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rejoice in her defeat. They have been so injured in their fortunes and their influence, have been so long an oppressed caste--excluded from power, and even from sympathy—that they have acquired the faults of slaves, have become timid and frivolous, or bitter.
* They have ceased to be anxious about anything but to be let alone. But they are a large, a rich, and comparatively well-educated body. Your picture is incomplete without them, et il sera toujours très-difficile de gouverner sans eur.
I quite agree,' he continued, with Thiers as to the necessity of this war.
Your interests may be more immediate and greater, but ours are very great. When I say ours, I mean those of France as a country that is resolved to enjoy constitutional government. not sure that if Russia were to become mistress of the Continent she would not allow France to continue a quasi-independent despotism under her protectorate. But she will never willingly allow us to lie powerful and free.
'I sympathise, too, with Thiers's fears as to the result. I do not believe that Napoleon himself, with all his energy, and all his diligence, and all his intelligence, would have thought it possible to conduct a great war to which his Minister of War was opposed. A man who has no heart in his business will neglect it, or do it imperfectly. His first step would have been to dismiss St.-Arnaud. Then, look at the other two on
1 Le portrait va plus loin que ma pensée.-A. de Tocqueville.
whose skill and energy we have to depend. One is Ducos, Minister of Marine, a man of mere commonplace talents and character. The other is Binneau, Minister of Finance, somewhat inferior to Ducos. Binneau ought to provide resources. He ought to check the preposterous waste of the Court. He has not intelligence enough to do the one, or courage enough to attempt the other. The real Prime Minister is without doubt Louis Napoleon himself. But he is not a man of business. He does not understand details. He may order certain things to be done, but he will not be able to ascertain whether the proper means have been taken. He does not know indeed what these means are. He vloes not trust those who do. A war which would have tasked all the powers of Napoleon, and of Napoleon's Ministers and generals, is to be carried on without any master-mind to direct it, or any good instruments to execute it. I fear some great disaster.
Such a disaster might throw,' he continued, this man from the eminence on which he is balanced, not rooted. It might produce a popular outbreak, of which the anarchical party might take advantage. Or, what is perhaps more to be feared, it might frighten Louis Napoleon into a change of policy. He is quite capable of turning short round-giving up everything—key of the Grotto, protectorate of the orthodox, even the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus-to Nicholas, and asking to be repaid by the Rhine.
'I cannot escape from the cauchemar that a couple of years hence France and England may be at war. VOL. II.
Nicholas's expectations have been deceived, but his plan was not unskilfully laid. He had a fair right to conjecture that you would think the dangers of this alliance such as to be even greater than those of allowing him to obtain his protectorate.
'In deciding otherwise, you have taken the brave and the magnanimous course. I hope that it may prove the successful one.
'I am sorry,' continued Tocqueville, 'to see the language of your newspapers as to the fusion. I did not choose to take part in it. I hate to have anything to do with pretenders. But as a mere measure of precaution it is a wise one. It decides what shall be the conduct of the Royalist party in the event—not an improbable one of France being suddenly left without a ruler.
• Your unmeasured praise of Louis Napoleon and your unmeasured abuse of the Bourbons are, to a certain degree, the interference in our politics which you professedly disclaim.
I admit the anti-English prejudices of the Bourbons, and I admit that they are not likely to be abated by your alliance with a Bonaparte. But the opinions of a constitutional sovereign do not, like those of a despot, decide the conduct of his country. The country is anxious for peace, and, above all, peace with you-for more than peace, for mutual good-feeling. The Bourbons cannot return except with a constitution. It has become the tradition of the family, it is their title to the throne. There is not a vieille marquise in the Faubourg St.-Germain who believes in divine right.
“The higher classes in France are Bourbonists because they are Constitutionalists, because they believe that constitutional monarchy is the government best suited to France, and that the Bourbons offer us the fairest chance of it.
' Among the middle classes there is without doubt much inclination for the social equality of a Republic. But they are alarmed at its instability; they have never known one live for more than a year or two, or die except in convulsions.
"As for the lower classes, the country people think little about politics, the sensible portion of the artizans care about nothing but cheap and regular work; the others are Socialists, and, next to the government of a Rouge Assembly, wish for that of a Rouge despot.'
'In London,' I said, “a few weeks ago I came across a French Socialist, not indeed of the lower orders—for he was a Professor of Mathematics—but participating in their feelings. "I prefer,” he said, “a Bonaparte to a Bourbon-a Bonaparte must rely on the people, one can always get something out of him."
“ What have you got," I asked, "from this man?” “A great deal,” he answered. “We got the Orleans confiscation—that was a great step. Il portait attente à la propriété. Then he represents the power and majesty of the people. He is like the people, above all law. Les Bourbons nous chicanaient."
That was the true faith of a Rouge,' said Tocqueville "If this man,' he added, had any self-control, if he would allow us a very moderate degree of liberty, he
might enjoy a reign-probably found a dynasty. He had everything in his favour; the prestige of his name, the acquiescence of Europe, the dread of the Socialists, and the contempt felt for the Republicans. We were tired of Louis Philippe. We remembered the branche aînée only to dislike it, and the Assembly only to despise it. We never shall be loyal subjects, but we might have been discontented ones, with as much moderation as is in our nature.'
• What is the nuance,' I said, 'of G-?'
G—' answered Tocqueville, 'is an honest man, uncorrupt and public-spirited; he is a clear, logical, but bitter speaker; his words fall from the tribune like drops of gall. He has great perspicacity, but rather a narrow range. His vision is neither distant nor comprehensive. He wears a pair of blinkers, which allow him to see only what he looks straight at—and that is the English Constitution. For what is to the right and to the left he has no eyes, and unhappily what is to the right and to the left is France.
* Then he has a strong will, perfect self-reliance, and the most restless activity. All these qualities give him great influence. He led the centre gauche into most of its errors. H- used to say,
“If you want to know what I shall do, ask G-."
Among the secondary causes of February 1848 he stands prominent. He planned the banquets. Such demonstrations are safe in England. He inferred, according to his usual mode of reasoning, that they would not be dangerous in France. He forgot that in