Imagens da página

of the helm; or if they rise in rebellion against precarious tenure of his crown, at the will of them, it is not so much from any view to the the Prætorian Guards of Paris, more absolute public good, as from a desire to secure to them- authority than ever was held by the most des. selves the advantages which the possession potic of the Bourbon race. of political power confers.

France being held in absolute subjection by This extraordinary concentration of every Paris, all that is necessary to preserve this ching in the central government at Paris, authority is to secure the mastery of the always existed to a certain extent in France; capital. Marshal Soult has taught the citizen but it has been increased, to a most extraordi- king how this is to be done. He keeps an nary degree, under the democratic rule of the immense military force, from 35,000 to 20,000 last forty years. It was the Constituent As- men, constantly in the capital; and an equal sembly, borne forward on the gales of revo- force is stationed within twelve miles round, lutionary fervour, which made the greatest ready to march at a signal from the telegraph on additions to the power of government--not Montmartre, in a few hours, to crush any atmerely by the concentration of patronage and tempt at insurrection. In addition to this, there direction of every kind in ministers, but by are 50,000 National Guards in Paris, and the destruction of the aristocracy, the church, 25,000 more in the Banlieue, or rural district the incorporations ;--every thing, in short, round its walls, admirably equipped, well which could withstand or counterbalance the drilled, and, to appearance at least, quite equal influence of government. The people, charmed to the regular soldiers. Of this great force, with the installation of their representatives in above 5000, half regulars and half National supreme power, readily acquiesced in, or rather Guards, are every night on duty as sentinels, strenuously supported, all the additions made or patrols, in the capital. There is not a by the democratic legislature to the powers street where several sentinels, on foot or of the executive; fondly imagining that, by so horseback, are not stationed, and within call doing, they were laying the surest foundation of each a picquet or patrol, ready to render for the continuance of their own power. They aid, if required, at a minute's notice. Paris, in little foresaw, what the event soon demon- a period of profound peace, without an enemy strated, that they were incapable, in the long approaching the Rhine, resembles rather a city run, of preserving this power; that it would in hourly expectation of an assault from a speedily fall into the hands of ambitious or beleaguering enemy, than the capital of designing men, who flattered their passions, peaceful monarchy. in order to secure the possession of arbitrary In addition to this prodigious display of authority for themselves; and that, in the end, military force, the civil employés, the police, the absolute despotism, which they had created constitute a body nearly as formidable, and, for the purpose of perpetuating the rule of the to individuals at least, much more dangerous. multitude, would terminate in imposing on Not only are the streets constantly traversed them the most abject servitude. When Napo- by this force in their appropriate dress, but leon came to the throne, he found it unneces- more than half their number are always prowl. sary to make any great changes in the practical ing about, disguised as workmen or tradesworking of government; he found a despotism men, to pick up information, mark individuals, ready made to his hand, and had only to seize and arrest discontented characters. They enter the reins, so tightly bitted on the nation by his coffee-houses, mingle in groups, overhear conrevolutionary predecessors.

versations, join in discussions, and if they The Revolution of July made no difference discover any thing seditious or dangerous, they in this respect; or rather it tended to concen- either arrest the delinquent at once, and hand trate still farther in the metropolis the authority him over to the nearest guard, or denounce and power of government. The able and in- him to their superiors, and he is arrested at defatigable leaders, who during the fifteen years night by an armed force in his bed. Once of the Restoration had laboured incessantly to incarcerated, his career, for a long time at subvert the authority of the royalists, had no least, is terminated: he is allowed to lie there sooner succeeded, than they quietly took pos- till his projects evaporate, or his associates session of all the powers which they enjoyed, are dispersed, without either being discharged and, supported with more talent, and a greater or brought to trial. There is not a night at this display of armed force, exercised them with time, (August, 1833,) that from fifteen to twenty far greater severity. No concessions to real persons are not arrested in this way by the freedom were made--no division of the powers police; and nothing is heard of their subseof the executive took place. All appointments quent trial. in every line still flow from Paris: not a pos- From the long continuance of these arrests tillion can ride a post-horse, nor peasant break by the police, the prisons of Paris, spacious as a stone on the highways, from the Channel to they are, and ample as they were found during the Pyrenees, unless authorized by the cen- the Reign of Terror, have become unable to tral authority. The legislature convoked by contain their numerous inmates. Fresh and Louis Philippe has done much to abridge the extraordinary places of confinement have beauthority of others, but nothing to diminish come necessary. A new jail, of great dimenthat which is most to be dreaded. They have sions, guarded by an ample military force, has destroyed the hereditary legislature, the last been constructed by the citizen king, near the remnant of European civilization which the cemetery of Pêre la Chaise, where the overconvulsions of their predecessors had left, but flowings of the other prisons in Paris are safely done nothing to weaken the authority of the lodged. The more dangerous characters are Executive. Louis Philippe enjoys, during the conveyed to fortresses in the interior, or the

