« НазадПродовжити »
Acts of a Republican Government.
'I fear,' I said, 'that a republic, at least such a republic as you are likely to have, would begin by some gross economical enormities—by the droit au travail, by the impôt progressif sur la fortune présumée, by a paper currency made a legal tender without limitation of its amount.'
• The last republic,' said Ampère, 'did some of these things, but very timidly and moderately. It gave to its paper a forced currency, but was so cautious in its issue, that it was not depreciated. It created the ateliers nationaux, but it soon dissolved them, though at the expense of a civil war. Its worst fault was more political than economical : it was the 45 centimes, that is to say, the sudden increase by 45 per cent of the direct taxes. It never recovered that blow. Of all its acts it is the one which is best recollected. The Provisional Government is known in the provinces as "ces gredins des quarante-cinq centimes." The business of a revolutionary government is to be popular. It ought to reduce taxation, meet its expenditure by loans, abolish octrois and prohibitions, and defer taxation until it has lasted long enough to be submitted to as a fait accompli.'
*I 'fear,' said Madame de Tocqueville, 'that our working classes are in a much worse frame of mind than they were in 1848. Socialist opinions—the doctrine that the profits of capitalists are so much taken fraudulently or oppressively from the wages of labourers, and that it is unjust that one man should have more of the means of happiness than another—are extending every day. The workpeople believe that the rich are their enemies and that the Emperor is their friend, and that he will join them in an attempt to get their fair share, that is, an equal share, of the property of the country-and I am not sure that they are mistaken.'
Nor am I,' said Beaumont. • Celui-ci fully sympathises with their feelings, and I do not think that he has intelligence enough to see the absurdity of their theories.'
• You do not deny him,' I said, “intelligence?'
*Not,' said Beaumont, 'for some purposes, and to some extent, practical intelligence. His ends are bad, but he is often skilful in inventing, and pertinacious in employing means for effecting those bad ends. But I deny him theoretic intelligence. I do not think that he has comprehension or patience to work out, or even to follow, a long train of reasoning ; such a train as that by which economical errors and fallacies are detected.'
Are there strikes,' I asked, among your workmen?'
* They are beginning,' said Beaumont. We have had one near us, and the authorities were afraid to interfere.'
• I suppose,' I said, 'that they are illegal ?'
•They are illegal,' he answered, and I think that they ought to be so. They are always oppressive and tyrannical. The workman who does not join in a strike is made miserable. They are generally mischievous to the combined workmen themselves, and always to those of other trades. Your toleration of them appears to me one of the worst symptoms of your political state of health. It shows among your public men an ignorance
Tolerance of Strikes.
or a cowardice, or a desire of ill-earned popularity, which is generally a precursor of a democratic revolution.'
It is certain,' said Ampère, 'that the masters are becoming afraid of their workmen Péreire brings his from their residences to the Barrière Malesherbes in carriages. You are not actually insulted in the streets of Paris, but you are treated with rude neglect. A fiacre likes to splash you, a paveur to scatter you with mud. Louis Napoleon began with Chauvinism. He excited all the bad international passions of the multitude. He has now taken up Sansculotteism. Repulsed with scorn and disgust by the rich and the educated, he has thrown himself on the poor and ignorant. The passions with which he likes to work are envy, malignity, and rapacity.
• I do not believe that he feels them. He is what is called a good-natured man. That is to say, he likes to please everyone that he sees. But his selfishness is indescribable.
*No public interest stands in the way of his slightest caprice. He often puts me in mind of Nero. With the same indifference to the welfare of others with which Nero amused himself by burning down Rome, he is amusing himself by pulling down Paris.'
N. W. SENIOR.
[We left Tocqueville on the following day with great regret. The same party was never to meet again—the only survivors are Madame de Beaumont and myself and the Beaumonts' son, then a very intelligent boy of ten
One day my father and I visited the little green churchyard on a cliff near the sea where Tocqueville is buried. The tomb is a plain grey stone slab-on it a cross is cut in bas-relief, with these words only
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE.
My father laid a wreath of immortelles on the tomb. -ED.)
MONTALEMBERT's speech was afterwards published in the Moniteur, but with considerable alterations. In Mr. Senior's journal in 1854 (which has not been published), he says, under the date of April 26, 'I called on Montalembert and took him my report of his speech. He has promised to add to it any notes that it may require. “The printed report,” he said, “is intentionally falsified. Before it was struck off I asked to see the proofs. I was told that, as such an application was new, the President of the Bureau would meet and decide on its admissibility. They decided that it could not be granted."
[The following is Mr. Senior's report, with M. de Montalembert's own corrections and additions in French.-ED.]
At length Montalembert rose. He stood near the extreme right, with his side towards the tribune, and his face towards the centre gallery, in which I sat. His voice and delivery are so good, and the house was so silent, that I did not lose a word. I believe that the following report is a tolerably accurate abridgment of his speech.
'Gentlemen, I must begin by expressing to you my deep gratitude for the attention which you have paid to this unhappy business. I am grieved at having occasioned the waste of so much public time. I am still more grieved at having been the occasion of division among my colleagues.'
[Note by Montalembert.—J'aurais voulu faire plus qu'exprimer