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Two years and a half ago, when societies—a rotation of governors. the world was yet convulsed with the Popular violence and general suffereffects of the French Revolution in ing will never fail to re-establish, the year preceding, and the Liberals after a brief period of anarchy, the were everywhere throughout Europe empire of the sword. The successive looking for the regeneration of society election of military despots seems the from the triumph of democracy in only possible compromise between France, we wrote and published in revolutionary passion and the social this Magazine these words—" It is necessities of mankind; and as a frequently asked, what is to be the singular compromise took place after end of all these changes, and under eighty years of bloodshed and conwhat form of government are the fusion in the Romin commonwealth, people of France ultimately to settle ? so, after a similar period of suffering, Difficult as it is to predict anything it will probably be repeated, from the of a people with whom nothing seems same cause, in the French nation.”* to be fixed, but the disposition to The only particular in which this change, we have no hesitation in prophecy has proved incorrect is in stating our opinion, that the future the TIME assigned for the establishgovernment of France will be, what ment of an elective military despotthat of imperial Rome was, an ELEC- ism in France. Judging from the TIVE MILITARY DESPOTISM. In fact, past, it was thought that a considerwith the exception of the fifteen years able period might elapse between the of the Restoration, when a free con- fervour of democratic ambition, the stitutional monarchy was imposed on establishment of republican instituits inhabitants by the bayonets of tions, and the necessary advent of the Allies, it has ever since the Re- military government. But events solution of 1789 been nothing else. now go on with railway speed: there The Orleans dynasty has, to all is an electric telegraph in the moral appearance, expired with a disgrace as well as in the physical world. even greater than that which attended Within less than four years after the its birth. The Bourbons can scarcely triumph of revolutionary ambition, expect, in a country so deeply imbued and the proclamation of “Liberty, with the love of change, to re-establish Equality, and Fraternity” by Lamartheir hereditary throne. Popular tine, the visionary fabric has fallen to passion and national vanity call for the ground. The brilliant dreams of that favourite object of democratic philanthropy, the towering ambition
* Blackwood's Magazine, August 1849, vol. Ixvi. p. 234. VOL. LXX1
of democracy, the selfish grasping of power as a recompense for the protection socialist spoliation, have alike been it affords to property and life. For the dissipated." Realities have succeeded first time in these terrific street-battles, to chimeras, necessities have pro- the National Guard. It is remarkable
of Parisian history, we hear nothing of strated imaginations. Louis Napoleon that no proclamation or appeal has been has assumed the dictatorship, with addressed to that body by the governthe concurrence of the only power ment. The civic forces have been exin the country which, in a decisive pressly consigned to inaction, evidently struggle, could be relied on. He has because Louis Napoleon was afraid to virtually declared himself Emperor, rely upon them, and nothing would have by the election of the soldiers. The been more inconvenient than the opposicitizens have confirmed their choice. tion of legions of armed citizens. Even It has ever been the same. The rule now it is not impossible that their weight of Cæsar, and Cromwell, and Napo- may be felt before the termination of this leon, was founded on the same social conflict, but felt against the executive necessities, springing out of the same whole success on the army alone, and the
power. The government has staked its social crimes. This 2d December strength of the regular forces engaged is 1851 was but a repetition, and from immensely greater than on any former the same causes, of the 18th Brumaire occasion. But, be the political opinions 1799. Successful high treason, tri- and ulterior views of the popular leaders umphant rebellion, lead invariably to what they may, it is impossible not to one result-general slavery and mili- feel for the dauntless courage with which tary despotism; and of all the pioneers they have fung themselves into open to the last terrible catastrophe that
resistance to an unexampled violation the mind of man ever conceived, a classes, though probably most aggrieved
of the rights of the nation. The middle socialist revolution is the most effec- by the menaces of military des potism, tual, for it at once unites all persons would have found neither the means nor possessed of property, however small, the spirit to defy such a power. But, if on the side of despotic power.
the men of the faubourgs are as tenacious That it may not be supposed that and as brave in the defence of the laws these observations are exaggerations of the republic as they have more than of our own, we select, out of a multi- once shown themselves to be when they tude of others which might be taken, rose against the laws of the monarchy, the following graphic description of victory has not even yet declared herself the state of Paris in the first week of against the liberties of France. These December 1851, three years and nine insurgents, if by an insurgent is meant
men are not, at least on this occasion, the months after the overthrow of Louis the man who conspires against the legal Philippe, and establishment of Liberty, order of the country, and seeks to change Equality, and Fraternity by the forma- by force the constitution and the governtion of a republic.
