impulses of civilized beings. Now it is to these, and to every feeling of the same description, that the English have paid their constant adoration. But to none of them have the French shown any due regard. Their natural situation, too favourable to thoughtlessness, has allowed their minds to run riot, as it were, in a series of falsepositions, which are not those of general nature; and has fed their intellects with sentiments which are exceptions to the common inclinations
inclinations of reflecting men. In every instance, their attachment to things which reason holds most dear gives place to factitious passions. To the sure and peaceful enjoyment of the fruits of their industry, they prefer the precarious pleasures which unsteady wealth can purchase while it lasts; and, upon all occasions, set a higher value on the flowers than on the fruit of life; and, with an improvidence which must be unnatural, because it is destructive, they pluck the green ear of their corn, to regale their senses with the fragrance of its blossom.
The moral portrait of the French contains but few of the great features of our nature. Their character, if what is immaterial in us could admit of a substantial likeness, might be compared to a rough hewn statue of the human being, to which no soul had ever been destined; and whose surface had been polished, before its form was finished. Their feelings, sentiments, and passions, are but slight sketches of those which are prevalent among men; and we should look, in vain, for any of the strong lineaments which speak the deepest impressions of the heart, and proclaim its most energetic affections. Notwithstanding this, however, their existence. is passed in extremes; and the susceptibility of their minds endeavours to compensate for the want of true sensibility. Impelled by an imagination rather physical than intellectual, which is guided by little reason, and rarely bent upon any solid pursuit, every Frenchman is alternately gigantic and dwarfish; and few can keep the middle stature; which is the assimilating characteristic of mankind. Their emotions are not the less violent for having originated in their imaginations, and for being subject to all its variations; but they have no reference to any thing except themselves and the impulse or pleasure of the passing hour.
With feelings so flimsy, and affections so futile, a nation might be supposed to have escaped the extreme of every passion; and to be incapable of profound and lasting animosities. But the violent fancies of light minds, though giddy foundations of benevolence, are powerful incitements to hatred; and it matters little whether they are permanent or not, provided they can be excited in such rapid succession, as leaves no sensible interruption in their existence. The most extravagant transports of rage have, at all times, been succeeded, in France, by excesses still more deplo rable, and excited by the most paltry causes; and he who reads the history of that country, is perpetually astonished that such extreme unmeaning violence should have been so lasting. In frivolous minds too, there is no check upon outrageous caprices, no test to try their legitimacy; and the sentiments of mercy and benevolence, together with religion, are proportionally weak. In such ill-governed characters then, the virtues of humanity seldom
interpose, or interpose but feebly, to calm their frenzies; and it is more easy to argue down a tempest of the heart, than to subdue the malignant and erroneous passions which have their seat in the imagination.
In the national character of the English, all that, in the French, is outline is filled up the sketch is finished, and the form completed, although the surface may in some parts be left unpolished. Every essential feature of the great image of man has been perfected; and every faculty and function kept distinct and separate. Our affections do not reside in our imaginations; neither, when buoyed up by the passions of fancy, do we become gigantic, or dwarfish when they desert us. Our whole moral nature is under the guidance of reason. Our religion is deep seated in our hearts, and if our passions wake, it wakes too, ready to oppose its counterpoise against their bad suggestions. We have reflection which seldom permits our virtues quite to slumber; and which, even when our pride swells highest, teaches us to ask, with more humility than the French have ever felt in the midst of degradation, if all were judged according to the strict letter of perfection, what would be our doom?
