The Old Regime and the Revolution

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Harper & brothers, 1856 - France - 344 pages
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Page 214 - Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable become intolerable when once the idea of escape from them is suggested.
Page 214 - Revolutions are not always brought about by a gradual decline from bad to worse. Nations that have endured patiently and almost unconsciously the most overwhelming oppression often burst into rebellion against the yoke the moment that it grows lighter.
Page 37 - ... if diffident of yourselves, and not clearly discerning the almost obliterated constitution of your ancestors, you had looked to your neighbors in this land, who had kept alive the ancient principles and models of the old common law of Europe meliorated and adapted to its present state — by following wise examples you would have given new examples of wisdom to the world.
Page 27 - ... order and government, that it became intelligible to all, and susceptible of simultaneous imitation in a hundred different places. By seeming to tend rather to the regeneration of the human race than to the reform of France alone, it roused passions such as the most violent political revolutions had been incapable of awakening. It inspired proselytism, and gave birth to propagandism; and hence assumed that quasi religious character which so terrified those who saw it, or, rather, became a sort...
Page 254 - No nation but such a one as this could give birth to a revolution so sudden, so radical, so impetuous in its course, and yet so full of missteps, contradictory facts, and conflicting examples. The French could not have done it but for the reasons I have alleged ; but it must be admitted even these reasons would not suffice to explain such a revolution in any country but France.
Page 17 - ... out of the tomb of the murdered monarchy in France has arisen a vast, tremendous, unformed spectre, in a far more terrifick guise than any which ever yet have overpowered the imagination, and subdued the fortitude of man.
Page 54 - Memoirs," that one day Law said to him, " I never could have believed what I saw, when I was Comptroller of Finance. Do you know that this kingdom of France is governed by thirty Intendants ? You have neither parliament, nor estates, nor governors. It is upon thirty Masters of Requests, despatched into the provinces, that their evil or good, their fertility or their sterility, entirely depend.
Page 253 - ... now below the level of humanity, now far above ; a people so unchangeable in its leading features, that it may be recognized by portraits drawn two or three thousand years ago, and yet so fickle in its daily opinions and tastes that it becomes at last a mystery to itself, and is as much astonished as strangers at the sight of what it has done ; naturally fond of home and routine, yet once driven forth, and forced to adopt new customs, ready to carry principles to any lengths, and to dare anything...
Page 17 - ... tremendous, unformed spectre, in a far more terrific guise than any which ever yet have overpowered the imagination, and subdued the fortitude of man. Going straight forward to its end, unappalled by peril, unchecked by remorse, despising all common maxims and all common means, that hideous phantom overpowered those who could not believe it was possible she could at all exist...
Page 325 - Toward the latter they evinced the pride of rivals— the former they treated with the pride of parvenus. They were as far from real and respectful submission to the will of the majority as from submission to the will of God. Nearly all subsequent revolutionaries have borne the same character. Very different from this is the respect shown by Englishmen and Americans for the sentiments of the majority of their fellow citizens. Their intellect is proud and self-reliant, but never insolent; and it has...

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