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1857.]

Duc de Nemours' Letter.

159

heir. Whether the heir will keep it, is a different question.'

Sunday, April 12.—Tocqueville drank tea with us. I asked him if he had seen the Duc de Nemours' letter.

I have not seen it,' he answered. In fact, I have not wished to see it. I disapprove of the Fusionists, and the anti-Fusionists, and the Legitimists, and the Orleanists-in short, of all the parties who are forming plans of action in events which may not happen, or may not happen in my time, or may be accompanied by circumstances rendering those plans absurd, or mischievous, or impracticable.'

‘But though you have not read the letter,' I said, 'you know generally what are its contents.'

Of course I do,' he replied. And I cannot blame the Comte de Chambord for doing what I do myselffor refusing to bind himself in contingencies, and to disgust his friends in the hope of conciliating his enemies.'

Do you believe,' I asked, that the mere promise of a Constitution would offend the Legitimists?'

'I do not think,' he answered, ‘that they would object to a Constitution giving them what they would consider their fair share of power and influence.

Under Louis Philippe they had neither, but it was in a great measure their own fault.

*They have neither under this Government, for its principle is to rest on the army and on the people, and to ignore the existence of the educated classes.

"You see that in its management of the press.

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Montalembert, or Guizot, or Falloux, or I may publish what we like. We are not read by the soldier or by the proletaire.' But the newspaper press is subject to a slavery to which it was never reduced before. The system was first elaborated in Austria, and I daresay will be copied by all the Continental autocrats, for no inventions travel so quickly as despotic ones.

'The public avertissements are comparatively unimportant. Before a journal gets one of those its suppression has probably been decided on. Every day there are communications between the literary police and the different editors. Such or such a line of argument is altogether forbidden, another is allowed to be used to a certain extent. Some subjects are tabooed, others are to be treated partially.

*As the mental food of the lower orders is supplied by the newspapers, this paternal Government takes care that it shall not be too exciting.'

Paris, Monday, April 13.—Tocqueville, Jobez, Marcet, St.-Hilaire, Charles Sumner, and Lord Granville breakfasted with us.

The conversation turned on public speaking.

“Very few indeed of our speakers,' said Tocqueville, ‘have ever ventured to improvise. Barrot could do it. We have told him sometimes that a speech must be answered immediately; and when he objected that he had nothing to say, we used to insist, and to assure him

1 The lowest class.-ED.

2 Barthélemy de St.-Hilaire is now Thiers' private secretary and right hand.-ED.

1857.)

Public Speakers.

161

that as soon as he was in the tribune, the ideas and the words would come; and so they did. I have known him go on under such circumstances for an hour; of course neither the matter nor the form could be first rate, but they were sufficient.'

In fact,' said Lord Granville, 'much of what is called improvisation is mere recollection. A man who has to speak night after night, gets on most subjects a set of thoughts, and even of expressions, which naturally pour in on him as soon as his argument touches the train which leads to them.

One of our eminent speakers,' he continued, Lord Grey, is perhaps best when he has not had time to prepare himself. He is so full of knowledge and of inferences, that he has always enough ready to make an excellent speech. When he prepares himself, there is too much; he gives the House more facts and more deductions than it can digest.'

Do you agree with me, I asked, “in thinking that Lord Melbourne was best when he improvised?'

'I agree with you,' answered Lord Granville, that his set speeches were cold and affected. He was natural only when he was quite careless, or when he was much excited, and then he was admirable.'

'Did not Thiers improvise?' I asked.

Never,' answered Tocqueville. “He prepared himself most carefully. So did Guizot. We see from the “Revue rétrospective” that he even prepared his replies. His long experience enabled him to foresee what he should have to answer. Pasquier used to bring VOL. II.

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his speech ready written. It lay on the desk before him, but he never looked at it.'

"That seems to me,' I said, 'very difficult. It is like swimming with corks. One would be always tempted to look down on the paper.'

It is almost equally difficult,' said Tocqueville, 'to make a speech of which the words are prepared. There is a struggle between the invention and the memory. You trust thoroughly to neither, and therefore are not served thoroughly by either.'

Yet that,' said Marcet, 'is what our Swiss pastors are required to do. They are forbidden to read, and forbidden to extemporise, and by practice they speak from memory-some well, all tolerably.'

Brougham,' said Lord Granville, used to introduce his most elaborately prepared passages by a slight hesitation. When he seemed to pause in search of thoughts, or of words, we knew that he had a sentence ready cut and dried.'

· Who,' I asked Sumner, "are your best speakers in America ?'

*The best,' he said, 'is Seward ; after him perhaps comes Winthrop.'

'I should have thought it difficult,' I said, 'to speak well in the Senate, to only fifty or at most sixty members.'

You do not speak,' answered Sumner, 'to the Senators. You do not think of them. You know that their minds are made up. Except as to mere executive questions, such as the approval of a public functionary,

1857.]

Public Speaking in America.

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or the acceptance or modification of a treaty, every senator comes in pledged to a given, or to an assumed, set of opinions and measures. You speak to the public. You speak in order that 500,000 copies of what you say, as was the case with my last speech, may be scattered over the whole Union.'

'That,' I said, 'must much affect the character of your oratory. A speech meant to be read must be a different thing from one meant to be heard. Your speeches must in fact be pamphlets, and that I suppose accounts for their length.'

'That is true,' replied Sumner. “But when you hear that we speak for a day, or for two days, or, as I have sometimes done, for three days, you must remember that our days are days of only three hours each.'

How long,' I asked, 'was your last speech ?'

About five hours,' he answered. “Three hours the first day and two hours the second.'

• That,' I said, “is not beyond our remotest limit. Brougham indeed, on the amendment of the law, spoke for six hours, during the greater part of the time to an audience of three. The House was filled with fog, and there is an H. B. which represents him gesticulating in the obscurity and the solitude.'.

· "He,' said Lord Granville, "put his speech on the Reform Bill at the top.'

The speech,' I said, at the end of which he knelt to implore the Peers to pass the bill, and found it difficult to rise.'

Tuesday, April 14.-Z., Sumner, Lord Granville,

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