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Monday, May 28.–Tocqueville called on me.
I asked him for criticisms on my article on the State of the Continent in the North British Review of February 1855.
Of course,' I said, it must be full of blunders. No one who writes on the politics of a foreign country can avoid them. I want your help to correct a few of them.'
'Since you ask me,' he answered, 'for a candid criticism, I will give you one. I accuse you rather of misappreciation than of misstatement. First with respect to Louis Napoleon. After having described accurately, in the beginning of your paper, his unscrupulous, systematic oppression, you end by saying that, after all, you place him high among our sovereigns.'
You must recollect,' I answered, that the article
talking frequently with the colonists, and this side cannot be seen in conversing with officials—it is the abuse of centralisation. Africa may be considered as the most complete and most extraordinary picture of the vices of this system. I am convinced that it alone, without the Arabs, the sun, the desert and the fever, would be enough to prevent us from colonising. All the defects of centralisation, its oppressions, its faults, its absurdities, its endless documents, which are dimly perceived in France, become one hundred times bigger in Africa. It is like a louse in a microscope.
'I conversed,' I answered, with Violar and with my landlord at the mineral waters, and they did not complain of centralisation.' “They did not complain,' he answered, "of the word, which perhaps is unknown to them. But if you had made them enter into the details of the public administration, or even of their own private affairs, you would have seen that the colonist is more confined in all his movements, and more governed, for his good, than you were with regard to your passport.
• This is what Violar meant when he told you that roads were wanting, because the Government would not permit its subjects to interfere in making them.'
I See p. 107.
1855.) Emperor has designs on the Rhine.
was written for the “Edinburgh Review,” the organ of our Government, edited by Lord Clarendon's brother-inlaw—and that the editor thought its criticisms of Louis Napoleon so severe, that after having printed it, he was afraid to publish it. I went quite as far as I prudently could. I accused him, as you admit, of unscrupulous oppression, of ignorance of the feelings of the people, of being an idle administrator, of being unacquainted with business himself, and not employing those who understand it, of being impatient of contradiction, of refusing advice and punishing censure—in short, I have praised nothing but his foreign policy—and I have mentioned two errors in that.'
But I have a graver accusation to bring against you,' replied Tocqueville. •You couple as events mutually dependent the continuance of the Imperial Government and the continuance of the Anglo-Gallic Alliance. I believe this opinion not only to be untrue, but to be the reverse of the truth. I believe the Empire and the Alliance to be not merely, not mutually dependent, but to be incompatible, except upon terms which you are resolved never to grant. The Empire is essentially warlike--and war in the mind of a Bonaparte, and of the friends of a Bonaparte, means the Rhine. This war is merely a stepping stone.
It is carried on for purposes in which the mass of the people of France take no interest. Up to the present time its burthens have been little felt, as it has been supported by loans, and the limits of the legal conscription have not been exceeded. But when the necessity comes for increased taxation and anticipated conscriptions, Louis Napoleon must have recourse to the real passions of the French bourgeoisie and peasantry—the love of conquest, et la haine de l'Anglais. Don't fancy that such feelings are dead, they are scarcely asleep. They might be roused in a week, in a day, and they will be roused as soon as he thinks that they are wanted.
•What do you suppose was the effect in France of Louis Napoleon's triumph in England ?
“Those who know England attributed it to the ignorance and childishness of the multitude. Those who thought that the shouts of the mob had any real meaning either hung down their heads in shame at the felf-degradation of a great nation, or attributed them to fear. The latter was the general feeling. “Il faut,” said all our lower classes, " que ces gens-là aient grande peur de nous."
You accuse, in the second place, all the Royalist parties of dislike of England. •
Do you suppose that you are more popular with the others ? That the Republicans love your aristocracy, or the Imperialists your freedom? The real friends of England are the friends of her institutions. They are the body, small perhaps numerically, and now beaten down, of those who adore Constitutional Liberty. They have maintained the mutual good feeling between France and England against the passions of the Republicans and the prejudices of the Legitimists. I trust, as you trust, that this good feeling is to continue, but it is on precisely opposite grounds. My hopes are founded, not
Extracts from Article.
on the permanence, but on the want of permanence, of the Empire. I do not believe that a great nation will be long led by its tail instead of by its head. My only fear is, that the overthrow of this tyranny may not take place early enough to save us from war with England, which I believe to be the inevitable consequence of its duration.'
We left Paris soon after this conversation.
[The following are a few extracts from the article in the · North British Review.'—ED.]
'The principal parties into which the educated society of Paris is divided, are the
and Parliamentarians. 'The Royalists may be again subdivided into Orleanists, Legitimists, and Fusionists; and the Fusionists into Orleanist-Fusionists, and Legitimist-Fusionists.
• The Imperialists do not require to be described. They form a small party in the salons of Paris, and much the largest party in the provinces.
• Those who are Royalists without being Fusionists are also comparatively insignificant in numbers.
There are a very few Legitimists who pay to the elder branch the unreasoning worship of superstition; who adore Henri V. not as a means but as an end ; who pray for his reign, not for their own interests, not for the interests of France, but for his own sake; who believe that he
derives his title from God, and that when the proper time comes God will restore him ; and that to subject his claims to the smallest compromise—to admit, for instance, as the Fusionists do, that Louis Philippe was really a king, and that the reign of Henri V. did not begin the instant' that Charles X. expired-would be a sinful contempt of Divine right, which might deprive his cause of Divine assistance.
* There are also a very few Orleanists who, with a strange confusion of ideas, do not perceive that a title founded solely on a revolution was destroyed by a revolution ; that if the will of the people was sufficient to exclude the descendants of Charles X., it also could exclude the descendants of Louis Philippe; and that the hereditary claims of the Comte de Paris cannot be urged except on the condition of admitting the preferable claims of the Comte de Chambord.
* The bulk, then, of the Royalists are Fusionists; but though all the Fusionists agree in believing that the only government that can be permanent in France is a monarchy, and that the only monarchy that can be permanent is one depending on hereditary succession; though they agree in believing that neither of the Bourbon branches is strong enough to seize the throne, and that each of them is strong enough to exclude the other, yet between the Orleanist-Fusionists and the LegitimistFusionists the separation is as marked and the mutual hatred as bitter, as those which divide the most hostile parties in England.
• The Orleanist-Fusionists are generally roturiers,