FRANCE AND THE REPUBLIC
A RECORD OF THINGS SEEN AND LEARNED IN THE FRENCH PROVINCES DURING THE 'CENTENNIAL' YEAR 1889
BY WILLIAM HENRY HURLBERT AUTHOR OF 'IRELAND UNDER COERCION'
WITH A MAP
LONDON LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET
All rights reserved
PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE LONDON
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890 by William Henry Hurlbert in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington
* * * * *
I. Scope of the book—French Republicanism condemned by Swiss and American experience—Its relations to the French people xxiii
II. M. Gambetta's Parliamentary revolution—What Germany owes to the French Republicans—Legislative usurpation in France and the United States xxvi
III. The Executive in France, England, and America—Liberty and the hereditary principle—General Grant on the English Monarchy—Washington's place in American history xxxvii
IV. The legend of the First Republic—A carnival of incapacity ending in an orgie of crime—The French people never Republican—Paris and the provinces—The Third Republic surrendered to the Jacobins, and committed to persecution and corruption—Estimated excess of expenditure over income from 1879 to 1889, 7,000,000,000 francs or 280,000,000l. li
V. Danton's maxim, 'To the victors belong the spoils'—Comparative cost of the French and the British Executive machinery—The Republican war against religion.—The present situation as illustrated by past events lxviii
VI. Foreign misconceptions of the French people—An English statesman's notion that there are 'five millions of Atheists' in France—Mr. Bright and Mr. Gladstone the last English public men who will 'cite the Christian Scriptures as an authority'—Signor Crispi on modern constitutional government and the French 'principles of 1789'—Napoleon the only 'Titan of the Revolution'—The debt of France for her modern liberty to America and to England lxxvi VII. The Exposition of 1889 an electoral device—Panic of the Government caused by Parisian support of General Boulanger—Futile attempt of M. Jules Ferry to win back Conservatives to the Republic—Narrow escape of the Republic at the elections of 1889—Steady increase of monarchical party since 1885—-Weakness of the Republic as compared with the Second Empire lxxxix
VIII. How the Republic maintains itself—A million of people dependent on public employment—M. Constans 'opens Paradise' to 13,000 Mayors—Public servants as political agents—Open pressure on the voters—Growing strength of the provinces.—The hereditary principle alone can now restore the independence of the French Executive—Diplomatic dangers of actual situation—Socialism or a Constitutional Monarchy the only alternatives xcvi
IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS
Calais—Natural and artificial France—The provinces and the departments—The practical joke of the First Consulate—The Counts of Charlemagne and the Prefects of Napoleon—President Carnot at Calais—Politics and Socialism in Calais—Immense outlay on the port, but works yet unfinished—Indifference of the people—A president with a grandfather—The 'Great Carnot' and Napoleon—The party of the 'Sick at heart'—The Louis XVI. of the Republic—Leon Say and the 'White Mouse'—Gambetta's victory in 1877—Political log-rolling, French and American—Republican extravagance and the 'Woollen Stocking'—Boulanger and his legend—Wanted a 'Great Frenchman'—The Duc d'Aumale and the Comte de Paris—The Republican law of exile—The French people not Republican—The Legitimists and the farmers—A French journalist explains the Presidential progress—Why decorations are given 1-22
IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS—(continued)
Boulogne—Arthur Young and the Boulonnais—Boulogne and Quebec—The English and French types of civilisation—A French ecclesiastic on the religious question—The oppressive school law of 1886—The Church and the Concordat—Rural communes paying double for free schools—Vexatious regulations to prevent establishment of free schools—All ministers of religion excluded from school councils—Government officers control the whole system—Permanent magistrates also excluded—Revolt of the religious sentiment throughout France against the new system—Anxiety of Jules Ferry to make peace with the Church—Energy shown by the Catholics in resistance—St.-Omer—The Spanish and scholastic city of Guy Fawkes and Daniel O'Connell—M. De la Gorce, the historian of 1848—High character of the population—Improvement in tone of the French army—Morals of the soldiers—Devotion of the officers to their profession—Derangement of the Executive in France by the elective principle—The 'laicisation' of the schools—Petty persecutions—Children forbidden to attend the funeral of their priest—The Marist Brethren at Albert—Albert and the Marechal d'Ancre—A chapter of history in a name—Little children stinting their own food, to send another child to school—President Carnot and the nose of M. Ferry—French irreligion in the United States—The case of Girard College—Can Christianity be abolished in France?—The declared object of the Republic—Morals of Artois—Dense population—Fanatics of the family—Increase of juvenile crime—American experience of the schools without religion—A New England report on 'atrocious and flagrant crimes in Massachusetts'—Relative increase of native white population and native crime in America—An American Attorney-General calls the public school system 'a poisonous fountain of misery and moral death'—A local heroine of St.-Omer—The statue of Jacqueline Robins—The Duke of Marlborough and the Jesuits College—A curious sidelight on English politics in 1710—How St.-Omer escaped a siege 23-43
IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS—(continued)
Aire-sur-la-Lys—Local objections to a national railway—A visit to a councillor-general—Pentecost in Artois—The Artesians in 1789—Wealth and power of the clergy—Recognition of the Third Estate long before the Revolution—The English and the French clergy in the last century—Lord Macaulay and Arthur Young—Sympathy of the cures with the people—Turgot, Condorcet and the rural clergy—-The Revolution and public education—M. Guizot the founder of the French primary schools—The liberal school ordinance of 1698—The Bishop of Arras, in 1740, on the duty of educating the people—The experience of Louisiana as to public schools and criminality—The two Robespierres saved and educated by priests—What came of it—A rural church and congregation in Artois—The notary in rural France—A village procession—'Beating the bounds' in France—An altar of verdure and roses—The villagers singing as they march—Ancient customs in Northern France 44-52
IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS—(continued)
Aire-sur-la-Lys—Local and general elections in France—A public meeting in rural Artois—A councillor-general and his constituents—Artois in the 18th and 19th centuries—Well-tilled fields, fine roads, hedges, and orchards—Effect of long or short leases—A meeting in a grange—French, English, and American audiences—Favouritism under the conscription—Extravagant outlay on scholastic palaces—Almost a scene—A political disturbance promoted—Canvassing in England and France—Tenure of office in the French Republic—'To the victors belong the spoils,' the maxim not of Jackson but of Danton—'Epuration,' what it means—If Republicans are not put into office 'they will have civil war'—'No justice of the peace nor public school teacher to be spared'—'Terror and anarchy carried into all branches of the public service'—M. de Freycinet declares that 'servants of the State have no liberty in politics'—The Tweed regime of New York officially organised in France—-Men of position reluctant to take office—The expense of French elections—1,300,000l. sterling the estimated cost of an opposition campaign—A little dinner in a French country house—The French cuisine national and imported—An old Flemish city—Devastations of the Revolution—The beautiful Church of St.-Pierre—A picturesque Corps de Garde—The tournament of Bayard at Aire—Sixteenth-century merry-makings at Aire—Gifts to Mary of England on her marriage to Philip of Spain—The ancient city of Therouanne—Public schools in the 17th century—Small landholders in France before 1789. 53-72
IN THE SOMME
Amiens—Picardy Old and New—Arthur Young and Charles James Fox in Amiens—'The look of a capital'—The floating gardens of Amiens—A stronghold of Boulangism—Protest of Amiens against the Terror of 1792—The French nation and the Commune of Paris—Vergniaud denounces the Parisians as the 'slaves of the vilest scoundrels alive'—Gambetta and his balloon—Amiens and the Revolution of September 1870—The rise of M. Goblet—The 'great blank credit opened to the Republic in 1870'—What has become of it—The Prussians in Amiens—Warlike spirit of the Picards—A political portrait of M. Goblet by a fellow citizen—A Roman son and his father's funeral—A typical Republican senator and mayor—How M. Petit demolished the crosses in the cemetery—M. Spuller as Prefect of the Somme—The Christian Brothers and their schools—M. Jules Ferry withholds the salaries earned by teachers—The Emperor Julian of Amiens—How the Sisters were turned out of their schools—The mayor, the locksmith, and the curate—Mdlle. de Colombel—A senatorial epistle—Ulysses deserted by Calypso—Why Boulangism flourishes at Amiens—The First Republic invoked to justify the destruction of crosses on graves—The Cathedral of Amiens and Mr. Ruskin. 73-94
IN THE SOMME—(continued)
Amiens—Party names taken from persons—The effect of Republican misrule at Amiens—Why the Monarchists acted with the Boulangists—The Picards incline towards the Empire—How the Republic of 1848 captured France—Armand Marrast and the French mail coaches—Mr. Sumner's story—The political value of paint—Paris and the provinces—M. Mermeix offers with a few million francs and a few thousand rowdies to change the French Government—General Boulanger's campaign in Picardy—Capturing the mammas by kissing the babies—The Monarchical peasantry—The National Accounts of France not balanced for years—Conservatives excluded from the Budget Committee—The Boulanger programme—Expenses of the political machine in France, England, and America—The Boulangist campaign conducted by voluntary subscriptions—General Boulanger and the army—The common sewer of the discontent of France—The local finances of a French city—Municipal expenses of Amiens—Pressure of the octroi—A local deficit of millions since the Republicans got into power—The mayor and the prefect control the accounts—Immense expenditure on scholastic palaces—Estimated annual increase in France since 1880 of local indebtedness, 10,000,000l. sterling—M. Goblet on the growth of young men's monarchical clubs—History of the octroi—General prosperity of Picardy—Rural ideas of aristocracy—Land ownership in Ireland and France—'Land-grabbing' in Picardy a hundred years ago—The corvee abolished before the Revolution, but it still exists under the Republic, as a prestation en nature—Public education in Picardy two centuries ago—Small tenants as numerous under Edward II. in Picardy as small proprietors now are—Home rule needed in France—'The opinion of a man's legs' 95-124
