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he quitted the school as sous-lieutenant, and in 1835 proceeded to Algeria as lieutenant in the 47th regiment of the Line. His want of seniority was compensated by the protection of his uncle, General Marbot, adjutant to the Duke of Orleans, AM GOSW
The young lieutenant was active, bold, and a thorough soldier: he sexposed his life dauntlessly both to bullets and climate. Still, during his twelve years' campaigning, he never displayed any thorough knowledge of the country and people, or that organising talent so necessary for the >French in Algeria. After various marches against Abd-el-Kader, and the capture of Tlemzen, he was present at the siege of Constantine, where he received a bullet in his leg. Canrobert returned to France with his regiment as capitaine-adjutant-major, received the Legion of Honour, and, on the formation of the Chasseurs à Pied in 1840, joined them with the same rank. The Duke of Orleans, who superintended their organisation, turned his attention principally to young men considered to be devoted adherents of the dynasty. Canrobert stood in the -first rank of these, and never failed in fervent assertions of his devotion and gratitude to win 1.
In 1842,9 Canrobert received the command of the 5th battalion of Light Chasseurs, stationed in Africa. A few months later he was placed in charge of the newly-formed district of Tenez, vice the incompetent M. de Noue, colonel of the 1st Regiment of the Foreign Legion. Here, he stood under the supreme command of Colonel Cavaignac. When the latter was sent to Tenez, at the close of 1844, as brigadier-general, Colonel St. Arnaud followed him in the command of the sub-division of Orleansville, and, in 1845, Canrobert was promoted to a lieutenantIcoloneley, a , and two years later to a colonelcy. The same boldness and contempt of danger continually distinguished him; his pursuit of BouMaza gave St. Arnaud occasion for much exaggerated praise of Canrobert, which enabled General Marbot and the Duke of Orleans to recommend the latter to the War Ministry. St. Arnaud praised a man whose laudation he foresaw would be gladly heard. The commandant of Tenez thanked the prince in the flowery apostrophes of the purest Orleanism.tetengre coals
gurThe justification, or perhaps excuse, for the repeated political changes of French officers has been urged, that the soldier of such a vacillating country serves his fatherland, and cannot oppose the de facto government of the hour. This is perfectly true if the soldier is only a soldier, the officer a mere military official. The republican Cavaignac served honestly and well under the Orleans dynasty. Pelissier, who is suspected of sympathies with the exiled royal family, took Sebastopol under the empire, and represented his country, not without dignity, at our court. Bosquet fought for France, and left the government out of sight; he is said to have remained a republican till he gained his marshal's staff. But those must be measured by a very different standard, who, while soldiers, indulge in politics, who assume courtiers' duties in addition to their own, and put forth a strongly-articulated confession of faith; officers whose spine displays a visible curve, give up the claim to stand upright in the storm of government changes.
When Cavaignac became governor of Algeria in 1848, Colonel Canrobert hastened to him and behaved as a republican; he hoped for war
and promotion. In July of the same year he was placed at the head of the Zouaves. In this position he vigorously opposed the candidature of Louis Napoleon to the presidency, and declared himself warmly for Cavaignac, for he felt sure of the latter's triumph. When undeceived, Canrobert joined the celebrated "party of order," in whose ranks he found his uncle Marbot and his cousin Rivet, who had just been appointed councillor of state, and stood on intimate terms with the Barrot ministry.
At the end of 1849, Canrobert was ordered with his regiment to the bombardment of Zaatcha, an African village, where the irresistible bravery of the French attack was sorely tried by the colossal blunders of General d'Herbillon. Colonel Canrobert marched at the head of a few Zouave companies that formed the front of the storming column. The village was taken, after eighteen days' fighting in the gardens and forest, amid a shower of bullets. For his bravery, Canrobert was made commander of the Legion of Honour, and brigadier-general.
The party of order, at this period, fostered the political ambition of the higher officers; in their hatred of the republic, they promoted them for the least established claims. A general or colonel, from whom a word against the republic had slipped, was sure of being fondled as a future Monk. This party played into the hands of the Elysée, and at the given moment rendered arbiters of France men who, under other circumstances, would have enjoyed their obscurity: such persons as the Hussons, Vaudreys, and Magnans were thrust up the political ladder. When the hour arrived, and the man, these gentlemen decided the fate of France, and might have said to the party of order, "Tu l'as voulu !"
Canrobert, too, hardly become a general, felt an earnest necessity to be a political actor. On the stage two Sphynxes were watching each other: the Sphynx of the Tuileries, the commandant of the army of Paris, General Changarnier, and the Sphynx of the Elysée. But the latter, by the appointment of General Hautpoul as minister of war, had already offered the party of order a check. Canrobert wrote to the Tuileries, and begged for a brigade in the army of Paris: he obtained it. He appeared in Paris, and declared himself vassal of the Tuileries, from which his third star, as general of division, seemed to glimmer before him. And he also appeared at the Elysée, where the most flattering reception was accorded him.
