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which fought an action with an English vessel, the “ Lively.” We passed three times under her stern, and raked her each time. We ought to have cleared her decks. Not a shot touched her. The other day at Cherbourg I saw a broadside fired at a floating mark three cables off, the usual distance at which ships engage, Ten balls hit it, and we could see that all the others passed near enough to shake it by their wind.
• A ship of eighty guņs has now forty canonniers and forty maîtres de pièces. All practical artillerymen, and even the able seamen, can point a gun. Nelson's manæuvre of breaking the line could not be used against a French fleet, such as a French fleet is now. The leading ships would be destroyed one after another, by the concentrated fire. Formerly our officers dreaded a maritime war. They knew that defeat awaited them, possibly death. Now they are confident, and eager to try their hands.'
In the evening L. took me into a corner, and we had a long conversation.
He had been reading my 'Athens Journal.'
•What struck me,' he said, “in every page of it, was the resemblance of King Otho to Louis Napoleon.'
'I see the resemblance,' I answered, “but it is the resemblance of a dwarf to a giant.'
"No,' he replied. Of a man five feet seven inches high to one five feet eleven inches. There are not more than four inches between them. There is the same cunning, the same coldness, the same vindictiveness, the same silence, the same perseverance, the same unscrupu
Character of Louis Napoleon.
lousness, the same selfishness, the same anxiety to appear to do everything that is done, and above all, the same determination to destroy, or to seduce by corruption or by violence, every man and every institution favourable to liberty, independence, or self-government. In one respect Otho had the more difficult task. He found himself, in 1843, subject to a Constitution carefully framed under the advice of England for the express purpose of controlling him. He did not attempt to get rid of it by a coup d'état, or even to alter it, but cunningly and skilfully perverted it into an instrument of despotism. Louis Napoleon destroyed the Constitution which he found, and made a new one, copied from that which had been gradually elaborated by his uncle, which as a restraint is intentionally powerless and fraudulent.
'A man,' he continued, 'may acquire influence either by possessing in a higher degree the qualities which belong to his country and to his time, or by possessing those in which they are deficient.
*Wellington is an example of this first sort. His excellences were those of an Englishman carried almost to perfection.
• Louis Napoleon belongs to the second. If his merits had been impetuous courage, rapidity of ideas, quickness, of decision, frankness, versatility and resource, he would have been surrounded by his equals or his superiors. He predominated over those with whom he came in contact because he differed from them. Because he was calm, slow, reserved, silent, and persevering. Because he is a Dutchman, not a Frenchman.'
He seems,' I said, 'to have lost his calmness.' Yes,' answered L. But under what a shock! And observe that though the greatest risk was encountered by him, the terror was greatest among his entourage. I do not believe that if he had been left to himself he would have lost his prudence or his self-possession. He did not for the first day. Passions are contagious. Everyone who approached him was agitated by terror
His intrepidity and self-reliance, great as they are, were disturbed by the hubbub all round him. His great defects are three. First, his habit of self-contemplation. He belongs to the men whom the Germans call subjective, whose eye is always turned inwardly ; who think only of themselves, of their own character, and of their own fortunes. Secondly, his jealousy of able men. He wishes to be what you called him, a giant, and as Nature has not made him positively tall, he tries to be comparatively so, by surrounding himself with dwarfs. His third defect is the disproportion of his wishes to his means. His desires are enormous. No
power, no wealth, no expenditure would satisfy them. Even if he had his uncle's genius and his uncle's indefatigability, he would sink, as his uncle did, under the exorbitance of his attempts. As he is not a man of genius, or even a man of remarkable ability, as he is ignorant, uninventive and idle, you will see him flounder and fall from one failure to another.
During the three years that Drouyn de L'Huys was his minister he was intent on home affairs-on his marriage, on the Louvre, on the artillery, on his
Character of Louis Napoleon.
bonnes fortunes, and on the new delights of unbounded expenditure. He left foreign affairs altogether to his minister. When Drouyn de L'Huys left him, the road before him was plain-he had only to carry on the war. But when the war was over, the road ended ; neither he nor Walewski nor any of his entourage know anything of the country in which they are travelling. You see them wandering at hazard. Sometimes trying to find their way to Russia, sometimes to England. Making a treaty with Austria, then attempting to injure her, and failing ; attempting to injure Turkey, and failing ; bullying Naples, and failing; threatening Switzerland, threatening Belgium, and at last demanding from England an Alien Bill, which they ought to know to be incompatible with the laws and hateful to the feelings of the people.
He is not satisfied with seeing the country prosperous and respected abroad. He wants to dazzle. His policy, domestic and foreign, is a policy of vanity and ostentation-motives which mislead everyone both in private and in public life.
'His great moral merits are kindness and sympathy. He is a faithful attached friend, and wishes to serve all who come near him.
His greatest moral fault is his ignorance of the difference between right and wrong; perhaps his natural insensibility to it, his want of the organs by which that difference is perceived—a defect which he inherits from his uncle.'
The uncle,' I said, “had at least one moral sensehe could understand the difference between pecuniary
honesty and dishonesty, a difference which this man seems not to see, or not to value.'
'I agree with you,' said L. “He cannot value it, or he would not look complacently on the peculation which surrounds him. Every six months s e magnificent hotel rises in the Champs Elysées, built by a man who had nothing, and has been a minister for a year or two.'
On my return I found Tocqueville with the ladies. I gave him an outline of what L. had said.
'No one,' he said, “knows Louis Napoleon better than L.'
My opportunities of judging him have been much fewer, but as far as they have gone, they lead to the same conclusions. L. perhaps has not dwelt enough on his indolence. Probably as he grows older, and the effects of his early habits tell on him, it increases. I am told that it is difficult to make him attend to business, that he prolongs audiences apparently to kill time.
*One of the few of my acquaintances who go near him, was detained by him for an hour to answer questions about the members of the Corps législatif. Louis Napoleon inquired about their families, their fortunes, their previous histories. Nothing about their personal qualities. These are things that do not interest him. He supposes that men differ only in externals. “That the fond is the same in everyone."
April 26.—Tocqueville spent the evening with us.
* I read none,' he said, 'that end ill. Why should one voluntarily subject oneself to painful emotions ? To emotions created by an imaginary cause and therefore