Chateau of Mount St. Michael in Normandy. I printing-offices of some newspapers, prevents This great state-prison, capable of holding this last act of despotism. The National many hundred prisoners, is situated in the Guard, in all probability, would resist such an sea, on the coast of the Channel, and amply attempt, and if not supported by them, it would tenanted' now by the most unruly part of the endanger the crown of Louis Philippe.

Gopopulation of Paris, under a powerful military vernment has apparently discovered that the and naval garrison.

retention of the power of abuse consoles the Above fifteen hundred persons were arrested Parisians for the loss of all their other liberafter the great revolt at the Cloister of St. ties. They read the newspapers and see the Merri, in June, 1832, and, though a few have ministry violently assailed, and imagine they been brought to trial or discharged, the great are in full possession of freedom, though they majority still remain in prison, in the charge cannot travel ten leagues from Paris without of the police, under warrants apparently of a passport, nor go to bed in the evening with interminable duration. The nightly arrests any security that they will not be arrested and numerous domiciliary visits are con- during the night by the police, and consigned stantly adding to this immense number, and to prison, without any possibility of redress, gradually thinning that ardent body who ef- for an indefinite period. fected the Revolution of July, and have proved The present government appears to be so formidable to every government of France, generally disliked, and borne from despair of since the beginning of the revolutionary trou- getting any other, more than any real attachbles in 1789. The fragment of this body, who ment. You may travel over the whole counfought at the Cloister of St. Merri, evinced such try without discovering one trace of affection heroic courage and invincible determination, to the reigning family. Their names are that the government have resolved on a bellum ad hardly ever mentioned; by common consent internecionen with such formidable antagonists, they appear to be consigned to oblivion by all and, by the continued application of arrests classes. A large and ardent part of the peoand domiciliary visits, have now considerably ple are attached to the memory of Napoleon, weakened their numbers, as well as damped and seize every opportunity of testifying their their hopes. Still it is against this democratic admiration of that illustrious man. Another rump that all the vigilance of the police is large and formidable body have openly esexerted. The royalists are neglected or de- poused the principles of democracy, and are spised; but the republicans, whom it is not so indefatigable in their endeavours to establish easy to daunt, are sought out with undecaying their favourite dream of a republic. The vigilance, and treated with uncommon severity. Royalists, few in number in Paris and the

Public meetings, or any of the other constitu- great commercial towns, abound in the south tional modes of giving vent to general opinion and west, and openly proclaim their determi in Great Britain, are unknown in France. If nation, if Paris will take the lead, to restore twenty or thirty thousand men were collected the lawful race of soverdigns. But Louis together in that way, they would infallibly be Philippe has few disinterested partisans, but assailed by the military force, and their dis- the numerous civil and military employés who persion, or the overthrow of the government, wear his livery or eat his bread. Not a veswould be the consequence.

