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Evil Effects of Tyranny.
went to St. Julien's, a fine old church of the thirteenth century, desecrated in the Revolution, but now under restoration.
Thence to the Hôtel Gouin, a specimen of the purely domestic architecture of the fifteenth century, covered with elegant tracery and scroll-work in white marble. We ended with Plessis-les-Tours, Louis XI.'s castle, which stands on a flat, somewhat marshy, tongue of land stretching between the Loire and the Cher. All that remains is a small portion of one of the inner courts, probably a guard-room, and a cellar pointed out to us as the prison in which Louis XI. kept Cardinal de la Balue for several years. The cellar itself is not bad for a prison of those days, but he is said to have passed his first year or two in a grated vault under the staircase, in which he could neither stand up nor lie at full length.
• It is remarkable,' said Tocqueville, that the glorious reigns in French history, such as those of Louis Onze, Louis Quatorze, and Napoleon ended in the utmost misery and exhaustion, while the periods at which we are accustomed to look as those of disturbance and insecurity were those of comparative prosperity and progress. It seems as if tyranny were worse than civil war.'
* And yet,' I said, 'the amount of revenue which these despots managed to squeeze out of France was never * large. The taxation under Napoleon was much less than under Louis Philippe.'
• Yes,' said Tocqueville, but it was the want of power
to tax avowedly that led them into indirect modes of raising money, which were far more mischievous; just as our servants put us to more expense by their jobs than they would do if they simply robbed us to twice the amount of their indirect gains.
'Louis XIV. destroyed all the municipal franchises of France, and paved the way for this centralized tyranny, not from any dislike of municipal elections, but merely in order to be able himself to sell the places which the citizens had been accustomed to grant.'
Sunday, April 9.-Another sultry day. I waited till the sun was low, and then sauntered by the side of the river with Tocqueville.
"The worst faults of this Government,' said Tocqueville, . are those which do not alarm the public.
'It is depriving us of the local franchises and local selfgovernment which we have extorted from the central power in a struggle of forty years. The Restoration and the Government of July were as absolute centralizers as Napoleon himself. The local power which they were forced to surrender they made over to the narrow pays légal, the privileged ten-pounders, who were then attempting to govern France. The Republic gave the name of Conseils-généraux to the people, and thus dethroned the notaires who had governed those assemblies when they represented only the bourgeoisie. The Republic made the maires elective. The Republic placed education in the hands of local authorities. Under its influence, the communes, the cantons, and the departments were becoming real administrative bodies. They are now
Power of the Préfet.
mere geographical divisions. The préfet appoints the maires. The préfet appoints in every canton a commissaire de police--seldom a respectable man, as the office is not honourable. The gardes champêtres, who are our local police, are put under his control. The recteur, who was a sort of local Minister of Education in every department, is suppressed. His powers are transferred to the préfet. The préfet appoints, promotes, and dismisses all the masters of the écoles primaires. He has the power to convert the commune into a mere unorganised aggregation of individuals, by dismissing every communal functionary, and placing its concerns in the hands of his own nominees. There are many hundreds of communes that have been thus treated, and whose masters now are uneducated peasants. The préfet can dissolve the Conseil-général of his department and, although he cannot directly name its successors, he does so virtually.
*No candidate for an elective office can succeed unless he is supported by the Government. The préfet can destroy the prosperity of every commune that displeases him. He can dismiss its functionaries, close its schools, obstruct its improvements, and withhold the assistance in money which the Government habitually gives to forward the public purposes of a commune.
"The Courts of Law, both criminal and civil, are the tools of the Executive. The Government appoints the judges, the préfet provides the jury, and la haute police acts without either.
* All power of combination, even of mutual communication, except from mouth to mouth, is gone. The newspapers are suppressed or intimidated, the printers are the slaves of the préfet, as they lose their privilege if they offend ; the secrecy of the post is habitually and avowedly violated ; there are spies to watch and report conversation.
‘Every individual stands defenceless and insulated in the face of this. unscrupulous Executive with its thousands of armed hands and its thousands of watching eyes. The only opposition that is ventured is the abstaining from voting. Whatever be the office, whatever be the man, the candidate of the préfet comes in; but if he is a man who would have been universally rejected in a state of freedom, the bolder electors show their indignation by their absence. I do not believe that, even with peace, and with the prosperity which usually accompanies peace, such a Government could long keep down such a country as France. Whether its existence would be prolonged by a successful war I will not decide. Perhaps it might be.
"That it cannot carry on a war only moderately successful, or a war which from its difficulties and its distance may be generally believed to be ill managed, still less a war stained by some real disaster, seems to me certain-if anything in the future of France can be called certain
• The vast democratic sea on which the Empire floats is governed by currents and agitated by groundswells, which the Government discovers only by their effects. It knows nothing of the passions which in
Empire Destroyed by a Defeat.
fluence these great, apparently slumbering, masses ; indeed it takes care, by stifling their expression, to prevent their being known. Universal suffrage is a detestable element of government, but it is a powerful revolutionary instrument.'
• But,' I said, 'the people will not have an opportunity of using that instrument. All the great elective bodies have some years before them.'
• That is true,' said Tocqueville, and therefore their rage will break out in a more direct, and perhaps more formidable, form. Depend on it, this Government can exist, even for a time, only on the condition of brilliant, successful war, or prosperous peace. It is bound to be rapidly and clearly victorious. If it fail in this, it will sink-or perhaps, in its terrors and its struggles, it will catch at the other alternative, peace.
•The French public is too ignorant to care much about Russian aggrandisement. So far as it fancies that the strength of Russia is the weakness of England, it is pleased with it. I am not sure that the most dishonourable peace with Nicholas would not give to Louis Napoleon an immediate popularity. I am sure that it would, if it were accompanied by any baits to the national vanity and cupidity ; by the offer of Savoy for instance, or the Balearic Islands. And if you were to quarrel with us for accepting them, it would be easy to turn against you our old feelings of jealousy and hatred'
We saw vast columns of smoke on the other side of the river. Those whom we questioned believed them to VOL. II.