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They have been drawn hither suddenly and artificially by the demolition and reconstruction of half the town, by the enormous local expenditure of the Government, and by the fifty millions spent in keeping the price of bread in Paris unnaturally low. The 40,000 men collected in Paris by the construction of the fortifications are supposed to have mainly contributed to the revolution of 1848. What is to be expected from this addition of 100,000 ? Then the repressive force is differently constituted and differently animated. In England you have an army which has chosen arms as a profession, which never thinks of any other employment, and indeed is fit for no other, and never expects any provision except its pay and its pension. The French soldier, ever since 1789, is a citizen. He serves his six years because the law and the colonel force him to do so, but he counts the days until he can return to his province, his cottage, and his field. He sympathises with the passions of the people. In the terrible days of June, the army withstood the cries, the blessings, the imprecations and the seductions of the mob, only because they had the National Guards by their side. Their presence was a guarantee that the cause was just. The National Guards never fought before as they did in those days. Yet at the Château d'Eau, the miraculous heroism and the miraculous good luck of Lamoricière were necessary to keep them together. If he had not exposed himself as no man ever did, and escaped as no man ever did, they would have been broken.'
'I was there,' said Scheffer, when his fourth horse was killed under him. As the horse was sinking he drew his feet out of the stirrups and came to the ground without falling ; but his cigar dropped from his mouth. He picked it up, and went on with the order which he was giving to an aide-de-camp.
'I saw that,' said Tocqueville. He had placed himself immediately behind a cannon in front of the Château d'Eau which fired down the Boulevard du Temple. A murderous fire from the windows in a corner of the Rue du Temple killed all the artillerymen. The instant that Lamoricière placed himself behind it, I thought that I saw what would happen. I implored him to get behind some shelter, or at least not to pose as a mark. “Recollect," I said, “that if you go on in this way you must be killed before the day is over--and where shall we all be?”.
"“I see the danger of what I am doing,” he answered, " and I dislike it as much as you can do ; but it is necessary. The National Guards are shaking; if they break, the Line follows. I must set an example that everyone can see and can understand. This is not a time for taking precautions. If I were to shelter myself, they would run."
*How does Lamoricière,' I asked, 'bear exile and inactivity in Brussels ?'
Very ill,' said Scheffer. He feels that he has compromised the happiness of his wife, whom he married not long before the coup d'état.'
Changarnier at Malins, who lives alone and has only himself to care for, supports it much better.'
Tocqueville and I walked home together.
'Scheffer,' he said, 'did not tell all that happened at the Château d'Eau. Men seldom do when they fight over their battles.
The insurgents by burrowing through walls had got into a house in the rear of our position. They manned the windows, and suddenly fired down on us from a point whence no danger had been feared. This caused a panic among the National Guards, a force of course peculiarly subject to panics. They turned and ran back 250 yards along the Boulevard St. Martin, carrying with them the Line and Lamoricière himself. He endeavoured to stop them by outcries, and by gesticulations, and indeed by force. He gave to one man who was trying to run by him a blow with his fist, so well meant and well directed that it broke his collar bone.
At length he stopped them, re-formed them, and said: “Now you shall march, I at your head, and the drummer beating the charge, as if you were on parade, up to that house.” They did so. After a few discharges, which miraculously missed Lamoricière, the men in the house deserted it.'
What were you doing at the Château d'Eau?' I asked.
We were marching,' he said, 'with infantry and artillery on the Boulevard du Temple, across which there was a succession of barricades, which it was necessary to take one by one.
• As we advanced in the middle, our sappers and miners got into the houses on each side, broke through the party walls, and killed the men at the windows.'
•Those three days,' he continued, 'impress strongly on my mind the dangers of our present state.
It is of no use to take up pavements and straighten streets, and pierce Paris by long military roads, and loop-hole the barracks, if the Executive cannot depend on the army. Ditches and bastions are of no use if the garrison will not man them.
• The new law of recruitment, however, may produce a great change. Instead of 80,000 conscripts, 120,000 are to be taken each year. This is about all that are fit for service. They are required to serve for only two years. If the change ended there our army would be still more a militia than it is now. It would be the Prussian Landwehr, But those entitled to their discharge are to be enticed by higher pay, promotions, bounties, and retiring pensions--in short, by all means of seduction, to re-enter for long periods, for ten, or fifteen, or perhaps twenty years. It is hoped that thus a permanent regular army may be formed, with an esprit de corps of its own, unsympathising with the people, and ready to keep it down ; and such will, I believe, be the result. But it will take nine or ten years to produce such an army—and the dangers that I fear are immediate.'
•What are the motives,' I asked, ‘for the changes as to the conscription, the increase of numbers, and the diminution of the time of service ?'
*They are parts,' he answered, ‘of the system. The
French peasant, and indeed the ouvrier, dislikes the service. The proportion of conscripts who will re-enlist is small. Therefore the whole number must be large. The country must be bribed to submit to this by the shortness of the term. The conscript army will be sacrificed to what is to be the regular army. It will be young and ill-trained.'
But your new regular army,' I said, 'will be more formidable to the enemy than your present force.'
'I am not sure of that,' he answered. “The merit of the French army was the impetuosity of its attack, the "furia Francese," as the Italians called it. Young troops have more of this quality than veterans. The Maison du Roi, whose charge at Steenkirk Macaulay has so well described, consisted of boys of eighteen.'
'I am re-editing,' I said, 'my old articles. Among them is one written in 1841 on the National Character of France, England, and America,' as displayed towards foreign nations. I have not much to change in what I have said of England or of America. As they have increased in strength they have both become still more arrogant, unjust, and shameless.
* England has perhaps become a little more prudent. America a little less so. But France seems to me to be altered. I described her as a soldier with all the faults of that unsocial character. As ambitious, rapacious, eager for nothing but military glory and territorial aggrandisement. She seems now to have become mode
1 This article is republished in the Historical and Philosophical Essays. Longmans : 1865.-ED.