The man behind -Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death- and other cautionary tales for children, tries to explain the french revolution to english readers.
losions of popular will violent, acute, and certainly real; but rare. We may attempt with a people more lethargic to obtain some reflection of popular will through the medium of a permanent machinery of deputation which, less than any other, perhaps, permits a great community to express itself truly. We may rely upon the national sympathies of an aristocracy or of a king. But in any case we know that large communities can only indirectly and imperfectly express themselves where the permanent government of their whole interest is concerned. Our attachment, which may be passionate, to the rights of the Common Will we must satisfy either by demanding a loose federation of small, self-governing states, or submitting the central government of large ones to occasional insurrection and to violent corporate expressions of opinion which shall readjust the relations between the governor and the governed.
All this is true: but such a criticism of the theory in political morals which lay behind the Revolution, the