IN THE AISNE
St.-Gobain—Paris and the Ile-de-France—Reclamation of the commons—Mischievous haste in the Revolutionary transfer of lands—The evolution of property and order in France and England—The flower gardens of France—The home counties around London compared with the departments around Paris—Superiority of the French fruit and vegetable markets—The military city of La Fere—A local cabbage-leaf—French farmers and the Treaties of Commerce—Arthur Young at St.-Gobain—The largest mirror in the world—The great French glassworks—'An industrial flower on a seignorial stalk, springing from a feudal root'—Evolution without Revolution—Two centuries and a half of industrial progress—Labour in the Middle Ages—The Irish apostle of North-eastern France—The forests of France—A factory in a chateau—A centenarian royal porter—The Duchesse de Berri and the Empress Eugenie—A co-operative association of consumers—A great manufacturing company working on lines laid down under Louis XIV.—Glass-working, Venetian and French—A jointstock company of the 18th century—The old and new school of factory discipline—French industry and the Terror—'Two aristocrats' called in to save a confiscated property—St.-Gobain and the Eiffel Tower—Royal luxuries in 1673, popular necessaries of life in 1889—How great mirrors are cast—Beauty of the processes—The coming age of glass—Glass pavements and roofs—The hereditary principle among the working classes—Practical co-operation of capital and labour—Schools, asylums, workmen's houses and gardens, social clubs, and savings-banks—Co-operative pension funds—A great economic family—Of 2,650 workpeople more than 50 per cent. employed for more than ten years—A subterranean lake—The crypts of St.-Gobain and the Cisterns of Constantinople—A spectral gondolier—A Venetian promenade with coloured lanterns underground 125-161
IN THE AISNE—(continued)
Laon, Chauny, and St.-Gobain—The French Revolution and Spanish soda—The most extensive chemical works in France—A miniature Rotterdam—A Cite Ouvriere—The religious war in Chauny—Local and immigrant labour—M. Allain-Targe on Boulanger, the High Court of Justice, common sense and common honesty—-French elections, matters of bargain and sale—'The blackguardocracy'—Sketches by a Republican minister—French freemasonry a persecuting sect—Their power in the Government—Utterly unlike the freemasonry of England, Germany, or America—The war against Christianity in France and Spanish America—1867 and the industrial progress of France—Extent of the chemical works of France—Retiring pensions for workmen—Chauny in the olden time—How the honest burghers freed their city in 1432—A contrast with the rioters of the Bastille in 1789—Henri IV. and La Belle Gabrielle—Chauny and the Revolution—The murder of d'Estaing—Chauny acclaims the Restoration, and gives a gold medal to the Prussian commandant—Public charity and public education in the 12th century—Benevolent foundations pillaged in 1793—Law and order under the ancien regime—A canal in the law courts—An enterprising American turns rubbish into indiarubber at Chauny 162-185
IN THE AISNE—(continued)
Laon—A feudal fortress home—Chauny and the green monkeys of Rabelais—The festival of the jongleurs and the learned dogs—A damsel of Chauny on English good sense and Queen Victoria—A region of parks and chateaux—The cradle of the French Monarchy—How the Revolution robbed France—The rural reign of pillage and murder—Horrors committed in the provinces during 1789—Arthur Young and Gouverneur Morris on the general depravation and lawlessness—The National Assembly a mere noisy 'mob'—The outbreak of crime which preceded the Terror—The truth about Madame Roland—Her hatred of Marie Antoinette and her thirst for blood—The legend of the Gironde—Brissot de Warville on robbery as a virtuous action—The relations of the French Revolution to property—France more free before 1789 than after it—The laws against emigrants—Girls of fourteen condemned to death—Emigration made a crime, that property might be pillaged—How Irene de Tencin defended the family estate—The story of the Saporta family—The Laonnais in the 18th century—Wide-spread ruin of its churches, convents, and chateaux—Destruction of accumulated capital—How syndicates of rogues stole bronzes, brasswork, and monuments—The story of two chateaux—The bishop's chateau at Anizy—The burghers and the seigneurs in the 16th century—The local 'directory' in 1790—Wreck, ruin, and robbery—The Chateau of Pinon—Once the property of a granddaughter of Edward III. of England—A domain of the Duc d'Orleans—A tragedy of love and murder—Death of the Marquis d'Albret—How Pinon passed to the family of De Courvals—The present owner an American lady—The finest chateau in the Laonnais—What has the Laonnais gained from the ruin of the Anizy? 186-225
IN THE AISNE—(continued)
Laon—The ruins of Coucy-le-Chateau—A rural inn in France—The sugar crisis—The birthplace of Cesar de Vendome—The bell which tolls and is heard by the dying alone—The hanging of boys for killing rabbits—Game laws, French and English—The true story of Enguerrand de Coucy—A little feudal city—The finest donjon in France—An official guardian—A dinner with four councillors-general—'What France really wants is a man'—Agricultural philosophers—How a councillor-general tested chemicals—Peasantry on the highway—A land of gardens—A city set on a hill—Simple good-natured people—A raging Boulangist at Laon—What a barber saw in Tonkin—The diamond belt of King Norodom—Castelin the friend of Boulanger—A revolutionary shoemaker on government by committees—Evils of the Exposition—Foreigners steal the ideas of France—The railways, the new feudal system—They are the real 'enemy' of the people—Extravagance of the ministers—Freemasonry at Laon—How it controls the press—The rise of Deputy Doumer—How he lost his seat in 1889—The author of 'Chez Paddy' at Chateau Thierry—Over-zeal of the cures—The question of working men's unions—M. Doumer's report on the Law of Associations—He proves that the Republic has done absolutely nothing with this law—'Five years' spent in drawing up a report—'The Republic never existed until 1879'—And nothing done for working men until 1888—M. de Freycinet and M. Carnot only 'studied measures which might be taken;' but were not!—The first practical step taken by M. Doumer by making an enormous report in 1888, recommending things to be done hereafter—The true Republic eluding for ten years questions which the Emperor grappled with in 1867—The voters of Laon in September defeat M. Doumer—A curious little chapter of French politics—M. Doumer's coquetry with General Boulanger—After his defeat M. Doumer becomes secretary of the President of the Chamber and lets the working men's question alone—Politics as a profession in France and the United States—Intense centralisation of power in France makes it easier and more profitable than in America 226-258
IN THE NORD
Valenciennes—The shabbiest historic town in North-eastern France—Perfect cultivation of French Flanders—Cock-fighting and flowers—Prosperity of the cabarets—One to every forty-four inhabitants around Valenciennes—Growth of the mining and manufacturing towns—Interesting buildings in Valenciennes—Carelessness of the citizens about their city—A graceful edifice of the 15th century falling into ruins—Valenciennes in the days of the Hanse of London—Mediaeval burghers and their sovereigns—A citizen of Valenciennes, in 1357, the richest man in Europe—Festivals in the olden times—Religious wars—Vauban at Valenciennes—How the clothworkers fled from the Spanish persecution—Dumouriez at Valenciennes—The Hotel de Ville—Interesting local artists from Simon Marmion down to Watteau and Pater—The triptych of Rubens—Some historic portraits—The Musee Carpeaux—The coal mines of Anzin—14,035 workmen there employed and 200,210,702 tons of coal extracted—Competition with Belgium, the Pas-de-Calais, England, and Germany—The coal mines of Anzin organised a century and a half ago—The discovery of coal in North-eastern France—Energy shown by the local noblesse—Pierre Mathieu, an engineer, strikes the vein in 1734—The lords of the soil claim their rights over the coal—A long lawsuit ending in a compromise—A business arrangement under the ancien regime—The hereditary principle recognised in the organisation and undisturbed by the Revolution—An orderly, quiet, and prosperous town—A region of factories intermingled with farms—Charming home of the director—The company encourages workmen's homes, with gardens and allotments—An improvement on the Cite Ouvriere—2,628 model homes now occupied by workmen—For three francs a month a workman secures a well-built cottage, with drainage and cellarage, six good rooms and closets, and a plot of ground—2,500 families hold garden sites for cultivation—Fuel allowed, and a general 'participation in profits' of a practical sort—The right of the workmen to be consulted recognised at Anzin a century and a half ago—Beneficial and educational institutions—An industrial republic—How the National Assembly meddled with the mines—Mining laws in France, ancient and modern—Influence of politics on the output of the mines—Every Republican development at Paris diminishes, and every check to Republicanism at Paris develops, the great coal industry—The great strike of 1884—During that year the company expended for the benefit of the workmen a sum equivalent to the profits divided amongst the shareholders—What caused the collision therefore between capital and labour?—A syndicate of miners under a former Anzin workman, Basly, puts a pressure from Paris upon the workmen at Anzin to develop the strike—The pretext found in contracts granted to good workmen—The object of the strike to establish the equality of bad with good workmen—Boycotting and intimidation—Dynamite and Radical deputies from Paris—A Republican minister asks the company to accept Basly and his syndicate as an umpire—Bitter opposition of the Basly syndicate to the saving fund system—They demand a State pension fund—And pending this a fund controlled by the syndicate—A despotism of agitators—Upshot of the strike—The mines in the Pas-de-Calais—Visits to workmen's houses—Fine appearance and carriage of the miners—Their politics—Women and children—Good ventilation and sanitation of the mines—'No man can be a miner not bred to it as a boy'—Excellent housekeeping of the women—Miners of Southern and Northern France—Influence of high altitudes on character—The elective principle in the mines—Morals and conduct of the mining people—Churches and schools—A children's school at St. Waast—A digression into the Artois—What the Tiers-Etat of Northern France wanted in 1789—The cahiers of the Tiers-Etat—Respect for vested interests—A visit to St.-Amand—The conspiracy of Dumouriez—Ruin of a magnificent abbey—A beautiful belfry—Interesting pictures by Watteau—Co-operation at Anzin—What its advantages are to the workmen—Eight per cent. dividends to the members in 1866, and an average during 23 years to 1889 of 11-80/100 per cent.—How the workmen and their families live—Table of articles purchased—Attendance upon the schools—Influence of women and families—Increase of juvenile crime under irreligious education in France and the United States—Louis Napoleon's National Retiring Fund for Old Age—Regulations of the Anzin Council affecting this fund—Average expenditure of the Anzin company for the benefit of workmen 'fifty centimes for every ton of coal extracted'—The Decazeville strikes in 1888—They begin with the murder of one of the best engineers and end with a workman's banquet to the engineer-in-chief 259-331
