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even, in most cases, acting upon its own instincts, and its own responsibility, for the preservation of life and property.
May 28th. All Paris was thrown into a state of alarm, yesterday afternoon, by a report that Emile Thomas, the director of the ateliers nationaux, was arrested, that the workmen were in open insurrection, and were marching upon the Assembly, and that M. Trélat, Minister of Public Works, who had gone in person to Monceaux, in hopes of calming the effervescence, had been detained by the rebels as a hostage, until Emile Thomas should be set at liberty. Bodies of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, were sent to re-inforce the guard at the Chamber, and the National Guard were called out in large numbers. In the evening it was announced that Trélat had been set at liberty, and that Thomas had been dispatched on a mission to Bordeaux ! when the troops of all arms were dismissed to their quarters. As I returned home, at about 11 o'clock, I fell in with groups on the Boulevard, at every fifty yards, who were discussing the events of the day, and talking rank Blancism. I do not myself anticipate any violent outbreak, as the anarchists know that they will have a hot reception, and that there are no hopes of fraternisation for them on any hand.
The police, as you will have seen, have at last arrested Blanqui, and sent him to share Barbès' captivity at Vincennes. This is all very well; but there is another Blanqui and another Barbès, in high places, who will, I am convinced, be put upon their trial, if Emile de Girardin be elected a National Representative next week. He will bring them before the bar of public opinion, to a certainty, and the government are, in consequence, doing everything in their power to impede his nomination. I begin to suspect that, although LedruRollin is the greater ruffian, Lamartine is the more dangerous politician of the two. He, unfortunately, has his bons momens, which the other never has had, and these, bright and dazzling, have blinded the eyes of the public to too many of his mauvais quarts d'heure.
To give you an idea of the extravagance of the men who seized upon the government at the time of the revolution, I will instance Louis Blanc, whose service de bouche, during the nine or ten weeks of his residence at the Luxembourg, cost the treasury upwards of three hundred thousand francs. I heard this yesterday from an old friend of ours, the father of the Countess M. A. G. So true is the old proverb, that, if you “set a beggar on horseback, he will ride to —" you know where.
Paris, May 29th, 1848. M. de Gasparin, who writes from Jerusalem, has addressed to De Girardin a letter, so full of good sense and right feeling, that I cannot but think that you and all our friends in England, who are kind enough to express an interest in my Paris correspondence, will thank me even-for an inadequate English version of his excellent French text.
* It is, perhaps, more especially the province of a man whom the fallen government bad rejected, as 100 sincere, sincerely to avow the regrets which the fall of that government has caused him.
“Such a sentiment will not fail to find an echo in certain hearts, whose sympathy and esteem are dear to me. As for those who expected and desired (in the name of man's dignity, no doubt !) that all the Constitutionalists of the 27th February, should have shown themselves Republicans on the 28th, I bave only this to say to them :—All consciences are not equally easy of conversion. There are men who analyse events, instead of worshipping them, and whose bias inclines them to pay court to misfortune rather than to success.
* The revolution is very powerful, but it cannot turn good into evil, nor the seventeen years which elapsed between 1830 and 1848, into seventeen years of misery and servitude.
“My opinions remain unchanged; and as I would fain believe that our reign of liberty consecrates the freedom of thought and of speech to the profit of all citizens, I have made use of my right in addressing the expression of my condolence to H. M. Louis Philippe, and to Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans.
“The same packet carries home to the Minister of Justice my resignation of the modest and honorary functions which length of service had earned for me in the Council of State.
“I speak without reserve, for I have nothing to conceal. My late colleagues know me. The members of the Provisional Government have seen me at the Chamber. They are aware that my conduct and my intentions will not exceed the limits of the language I employ. They know that I have upheld no sort of abuse, and withheld my support from no sort of liberty.
“In truth, it is probable that I am far too liberal to be either a revolutionist or a socialist. I desire the liberty of the whites and that of the blacks: liberty for associations and liberty for individuals; liberty for home industry and for foreign commerce. I desire that the nation should be free to have a will of its own, even though it should be distasteful to a part of the population of Paris.
