HISTORY OF EUROPE 1816-1830 (ebook)

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THE battle of Waterloo had been fought. For the second time the Parisians had been compelled to see the victorious allies with­in their walls - for the second time peace had been dictated to them; and the man who had filled two decades with his military genius and his ambition, who, not content with the splendid crown of France, had stretched forth his insatiable hands after a continental empire, now lay condemned to powerlessness, on the rock of St. Helena. But at the very time when, to the relief of the Bourbons, the light of the great Corsican's life went out upon that world-renowned island, in both the Old World and the New, popular outbreaks against the restored princes and their medieval governments flamed up like a monstrous funeral pyre, a clear sign, had one been needed, that the day of freedom had not broken with Napoleon's fall; that in his fall one insolent giant had but been replaced by a swarm of swaggering pygmies. Europe was indeed in need of peace after the enormous strain and excitement of so many years of war; but the peace with which the returning rulers blessed their people was such as to bring new convulsions on the Weary region. From the mouth of the Tagus to the Neva and the islands of the Grecian Archipelago all was effervescence and fermentation, and hot streams of national exasperation were poured upon those feudal dynasties which "had forgotten nothing and learned nothing".