Thus Canrobert stood at the cross roads: he looked about him, he consulted his telescope, and peered into the outlet of the two roads. "To maintain order and suppress anarchy," that was all revealed to him on either road. The Elysée gradually advanced a step farther; dark rumours indicated the path of the shell, long shadows were thrown before the events. In the palace of the presidency the sous-officiers were being regaled; within hearing of the House of Assembly the cry of "Vive l'empereur!" was raised. Changarnier had appeared unbidden at the first two banquets; he refused to be present thenceforth at such political orgies. At the reviews of St. Maur and Satory, the course of matters was clearly shown in the presence of the delegates of the permanent commission. The time had now arrived to attach oneself to a party, and Canrobert went over straight to Changarnier. He was eloquent in his speeches; he spoke with the utmost contempt of adventurers, he de
clared at Versailles, in the presence of some fifteen to twenty officials, that the thing was a disgrace, but he was making every exertion to keep his brigade in order, for if things went on in this way no man of honour could remain in the army.
It is true that the National Assembly did not act, or offer “ honour" any support; but was that a reason for them to approach the Elysée again discreetly ? Changarnier was dismissed from office at a blow; Canrobert drew a step nearer to the Elysée, and he discovered that his eloquent wrath at the Satory review had been passed over. He made his appearance regularly at the Elysée, and with equal regularity at Changarnier's private residence. He conversed at the Elysée, he conversed in the camp of the coup d'état, no one knows about what, but perhaps against the other camp. At General Leflô's, his intimate friend, he, at any rate, did not spare the Elysians. He even at times repeated what had been said over the way.
Thus Canrobert created himself an important position, and he had become a political general. When the list of allies and foes was gone through in the camp of the confederates, Leflô and Changarnier ridiculed any doubt as to Canrobert's sincerity. Only a few people stuck to their doubts. At the Elysée an incense was burnt before him, calculated not merely to tickle his olfactories, but those of the parliament men as well. Canrobert was now 66 an extraordinary general" the press of the presi dential court said so-a general "destined to achieve the highest honours of the hierarchy." One evening after dinner, a high person remarked to him, casually," Under the Empire, a man of your calibre was marshal at thirty-five; under this government of advocates, you have required twenty-five years to become a general of brigade." Canrobert laughed in cunning comprehension.
Still he looked out along both roads; there was still the constitution, and the National Assembly protecting it. The Elysée ordered its femi nine squadron to advance, at the head of it being Madame Mathilde Demidoff, a ripe beauty, occupying a rather extensive place. A Russian lady, Madame K., who, like the Demidoff, was separated from her husband, served as a volunteer in this campaign against ambitious minds. Madame K., who had already ventured on two presidents of the Re public, though with very various success, turned her attention, or had it turned, on the modest General Canrobert. She performed precisely the same duties as Madame Gordon did with M. Vaudrey in the Strasbourg expedition. She lifted Canrobert into the saddle, and held him there by a leading-string. This was at the beginning of November, 1851.
St. Arnaud became war minister, and the signal was given. The Elysée, Madame K., and St. Arnaud were pulling at the general on one side; on the other, Leflô, Changarnier, Marbot, and Rivet held him by the coattails. Canrobert-sighed: "Would that I had remained in Algeria!" The National Assembly rejected the questors' motion on the 17th of Novem ber. Madame K. twisted the cord twice round her hand, and Canrobert hastened to her feet. He declared that he would obey any order signed by the minister of war. Madame K. congratulated him as she thanked him, and loosened the cord again. The same evening she wrote to the Elysée: "He has just left me; he is ours; but take care lest he slip from us. I will do all in my power, do you the same.”
be The remark was psychologically correct. Canrobert went to Leflê and Rivet. He was "grieved" at the rejection of the motion; he regretted the doubtful position of the army; but, as regarded himself, he knew what he owed to the law and the African generals. He only hoped that the colonels of Paris were not o of a different opinion. To General Leflő, whose duty it was to protect the Assembly, he said: "Trust nobody!" Leftó: "Excepting yourself." Canrobert: "Oh, that's a different matter."
Which way would the tongue of the balance incline? Canrobert did not know so late as half-past five on the morning Deux Décembre. At that hour, Lieutenant-Colonel Adjutant Edgar Ney entered his bedroom, and handed him the "written order" of the war minister, St. Arnaud, to take his post on the Place de la Madeleine. Madame K. had forgotten nothing: "The prince reckons on your great talents, your courage, and your devotion. Support him, and his gratitude will know no limits." The soldierly ambition of General Canrobert could not be bought over with a few bundles of bank-notes, as was the case with other parties. It also deserves prominent mention that he had no debts.