“I desire that the National Assembly should be free to express the opinion of the majority, however irritating it may be to the minority.
I desire that the tribune should be free, in spite of the galleries, which may wish it otherwise. I desire that the government should be free, in spite of those place-hunters who may be incensed at their inability to domineer over it, and employ it for their selfish advantage.”
Were this profession de foi addressed to me as a French elector, I, for one, should give a plumper for M. de Gasparin on Sunday next. When will the French people awake from the magnetic sleep into which the heroes of the barricades have cast them? Poor France !
She is like Titania, doting on the hairy snout of a vulgar ruffian, and toying with the long ears of a need-and-greedy poet. How will she blush for herself, when the spell is removed from her eyes!
The following little trait will give you a just idea of the moral courage and strength of conviction evidenced by public men in this country, at the present day.
The order of the day is the discussion of the decree relative to the banishment of Louis Philippe and his family. M. Vézin is in posession of the house; he ascends the tribune.
M. le President. “ Parlez-vous pour ou contre ?”
On rit! An empty phrase, implying the basest cowardice, excites a vacant smile, followed by the silliest chuckle !
“The laughter of the fool,” says the preacher, “is as the crackling of thorns under a pot." The pot may boil over one day, and what will then become of the fool and his laughter? They will be extinguished ; made “an astonishment, an hissing, and perpetual desolation.”
· For my
May 30th. The debate in the National Assembly yesterday was hot and noisy, on the subject of the Atéliers Nationaux, and the arrest of Emile Thomas. M. Trélat, Minister of Public Works, prevaricated most shamefully, in his endeavour to persuade the Chamber that Thomas had voluntarily resigned his office, and accepted a mission tc Bordeaux. M. Taschereau, who had demanded explanations on the subject from the minister, was goaded on by the clamorous interruptions of the Assembly, to make the following protest :
M. Taschereau. In the name of personal liberty, I demand” (the orator's voice is inaudible, from the general hubbub) *** “When charges are brought against a public functionary, it is not for a Turkish cadi and two mutes" (noisy exclamations) * * * part, I do not understand upon what principle a citizen is arrested, if he is not to be brought to trial.”
Numerous voices. « The order of the day!”
Whilst this scene was going on in the Chamber, the intelligent bayonets were in requisition throughout Paris. In every direction they were piled, like sheaves of corn at reaping-time, encumbering half the trottoirs; whilst the “Blue Nationals,” at their tables in front of the cafés, smoking and drinking, monopolised the remainder of the thoroughfare. This continued all day; and at about eight o'clock, an attempt was made to smash the drums, which were calling in the stragglers to their ranks. The perpetrators of this outrage were immediately seized, and marched off to the nearest post. The exasperation of the National Guard against the anarchists, who keep them constantly on the alert, away from their business, their families, and their comfortable beds, is extreme. The officers had great difficulty in restraining their men from thrusting their
bayonets through the bodies of the scoundrels whose knives had let daylight into their drums. Should they once come into collision with the mob, I am convinced the massacre will be fearful; the streets will literally run with blood. We are all looking forward, with much anxiety, to the remodelling of the atéliers nationaux, and to the Barbés-Blanqui trial. Each of these events will be a trying crisis ; but we shall get over both, if, as I hope and expect, the yield of bayonets, at the sound of the rappel, be as abundant as heretofore. Should the yield of rye, at harvest time, be as fruitful, brown bread will be cheap next winter. This would be some “consolation to mankind.”
De Girardin, in the “Presse” of this morning, clearly announces his intention to demand a strict account from the Provisional Go. vernment of the use they have made of the public time and the public money.
"Everywhere we hear it said,—the revolution is to begin again; for it was not to pay the debts, or tickle the vanity of a score or two of incapable or self-sufficient men, that the last revolution was effected.
