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the army, and leave it in the trenches. Unless his journey produces some great success—in short, unless it gives us Sebastopol—it will be considered a failure; and a failure he cannot afford. I repeat that he must stay there till Sebastopol falls. But that may be months. And what may months bring forth in such a country as France? In such a city as Paris? In such times as these? Then he cannot safely leave his cousin-Jérôme Plon swears that he will not go, and I do not see how he can be taken by force.'
'I do not understand,' I said, Jérôme's conduct. It seemed as if he had the ball at his feet. The role of an heir is the easiest in the world. He has only to behave decently in order to be popular.'
*Jérôme's chances,' answered Tocqueville, of the popularity which is to be obtained by decent behaviour were over long before he became an heir. His talents are considerable, but he has no principles, and no good
He is Corsican to the bone. I watched him among his Montagnards in the Constituent.
'Nothing could be more perverse than his votes, nor more offensive than his speeches. He is unfit to conciliate the sensible portion of society, and naturally throws himself into the arms of those who are waiting to receive him—the violent, the rapacious, and the anarchical: this gives him at least some adherents.'
“What do you hear,' I asked, 'of his conduct in the East?
'I hear,' said Tocqueville, 'that he showed want, not so much of courage, as of•temper and of subordination. VOL. II.
He would not obey orders; he would not even transmit them, so that Canrobert was forced to communicate directly with the officers of Napoleon's division, and at last required him to take sick leave, or to submit to a court-martial.'
'I thought,' I said, 'that he was really ill.'
•That is not the general opinion,' said Tocqueville. • He showed himself at a ball directly after his return, with no outward symptoms of ill health.'
The conversation turned on English politics.
'So many of my friendships,' said Tocqueville, and so many of my sympathies, are English, that what is passing in your country, and respecting your country, gives me great pain, and greater anxiety. To us, whom unhappily experience has rendered sensitive of approaching storms, your last six months have a frightfully revolutionary appearance.
* There is with you, as there was with us in 1847, a general malaise in the midst of general prosperity. Your people seem, as was the case with ours, to have become tired of their public men, and to be losing faith in their institutions. What else do these complaints of what is called “the system” mean? When you complain that the Government patronage is bartered for political support, that the dunces of a family are selected for the public service, and selected expressly because they could not get on in an open profession; that as their places are a
; sort of property, they are promoted only by seniority, and never dismissed for any, except for some moral, delinquency ; that therefore the seniors in all your depart
Discontent in England.
ments are old men, whose original dulness has been cherished by a life without the stimulus of hope or fear, you describe a vessel which seems to have become too crazy to endure anything but the calmest sea and the most favourable winds. You have tried its sea-worthiness in one department, your military organisation, and you find that it literally falls to pieces. You are incapable of managing a line of operations extending only seven miles from its base. The next storm may attack your Colonial Administration. Will that stand any better? Altogether your machinery seems throughout out of gear. If you set to work actively and fearlessly,
. without reference to private interests, or to private expectations, or to private feelings, to repair, remove and replace, you may escape our misfortunes; but I see no proofs that you are sufficiently bold, or indeed that you are sufficiently alarmed. Then as to what is passing here. A year ago we probably overrated your military power. I believe that now we most mischievously underrate it. A year ago nothing alarmed us more than a whisper of the chance of a war with England. We talk of one now with great composure. We believe that it would not be difficult to throw 100,000 men upon your shores, and we believe that half that number would walk over England or Ireland. You are mistaken if you think that these opinions will die away of themselves, or will be eradicated by anything but some decisive military success. I do not agree with those who think that it is your interest that Russia should submit while Sebastopol stands. You might save money and men by a speedy peace, but you would not regain your reputation. If you are caught by a peace before you have an opportunity of doing so, I advise you to let it be on your part an armed peace. Prepare yourselves for a new struggle with a new enemy, and let your preparations be, not only as effective as you can make them, but also as notorious.'1
· Note inserted by M. de Tocqueville in my Journal, after reading the preceding conversation.
