Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

1855.]

Discontent in England.

99

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

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.

Il me 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

1855.]

Effects of Crimean War.

IOI

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 the general calamities. Without actually drawing the sword she has possession of the Principalities, she has thrust down Prussia into the second rank, she has emancipated herself from Russia, she has become the ally cf France and of England, and even of her old enemy Piedmont, she is safe in Italy. Poland and Hungary are still her difficulties, and very great ones, but as her general strength increases, she can better deal with them.'

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.'

'Has not France,' I said, 'been also a gainer, by becoming head of the coalition against Russia ?'

Whatever we have gained,' answered Tocqueville, 'has been dearly purchased, so far as it has consolidated this despotism. For a whole year we have felt that the life, and even the reign, of Louis Napoleon was necessary to us. They will continue necessary to us during the remainder of the war. We are acquiring habits of obedience, almost of resignation. His popularity has not increased. He and his court are as much shunned by the educated classes as they were three years ago ; we still repeat “que ça ne peut pas durer,” but we repeat it with less conviction.'

We passed the spring in Algeria, and returned to Paris the latter part of May.

Paris, May 26, 1855.—After breakfast I went to the Institut. M. Passy read to us

us a long paper on the Art of Government. He spoke so low and so monotonously that no one attended. I sat next to Tocqueville, and, as it was not decent to talk, we conversed a little in writing.

1855.]

Centralisation in Algeria.

103

He had been reading my Algiers Journal, and thus commented upon it :

Il y a tout un côté, particulièrement curieux, de l’Algérie, qui vous a échappé, parce que vous n'avez pu ou voulu vous imposer l'ennui de causer souvent avec les colons, et que ce côté-là ne se voit pas en parlant avec les gouvernants; c'est l'abus de la centralisation. L'Afrique peut être considérée comme le tableau le plus complet et le plus extraordinaire des vices de ce système.

* Je suis convaincu que seul, sans les Arabes, le soleil, le désert, et la fièvre, il suffirait pour nous empêcher de coloniser. Tout ce que la centralisation laisse entrevoir de défauts, de ridicules et absurdités, d'oppression, de paperasseries en France, est grossi en Afrique au centuple. C'est comme un pou vu dans un microscope.'

* J'ai causé,' I answered, 'avec Violar et avec mon hôte aux eaux ferrugineuses. Mais ils ne se sont pas plaints de la centralisation.'

· Ils ne se sont pas plaints,' he answered, 'du mot que, peut-être, ils ne connaissaient pas. Mais si vous les aviez fait entrer dans les détails de l'administration publique, ou même de leurs affaires privées, vous auriez vu que le colon est plus gêné dans tous ses mouvements, et plus gouverné, pour son plus grand bien, que vous ne l'avez été quand il s'est agi de votre passeport.

• Violar faisait allusion à cela quand il vous a dit que les chemins manquaient parce que le Gouvernement ne voulait pas laisser les gouvernés s'en mêler.'

1

• One whole side, and that a very curious one, of Algeria, has escaped you, because you could not, or would not, inflict on yourself the bore of

« НазадПродовжити »