Upon dispositions thus previously biassed, many national events have erected a superstructure of love or hatred, which must also be taken into account. The British empire began the world with smaller means and fewer natural advantages than France. Some of these difficulties it was in the power of man to correct, or to counterpoise; but some of them no human ingenuity could remove. Yet Yet, by ably taking advantage of what it was impossible to turn to profit, and by opposing greater energies of intellect, and stronger virtues to the obstacles they could not overcome, the natives of Britain have raised their country to a height of power, happiness, and glory, which does not appear to have been enjoyed by any other people upon earth. To do this assertion justice, is much beyond our space and powers; yet we must attempt a rapid sketch,
The historical events of both nations, whenever England and France have come in contact with each other, are such as to leave a long balance of success and glory to the credit of the former. During the six centuries which succeeded the Norman conquest→ an event in which the French had no share-the whole tide of fortune was without interruption in our favour. We remained mas ters of one-third of France during nearly four centuries: we won, over the natives in the very heart of their natural dominions, and with forces not more than one to five, the three most memorable battles recorded in the history of either nation, beside a crowd of lesser days. One of our monarchs was crowned king of
France in their capital, and one of their's was led captive into ours. Henry VIII. poised the destinies of Francis and Charles, and Elizabeth helped to place upon the throne of France the most national monarch that ever sat upon it—a benefit too great to be acknowledged. As a counterpoise to these, and many other bitter advantages, we failed, in later times, in our attempts to oppose the Spanish succession, and the French succeeded in helping our colonies to become independent. But the former event added more to the vanity of the Bourbon family, than to the power of France; and the latter was a natural consequence of the prosperity and of the principles which we ourselves had planted among our American descendants, much more than a result of French interference. When universal terror, twice in one hundred years, hung over Europe, Britain alone remained undaunted, and held out, in one hand, a shield to the oppressed, and in the other a scourge to the wicked. We accomplished all this by a series of victories, most galling to them; by effacing their flag from every sea, and, in later times, by driving their armies before us, over the whole space of ground which separates the capitals of Belgium and Lusitania, the distance between Thoulouse and the banks of the Loire excepted. In every age, and in every clime, the Genius of France has been rebuked under us; and, if she has sometimes triumphed over the rest of Europe, it has only been that we might become the ultimate heirs and depositaries of all her glory, purged of all its crimes.
From the remotest period to which history can reach, down to the present day, the internal state of the two countries has been such as to create more envy on the one side, than on the other. With every natural advantage which can conduce to national prosperity, much greater than in Britain, still France has remained our inferior in all the grand results of happiness, nay even of genuine splendour; and a fair comparison between the two countries cannot fail to impress upon men the conviction that the bounty of nature is often more generously shown in what she refuses, than in what she prodigally bestows. If we compare the benefits which each nation derives from its territorial resources, with those resources themselves, we shall find that England has done much more, and that, at this present moment, the balance which her industry, her perseverance, in a word, which the use of her moral faculties has created, taking an average of population, wealth, power, intellect, is about five to one in her favour; in virtue and happiness much higher. And let not the word wealth alarm the men of any party, What we advance we can prove. If since the day when our present debt began, we had had recourse to the same means which the French have employed,
during the same period, that is to say, bankruptcies, fraudulent and rapacious; violent breaches of national faith; foreign and domestic plunder, confiscations, &c. the government of this country, instead of owing £800,000,000 sterling, would now have at least thrice that sum at its disposal. But then it would have been, like that of France, dishonest; and we could not then assert, as we now do, that should any public emergency create a sudden demand for money, in both countries, the sums which in a given time, however long or short, would be forthcoming, would be at the very lowest computation in equal numbers of pounds sterling in England, and of francs in France; or as twenty-four to one, We found this assertion, not upon any vague surmise; but upon absolute documents too long to be developed at this moment.
The same superiority will be found to be our lot in every other department of intellect. In the moral and political sciences, those on which the happiness of nations depends, we are, both in theory and practice, some centuries more advanced than France, In the exact sciences, those in which she claims the greatest preeminence, we are still her superiors, and our excellence is greatest in those very branches which demand the greatest reach of mind, mathematics, optics, mechanics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, In a word, there are but two roads to national supremacy; nature and art-and where nature has done least, art must do the most, One of the most taunting delights of the French, is to cast in our teeth the penury of our soil, the ungratefulness of our climate, and the scantiness of all our natural means-if they loved us, they could not pay a nobler homage to our virtues and our wisdom than is unconsciously conveyed in this sneer at the original exiguity of our means;—and they are, above all, exasperated to see, that, with a smaller and a poorer territory, with a land not flowing with wine and oil, and with little more than two-thirds of their population, we have risen to a height which, even while they rail at it, they can hardly scan.
In summing up what precedes then, we must conclude that the French are much more capable of feeling the full force of the baleful passions, and of giving themselves up uncontrouledly to their influence, than we are; and that we are more capable of inspiring pure hatred than they are; consequently, that every motive conspires to raise their detestation of us to the highest pitch. Our happiness, liberty, and wisdom, which they cannot either imitate or injure; our stupendous achievements, the elevation of our virtues, nay, the very grandeur of our failings, and last, though not the least, our clemency, generosity, and munificence, so often shown in return for their incessant intrigue and constant outrage against us, afford no palliative to their enmity.