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So far from possessing that “divine mercy,” which his courtiers attributed to him, he appears to have been unfeeling, harsh, and even somewhat cruel. Equally unmerited were the praises lavished on him as a great and wise king. He exhibited no proof of genius as a legislator, no capacity for organizing his country, or improving its administration. His information and reading appear to have been confined in a great measure to light literature, and a knowledge of the mere events of history; and his reputation as an author, which the admiring confidants of his literary labours had largely extolled, has been completely destroyed by the mediocrity of his published works. Nevertheless, though possessed of none of the great qualities which have fitted some great monarchs for the task of elevating a nation, he was endued with quite sufficient good sense to make a proper use of the power with which circumstances invested him. His distinguishing characteristic was prudence: he saw that popularity was the best guarantee for the security of his throne, and therefore tried to acquirc it, and as far as he found it consistent with his ease, took pains to obtain the good will of his subjects. He was attached to the ideas, feelings, habits and institutions of the ancient régime, more from early associations than any strong opinion of their fitness. In fact he was perfectly aware of their incompatibility with the state of things which he found established in France on his return, and very strongly impressed with a sense of the course of policy which it was expedient for him to pursue. In his conduct, therefore, we perceive none of the daring and reckless fanaticism which impelled his brother to hazard his crown for the re-establishment of priestcraft and absolute power. The violence of his own partisans filled bim with alarm and disgust; it shocked bis notions of good taste; and interfered with the crafty and cautious policy by which he hoped to secure the predominance of the system which he preferred. Nor does he seem to have been wanting in patriotic inclinations. His sympathies, though not strong, were good: he felt for the honour of France; and seems to have been led by his judgment, if not by strong sensibility, to interest himself in the welfare of his people, and study, by his policy, to secure their well being. His great fault, the fault which neutralized his good sense-was the weakness and pliancy of disposition which prevented his putting his own prudent views into practice, and rendered him the mere instrument of the more energetic bigots who surrounded him. It is the fate of those weak men who submit to the guidance of others, ultimately to fall under the dominion of those who are the least scrupulous as to the means of acquiring or maintaining their ascendancy. Thus Louis sometimes asserted his own policy,
adopted the advice of enlightened counsellors, and experienced the benefit resulting to himself and the nation from a prudent system of government. But in general, he submitted, though unwillingly, to the influence of his family; and conceded his own better inclinations to the extravagant demands of his fanatical brother or imperious niece.
All would have gone well for the royal family and France, had Louis, on his first restoration, been under better guidance. It is true that from the commencement to the end of the period preceding the Hundred Days, the Comte d’Artois had no influence over his brother, was almost in open disgrace, and indeed in avowed opposition. But the authority which he had acquired by the organization of the Royalists in the departments was great, and bad a most pernicious effect. Nor indeed was the ascendancy of the Comte de Blacas much less pernicious than that of the Comte d'Artois. It was sufficient to neutralize the sagacity and moderation of Talleyrand, to encourage the pretensions and excesses of the royalists and the priests, to alarm the country, and to keep the king in perfect ignorance of the fatal effects of the system which he was pursuing.
The opportunity lost during the first restoration was never recovered. The second restoration, palpably effected by foreign force, placed the king in a far more difficult position than that which he had previously occupied. The humiliation and suffering which accompanied it imprinted on its origin an unpopularity which was never effaced; the alarm and indignation excited in the mind of the king forced him to throw himself into the arms of the ultra-royalists, and thus to countenance for a while those violent measures of re-action, which aggravated the calamities of France, and the animosity of parties. There can be little doubt that had Charles been then on the throne, the system of the Chambre Introuvable would have been continued for some time longer: that the indignation of the people would have been roused by further aggression; and that a popular insurrection, countenanced even by the allies, would have repeated the catastrophe of the hundred days, or rather anticipated that of 1830. The ordonnance of September, 1819, which arrested the royalist reaction, does honour to the prudence of Louis. The period which followed rewarded that prudence; and proved the fallacy of the coercive system that had been adopted as the best means of upholding the throne. A constitutional system of government was honoured, by the obedience, the affection, and the prosperity of the nation. During the ascendancy of the principles of M. Decazes, the confidence of the people in the good intentions of the government gave to that government a stability which it had
never before possessed. Opposition displayed itself only in the discussions of the tribune and the press : plots and revolts entirely ceased. The certain marks of good and popular government were seen in the industry as well as the tranquillity of the people: and the prosperity of France was the consequence of the cessation of political discord and alarm.
The second period of ultra-royalist domination commenced with the murder of the Duc de Berry, but for which the rupture between Decazes and the liberal party would probably soon have been healed. It is difficult to blame the old and infirm monarch for the change of policy into which he was driven by the alarm naturally excited by that horrible event. Terrified, and unwilling to oppose any resistance to the precautions suggested by the grief or terror of his family, he resigned himself to their guidance. The policy of his reign after this period, which he used to call that of his abdication, was no longer his; from 1820 to 1824, he reigned in name, but the measures adopted, and the responsibility incurred, were those of his successor. A system of continued aggression on the charter, a renewed, though milder, reaction commenced from the second return of the ultra-royalist party to power, and had its greatest developement and final overthrow in the reign of Charles X. In the last period of the reign of Louis XVIII. the discontent and suspicion of the people exhibited a partial renewal of the plots, mutinies, and sanguinary executions of the first period of re-action. The ultra-royalist ascendancy was established by successive triumphs over the charter. The Law of Elections gave that party a decided majority in the Chamber of Deputies: the Septennial Law secured it a lengthened enjoyment of that advantage : the Spanish war gave it the controul of the army, and the possession of a physical force sufficient to repress insurrection. Thus was organized that power with which, in the ensuing reign, Villèle ventured on attacking the popular institutions of the nation, and on forcing on it the yoke of the clergy. And at the same time was organized the resistance of the people to his system ; that national discontent, which soon flung off the dangerous secrecy of cabals and conspiracies, elevated its bold but peaceable opposition in the Chamber, in the journals, and in the courts of justice; and with the mutilated guarantees, which the aggressive faction had left the liberties of France, finally overthrew the power which had been constructed by a long series of audacious, crafty, and unwise schemes.
