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1852.] Victims of the Coup d'État. 19 by birth and education, the author of a tragedy eminently successful called “Spartacus," was arrested on the 2nd of December. His friends were told not to be alarmed, that no harm was intended to him, but rather a kindness; that as his liberal opinions were known, he was shut up to prevent his compromising himself by some rash expression. He was sent to Fort Bicêtre, where the casemates, miserable damp vaults, have been used as a prison, into which about 3,000 political prisoners have been crammed. His friends became uneasy, not only at the sufferings which he must undergo in five weeks of such an imprisonment in such weather as this, but lest his health should be permanently injured. At length they found that he was there no longer : and how do you suppose that his imprisonment has ended ? He is at this instant at sea in a convict ship on his way to Cayenne—untried, indeed unaccused—to die of fever, if he escape the horrors of the passage. Who can say how many similar cases there may be in this wholesale transportation? How many of those who are missing and are supposed to have died at the barricades, or on the Boulevards, may be among the transports, reserved for a more lingering death!'
A proclamation to-day from the Prefect de Police orders all persons to erase from their houses the words • Liberté, Égalité,' and `Fraternité,' on pain of being proceeded against administrativement.
*There are,' said Tocqueville, now three forms of procedure : judiciairement, militairement, and administrativement. Under the first a man is tried before a court of law, and, if his crime be grave, is sentenced to one or two years' imprisonment. Under the second he is tried before a drumhead court-martial, and shot. Under the third, without any trial at all, he is transported to Cayenne or Algiers.'
I left Paris next day.
Kensington, January 5, 1852. My dear Tocqueville, -A private messenger has just offered himself to me, a Mr. Esmeade, who will return in about a fortnight.
The debate on Tuesday night on the Palmerston question was very satisfactory to the Government. Lord John's speech was very well received — Lord Palmerston's very ill; and though the constitution of the present Ministry is so decidedly unhealthy that it is dangerous to predict any length of life to it, yet it looks healthier than people expected. It may last out the Session.
The feeling with respect to Louis Napoleon is stronger, and it tends more to unanimity every day. The Orleans confiscation has, I think, almost too much weight given to it. After his other crimes the mere robbery of a single family, ruffian-like as it is, is a slight addition.
I breakfasted with V. yesterday. He assures me that it is false that a demand of twenty millions, or any other pecuniary demand whatever, has been made in Belgium. Nor has anything been said as to the
demolition of any fortresses, except those which were agreed to be dismantled in 1832, and which are unimportant.
The feeling of the people in Belgium is excellent. Mr. Banfield, who has just returned from the Prussian provinces, says the same with respect to them and Bunsen assures me that his Government will perish rather than give up a foot of ground. I feel better hopes of the preservation of peace.
Thiers and Duvergier de Hauranne are much fêtés, as will be the case with all the exiles.
I have been reading Fiquelmont. He is deeply steeped in all the bêtises of the commercial, or rather the anti-commercial school; and holds that the benefit of commerce consists not, as might have been supposed, in the things which are imported, but in those which are exported.
. These follies, however, are not worth reading; but his constitutional theories—his belief, for instance, that Parliamentary Government is the curse of Europe—are curious.
The last number of the ‘Edinburgh Review' contains an article on Reform well worth reading. It is by Greg. He wrote an admirable article in, I think, the April number, on Alton Locke and the English Socialists, and has also written a book, which I began to-day, on the Creed of Christendom. I have long been anxious to get somebody to do what I have not time to do, to look impartially into the evidences of Christianity, and report the result. This book does it.
Lord Normanby does not return to Paris, as you probably know. No explanation is given, but it is supposed to be in compliance with the President's wishes.
I have just sent to the press for the 'Edinburgh Review,' an article on Tronson du Coudray' and the 18th fructidor, which you will see in the April number. The greater part of it was written this time last year at Sorrento.
Gladstone has published a new Neapolitan pamphlet, which I will try to send you. It is said to demolish King Ferdinand.
Kindest regards to Madame de Tocqueville. We hope that you will come to us as soon as it is safe.
N. W. SENIOR.
P.S. and very private.—I have seen a communication from Schwartzenberg to Russia and Prussia, of the 19th December, the doctrine of which is that Louis Napoleon has done a great service by putting down parliamentaryism. That in many respects he is less dangerous than the Orleans, or elder branch, because they have parliamentary leanings. That no alteration of the existing parties must be permitted—and that an attempt to assume an hereditary crown should be discouragedbut that while it shows no aggressive propensities the policy of the Continent ought to be to countenance him,
· Republished in the Biographical Sketches. Longmans : 1863.-ED.
and isoler l'Angleterre, as a foyer of constitutional, that is to say, anarchical, principles.
Bunsen tells me that in October his King was privately asked whether he was ready to destroy the Prussian Constitution—and that he peremptorily refused.
Look at an article on the personal character of Louis Napoleon in the ‘Times' of Monday. It is by R-, much built out of my conversation and Z.'s letters.
I have begged Mr. Esmeade to call on you-you will like him. He is a nephew of Sir John Moore.
Kensington, March 19, 1852. My dear Tocqueville,—I was very glad to see your hand again—though there is little in French affairs on which liberals can write with pleasure.
Ours are become very interesting. Lord John's declaration, at the meeting the other day in Chesham Place, that he shall introduce a larger reform, and surround himself with more advanced adherents, and Lord Derby's, on Monday, that he is opposed to all democratic innovation, appear to me to have changed the position of parties. The question at issue is no longer Free-trade or Protection Protection is abandoned. It is dead, never to revive. Instead of it we are to fight for Democracy, or Aristocracy. I own that my sympathies are with Aristocracy: I prefer it to either Monarchy or Democracy. I know that it is incident to an aristocratic government that the highest places shall be filled by
1 The letter to which this is an answer is not to be found.-ED.