Everywhere we hear it repeated,—the new ministers are more difficult of access than the old ministers of the constitutional monarchy,—their business is at a stand-still. Rights which are not, and titles which cannot be disputed, are invoked in vain. We are ruined, without being governed !' Things cannot remain in this state.”
And again : “Certain republicans of the eve are strangely deluded if they suppose that their integrity is above all suspicion. Not a day passes but we receive from the provinces letters, expressing the most urgent desire to be informed what the members of the Provisional Government, who have been at the head of ministerial departments, have done with all the money they found in the different public chests on the 24th February; and with all the money that has been collected since. It is the duty of the representatives of the people to bring this question before the House, in a resolute and straightforward manner.
You will, I am sure, be glad to hear the following little bit of court news:
“His excellency, M. Flocon, Minister of Commerce and Agriculture, has just taken up his residence at the Pavillon de Breteuil, one of the dependencies of St. Cloud.”
Madame Flocon will, of course, have the enjoyment of the royal gardens, and be enabled to cultivate her old taste for flowers. It is said that her excellency, before her marriage, followed the honourable calling of a bouquetière, in the neighbourhood of Tortoni's and the Café de Paris.
May 31st, 1848. I remained at home so long, waiting in expectation that the weather would clear, that my letter was too late for the post. This gives me
the opportunity of correcting my statement from the “Presse,” that bis excellency, M. Flocon, had taken up his residence at the royal Pavillon de Breteuil. It appears that, after all the necessary preparation for his excellency's reception had been executed, an offer was made to the Minister of Finance, to rent the place, at 1,500 francs a m th, which Maitre Duclerc did not dare to refuse. It is not stated who the tenant is, but I have little doubt M. de M
is the One can easily conceive that he would see with regret the house, in which he has so often received the king, and the élite of French society, desecrated by the presence of Flocon, consorte, et consorts.
We have a long description of the arrangement and furnishing of the Luxembourg, for the installation of the Executive Council. It would appear that neither the ex-chancellor nor the ex-grand référendaire had any taste for billiards; and that, in consequence, the Grand as well as the Petit Luxembourg is unprovided with a table. What was the astonishment of the Lords of the Executive! Good heavens! no billiard-table in a palace like the Luxembourg! M. le Duc de Montpensier had two very handsome ones in his apartments at Vincennes ; let orders be immediately given for their transportation to the Luxembourg, one to be placed in the apartments of M. Ledru-Rollin, the other, it is said, in those of M. Pagnerre, the chief secretary !* It would be interesting enough to see a double match, played by La Tartine and Le Gueux Coquin, against Arrogant and Garnier pas de Caisse, with the staid Marie for umpire, and Panier de Chiffons as marker. M. Grandin ventured yesterday, in the Chamber, to speak openly what I had written privately to A a fortnight or three weeks ago. There are intriguing leaders, who speculate upon disorder and agitation. There is a government occupying the neutral ground between order and insurrection, which says to the friends of order, Rely upon me; and to the anarchists, Be of good cheer, I am on your side! Culpable hopes are kept up; hopes, the more culpable, that they compromise the class into whose minds they are instilled. As for the intriguing leaders, their tactics are simple and well known. They are aware that they cannot destroy by force the old form of society, which they detest; so they endeavour, by fanning agitation, to prolong the crisis which is ruining trade. They hope, by these means, to weaken and compromise everybody; to bring about a general overturn, through which, the persons to whom I allude think they have a chance of rising to the positions to which their ambition points. At the same time, the government, individually as well as collectively, wants that devotion, that strength, that energy, that love of order, which would sacrifice life itself, if necessary, to its preservation. M. Grandin's speech created a great sensation, and elicited loud tokens of approval.
* Let us hope that Ledru-Rollin, instead of working, will play billiards for twenty hours out of the twenty-four. Just the sort of life suited to a man whose commissaries settled the aftairs of a province, “ entre un verre d'absinthe et une bouffée de fumée de cigare.”