Art. V.-Critisk Undersögelse af Saros Histories syo Sidster
Böger. Ved Dr. Peter Erasmus Müller, Biskop i Siælland.
Kiobenhavn, 1830. The reign of the Davish kings Valdemar I. (the Great), and of his son Knut or Canute VI. (1157-1202), was a remarkable period of premature light and improvement in the history of the middle ages. The complete security enjoyed by the kingdom in consequence of the suppression of the piratical incursions of the pagan Wends, and other barbarous tribes, on the borders of the Baltic sea, was followed by the natural consequence of rapid improvement in all the arts of life. The progress of civilization, measured by any modern standard, was, indeed, painfully slow, and almost imperceptible. The stage of comparative advancement it had now reached was followed by a long night of ignorance and barbarity, extending to the period of the Reformation. But if the account given by Adam of Bremen, of the internal state of Denmark, little more than a century before this period, be compared with that of Arnold of Lubeck, whose chronicle was written at the commencement of the thirteenth century, a sensible improvement will be manifest in agriculture, commerce, and the arts of life connected with those branches of industry.
“ The Danes,” says this chronicler," having for a long time carried on an extensive
de with Germany, have adopted the arms and dress used by other nations. Formerly they were clothed in the garb of mariners, because the nation was always engaged in expeditions by sea. Now they are luxuriously dressed in stuffs of various colours, and even purple and fine linen. The source of their riches is the fishery on the coast of Scania, which is frequented by the vessels of all nations, who exchange their most valuable wares for the fish which the divine goodness so liberally bestows upon this people. The country of the Danes is also full of fine horses, fed in their fertile pastures ; and they distinguish themselves in war by their cavalry as well as naval armaments. They have besides made no inconsiderable progress in learning. The nobility of that country are accustomed to send their sons to Paris, to be instructed in the learning necessary for the ecclesiastical profession as well as civil life. In this manner they have acquired a thorough knowledge of the French tongue, and have become well versed in theology and the belles-lettres; and as they have a natural aptitude for study, have become not only subtle logicians, but able canonists, and deeply versed in the learning necessary for the management of ecclesiastical affairs. Lastly, religion flourishes eminently among the Danes, as one may judge by the great numbers of convents of monks of various orders founded by the Archbishop of Lund, the pious Eskill, who, after resigning all his digvities, retired to finish his holy life in the monastery of Clairvaux."*
Chron. Slav. lib. iii. cap. 5. Arnold was Abbot of the Benedictine Monks at Lubeck. His work is a continuation of the Slavonic Chronicle of Helnoldus.
This eulogium is followed by our chronicler with that of Absalon, who succeeded Eskill in the archiepiscopal see of Lund, and was equally distinguished as a churchman, warrior, and statesman. Absalon was then Bishop of Röskilde. His real or affected reluctance to accept the high dignity of Primate and Apostolical Legate of the North was overcome by the commands of King Valdemar, the authority of the Pope, and the clamours of the people, who declared that they would have no other archbishop. Absalon, whose Danish name of Axel was thus latinized, after the fashion of the age, was born near Sorö, in the island of Zealand, in 1128. He died in 1201, the year preceding the decease of bis beloved friend and sovereign, Canute. He had constantly guided by his counsels, and followed, or rather led, both Canute and his predecessor Valdemar the Great, in all their warlike expeditions, until his strength was at last exhausted by old age and unremitted toil. He was of the same illustrious stock which had already produced so many distinguished Danish prelates and warriors, being descended from the famous Palnatoke on the father's side, and on the mother's from St. Canute the king. His immediate paternal ancestors were distinguished military chieftains (höfding jar), and though destined for the church, he was early trained in all the manly exercises becoming his illustrious birth, which in that age were by no means thought incompatible with the clerical character. The
nobleman was sent to pursue his studies in the University of Paris, where a college for students of the Danish nation (Collegium Dacicum) had been founded in the reign of Louis VII. Here he was instructed in canon law, and in philosophy and theology, as they were taught in the twelfth century. He also inbibed a taste for Greek and Roman literature, and returning to his native country with a high reputation for learning and talents, became connected in the most intimate bonds of friendship with Valdemar. In 1158, the episcopal see of Röskilde having become vacant, a sharp dissention ensued between the clergy and the people respecting the choice of a bishop. The latter had not yet lost their original share in the episcopal election, and were often disposed to exercise their right of confirmation contrary to the wishes of the clergy. The king declared to the dean and chapter, that though their cathedral had been founded and endowed by the liberality of his royal predecessors, he would in no wise interfere with their liberty of choice. There were three candidates for the vacant see, and the name of Absalon was added to the list " on account of his merit;" the king commanded four books to be laid out upon a table, in which the clergy inscribed their votes, and it was found upon inspection that VOL. XI. NO, XXI.