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1861.]

Effect of the 'Attentat.'

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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.

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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

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1861.] Causes which may Overthrow Government. 227

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feeling, but for political purposes they are carefully swamped by being joined to uneducated agricultural districts.

* Still I think I might enter the Corps législatif for our capital Le Mans. Perhaps at a general election twenty liberals might come in. But what good could they do? The opposition in the last session strengthened Louis Napoleon. It gave him the prestige of liberality and success.'

You think him, then,' I said, 'safe for the rest of his life?'

Nothing,' he answered, “is safe in France, and the thing most unsafe is a Government. Our caprices are as violent as they are sudden. They resemble those of a half-tamed beast of prey, which licks its keeper's hand to-day, and may tear him to-morrow. But if his life be not so long as to enable the fruits of his follies to show themselves in their natural consequences-unsuccessful war, or defeated diplomacy, or bankruptcy, or heavily increased taxation - he may die in the Tuileries.

* But I infer from his conduct that he thinks an insurrection against his tyranny possible, and that he is preparing to meet it by a popular war—that is to say, by a war with England.

'I found my opinion not so much on the enormous maritime preparations, as on the long-continued systematic attempts to raise against England our old national enmity. All the provincial papers are in the hands of the Government. The constantly recurring topic of every one of them is, the perfidy and the malignity of England. She is described as opposing all our diplomacy, as resisting all our aggrandisement, as snarling and growling at our acquisition of Savoy, as threatening us if we accept Sardinia, as trying to drive the Pope from Rome because we protect him, as trying to separate the Danubian provinces because we wish to unite them, as preventing the Suez Canal because we proposed it-in short, on every occasion and in every part of the world as putting herself in our way. To these complaints, which are not without foundation, are added others of which our ignorant people do not see the absurdity. They are told that the enormous conscription, and the great naval expenditure, are rendered necessary by the aggressive armaments of England. That you are preparing to lay waste all our coasts, to burn our arsenals, to subsidise against us a new Coalition, and perhaps lead its armies again to Paris.

“The Emperor's moderation, his love of England, and his love of peace, are said to be the only obstacles to a violent rupture. But they are prepared for these obstacles at length giving way. “The Emperor," they

pe told, “is getting tired of his insolent, and hostile, and arrelsome allies. He is getting tired of a peace which is more expensive than a war. Some day the cup will flotv over. 'Il en finira avec eux,' will dictate a peace in London, will free the oppressed Irish nationality, will make England pay the expense of the war, and then having conquered the only enemy that France can fear,

1861.]

Language of the Press.

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will let her enjoy, for the first time, real peace, a reduced conscription, and low taxation."

'Such is the language of all the provincial papers and of all the provincial authorities, and it has its effect. There never was a time when a war with England would be so popular. He does not wish for one, he knows that it would be extremely dangerous, but he is accustomed to play for great stakes, and if submitting to any loss of his popularity, or to any limitation of his power is the alternative, he will run the risk. He keeps it, as his last card, in reserve, to be played only in extremity, but to be ready when that extremity has arrived.'

Tuesday, August 13.-We drove to La Prenelle, a church at the point of a high table-land running from Tocqueville towards the bay of La Hogue, and commanding nearly all the Cherbourg peninsula. On three sides of us was the sea, separated from us by a wooded, well-inhabited plain, whose churches rose among the trees, and containing the towns and lofty lighthouses of Gatteville, Barfleur, Vast, and La Hogue. We sat on the point from whence James II. saw the battle of La Hogue, and admired the courage of his English rebels.

Ampère has spent much of his life in Rome, and is engaged on a work in which its history is to be illustrated by its monuments.

We talked of the Roman people.

'Nothing,' said Ampère, can be more degraded than the higher classes. With the exception of Antonelli, who is charming, full of knowledge, intelligence, and grace, and of the Duke of Sermoneta, who is almost

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