IN THE NORD—(continued)
Lille—The Flamand flamingant—Pertinacity of the Flemish tongue—A historic city without monuments—Old customs and traditions—The Musee Wicar—The unique wax bust—A 'pious foundation' of art, and M. Carolus Duran—Excellent educational institutions of Le Nord—A land flowing with beer—Increase of the factory populations—Decrease of drunkenness in the cities—Increase in the rural districts—Special cabarets for women—Should women smoke?—Flemish cock-fighting and the example of England—A model Republican prefect—Juvenile prostitution—The souls of the people and their votes—Danton's system of uneducated judges—Dislike of good people to politics—A pessimist rebuked—The Monarchist majorities in Lille—Inaccurate representation of the people in the Chamber—Hazebrouck and its Dutch gardens—The Republic hated for its extravagance—Relative strength of Republican and Monarchical majorities—Elections conducted under secret instructions—Cutting down majorities—The case of M. Leroy-Beaulieu in the Herault—Keeping out dangerous economists—Ballot 'stuffing' in France and the United States—The methods of Robespierre readopted—Systematic 'invalidation' of elections—The people must not choose the wrong men—Boulanger and Joffrin—'Tactical necessities' in politics—The delusion of universal suffrage—An Austrian view of the elective and hereditary principles—Energy of the Catholics in North-eastern France—Father Damien—Public charity—Hereditary mendicants in French Flanders—Dogs and douaniers—The division of communes—Foundling hospitals and the struggle for life—Mutual Aid Societies—Is woman a 'Clubbable' animal?—M. Welche and the agricultural syndicates—'Les Prevoyants de l'Avenir,' a phenomenal success—It begins in 1882 with 757 members and 6,237 francs; in 1889 it numbers 59,932 members, with a capital of 1,541,868 francs—The Franco-German war and the religious sentiment—The great Catholic University—Private contributions of 11,000,000 francs—The scientific and medical schools—M. Ferry and the free universities—Catholic education in France and the United States—The case of Girard College—The dangers of the French system—The monopoly of the University of France—Liberal outlay of the Catholics of Paris—A mediaeval Catholic merchant—'The work of God' in a business partnership—Mutual assistance in the Lille factories—Model houses at Roubaix—A true Mont-de-Piete—The Masurel fund of 1607—Loans without interest—A prosperous charity plundered by the Republic—A benevolent fund of 455,454 francs in 1789 reduced to 10,408 francs in 1803—The fund restored under the Monarchy and Second Empire—The 'King William's Fund' of the Netherlanders in London—Count de Bylandt and Sir Polydore de Keyser 332-368
IN THE MARNE
Reims—The capital of the French kings—Clotilde and Clovis, Jeanne d'Arc and Urban II.—Vineyards and factories—The wines of Champagne known and unknown—The red wine of Bouzy—Mr. Canning and still Champagne—The syndication of famous brands—A visit to the cardinal archbishop—Employers and employed—The Catholic workmen's clubs and the Christian corporations—M. Leon Harmel—The religious education of a factory—How the workmen Christianised themselves—The conversion of a wife by a gown—The local authorities discouraging religion—'Planting Christians like vines'—'The Rights of Man' and capital and labour—Mediaeval and modern methods compared—Capital and universal suffrage—Money in the first Revolution—Le Pelletier, the millionaire, and the mobs of the Palais Royal—The dramatic justice of a murder—Unwritten chapters of revolutionary history—The duty of employers—'The Masters' Catechism'—The invasion of 1870 and the Christian corporations—Modern syndications and the ancient maitrise—Professional syndicates and professional strikes—Good out of evil—The working men and the upper classes—Count Albert de Mun—A popular vote against universal suffrage—The Holy See and the Catholic labour movement in France—The parochial clergy and the laymen—The Wesleyans and the Catholics—Privileged purveyors—The financial aspect of the Catholic corporations—A revival of the old guilds—The national system of the corporations—Provincial and general assemblies—The German Cultur-Kampf and the French Catholic clubs—The Republican attack on religion—Religious freedom and freedom from religion—The State church of unbelief—The 'moral unity' men—Napoleon and Guizot—The Jacobins of 1792 and 1879—Moral unity under Louis XIV.—Alva and M. Jules Ferry—A chapter of the Revolution at Reims—Mr. Carlyle's little 'murder of about eight persons'—The political influence of massacres—The 'days of September' and the elections to the Convention—How they chose Jacobin deputies at Reims—The documentary story of the eight murders—Mayors under the Republic—The defence of Lille—How the Republic voted a monument and Louis Philippe built it—Desecration of a great cathedral—The legend of Ruhl and the sacred ampulla—The demolition of St.-Nicaise and the bargain of Santerre—How Napoleon disciplined the Faubourg St.-Antoine—Is the Cathedral of Reims in danger?—Its restoration under the cardinal archbishop—The budget of public worship—Expenses of the administration—The salaries of the clergy, Protestant and Catholic—Jewish rabbis paid less than servants in the Ministere—Steady cutting down of the budget—No statistics of religious opinion in France—A Benedictine archbishop—Great increase of the religious sentiment in Reims—The Church driven by the Republic into opposition—Leon Say and the present Government—The home of Montaigne—A deputy of the Dordogne invalidated to snub Leon Say—Socrates and David Hume in modern France—Dogmatic irreligion—Jules Simon on the proscription of Christianity—Abolishing the history of France—A practical protest of the Catholic Marne—The great pope of the crusades—Catholic and Masonic processions—The Triduum of Urban II.—A great celebration at Chatillon—Hildebrand and his disciple—The Angelus and the 'Truce of God'—Mgr. Freppel on the anti-religious war—Jeanne d'Arc at Reims—A magnificent festival—Gounod's Mass of the Maid of Orleans—Catholic protest against the persecution of the Jews—The Republic threatens the grand rabbis with the archbishops—Deriding a death-bed in a hospital—The amnesty of the Communards—The rehabilitation of crime—Tyranny in the village schools—Religious freedom in France and Turkey—The home of Jeanne d'Arc—'Laicising' Domremy-la-Pucelle—Piety and hypnotism—The chamber and garden of Jeanne—Louis XI. and the French yeomen—A shrine converted into a show—A scurvy job in a place of pilgrimage—The banner of Patay—Jeanne and her voices—A western worshipper of the Maid of Orleans—The Chateau de Bourlemont—The Princesse d'Henin and Madame de Stael—The revolutionary traffic in passports—A generous act of Madame Du Barry—'Laicisation' in the Vosges—The defeat of Jules Ferry—The Monarchists going up, the Republicans going down 369-436
IN THE CALVADOS
Val Richer—The home of Guizot—The French Protestants and the Third Republic—Free education in France the work of Guizot—Education in France checked by the Revolution—Mediaeval provisions for public education—The effect of the English and the religious wars upon education in France—Indiscriminate destruction of educational foundations by the First Republic—Progress of illiteracy after 1793—The guillotine as a financial expedient—The Directory painted by themselves—The two Merlins—'Republican Titans' wearing royal livery—Barras on the cruelty of poltroons—Education under Napoleon—The Concordat and the Church—Napoleon's University of France—A machine for creating moral unity—The despotism of 1802 and 1882—The Liberals of 1830—Primary education under M. Guizot—The rights of the family and the encroachments of the State—Catholic vindication of Protestant liberty under Louis XIV.—The heirs of M. Guizot in Normandy and Languedoc—M. de Witt at Val Richer—Three historic chateaux—The birthplace of Montesquieu at La Brede—The Abbey of Thomas a-Becket—The Chateau de Broglie—Lisieux—M. Guizot as a landscape gardener—A Protestant statesman among the Catholics of the Calvados—The Sieur de Longiumeau and the sacred right of insurrection—'Moral unity' and 'moral harmony'—Catholicism in the Calvados, Brittany, and Poitou—Charlotte Corday—The historic family of De Witt—An election in the Calvados—The people and the functionaries—Bonnebosq—The Normans and personal liberty—The procedure of a French election—Mayors with votes in their sleeves—Glass urns and wooden boxes—Gerrymandering in France and America—Catholic constituents congratulating their Protestant candidate—'Vive le roi!'