Canrobert, standing at the cross roads and forced to a decision, thought it best to offer an arm to either lady. He hardly had posted his troops,
he proceeded to M. Rivet's, in the Rue de Suresnes. He knew nothing; he was even horrified when his cousin told him what had happened the National Assembly dissolved by force, the constitution torn to rags, the questors, the generals, and sundry representatives haled to prison. "What shall I do?" the general asked, somewhat despondingly. M. Rivet replied very sharply: "It is not my place to advise you; ask the law and your conscience. I am going to the Council of State to protest." Canrobert walked away, and another son came in. Rivet said to the latter: "You see that man: he is about to dishonour himself."
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advanced a step
Canrobert, who still had a lady on each arm, now farther; he allowed the money of the Elysée to be distributed among his troops; they drank and prepared for the horrors that were to come. He himself, however, still spoke with people of both parties; he tried to assume a reserve, and affected an independence as regarded all that might happen. On the afternoon of the 2nd of December he walked about publicly with Madame K. on his arm, and she contrived bring the cord that held him well home. In the evening th general called on Madame Leffo, whom he found bathed in tears, for she knew not what had become of her husband. He made bitter complaints of the arbitrary conduct to which her husband had been a victim, his "intimate friend," his companion in arms for so many years. He asked her advice, but the "eternal enemies of order and the family" are wont at times to be very slightly indulgent. "Are you a man or a child? Take up arms for the law, for your friends, for your old chiefs, to whom you owe everything. That is your duty-that is what honour demands of you. I have no other advice to offer you. That is clear. You understand me, general ?" When she saw that Hercules still hesitated, she said, with tears of contempt, "You wish to save both parties. That is disgraceful. Pray retire, and respect my sorrow." General Canrobert bowed his head and went. One of the two women was evidently loosing her hold of his arm.
On December 3, it seemed in Paris their heads, and lost them. Without the remembrance of the June aris as if certain persons had staked massacres, the coup d'état would be a simple coup de tête, The most compromised conspirators trembled; the troops hesitated at more than one point. A prisoner at Mazas received, in spite of all the sbirri, the following note: "Nil desperandum. I have just spoken with Canrobert; he is coming round to the side of the Assembly." The same report spread simultaneously through Paris. The general held for a moment the destinies of his country in his hands. Stifling the empire in its birth would probably not have procured France the much-desired tranquillity; but whether the tranquillity at present existing will in the slightest degree alleviate future excesses, is a question which we are fortunately not called upon to resolve.
On the 4th of December the speeches, dinners, and proclamations of the various opposition factions broke out in wild tumultuary masses and barricades. The workmen, it is notorious, were in no way active in erecting these monsters; that same bourgeoisie, in whose name the party of order had so incessantly execrated any active opposition to the authority; the army of passive obedience itself opposed the passive obedience of the army. Barricades! what a delight for the Elysée! what a famous ex cuse for the generals and colonels who were still at liberty. The maintenance of order and suppression of anarchy!" that had been the common cry of the Tuileries and the Elysée. Canrobert believed for a moment that he could still hold both women by the arm. "Suppress anarchy!" why his friend Leflô would have desired that; and if it turned out in favour of the Elysée, how could Canrobert help that ? As a brave general and an Auvergnat, he said: "Let us suppress insurrection, and restore order: after that, we will see. I declare that if, after the storation of order the popular representatives and the generals are not set at liberty, I will retire. But order before all!" Canrobert marched-not against the barricades, for there was not a single one on the Boulevards, but against "the curious." In 1852, M. de Morny explained the entire tactics to some councils-general of the Puy-de-Dôme: "The prince had studied the revolutions of Paris: he saw that they increased by the mass of curious persons who flocked up. That of December 4 began precisely in that way. He did not hesitate,
aad the curious removed. Canrobert managed the affair,
and gained the day.".
00 Canrobert's brigade, flushed with wine and brandy, supported by General Reybell's cavalry brigade, attended to the removal of the curious-two thousand persons of both sexes and of every age, men, women, and children; all sorts of weapons-sabres, lances, bayonets, muskets, pistols, guns, howitzers. A la guerre comme à la guerre! The Paris correspondent of the Times has preserved the documents for the world's judgment. Religion, property, family, were at stake, and the Sphynx, with his feet on the chimney hobs, muttered, "Qu'on exécute mes ordres!" A great historical act looked beyond the antiquated commandment, Thou shalt do no murder. General Canrobert was the chosen of Providence.
Reybell was drunk, as he so often was. But Canrobert was sober. Quite urte soberly he poured his infantry and artillery on the masses of the