tige of attachment to the Orleans dynasty is to The only relic of freedom, which has sur- be seen in France. Louis Philippe is a man vived the Revolution of July, is the liberty of of great ability, vast energy, and indomitable the press. It is impossible to read the journals resolution : but though these are the qualities which are in every coffee-house every morn- most dear to the French, he has no hold of ing, without seeing that all the efforts of des- their affections. His presence in Paris is potism have failed in coercing this mighty in- known only by the appearance of a mounted strument. The measures of public men are patrol on each side of the arch in the Place canvassed with unsparing severity: and not Carousel, who are stationed there only when only liberal, but revolutionary measures ad- the king is at the Tuileries. He enters the vocated wxth great earnestness, and no small capital, and leaves it, without any one inquirshare of ability. It is not, however, without ing or knowing any thing about him. If he the utmost efforts on the part of government is seen in the street, not a head is uncovered, to suppress it, that this licentiousness exists. not a cry of Vive le Roi is heard. Nowhere is Prosecutions against the press have been in a print or bust of any of the royal family to be stituted with a degree of rigour and frequency, seen. Not a scrap of printing narrating any since the Revolution of July, unknown under of their proceedings, beyond the government the lenient and feeble government of the Re- journals, is to be met with. You may travel storation. The Tribune, which is the leading across the kingdom, or, what is of more con republican journal, has reached its eighty-second sequence, traverse Paris in every direction, prosecution, since the Three Glorious Days. without being made aware, by any thing you More prosecutions have been instituted since see or hear, that a king exists in France. The the accession of the Citizen King, than during royalists detest him, because he has establishthe whole fifteen that the elder branch of the ed a revolutionary throne--the republicans, Bourbons was on the throne. The govern- because he has bélied all his professions in ment, however, have not ventured on the de- favour of freedom, and reared a military des cisive step of suppressing the seditious jour- potism on the foundation of the Barricades. nals, or establishing a censorship of the press. The French, in consequence of these cis The recollection of the Three Days, which cumstances, are in a very peculiar state. They mmenced with the attempts to shut up the are discontented with every thing, and what is

worse, they know not to what quarter to look actions; the Reign of Terror, the massacres for relief. They are tired of the Citizen King, in the prisons float before their eyes. They whom they accuse of saving money, and pre- have a vivid impression also of the external paring for America; of having given them the consequences of such an event: they know weight of a despotism without its security, and that their hot-headed youth would instantly the exhaustion of military preparation without press forward to regain the frontier of the either its glory or its advantages. They (ex- Rhine; they foresee an European war, a cescluding the royalists) abhor the Bourbons, sation of the influx of foreign wealth into whom they regard as priest-ridden, and super- Paris, and possibly a third visit by the Cosstitious, weak and feeble, men unfit to govern sacks to the Champs Elysées. These are the the first nation in the world. They dread a considerations which maintain the allegiance republic as likely to strip them of their sons of the National Guard, and uphold the throne and their fortunes; to induce an interminable of Louis Philippe, when there is hardly a war with the European powers; deprive them spark of real attachment to him in the whole of their incomes, and possibly endanger the kingdom. He is supported, not because his national independence. They are discontented character is loved, his achievements admired, with the present, fearful of the future, and find or his principles venerated, but because he is their only consolation in reverting to the days the last barrier between France and revolu. of Napoleon and the Grand Army, as a bril- tionary suffering, and because the people have liant drama now lost for ever. They are in drunk too deep of that draught to tolerate a rethe situation of the victim of passion, or the petition of its bitterness. slave of pleasure, worn out with enjoyment, Although, therefore, there is a large and enblasé with satiety, who has no longer any energetic and most formidable party in France, joyment in life, but incessantly revolts with who are ardently devoted to revolutionary the prurient restlessness of premature age to principles, and long for a republic, as the the orgies and the excesses of his youth. commencement of every imaginable felicity;

What then, it may be asked, upholds the yet the body in whom power is at present reigning dynasty, if it is hated equally by both really vested, is essentially conservative. The the great parties who divide France, and can National Guard of Paris, composed of the number none but its own official dependents most reputable of the citizens of that great meamong its supporters? The answer is to be tropolis, equipped at their own expense, and found in the immense extent of the pecuniary receiving no pay from government, consists losses which the Revolution of July occasioned of the very persons who have suffered most to all men of any property in the country, and severely by the late convulsions. They form the recollection of the Reign of Terror, which the ruling power in France; for to them more is still vividly present to the minds of the ex- than the garrison of the capital, the governisting generation.