—M. Bocher on two Republican presidents—Wilsonism and the Norman farmers—The domestic distilleries—The war against religion in Normandy—'The Church as the key of trade'—How the officials revise the elections—Prefects interfering in the elections—A solid Monarchist department—Politics and the apple crop—The weak point of the Monarchists—The traditions of Versailles and 'modern high life'—Louis XV. and Barras—Madame Du Barry and Madame Tallien—The 'noble' grooms of ignoble cocottes—The Legitimists under the Empire—The war of 1870-71, and the fusion of classes—Historic names in the French army—Officers and the chateaux—An American minister and the Comte de Paris—The Monarchist and the Republican representatives—The Duc de Broglie in the Eure—Architectural evidence as to the social life of the ancien regime—The war of classes a consequence, not a cause, of the Revolution—The Vicomte de Noailles and Artemus Ward—Feudal serfs and New York anti-renters—Jefferson and lettres de cachet—The Bastille and the Tower of London—Don Quixote and the wine skins—The Chateau d'Eu—Private rights in the 14th century—The 'Nonpareil' of the world—La Grande Mademoiselle and her lieges at Eu—Her hospitals and charities—A quick-witted mayor—A model Republican prefect—The Duc de Penthievre—The Orleans family at Eu—Local popularity of the Comte and Comtesse de Paris—Norman grievances, old and new—A Protestant movement in Normandy—American associations with Broglie, La Brede, and Val Richer—Mr. Bancroft on the ministers of Louis Philippe—The 'military council' of Royalist officers in the Revolution—Louis Philippe and Thiers—The rights of property under the Second Empire—The seizure of the Orleans property—The Jacobin levelling of incomes—The reformer Real as an opulent count—The Orleans property restored in 1872, as a matter of 'common honesty'—What the princes recovered, and what they presented to France—The 'wounded conscience' of a nation—The daughter of Madame de Stael—The present Duc de Broglie and the anti-religions war—The Conservative republic made impossible—The Radical Jacobins rule the roast—'The Republic commits suicide to save itself from slaughter'—Floquet the master of Carnot—The war against God—Two statesmen of the South—Nimes and M. Guizot—The religious wars in Languedoc—The son of M. Guizot at Uzes—Politics in the Gard—Catholics and Protestants fighting side by side—The late M. Cornelis de Witt—The hereditary principle in Holland—What the United States learned from the Netherlands and from England—How the Duke of York missed an American throne—A Protestant monarchist in the Lot-et-Garonne—The plums of Agen and the apricots of Nicole—Coeur de Lion and Bertrand de Boru—The home of Nostradamus—Why the Germans beat the French—The barber bard of Languedoc—Scaliger and the Huguenots—Nerac and the Reine Margot—The 'Lovers' War'—The Revocation and the Revolution—The ruin of property in 1793—Decline of the wealth of France—The monarchists of the Aveyron—A banquet of monarchist mayors—The need of a man in France—'A bolt out of the blue'—How the Duc d'Orleans demoralised the government—The young conscript at Clairvaux—Carnot surrenders to the Commune—A Russian verdict on the republican blunder—The 'Prince' of the people—How the Government has helped the Comte de Paris—Irregularities of republican taxation—Corsica and the Correze—France the most heavily taxed country in the world—Steady and enormous increase of taxation—Cost of collecting the revenue—Political dishonesty on the stump—The persecution of candidates—Invasion of private life—Bullying the magistrates—Public servants ordered to the polls—Cures fined for preaching religious duty—The Conferences du Sud-Ouest—M. Princeteau at Bordeaux—The fete of the Bastille at Bordeaux and Nimes—A 'Fils de Dieu' at Nimes—Socialism at Alais—The suppression of inheritances—'Property a privilege to be abolished'—'Opulence an infamy'—The Socialists and the Government—Persecution of the Protestants—'Pray, what is God?'—Strength of Socialism in South-eastern France—Two typical departments—Socialism in the Bouches-du-Rhone—Historic France in the Calvados—Boulanger at Marseilles—A Socialist coachman at Arles—A great Catholic employer of labour at Marseilles—The largest glycerine works in the world—Church candles and dynamite—Taxing industries to death—Dutch competition with France—A Christian corporation in Marseilles—'An economical kitchen'—An uphill fight for law and order—The Christians of the 4th and of the 19th centuries—The Radicals hold the bridle—Shall France be Christian or Nihilist?—Ernest Renan on the situation in 1872—Jules Simon on the situation in 1882—The 'civic duties' of man and the guillotine—What will the situation be in 1892? 437-515
MAP OF FRANCE at end of book
* * * * *
P. 24, 11 lines from top, for rival read rural.
P. 64, line 1, for de Royes read de Royer.
P. 91, line 6 from top. M. Spuller, Prefect of the Somme in 1880, was the brother of the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, not the Minister himself.
P. 96, line 5 from top, _for Montauban _read_ Montaudon.
P. 105, line 4 from bottom, for being read long.
P. 395, 3 lines from top, for Abbeys read Abbaye.
Wherever found, for de Fallieres read Fallieres.
As I have not wished to swell the bulk of this book by references, and as many statements made in it concerning men and things of the first Republic may seem to my readers to need verification, I subjoin a brief list of authorities consulted by me in this connection. It is incomplete, but will be found to cover every material point concerning the epoch to which it refers.
BIRE, E. La Legende des Girondins.
CAMPARDON, EMILE. Le Tribunal Revolutionnaire a Paris d'apres les Documents Originaux.
DAUBAN, C. A. La Demagogie a Paris en 1793.
DAUBAN, C. A. Les Prisons de Paris sous la Revolution.
DAUBAN, C. A. Memoires Inedits de Petion, de Buzot et de Barbaroux.
DAUBAN, C. A. Memoires de Madame Roland. Etude sur Madame Roland. Lettres en partie inedites de Madame Roland.
DE BARANTE. Histoire de la Convention Nationale.
DE LAVERGNE, L. (de l'Institut). Economie rurale de la France depuis 1789.
DE MONTROL, F. Memoires de Brissot, publies par son fils.
DE PRESSENSE, EDMOND. L'Eglise et la Revolution Francaise.
DONIOL, H. Histoire des Classes Rurales en France.
DU BLED. Les Causeurs de la Revolution.
DURAND DE MAILLANE. Histoire de la Convention Nationale.
FEUILLET DE CONCHES. Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette et Madame Elisabeth.
FORNERON, H. Histoire Generale des Emigres.
GALLOIS, LEONARD. Histoire des Journaux et des Journalistes de la Revolution Francaise.
GONCOURT, EDMUND ET JULES. Histoire de la Societe Francaise pendant la Revolution.
GRANIER DE CASSAGNAC. Histoire des Girondins et des Massacres de Septembre.
GUILLON, l'Abbe. Les Martyrs de la Foi pendant la Revolution Francaise.
HAMEL, ERNEST. Histoire de Robespierre.
JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Memoirs and Correspondence.
LAFERRIERE (de l'Institut). Essai sur l'histoire du Droit Francais.
MALLET DU PAN. Memoires et Correspondance.
MASSON, FREDERIC. Le Departement des Affaires Etrangeres pendant la Revolution.
MORRIS, GOUVERNEUR. Diary and Letters.
MORTIMER-TERNAUX. Histoire de la Terreur, 1792-1794, d'apres des documents authentiques et inedits.
ROCQUAIN, F. L'Esprit Revolutionnaire avant la Revolution.
TISSOT, P. F. Histoire complete de la Revolution Francaise.
VATEL, CH. Charlotte Corday.
YOUNG, ARTHUR. Voyages en France pendant les annees 1787-89. Traduction de M. Le Sage; Introduction par L. de Lavergne.
* * * * *
This volume is neither a diary nor a narrative. To have given it either of these forms, each of which has its obvious advantages, would have extended it beyond all reasonable limits. It is simply a selection from my very full memoranda of a series of visits paid to different parts of France during the year 1889.
These visits would never have been made, had not my previous acquaintance with France and with French affairs, going back now—such as it is—to the early days of the Second Empire, given me reasonable ground to hope that I might get some touch of the actual life and opinions of the people in the places to which I went. My motive for making these visits was the fact that what it has become the fashion to call 'parliamentary government,' or, in other words, the unchecked administration of the affairs of a great people by the directly elected representatives of the people, is now formally on its trial in France. We do not live under this form of government in the United States, but as a thoughtless tendency towards this form of government has shown itself of late years even in the United States and much more strongly in Great Britain, I thought it worth while to see it at work and form some notion of its results in France.
Republican Switzerland has carefully sought to protect herself against this form of government. The Swiss Constitution of 1874 reposes ultimately on the ancient autonomy of the Cantons. Each Canton has one representative in the Federal Executive Council. The members of this Council are elected for three years by the Federal Assembly, and from among their own number they choose the President of the Confederation, who serves for one year only—a provision probably borrowed from the first American Constitution. The Cantonal autonomy was further strengthened in 1880 by the establishment of the Federal Tribunal on lines taken from those of the American Supreme Court. There is a division of the Executive authority between the Federal Assembly and the Federal Council, which is yet to be tested by the strain of a great European war, but which has so far developed no serious domestic dangers.
The outline map which accompanies this volume will show that my visits, which began with Marseilles and the Bouches-du-Rhone, upon my return from Rome to Paris in January 1889, on the eve of the memorable election of General Boulanger as a deputy for the Seine in that month, were extended to Nancy in the east of France, to the frontiers of Belgium and the coasts of the English Channel in the north, to Rennes, Nantes, and Bordeaux in the west, and to Toulouse, Nimes, and Arles in the south. I went nowhere without the certainty of meeting persons who could and would put me in the way of seeing what I wanted to see, and learning what I wanted to learn. I took with me everywhere the best books I could find bearing on the true documentary history of the region I was about to see, and I concerned myself in making my memoranda not only with the more or less fugitive aspects of public action and emotion at the present time, but with the past, which has so largely coloured and determined these fugitive aspects. Naturally, therefore, when I sat down to put this volume into shape, I very soon found it to be utterly out of the question for me to try to do justice to all that had interested and instructed me in every part of France which I had visited.
I have contented myself accordingly with formulating, in this Introduction, my general convictions as to the present condition and outlook of affairs in France and as to the relation which actually exists between the Third Republic, now installed in power at Paris, and the great historic France of the French people; and with submitting to my readers, in support of these convictions, a certain number of digests of my memoranda, setting forth what I saw, heard, and learned in some of the departments which I visited with most pleasure and profit.
In doing this I have written out what I found in my note-books less fully than the importance of the questions involved might warrant. But what I have written, I have written out fairly and as exactly as I could. I do not hold myself responsible for the often severe and sometimes scornful judgments pronounced by my friends in the provinces upon public men at Paris. But I had no right to modify or withhold them. In the case of conversations held with friends, or with casual acquaintances, I have used names only where I had reason to believe that, adding weight to what was recorded, they might be used without injury or inconvenience of any kind to my interlocutors.
The sum of my conclusions is suggested in the title of this book. I speak of France as one thing, and of the Republic as another thing. I do not speak of the French Republic, for the Republic as it now exists does not seem to me to be French, and France, as I have found it, is certainly not Republican.
The Third French Republic, as it exists to-day, is just ten years old.