“ The barricades first thrown up on
Wednesday evening were speedily carried “ If anything could give an appearance by the soldiers; but the night was spent of legal necessity to the military opera- in further preparations for war. A large tions in Paris, and to the tremendous column of troops was silently moved severity of the measures employed to along the Boulevard towards the Faucrush the resistance of the people, it is bourg St Antoine, and the positions bethe part which the organised sections of tween the Canal and the Porte St. Martin the Red Republic and the desperate were strongly occupied. combatants of that faction are again occasionally fired from houses on the line taking in this struggle. Non tali of march, but these acts of hostility were auxilio nec defensoribus istis,' may well instantly punished bythe summary seizure be the answer of the French people to a or slaughter of the inhabitants. A percry of independence and a promise of manent court-martial was sitting, by succour conveyed to them in the sinister whose orders some, and we are told á language of M. Louis Blanc. Nothing large number, of the prisoners taken can be more afflicting than the position between the barricades were shot. Yet of the middle classes and the pacific part these operations and this rigour did cot of the population, between a host of fierce prevent the popular movement from inrevolutionists who can only be put down creasing in exient and in violence. An by an immense army, and an army pre- immense body of troops, or rather an pared to dispose absolutely of all political entire army, described to consist of fifty
thousand men, poured towards the scene already, universal suffrage and quadrenof action. Yet we find by the latest nial Parliaments the constitution gave accounts that barricades had been raised them. Aristocracy they had none-50 as far to the west as the Rue Grange- there was no need of a second chamber Batelière; the upper Boulevards were to control the deliberations of the Assemcontinually swept by charges of lancers ; bly. There was no political Manicheeism, and the cannonade had almost reached and the good or democratic element was the fashionable quarter just beyond the left unchecked by its evil or aristocratic Rue Vivienne. Hitherto we had be- counterpoise. Besides this, France was held in France contests between govern- freed from the anomaly of hereditary ments armed to defend the laws of monarchy, and enabled by the same wise society, and insurgents armed to over- and glorious institutions to select from throw them. But now, as if to make her citizens the best and worthiest for this chaos of anarchy worse confounded, her Chief, uninfluenced by the accident men have to take a part between å of birth, and unshackled by the tyranny government attacking the law, and an of an 'Act of Settlement.
Did ever insurrection to defend it; though it is nation, according to modern liberal but too probable that the triumph of theories, make a fairer start on the road either faction will inflict a ghastly wound to prosperity and greatness? on the freedom and welfare of the nation. Such are the results of those alternations “Waving the tedious retrospect of the between an excessive impatience of legal intervening period, we would ask enthuauthority, and a servile deference to siastic admirers of modern republicanism, arbitrary power, which are so strangely as preached by Kossuti, and as practised united in the French character; and, by France, how far they are content with whatever be the deplorable condition of the fruits of their favourite system? such a people, its trials and its struggles And, first, of individual liberty. How are solely attributable to acts depending would the citizens of this monarchical on its own will.
and aristocratical country relish a pro
hibition against the assembling of groups “Our readers can hardly have forgotten, in the streets, and the announcement that although nearly four years have elapsed, they would be dispersed by armed force, the spirit of deep self-abasement and and without previous notice ? Surely humiliation, as regarded England, and of this was not the 'FRATERNITY' that respectful and enthusiastic veneration Monsieur LAMARTINE promised us. The as regarded France, with which certain liberty of the press is even still less of our contemporaries heralded the dawn. favoured than that of individual pedesing of that bright day which announced trians, for, while the latter are allowed to an astonished world the then last to 'circulate, the newspapers are, with French revolution. Compared to the very few exceptions, suppressed by viogigantic progress of our lively neighbours, lence, and their offices occupied by miliour own steps in the march of improve- tary. The passage of public vehicles is ment seemed sluggish and unphilosophi- likewise prohibited. Such things are, cal. Our historical constitution seemed we suppose, impediments to the full and shabby and timeworn beside the flaunt. unrestricted exercise of freedom, though in ing robe in which France, for the twen our benighted metropolis many a Radical tieth or thirtieth time, had bedecked her- would grievously miss the newspaper on self. Our cumbrous statutes, our prosy his breakfast table, and the omnibus which speeches, our hum-drum habits of plod- was wont to carry him to the city; while ding industry, were despised in their eyes, we greatly doubt is the coachmen and conwhen compared with the brilliant achieve- ductors possess patriotism enough to acments and flowery oratory of French Re- quiesce without a murmur in such a publicanism, and above all, with the im- sacrifice, however requisite to the cause peccable constitution which M. Marrast of freedom. Then, as to public liberty, so happily improvised to meet the wants we find the child and champion of uniof a nation able at one rapid bound to versal suffrage packing off two hundred clear the distance which separates a con- of the chosen of the nation in vans to St. stituency of two hundred thousand per- Valerien, a sort of Parisian Pentonville, sons from universal suffrage. Their con- and sending the best generals and ablest stitution was founded, not like ours, upon orators of France to eat their Christmas the historical precedents of semi-barba- dinners with what appetite they may in rous ages, but upon the three mighty a remote and gloomy fortress. We find corner-stones of Liberty, EQUALITY, and the Court of Justice, charged by the FRATERNITY, on which the stately lábric constitution with an important duty rested in all the indestructibility of logi- which it was sworn to perform, forbidcal cohesion. Vote by ballot they had den to execute it by a person who had