ment look for that support which is so necesOn the English side of the channel, few are sary amidst the furious factions by whom aware of the enormous pecuniary losses with they are assailed; and to their opinions the which the triumph of democracy, in July, people attach a degree of weight which does 1830, was attended. In Paris, all parties are not belong to any other body in France. The agreed that the depreciation of property of Chamber of Peers are disregarded, the legisevery description in consequence of that event lative body despised; but the National Guard was about a third: in other words, every man is the object of universal respect, because every found himself a third poorer after the over- one feels that they possess the power of throw of Charles X. than he was before it. making or unmaking kings. The crown does Over the remainder of France the losses sus- not hesitate to act in opposition to a vote of tained were nearly as great, in some places both Chambers; but the disapprobation of a still heavier. For the two years which suc- majority of the National Guard is sure to comceeded the Barricades, trade and commerce mand attention. In vain the Chamber of Deof every description was at a stand; the import puties refused a vote of supplies for the erecof goods declined a fourth, and one half of the tion of detached forts round Paris; the ground shopkeepers in Paris and all the great towns was nevertheless purchased, and the sappers became bankrupt. The distress among the and miners, armed to the teeth, were busily labouring classes, and especially those who employed from four in the morning till twelve depended on the sale of articles of manufac- at night, in their construction; but when seve. tured industry or luxury, was unprecedented. ral battalions of the National Guard, in deIt is the recollection of this long period of na- filing before the king, on the anniversary of tional agony which upholds the throne of Louis the Three Days, exclaimed, “ A bas les forts Philippe. The National Guard of Paris, who detachés,” the works were suspended, and are are in truth the ruling power in France, know now going on only at Vincennes, and two by bitter experience to what a revolution, even other points. That which was refused to the of the most bloodless kind, leads-decay of collected wisdom of the Representatives of business, decline of credit, stoppage of sales, France is conceded at once to the cries of pressure of creditors. They recollect the in- ) armed men: the ultimate decision is made by numerable bankruptcies of 1830 and 1831, and the bayonet; and the boasted improvements are resolved that their names shall not enter of modern civilization, terminate in the same the list They know that the next convulsion appeal to physical strength which characterwould establish a republic in unbridled sove-ize the days of Clovis. reignty: they know the principles of these This contempt into which the legislature apostles of democracy; they recollect their l has fallen, is one of the great features of


France, since the Revolution of July; but it is presentatives of such varied interests must be one which is least known or understood on chosen: the interests in the nation do not exis! the English side of the channel. The causes whose intermixture is essential to a weighty which produced it had been long in operation, legislature. Elected by persons possessed of but it was that event which brought them fully one uniform qualification--the payment of die and prominently into view. The supreme rect taxes to the amount of two hundred francs, power has now passed into other hands. It or eight pounds sterling a-year--the deputies was neither the Peers nor the Commons, but are the representatives only of one class in the Populace in the streets, the heroes of the society, the small proprietors. The other inBarricades, who seated Louis Philippe on the terests in the state either do not exist or are throne. The same force, it is acknowledged, not represented. The persons who are chosen possesses the power to dethrone him; and are seldom remarkable either for their fortune, hence the National Guard of the capital, as family, talent, or character. They are, to use the organized concentration of this power, is a homely expression, “neighbour like;" indilooked to with respect. The departments, it viduals of a bustling character, or ambitious is known, will hail with shouts whatever king, views, who have taken to politics as the best or whatever form of government the armed and most lucrative profession they could force in the capital choose to impose; the de- choose, as opening the door most easily to the puties, it is felt, will hasten to make their sub- innumerable civil and military offices which mission to the leaders who have got possession are the object of universal ambition in France. of the treasury, the bank, the telegraph, and Hence they are not looked up to with respect the war office. Hence, the strife of faction even by their own department, who can never is no longer carried on by debates in the get over the homeliness of their origin or Chambers, or efforts in the legislature. The moderation of their fortune, and by the rest of National Guard of Paris is the body to which France are unknown or despised. all attention is directed; and if the departments The chief complaint against the legislature are considered, it is not in order to influence in France is, that it is swayed by corruption their representatives, but to procure addresses and interested motives. That complaint has or petitions from members of their National greatly increased since the lowering of the freeGuards, to forward the views of the great par- hold qualification from three hundred to iwo ties at work in the metropolis. Such petitions hundred francs of direct taxes, in consequence or addresses are daily to be seen in the public of the Revolution of July. This change has papers, and are referred to with undisguised opened the door to a lower and more corruptible satisfaction by the parties whose views they class of men; numbers of whom got into the support. No regard is paid but to the men who legislature by making the most vehement prohave bayonets in their hands. Every thing fessions of liberal opinions to their constituents, directly, or indirectly, is referred to physical which they instantly forgot when the seductions strength, and the dreams of modern equality of office and emolument were displayed before are fast degenerating into the lasting empire their eyes. The majority of the Chamber, it of the sword.

