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1852.) The Second Napoleon a copy of the First. 17
originate nothing ; his opinions, his theories, his maxims, even his plots, all are borrowed, and from the most dangerous of models—from a man who, though he possessed genius and industry such as are not seen coupled, or indeed single, once in a thousand years, yet ruined himself by the extravagance of his attempts. It would be well for him if he would utterly forget all his uncle's history. He might then trust' to his own sense, and to that of his advisers. It is true that neither the one nor the other would be a good guide, but either would probably lead him into fewer dangers than a blind imitation of what was done fifty years ago by a man very unlike himself, and in a state of society both in France and in the rest of Europe, very unlike that which now exists.'
Lanjuinais and Madame B., a relation of the family, came in.
Lanjuinais had been dining with Kissileff the Russian Minister. Louis Napoleon builds on Russian support, in consequence of the marriage of his cousin, the Prince de Lichtenstein, to the Emperor's daughter. He calls it an alliance de famille, and his organs the Constitutionnel' and the Patrie' announced a fortnight ago that the Emperor had sent to him the Order of St. Andrew, which is given only to members of the Imperial family, and an autograph letter of congratulation on the coup d'état.
Kissileff says that all this is false, that neither Order nor letter has been sent, but he has been trying in vain to get a newspaper to insert a denial. It will be denied, he is told, when the proper moment comes. VOL. II.
'It is charming,' said Madame de Tocqueville, 'to see the Emperor of Russia, like ourselves, forced to see his name usurped without redress.'
Madame B. had just seen a friend who left his countryhouse, and came to Paris without voting, and told those who consulted him that, in the difficulties of the case, he thought abstaining was the safest course. Immediately after the poll was over the Prefect sent to arrest him for malveillance, and he congratulated himself upon being out of the way.
One of Edward de Tocqueville's sons came in soon after ; his brother, who is about seventeen, does duty as a private, has no servant, and cleans his own horse ; and is delighted with his new life. That of our young cavalry officers is somewhat different. He did not hear of the coup d'état till a week after it had happened.
“Our regiments,' said Lanjuinais, ‘are a kind of convents. The young men who enter them are as dead to the world, as indifferent to the events which interest the society which they have left, as if they were monks. This is what makes them such fit tools for a despot.'
Thursday, January 8, 1852.-From Sir Henry Ellis's I went to Tocqueville's.
I'In this darkness,' he said, 'when no one dares to print, and few to speak, though we know generally that atrocious acts of tyranny are perpetrated everyday, it is difficult to ascertain precise facts, so I will give you one. A young man named Hypolite Magin, a gentleman
1 This conversation was also retained in the Journals in France. -Ed.
Victims of the Coup d'État.
by birth and education, the author of a tragedy eminently successful called “Spartacus," was arrested on the end of December. His friends were told not to be alarmed, that no harm was intended to him, but rather a kindness; that as his liberal opinions were known, he was shut up to prevent his compromising himself by some rash expression. He was sent to Fort Bicêtre, where the casemates, miserable damp vaults, have been used as a prison, into which about 3,000 political prisoners have been crammed. His friends became uneasy, not only at the sufferings which he must undergo in five weeks of such an imprisonment in such weather as this; but lest his health should be permanently injured. At length they found that he was there no longer : and how do you suppose that his imprisonment has ended ? He is at this instant at sea in a convict ship on his way to Cayenne—untried, indeed unaccused—to die of fever, if he escape the horrors of the passage. Who can say how many similar cases there may be in this wholesale transportation? How many of those who are missing and are supposed to have died at the barricades, or on the Boulevards, may be among the transports, reserved for a more lingering death!'
A proclamation to-day from the Prefect de Police orders all persons to erase from their houses the words * Liberté, Égalité,' and 'Fraternité,' on pain of being proceeded against administrativement.
'There are,' said Tocqueville, 'now three forms of procedure : judiciairement, militairement, and administrativement. Under the first a man is tried before a court of law, and, if his crime be grave, is sentenced to one or two years' imprisonment. Under the second he is tried before a drumhead court-martial, and shot. Under the third, without any trial at all, he is transported to Cayenne or Algiers.'
I left Paris next day.
Kensington, January 5, 1852. My dear Tocqueville, -A private messenger has just offered himself to me, a Mr. Esmeade, who will return in about a fortnight.
The debate on Tuesday night on the Palmerston question was very satisfactory to the Government. Lord John's speech was very well received — Lord Palmerston's very ill; and though the constitution of the present Ministry is so decidedly unhealthy that it is dangerous to predict any length of life to it, yet it looks healthier than people expected. It may last out the Session.
The feeling with respect to Louis Napoleon is stronger, and it tends more to unanimity every day. The Orleans confiscation has, I think, almost too much weight given to it. After his other crimes the mere robbery of a single family, ruffian-like as it is, is a slight addition.
I breakfasted with V. yesterday. He assures me that it is false that a demand of twenty millions, or any other pecuniary demand whatever, has been made in Belgium Nor has anything been said as to the
Prospects of Peace.
demolition of any fortresses, except those which were agreed to be dismantled in 1832, and which are unimportant.
The feeling of the people in Belgium is excellent.
Mr. Banfield, who has just returned from the Prussian provinces, says the same with respect to them-and Bunsen assures me that his Government will perish rather than give up a foot of ground. I feel better hopes of the preservation of peace.
Thiers and Duvergier de Hauranne are much fétés, as will be the case with all the exiles.
I have been reading Fiquelmont. He is deeply steeped in all the bêtises of the commercial, or rather the anti-commercial school; and holds that the benefit of commerce consists not, as might have been supposed, in the things which are imported, but in those which are exported.
These follies, however, are not worth reading; but his constitutional theories—his belief, for instance, that Parliamentary Government is the curse of Europe—are curious.
The last number of the 'Edinburgh Review' contains an article on Reform well worth reading. It is by Greg. He wrote an admirable article in, I think, the April number, on Alton Locke and the English Socialists, and has also written a book, which I began to-day, on the Creed of Christendom. I have long been anxious to get somebody to do what I have not time to do, to look impartially into the evidences of Christianity, and report the result. This book does it.