* J'ai entendu universellement louer sans restriction le courage héroïque de vos soldats, mais en même temps j'ai trouvé répandu cette croyance, qu'on s'était trompé de l'importance de l’Angleterre dans le monde, comme puissance militaire proprement dite, qui consiste autant à administrer la guerre qu'à combattre, et surtout qu'il lui était impossible, ce qu'on ne croyait pas jusque là, d'élever de grandes armées, même dans les cas les plus pressants. Je n'avais rien entendu de pareil depuis mon enfance. On vous croit absolument dans notre dépendance, et du sein de la grande intimité qui règne entre les deux peuples, je vois naître des idées qui, le jour où nos deux gouvernements cesseront d'être d'accord, nous précipiteront dans la guerre contre vous, beaucoup plus facilement que cela n'eut pu avoir lieu depuis la chute du premier Empire. Cela m'afflige, et pour l'avenir de l'Alliance anglaise (dont vous savez que j'ai toujours été un grand partisan), et non moins aussi, je l'avoue, pour la cause de vos institutions libres. Ce qui se passe n'est pas de nature à la relever dans notre esprit. Je vous pardonnerais de déconsidérer vos principes par les louanges dont vous accablez le gouvernement absolu qui règne en France, mais je voudrais du moins que vous ne le fissiez pas d'une manière encore plus efficace par vos propres fautes, et par la comparaison qu'elles suggèrent. semble, du reste, bien difficile de dire ce qui résultera pour vous-même du contact intime et prolongé avec notre gouvernement, et surtout de l'action commune et du mélange des deux armées. J'en doute, je vous l'avouerai, que l'aristocratie anglaise s'en trouve bien, et quoique A. B. ait entonné l'autre jour une véritable hymne en l'honneur de celle-ci, je ne crois pas que ce qui se passe soit de nature à rendre ces chances plus grandes dans l'avenir.'-A. de Tocqueville.
• I heard universal and unqualified praise of the heroic courage of your soldiers, but at the same time I found spread abroad the persuasion that the importance of England had been overrated as a military Power properly so called—a Power which consists in administering as much as in
Effects of Crimean War.
Paris, Saturday, March 3.—Tocqueville called on us soon after breakfast.
We talked of the loss and gain of Europe by the war. We agreed that Russia and England have both lost by it. Russia probably the most in power, England in reputation. That Prussia, though commercially a gainer, is humiliated and irritated by the superiority claimed by Austria and conceded to her.
*You cannot,' said Tocqueville, estimate the opinions of Germany without going there. There is a general feeling among the smaller Powers of internal insecurity and external weakness, and Austria is looked up to as the supporter of order against the revolutionists, and of Germany against Russia. Austria alone has profited by
fighting; and above all, that it was impossible (and this had never before been believed), for her to raise large armies, even under the most pressing circumstances. I never heard anything like it since my childhood. You are supposed to be entirely dependent upon us, and from the midst of the great intimacy which subsists between the two countries, I see springing up ideas which, on the day when our two Governments cease to be of one mind, will precipitate our country into a war against you, much more easily than has been possible since the fall of the first Empire. This grieves me, both on account of the duration of the English Alliance (of which you know that I have always been a great partisan), and no less, I own, for the sake of your free institutions. Passing events are not calculated to raise them in our estimation. I forgive you for discrediting your principles by the praise which you lavish on the absolute government which reigns in France, but I would have you at least not to do so in a still more efficacious manner by your own blunders and by the comparisons which they suggest. It seems to me, however, very difficult to predict the result to yourselves of the long and intimate contact with our Government, and, above all, of the united action and amalgamation of the two armies. I own that I doubt its having a good effect on the future of the English aristocracy, and although A.B. struck up the other day a real hymn in its praise, I do not think that present events are of a nature to increase its chance in the future.'