is alleged, are gained by corruption; and the The complete insignificance of the Cham- more that the qualification is lowered the worse bers, however, is to be referred to other and has this evil become. This is founded on the more general causes than the successful re- principles of human nature, and is of univervolt of the Barricades. That event only tore sal application. The more that you descend aside the veil which concealed the weakness in society, the more will you find men accessiof the legislature; and openly proclaimed ble to base and selfish considerations, because what political wisdom had long feared, that bribes are of greater value to those who posthe elements of an authoritative and pa- sess little or nothing than those who possess ramount legislature, do not exist in France. a great deal. Many of the higher ranks are When the National Assembly destroyed the corrupt, but the power of resisting seduction nobility, the landed proprietors, the clergy, and exists to a greater degree among them than the incorporations of the country, they rendered their inferiors. You often run the risk of ina respectable legislature impossible. It is in sult if you offer a man or woman of elevated vain to attempt to give authority or weight to station a bribe, but seldom if it is insinuated ordinary individuals not gifted with peculiar into the hand of their valet or lady's maid; talents, by merely electing them as members and when the ermine of the bench is unspotted, of parliament. If they do not, from their so much can frequently not be said of the clerks birth, descent, fortune, or estates, already pos or servants of those elevated functionaries. sess it; their mere translation in the legislature Where the legislature is elected by persons will never have this effect. The House of of that inferior description, the influence of Commons under the old English constitution corruption will always be found to increase. It was so powerful, because it contained the re- is for the people of England to judge whether presentatives of all the great and lasting inte- the Reformed Parliament is.or is not destined rests of the country, of its nobles, its landed to afford another illustration of the rule. proprietors, its merchants, manufacturers, To whatever cause it may be owing, the fact burghers, tradesmen, and peasants. It com- is certain, and cannot be denied by any person manded universal respect, because every man practically acquainted with France, that the felt that his own interests were wound up with Chamber of Deputies has fallen into the most and defended by a portion of that body. But complete contempt. Their debates have al: this is not and cannot be the case in France most disappeared; they are hardly reported the classes are destroyed from whom the real by the public press; seldom is any oppositioù


to be seen amongst them. When Louis Phi- | are roused; the National Guard hesitate, or .ippe's crown was in jeopardy in June, 1832, it join the insurgents; the troops of the line rewas to the National Guard, and not to either fuse to act against their fellow-citizens; the branch of the legislature, that all parties look- reigning dynasty is dethroned; a new flag is ed with anxiety. A unanimous vote of the old hoisted at the Tuileries; and the submissive English Parliament would probably have had departments hasten to declare their allegiance great weight with an English body of insur- to the reigning power now in possession of the gents, as it certainly disarmed the formidable treasury and the telegraph, and disposing of mutineers at the Nore; but a unanimous vote some hundred thousand civil and military of both Chambers at Paris would have had little offices throughout France. or no effect. A hearty cheer from three bat- No sooner is this great consummation talions of National Guards would have been effected, than the fruits of the victory begin to worth a hundred votes of the Chambers; and be enjoyed by the successful party. Offices, an insurrection, which all the moral force of honours, posts, and pensions, are showered Parliament could not subdue, fell before the down on the leaders, the officers, and pioneers vigour of two regiments of National Guards in the great work of national regeneration. from the Banlieue.

