"National Character of the English and French People.
By Junius Junior."
I have to analyse and review this text for university. So why not test my skills and write a blog post about the topic? (haven't found the text online, sorry)
As the title of the 8-page pamphlet says it is about the national character of the English and French people. And, as we all know, the Frenchmen were not the best friends of the 18th century Englishmen. However, the author, Junius Junior (bet that's a nom de plume!), does not share his fellowmen's opinion.
Introduction. The author says sorry for writing "unwelcome truths" (neccessary in times where honour has become rare), thinks it is hard to write about it, but wants to without exeggerating.
page 2-5: upon the Englishmen
page 2: The Englishman's soul is hard to analyse. "so open and yet so mysterious" No man can fully understand it because it is too complex ad complicated. (stylistiv devices: he uses tons of examples and pictures, also many antitheses: "he is at once [...] arrogant, and servile;") Nothing can change the Englishman's soul and nobody complains. Staying silent is your civil duty. The Jacobines "dare[-s-] to complain" and they are seen as disloyal. They complain "in vain".
There seems to be the rule: The individual counts, don't care about the country's issues.
page 3: What if everything was taken away from them by one strike? "they would immediately have taken up arms, and assumed their rights: at the same time [...] they will suffer their liberties to be frittered away." So, Englishmen seem to be very unsteady concerning their minds. Beat him with your fist and he will start a fight. Cheat and cajole him and he will feel flattered.
The author also writes: No matter how bad the constitution is, the English will fight for it. They will not recognize that it is bad until doomsday comes and tells them they were wrong.
page 3/4: "Merciful Heaven! can a nation talk of humanity, who traffic in human flesh, and whose luxuries are bought with human blood?" I don't think so. In the author's eyes, Englishmen are not humane. They think they are great, but actually they are not.
Sometimes they seem to be tired of their own ambivalencia. But, hey, c'est la vie!
page 4: The Englishman thinks brutal cock-fights and bull-baitings are sportive, he likes that.
page 4/5: "If an Englishman's belly is but full, no matter how coarse the viands, no matter how procured, rem, rem, quocunque mode, is his maxim"
page 5: "The first sight of gold [...] dazzles their view" The author says they are easily to impress and forget any moral in the prospect of wealth. After that Junior describes how the English behave during a fire. They come to take material things to a save place - best place is their home - and leave it there. For if they found it, it belongs to them now. "as an ancient privilege well established by precedent!!!"
You see, he does not speak well of his fellowmen: "At a fire, likewise, Englishmen are to be seen to advantage, where you may view them in their native deformity of character, supporting their true national characteristic in the part of villainy, treachery and depravity."
page 5-8: upon the Frenchmen (and the comparison)
page 5: "The wonderful revolution of mind in France was not [...] the work of a moment of sudden caprice. The glorious path had been [...] completed by the labours of ages." Junior starts with some nice words for the French.
page 6: The author once talked to a Frenchman: "I congratulated him upon the Revolution, and told him the French had done well to follow the noble example of the English in 1688." and the French responded: "that was not a revolution for freemen, my Lord, Somers was not a French patriot." So, English revolution was for the government, not for the people.
After the revolution, the French changed their mind (liberté, égalité, fraternité), the Englishmen stayed the same - dumb.
page 6/7: If England is silent, the people is stupid and phlegmatic (author's words!); if France is silent, that's to underline an expectancy.
page 7: "Since the establishment of the Republic in France [...]. [...] principle of honor and justice guides them" The French took all treasures and didn't keep it for themselves as Englishmen would do, but brought it all to the Hotel de Ville (town hall of Paris).
page 7/8: "'money to-day is of no use [...]' [...] Where, I ask, is an English / mob to be found of such continence, and greatness of soul?" Now, Junior's conclusion: "I cannot have a very strong predilection for my fellow-countrymen." "I view and congratulate the French nation on [...] well-earned liberty [...] that it is a blessing the English are not worthy of."
Some hard words for an Englishmen, right? He used very bad phrases describing his countrymen. On the other hand, he highly praises the French folk in any possible way. Because he knew that (and told us in the introduction) he used a pseudonym, I am sure.
However, in my opinion his arguments are quite convincing, what do you think?
German after the cut. / Das Gleiche auf Deutsch? (mit englischen Zitaten und knappen Übersetzungen) Bitte weiterlesen!