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persons chosen not for their fitness but for their birth and connections, but I am ready to submit to this inconvenience for the sake of its freedom and stability. I had rather have Malmesbury at the Foreign Office, and Lord Derby first Lord of the Treasury, than Nesselrode or Metternich, appointed by a monarch, or Cobden or Bright, whom I suppose we should have under a republic. But above all, I am for the winning horse. If Democracy is to prevail I shall join its ranks, in the hope of making its victory less mischievous. I wish, however, that the contest had not been forced
We were very well, before Lord John brought in his Reform Bill, which nobody called for, and I am not at all sure that we shall be as well after it has passed.
As to the immediate prospects of the Ministry, the next three weeks may change much, but it seems probable that they will be forced to dissolve in April, or the beginning of May, that the new Parliament will meet in July, and that they will be turned out about the end of August. And that this time next year we shall be discussing Lord John's new Reform Bill.
I doubt whether our fears of invasion are exaggerated. At this instant, without doubt, Louis Napoleon is thinking of nothing but the Empire; and is kind to Belgium, and pacific to Switzerland in the hope of our recognition.
But I heard yesterday from Lord Hardinge that 25,000 men are at Cherbourg, and that 25,000 more are going there--and that a large sum is devoted to the navy.
We know that he governs en conspirateur, and this is likely to extend to his foreign as well as his civil relations.
I see a great deal of Thiers, who is very agreeable and very triste. «L'exil,' he says, 'est très-dur. Rémusat seems to bear it more patiently. We hear that we are to have Cousin.
What are your studies in the Bibliothèque Royale ? I have begun to read Bastide, and intend to make the publication of my lectures on Political Economy my principal literary pursuit. I delivered the last on Monday.
I shall pass the first fifteen days of April in Brussels, with my old friend Count Arrivabene, 7 Boulevard du Régent.
N. W. SENIOR.
March 25, 1852. I send you, my dear Senior, an introduction to Lamoricière. This letter will be short: you know that I do not write at any length by the post.
It will contain nothing but thanks for your long and interesting letter brought by Rivet, who returned delighted with the English in general, and with you in particular.
I see that the disturbed state of politics occasioned by Sir Robert Peel's policy, is passing away, and that your political world is again dividing itself into the two great sects, one of which tries to narrow, the other to extend, the area of political power-one of which tries to lift you into aristocracy, the other to depress you into democracy.
The political game will be simpler. I can understand better the conservative policy of Lord Derby than the democratic one of Lord John Russell. As the friends of free-trade are more numerous than those of democracy, I think that it would have been easier to attack the Government on its commercial than on its political illiberality.
Then in this great nation, called Europe, similar currents of opinions and feelings prevail, different as may be the institutions and characters of its different populations. We see over the whole continent so general and so irresistible a reaction against democracy, and even against liberty, that I cannot believe that it will stop short on our side of the Channel ; and if the Whigs become Radical, I shall not be surprised at the permanence in England of a Tory Government allied to foreign despots.
But I ought not to talk on such matters, for I live at the bottom of a well, seeing nothing, and regretting that it is not sufficiently closed above to prevent my hearing anything. Your visions of 25,000 troops at Cherbourg, to be followed by 25,000 more, are mere phantoms. There is nothing of the kind, and there will be nothing. I speak with knowledge, for I come from Cherbourg. I have been attending an extraordinary meeting of our Conseil général on the subject of a projected railway.
Conversation with King Leopold.
My reception touched and delighted me. I was unanimously, and certainly freely, elected president.
A. DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Friday evening, April 17, 1852. My dear Tocqueville,—My letter is not likely to be a very amusing one, for I begin it on the dullest occasion and in the dullest of towns, namely at Ostend, while waiting for the packet-boat which is to take me to London.
A thousand thanks for your letter to Lamoricière. He was very kind to me, and I hope hereafter, in Paris or in London, to improve the acquaintance.
I saw no other French in Brussels. The most interesting conversation that I had was with the King.
I found him convinced that the decree annexing Belgium to France had been drawn up, and that it was the interference of Nicholas, and his expression of a determination not to suffer the existing temporal limits to be altered, that had occasioned it to be withdrawn. I am happy, however, to think, as you also appear to think, that your great man is now intent on peaceful triumphs.
He would scarcely have created such a mass of speculative activity in France if he intended suddenly to check it by war. I hope that by the time Masters in Chancery are abolished, I shall find France intersected by a network of railroads and run from Paris to Marseilles in a day.
I venture to differ from you as to the probable progress of reaction in England. I see no symptom of it; on the contrary, democracy seems to me to continue its triumphant march without a check. The Protectionists are in power, they take for their leader in the House of Commons a man without birth or connection, merely because he is a good speaker. This could not have been. done even ten years ago. They bow to the popular will as to free-trade, and acknowledge that, even if they have a majority in the Houses of Lords and Commons, they will not venture to re-impose a Corn-law if the people do not ask for it. Never was such a homage paid to the world without doors.'
Then Lord John says that he objects to the Ballot, because those who have no votes have a right to know how those who have votes use them.
The example of the Continent will not affect us, or if it do affect us, will rather strengthen our democracy. We are not accustomed to copy, and shall treat the reaction in France, Austria, and Prussia rather as a warning than as a model.
I suspect that Lord John, who, though not, I think, a very wise statesman, is a clever tactician, takes the same view that I do, and has selected Reform for his platform, believing it to be a strong one.
We were delighted with Rivet, and hope that he will soon come again. Lamoricière tells me that he is going to take the waters of Aix-la-Chapelle, but, if his exile continues, will probably come to England next year.
Kindest regards to Madame de Tocqueville.
N. W. SENIOR.