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plainly be either the real head of the Western Empire, in point of solid power; or the nominal and prophetic head, by virtue of his being recognized as the legitimate successor of the Carlovingian Emperors, and of his thence bearing (with whatever diminished authority) the official title of Roman Emperor.
If the first of these opinions be maintained: then Napoleon Buonapartè could not have BECOME the representative of the last head, in consequence of the mere cession of an empty title on the part of the Austrian archduke; because he was ALREADY the representative of that last head, by virtue of his being by far the most powerful prince of the Western Empire previous to the cession of the title on the part of Austria. But then, on the same ground, Louis XIV. must equally have been the representative of the last Roman head long before Napoleon was born; because he was undoubtedly a much more powerful prince than the titular Emperor of the Romans.
On the other hand, if the second of these opinions be maintained; that is to say, if it be maintained, that the true representative of the last head is the sovereign who bears and is recognized by the title of Roman Emperor: then Napoleon Buonapartè can just as little have BECOME the representative of the last head, in consequence of the cession of the title on the part of the Austrian archduke; because it was necessary, not only that the Austrian archduke should cede it, but that Napoleon should assume it.
Now Napoleon never DID assume it. Therefore, although the Austrian archduke CEASED to be the representative of the last head; because he FORMALLY ABDICATED the official title of Roman Emperor: Napoleon did not BECOME the representative of that head; because he NEVER ASSUMED the official title in question.
2. I need scarcely say, that the second of these opinions was that, which I maintained: for I was compelled to maintain it by the general harmony and concinnity of prophecy.
If the Roman Augustulus and the last Byzantine Constantine were respectively representatives of the sixth head, which no doubt they were, even when their sovereignty was confined to the walls of Rome and Constantinople, and when their style of Roman Emperor was a mere title so far as any authority over the Roman Empire was concerned: then, by a parity of reasoning, if the Carlovingian Emperorship were the last head; the direct successor of Charlemagne, who was denominated and recognized as the legitimate Emperor of the Romans, must plainly have been the representative of the last head, however inferior his solid power within the limits of the Roman Empire might be to that of Charlemagne.
Hence, if I cannot make my cause good when argued on the ground of this second opinion, I must needs relinquish it as untenable.
3. Ample time has now been taken by me to consider the objection, which has been so forcibly urged
by my very intelligent friend: nor do I speak upon the subject rashly and unadvisedly. Sacred truth has ever been my first object: and ill should I deserve the character of an honest man, if I could fight against conviction, or if I could irreverently distort the holy oracles of God merely to produce a compact and well-rounded system. From the first I have never failed to acknowledge myself mistaken, whenever I was really satisfied that I had been in error and I am now equally ready, after long and mature deliberation, to confess, that I am unable to invalidate the objection, which I am willing to hope has lost none of its force by my own mode of stating it.
The whole matter, in short, resolves itself into the following syllogism.
That prince, who is denominated and recognized as Emperor of the Romans, represents that Roman head which Charlemagne represented; just as Augustulus, who was denominated and recognized as Emperor of the Romans, represented in his day that Roman head which Augustus represented-But, when the Austrian archduke CEDED the title of Roman Emperor, by virtue of which he was the representative of that Roman head which Charlemagne represented; Napoleon Buonapartè did not ASSUME the ceded title, neither was it adjudged to him by the common voice of the empire-Therefore Napoleon Buonapartè did not, in consequence of the Austrian abdication, BECOME the representative of that Roman head which Charlemagne represented.
4. This syllogism I am unable to refute: I must therefore relinquish the opinion, which I once maintained, that Napoleon Buonapartè BECAME the representative of the Carlovingian Imperial head in consequence of the formal abdication of the house of Austria.
Respecting the rise and fall of the seventh apocalyptic form of Roman government.
WE may often observe, that the clearing away of error, wholesomely mortifying as it may be to the pride of human intellect, has a direct tendency to the development of truth.
Such, I am inclined to believe, will be the result of that logical process, to which I have subjected my former speculation without any attempt to spare it. While the objection before us absolutely demonstrates, that, by the abdication of Austria, Napoleon Buonapartè did NOT become the representative of that Roman head which the Austrian archduke had previously represented: it, at the same time, incidentally though no less absolutely demonstrates, that the Roman head, of which the Austrian princes were the last representatives, has ceased to exist, or (in the phraseology of St. John) is fallen. For it plainly cannot demonstrate the one point, without demonstrating the other point also.
Austria ABDICATED the title of Roman Emperor, by virtue of which it was a head of the Roman wild beast: Napoleon did not ASSUME that abdicated title: therefore Napoleon did not BECOME that head of the Roman wild beast, of which Austria was previously the representative.
Such is the proof of one point: but this proof manifestly involves also the proof of the other.
For, if Austria CEASED to be a head of the Roman wild beast by abdicating the official title of Roman Emperor, and if neither Napoleon nor any other Roman prince ASSUMED the abdicated title: then it is evident, that that head of the Roman wild beast, which Austria represented in regular succession from Charlemagne, CEASED ALTOGETHER TO EXIST or (as St. John speaks) IS FALLEN.
With this result corresponds the testimony of history, which occupies itself only in delivering naked facts.
"In July 1806," says Mr. Butler, "most of the princes in the western and southern divisions of "Germany separated themselves from the Germanic
body, and formed themselves into a league under "the protection of the Emperor of the French, with "the title of the confederated states of the Rhine. "On the 7th of the following August, the Emperor "of Germany" resigned his official title of Emperor of the Romans; "abdicated, by a solemn edict, the Imperial government of the Germanic Empire; "and absolved the Electors, Princes and States, and "all that belonged to the Empire, from the duties