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Tout le monde fait de l'esprit. M. de Cormenin, not satisfied with making it in his draft of the Constitution, no sooner has that job out of hand than he begins again in a pamphlet (under the pseudonym of Timon') to criticise his own work, to blow cold where he blew hot, and to prove that black is white. What a saving of time and wages would be effected, if General Cavaignac were to take the infection, and octroyer some such constitution as this to his faithful subjects :
NOM DE DIEU! AU NEZ DU PEUPLE FRANCAIS,
L'ASSEMBLEE NATIONALE DECRETE :
LOIS ORGANIQUES. 1. L'état de siège en permanence. 2. La suppression de toutes les Libertés, et surtout de celle de la Presse.
ARTICLE SUPPLEMENTAIRE. Tels chapitres du Code Napoléon que le Général Cavaignac jugera à propos et de circonstance, resteront en vigueur jusqu'à nouvel ordre.
General, to hear is to obey! The decree would be voted by acclamation; nothing more would be required, and matters might go on smoothly and satisfactorily until the moment arrived for a new revolution.
In the old Republic, Liberty was worshipped as a goddess in petticoats; in the new, it is anathematised as a devil in a straightwaistcoat!
But what is passing in France is genteel comedy, compared with the low farce of the German buffoons. Hear what news the latest journals from that country brings us.
Sept. 13. I was forced to break off here yesterday, and resume my pen in Paris.
To revert to my German news :- On the 4th September, MM. Liz, Metternich, Ilstein, Simon, Peterson, and a few other Repub. lican notabilities, assembled at Bâle, at a farewell dinner given to M. Hecker, one of the Republican chiefs, who makes a pretence of emigrating to America, but secretly hopes that the German Republic will recall him before he has time to embark. The principal toast, proposed by M. Metternich, was as follows:-“To the new blood baptism of Germany, whose future welfare is to be found in anarchy.”
If this be true, Germany is in the way of salvation, for anarchy is everywhere the order of the day.
In the first place, there is anarchy, in the fullest sense of the word, at Frankfort. The Assembly, after rejecting the armistice and forcing the Ministry to resign, wished to force that same Ministry to notify to Prussia the suspension of the armistice. If this be not anarchy, we should like to know what it is ! The Ministry, as was to be expected, declared that it had given in its resignation precisely because it did not choose to condemn the armistice. Upon this, the great politicians of Frankfort proposed to compel the Archduke to form a provisional Ministry, were it only for an hour, for the sole purpose of notifying to the King of Prussia that the Assembly would have nothing to do with his armistice.
It was a toss up of a zwanziger whether this famous Assembly should not require the Archduke himself to start off by a special train to tell the King of Prussia—“Sire, Messrs. Wessondonk, Venedey, and Reden, the trinity in unity of the German unity in trinity, have instructed me to warn you that they will not countenance the armistice.”
Very fortunately, the Assembly learned that the Archduke hmelf was on the point of resigning, after the example of his Ministry. Such a menace as this forced them to reflect for a moment.
All this would be very amusing if it were a little less sad. M. Dahlmann cannot succeed in forming a Ministry. A man must be possessed with all the vanity of mediocrity to accept a post in German Cabinet. The members of their national assemblies, having never been persons of any sort of importance, occupy themselves day and night in overthrowing ministry after ministry, by way of showing their omnipotence.
Some amongst them, as we have seen, speak of nothing less than oversetting all government, and seeking the salvation of the Fatherland in anarchy.
In Austria, again, one section of the Ministry has been forced to retire. Never has the emperor been so fiercely attacked as since the Assembly declared him inviolable.
At Berlin, the Ministry has resigned en masse, overturned by the recklessness of a single Chamber, which declares itself sovereign and absolute, and will never hear reason either from king or minister.
Monarchy no longer exists, and the Republic has not yet come into being. Is this state of things, then, the boasted German unity? Nothing of the sort; for this same Berlin Assembly is as far as possible from adopting the resolutions of that of Frankfort. Nay, we should not be surprised to see it vote in favour of the armistice, and against the central parliament at Frankfort, were it only to show its independence.
And now, in order to complicate difficulties more and more, General Cavaignac is about to send M. Pascal Duprat as ambassador to Vienna. Madame de Sevigné says in one of her letters that diplomacy is the art de faire trois pas dans un boisseau. The General, unfortunately, cannot even lie still in a buck-basket. Poor M. Bastide, whom no one suspects of being a Solomon, had at least the good taste to be suavis in re, when he announced to the Chamber that Austria had accepted the mediation of France and England; but General Cavaignac, determined to be fortis in modo, thought it dignified to boast, at his late reception of the National Guards, that Austria had not accepted the mediation, but that he had imposed it upon her.
The " Journal des Débats ” fears that France, judged by the samples she sends abroad, will be considered a very droll nation by foreigners. She has now Pascal Duprat, a quasi-socialist, at Vienna ; Emanuel Arago a debauched roué, at Berlin ; Savoie, a kind of physical force Chartist, at Frankfort ; Guillemot, a lame duck, at Athens; Suan de Varennes, a convicted swindler, at Smyrna ; and Sainti, a tailor and bankrupt, at Valentia. Under a King, France was a great workshop; under a Dictator she is a den of thieves. Monarchical, she was a hive of bees; Republican, she is a nest of wasps.
Montmorency, September 16th, 1848.
