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tration unsuccessful. From this peine forte et dure we believe that Europe will now be relieved ; and if the people or the sovereigns of the Continent, particularly those of Germany and Italy, make a tolerable use of the freedom from foreign dictation which the weakness of Russia will give to them, we look forward to an indefinite course of prosperity and improvement. Unhappily, experience, however, forbids us to be sanguine. Forty years ago, an event, such as we are now contemplating, occurred. A Power which had deprived the Continent of the power of independent action fell, and for several years had no successor. Germany and Italy recalled or re-established their sovereigns, and entrusted them with power such as they had never possessed before. How they used it may be inferred from the general outbreak of 1848. A popular indignation, such as could have been excited only by long years of folly, stupidity, and tyranny, swept away or shook every throne from Berlin to Palermo. The people was everywhere for some months triumphant; and its abuse of power produced a reaction which restored or introduced despotism in every kingdom except Prussia and Piedmont, and even in Prussia gave to the King power sufficient to enable him, up to the present moment, to maintain a policy, mischievous to the interests, disgusting to the sympathies, and injurious to the honour of his people. But while the Anglo-Gallic alliance continues, the Continent will be defended from the worst of all evils, the prevention of domestic improvement, and the aggravation of domestic disturbance, by foreign intervention. That alliance has already
Lessons of History.
preserved the liberty of Piedmont. If it had been established sooner, it might have preserved that of Hesse, and have saved Europe from the revolting spectacle of the constitutional resistance of a whole people against an usurping tyrant and a profligate minister crushed by brutal, undisguised violence.
We repeat that we are not sanguine, that we do not expect the tranquil, uninterrupted progress which would be the result of the timely concession on the part of the sovereigns, and of the forbearance and moderation on the part of their subjects, which, if they could profit by the lessons of history, would be adopted by both parties. The only lesson, indeed, which history teaches is, that she teaches none either to subjects or to sovereigns. But we do trust that when the ruler and his people are allowed to settle their own affairs between one another, they will come from time to time to coarse and imperfect, but useful arrangements of their differences. Rational liberty may advance slowly and unequally ; it may sometimes be arrested, it may sometimes be forced back, but its march in every decennial period will be perceptible. Like an oak which has grown up among storms, its durability will be in proportion to the slowness of its progress.'
Tocqueville, June 30, 1855. I have only just arrived here, my dear Senior, after wandering for nearly a month from friend to friend all through the Touraine and the Maine. As you may think, I am, on returning home after so long an absence, overpowered with trifling business. I cannot, therefore, comply to-day with your request and write to you the letter you ask for : I will write it after much thought and at length. The subject is well worthy of the trouble. Shall I at the same time send back to you the conversation which I have corrected, and in what way? The post would be very unsafe and expensive. Give me, therefore, your instructions on this point. But above all, give us news of yourselves and of all our friends.
My wife has borne the journey better than I expected, and the delight we feel in finding ourselves here once more will completely restore her.
This delight is really very great and in proportion to the annoyance of wandering about as we have done for three years without ever finding a place which entirely suited us.
As to public news, I have heard none since I left Paris. The only spot which a single ray of light can ever reach is Paris. All the rest is in profound dark
If you hear anything important, pray tell me. Adieu, dear Senior. Remember me to Mrs. and Miss Senior, and believe in our long and very sincere affection,
A. DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Tocqueville, July 25, 1855. I wrote to you yesterday, my dear Senior, a long letter according to my promise.
But when I read it over I felt that it was absurd to send such a letter by the post, especially to a foreigner, and I burnt it.
Insecurity of Letters.
Since the assault of the 18th,' the interference of the police in private correspondence has become more active. Many of my friends as well as I myself have perceived it. More letters have been kept back and more have been stopped. Two of mine have been lost. You may remember that two letters from me failed to reach you,
, three years ago. The danger is greater in the country, where handwritings are known, than in Paris. You advise me to put my letters into a cover directed to your Embassy, which will forward them. But this is no security. If a letter be suspected, it is easy to open and re-seal it, and still easier simply to suppress it.
And, in fact, after all, you have lost little. I wrote to you only what I have a hundred times said to you. We have lived so much together, and with such perfect mutual confidence, that it is difficult for either of us to say anything new to the other.
Besides, on reading over again, with attention, your note of our last conversation, I have nothing to alter. All that I could do would be to develope a little more my opinions, and to support them by additional arguments. I feel more and more their truth, and that the
progress of events will confirm them much more than any reasonings of mine can do.
We are annoyed and disturbed, having the house full of workmen. I am trying to warm it by hot air, and
1 On the 18th June, 1855, the French and English made an unsuccessful assault on Sebastopol. -ED.
2 That of the 28th May, 1855. -Ed.
am forced to bore through very old and very thick walls; but we shall be repaid by being able to live here during the winter.
I am amusing myself with the letters which our young soldiers in the East, peasants from this parish, write home to their families, and which are brought to me. This correspondence should be read in order to understand the singular character of the French peasant. It is strange to see the ease with which these men become accustomed to the risks of military life, to danger and to death, and yet how their hearts cling to their fields and to the occupations of country life. The horrors of war are described with simplicity, and almost with enjoyment. But in the midst of these accounts one finds such phrases as these : "What crop do you intend to sow in such a field next year?” “How is the mare?” “Has the cow a fine calf?" &c. No minds can be more versatile, and at the same time more constant. I have always thought that, after all, the peasantry were superior to all other classes in France. But these men are deplorably in want of knowledge and education, or rather the education to which they have been subjected for centuries past has taught them to make a bad use of their natural good qualities.
It seems to me that Lord John's resignation will enable your Cabinet to stand, at least for some time. All that has passed in England since the beginning of the war grieves me deeply. Seen from a distance, your Constitution appears to me an admirable machine which is getting out of order, partly from the wearing out of