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Paris will be either socialist or g’actionnaire, as it is called in the cabarets, according as General Caraignac gives the word of command, “ Eyes right,” or “Eyes left.”
Godefroi Cavaignac thought it a very hard case that the political freedom of Paris, under a constitutional Monarchy, should be handed over to the tender mercies of sergens d'infanterie ; what would he think now, unde a nominal Republic, could he return and see the exercise of the mo: important political right, the nomination of the representatives of th capital in the National Assembly, waiting to receive the sanction o the fifty thousand rank and file, whose bayonets enable his brother to maintain the état de siégé? The plain good sense of the provinces will not fail to perceive the monstrous anomaly of such a situation. It is a new blow struck at the prestige which has so long upheld the supremacy of Paris. The revolution, which has done so much evil, will, in the end, be `productive of one benefit. It must bring about the abolition of that system of centralisation which has made Paris the centre of all intrigue and corruption, whilst it kept the departments in a state of vassalage, depriving them of that freedom and independent action in the administration of their local affairs and in. terests, without which a people can never be great, prosperous, or true.
Paris, Sept. 23. We have had a stormy and eventful week since the date of my last letter. At the moment when I-was writing, remonstrances were in course of address to the government, on the subject of General Cavaignac's proposed revival of Ledru Rollin's tactics in sending missionaries into the departments, for the purpose of completing their republican education, and of winning them over to love, honour, and succour those soi-disant patriots whom the escamotage of revolution has set in authority over them. M. de Falloux' mot—that these peripatetic lecturers were “ la circulaire faite homme”—was a deathblow to the project, and the apology of the Minister of the Interior reminded one of a ludicrous dialogue in Molière's Festin de Pierre (Act II. scene 1):
Pierrot. Morgué! quen mal te fais-je ? Je ne te demande qu’un peu d'amiquié."
Charlotte. “ HIé bien ! laisse faire aussi, et ne me presse point tant. Peut etre que ça viendra tout d'un coup, sans y songer."
Pierrot. “Promets moi donc que tu tácheras de m'aimer davantage.”
Charlotte. ** Je ferai tout ce que je pourrai, mais il faut que ça vienne de lui-même.'
The next incident was the debate on the grant of 50,000,000f. for colonisation in Algeria, and here General Lamoricière's honest frankness went far to do away with the distrust and aversion which the tortuous policy of the Executive Chief had excited in the minds of the National Assembly.
An attempt was made to pervert the interchange of neighbourly assistance and mutual good offices into a communist system of associa
tion, but the Minister of War, whose straightforward honesty and good sense are not easily taken at disadvantage, saw through the shallow device, and resolutely opposed its destructive tendencies.
“It has been affirmed (said the General) that all the workmen who intend to emigrate desire this sort of community; but I am bound to state that such is not the case. I have had long conferences with the delegates--I have passed many hours with them and my conviction is, that if some of them wish to be associated, the great majority wish nothing of the sort. And now, would
know who are the persons that are anxious to be associated ? They are those who hope to be the directors of the association (laughter)—they are those who wish to be in a position to wear a black coat and round hat (renewed laughter)they are those, in short, who intend forming themselves into an agricultural staff (just so-just so.) Well, the profits of agriculture are not sufficient to bear the expense of such a staff. The government is quite decided on this point; it will give no countenance to this new species of aristocracy, applied to agricultural schemes. If, then, gentlemen, you wish that it should be created, I have to beg that you will explain yourselves categorically, and it shall be done ; if not, I repeat, we will have neither act nor part in it.”
Were all the Ministers of the Republic like M. de Lamoricière, there would be some hope that Charlotte France might, in time, be induced to bestow un peu plus d'amiquié on Pierrot Paris; but Flocon, who was to have been one of Cavaignac's go-betweens, would be a sad Marplot in such a courtship.
In the course of his speech, the Minister of War took occasion to remark, that the credit he demanded for this year (five millions), was as small as could in any way be made compatible with the exigencies of the case.
He had made it so, inasmuch as he foresaw that a new chapter must be added to the annual estimates, and that that chapter was the budget of misery. There have already, during the last three months, been voted 6,000,000f. for the relief of the necessitous classes in Paris. They amount to almost a quarter of the entire population. What will be the case next winter, when destitution of every kind is at its height ?
God grant that this state of things may be a warning to our own people. May their eyes be opened to perceive, that the demagogues who would pervert their minds, and excite discontent and rebellion amongst them, do this, not from any love they bear to their country, but for the attainment of their own selfish aims and purposes! They would care little how ill their simple dupes were clothed or fed, so long as they could “ wear a black coat and round hat,” and enjoy in lazy idleness the good things that are earned by the sweat of the poor man's brow. There is no tyrant like a successful demagogue, as poor France knows to her cost. “He reaps where he has not sown, and gathers where he has not strawed ;” nor is this all, for what his greediness would spare, is brought to ruin by his ignorance and folly.