The editors of the journals whose side has It is owing apparently to this prodigious as- proved victorious, instantly become ministers : cendency of the National Guard of Paris, that all their relations and connections, far beyond the freedom of discussion in the public jour- any known or computablé degree of consannals has survived all the other liberties of guinity, are seated in lucrative or important France. These journals are, in truth, the offices. Regiments of cavalry, préfetships, pleaders before the supreme tribunals which sous-préfetships, procureurships, mayorships, govern the country, and they are flattered by adjointships, offices in the customs, excise, the fearlessness of the language which is em- police, roads, bridges, church, universities, ployed before them. They are as tenacious schools, or colleges, descend upon them thick of the liberty of the press at Paris, in conse-as autumnal leaves in Vallombrosa. Meanquence, as the Prætorian Guards or Janizaries while the vanished party are universally and were of their peculiar and ruinous privileges. rigidly excluded from office, their whole relaThe cries of the National Guard, the ruling tions and connections in every part of France power in France, are prejudiced by the inces- find themselves suddenly reduced to a state of sant efforts of the journals on the different destitution, and their only resource is to begin sides, who have been labouring for months or to work upon the opinions of the armed force years to sway their opinions. Thus the ulti- or restless population of the capital, in the mate appeal in that country is to the editors hope that, after the lapse of a certain number of newspapers, and the holders of bayonets, of years, another revolution may be effected, perhaps the classes of all others who are most and the golden showers descend upon themunfit to be intrusted with the guidance of pub- selves. lic affairs; and certainly those the least quali- In the Revolution of July, prepared as it fied, in the end, to maintain their independence had been by the efforts of the liberal press for against the seductions or offers of a powerful fifteen years in France, and organized as it executive.

was by the wealth of Lafitte, and a few of the The central government at Paris is omnipo- great bankers in Paris, this system was suctent in France; but it does by no means follow cessful. And accordingly, Thiers, Guizot, the from that, that this central government is itself Duke de Broglio, and the whole coterie of the placed on a stable foundation. The authority doctrinaires, have risen at once, from being of the seraglio is paramount over Turkey': editors of newspapers, or lecturers to students, but within its precincts the most dreadful to the station of ministers of state, and discontests are of perpetual recurrence. The pensers of several hundred thousand offices. National Assembly, by concentrating all the They are now, in consequence, the objects of powers of government in the capital, necessa- universal obloquy and hatred with the remainrily delivered over its inhabitants to an inter- der of the liberal party, who accuse them of minable future of discord and strife. When having sacrificed all their former opinions, once it is discovered that the mainspring of and embraced all the arbitrary tenets of the all authority and influence is to be found in royalist faction, whom they were instrumental the government offices of Paris, the efforts of in subverting. Their conduct since they came the different parties who divide the state are into office, and especially since the accession incessant to make themselves masters of the of Casimir Perier's administration on the 13th talisman. This is to be done, not by any March, 1831, has been firm and moderate, efforts in the departments, any speeches in the strongly inclined to conservative principles, legislature, or any measures for the public and, in consequence, odious to the last degree good, but by incessant working at the armed to the anarchical faction by whose aid they force of the capital. By labouring in the pub- rose to greatness. lic journals, in pamphlets, books, reviews, and The great effort of this excluded faction was magazines, for a certain number of years, the made on the 5th and 6th of June, 1832, on faction in opposition at length succeed in occasion of the funeral of Lamarque. In making an impression on the holders of bay- England it was not generally known how foronets in Paris, or on the ardent and penniless midable that insurrection was, and how youth who frequent its coffee-houses; and nearly it had subverted the newly erected when once this is done, by a well organized throne of the Barricades. Above eighty thoumeute, the whole is concluded. The people sand persons, including a considerable porn

« AnteriorContinuar »