Poor M. Bastide's foreign policy seems destined in every quarter to encounter the checks it so richly merits. The “National ” of yesterday, after a Jeremiad on recent events Sicily, makes the following luminous remarks on the probable occupation of Venice by the Austrians :
“The Sardinian fleet, it is said, after taking on board the Piedmontese troops, has left the Venetian waters; and the Austrians, it is added, in the absence of any obstacle to their projects, are about to occupy the city,
We attach no credit to the second part of this intelligence, for the following reason :-The armistice concluded between Austria and Charles Albert, stipulates (Art. 4) that “the Sardinian troops shall evacuate Venice.” * But nowhere is there any mention of its occupation by the Austrians. Now, in respect of treaties, no extension whatever of the text is admissible, beyond the limits of what is formally stipulated. It is not stipulated that the Austrians shall occupy the city ; in virtue of the rights of nations, their occupation of it is forbidden.
“Again, we attach no importance to the interpretations which may be given to the armistice with Sardinia. That armistice, in fact, has never been recognized by France. The Convention which she proposed, and which Austria has implicitly accepted, with the mediation of which it is the starting point, established the statu quo. It follows that no change can take place in the positions of the belligerent parties between the day when the mediation was accepted and the completion of the negociations which have been undertaken. That the Sardinians should evacuate Venice, if they think fit, is a measure to which we offer no opposition ; but we cannot permit Austria to take advantage of their retreat to violate the engagements which she has signed with us.
“ It is impossible, then, to admit the occupation of Venice by the Austrian troops. There is a double reason against it. Before venturing on such an extreme measure, Austria will, no doubt, reflect; and she will immediately perceive that she is putting herself in contradiction with her own policy. In accepting the mediation, she wished to give a serious pledge to the pacific intentions of Europe ; such, at least, was our impression. How can she pretend to reconcile this desire, publicly manifested, with an act of direct aggression, not only against her Italian opponents, but withal, and above all, against the two powers who have intervened between the belligerent parties ?”
To analyse or to criticise such a document as the above woul' only weaken the force of its absurdity. But, apart from the want o logic and common sense which these paragraphs exhibit, they are open to a far heavier charge, viz., a want of candour and common honesty. For, as Art. 4 stipulates that “the Sardinian troops shall evacuate Venice” (amongst other places), so Art. 5 adds, “ Persons and property in the places enumerated above shall be placed under the protection of the Imperial Government." The meaning of this article, if it mean anything at all, is this —the Imperial Government shall occupy those places which have been evacuated by the Sar. dinians; for, how are persons and property to be protected without the actual occupation of the points where such persons and property exist ?
I should not have thought it worth while to call your attention to this document had it appeared in any other paper than the "National.” But the “ National ” office is the pépinière from which M. Bastide was transplanted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in which saplings are being reared to fill the gaps in the diplomatic line caused by the thinning out of the old trees; and it is generally supposed that this journal receives its inspirations from the Foreign Office, and that many of its articles are communications from M. Bastide's own goose quill.
Upon this subject, yesterday's " Presse "contained the following information :
" The diplomacy of the Republic is not happy. This may be attributed, in part, to the selection of its personnel, but more, perhaps, to the choice of persons made by the Courts of Europe to treat with the novices accredited to them. In the tangled difficulties of the Italian question, for instance, Austria has taken care to entrust the negotiations to Prince Felix de Schwartzemberg, well known for his piercing intelligence, his exquisite tact, and his perfect knowledge of the French character.
" It is with him that the trial of skill is to be made by the anon. ymous envoys whom the Government despatches one after another, and whose position is, according to all accounts, a very awkward one at Vienna, at Milan-in a word, wherever they have been sent.
“Our official agents have lost all influence; and the missions should be remodelled throughout the whole of Germany, beginning with Berlin, where the grotesque errors which have been committed, are beyond belief.
" It would be cruel to throw the med culpd of M. Bastide into such high relief, and attempts are made to screen him by sending out confidential sub-ambassadors. Unfortunately, this plan succeeds no better than the original one, and, by dint of successive drafts, the national di. plomatic nursery is nearly exhausted. The names that have recently transpired, sufficiently indicate that it is reduced to its last reserve.
By the way, it is a curious feature in the prepotente character of the French Republicans, that they cannot be brought to see the distinction between mediation and intervention. Having announced that Austria had accepted the Anglo-French mediation, they immediately proceed to lay down their system of intervention. No doubt, in their soreness at seeing their expedition from Marseilles, for obtaining a footing at Venice, forestalled by the Austrian squadron from Trieste, the next term employed will be arbitration, and then they will either have to eat their words, or go to war.
The former course would be undignified, the latter would be inconvenient. The sinews of war are wanting, for who would lend their money for such a purpose ? and the resources of the Treasury are at so low an ebb, that M. Goudchaux is at his wits' end for means to pay the semestre on the Five per Cents. How should it be otherwise ? They have a proverb in Navarre :
- Arga, Ega, y Aragon
Hacen Ebro varon;" and, as it is with the Ebro, so it is with the public purse. Credit, manufacture, and trade make a man of the Finance Minister; but cut off these tributaries, and the Hotel in the Rue de Rivoli will soon be a world too wide for his shrunk resources.
Whilst the diplomacy and the finances of the country are us going to the dogs or to the devil, the National Assembly begins to make some progress with the Constitution. Thiers, Dufaure, de Tocqueville, and Duvergier de Hauranne have succeeded in setting aside the much-debated droit au travail. In vain Lamartine, mounting his long-eared Pegasus, soared far beyond the ken of common sense, into the regions of a dreamy Utopia, or Fools' Paradise, and rared about sentimental humanity, and the perfectibility of property; but in vain
Ledru-Rollin hurled foul abuse
Hot and heavy, hot and heavy!
The elections, which commence to-morrow, are a subject of great anxiety to the Moderate Party in the capital. The friends of order are, unfortunately, much divided in their selection of candidates, whilst the red-hot Republicans are expected to vote as one man. The former, however, are so much the more numerous, that, in spite of their divisions, the votes for the best and the worst men will, it is expected, be very nearly balanced. The suffrage of the army .will, in all probability, turn the scale, and the representation of