It owes its being, not to any direct action of the French people, but to the success of a Parliamentary revolution, chiefly organised by M. Gambetta. The ostensible object of this revolution was to prevent the restoration of the French Monarchy. The real object of it was to take the life of the executive authority in France. M. Gambetta fell by the way, but the evil he did lives after him.
He was one of the celebrities of an age in which celebrity has almost ceased to be a distinction. But the measure of his political capacity is given in the fact that he was an active promoter of the insurrection of September 4, 1870, in Paris against the authority of the Empress Eugenie. A more signal instance is not to be found in history of that supreme form of public stupidity which President Lincoln stigmatised, in a memorable phrase, as the operation of 'swapping horses while crossing a stream.'
It was worse than an error or a crime, it was simply silly. The inevitable effect of it was to complete the demoralisation of the French armies, and to throw France prostrate before her conquerors. A very well-known German said to me a few years ago at Lucerne, where we were discussing the remarkable trial of Richter, the dynamiter of the Niederwald: 'Ah! we owe much to Gambetta, and Jules Favre, and Thiers, and the French Republic. They saved us from a social revolution by paralysing France. We could never have exacted of the undeposed Emperor at Wilhelmshoehe, with the Empress at Paris, the terms which those blubbering jumping-jacks were glad to accept from us on their knees.'
The imbecility of September 4, 1870, was capped by the lunacy of the Commune of Paris in 1871. This latter was more than France could bear, and a wholesome breeze of national feeling stirs in the 'murders grim and great,' by which the victorious Army of Versailles avenged the cowardly massacre of the hostages, and the destruction of the Tuileries and the Hotel de Ville.
With what 'mandate,' and by whom conferred, M. Thiers went to Bordeaux in 1871, is a thorny question, into which I need not here enter. What he might have done for his country is, perhaps, uncertain. What he did we know. He founded a republic of which, in one of his characteristic phrases, he said that: 'it must be Conservative, or it could not be,' and this he did with the aid of men without whose concurrence it would have been impossible, and of whom he knew perfectly well that they were fully determined the Republic should not be Conservative. He became Chief of the State, and this for a time, no doubt, he imagined would suffice to make the State Conservative.
He was supported by an Assembly in which the Monarchists of France predominated. The triumphant invasion and the imminent peril of the country had brought monarchical France into the field as one man. M. Gambetta's absurd Government of the National Defence, even in that supreme moment of danger when the Uhlans were hunting it from pillar to post, actually compelled the Princes of the House of France to fight for their country under assumed names, but it could not prevent the sons of all the historic families of France from risking their lives against the public enemy. All over France a general impulse of public confidence put the French Conservatives forward as the men in whose hands the reconstitution of the shattered nation would be safest. The popular instinct was justified by the result.
From 1871 to 1877, France was governed, under the form of a republic, by a majority of men who neither had, nor professed to have, any more confidence in the stability of a republican form of government, than Alexander Hamilton had in the working value of the American Constitution which he so largely helped to frame, and which he accepted as being the best it was possible in the circumstances to get. But they did their duty to France, as he did his duty to America. To them—first under M. Thiers, and then under the Marechal-Duc de Magenta—France is indebted for the reconstruction of her beaten and disorganised army, for the successful liquidation of the tremendous war-indemnity imposed upon her by victorious Germany, for the re-establishment of her public credit, and for such an administration of her national finances as enabled her, in 1876, to raise a revenue of nearly a thousand millions of francs, or forty millions of pounds sterling, in excess of the revenue raised under the Empire seven years before, without friction and without undue pressure. In 1869, the Empire had raised a revenue of 1,621,390,248 francs. In 1876, the Conservative Republic raised a revenue of 2,570,505,513 francs. With this it covered all the cost of the public service, carried the charges resulting from the war and its consequences, set apart 204,000,000 francs for public works, and yet left in the Treasury a balance of 98,000,000 francs.
It is told of one of the finance ministers of the Restoration, Baron Louis, that when a deputy questioned him once about the finances, he replied, 'Do you give us good politics and I will give you good finances.' It seems to me that the budget of 1876 proves the politics of the Conservative majority in the French Parliament of that time to have been good. The Marechal-Duc de Magenta was then president. M. Thiers had resigned his office in 1873, in consequence of a dispute with the Assembly, the true history of which may one day be edifying, and the Assembly had elected the Marechal-Duc to fill his place.
I have been told by one of the most distinguished public men in France that, in his passionate desire to prevent the election of the Marechal Duc, M. Thiers was bent upon promoting a movement to bring against the soldier of Magenta an accusation like that which led to the condemnation of the Marechal Bazaine, and that he was with difficulty restrained from doing this.
Monstrous as this attempt would have been, it hardly seems more monstrous than the abortive attempt which was actually made, under the inspiration of M. Gambetta and his friends, to convict the Marechal Duc and his ministers, 'the men of the 16th of May,' of conspiring, while in possession of the executive power, to bring about the overthrow of the Republic and the restoration of the Monarchy.
M. Gambetta and his party having formed in 1877 what is known as 'the alliance of the 363,' determined to drive the Marechal-Duc from the Presidency, to take the control of public affairs entirely into their own hands, and to reduce the Executive to the position created for Louis XVI. by the revolutionists of the First Republic, before the atrocious plot of August 10, 1792, made an end of the monarchy and of public order altogether, and prepared the way for the massacres of September. Whether the Marechal-Duc might not have resisted this revolutionary conspiracy to the end it is not worth while now to inquire. Suffice it that he gave way finally, and, refusing to submit to the degradation of the high post he held, accepted M. Gambetta's alternative and relinquished it.
It appears to me that the true aim of the Republicans (who had carried the elections of 1877 by persuading France that Germany would at once invade the country if the Conservatives won the day) is sufficiently attested by the fact that they chose, as the successor of the Marechal-Duc, a public man chiefly conspicuous for the efforts he had made to secure the abolition of the Executive office!
M. Grevy had failed to get the Presidency of the Republic suppressed when the organic law was passed in 1875. He was more successful when, on January 30, 1879, he consented to accept the Presidency. When he entered the Elysee, the executive authority went out of it. The Third French Republic, such as it now exists, was constituted on that day—the anniversary, by the way, oddly enough, of the decapitation of Charles I. of England at Whitehall.
That is the date, not 'centennial,' but 'decennial,' which ought to have been celebrated in 1889 by the Third French Republic. In his first Message, February 7, 1879, M. Grevy formally said: 'I will never resist the national will expressed by its constitutional organs.' From that moment the parliamentary majority became the Government of France.
Something very like this French parliamentary revolution of 1879 to which France is indebted for the Third Republic as it exists to-day, was attempted in the United States about ten years before.
In both instances the intent of the parliamentary revolutionists was to take the life of a Constitution without modifying its forms. The failure of the American is not less instructive than the success of the French parliamentary revolution, and as all my readers, perhaps, are not as familiar with American political history as with some other topics, I hope I may be pardoned for briefly pointing this out.
Upon the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865 the Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, became President. He was a Southern man, and as one of the Senators from the Southern State of Tennessee he had refused to go with his State in her secession from the Union. To this he owed his association on the Presidential ticket with Mr. Lincoln at the election in 1864. He was no more and no less opposed to slavery in the abstract than President Lincoln, of whom it is well known that he regarded his own now famous proclamation of 1863 freeing the slaves in the seceded States, as an illegal concession to the Anti-Slavery feeling of the North and of Europe, and that he spoke of it with undisguised contempt, as a 'Pope's bull against the comet.' Like Mr. Lincoln, Andrew Johnson was devoted to the Union, but he was a Constitutional Democrat in his political opinions, and the Civil War having ended in the defeat of the Confederacy, he gradually settled down to his constitutional duty, as President of the United States, towards the States which had formed the Confederacy. This earned for him the bitter hostility of the then dominant majority in both Houses of Congress, led by a man of unbridled passions and of extraordinary energy, Thaddeus Stevens, a representative from Pennsylvania, a sort of American Couthon, infirm of body but all compact of will. It was the purpose of this majority to humiliate and chastise, not to conciliate, the defeated South. Already, under President Lincoln, this purpose had brought the leaders of the majority more than once into collision with the Executive. Under President Johnson they forced a collision with the Veto power of the President, by two unconstitutional bills, one attainting the whole people of the South, and the other aimed at the authority of the Executive over his officers. In the policy thus developed they had the co-operation of the Secretary at War, Mr. Stanton, and during the recess of Congress in August 1867 it became apparent that with his assistance they meant to subjugate the Executive. President Johnson quickly brought matters to an issue. He first, during the recess, suspended Mr. Stanton from the War Office, putting General Grant in charge of it, and upon the reassembling of Congress in December 1867 'removed' him, and directed him to hand over his official portfolio to General Thomas, appointed to fill the place ad interim. Thereupon the majority of the House carried through that body a resolution of impeachment, prepared, by a committee, the necessary articles, and brought the President to trial before the Senate, constituted as a court for 'high crimes and misdemeanours.' Two of the articles of impeachment were founded upon disrespect alleged to have been publicly shown by the President to Congress. The President, by his counsel, among whom were Mr. Evarts, since then Secretary of State, and now a Senator for New York, and Mr. Stanberry, an Attorney-General of the United States, appeared before the Senate on March 13, 1868. The President asked for forty days, in which to prepare an answer. The Senate, without a division, refused this, and ordered the answer to be filed within ten days. The trial finally began on March 30, and, after keeping the country at fever-heat for two months, ended on May 26, in the failure of the impeachment. Only three out of the eleven articles were voted upon. Upon each thirty-five Senators voted the President to be 'Guilty,' and nineteen Senators voted him to be 'Not guilty.' As the Constitution of the United States requires a two-thirds vote in such a trial, the Chief Justice declared the President to be acquitted, and the attempt of the Legislature to dominate the Executive was defeated. Seven of the nineteen Senators voting 'Not guilty' were of the Republican party which had impeached the President, and it will be seen that a change of one vote in the minority would have carried the day for the revolutionists. So narrow was our escape from a peril which the founders of the Constitution had foreseen, and against which they had devised all the safeguards possible in the circumstances of the United States. What, in such a case, would become of a French President?
