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Barfleur, La Hogue, and a green plain covered with woods and hedgerow trees, and studded with church
towers and spires of the picturesque forms of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. It has no grand features, except the sea and the rocky coast of the Cherbourg peninsula, but it is full of variety and beauty. I can understand Tocqueville's delight in the house and in the country. The weather is perfect; the thermometer in my bedroom, the walls of which are about six feet thick, is 71°, in the sun it is 80°; but there is a strong breeze.
August 12th.--Madame de Beaumont, my daughter, and Ampère drove, and Beaumont and I walked, to the coast about three miles and a half off. Our road ran through the gay wooded plain which I have described.
We talked of Italian affairs.
Up to the annexation of Tuscany,' said Beaumont, I fully approve of all that has been done. Parma, Modena, and Tuscany were eager to join Piedmont.
During the anxious interval of six months, while the decision of Louis Napoleon was doubtful, the conduct of the Tuscans was above all praise. Perhaps the general wish of the people of Romagna justified the Piedmontese in seizing it. Though there the difficult question as to the expediency of stripping the Pope of his temporal
Perhaps, too, the facility with which Sicily submitted was a justification. But I cannot pardon the seizure of Naples. It is clear to me that if the Neapolitans had been left to themselves they would have driven out the Garibaldians. Garibaldi himself felt this : nothing but a conviction of its necessity would have induced him to call for the assistance of the Piedmontese. I do not believe that in defiance of all international law-indeed in defiance of all international morality-Cavour would have given that assistance if the public opinion of Piedmont had allowed him to refuse it. And what is the consequence? A. civil war which is laying waste the country.
The Piedmontese call their adversaries brigands. There are without doubt among them men whose motive is plunder, but the great majority are in arms in defence of the independence of their country. They are no more brigands now than they were when they resisted King Joseph. The Piedmontese are as much foreigners to them as the French were: as much hated and as lawfully resisted. They may be conquered, they probably will be conquered. An ignorant corrupt population, inhabiting a small country, unsupported by its higher classes--its fleet, its fortresses, and all the machinery of its government, in the hands of its enemiescannot permanently resist; but the war will be atrocious, and the more cruel on the part of Piedmont because it is unjust.'
*You admit,' I said, 'that the higher classes side with Piedmont?'
'I admit that,' he answered ; 'but you must recollect how few they are in number, and how small is the influence which they exercise. In general, I detest universal suffrage, I detest democracy and everything belonging to it, but if it were possible to obtain honestly and truly the opinion of the people, I would ask it and obey it. I believe that it would be better to allow the Neapolitans, ignorant and debased as they are, to choose their own sovereign and their own form of government, than to let them be forced by years of violence to become the unwilling subjects of Piedmont.'
'Do you believe,' I said, 'that it is possible to obtain through universal suffrage the honest and true opinion of a people?'
Not,' he answered, if the Government interferes. I believe that in Savoy not one person in fifty was in favour of annexation to France. But this is an extreme
*The Bourbons are deservedly hated and despised by the Neapolitans, the Piedmontese are not despised, but are hated still more intensely. There is no native royal stock. The people are obviously unfit for a Republic. It would be as well, I think, to let them select a King as to impose one on them. The King
Effect of the 'Attentat.'
whom Piedmont, without a shadow of right, is imposing on them is the one whom they most detest.'
'If I go to Rome,' I asked, “in the winter, whom shall I find there?
'I think,' he answered, that it will be the Piedmontese. The present state of things is full of personal danger to Louis Napoleon. As his policy is purely selfish, he will, at any sacrifice, put an end to it. That sacrifice may be the unity of Catholicism. The Pope, no longer a sovereign, will be under the influence of the Government in whose territory he resides, and the other Catholic Powers may follow the example of Greece and of Russia, and create each an independent Spiritual Government. It would be a new excitement for Celui-ci to make himself Head of the Church.'
* Assassinations,' I said, 'even when successful have seldom produced important and permanent effects, but Orsini's failure has influenced and is influencing the destinies of Europe.'
If I were an Italian liberal,' said Beaumont, 'I would erect a statue to him. The policy and almost the disposition of Louis Napoleon have been changed by the attentat. He has become as timid as he once was intrepid. He began by courting the Pope and the clergy. He despised the French assassins, who were few in number and unconnected, and who had proved their unskilfulness on Louis Philippe; but Orsini showed him that he had to elect between the Pope and the Austrians on one side, and the Carbonari on the other. He has chosen VOL. II.
the alliance of the Carbonari. He has made himself their tool, and will continue to do so.
* They are the only enemies whom he fears, at least for the present.
France is absolutely passive. The uneducated masses from whom he holds his power are utterly indifferent to liberty, and he has too much sense to irritate them by wanton oppression. They do not know that he is degrading the French character, they do not even feel that he is wasting the capital of France, they do not know that he is adding twenty millions every year to the national debt. They think of his loans merely as investments, and the more profligately extravagant are the terms and the amount, the better they like them.'
*Ten years ago,' I said, the cry that I heard was, Ça ne durera pas.”
That was my opinion,' he answered ; 'indeed, it was the opinion of everybody. I thought the Duc de Broglie desponding when he gave it three years. We none of us believed that the love of liberty was dead in France.'
• It is not,' I said, 'dead, for among the higher classes it still lives, and among the lower it never existed.'
Perhaps,' he answered, our great mistakes were that we miscalculated the courage of the educated classes, and the degree in which universal suffrage would throw power into the hands of the uneducated. Not a human being in my commune reads a newspaper or indeed reads anything: yet it contains 300 electors. In the towns there is some knowledge and some political