11 JANUARY 1873, Page 1


AGREAT, if not a grand figure has departed from among us. The Emperor Napoleon died at 10.45 a.m. on Thursday, at Chiselhurst, Kent, and enemies as well as friends feel that an immense blank space has been left in the politics of Europe. From 1819 to 1870, twenty-one years, he was the foremost figure in the world, and even after his downfall, in sickness and in exile, something of the imaginative greatness of the "coming man" attached to his secluded personality, one of the most strange which history has ever had to judge. Of all the great men of the past, he was, with the exception perhaps of Pompey, the man who was least adequate to the weighty part he still had the power to conceive that he ought to play. His death, which five years ago would have shaken Europe, to-day makes little impres- sion on affairs ; but it will perhaps lighten M. Thiers' difficult task, by paralysing for a time the French Imperialists. That party has now no head, and as we have endeavoured to show elsewhere can scarcely find one, the Prince Imperial being a lad who cannot rule, the Empress an Ultramontane whom the Bonapartists cannot follow, and Prince Jerome a Jacobin, whose friends think thrones needless burdens on the State.