The American President is not elected by Congress except in certain not very probable contingencies, and when the House votes for a President, it votes not by members but by delegations, each state of the Union casting one vote. The French President is elected by a convention of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, in which every member has a vote, and the result is determined by an actual majority. The Senate of the United States is entirely independent of the House. A large proportion of the members of the French Senate are elected by the Assembly, and the Chamber outnumbers the Senate by nearly two to one. What the procedure of the French Senate, sitting as a High Court on the impeachment of a President by the majority of the Chamber, would probably be, may be gathered from the recent trial by that body of General Boulanger.
With the resignation of the Marechal-Duc and the election of M. Grevy the Government of France, ten years ago, became what it now is—a parliamentary oligarchy, with absolutely no practical check upon its will except the recurrence every four years of the legislative elections. And as these elections are carried out under the direct control, through the prefects and the mayors, of the Minister of the Interior, himself a member of the parliamentary oligarchy, the weakness of this check might be easily inferred, had it not been demonstrated by facts during the elections of September 22 and October 6, 1889.
How secure this parliamentary oligarchy feels itself to be, when once the elections are over, appears from the absolutely cynical coolness with which the majority goes about what is called the work of 'invalidating' the election of members of the minority. Something of the sort went on in my own country during the 'Reconstruction' period which followed the Civil War, but it never assumed the systematic form now familiar in France. As practised under the Third Republic it revives the spirit of the methods by which Robespierre and the sections 'corrected the mistakes' made by the citizens of Paris in choosing representatives not amenable to the discipline of the 'sea-green incorruptible'; and as a matter of principle, leads straight on to that usurpation of all the powers of the State by a conspiracy of demagogues which followed the subsidized Parisian insurrection of August 10, 1792.
Such a regime as this sufficiently explains the phenomenon of 'Boulangism,' by which Englishmen and Americans are so much perplexed. Put any people into the machinery of a centralized administrative despotism in which the Executive is merely the instrument of a majority of the legislature, and what recourse is there left to the people but 'Boulangism'? 'Boulangism' is the instinctive, more or less deliberate and articulate, outcry of a people living under constitutional forms, but conscious that, by some hocus-pocus, the vitality has been taken out of those forms. It is the expression of the general sense of insecurity. In a country situated as France now is, it is natural that this inarticulate outcry should merge itself at first into a clamour for the revision of a Constitution which has been made a delusion and a snare; and then into a clamour for a dynasty which shall afford the nation assurance of an enduring Executive raised above the storm of party passions, and sobering the triumph of party majorities with a wholesome sense of responsibility to the nation.
There would have been no lack of 'Boulangism' in France forty years ago had M. Thiers and his legislative cabal got the better of the Prince President in the 'struggle for life' which then went on between the Place St.-Georges and the Elysee!
There are two periods, one in the history of modern England, the other in the history of the United States, which directly illuminate the history of France since the overthrow of the ancient French Monarchy in 1792.
One of these is the period of the Long Parliament in England. The other is the brief but most important interval which elapsed between the recognition of the independence of the thirteen seceded British colonies in America, at Versailles in 1783, and the first inauguration of Washington as President of the United States at New York on April 30, 1789. No Englishman or American, who is reasonably familiar with the history of either of these periods, will hastily attribute the phenomena of modern French politics to something essentially volatile and unstable in the character of the French people.
My own acquaintance, such as it is, with France—for I should be sorry to pretend to a thorough knowledge of France, or of any country not my own—goes back, as I have intimated, to the early days of the Second Empire. It has been my good fortune, at various times, to see a good deal of the social and political life of France, and I long ago learned that to talk of the character of the French people is almost as slipshod and careless as to talk of the character of the Italian people.
The French people are not the outgrowth of a common stock, like the Dutch or the Germans.
The people of Provence are as different in all essential particulars from the people of Brittany, the people of French Flanders from the people of Gascony, the people of Savoy from the people of Normandy, as are the people of Kent from the people of the Scottish Highlands, or the people of Yorkshire from the people of Wales. The French nation was the work, not of the French people, but of the kings of France, not less but even more truly than the Italian nation, such as we see it gradually now forming, is the work of the royal House of Savoy.
The sudden suppression of the National Executive by a parliamentary conspiracy at Paris in 1792 violently interrupted the orderly and natural making of France, just as the sudden suppression of the National Executive in 1649 after the occupation of Edinburgh by Argyll and the surrender of Colchester to Fairfax had put England at the mercy of Cromwell's 'honest' troopers, and of knavish fanatics like Hugh Peters, violently interrupted the making of Britain. It took England a century to recover her equilibrium. Between Naseby Field in 1645 and Culloden Moor in 1746 England had, except during the reign of Charles II., no better assurance of continuous domestic peace than France enjoyed first under Louis Philippe and then under the Second Empire. During those hundred years Englishmen were thought by the rest of Europe to be as excitable, as volatile, and as unstable as Frenchmen are not uncommonly thought by the rest of mankind now to be. There is a curious old Dutch print of these days in which England appears as a son of Adam in the hereditary costume, standing at gaze amid a great disorder of garments strewn upon the floor, while a scroll displayed above him bears this legend:
I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear. Now I will wear this, and now I will wear that, And now I will wear—I don't know what!
There was as much—and as little—reason thus to depict the England of the seventeenth, as there is thus to depict the France of the nineteenth century.
If there had ever been, a hundred years ago, such a thing as a French Republic, founded, as the American Republic of 1787 was founded, by the deliberate will of the people, and offering them a reasonable prospect of maintaining liberty and law, that Republic would exist to-day. That we are watching the desperate effort of a centralised parliamentary despotism at Paris in the year 1890 to maintain a 'Third Republic' is conclusive proof that this was not the case.
France—the French people, that is—- had no more to do with the overthrow of the monarchy of Louis XVI., with the fall of the monarchy of Charles X., with the collapse of the monarchy of July, or with the abolition of the Second Empire, than with the abdication of Napoleon I. at Fontainebleau.
Not one of these catastrophes was provoked by France or the French people; not one of them was ever submitted by its authors to the French people for approval.
Only two French governments during the past century can be accurately said to have been definitely branded and condemned as failures by the deliberate voice of the French people. One of these was the First Republic, which after going through a series of convulsions equally grotesque and ghastly, was swept into oblivion by an overwhelming vote of the French people in response to the appeal of the first Napoleon. The other was the Second Republic, which was put upon trial by the Third Napoleon on December 10, 1851, and condemned to immediate extinction by a vote of 7,439,219 to 640,737. I am at a loss to see how it is possible to deduce from these simple facts of French history the conclusion that the French people are, and for a century have been, madly bent upon getting a Republic established in France, unless, indeed, I am to suppose that the French Republicans proceed upon the principle said to be justified by the experience of countries in which the standard of mercantile morality is not absolutely puritanical—that three successive bankruptcies will enable a really clever man to retire from business with a handsome fortune!
If it were possible, as happily it is impossible, that the American people could be afflicted with a single year of such a Republic as that which now exists in France, we would rid ourselves of it, if necessary, by seeking annexation to Canada under the crown of our common ancestors, or by inviting the exiled Dom Pedro to recross the Atlantic and accept the throne of a North American Empire, with substantial guarantees that if we should ever change our minds and put him politely on board a ship again for Europe, the cheque given to him on his departure would not be dishonoured on presentation to the national bankers!
It is the penalty, I suppose, of our position in the United States, as the first and, so far, the only successful great republic of modern times, that we are expected to accept a sort of moral responsibility for all the experiments in republicanism, no matter how absurd, odious, or preposterous they may be, which it may come into the heads of people anywhere else in the world to try. I do not see why Americans who are not under some strenuous necessity of making stump speeches in or out of Congress, with an eye to some impending election, should submit to this without a protest. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery: it does not follow that it is the most agreeable.
I do not know that Western drawing-rooms take more delight in the Japanese, who most amiably present themselves everywhere in the regulation dress-coat and white cravat of modern Christendom, than in the Chinese, who calmly and haughtily persist in wearing the ample, stately, and comfortable garments of their own people.
The framers of the French Republican Constitution of 1875 did the United States the honour to copy incorrectly, and absolutely to misapply, certain leading features of our organic law. In order to accomplish purposes absolutely inconsistent with all American ideas of liberty and of justice, the parliamentary revolutionists who got possession of power in France in 1879 have so twisted to their own ends this French Constitution of 1875, that their government of the Third French Republic in 1890 really resembles the government of the Akhoond of Swat about as nearly as it resembles the government of the American Republic under Washington.
The parliamentary revolutionists of the Third French Republic are Republicans first and then Frenchmen. The framers of the American Republic were Americans first and then Republicans. The Republic which they framed was an experiment imposed upon the American people, not by philosophers and fanatics, but by the force of circumstances. The ablest of the men who framed it were not Republicans by theory. On the contrary, they had been born and bred under a monarchy. Under that monarchy they had enjoyed a measure of civil and religious liberty which the Third Republic certainly refuses to Frenchmen in France to-day. M. Jules Ferry and M. Constans have no lessons to give in law or in liberty to which George Washington, or John Adams, or even Thomas Jefferson, would have listened with toleration while the Crown still adorned the legislative halls of the British colonies in America. Our difficulties with the mother country began, not with the prerogative of the Crown—that gave our fathers so little trouble that one of the original thirteen States lived and prospered under a royal charter from Charles II. down to the middle of the nineteenth century—but with the encroachments of the Parliament. The roots of the affection which binds Americans to the American Republic strike deep down into the history of American freedom under the British monarchy. The forms have changed, the living substance is the same. Americans know at least as well as Englishmen what the most intelligent of French Republicans apparently have still to learn, that liberty is impossible without loyalty to something higher than self-interest and self-will.