M. de Montalembert was not felicitous in his speech upon the liberté d'enseigner, which he proposed to introduce into the constitution. It was too fanatical to engage the sympathies of a political assembly, and he was only saved from complete discomfiture by the absurdity of his
opponent, M. Vaulabelle. The Minister of Public Instruction, in answer to the reproach, that education had made little or no progress in France since 1789, demonstrated that during twenty-five years France had made head against all Europe on the field of battle, and that in the last eighteen years, she had overturned two thrones.
At this knock-down argument, the Assembly was seized with a fit of laughter, under cover of which M. Vaulabelle finished the reading of his manuscript; for, in order to insure its being worthy of the subject, the orator, and the Minister, his speech was a written one.
There is a long article in the “ Constitutionnel” of Wednesday, on the state of the French fleet. It recapitulates the principal acts of naval administration during the last six months.
One of the first was the remodelling and pretended reformation of the Admiralty Offices. Our fleet bas gained nothing by it, and abuses are as rife as ever.
The next measure was the decree for the abolition of slavery, which, crude and ill-digested as it was, has completed the ruin of our colonies, and deprived France of a trade which was an excellent school for sailors. It cannot, in consequence, be pretended that the Emancipation Act has favoured the development of our naval power.
Corporal punishment has been abolished on board vessels belonging to the State; the seamen's diet has been improred, and, for that purpose, an additional grant is taken, on the national estimates for 1848, to the amount of 1,900,000f. But this measure of humanity, and, it may be, of justice, has not given one additional ship or sailor to the Republic.
The decree which limited the day's work to ten hours, has been applied to the dockyards. What will this add to our naval strength? Again, arms have been distributed to the workmen of the ports. Has this measure ensured the good and prompt execution of the works ordered ? The disturbances at Toulon prove the contrary.
We are far from wishing to make M. Verninhac responsible for a state of things in which he has little or no part. The Minister of Marine is one of our best naval officers ; honest, skilful, and brave. No one is more capable than he of working his ship, or taking her into action. But it is one thing to command a ship at sea, and another to be at the head of the naval administration, in the midst of an intricate labyrinth of inveterate abuses, and at a period of financial penury. Let us hope that the Minister of Marine may succeed in drawing off the shoals upon which M. Goudchaux is leading him.
Poor M. Verninhac! his is no easy task—to do great things with little money—to maintain a fleet that, as M. Thiers said, jocularly, shall be magnifique et pas cher.
Every man, says Nash, can thresh corn out of full sheaves, and fetch water out of the Thames; but out of dry stubble to make an after-harvest, and a plentiful crop without sowing, and wring juice out of a flint, that is the right trick of a workman.
The great and crowning event of the week, is the result of the elections. In Paris, all the world is crying peccavi. Now that it is too late, now that regret is fruitless, the electors, friends of order and good go
January, 1849.-VOL. LIV.-NO. CCXIII.
vernment, recognise the incalculable value of discipline and unity of purpose. Yet, were the same circumstances to present themselves anew, there is but too much reason to apprehend that the result would be in no way changed.
“L'homme est de glace aux vérités,
Il est de feu pour le mensonge.” All the zeal, all the intelligence, all the abnegation of self, which should characterise the policy of those who really desire the good of their country, is to be found, not amongst them, but in the ranks of those whose aim and end it is to disorganise society, to remove the ancient landmarks, to confiscate property, and break the holy ties of family; whilst the majority, who wculd fain stand super antiquas vias, are divided by petty intrigue, by personal vanity, by antiquated party spirit ; and hundreds of thousands of electors, seduced by the pleasures of the villeggiatura, or yielding to an irrational feeling of discontent and ill-humour, remain out of town or hold aloof, thus neglecting their duty to themselves, by failing in the duties they owe to their country.
The elections in the provinces are decidedly more satisfactory than those in the capital. With the exception of M. Gent and M. Louis Bonaparte, to whose ridiculous pretensions a factitious importance has been given by the foolish alarms and consequent intolerance of the legislative and executive bodies, the members returned are conservative to the highest degree; and, what is very singular, the goveriment, with all the influence of its patronage, has not succeeded in obtaining the nomination of a single one of the candidates put forward by the “National."
General Cavaignac was so much annoyed at this, that he got up a little theatrical piece in the Chamber yesterday, the dénouement of which was a vote of confidence in the government. He asks for these votes so often, that no one attaches the least importance to them, except as a regimen necessary for a consumptive cabinet, to enable it to live through the discussion of the constitution, and arrive, without any new change, at the election of a president. An attempt will be made to proceed to this election, by the Assembly, so soon as Articles 41, 42, and 43 of the constitution are voted. But the Rue de Poitiers Club decided yesterday that it would oppose, by every means in its power, any such attempt at jugglery with the principles of universal suffrage.
There are three pretenders to the presidency of the republic-Lamartine, Cavaignac, and Louis Bonaparte.
The first is like old Ross of Pollern, who lived till all the world was weary of him : all the world has forgotten him now.
The second is following in the steps of Bully Dawson, who lived three weeks on the credit of a brass shilling, because nobody would take it of him.
The last, who aspires to the presidency and something more, may meet with the fate of old Cole's dog, who was so proud, that he took the wall of a dung cart, and got squeezed to death by the wheel.
I COME a friend among ye; open wide