A French Volunter


Some time after 1822, in his seventies, Dubouchet wrote, with elderly satisfaction, the memories of his career. Looking backward to his youthful experiences in America, he reflected that he had been misled by his callow enthusiasm for liberty, a word full of maleficent magic. The American Revolution was sedition, a rebellion against legitimate authority; it should have been stifled at its outset. The French participation in the American Revolution was a calamitous error of policy. Most of the young French gentlemen of the court who went to America became ardent proselytes of a new order in France; they were the first to profess and propagate antisocial doctrines, subversive of all rules; they armed themselves against authority, undermined the throne, brought revolution and disaster to France, to Europe, to the world.

Thus does the old self reprove the young self. But its lessons, like the lessons of history, always come too late.