This sufficiently explains to me a remark often cited as made to Sir Theodore Martin by General Grant during the ex-President's visit to England, to the effect that Englishmen 'live under institutions which Americans would give their ears to possess.'
General Grant neither was, nor did he pretend to be, a great statesman. But he was an American of the Americans. Four years of Civil War and eight years of Presidential power had not been thrown away upon him. He came into the Presidency as the successor of Andrew Johnson, who was made President by the bullet of an assassin, and who was impeached, as I have said, before the Senate for doing his plain constitutional duty, by an unscrupulous parliamentary cabal.
He left the Presidency, to be succeeded in it by a President who derived the more than doubtful title under which he took his seat from a Commission unknown to the Constitution, and accepted by the American people only as the alternative of political chaos and of a fresh civil war.
Through his position at the head of the American army, General Grant, as I have already mentioned, had been drawn into the contest between President Johnson and the parliamentary cabal bent on breaking down the constitutional authority of the Executive.
Going into the Presidency fresh from this drama, in 1869, General Grant went out of the Presidency in 1877, after a drama not less impressive and instructive had been enacted under his eyes, which threatened for many weeks to result in a complete failure of the machinery provided by the American Constitution for the lawful and orderly transmission of the executive authority. It did, in fact, result in the adoption by Congress of an extra-constitutional expedient, by which the orderly transmission of the executive authority was secured, but the lawful transmission of it—as I believe, and as I think I have reason to know General Grant believed—was defeated.
Whether the constitutional machinery would or would not have carried us safely through if the final strain had been put upon it, is now an academic question not here to be discussed. But the final strain was evaded by the adoption of the extra-constitutional expedient to which I refer. An Electoral Commission was created by Congress to decide by which of two sets of Presidential electors claiming to have been chosen for that purpose the Presidential vote of certain States should be cast; and it is a curious circumstance that General Grant, who had seen his executive predecessor saved from removal by a single vote in the Senate in 1869, saw his executive successor established in the White House, in 1877, by a single vote in this Electoral Commission.
It would have been strange indeed had the experience of General Grant failed to impress upon him, with at least equal force, the advantages to liberty of a hereditary executive acting as the fountain of social honour, and the disadvantages to liberty of an elective executive tending to become a distributing reservoir of political patronage.
I once had a curious talk bearing on this subject with General Grant after he had retired from the Presidency. He had dined with me to meet and discuss a matter of some importance with a Mexican friend of mine, Senor Romero, long Minister of Finance in Mexico, and now Mexican Envoy at Washington. When I next met the ex-President he reverted with great interest to something which had been incidentally said at this dinner about the experiment of empire made in Mexico by Iturbide, the general who finally broke the power of Spain in that viceroyalty, and secured its independence. I showed him certain documents which I had obtained in Mexico through the kindness of Maximilian's very able Foreign Minister, Senor Ramirez, a most accomplished bibliophile, bearing upon Iturbide's plan for making the American Mediterranean a Mexican lake. He expected to break up the United States by asserting the right of the Mexican Empire to the mouths of the Mississippi, and the whole Spanish dominion as far as the Capes of Florida. 'It seems a mad thing now,' said the ex-President, 'but it was not so mad perhaps then,' and we went on to discuss the schemes of Burr and Wilkinson and the alleged treason of an early Tennessean senator. 'Perhaps it was not a bad thing for us,' he said, 'that the Mexicans shot their first Emperor—but was it a good thing for them?' 'I have sometimes wondered,' he added, 'what would have happened to us if Gates, or—what was at one time, as you know, quite on the cards—Benedict Arnold, instead of George Washington, had commanded the armies of the colonies successfully down to the end at Yorktown.'
What indeed! That is a pregnant query, not hastily to be dealt with by genial after-dinner oratory about the self-governing capacity of the Anglo-Norman race—still less by Fourth of July declamations over what the leader of the Massachusetts Bar used to call the 'glittering generalities' of the American Declaration of Independence!
The experience of the Latin states of the New World throws useful side-lights upon it. Of all these states between the Rio Grande and Cape Horn, only one began and has lived out its round half-century of independence without serious civil convulsions. This is—or rather was—the Empire of Brazil, of which Dom Pedro I., of the Portuguese reigning house of Braganza, on March 25, 1824, swore to maintain the integrity and indivisibility, and to observe, and cause to be observed, the political Constitution. That oath the Emperor and his son and successor, Dom Pedro II., who took it after him in due course, seem to have conscientiously kept. It does not appear to have impressed itself as deeply upon the consciences of the military and naval officers of the present day in Brazil, all of whom, of course, must have taken it substantially on receiving their commission from the chief of the State, and it now remains to be seen what will become hereafter of the Empire.
The authors of the Brazilian Constitution fully recognised the impossibility of maintaining a constitutional government without some guarantee of the independence of the Executive. They found this guarantee not by applying checks and balances to the elective principle, but simply in the hereditary principle, just as they found the guarantee of the independence of the judiciary in the life-tenure of the magistrates, and they introduced into their Constitution what they called a 'moderating power.' This power was lodged, by the 98th article of the Brazilian Constitution, with the Emperor—and the article thus runs: 'The moderating power is the key of the whole political organisation, and it is delegated exclusively to the Emperor, as the supreme chief of the nation and its first representative, that he may incessantly watch over the maintenance of the independence, equilibrium, and harmony of the other political powers.'
The key of the 'political organisation' of Brazil seems to have worked very well for fifty years. Now that it has been thrown away, it will be interesting to watch the results.
The question, with us in the United States, from the beginning has been whether the carefully devised provisions of oar organic Constitution of 1787 would or would not be found in practice to protect the sentiment of loyalty to a National Union as effectually against popular caprice and political intrigues as the sentiment of loyalty to a National Crown has been protected in England by the hereditary principle. The American Revolution of 1776, and the foundation of the American Republic of 1787, can never be understood without a thorough appreciation of the fact that the issues involved in the English Revolution which placed the daughter of James II. on the English throne, and in the establishment subsequently of the House of Hanover, because it was an offshoot of the dethroned House of Stuart, were quite as intelligently discussed, and quite as thoroughly worked out, among the English in America as among the English in England. Without a thorough appreciation of this fact it is impossible to understand the conservative value to liberty in the United States, of the personal position and the personal influence of the first American President. Washington was, in truth, the uncrowned king of the new nation—'first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.' What more and what less than this is there in the history of Alfred the Great?
Washington founded no dynasty, but he made the American Presidency possible, and the American President is a king with a veto, elected, not by the people directly, but by special electors, for four years, and re-eligible. We celebrate the birthday of Washington like the birthday of a king. The same instinct gave his name to the capital of his nation, and that name was found a name to conjure with when the great stress came of the Civil War in 1861. The sentiment of loyalty, developed and twined about that name and about the Union which Washington had founded, was not only the glow at the core of the Northern resistance to secession: it was the secret and the explanation of that sudden revival of the spirit of national loyalty at the South after the war was over and an end was put to the villanies of 'Reconstruction,' by which European observers of American affairs have been and still are so much puzzled. For it must be remembered that the Father of his Country was a son of the South, and that his native state, Virginia, is the oldest of the American Commonwealths, and is known as 'the Mother of Presidents.' The historic Union is as much Southern as Northern. Its existence was put in peril in 1812 by the States of the extreme North. Its integrity was shattered for a time in 1861 by the States of the South. Before it was founded, in 1787, there was no such thing as an American nation. There were thirteen independent American States which for certain purposes only had formed what was described as a 'perpetual union,' under certain Articles of Confederation. These Articles were drawn up in 1778, at a time when the event of the war with the mother country was still most uncertain, and they were never finally ratified by all the States until 1781, two years before the Peace of Versailles. Under these Articles the national affairs of the Confederacy were controlled by the Congress of the States. No national Executive existed, not even such a nominal Executive as now exists in France. National affairs were managed during the recess of the Congress by a Committee, and this Committee could only confide the Presidency to any one member of the Committee for one year at a time out of three years. This was even worse than the elective kingship without a veto of the English Republicans of 1649. But how were the people of these thirteen independent States, each with a history, with interests, with prejudices, with sympathies of its own, to be brought together and induced to form, through a more perfect union, a nation, in the only way in which a nation can be formed, by the establishment of an independent national Executive?
This was the question which was met and answered only after long debates, and with infinite difficulty, by the American Constitutional Convention of 1787. It is more than probable that this convention could never have been held without the influence and the presence of George Washington, who presided over its deliberations; and it is as certain as anything human can be, that the constitution which it framed would never have been accepted by the people of the States if they had not known that the executive office created by it would be filled by him.
The political safeguards put about the American Executive by the constitution may or may not always resist such a strain as has already more than once been put upon them. The seceding States, in their constitution adopted at Montgomery in 1861, tried to strengthen these safeguards by extending the presidential term to six years, and making the President re-eligible only after an interval of six years more. But all our national experience goes to show that the more difficult it is for a mere majority of the people to make or unmake the authority which sets a final sanction upon the execution of the laws, the greater will be the safety of the public liberty and of private rights.
So true is this that every American who witnessed, at London in 1887, the Jubilee of the Queen, felt, and was glad to feel, with a natural and instinctive sympathy, the honest contagion of that magnificent outburst of the loyalty of a great and free people to the hereditary representative of their historic liberties and of their historic law. I am sure that no intelligent Englishman can have witnessed the tremendous outpouring of the American people into New York on April 30, 1889, to do honour there to the hundredth anniversary of the first inauguration of George Washington, without a kindred emotion.
To compare with the significance of either of these scenes that of the gigantic cosmopolitan fair dedicated at Paris in 1889 by President Carnot to the 'principles of 1789' is to exhaust the resources of the ridiculous.
