« НазадПродовжити »
who were then attempting to govern France. The Republic gave the election of the Conseils généraux to the people, and thus dethroned the notaries who governed those assemblies when they represented only the bourgeoisie. The Republic made the Maires elective ; the Republic placed education in the hands of the local authorities. Under its influence the communes, the cantons, and the departments were becoming real administrative bodies. They are now 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 the 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. The Préfet can destroy the prosperity of every commune that displeases him. He can displace the functionaries, close its schools, obstruct its public works, and withhold the money which the Government habitually gives in aid of local improvement. He can convert it, indeed, 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 are now uneducated peasants. The Préfet can dissolve the Conseil général of his department, and although he cannot actually name their successors, he does so virtually. No candidate for an elective office
Power of the Préfet.
can succeed unless he is supported by the Government. The Courts of law, 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 in every country town 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, and whatever be the man, the candidate of the Préfet comes in ; but if he is a man who would have been unanimously rejected in a state of freedom, the bolder electors show their indignation by their absence.
'In such a state of society the traveller can learn little. Even those who rule it, know little of the feelings of their subjects. The vast democratic sea on which the Empire floats is influenced by currents, and agitated by ground swells which the Government discovers only by their effects. It knows nothing of the passions which influence these great apparently slumbering masses. Indeed, it takes care, by stifling their expression, to prevent their being known.
"We disapprove in many respects of the manner in which Louis Napoleon employs his power, as we disapprove in all respects of the means by which he seized it; but, on the whole, we place him high among the sovereigns of France. As respects his foreign policy we put him at the very top. The foreign policy of the rulers of mankind, whether they be kings, or ministers, or senates, or demagogues, is generally so hateful, and at the same time so contemptible, so grasping, so irritable, so unscrupulous, and so oppressive—so much dictated by ambition, by antipathy and by vanity, so selfish, often so petty in its objects, and so regardless of human misery in its means, that a sovereign who behaves to other nations with merely the honesty and justice and forbearance which are usual between man and man, deserves the praise of exalted virtue. The sovereigns of France have probably been as good as the average of sovereigns. Placed indeed at the head of the first nation of the Continent, they have probably been better ; but how atrocious has been their conduct towards their neighbour! If we go back no further than to the Restoration, we find Louis XVIII. forming the Holy Alliance, and attacking Spain without a shadow of provocation, for the avowed purpose of crushing her liberties and giving absolute power to the most detestable of modern tyrants. We find Charles X. invading a dependence of his ally, the Sultan, and confiscating a province to revenge a tap on the face given by the Bey of Algiers to a French consul. We find Louis Philippe breaking the most solemn engagements with
Invasion of Rome.
almost wanton faithlessness; renouncing all extension of territory in Africa and then conquering a country larger than France--a country occupied by tribes who never were the subjects of the Sultan or of the Bey, and who could be robbed of their independence only by wholesale and systematic massacre ; we find him joining England, Spain, and Portugal in the Quadruple Alliance, and deserting them as soon as the time of action had arrived ; joining Russia, Prussia, Austria and England, in the arrangement of the Eastern question, on the avowed basis that the integrity of the Ottoman empire should be preserved, and then attempting to rob it of Egypt. We find him running the risk of a war with America, because she demanded, too unceremoniously, the payment of a just debt, and with England because she complained of the ill-treatment of a missionary. We find him trying to ruin the commerce of Switzerland because the Diet arrested a French spy, and deposing Queen Pomare because she interfered with the sale of French brandies ; and, as his last act, eluding an express promise by a miserable verbal equivocation, and sowing the seeds of a future war of succession in order to get for one of his sons an advantageous establishment in Spain.
• The greatest blot in the foreign policy of Louis Napoleon is the invasion of Rome, and for that he is scarcely responsible. It was originally planned by Louis Philippe and Rossi. The expedition which sailed from Toulon in 1849 was prepared in 1847. It was despatched in the first six months of his presidency, in obedience to a vote of the Assembly, when the Assembly was still the ruler of France; and Louis Napoleon's celebrated letter to Ney was an attempt, not, perhaps constitutional or prudent, but well-intentioned, to obtain for the Roman people liberal and secular institutions instead of ecclesiastical tyranny.
* His other mistake was the attempt to enforce on Turkey the capitulations of 1740, and to revive pretentions of the Latins in Jerusalem which had slept for more than a century. This, again, was a legacy from Louis Philippe. It was Louis Philippe who claimed a right to restore the dome, or the portico, we forget which, of the Holy Sepulchre, and to insult the Greeks by rebuilding it in the Latin instead of the Byzantine form. Louis Napoleon has the merit, rare in private life, and almost unknown among princes, of having frankly and unreservedly withdrawn his demands, though supported by treaty, as soon as he found that they could not be conceded without danger to the conceding party.
With these exceptions, his management of the foreign relations of France has been faultless. To England he has been honest and confiding, to Russia conciliatory but firm, to Austria kind and forbearing, and he has treated Prussia with, perhaps, more consideration than that semiRussian Court and childishly false and cunning king deserved. He has been assailed by every form of temptation, through his hopes and through his fears, and has remained faithful and disinterested. Such conduct deserves the admiration with which England has.repaid it.
"We cannot praise him as an administrator. He is