The antagonism which now exists between France and the Third Republic certainly did not exist between France and the ancient monarchy. The members of the Etats-Generaux of 1789, who were so soon permitted, by the incapacity of Louis XVI., to resolve that body into the chaotic mob which assumed the name of a National Assembly, were elected, not at all to change the fabric of the French Government, but simply to reform, in concert with the king, abuses, two-thirds of which were virtually defunct when the king took off his hat to the Three Orders at Versailles on the 5th of May, 1789, and the rest of which took a new lease of life, often under new names, from the follies and the crimes of the First Republic, after the 22nd of September, 1792. Two contemporary observers, watching the drama from very different points of view, Arthur Young and Gouverneur Morris, long ago discerned this. M. Henri Taine, and the group of conscientious historical students who, during the last quarter of a century, have been reconstructing the annals of the revolutionary period, have put it beyond all doubt. The enormous majority of the French people, and even of the people of Paris, were so little infatuated with the 'principles of 1789' that they regarded the advent to power of the first Napoleon with inexpressible relief, as making an end of what Arthur Young calls, and not too sternly, a series of constitutions 'formed by conventions of rabble and sanctioned by the sans-culottes of the kennel.' Without fully understanding this, it is impossible to understand either the history of the Napoleons, or the present antagonism between France and the Third Republic.
Of this I am so deeply convinced that I have thought it right to interweave, when occasion offered, with my account of things as they are in France, what I believe to be the historic truth as to things as they were in France at and before the period of the Revolution. To judge the France of 1890 fairly, and forecast its future intelligently, we must thoroughly rid ourselves of the notion that the masses of the French people had anything more to do with the dethronement and the murder of Louis XVI. than the masses of the English people had to do with the dethronement and the murder of Charles I. Neither crime was perpetrated to enlarge the liberties or to protect the interests of the people. We long ago got at the truth about the great English rebellion. 'Pride's Purge,' the 'elective kingship without a veto of the 'New Model,' and the merciless mystification of Bradshaw, tell their own story. Steering to avoid the Scylla of Strafford, the luckless Parliamentarians ran the ship of State full into the Charybdis of Cromwell.
It is only within very recent times that the daylight of facts has begun to dissipate the mists of the French legend of 1789. Even Republican writers of repute now disdain to concern themselves more seriously with the so-called histories of Thiers, of Mignet, and of Lamartine than with the Chevalier de Maison-Rouge of Alexandre Dumas and the Charlotte Corday of M. Ponsard.
Of course the legend dies hard—all legends do. Even the whipping of Titus Oates at the cart's tail through London did not kill the legend of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey and the Popish Plot. The Republicans of the Third Republic have not scrupled to set up a statue to Danton. People who might easily learn the truth still speak, and not in France only, about Robespierre and Madame Roland in terms which really justify M. Bire in anticipating a time when Raoul-Rigault maybe celebrated as a patriot and Louise Michel as a heroine. No longer ago than in 1888 certain people, perhaps relying on the fact that M. Casimir Perier, the actual owner of the chateau at Vizille in which the famous meeting of the Estates of Dauphiny was held in 1788, is a Republican, actually undertook to 'ring up the curtain' on the Centennial of 1789 by representing Barnave and Mounier as clamouring in 1788 for a republic at Vizille! Of all which let us say with Mr. Carlyle, 'What should Falsehood do but decease, being ripe, decompose itself, and return to the Father of it?' To whom, alas! I fear, under this inexorable law must in due time revert too many of the fuliginous word-pictures of Mr. Carlyle's own dithyrambic prose concerning the 'French Revolution'!
The giants who stalked through his inflamed imagination like spectres on the Brocken, may be seen to-day in the Musee de la Revolution at Paris, shrunken to their true proportions—a dreary procession, indeed, of dreamers, madmen, quacks and felons! How can that be called a 'Great Revolution,' of which it is recorded that before it had filled the brief orbit of a decade, it had made an end of the life or of the reputation of every single man conspicuous in initiating or promoting it? The men who began the English Revolution of 1688 organised the new order to which it led. The men who began the American Revolution of 1776 organised the new nation which it called into being. This must have been as true of the French Revolution had it been really an outcome of the 'principles of 1789,' or of any principles at all. But it was nothing of the kind. It was simply a carnival of incapacities, ending naturally in an orgie of crime. It was in the order of Nature that it should deify Mirabeau in the Pantheon, only to dig up his dishonoured remains and trundle them under an unmarked stone at the meeting of four streets, that it should set Bailly on a civic throne, only to drag him forth, under a freezing sky, to his long and dismal martyrdom amid a howling mob, that it should acclaim Lafayette as the Saviour of France, only to hunt him across the frontier into an Austrian prison.
It was because France detested the Republic, and, detesting the Republic, might at any moment recall the Bourbons, that Napoleon executed the Duc d'Enghien. It was to make an end of claims older than his own upon the allegiance of a people essentially and naturally monarchical. It was a crime, but it was not a squalid and foolish crime like the murder of Louis XVI. It belonged to the same category with the execution of Conradin of Hohenstaufen by Charles of Anjou—not, indeed, as to its mere atrocity, but as to its motives and its intent. It announced to the French people the advent of a new dynasty, and left them no choice but between the Republic and the Empire. An autograph letter of Carnot, the grandfather of the actual President of the Third Republic, sold the other day in Paris may be cited to illustrate this point. Carnot, like many other regicides, would gladly have made his peace with Louis XVIII. His peace with some sovereign he knew that he must make. The letter I now refer to was written after the return of the Emperor from Elba, and it could hardly have been written had Carnot not believed that France might be rallied to the Empire and to its chief, because France could not exist without a monarchy and a monarch.
The restoration of the monarchy was cordially accepted by the French people. The American friends of France celebrated it with a banquet in New York. France prospered under it. It laid the foundations of the French dominion in Africa, and thereby gave to modern France the only field of colonial expansion which can be said, down to the present time, to have enured to any real good either for French commerce or the French people. Certainly M. Ferry and the Republic have so far done nothing with Tonquin to dim the lustre of the monarchical conquest of Algiers.
On the contrary, the Republic, through its occupation of Tunis, its 'pouting policy' towards England in Egypt, and its more recent intimations of a great French Africa to be carried eastward to the Atlantic, has prepared, and is preparing, for France in the perhaps not distant future a new chapter of political accidents upon the possible gravity and extent of which prudent Frenchmen meditate with dubious satisfaction.
The sceptre passed as quietly from Louis XVIII. to Charles X. in France as from George IV. to William IV. in England. So far, indeed, as public disorder indicates public discontent, the English monarchy was in greater peril during the period between 1815 and 1830 than the French monarchy. When the Revolution of July came, no man thought seriously of asking France to accept a second trial of the Republic, and the crown was pressed upon the Duc d'Orleans, with the anxious assent of Lafayette, the friend of Washington, Mirabeau's 'Grandison-Cromwell' of the Revolution of 1789. Under the long reign of Louis Philippe France again prospered exceedingly. French art and French literature more than recovered their ancient prestige. Attempts were made to restore the elder branch of the Bourbons and to restore the dynasty of the Bonapartes. But no serious attempt was made to restore the Republic.
The Revolution of 1848 took even Paris by surprise. The Republic which emerged from it filled France with consternation, and opened the way at once for the restoration of the Empire. On December 10, 1851, the French people made the Prince-President Dictator, by a vote the significance of which will be only inadequately appreciated if we fail to remember that the millions who cast it were by no means sure that, by putting the sword of France again into the hands of a Napoleon, they would not provoke the perils of a great European war. France did not court these perils, but she preferred them to the risks of a republic.
I spent many months in France at that time, and to me, remembering what I then saw and heard among all sorts and conditions of men, not in the departments only but in Paris itself, the persistency with which the leaders of the present Republican party have set themselves, ever since they came definitely into power with M. Grevy in 1879, to reviving all the most odious traditions of the earlier Republican experiments, and to re-identifying the Republic with all that the respectable masses of the French people most hate and dread, has seemed from the first, and now seems, little short of judicial madness.
It did not surprise me, therefore, in 1885, to find the banner of the monarchy frankly unfurled by M. Lambert de Ste.-Croix and scores of other Conservatives, as they then called themselves, at the legislative elections of that year. It did surprise me, however, to see the strength of the support which they instantly received throughout the country. For I believe the masses of the French people to be at heart monarchical, less from any sentiment of loyalty at all either to the race of their ancient kings or to the imperial dynasty, than because the experience of the last century, to which, as I think very unwisely, the Republican Government has appealed in what I cannot but call its rigmarole about the 'Centennial of 1789,' has led them to associate with the idea of a republic the ideas of instability and of anarchy, and with the idea of a monarchy the ideas of stability and of order. Now the Government of the Third Republic, first under M. Thiers and then under the Marechal-Duc of Magenta, was so conducted from 1871 to 1877 as to shake this association.
Under it Frenchmen had seen that a Republic might actually exist in France for seven years without disturbing social order, interfering with freedom of conscience, attacking the religion of the country, or wasting its substance.
There were 'wars and rumours of wars' in the air in 1876. It was very loudly whispered that Germany, alarmed by the rapid advances of France towards a complete recovery of her national strength, meant suddenly and savagely to strike at her; and that, unless the essentially national and military Government of the Marechal-Duc was replaced by a Government which would divert the resources of France largely into industrial, commercial, and colonial adventures, a new invasion might at any moment be feared. It ought to have been obvious that a Government which held in its hand a balance of 98,000,000 francs was much less likely to be wantonly attacked than a Government which meant to outrun its revenue. With a declared balance of 98,000,000 francs to the good, France might raise at the shortest notice 2,000,000,000 francs in a war loan. The balance of the Marechal-Duc's Government was in fact a war-treasure, and a war-treasure of that magnitude was a tolerably effectual guarantee of peace. This ought, I say, to have been obvious; but it is the triumph of demagogic skill to prevent a great people from seeing as a mass what is perfectly plain to every man of them taken alone. Under the stress of a war-panic the French people, whose dread and dislike of republics in general had been lulled, as I have shown, into repose by seven years of a Conservative Republican rule, were led into granting the untested Republic of Gambetta the credit fairly earned by the tested Republic of Macmahon and of Thiers.